Monday, November 30, 2015

Hoisin Ginger Chicken Stir Fry


My family loves a good stir fry like this Hoisin Ginger Chicken stir fry to satisfy their mealtime hunger.  I love that it's quick and easy to make and in less than 20 minutes I can have a pot of rice cooked and a stir fry loaded with fresh veggies on the table.   I also love that it's my own "take-out" which saves us from running up to the Chinese restaurant a few miles away to satisfy our craving for Chinese food. 

I used lean white meat chicken in this dish, but you can easily substitute boneless/skinless thigh meat if you prefer dark meat.  I used the veggies I had on hand to make this stir fry and that was your basic celery and carrots that I always seem to have in the fridge to make loads  of other dishes.  You could easily add a number of other veggies like broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, cabbage water chestnuts etc.. 

I always say use my recipe as an outline and then adjust it to what you have in your fridge and pantry.  This stir fry is flavored with hoisin sauce and ginger.  Since we eat a lot of Chinese/Thai inspired dishes at home, I keep a well stocked pantry of Asian soy sauces, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha, sambal oelek, fish sauce, sesame oil etc..   I also keep lots of fresh ginger than I have peeled and frozen in my freezer so I can easily make a dish that calls for fresh ginger.  Tip: If you prep your ginger and freeze it, it will last you for a very long time (more than a year) in the freezer. 

This quick stir fry was just what this busy mom needed to feed my family this past week.  As long as my family keeps requesting stir fries, I will keep making them at least once or twice a week.  They are a great way to make quick and nutritious meals that can feed my family as well give me some yummy leftovers when I am home alone for lunch during the week.  I call that a win-win in my book.

Hoisin Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

2lbs chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
2 Tbs cornstarch
salt and black pepper to season chicken 
4 Tbs Hoisin sauce
1 heaping Tbs fresh grated ginger
2-3 Tbs soy sauce
1 cup water or chicken stock (more if you desire more sauce)
2 stalks celery sliced
2 carrots sliced or cut into matchsticks
red chili flakes to taste

Step 1: Sliced chicken into bite size pieces.  Then season lightly with salt and black pepper.  Add cornstarch and toss well.  Heat 2-3 Tbs canola oil in large wok style pan and add chicken and stir fry until it starts to cook.
Step 2:  Add celery and carrot and stir fry with chicken.  Then add the hoisin sauce, ginger. red chili flakes and soy sauce and stir well.  

Add water or chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. 

Step 3:  Taste for salt and seasoning.  Serve hot with cooked white or brown rice.  Enjoy.   Serves 6-8 people.

Freezing Ginger How-to:  freezing ginger is one of my favorite kitchen tips.  To prepare it, just wash and peel the skin.  Then put it into a freezer safe bag and you have fresh ginger when ever you need.  All you do is pull it out of the freezer and use a grater/zester to get the desired texture you want.  I don't like my ginger too big so I always use a small size grate.  

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Quick and Easy Roast Chicken and Veggies- One Pan Dinner


 It's the day after Thanksgiving and I really don't want to cook after yesterday's marathon cooking day.  So this easy Roast Chicken and Veggie Tray only takes 5 minutes to throw together and pop in the oven.  It is just what I need to get dinner on the table fast with minimal effort and I really am happy about the minimal effort part of the whole recipe!

I simply scattered some broccoli, baby carrots, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, herbs and lemon onto a baking tray and put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.  Easy-Peasy! I had some leftover stuffing, and cranberry chutney from our Thanksgiving feast so it was easy to just heat them up for my husband and son that wanted more "carbs" with their meal.  My daughter and I were just happy with the roast chicken and veggies.

This meal was so easy and I was grateful for the time to relax while everything baked in the oven. I even covered the baking pan with a layer of foil so I had minimal clean up to do as well.  I am glad Thanksgiving comes around only once a year because it's a lot of work.  Luckily this roast chicken and veggie tray is so easy, I can make this many times this year when I feel like quick cooking.
Roast Chicken and Veggie Tray - One Pan Dinner
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

8-10 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
4-5 cups of broccoli florets
1/2 lb baby carrots (I sliced them in half, but that's optional)
1 sprig rosemary leaves
2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 large lemon sliced
Salt and Black Pepper as needed
2-3 Tbs canola oil or olive oil
2-3 Tbs butter/margarine (optional)

Step 1:  Prepare chicken and veggies. 

Step 2:  Line baking sheet with foil for easy clean up (optional).

Step 3:  Layer veggies around the perimeter of baking sheet and chicken in the center. 

Step 4:   Season everything well with salt and black pepper.  Then drizzle oil over everything.

Step 5:  Season chicken with thyme and rosemary and cover each thigh with lemon slices.  

Step 6:  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Note: I added a little dab of butter/margarine on top of each chicken thigh for the last 5 minutes of cooking and this gave a little butter/lemon sauce to toss all the veggies in and add extra flavor.


Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spicy Pineapple and Cranberry Chutney


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have already made this Spicy Pineapple and Cranberry Chutney so I can cross it off my cooking to do list.  I try to do as much cooking as I can the day before so I don't have to panic and do everything on the big day. I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving and relax with my family and friends after all.   

This chutney is the perfect dish to make ahead because it's best served chilled.  I also love this chutney because it's so easy to make as well.  I simply open a few cans, add a few spices and let it cook away on the stove until it's done.  Then I just need to chill it and serve on the big day.  This chutney is just the added spiciness some of us crave on the traditional thanksgiving table.   

I also love that this chutney goes well on those leftover turkey sandwiches.  As a rice and curry girl, this chutney is very versatile because it is also great with any rice and curry meal as well.  I always make an extra batch of the chutney for my mother because she loves it to eat as a sweet and spicy addition to her meals after the holidays. 

So if you are craving something a little spicy and exotic on your traditional Thanksgiving table... think spicy pineapple and cranberry chutney.

Spicy Pineapple and Cranberry Chutney
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

2 cans (15oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can (20oz) crushed pineapple with juice
3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
red chili powder or cayenne to taste
salt to taste
1 Tbs grated garlic
2 tsp grated ginger

Add all ingredients into a sauce pan bring to a boil and stir until all ingredients are well mixed.  Then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 30-40 minutes until chutney thickens.  Stir periodically to make sure chutney does not stick to pan.  Finally taste for sweetness and spiciness.  Adjust as needed.  Serve chilled ( I recommend to chill chutney overnight).  Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chorizo and Cornbread Dressing (Stuffing)


Thanksgiving is just days away and I am excited and a little stressed out a the same time.  I am always in my kitchen cooking, but I have some serious "marathon" cooking to do in the next few days.  

Thanksgiving is at my sister's house this year and we usually have a huge houseful of family to feed.  My contributions to the Thanksgiving table are the stuffing (everyone's favorite dish... no pressure there!), cranberry pineapple chutney, cornbread jalapeno pudding, spicy mashed sweet potatoes and at least two desserts.  

My kids are so excited to eat the traditional Sausage and Bread stuffing we eat every Thanksgiving, but after seeing some Mexican chorizo at the grocery store I decided I wanted to pair it with cornbread and try out cornbread dressing.  So that's just what I did yesterday for Sunday dinner.  I made my Chorizo and Cornbread Dressing with my Smothered Pork Chops and it was a real hit. 

My son loved it so much he asked if he could take a thermos full of the cornbread dressing for lunch.  I guess he really liked it!   One stuffing/dressing done... one huge tray of stuffing to make for the big turkey day feast.  Gobble Gobble! :)  


Chorizo and Cornbread Dressing (Stuffing)
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer


3 boxes Jiffy corn muffins prepared according to package instructions.  Make the cornbread the day before so you have plenty of time to get the cornbread dried out and firm enough for the dressing the next day. 

Chorizo and Herb Mixture:
1lb Mexican style Chorizo sausage
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2-3 jalapeno peppers finely diced
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp poultry seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste
red chili flakes - to taste
1 Tbs finely minced fresh sage
2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp finely minced fresh thyme
1 tsp chicken bullion powder (I used Knorr brand chicken bullion powder)
1 cup chicken stock (or more as needed)


Step 1:  Make cornbread per package instructions. Bake on a parchment lined baking pan at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until done.  Turn oven off.  Then cut cornbread into small cubes. Tip: I used a pizza cutter to cut it directly on the baking pan.  Break apart and put it back into the warm oven (that is off) overnight to dry out and become hard.  

Step 2:  Heat a large pot on medium high heat and brown chorizo sausage.  Then add the onion, celery, bell pepper and jalapeno peppers.  Cook for several minutes until vegetables become soft.  

Step 3:  Lower to medium heat and add fresh herbs, red chili flakes, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, chicken bouillon powder and black pepper.  Then add chicken stock.  Cook for 5 minutes.   Finally add the day old cubed cornbread and toss with chorizo/veggie mixture.  If you need, add a little more chicken stock to get the desired texture. You can serve it directly from the stove at this point. Otherwise, place into a buttered baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot. Enjoy.


Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Beef Fajitas in the Slow Cooker


These beef fajitas are full of flavor and they come together so easily in the slow cooker. I love to buy inexpensive cuts of beef and put them into the slow cooker so I can create melt in your mouth dishes like this for my family.  This makes a lot of fajitas so it's a budget friendly meal that really stretches your dollar.

The slow cooker does all the work for you.  However, I do like to brown my meat before placing in the slow cooker because I feel it gives the meat a deeper flavor.  So there is a little bit of prep work that happens just before you put the slow cooker on and walk away.  This beef slowly cooked away and I added the sliced onions and peppers at the last hour of cooking so they were still beautiful to use in my fajitas. 

I served the fajitas in warm flour tortillas with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and my homemade  pico de gallo.   As a busy mother and wife, it's nice to have this kind of meal cooking so I can spend more time with my family and not be stuck in the kitchen.

Beef Fajitas in the Slow Cooker
Recipe by Ramona at Kitchen Simmer

2lb beef sliced into strips (any cut that cooks well in slow cooker)
1 green bell pepper sliced
1 red bell pepper sliced (yellow and orange)
1 large onion sliced
2-3 Tbs Chili powdered used in chili con carne
1 Tbs cumin powder
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and black pepper- to taste
red pepper flakes- to taste
1 (15oz) can of diced tomatoes (with green chilies preferred)
juice of half a lime

Fajitas Ingredients:
Tortillas (flour or corn)
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
Pico de Gallo

1. Season cut beef with salt and pepper.  Then brown beef with a few tablespoons of canola oil.  Tip: Due this in batches so the pan does not get over crowded and "steam" the meat and not brown it. 


2.  Place beef in slow cooker with chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper red chili flakes and can of diced tomatoes.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. 


3.  Slice onions and peppers and place in slow cooker after beef has cooked for 2 1/2 hours.   Cook peppers and onions with beef for one more hour.  Mix well.  Season with lime juice.  Serve hot with fajitas ingredients mentioned above.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Sausage and Quinoa Stuffing

Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage and Quinoa Stuffing is a wonderful alternative to the usual bread or cornbread stuffing most families eat at Thanksgiving.   The stuffing has small bite-size pieces of roasted butternut squash and browned sausage with lots of celery, onion, sage, thyme and quinoa to create a wonderfully flavorful stuffing that will make your Thanksgiving table very inviting. 

The grocery store is abundant with all kinds of squash during the fall months and I had to grab a few butternut squashes and make a recipe for Thanksgiving.  I made this Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage and Quinoa Stuffing as an easy stove-top and gluten-free alternative to making  regular bread or cornbread stuffing on the Thanksgiving table.  It still has the sausage I love in stuffing and all the flavors of stuffing, but roasted butternut squash and quinoa is the base of this recipe so it's healthy too. 

I made this stuffing a few days ago and there was was no turkey or other sides to join it.  I actually loved it just as it was as a main dish.  So, I definitely will not be waiting for Thanksgiving to make this again.  Of course I added extra spice to mine because I love everything extra spicy.

If you have not worked with butternut squash before, it's very easy.  I see a lot of folks at the grocery store buy the prepackaged cleaned and cut butternut squash.  If you can peel a potato, you can definitely work with a butternut squash.  I really love roasting the squash to bring out all the sweetness and give it more depth of flavor.  

I also love quinoa and don't fret if you think it's hard to cook.  I cook it all the time on the stove and it comes out perfectly every time with with my method.

 Thanksgiving is almost a week away... I can't wait to dig in!  

Directions on how to clean and roast butternut squash:  
Step1:  Wash squash and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin off the butternut squash. 
Step 2:  Cut the squash in half by cutting at the base to remove the "round bulb" as shown above.  The seeds are only in the round base part of the of the squash. Use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds. 
Step 3: Cut butternut squash into the size of pieces you want. 
Step 4:  Place cut pieces of butternut squash onto a baking tray (I lined mine with parchment).  Season with salt and black pepper and add 2 Tbs of canola oil and toss well to coat all the pieces.  Then Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until the squash is roasted to your desired texture.  

Roasted Butternut Squash Sausage and Quinoa Stuffing 
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

4-5 cups of cooked Quinoa (cooking instructions here)
1 large butternut squash/3-4 cups roasted small diced pieces
1lb hot sausage browned well
1 large onion finely diced
2-3 stalks celery diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1-2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
red chili flakes to taste
2 Tbs fresh sage finely minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and black pepper to taste

Step 1: Roast butternut squash per directions above.

Step 2:  Cook quinoa. Here are my cooking instructions for quinoa.

Step 3: Brown sausage well.  If you have more than 2-3 Tbs of oil, drain excess fat out of the pan.  Then add the onion and celery to the browned sausage and cook for several until they soften.

Step 4: Then add the dried herbs, garlic powder, fresh sage, red chili flakes, salt and black pepper. Saute for another few minutes and add the chicken stock. Next add the roasted butternut squash and toss well. 

Step 5:  Finally add the cooked quinoa and toss with all the other ingredients in the pan.  Taste for salt and seasoning and adjust as needed.  Serve warm or hot. Enjoy. 

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Beef Ramen Bowl for One

Beef Ramen Bowl for One is comforting soup that anyone can make as a quick lunch or dinner.  The soup is full of ramen noodles, vegetables and sauteed beef in a rich broth flavored with ginger, sesame oil and some spicy chili.  


A steaming bowl of ramen full of vegetables and beef can really warm you up when the weather is cold and dreary outside.  That is just what I was thinking when I needed to make myself a quick lunch while my hubby and kids were at work and school.   When I am home alone, cooking for one can sometimes mean just fixing a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.  Of course, sometimes I want something a little more hearty and this Beef Ramen Soup was definitely a treat.

The day before when I made my Philly Cheese Steak and Potato Casserole with shaved beef for dinner, I put aside a few ounces of the shaved beef to make myself this ramen bowl.  I knew the shaved beef would cook quickly and be perfectly tender to eat with chopsticks or a spoon.  Now, I decided to saute the beef separately with the onions to give it more flavor and texture.  I don't particularly like "boiled" beef in soup because it doesn't always look appetizing.  So I am guilty of using an extra pan to make this soup, but it was worth washing the extra pan to get the lovely flavor of the sauteed beef and onions.

The dish came together in less than 15 minutes because I decided to take a little help from the store and use a 20 cent packet of ramen for my noodles.  Of course you can also use fresh ramen noodles or any style of ramen you like.  I like my little packets of ramen that are cheap and cheerful since they cook so quickly and easily. 

As far as the ramen soup broth goes, I tossed the seasoning packet that came with my ramen noodles in the trash and decided to make my own broth.   I added fresh ginger, soy sauce and some low sodium chicken stock.  Low sodium broth is best since you can control the salt in the dish better.

Now the garnishes are the fun part.  You can add them or totally forget about them.  I think they make the dish really extra special so I definitely didn't skimp on the garnishes.  It was easy to add a hard boiled egg to the soup and I love the creaminess the egg gave the broth when you cut into it.  Then I topped it with a good handful of green onion tops and some jalapeno slices because I love everything on the spicy side.

This soup really was the perfect thing to eat while I relaxed and watch the latest episode of  "Scandal" on my DVR. Even Mom needs a lunch break because before I know it I'm off to get the kids from school and I'm busy helping them with homework, taking them to after school activities and making dinner.  I'm glad I had this "me" time with this big bowl of beef ramen.


Beef Ramen Bowl for One
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer 

For Ramen Soup:
1 packet ramen noodles (any flavor) - discard flavor packet
2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs (or to taste) sambal oelek -chili paste
1 bunch scallions sliced white part only
small handful carrots sliced or julienne strips
half stalk celery sliced
1/2 cup frozen stir vegetables (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame oil 

For Beef:
2-3oz shaved beef
1/2 medium onion (white or yellow) sliced
salt and black pepper
small pinch of granulated garlic powder
1 tsp canola oil

Garnishes (optional):
Hard boiled eggs 
sliced scallions- green part only
jalapeno slices  

Step 1:  Bring chicken broth, soy sauce, sambal oelek, grated ginger, white part of scallions, celery and carrots to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, then add the ramen noodles from the packet of ramen and frozen veggies.  Boil soup and noodles for another 2-3 minutes.  Turn stove off and finish with sesame oil. 

Step 2: While the soup is cooking, heat a separate pan with 1 tsp oil on medium high heat. Once oil is heated add the shaved beef and start to brown it. Then add the sliced onions and season with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Saute until beef is cooked and browned as desired and onions are sauteed well. 
Step 3: Pour ramen soup into bowl.  Top with beef and onions and add garnishes as desired.  Eat hot. Enjoy. 

Note:  Boil eggs beforehand if you are using them as a garnish.  Here is my method on how to  boil eggs

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.