Weekly Recipe: Tagine Chicken with Quinoa and Stewed Vegetables

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook a recipe each week that I haven’t cooked before.  This week my new recipe is tagine chicken with quinoa and stewed vegetables.  I found both recipes on Allrecipes.com – it’s a great website to visit for inspiration.  I followed the recipe for tagine chicken pretty closely, and I just used the stewed veggies recipe as a jumping off point for what I actually made.

I had all of the ingredients for the tagine chicken except for the couscous.  So I stopped in at the grocery store to pick some up.  Upon looking at the box and reading the ingredients list, I realized that couscous is highly processed.  *sigh*  So I looked around for 100% whole grain couscous to no avail.  I’m sure it exists, but not in that particular grocery store.  Then I caught site of quinoa.  It seemed healthier than the couscous, so I bought it.  It was pretty good! The main dish was easy to make and made my house smell delicious!

Then I realized that I’d be feeding a bunch of people and there probably wasn’t enough without some kind of side dish, so I did a search for Vegetables on allrecipes.  I found the recipe for vegetable tagine and used it as the basis for the stewed veggies I actually made.  So, here’s what I did with those:

Moroccan Inspired Stewed Vegetables

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into medium-large pieces
  • 1 can sliced stewed tomatoes, low sodium if possible
  • 2 tbsp  tomato paste
  • 48 oz fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and bell pepper.  Cook until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, coriander, cinnamon, garlic powder, turmeric, and cumin.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.
  3. Add the garbanzo beans, salt and pepper.  Simmer until the garbanzos are warmed through.  Serve.

This recipe makes PLENTY of food.  And it goes very far as a side dish.  You could make a vegetarian meal out of it if you put it over couscous or quinoa.

So here’s the downside.  I forgot to take a picture.  That means you don’t get to see all the yumminess for yourself.  You’ll just have to make it and see!  DH really liked it.  Our friends liked it too.  I liked that most of the ingredients didn’t have weird stuff in it.  I mean, the apricots in the chicken dish had a couple of ingredients that protect the color, and the canned stuff all had extra salt, but other than that it was real food.

I’d totally make this stuff again.

12-hour Work Day

When I first started this job, I didn’t see anything wrong with working a 12 hour day once each week.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, that I would just pack a lunch and a dinner and that everything would be fine.  But over the past couple of years I learned that the 12 hour day is a bit more complicated than all of that.

Since I’m on my feet for most of those 12 hours, comfortable shoes are a must.  That means no high heels, and no flats that give me blisters.  In general, comfortable clothes are a must.  They usually need to handle me crawling under a table, or climbing a step stool… but they need to look professional too so that our patrons don’t raise their eyebrows when I approach them as “the supervisor.”

I’ve also learned that the food is an issue too.  DH likes to eat dinner with me, even if it’s really late at night.  The problem is that I’m really hungry around 6:30pm, but I don’t get to leave work until 8pm.  That’s an hour and a half of waiting for dinner.  I could always eat two dinners, but doing that is why I’m in the shape I’m in.  I’ve also tried bringing an extra snack, but my body is used to eating an actual meal around 6:30 and a snack only makes it want more food.  I’ve also tried just waiting a little longer to eat on Tuesdays.  You know: snack at 11:30 instead of 10, lunch at 2:30 instead of noon, snack at 5 instead of 3, dinner at 8:30 instead of 6:30.  I’ve learned that pushing it all back, just makes me more likely to graze on the junk food in the break room.  I’m also a bit crankier because I have that vague hungry feeling all day.  *sigh*  I guess the thing I’ll try next week is bringing a lunch and a dinner with me, and then eat a snack or drink a cup of tea while DH eats dinner.  Let’s hope that works and that DH doesn’t feel neglected by it.

Any other suggestions, internet people?

Chosen Family

Today was much like any other Saturday.  I worked for awhile and then ate dinner with my family.  But, there were a few differences.

Normally, when I say we ate dinner with family I mean our immediate family… as in DH’s parents and sister, or mine.  Today, we drove across the Bay to eat with the Best Man at our wedding and his wife and kids.  In many ways they are like family to us.  Their kids call us Auntie and Uncle, and we love them a lot.

Also, I’ve been watching the video of my BFF giving birth to my new nephew.  She had a scheduled cesarean yesterday because my nephew was breach and they couldn’t turn him.  I’m not one to be in delivery rooms or crowd people right after they give birth so I’ll be bringing them dinner on Friday after they’ve had a chance to be home for a bit.

So, today was about a different kind of family.  The kind that you choose to have in your life as friends and love as family.

I Cooked: Shepherd’s Pie

DH and I recently discovered the show “Kitchen Nightmares” with Gordon Ramsay.  If you’ve never seen the show, Chef Ramsay goes to a different failing restaurant each week to fix the problems and make it into a successful business.  There’s a lot of yelling and cursing, but it’s pretty entertaining.

One episode had an Irish restaurant and pub in rich-people-ville with awful food.  Chef Ramsay actually puked after eating their shepherd’s pie.  The fix for this restaurant included Gordon’s family recipe for shepherd’s pie.  Of course, this made me think about making one myself, so off to Allrecipes I went.  I found this recipe for an Americanized Shepherd’s Pie and followed it pretty closely.  The only difference was that I used vegetable beef soup instead of vegetable soup, and I mixed the cheese in with the potatoes instead of adding it at the end.

It was easy to cook and tasted pretty decent.  The only problem I ran into was that the prep took longer than I thought – and that was with DH peeling the potatoes.  If I were to make it again, I’d include a mix of fresh(or thawed frozen) veggies and use beef broth instead of canned soup.  I’d also add some other spices to the dish.  To make the prep go faster, use leftover mashed potatoes.  I also don’t know if the cheese made much of a difference in flavor, so I’ll try leaving it out next time.

This pie was pretty good the second day, but not as good as next-day spaghetti.  To reheat it evenly I had to mix the beef and the potatoes together into a mushy, unappetizing looking mess.  That might be avoided if I were to reheat it in the oven.

Either way, shepherd’s pie is good old fashioned comfort food.

I Cooked: Pasta with Tuna Sauce

Since my chicken smelled funny last night, which forced me to use the steak I was saving for something else, I had to be creative with tonight’s dinner.  I didn’t want to go out for dinner because we’re trying to save saving for a house and dinner out costs money.  So I looked in the pantry and what do I see?  Tuna.  Lots and lots of tuna.  I think it was on sale earlier this year.

DH hates canned tuna… something about the way it smells/tastes/looks.  Mere threats of tuna sandwiches for lunch will make him do my bidding (well… not really, but I can pretend!).  The thought of tuna casserole makes him shudder.  But, since I’m cooking tonight and I love tuna casserole, I thought I’d find a recipe and cook it.  Problem is that I didn’t have several of the ingredients required and it’s not the healthiest thing to make.

I poked around allrecipes and found this recipe.  I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients for this one too, but I figured it would be doable with a few modifications.  The recipe I made up with the modifications is below.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • once around the pan with wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I put them in a plastic bag and crushed them by hand)
  • A few shakes of dried parsely container
  • A few shakes of Italian seasoning container
  • 1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes
  • 2 cans tuna drained (6 oz each)
  • 16 oz dried pasta

Directions:

  1. Start the water boiling for the pasta.  When it’s boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Chop the onion and crush the garlic.  When the pan is hot add both.  Cook until the onion is tender
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, and spices.  Cook for a few minutes until reduced a little
  4. Add the tuna.  Fold in and cook until hot.
  5. Drain the pasta and add to sauce.  Toss and serve.

 

This is supposed to make 4 servings, but with all that pasta it’s really closer to 6. DH grimaced when I told him it was tuna, but ate it anyway.  He said it wasn’t bad; he couldn’t taste the tuna.  I thought it was OK.  It needed to be a bit “sauce-ier”. I wonder if it will reheat well for lunch tomorrow.

If I were to make this again, I’d make it with less pasta and maybe add some chunky medium salsa for a kick.

I Cooked: Steak Fajita Thingies

Originally these were supposed to be Chicken Fajita Thingies, but my chicken smelled funny so I used the steak I was saving for stroganoff instead.  I’m calling them fajita thingies because they’re more like a hybrid of fajitas and tacos. Still yummy.

Ingredients:

  • About 1lb. steak, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, halved and then sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, cored and sliced
  • Taco Seasoning packet
  • Corn tortillas
  • Toppings: Shredded cheese, Sour Cream, Salsa, Avocados or guacamol

Directions

  1. Brown the steak in a pan.
  2. Add the onions and bell pepper.  Cook until onions are  translucent.
  3. Add the taco seasoning packet and follow the directions on the packet.
  4. Place the steak mixture and any of the toppings listed in a corn tortilla.

This was supposed to make enough steak mixture for 6 servings.  We both totally overate.  There’s only one serving left.  It was that good.

 

 

I Cooked: Chicken with Corn Salsa

I wanted to make something light and mostly easy to prepare for dinner tonight.  I decided to make the “Grilled Chicken with Fresh Corn Salsa” recipe from Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites (ISBN 978-0-470-16999-5) with a few alterations.  The recipe I made up with my alterations is below.  It feeds 4, or if you halve the chicken you can feed 2 and use the salsa as your veggie.

It turned out really yummy.  I made some whole wheat noodles to put on the side.  DH went back for seconds on the salsa.  I would totally make it again.

Ingredients

For Salsa

  • Half a bag of frozen corn
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of a lime
  • A scoop of garlic from the jar
  • Salt and pepper

For Chicken

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Ground Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the corn.  Cook till defrosted and starting to brown.  While the corn is cooking, cut the tomatoes, onion and jalapeno.  Put the corn, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stir and set aside.
  2. Rub both sides of the chicken with oil and sprinkle both sides with the spices.  Heat a pan over medium heat, add the chicken when hot and cook for 10-12 minutes before turning and cooking for another 10-12 minutes.
  3. Top the chicken with the salsa.
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