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Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

The last time I lived in Croatia, stir-fry was one of the only meals I knew how to make. Needless to say, I ended up eating a lot of stir-fry. A lot. Like, way, way too much. Especially considering I hated the way I made it, and that I’m not a big fan of white rice. So once I returned to the States and decided to learn how to cook more than just stir-fry and plain chicken breasts, this dish fell out of my cooking repertoire, and since then I’ve never looked back.

Until now.

Last night we were getting hungry and it was getting late, and although these aren’t usually the best circumstances in which to try a new recipe, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather have than something with a peanut sauce. Weird, considering the fact that I’ve never actually eaten anything with peanut sauce. Thankfully, we had to go to the store anyways, so I was able to pick up all of the ingredients for the meal that I ended up creating. At least, I thought I had all of the ingredients.

Upon returning from the store, I threw on a pot of water to boil, chopped the chicken into small cubes and sauteed in olive oil, and set about to cut up the veggies. While those were sauteeing, I began to tackle my peanut sauce…until I looked in the fridge and realized that I had about a tablespoon of peanut butter. Peanut butter is a precious commodity in Croatia – I found out a few weeks ago that the health food store next door to my house carries a relatively yummy peanut butter for a reasonable price, but apparently I was so excited by this discovery that I ate nearly the whole jar. Oops. Thankfully, however, David had bought a huge bag of peanuts for a snack, so we quickly set to work shelling about a quarter of a cup of the peanuts. While the sauce wasn’t as creamy as it would have been with peanut butter, it still tasted delicious. The whole meal was finished in less than a half an hour, was inexpensive and filling, and most importantly, was delicious! My faith in stir-fries has been renewed, with the realization that they don’t have to contain rice (the whole wheat spaghetti was delicious and didn’t require nearly as much sauce as rice), the predominant flavor doesn’t have to be soy sauce, and the veggies don’t have to be overcooked and soggy.

Peanut Sauce
adapted from Cooking With Amy

1/4 cup natural (unsweetened) peanut butter, or shelled peanuts
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup water

Puree ingredients through water in mini food processor, gradually adding water until mixture is smooth. Add remaining water, place in a saucepan on medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until sauce is bubbling, adding up to 1/4 cup water as needed.

Stir-Fry
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 carrot, shaved into ribbons
1 zucchini, cut in to 1/2 inch thick half-moons
1/2 onion, cut into small strips
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
Whole wheat spaghetti
Spicy Peanut Sauce

Cook spaghetti. On medium-high heat, cook chicken in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Remove to a plate and saute the veggies until just softened but still al dente. Add the chicken and spaghetti to the pan, add the peanut sauce, and stir to combine all ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve!

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Mom’s Lasagna

Here is the recipe for my mom’s mouth-watering lasagna. I may be impartial, but I think it’s the best lasagna in the world!

Mom’s Lasagna

1 lb. (450 g) Italian sausage or hamburger (or a mixture of the two)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 c.)
1 clove garlic, pressed

Cook and stir above ingredients till meat is cooked. Drain.

Add:

1 can (16oz./450g) whole tomatoes (I like to pulverize them)
1 can (15oz./425g) tomato sauce
2 T. parsley flakes (dried)
1 t. sugar
1 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. salt

Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered until mixture is consistency of thick spaghetti sauce, about 1 hr.

Cook:
9 uncooked lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Drain.

Mix:
1 16 oz. (450g) carton of ricotta cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 T. dried parsley
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. dried oregano leaves

Measure out :
2 c. mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz./225g)

Layer a small amt. of sauce on bottom of 9 X13 baking dish (greased). Then layer 1/3 each of noodles, sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. Repeat 2 times, ending up with a little reserved sauce on top (about 1/2 c.). Top with 1/4 c. parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350F/180C degrees for 45 min. (uncovered).

Let stand 10-15 min. before cutting.
Serves 8-10.

Happy eating!

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