Chicken broccoli Alfredo casserole

Adapted from Freezer Meals 101 and The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry fusilli pasta
  • 1 (14- to 16-oz) package frozen broccoli florets / 1 cup broccoli, steamed and coarsely chopped
  • 6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated young Parmesan cheese (about 6 ounces)

Directions:

  1. Bring a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until almost tender (you want some bite left in the pasta, check it one minute before the time called for on the package).
  2. Turn off the heat, add the broccoli to the pot, stir to combine, and let sit for one minute (the broccoli will not be cooked all the way through). Drain well and set aside.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in an even layer, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the chicken is browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Remove to a plate or bowl. Do not wash out the pot.
  4. Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, add the flour, scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan, and stir constantly until the flour starts to smell toasty and darkens slightly in color, about 1 minute. While constantly whisking, add the milk until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Bring just to a boil, whisking constantly. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices, pasta, and broccoli, and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Divide the mixture between 2 (8- to 9-inch) baking dishes or disposable foil trays (try to get ones that are around 2 inches deep), or transfer all of the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish or disposable foil tray. Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
  7. Bake frozen, still covered in the foil, on the middle rack of a preheated 350°F oven until heated through, about 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake for only 1 hour.

“Fettuccine Alfredo or fettuccine al burro is an Italian pasta dish of fresh fettuccine tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese (pasta al burro e parmigiano)… The dish is named after Alfredo di Lelio, who featured the dish at his restaurant in Rome in the early- to mid-20th century; the “ceremony” of preparing it table-side was an integral part of the dish.” Wiki I prefer this fresher, lighter version to the heavy cream American one. I also wished there were cut chicken pieces at the deli, because chicken thighs take way longer to cook, especially if you only brown them the first time. I have to say this was only “ok” as far as freezer meals go — I think I would have liked this far more freshly made. And it was a substantial amount of work, even for two people!

~Jessica

Kaeng phet (aka Thai red curry)

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola/peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large rice cooker, cook rice. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken, onion to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in red curry paste and garlic, ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in broccolini until just tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat; stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately with rice.

Kaeng phet literally means spicy curry, but it is known as “red curry” in the West (Wiki). This is a class Thai dish: red curry. The paste I picked up at the local grocery packs a real punch! Apparently Panang curry differs in that it’s sweeter rather than spicier, creamier, and contains peanuts. I would like to try to make Phanaeng curry (possibly refers to the Malaysian island state of Penang) next time. I used green bell pepper instead of the broccolini, subbed mushrooms for the chicken, and added diced turnip because I had it. Unfortunately did not have cilantro or lime on hand, of course, but did have scallions! Somehow missed the garlic, but did add garlic powder (not remotely the same, I know). Spicy, but I can eat it with more rice to balance that out.

~Jessica

Chinese broccoli with garlic

IMG_2674Adapted from steamy kitchen Gai Lan

Ingredients:
400 g Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)
cooking (vegetable) oil
3-4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed but left intact
1/2 thumb of fresh ginger, cut into coins and smashed
Chinese rice wine, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil
cornstarch mixed with cool water (1:2)

Directions:
Rinse the greens. Trim the ends. Cut diagonally, approximately splitting the leaves and (edible!) stems. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger if you prefer that. Add the oil to your wok and heat on medium-high. Saute the garlic, then ginger, until fragrant, without burning. Add the gai lan but watch out for oil splatters! Wield the wok lid as a shield if need be. I added diluted soy sauce to substitute vegetable stock, and steam covered for 3-4 minutes. Heat the oyster sauce and sesame oil and cornstarch water, all mixed together for 1 minute to thicken a brown sauce.

IMG_2671

Amber’s Method:
Soak the greens in cool water for 10 minutes, several times. Trim the end but don’t cut them in half. Smash the garlic cloves, slice the ginger. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan (proportionate to the amount of greens) and a pinch of salt to the wok. Saute the garlic, then ginger, then add the green and stir and toss constantly, quickly. Stir-fry, basically. Do not steam covered. After a few minutes, plate the greens. Drizzle the oyster sauce and serve immediately.

IMG_2675

Asian greens are great. I think it would have been nice to make this with mushrooms, although I hadn’t any in the fridge at the time. Next time perhaps!

~Jessica

Yakisoba

IMG-20170312-WA0005Adapted from My Korean Kitchen and Just One Cookbook and No Recipes

2 8-oz packages (400 g) fresh udon noodles
vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin sticks
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I forgot to buy!)
5-6 leaves of bok choy, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper (I used up some spinach instead)
dark soy sauce, sugar, rice wine (mirin), sesame oil, salt and pepper
yakisoba sauce
2-3 scallions, chopped

Heat a wok on high, then add the oil, then the seasonings with some water and swirl (to prevent burning). Cook the onion, then carrots, then bell pepper, then bok choy, and any other vegetables. Boil udon noodles according to package (about 1 minute for pre-cooked ones). Add the udon to the wok and stir fry and mix. Cook for about 4 minutes more, until noodles are still soft but with a slight crunchy exterior (some noodles will be a light brown color). Add yakisoba sauce, turn off the heat and coat well. Transfer to a plate, top with scallions. Serve.

~Jessica

Pasta with broccoli cream pesto

I had no idea I had made this recipe so often before, but then I checked my previous saves, and it was a lot. I like broccoli! As a child, I used to imagine I was a moose eating the ‘leaves’ of little trees of broccoli; and to eat the ‘wood’ of the stems, I was a deer (like in Bambi, when they stripped bark in the winter to survive). Fun!

Adapted from smitten kitchen

225 g broccoli
225 g dried conchiglie
14 g unsalted butter
14 mL olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or, more to taste)
pinch of table salt
Freshly ground black pepper and pinches of red pepper flakes
4 spoonfuls of mascarpone
A heap of grated Grana Padano, to serve

 

~Jessica