Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meatless Monday - Thai Curry Rice

Meatless Monday

If you are anything like me, Monday's are one of the most hectic days of week.  Usually I will forget to thaw some kind of meat, the phone doesn't stop ringing and dinner is the last thing on my mind.  This is how Meatless Monday's got started in my house.

This post will share an easy recipe for Meatless Monday and some quick fix tips to make your dinner time a little easier.  If you are not a fan of yellow curry recipes please read on... I have substitute suggestions below.

Easy Dinner Tip 1:  Wal-Mart grocery has pre-packaged stir fry vegetables in the produce section.  The bag is mixed with carrots, peapods, broccoli and bean sprouts.  Other grocery stores may carry something similar.  It saves me from the hassle of cutting individual vegetables and having too many left over.  Just rinse and combine with the dish.  It cuts your prep time in half.

Easy Dinner Tip 2:  If you prefer to use vegetables that have not been pre-packaged that's okay.  Wash and cut the vegetables ahead of time.  I've found the best time for me to do that is right after I get home from the grocery store or market.

Prep time = 10 minutes
Cook time = 15 minutes

Thai Curry Rice
- 2 cups of Jasmine rice
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 1 bag of fresh stir-fry veggies (or what ever you prefer)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 1/2 TBSP cumin
- 1/2 TBSP turmeric
- 1 3/4 TBSP yellow curry
- 2 TBSP sesame oil
- 1/2 TBSP honey
- (Optional) Crushed red pepper OR Hot sesame oil
- Salt and pepper

In a medium sauce pan, bring the rice and water to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Set aside after all the water is absorbed and the rice is no longer crunchy.  In a wok or large skillet, add the sesame oil over a medium-high heat and let it warm for 1 or 2 minutes.  Add the onion with salt and pepper.  Add the stir-fry veggies and honey.  Heat thoroughly and add the rice.  Combine the ingredients.  Then add the additional spices; cumin, turmeric, curry and optional spices.  Heat through for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.

I also added half a bag of frozen peas for extra texture and flavor.  It was probably one of the easiest dishes that I made all week.  Plus, my husband was very pleased with his dinner.  An easy side dish could be a salad or store bought egg rolls.

If you are not a fan of yellow curry you can substitute it with a Chinese Five Spice instead. 

Have a great Meatless Monday!

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flashback Friday - Spaghetti and Meatballs

Flashback Friday

There are so many different ways to make spaghetti and meatballs.  I've worked on different recipes over the years and make several versions.  I will post another spaghetti recipe this fall. 

In this post you will find recipes for a meal that is perfect for a date night at home.  Pop in a new movie and snuggle up with a plate of spaghetti.  Classic romance.

Last year, I shared this recipe titled "Kicking Up The Classics"; which is one of the top reads on Hint of Thyme.  As the nights get cooler and fall begins to roll in... I look forward to impressing my hubby with this recipe again.

Check out the link above.  Have a great weekend!

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Green Beans - Three Quick Fix Recipes

Green beans and tomatoes are very easy to find during the month of August.  Between the downtown Appleton farmers market and my neighbors garden, I seem to have an endless supply of green beans.  So how do you cook and eat the same thing without getting bored?  Dress it up with different ingredients.

If you're looking for something outside the steamed-green-bean-box... these recipes are perfect for you.  Here are three quick fix recipes that are guaranteed to capture your attention and please the taste buds. 

#1 - Fried Rosemary Green Beans
- 1/2 to 1 pound fresh green beans (cut in half or leave whole)
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in half or leave whole)
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 2 TBSP sesame oil
- 1/2 TBSP dried rosemary
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper

Add the oil and onion to a skillet over medium-high heat.  When the onion becomes translucent, add the green beans, rosemary, salt and pepper.  The beans will appear bright green and have a little char on them - approximately 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cheese at that time.  Serve and enjoy.

#2 - Steamed Mustard Beans
- 1/2 to 1 pound of fresh green beans
- Salt and pepper
- 1 TBSP yellow mustard
- 1 TBSP plain mayonnaise
- 1/2 TBSP honey

Place the green beans in a steamer over water on medium heat.  Once the beans become bright green in color... shock them in ice water to cool and keep the color.  In a separate bowl, combine the mustard, mayo and honey.  If you make more than half pound of beans, adjust the sauce accordingly.  When the beans have cooled, combine with the mustard sauce.  Add salt and pepper.  This is great for a simple summer side dish!  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

#3 - Mediterranean Green Beans
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 1/2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese
- Salt and pepper

Add the green beans and EVOO to a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season accordingly.  After 5 to 7 minutes... add the tomatoes.  Add the vinegar, feta and basil at the end.  Remove from heat and cover for 2 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

We could all use a hint of more time!

Copyright 2011 Hint Of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 19, 2011

American Classic Knock-Off

Rough day?  Too many errands?  Having the typical what-to-do-for-dinner blues?  Been there!

Prior to our wedding day, my husband's eating habits consisted of chips, Ramen noodles, frozen pizza and... Hamburger Helper.  Although I love a nice big bowl of Hamburger Helper every once and a while, I cannot eat it as often as my former bachelor.

Anything with pasta is an easy "go-to meal" for me.  One night, I had thawed some ground beef and intended to make spaghetti.  But... SURPRISE, no spaghetti noodles in the pantry.  So I began throwing vegetables and spices into a sauce pan until it resembled a Hamburger Helper knock-off.

Prep time = 10 minutes
Cook time = 15 to 20 minutes

Mara's Ultimate Cheesy Macaroni
- 3 cups of elbow pasta
- 1 lb ground meat
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 2 TBSP Pasta Sprinkle (or something similar)
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat Colby jack cheese
- 1 TBSP low-fat milk
- Salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta in a large sauce pan.  Drain and set aside.  While the pasta is boiling, brown the meat in a separate fry pan or skillet.  As the meat begins to brown, add the onions until the meat is completely brown and onions are soft.  Combine the meat, pasta, spices, EVOO and tomatoes into the large sauce pan.  Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes over medium heat.  Sprinkle with vinegar for extra flavor - you won't need much.  Add salt and pepper constantly... adjust seasoning as needed.  Add the cheese and milk at the end.  Combine thoroughly.  Cover over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.

My husband said that it was better than the store-bought hamburger helper.  I definitely recommend this dish for an easy dinner night.  Add a simple salad for a side.  It's easy but still delicious.

Have a great weekend, readers!

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shout out to Penzey's

I LOVE this store! 

Penzey's Spices is a "foodies" best friend.  The store is stocked full of spices, baking ingredients, and recipe cards.  You can also sign up to receive their product and recipe magazine in the mail (which I definitely recommend). 

Bonus:  Penzey's will also mail out coupons for new products regularly.  (Yes, I said COUPONS!)

This store has become a staple in my kitchen.  You are likely to find many recipes on my blog mentioning one of their spices.  I have quite a few favorites that I use and, therefore, need to replace frequently.

Must Have Spices:
- Arizona Dreaming (Salt Free) - excellent in chili or Mexican dishes

- Pasta Sprinkle - perfect for dressing up an easy side dish

- Galena Street - a great rub for pork or chicken

- Mural of Flavor (Salt Free) - try it on eggs.. yum!

Penzey's supplies a large variety of dry herbs - if you happen to be missing a green thumb.  Some of my favorite herbs to buy from them are Rosemary and Basil.

You can read more about Penzey's products and locations on their website.  Check out a store in your area!

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wrap It Up With Fresh Summer Salsa

Have a lot of vegetables and no idea what to do with them?  The end of summer is notorious for this type of problem.  We had at least 5 green peppers and tomatoes in our refrigerator.  Our neighbors have a garden and frequently offer vegetables to share with us; which is very kind of them.

I had all these vegetable and no idea what to do with them.  After brain storming, I took 3 boneless chicken breasts and baked them at 425 for 40 minutes.  I sprinkled lemon pepper and salt over the chicken.  While they were baking, I took the liberty of getting other household chores done.  It was nice to be baking while also working on my every day tasks.  It allowed me the time I needed.

While I was washing dishes, an idea came to me! .... Chicken with Basil Salsa.

Bake time = 30 - 40 minutes (depending on size of chicken)
Prep time = 15 minutes

Chicken Ranch Wrap with Basil Salsa
- 2 or 3 large chicken breast
- 2 or 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 or 2 green peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
- 2 TBSP fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1/2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 TBSP smoked paprika
- (Optional) Chipotle or Chili seasoning, only a couple sprinkles or depending on your personal spicy scale

Additional Items:
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Ranch salad dressing (what ever brand you prefer)

Place the chicken on a baking pan and bake 425 for 35 to 40 minutes - depending on the size of the chicken.  While the chicken is baking, dice and mix the vegetables together with EVOO and lemon juice in a separate bowl.  Add the seasoning.  Combine thoroughly.  Taste and add more seasoning as needed.

When the chicken is done baking, let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes.  Dice the chicken into bite size pieces or long, thin strips.  Add the chicken and salsa to the wrap.  Drizzle with ranch dressing (which is also optional).  Fold in both ends, tuck and roll the wrap closed.  Cut in half and serve.

An easy side dish:
Rinse and cut fresh green beans.  Add sesame oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the green beans with rosemary, salt and pepper.  The combination is outstanding.  You can also combine the green beans with some of your favorite vegetables; such as onions, mushrooms, or even peppers.

Left overs? 
No problem.  The next day I still had a ton of left over chicken meat and salsa, but no tortillas.  If you run into this problem... don't panic.  I boiled 2 1/2 cups of rotelle pasta.  After draining the pasta, I combined the left over chicken and salsa with the pasta, low-fat cheese, salt and pepper.  It was incredibly easy.  So this meal can actually provide a 2-night dinner!  What's not to love about that?

I hope you enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner!  Have a great week.

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.