Tag Archives: easy

Staying at home…so enjoy Thai Chicken w/Sweet Potatoes & Peppers

It’s been a minute since I’ve been on, foodies.  There have been many things going on. A quick catch-up on all that, outside of the obvious of course.

Right around the time the CoVid-19 pandemic got super serious around here and they started shutting everything down, schools, restaurants, facilities,  etc, my father, who has battled Parkinson’s Disease for years, took a turn for the worse and he passed away on March. 19. This was made exponentially more difficult because his skilled care center was on lockdown and only end of life visits allowed.  On top of that, my mom, who had been in the hospital with a non-Covid illness (at least we think so as she tested negative) was just released from the hospital and moving into rehab and then back to HER assisted living facility, which was ALSO on lockdown. So we could visit him and so could she, but she has not been able to receive visitors at all in the past 2 weeks while she grieves. We had to settle for a private graveside service with no hugs, which was very difficult. But we shall celebrate my Daddy’s life in a few weeks, months, whenever it is safe to do so.

So…here we are.
I hope you are all doing well. After a hectic week and a half going back and forth to the Triad, I actually am so grateful for being at home with my family and cooking and only going out for essentials. As much as I like to eat out, I am a homebody. As you may know, I homeschool, so our schedule hasn’t changed too much other than we don’t go to our school co-op on Friday or church on Sunday. I like an excuse to stay home for sure.

I figure no time like the present to pop in for some recipes and what’s going on in the local restaurant world when I hear about it. For one, DO try to support local restaurants by ordering takeout occasionally. They need your support now more than ever. But since you can, enjoy cooking at home too.

So here’s the first of a few recipes I plan on posting that will hopefully get you out of the doldrums and pack your plates with flavor. I didn’t take a lot of photos because I was throwing it together, however it was just so pretty, I decided to snap one.

This dish turned out so great and was gone in a flash.  I cooked it in the Instant Pot but it can easily be done on the stove, you just need to cook longer until the potatoes are cooked through.

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Thai Chicken w/ Peppers & Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds chicken, boneless thighs preferred here
1 red pepper, sliced in strips
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 bunch of arugula, kale, spinach (optional)
1 large knob of fresh ginger, divided
1/4 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 Tbs. Thai red chili paste
1 Tbs. ground or fresh turmeric
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbs. fish sauce
juice of one lime
Handful of cilantro (optional but really not)
red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
green onions for garnish
2-3 Tbs. oil, sesame oil or ghee
salt/pepper to taste

Before you start cooking, rub the chicken with the turmeric and half of the ginger. Let it hang out overnight or a few hours but if you forget, it’ll be fine. Turn the IP to sauté and once hot, sear the chicken on both sides until lightly browned.

Add the onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, chili paste and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic remaining ginger, broth, coconut milk, cayenne or red pepper and fish sauce if using. Here, you may add the red pepper but I like it a little crisper, so you can add it at the end if you prefer.

Turn the Instant Pot to manual pressure and cook on high for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure, remove the lid, add the red pepper, greens, lime juice and season if needed.  Turn the heat to sauté and reduce the broth a bit, until peppers are tender crisp. This won’t take long. Stir and check for flavor, being careful not to bust up your sweet potatoes. Serve over rice. Top with fresh arugula or cilantro and or green onion.

Stove Top version:

In a dutch oven, heat oil of choice. Follow all the steps as above at medium heat, adding the peppers to the pot, but once you get to the pressure cooking part, turn the heat down to a light simmer and allow to cook partially covered for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are mostly tender (you don’t want them falling apart). Add some broth if it gets too thick. Once fully cooked, add your greens, lime juice and spices as necessary.  Top with cilantro or arugula and green onion and serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Toscana Soup or Zuppa Toscana or Spicy Italian Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

After the cold winter that we had the misfortune of enduring this past April weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to post a recipe gets requested a good bit, particularly the last 2 days. And since in a couple of days it’s going to be a little chillier than late April ought to be, with more rain (yay), it’s as good a time as any. And if you can’t bear the thought of a spicy, potato-y soup in April (why the heck not?), then it can live in your archives until you deem it cold enough. 🙂

This soup is a copycat of the very popular one from OG (you know where I mean). I don’t know what their recipe is. But a few chefs out there have placed their own versions on the blogosphere and mine may be just like those. All I know is that I’ve done it so many times, I don’t go by a recipe but I know the ratios well enough. I’m not writing a cookbook, so you’ll have to trust me. This recipe gives you a bit of leeway depending on the amount of sausage you want in it and how you like your potatoes. mr. foodie likes his meaty. So I double the sausage from 1 to 2 pounds. And he likes varied texture so I usually slice up link sausages and ground sausage and brown them together. It’s vital that you use HOT Italian sausage. I guess you can use sweet/mild and add heat but this way— It’s just so yummy and spicy. It will make you feel ALIVE.

Toscana Soup

1-2 lb hot Italian sausage (you can use links or go with ground. Ground is easier but links are more true to the original)
2 cloves finely chopped garlic (or equivalent garlic powder)
1 tsp. minced onion (I use dry, but feel free to sweat in some fresh)
4-5 Medium sized russet potatoes, roughly cut into bite size pieces or sliced thin. Whatever.
4 cups chopped kale (again bite size pieces or bigger if you like it rustic). The pics show a Tuscan kale, but I usually use the curly kale too that’s more common.
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2-1 cup heavy cream. Depending on how creamy you want it. You may replace with milk or half &     half. It just won’t be as creamy. Here’s what I do. I use a half cup of cream, then I add milk until it just hits the  top of the ingredients in the pot.
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (no lie)
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the sausage. If you use links, you’ll want to take them out, let them cool a bit then slice at 1/2 inch thickness.

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They may crumble out of their casings a bit. That’s okay. You may decide to drain a bit of the grease. It varies for me. I kind of like the color that reddish bit of rendered fat gives the soup. It’s up to you. While the sausage browns, chop your potatoes. Chop or slice as thin as you like. We like it rustic and we cook it a bit longer so they get very tender but you get larger, more tender bites. You know what you like.

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Add potatoes to the sausage in the pot. Add onion, garlic, and seasonings, then kale.

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Add stock or broth and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cream or milk. You’ll want the liquids to just graze the the top of where the veggies come to.

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The kale will wilt down a lot. Just simmer on medium low until the potatoes are tender. You can go back and mash them up with the back of your spoon or you can leave larger…again, up to you. I let mine go for a couple of hours but it will probably be ready in one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you need more heat and you used spicy sausage then you are a bada…mamma jamma. You see, you do get a bit of rendered fat on top. It ain’t bad, I promise. Enjoy!

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Here’s picture for reference. This time I just used ground hot Italian sausage. It didn’t render nearly the fat. And it’s a more golden potato looking soup. Both were magnifico!

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