Coconut Curry Chicken

Coconut Curry Chicken

I have a few picky eaters under my roof which makes it a real challenge to figure out what to make for dinner. I would be a much more adventurous cook if I could just make what I want and know that the kids would eat it. But, tra-la-la, that’s the lament of most parents, am I right? My pickiest-eater child has suddenly decided to take pity on me (after all of his ultra-picky years) and is willing to try more things. But then the kid who used to eat anything has suddenly decided he doesn’t like rice, pork, steak or chicken. Great. Swapped one for the other. Undeterred by this, and noticing I had a can of coconut milk in the pantry, I set out to create a dish everyone would at least be willing to try and came up with a great one.

Coconut Curry Chicken

A dish even my pickiest eaters loved! If I’d had some peas, I would have added them. Wouldn’t that have looked nice?

Coconut Curry Chicken with Rosamarina Rice

Serves 6

Six boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I buy them frozen at a big box store)
1/2 a large red onion sliced top to bottom
1 small potato, diced (this just extends the meal but doesn’t add any real flavor)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 ounce)
1/2 t. coriander
2 T. curry powder
Salt and Pepper to taste, added just before serving
Add on: 1/2 a cup of frozen peas
Rosamarina Rice to serve it with (recipe below)

Method:
In a small pan, melt about a tablespoon of butter, then add the coconut milk, coriander and curry powder. Gently whisk until blended. Turn off the heat and set it aside.

Coconut Curry Chicken

The sauce with coconut milk, curry powder and coriander. Don’t add the salt and pepper until you are simmering the sauce and chicken together.

In a large skillet or dutch oven, drizzle some olive oil and heat up the pan. Add the onion slices and saute until they begin to be translucent. At that point, add the garlic and stir for a few seconds. Be careful because the garlic will burn quickly and become bitter.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I love the look of red onions! I sliced them the long way so that the kids who didn’t want onion could easily pick it out (turns out they didn’t!).

Add the diced chicken and turn everything over with a spatula to get the onion and garlic off the bottom of the pan and get things mixed up a bit. Do this periodically until the chicken is beige on all sides. It doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point.

Coconut Curry Chicken

The mixture will thicken as you let it simmer. Don’t cover it or the drops from the humidity that builds up on the lid will drip back down and water down the dish.

Pour the coconut/coriander/curry mixture over the chicken and stir again. Switch out your spatula for a large cooking spoon at this point because the spatula has raw chicken juice on it. Always do this when you are cooking – as soon as all sides have started to cook, ditch the raw-stuff utensil for a clean one to finish the dish to avoid cross-contamination.

Lower the heat and let the whole mixture simmer and thicken until the chicken and potatoes (if used) are cooked through and tender. In the last minute or so, add the peas, which I would have done with my dish if I’d had any. It would have added a nice bit of color and another element of flavor. Serve over the rice (or quinoa or nothing).

Rosamarina Rice

Coconut Curry Chicken

Every time I make rice, I make it this way, with rosamarina because it just tastes so darned good!

1/4 cup rosamarina, also called orzo, found in the pasta section of the store
2 cups rice
4-1/4 cups water (or chicken stock)*
3-4 bouillon cubes (if using water instead of stock)

Method:
Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot. Add the rosamarina and stir almost constantly until it starts to brown. At this point, it will burn quickly so before that can happen, pour the rice over it and stir to prevent the rosamarina from continuing to sit on the bottom of the pan. The butter that’s still in the pan will lightly coat the rice/rosamarina, adding some flavor.

Add the water/bouillon and stir. Let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as it does, cover the pot, turn the heat to low and let it sit to start absorbing the liquid. This usually takes about 20 minutes so I try to time the coordination of making rice with making the entree so they are done around the same time. Resist the urge to lift up the lid or stir the rice because it will effect how the rice turns out.

* Because the rosamarina needs to absorb the water to cook, I either lower the amount of rice I put in or add a little water/stock to compensate.

avocado

Easy Sunday Morning Breakfast

To quote the song, this recipe is “Easy Like Sunday Morning!” My husband and I have a weekend tradition of turning on CBS Sunday Morning and having breakfast in bed. I don’t want to miss a second of this wonderful show by slaving over the stove, yet we want something that’s a little special to go along with our little tradition. Last week, I came up with this idea, using some bits and pieces we had in the fridge. It was delicious!

avocado

Avocado Toast with Cheesy Egg – an easy way to make breakfast feel special and also healthy.

Cheesy Eggs on Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

1 egg per person
1 piece of toast of choice (I used a sprouted grain bread substantial enough to hold up to the avocado)
1 avocado half (or some guacamole)
About two tablespoons of a strongly-flavored, favorite cheese like cheddar, Asiago or Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Fry an egg sunnyside up in some olive oil or butter. While the egg is cooking, toast the bread. Spread half of the half avocado on the toast like it’s thick butter. Or treat the guacamole the same way.

When the egg is done, carefully lay it atop the avocado toast and sprinkle the cheese over the top to taste. You aren’t trying to smother it, just add a little something extra! Salt and pepper to taste.

Break the yolk and help it spread all over the avocado toast so that every bite has cheesy egg, avocado and toast in it. Yum!

Variation: You could also do a poached egg (if you are that talented, which I am not) or just a scrambled egg so that you could even pick it up and eat it like a slice of pizza. But then you don’t get that oozing yoke deliciousness. Your choice!

Mooyah

Crowing for Mooyah

It’s fun to discover new restaurants that enable the whole family to eat and with healthy choices to boot. The great customer service we experienced was an added (big) bonus! 

We visited the Denver location of Mooyah Burgers Fries & Shakes recently (they also have a location in Thornton and Westminster) and found not only a good variety of menu options but also extremely good customer service from the friendly employees.

Mooyah

The Mooyah Burger, Turkey Burger, Loaded Salad, Shake and Fries at Mooyah!

There is a large menu board up high, nice and visible while you’re in line. But if your neck is starting to strain, don’t worry, there are menus closer to the register where you order too. We ordered the Turkey Burger (there’s also a Jennie-O Jalapeño Jack Turkey burger available until mid-May with mushroomy-goodness that looks delicious), the Mooyah Burger with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion strings and Mooyah sauce (kind of a Thousand Island) and the Loaded House Salad. Oh, and the large order of fresh-cut fries was a ton, spread all over a tray which made my husband very, very happy. This exercise-freak man of mine rubbed his hands together when they brought the tray of hot fries saying “this is like a dream come true to me!”

All of our food was great. I loved my irregularly-shaped burger that was clearly not from a pre-formed patty – it reminded me of the burgers my grandma used to make – yum! I appreciated the number of choices, from the type of (baked in-house) bun you can order (white, wheat or lettuce wrap) to the type of burger (beef, turkey, black bean, or hot dog) to extras like cheese, bacon, avocado, veggies and sauces.

The salad deserves special mention because it’s enormous! Food is served on trays, including the salad. You can add a beef, turkey or veggie patty or chicken tenders on top but my husband was happy with the avocado and bacon that came on it, along with tomatoes, mushrooms and a tasty nest of fried onion strings. The only negative was that the spicy ranch dressing seemed to just be ranch with some tobacco sauce and was really nothing special.

Kids can order a Little Burger, hot dog, grilled cheese and chicken tenders with fries or applesauce and a drink.

A visit to Mooyah would not be complete without mention of their ice cream shakes with mix-ins. My daughter ordered the peanut butter cups with hers and it was mixed just enough to get some chocolate-peanut butter goodness flavoring the ice cream but leaving big chunks of candy for scooping – it was quite a dessert.

The atmosphere at Mooyah is sunny and bright with a huge blackboard and kiddie chairs at one end to let kids create to their hearts’ content. However, the kid-orientation didn’t stop one adult patron when we were there from writing a note about how much he loves Mooyah burgers! Nice.

When you go, share #myMOOYAH photos of your meal and your experience with the restaurant. Also, they are having a #MOOMillians Mooyah Millionaire Sweepstakes in which every burger purchased until May 31 enters you for a chance to win a million dollars!

We were given a gift card toward the purchase of our meal to facilitate a review. However, our opinions are absolutely our own.

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National Men Make Dinner Day

Recipes from “Father Knows Food”

Peter Reynolds knows his way around a kitchen. So much so, that this full-time dad manages to get dinner on the table for his family nightly and he’s the host of his own cooking show on PBS. You can read more about this Denver-native Dad and his show “Father Knows Food” in the April issue of Colorado Parent magazine. Reynolds shares with us three of his tried and true family-friendly recipes.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Peter Reynolds, host of

Peter Reynolds, host of “Father Knows Food” and two of his children, Colt and Dabny, on the set of his cooking show.

Recipe courtesy of Peter Reynolds

Ingredients
• Bamboo Skewers soaked
• 2 lbs. Chicken (Boneless & Skinless Tenderloins, Thighs, Breasts or any combination thereof)
• 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
• 1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
• 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar, packed
• 1 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
• ½ tsp. Salt

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
• ½ cup Chunky Peanut Butter
• 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
•1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
• 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar, packed
• 1 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
• 1 Tbsp. Sambal (Garlic Chile Paste)
• 1 Tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Directions: The Marinade and the Dipping Sauce are almost identical, so to save time, get two mixing bowls out and make both at the same time. Combine the ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate until you’re ready to use them. Trim and cut the chicken into strips and soak in the marinade for at least an hour and as long as overnight. Preheat your grill or grill pan on high heat, and while things are getting hot, skewer the chicken, discarding the used marinade. Grill over high heat until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and serve hot with the Peanut Dipping Sauce.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Lime Crema

Pulled Pork Tacos, courtesy of Peter Reynolds of

Pulled Pork Tacos, courtesy of Peter Reynolds of “Father Knows Food.”

Recipe courtesy Peter Reynolds

Ingredients:
• Pulled Pork
• Corn Tortillas
• Canola Oil
• Cabbage
• Red Onion
• Jalapeno
• Sour Cream
• Lime Juice
• Queso Fresco
• Hot Sauce (I like Cholula when I don’t have time to make my own)

Directions for the pulled pork:

Thoroughly season a pork shoulder or “Boston Butt” with your favorite rub, simple salt and pepper are just fine as well. Place the seasoned pork on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and roast in a 225 degree oven for 10-12 hours until it can be pulled apart with a fork or tongs. Pull the pork apart, discarding any fat and bone and set aside. For the tacos; heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about 1 Tbsp of Canola Oil. Place 1 corn tortilla at a time in the skillet and quickly heat through on both sides (15-20 seconds a side) to soften them, then stack them on a plate. If you’re doing a lot of them you can keep them warm in a 175 degree oven. Place two of the softened tortillas on a plate and put a spoonful of pulled pork in the middle, then add the cabbage, red onion, jalapenos, queso fresco, Lime Sour Cream (just squeeze lime juice into 2 Tbsp sour cream and mix to combine, you should be able to pour it over the tacos with a spoon), and as much hot sauce as you like.

Cheesy Pizza Crisps
Recipe courtesy of Peter Reynolds

Ingredients:
• 1 package small Wonton Wrappers
• Pasta Sauce
• Mozzarella Cheese
• Olive Oil Spray

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, cut the wonton wrappers in half (on the diagonal so you get little triangles). Lay them out on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with the olive oil spray (any cooking spray will do), then spray the top side of the wontons with more cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they are just turning golden brown and crispy. Take the wontons out of the oven and spoon about a tsp. of the pasta/pizza sauce into the middle of each wonton. Add 1-2 tsp. of shredded mozzarella cheese to each wonton and carefully slide back into the oven. Broil on low until the cheese is completely melted, it should only take a few minutes so keep an eye on them.

“Father Knows Food” can be seen on Rocky Mountain PBS channel 6 and CPT12 channel 12.

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Valentine's Day

Bring Some Love to the Table for Valentine’s Day

Although I wish I had pastry-decorating talents, me and my pastry tip kit will never see eye-to-eye.  However, I do love Valentine’s Day with all my heart and have come up with some delicious DIY ways to bring some love to the table.  Try making a day-long menu of edible Valentines on February 14th (or any day of the year to show your family you love them in a culinary way!):

Breakfast Lovely Pancakes:  Make my no-fail, healthy pancake/waffle batter (recipe below).  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  This part will take some practice so allow for some abstract shapes at first. Pour the pancake batter into a heart-shape using whatever method you prefer.  Try pouring batter from a measuring cup, a small ladle or a plastic squeeze bottle (I got one cheap at Bed, Bath & Beyond and cut the top a little more to make a bigger hole).  Make the outline of an exaggerated heart-shape, then fill in the middle. Flip the pancake when the edges start to look dry.  Serve with strawberry slices cut lengthwise, which naturally look like hearts.

Valentine's Day

Bring some love to the table with these healthy and heart-shaped pancakes (recipe below).

Lunch Sandwich Some Love:  With a good, sharp-edged, heart-shaped cookie cutter, turn just about any sandwich into a Valentine.  Avoid ones made with veggies which won’t cut well.  Cold cut, cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut the best.

Dinner Pizza Pie of Love:  Make your own pizza dough (surprisingly easy) or buy some at the grocery store (Whole Foods makes a great one).  Roll it out on a floured baking surface like a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Using a table knife, cut it into a heart-shape (this works for individual pizzas too).  Top with your favorite toppings. Be sure to show off the pizza before cutting lest your heart-shaped efforts go unnoticed.

Valentine's Day

It’s actually much easier to form a heart-shaped pizza than a round one!

My Heart “Beets” for You Salad: Even if your family doesn’t like beets, they’ll still appreciate how pretty this is.  Open a can of sliced beets, draining any liquid.  Laying the slices on a cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut heart-shapes out of the beet slices (or use a cookie cutter if it’s the right size).  Make a tossed salad and place one or two hearts on top (or to the side if you know the beats will be violently rejected for merely touching the salad – it’s the thought that counts).

A Passion for Brownies:  Before you bake your favorite recipe for brownies, line the baking pan with wax paper or parchment paper with excess extending beyond the edge of the pan. Bake per directions and allow to cool. Instead of cutting them in the pan, grab the edges of the paper and lift the slab of brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Take a sharp cookie cutter and cut out heart-shaped brownies.  Avoid brownies with nuts because they can interfere with cutting a clean shape.   Put on a pretty plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

OLIVIA’S SUNDAY MORNING PANCAKE & WAFFLE BATTER

2 1/4 cup flour (half white and half whole wheat)

4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 TBS sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. olive or canola oil

Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, beating only until moistened. Makes 10-12 waffles or up to 18 pancakes depending on size.

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Adagio Bakery and Cafe – For the Kids and for You

How often can you go out to eat with your kids and really relax? Not that often. A new restaurant in town has food, prices and atmosphere to keep both parents and kids happy.

Adagio Bakery

Mmmmm, baked goodies!

The name may be familiar to those in the Park Hill neighborhood but the vibe is different. Adagio Bakery and Café has opened a new location in the Hilltop area, on Holly Street, just north of Alameda. In the spot shared by Park Burger and High Point Creamery, Adagio is giving an expanded, sit-down menu experience a good try. You can still pop in and get baked goods to go, like their other location in Park Hill, but this pretty interior and spacious patio calls for lingering.

While there are many delicious baked goods kids (and adults) would love, including more flavors of scone than you can shake a mixing spoon at, the Kids Menu features a choice of pancakes, scrambled eggs, PB&J, hot dog or grilled cheese plus a side of house fries, fresh fruit, cottage cheese and pineapple for $5. The portions are good and the food is great. When the kids start to get antsy, there’s a large chalkboard and chalks set up inside to let the kids get creative.

Of course, it’s not all about pleasing the kids (although it often feels like it is). There’s plenty at Adagio that the grownups will love. When we went, we had the Sunny Side Duck ($12) with duck confit, duck potatoes (fried in duck fat?), chive hollandaise and a drizzle of tart cherry jam. It was rich and delicious. The only thing missing was a piece of toast with which I could have gathered up the yolk and hollandaise instead of licking the plate which was embarrassing. Just kidding.

Nearly every breakfast place has a breakfast burrito and it always surprises me how they can all differ so much. Adagio makes a big one with bacon or sausage or veggie,

Adagio Bakery

Spinach, goat cheese and mushroom all come together in this delicious omelette.

with home fried potatoes, scrambled egg, red peppers and sweet onion ($9). My favorite of the bunch was the Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette with herbed potatoes, creamy Havarti cheese, spinach, tomato and a mushroom ragout ($9). It’s a little, half-moon dream come true for mushroom and goat cheese fans like me.

Adagio offers a breakfast menu until 11am with entrees, breakfast and specialty sandwiches. Then at 11am, panini, salads and other sandwiches get added to the offerings. The Roasted Turkey with Pesto, provolone, caramelized onion and tomato sounds good, as does the Salami and Pepperoni with mustard, provolone, oven roasted tomato and caramelized onion. All panini are $9 and are served with mixed greens or coleslaw. Salads such as the Beet Salad with roasted red, yellow and candy striped beets, goat cheese, mixed greens, pecans and raspberry vinaigrette ($8) sound tasty and are probably beautiful too.

Adagio has a great reputation for their baked goods so we couldn’t leave without trying some of them too. The coconut macaroons are luscious and the biscotti make every warm drink a happier thing. The mini-banana bread loaf was just like mama used to make. The variety of scones is staggering and the flavors change all the time but just consider ones like chocolate raspberry, banana chocolate chip and blackberry honey…you probably can’t go wrong with any of them. I’m nuts for Adagio’s granola now with toasted coconut and pecans. I could have mixed some with yogurt or in oatmeal or something wonderful but I just reveled in its purity in a bowl with milk. So good.

Because the prices are reasonable, the food good and the atmosphere kid-friendly, you’ll actually be able to linger and enjoy, even with the kids. There are parking spots behind the building and on the street.

Adagio Bakery and Cafe is located at 217 South Holly Street, Denver.

 

 

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Quick and Healthy “Tidbit” Side Dish

By Edan Goode

Lately, I’ve found myself making meals out of tidbits from the fridge. Part of that is because I’ve been super busy lately and just haven’t done the menu planning … or the shopping for said menu planning for a couple of weeks. Ironically, the impromptu, experimental cooking I’ve had to do lately has resulted in some really good meals. For instance, here’s a side dish I made last night that could easily be a vegetarian main dish on its own, with quinoa or polenta. I made something similar the other day and served it over a slice of crusty bread, topped with a sunny side up egg. I’m liking this “tidbit” cooking!

Chard Side Dish 2

The finished product. Isn’t it pretty?

As I started pulling things from the refrigerator to make a side dish, here’s what the various ingredients in front of me formulated into:

Saute a little bacon, onion and garlic. Smells SO good!

Saute a little bacon, onion and garlic. Smells SO good!

Rainbow Chard with Kale, Bacon, Onion and Tomato! 

Ingredients:

Rainbow Chard and/or Kale

Bacon Onion (any variety)

Tomato (any variety-Cherry tomatoes cut in half would be especially pretty)

Directions:

1. Chop up one or two slices of bacon and stir them around in a pre-heated, ungreased skillet. As they start to brown, the fat will render, so that you can add…

2. One onion, sliced or chopped. Saute it with the bacon pieces until the onion starts to become translucent. Add…

3. Two cloves of garlic minced. (Hint, always add garlic after onion because garlic cooks much faster than onion and will burn and turn bitter. You just want garlic to be slightly past the point of being raw to bring out its best flavor.)

4. Add as much chopped and washed Rainbow Chard and/or Kale as your pan will hold, mounding it. Drizzle with olive oil, stir around and cover with a lid.

5. Stir periodically, adding a splash of water if you need to but between the bacon fat, olive oil and slight moisture from the onions, it shouldn’t stick. The greens will cook down. Don’t let them completely wilt. Remove them from the heat when they still look fresh and not a wilted mess. This preserves flavor and nutrition and looks prettier.

6. Near the end, add 1 diced tomato. You are just warming it up, not cooking it down.

7. Finish with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice if you have it (about 1 teaspoon) and a grind or two of sea salt and black pepper.

With something off the grill, this was the perfect meal for the first dinner on the patio of the year!

With something off the grill, this was the perfect meal for the first dinner on the patio of the year!

I served this with grilled pork chops and mini corn meal muffins for a healthier twist on a  Southern-inspired meal. It was delicious. Even my kids loved the greens. Bacon and onion make everything a little better…