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Posts Tagged ‘quick’

Two Keepers

The past two evenings we’ve enjoyed quick and comforting meals for dinner – beef stroganoff and chicken paprikash. They definitely weren’t the most exotic dishes I’ve ever created, but they were really simple, came together quickly, and required a minimum of ingredients. Budget-wise, they were fairly frugal, especially since the little meat I used in them went pretty far and I felt satisfied for hours after eating them. Each recipe made enough for three full servings – I would have had a lot more leftovers, too, if I had served some side dishes with them. Although I probably won’t be craving these dishes anytime soon, they were yummy. Yummy, quick, cheap and filling? I’d say they’re keepers!

Beef Stroganoff

1/4 kilo ground beef (17kn)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped (.50 kn)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 packet (3 servings) cream of mushroom soup (8 kn)
1 cup sour cream (3 kn)
1/2 bag of bowtie pasta (3.50 kn)
Salt to taste

Set a pot of water on to boil, salting the water with about a teaspoon of salt, and cook pasta.
Brown ground beef; remove meat from pan but retain juices. Saute onions in butter and meat juices until translucent; add garlic clove and saute for another minute. Return meat to the pan. Prepare cream of mushroom soup with boiling water and add to meat and onion mixture. Add Worchestershire sauce and salt to taste and simmer for several minutes. Temper sour cream with pan juices and then add sour cream to pan. Adjust seasonings to taste. If necessary, add a tablespoon of flour (mixed in a little water to prevent lumps) to mixture and simmer until thickened.
Total cost: 32 kn / $6.40 / $2.13 per serving

Chicken Paprikash with Gnocchi

1 b/s chicken breast (6 kn), cut into strips
1 onion, chopped (.50 kn)
1 large red pepper, cut into strips (2 kn)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1/4+ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (14 oz) tomatoes, broken up into chunks (4 kn)
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream (.50 kn)
300-400 grams frozen or fresh gnocchi (5 kn)

Set a pot of water (with 1/2 teaspoon salt) on to boil.
Salt and cook chicken in oil on high-ish heat until starting to become golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. In same pan on medium heat, saute the onion and pepper (with a little more oil) for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, paprika, and cayenne and saute for another minute. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with paprika. Add tomatoes and salt and reduce heat to simmer until mixture becomes thickened but peppers are still on the crunchy, rather than mushy, side. Temper sour cream with pan juices and add to pan. Adjust seasonings to taste. Reduce heat to lowest setting while gnocchi cooks.
Cook gnocchi in boiling water just until all gnocchi float to the surface. Do not overcook gnocchi, as it will become mushy and fall apart if overcooked.
Serve paprikash over gnocchi.
Total: 18 kn / $3.60 / $1.20 per serving

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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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