Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry

I recently discovered Trader Joe’s bottled Thai yellow curry sauce. It’s really good and comforting. It’s definitely not YaYa’s curry. It tastes a bit more like Japanese curry. But it’s damn good.

I made it traditional style with chicken and potatoes (I didn’t have bamboo shoots). Basically, I put 1 and a half chicken breast, cubed and 4 medium red potatoes cut into 1/4s in a pot with the sauce and cooked it until the potatoes were soft. Next time, I might wait until the last 15 mins to put in the chicken so it remains tender.

And while I was prepping it, I had too much chicken (that other half). So I popped the cubed, raw chicken pieces in with 3 TBSP of the sauce in a Tupperware and left it in the fridge.

I just pulled it out, skewered it and threw it in a 350 degree oven for 20 mins. What? Satay anyone? I should’ve left more sauce on when I baked it. But it’s so good too.

Get yourself to a TJs and buy this sauce, Trader Joe’s Thai yellow curry. And pick yourself up some orange chicken too.

Jalapeño Poppers, Baked

Made these for the 4th of July and am looking for a BBQ event to bring them to so I can side swipe a few between drinks. It’s the perfect “over served” food. Bacon-y, kinda spicy, cheesey. Sooo good. In fact, I bet we could doctor them up to look Halloween-y. Ok. Time for some creativity, ya’ll. Whatchya got? P.S. The mix is damn good on toast under some avocado sliced.

  • 12 jalapeños, half and seeded
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup aged cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 head roasted garlic (optional)
  • 10 stalks of chives, cut into 1/4” lengths
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled

Move rack to middle of oven. Line baking pan with foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Make filling by mixing all but 3 TBSP of the crumbled bacon. Cut jalapeños, deseed and demembrane.

Use a spoon to fill the filling into the jalapeño halves. Try to keep them upright (sometimes that requires leaning one up on the other-don’t worry though, they’re ok sharing space).

Cook for 20-25 mins or until bubbly. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top (I actually pressed the bacon into the jalapeños).

It’s like molten lava coming out of the oven. Use all the impulse control power you have to wait 10 mins until trying one. Trust me. Then enjoy!!

Shanghai Lumpia

I went to make Lola Momma’s lumpia recipe and did a quick search to find the ingredients. What? Nothing found. How have I never put the recipe in here? Welp, I winged it because she was asleep since she’s in the PI and we’re in the US and it was a midday project. Everyone says I did it. And the photo is proof that it was good. We couldn’t even get a pic, they went so fast.

Ate them before we could get a photo
Too much filling in this one by a third.

Mix all the filling ingredients together until well incorporated. It should no longer look like separate ingredients but more like a paste.

Set up your rolling station. You will need a bowl of water, a cutting board to roll on, a plate for lumpia you’ll fry, a couple of ziplock bags for lumpia you’ll freeze. A paper towel for any wiping and great music. (Lola Momma suggests a piping bag for the mix but I haven’t tried it yet)

After the filling is mixed and you’re set up at your rolling station, it’s time to get your wrappers ready.

The wrappers like to stick together. Pull apart a stack. Sometimes the edges are really stuck or kinda hard. I just trim off all the hard edges on the stack. Then I cut the wrappers in half.

Pull off individual wrappers. It’s important to cover the wrappers you’re not using with a damp towel so they don’t get dry.

Put about a half inch wide of filling across the bottom of the wrapper. Roll it up trying to avoid air bubbles. Wet the sealing end of the wrapper with water using your finger dipped in the bowl. Once rolled, cut the lumpia in half.

Freeze some (making sure they’re not touching until frozen). Fry others.

Enjoy with sweet spicy dipping sauce.

Chicken Adobo

Pure comfort in a bowl. Paired with Mom’s pancit and it’s the holidays in February! I made this on a Sunday and it fed us a couple more times for lunch and dinner. And, I’m already craving it again!

Chicken Adobo

  • 6 full chicken legs, skin removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water (if needed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP whole peppercorns
  • 2TBSP canola oil

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 mins or just until fragrant and slightly tender.

Add chicken legs, soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorns. Legs should be at least halfway submerged under the sauce. You can add a little water if needed or more of the soy sauce and vinegar if you need more than a little bit of sauce.

Bring to boil. Then, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is falling off the bone (being sure to flip the legs every 20 mins).

Pull legs out of sauce once tender and shred with a fork. Put chicken back in sauce and serve with rice. (Legs don’t have to be shredded but it allows the sauce to get all up in the chicken.)

Enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Have you watched The Chef Show with Jon Favreau and Roy Choi? They’re adorable- kinda like an old married couple talking about experiences and eating amazing comforting food.

Well, I finally made the spaghetti and meatballs from the “Roy’s Italian Cuisine” episode and it’s soooooooo good. This will be a go to for a very long time.

This is one of those recipes you need to prep for. So, go roast a head of garlic and pick up the ingredients (including ordering some fennel pollen – really, you need this in your spice collection)

Roy Choi’s (Adapted) Spaghetti and Meatballs

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground meat (70/30 if you can get it)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/2 garlic head, roasted
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped then blended in the blender with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 large can san marzano whole tomatoes
  • Shiitake mushrooms (two handfuls)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • A head of garlic, cloves deskinned
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.

Put 1/4 cup of sauce oil into a small sauce pan. Set on medium low heat and add the garlic cloves from the sauce ingredients. Let that simmer on low until the garlic cloves get soft and golden brown. Takes about 15-20 mins.

Put the water and shiitake mushrooms in a small pot. Let simmer on low for 20 mins.

Mix everything from the meatball ingredient list together except 1 T of the olive oil in a bowl.

Pan fry a bit of the meatball mixture until cooked so you can taste for salt. Adjust seasoning if needed in the meatballs.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or douse the sheet with some oil.

Roll the meatballs into 2”-2.5” diameter balls. And place on sheet.

Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20-22 mins. They should be medium rare.

While meatballs are cooking, add the garlic that’s been simmering in the oil (not the oil) to a medium pot. Add 1 cup of the mushroom broth and the tomatoes. Simmer on low for 40 mins or until slightly reduced.

Blend the sauce in the pot and taste for salt.

Take meatballs out and add some to the sauce for added deliciousness.

Cook a pot of spaghetti. Serve with sauce and meatballs. Top with Parmesan and enjoy!

New Years Hoppin John

Yes. It’s been more than a month since I made this. Don’t judge – says me to myself. Grandma Mary was very superstitious. Among other musts, having hoppin’ John on New Years day is a must for a healthy and happy year. We are it last year but well we know how that ended. Trying it again this year resulted in much better outcomes thus far.

Hoppin’ John

  • 1 lb dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight (or precooked black eyed peas)
  • 2 lbs ham hocks, smoked
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups beef broth (don’t need if using precooked peas)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Rinse beans, cover with fresh water and cover with lid and soak overnight in a nonreactive pot. Drain and rinse again and pull any beans that are discolored.

Rinse ham hocks and set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook veggies for 5 mins until tender. Add spices and cook for 1 min. Add stock and bring to boil.

Transfer to crock pot. Add beans and ham hocks and stir. Cook on high for 5 hours or 8 hours on low. For last hour, smash some of the beans to thicken sauce. Also cook last hour without the lid on. (You can also add fire roasted diced tomatoes for a little more depth.)

Pull out the ham hocks at the end of the cooking process and shred with meat off the bone (slice bigger pieces). Add meat back to pot.

Enjoy with cooked rice and comfort in knowing your year is going to be great.

Tomatillo Chili

I inadvertently signed up for 2 CSAs this season (probs because I knew getting to the farmers market was going to be difficult this year). I love these farms (Fifth Crow Farm and Sweet Farm) and man, do I miss the farmers market. But the CSAs are bring bunches of creativity out of me including this recipe. Seeing tomatillos and strange squash required some exploration. This tomatillo chili is the delicious outcome.

That’s one of the squash quartered. No idea what variety but it tastes and cooks like a zucchini.

Tomatillo Chili

  • 7 tomatillos, shell off and cleaned
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of cannelloni beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained (or 2 cobs of cooked corn)
  • 2 jalepenos
  • 1 cup squash of choice (can be zucchini or yellow squash), chopped in 2” chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 6 stems of kale, chopped
  • 3 sliced cooked bacon, sliced
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Lime

Broil tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, garlic and squash until just starting to blacken and blister (approx 7 mins). Watch that the garlic doesn’t go too long.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and add spices, beans and corn. Once fragrant, add the broth, kale and broiled squash. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 mins.

Blend, tomatillos, onion, jalapeños and garlic. Add to chili.

Cook until kale is softened (approx 20 mins).

Season with generous amount of salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with wedges of lime, crispy bacon toppings and a cook drink of choice.

Enjoy!

Buttermilk Scones

Have friends stopping by around breakfast? Have kids complaining they’re starving right when they wake up? Or do you just want to enjoy your morning with a delicious smelling kitchen and a flakey, buttery scone with your favorite filling? Make these and freeze some for when unexpected needs for comfort arise.

Buttermilk Scones (Peach)

Recipe supplied by one of my BFFs

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into pea sized chunks
  • 3/4 fresh fruit, dried fruit or combo of fruit and nuts
  • 1 tsp almond extract (if it compliments your fruit and nut combo)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 TBSP half and half
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon mixed with 2 TBSP sugar for topping
  • Shaved nuts of choice for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in upper third.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mixed the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like corn meal. Try not to let the butter melt.

Add in your fruit and nuts if using. I used chopped peaches. Make a well and add the buttermilk and almond extract. Mix using a fork until the dough comes away from the bowl.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface and mold into a dough ball. Then flatten to about 3/4” tall circle. Cut into 12 pie slices. Move to a parchment lined cookie sheet for those you’re baking playing the “pie slices” about 2” apart. You can also freeze them now.

For the ones you’re baking now, If you’re using soft fresh fruit, you can stuff the scones. To do this, simply cut off the top and reassemble the bottom shape, place thinly sliced fruit on top of the bottom. Reassemble the top and smoosh it on top of the fruit. You can skip this step. Brush with half and half. Add shaved nuts (I used almonds) if you’re using. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 425 for 12-18 mins.

Enjoy warm.

The stuffing step was an experiment that paid off. I highly recommend it.

Lentils = Protein

It’s hard to get my mostly-fresh-fruit-and-veggie-eating littles to consume protein too. They love eggs and red meat and salmon – sometimes chicken, if it’s fried. But that will cover like 6 of the 4000 meals that need to be made … in a day. (Doesn’t it feel like the meal prep and dishes are just one continuous stream throughout the day right now? Pepper in some laundry and then it’s already time to go to bed.)

Anyway, they love this lentil (kinda) soup recipe. I say kinda because there isn’t a bunch of broth. If you like yours more broth, just add a 1/2 more around 20 min mark in the cooking process. And the kids don’t know about the anchovies!

Lentil (kinda) Soup

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup black lentils (or any other that you have), rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, diced super small so kids don’t notice
  • 2 carrots, diced super small because of picky children
  • 4 anchovies in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I’ve started buying the kind in the jar because holy crap this is a lot of cooking we’re doing these days)
  • Cumin to your liking (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • Good amount of salt to your liking
  • Olive oil
  • Pickled jalapeños for the grown ups as a topper

Kid approved.

Start a medium pot with a good amount of olive oil (2-3 TBSP? Sure). Heat on medium/low. Add onions, carrots, garlic and anchovies. Melt down the anchovies so you don’t see them as whole pieces anymore. They should just add color to the veggies. After they cook for a few mins, add a dash of salt and cumin. cook for another 5 mins being sure to not burn.

Add the rinsed lentils and broth. Bring to boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer with the cover on until the lentils are tender. Salt to taste.

Lots of toppings go great with this from fried eggs to pickled jalapeños to avocados and sour cream to all of the above.

Enjoy!

Meatball Soup

The LO loved this and so did my hubby. My elder daughter was not a fan but it’s not abnormal for her to dislike new foods these days. It was so easy and makes the best leftovers for lunch or dinner.

That garlic chili oil from the other day continues to make everything better.

Meatball Soup

(inspired by Bonappetit recipe)

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4 stalks kale and/or chard, removed from veins and sliced
  • Handful sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen) English peas
  • Lemon wedges

Make meatballs:

  • Mix yogurt, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Add beef and mix with your hands (or a wooden spoon) until well blended but take care not to overmix, or meatballs could be dense.
  • Using your hands, lightly pack meatball mixture into tangerine-size balls (about 1½” in diameter) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Working in batches and adding more oil if needed, add meatballs to pot, making sure to leave enough space between them so you can move them freely, and cook, turning occasionally to help them keep their shape, until evenly browned on all sides, 5–8 minutes. The trick is to make sure the meatballs don’t fall apart. Let them get sufficiently browned on each side before trying to move them. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl.

Make Soup:

  • Add shallots, garlic, and cabbage and greens to pot (no need to wipe out). Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes
  • Add broth and vinegar to pot and bring liquid to a simmer. Cook until cabbage is just tender. Return meatballs to pot along with any juices that have accumulated and simmer long enough to let flavors meld, 6–8 minutes.
  • Just before serving, add sugar snap peas and English peas to broth and cook until no longer raw, just a minute or two (you want them to retain a little bit of bite).
  • Serve with garlic chili oil and lemon wedges.
  • Enjoy!!