Happy Hubby Meals: Chicken Curry

I’ve been freezing Matt work lunches since last fall, I started with Tamales, freezing 2-3 of them in their husks wrapped in foil. I then made Burritos. He has a microwave at his work (doesn’t just about everybody?) It’s easy for him to reheat them.

However, his favorite meals have been soups, stews or rice based meals in bowls. I froze a few in the plastic lidded tupperware items I had around, but I hated it. This leads me to my confession: I absolutely loathe plastic dining ware, of every sort. It gets easily stained, smelly and lost. I’m sure when we have kids we’ll have to do SOME plastic, I just don’t like it. I don’t like drinking out of plastic, I’m convinced that it taints the taste of the water.

Wow, when did I become this deserving little prude, can I say developed world problems or what. Good grief. Geez, I should be thankful for bowls and cups, no matter what the type.

Anyway, all this to say that I was hesitant to freeze lunches for Matt in plastic, just for him to reheat it again, it kind of grossed me out.  So after some sticker shock at the local walmart I finally gave in and invested in some glass pyrex 4 cup containers with lids (the lids are plastic, I know, but they are removed before microwaving). I’ve been slowly collecting them on sale, $7.99 is the going rate usually but I’ve purchased most of mine from $5-6, by watching for sales and looking for coupons.

I’ve been perfecting “Happy Hubby Meals” at Matt affectionately calls them, and I’ll start sharing the successes here (there have been many unsuccessful ones as well that I’ll keep to myself)

My latest one was a spin on a recipe I got from the Betty Crocker site, Chicken Curry. 4 chicken breasts made 6 good meals, I had some snap peas and cashews that I topped each meal with.

Chicken Curry (slow cooker version)

4 Chicken breasts

2 cups water

1 jar Trader Joe’s Mango Chutney

2 TB cornstarch

1 TB yellow curry powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 TB Sriracha Sauce or Rooster Sauce (optional if you like spicy)

2 cans drained, rinsed garbanzo beans

2 onions chopped and sautéed until translucent

2 cups basmati rice, uncooked

2 cups snap peas, sharp ends chopped off

3/4 cup chopped cashews

Lay chicken breasts in slow cooker. In small bowl mix water, mango chutney, cornstarch, curry powder, salt, pepper and sriracha until blended, pour on top of chicken. layer onions on top. Cover and allow to cook on high for 3 hours, add drained rinsed garbanzo beans for last hour of cooking. Fork chicken apart gently. Do a quick taste test, add more spice or salt if desired.

Cook 2 cups of white basmati rice in rice cooker or on stove according to manufactures directions.

Divide rice into 6 bowls, top with chicken curry mixture, spoon chicken garbanzo mixture and sauce on top of rice. Top with cashews, dried red pepper flake (for more spice) and snap peas. Allow everything to cool a little before lidding up and freezing.

The cornstarch gave a great consistency to the curry that covered the rice well.

Often I freeze leftovers, but this meal fit so perfectly into the pyrex, I just froze the whole lot. I received a text from Matt today

“Curry lunch was awesome!!!!! I win!”

I consider that a success.

Gingersnap Cranberry Balls

Since the raw brownies  I made a few weeks ago were a success I thought I’d try some of the other energy balls I saw on pinterest. But since I cannot follow a recipe verbatim to save my life I drew inspiration from a few recipes and decided to do my own thing.

Gingersnap Cranberry Balls

20 Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger snap cookies

1/2 cup walnuts, ground

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 TB Maple Syrup

8 Medjool Dates (SEEDS REMOVED)

Toss everything in food processor, process unti everything is incorporated, roll into 3/4 inch balls, should make at least 20 balls

Here is your SCHWEET nutrition facts for 1 ball, 90 kcals isn’t too bad.

Bearded men like gingersnap cranberry balls

So do beautiful nurses

Thank you to D.O. and to Laura for being great taste testers and food models.

Brownies in the Raw

Okay, I’ve heard of such things, but I really didn’t believe there could be a better gluten-free, low carb brownie out there that beats my black bean brownies, yes, shamelessly arrogant brownie snob here.

But if there is a brownie that is up for the challenge of dethroning the black bean brownies in this house it’s these raw brownies.

They require no cooking, no stirring, no bowl, no eggs, oil or butter.

Oh my. They are incredible.

However I made an elementary cook mistake while preparing them

The brownies call for dates, I had never used dates before, and I didn’t realize they had seeds.

Huge seeds in fact, like the size of a small almond.

Really. Hard. Seeds.

And I plopped 13 dates into my poor indentured servant, Mr. Cuisinart F. Processor, and pushed start. The poor dear tilted on two feet one way and then the back to his other two feet then his blade disconnected and made a horrible sound.

Oh Cuisi, forgive me for those horrible seeds that knocked you senseless. I think after a nice soak in the sink ahem “bath” he is recovering.

But, please, friends, I’m sure you are all aware of date seeds, I was not. Please beware, they do not grind.

There are many raw brownie recipes, and I played with a few of them until I found my ideal. Some call for bananas, avocados, maple syrup, walnuts, cashews. They ALL call for cocoa powder

A word on Cocoa Powder and the different types here

I used Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder, oh it’s so good.

These brownies are insanely easy to make, you do need a food processor, and a few hours to chill brownies.

Brownies in the Raw

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup almonds

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 TB honey

12-13 Medjool Dates **SEEDS REMOVED**

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Place 1 cup of pecans and almonds in food processor, pulse until ground finely. Add dates, remember to remove the seeds (haha), 2 at a time, and use the pulse button to incorporate them slowly. Add cocoa, honey and vanilla. Pulse gradually until the brownie mixture looks like really great soil.

Press into 8×8 pan that is lined with saran wrap (add chocolate chips at this point). Allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cut into 12 brownies. Store covered and refrigerated (I wouldn’t be that concerned about it, other than the fact that the medjool date container from TJs says to refrigerate after opening).

I brought some to gathering with friends yesterday, and they were a hit! This is my beautiful friend Annie May, miss that girl already!

Thai Chicken Pizza

So I’ve seen these GREAT cauliflower crusts all over pinterest and over blogs I follow, but the BEST picture on pinterest doesn’t have a working link.

Lame Sauce.

So, I did some hunting and tried to figure out a proper recipe.

This is actually kind of difficult. This cauliflower crust thing isn’t as easy as they seem to suggest. Humph. . .

I got this funky green/yellow cauliflower with the bountiful baskets.

The recipes say to “rice” the cauliflower.

Um, okay.

How do I do that again? Is that even something people do?

. . .

When in doubt bring out the FOOD PROCESSOR.

And then I pushed the pulse button 2 dozen times . . . rice, rice, rice, rice, rice. Until it resembled yellow/green rice.

Sort of. I guess.

Then I microwaved the “riced” cauliflower for 8 minutes. And I let it cool, and mixed in nutritional yeast, eggs, oregano, pepper and 1/2 cup mozzarella. And pressed it thin onto an aluminum lined pan . . .

And then I baked it.

And then the it affixed itself against the foil to never part.

Literally never part, I couldn’t separate it

Lame sauce.

I just wasted the whole awesome weird colored cauliflower by fusing it to stupid aluminum foil.

Everything is stupid.

Sweet husband scraped it off of the pan and ate it like some sort of creative hash.

It didn’t look good, but it did taste GREAT.

The nutritional yeast in the crust was tangy and delicious. The toppings of chicken, broccoli, red peppers, crimini mushrooms, onions, FRESH MANGO  were delicious! I used Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce with this goodness to make it all Thai-ish

I wasn’t satisfied with that tasty hash. So I tried again, but I didn’t feel like running to Rousauer’s for more cauliflower. So, I did it the old fashioned, carb ladden way.

Mmmm, carb-y.

It was the pizza dough recipe from Joy of Cooking.

I did discover that broccoli is a delicious pizza topping, the first time I steamed it, the second time I just stir fried them for a bit with the onions. Both ways worked and no brown broccoli.

I didn’t have any crimini mushrooms or red peppers, but I had tomatoes

I think the take home message is that the combination of Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce and chicken, onions, broccoli plus other random veggies is really good.

I recommend.

Recommended highly. It’s very good.

And I’ll get back to you about that cauliflower crust, because my first attempt, that hash-i-fied stuff, is just embarrassing.

Thai Chicken Pizza

Pizza Crust (your fave)

1 bottle Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce

1 onion, chopped

1 tree broccoli, chopped

1 cup mozzarella

1-2 chicken breasts baked in soy sauce, chopped

1 mango, diced

1 tomato, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

8 crimini mushrooms sliced

Stir fry onions till they caramelize, half way through add the broccoli, cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread 1/2 bottle Red Curry sauce on prepared pizza crust, sprinkle with mozzarella top with broccoli, onions, mango, tomato, red pepper etc. Top with chicken, top with remaining mozzarella and some parmesan if it’s available.

10 slices

Crunchy Tofu Cabbage Salad

During Christmas break, I was grocery shopping with my mom and she sent me into the produce area with one goal in mind, pick up 4 bags of coleslaw. When I asked, WHY in the world we need FOUR bags of chopped cabbage in the middle of December she answered “Your father is addicted to cabbage.”

I laughed, it’s true though, my dad eats cabbage with almost every meal, usually in raw chopped form with dressing on it, or wrapped in a tortilla with other goodness. He uses cabbage instead of any other leafy green because he loves how it tastes and it stores well. Who could blame him really, cabbage is one of my favorite foods too. And not to go all nutritional on you, but it’s packed full of healthy things, Vit C, the B-complex not to mention lots of fiber!

My sweet friend Sarah makes a Teriyaki chicken salad that this recipe is reminiscent of.

I loaded this recipe up with healthy oils, from almonds to seasame seeds, even sunflower seed oil, it’s vegan too! Mmmm. It’s good, even better the next day around. Great large crowd side dish.

Crunchy Tofu Cabbage Salad

1 head of green cabbage, chopped (but for kicks and giggles feel free to do half red & half green)

5 green onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, shredded

3/4 cup sliced almonds

2 packages ramen noodles, broken up

1 package Trader Joes Teriyaki fried tofu, cubed

1/4 cup  toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (Trader Joe’s is THE BEST soy sauce Evah!)

3 TB white vinegar

3 TB honey

2 TB sugar

Toss cabbage, onions, carrots, noodles, tofu and sesame seeds together, mix gently. Mix oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and sugar together, pour on top of cabbage mixture. Toss together until incorporated, refrigerate overnight for best results.

Chicken sausage, eggplant spread pizza

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Trader Joes? I really should apply for a job there . . .

I’ve made this pizza several times, my favorite time was when I used crimini mushrooms, mmmm yea! The above version is my lazy version with fried eggs instead of chicken sausage. It’s all about using lavish bread and the eggplant garlic spread for sauce, after that anything goes.

Oh my word. Love this stuff. I almost always have a few jars around, not only as a dip, but as a spread on a tortilla or as a mix in with lentils and beans, yum! So good.

And lavish bread, it has a thickness somewhere between a tortilla and pita bread. Thick enough to make hands only pizza, but thin enough to rival any pre-made thin crust pizza. Yum.

Oh yea. Another TJ product I always have in my freezer. I really do not like sausage, this is my one and only exception. No nasty hunks of fennel (I HATE FENNEL) or gross chewy casing, just smooth, relatively low-fat chicken with spices. The spicy jalepeno is just one of many flavors available at TJs, Matt and I like it the best, but it is spicy, be warned.

So, caramelize some onions, chop up some spinach and tomatoes . . .

Oh, and bake for 10 min at 350°F, then broil for 5 min. Watch carefully, sweet hubby did that part for me.

And then you eat it, it’s good. I like a lot of spinach on mine, Matt likes less spread and more onions. So we make our own. Heats up great the next day too.

Chicken sausage, spinach, tomato and eggplant spread pizza

2 package of  Trader Joe’s Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage

2 Onions, chopped

2 TB canola oil

1 package Trader Joe’s Lavish bread

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped or thinly sliced (your choice)

1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Shaved Grana Padamo Parmesan cheese

1 jar Trader Joe’s Eggplant Garlic Spread

12 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced (not shown, but very good)

Serves: 6. This recipe should make about 6 pizzas, 6 sheets of lavish bread worth with ample toppings

1. Saute sausage and onions in oil until onions are soft and semi-caramelized. (saute mushrooms)

2. Preheat oven to 350°F

3. Spray a few non-stick pans, lay out your lavish bread, spread on eggplant spread, top with spinach, tomatoes, onions/chicken sausage/mushroom mix, top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, and broil for 5 minutes.

Cut and serve, enjoy!