Curried Coconut Chicken with Brown Rice

My husband and I really enjoy trying different international foods.
Indian food is one of our favorites, so I was super excited when I stumbled upon this recipe!
It will definitely make more appearances at our house.

Next time I'll try using fresh tomatoes instead of canned,
and possibly add some crushed red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.

Try it! Just be prepared for your house to smell like curry for a day or two. :)

Curried Coconut Chicken
adapted from allrecipes.com
makes 6 servings

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp salt & pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14-oz) can light coconut milk
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
Prepared brown rice, for serving

Season chicken pieces with salt & pepper.
Heat oil & curry in large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes while stirring. Add in onions & garlic and cook until onions are translucent (8-10 minutes). Add chicken and stir to coat with spices. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Pour in coconut milk, drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar to skillet and stir to combine.
Simmer, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes; until sauce is thickened.
Serve warm over brown rice.

*Tofu would be a great substitute for the chicken to make this vegetarian


The Perfect Scoop begins...

Mr. Hubby just gave this to me for my birthday...

Cannot wait to use it!

(Our ice cream maker is across the country...along with my kitchenaid...yet I am still surviving in my temporary closet kitchen.) :)

(Our "freezer"-drawer-thingy just kind of freezes stuff...so I can't use that either. Ha. Ha.)


Tomato Basil Pasta

Can you just smell that fresh basil??

Every summer when I get a huge bunch of fresh basil from the farmer's market (for $1.00!), I have to make this family-favorite recipe. It was originally called "pink pasta," but I, uh, changed the name. And the recipe.

This is one of those select recipes where I allow myself to use half-and-half (the original actually calls for cream, if you want to use that).

Tomato-Basil Pasta
5 servings

2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino romano or combination)
10 oz. whole-wheat pasta (pictured is whole-grain pasta)

Drain one can of diced tomatoes, set aside. Combine the other can (with liquid) with fresh basil leaves and puree (in a blender, food processor, or immersion blender).
Place your nose about an inch away from puree. And. Inhale.
Meanwhile, melt butter in sauce pan over low heat. Add basil/tomato puree & drained tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat until thickens (10 minutes or so). Add half-and-half and cheese. Continue cooking until sauce is fairly thick.
Cook pasta until al dente; drain and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Serve by topping pasta with sauce, fresh basil, and more cheese if desired.


Baked Coconut Shrimp with Apricot Sauce

Hubby and I have now been married for three years! We're officially celebrating this coming weekend, but I still wanted the actual day to be special, so I tried to recreate a meal we had in Kauai, Hawaii just over a year ago.

I knew I wanted to make coconut shrimp but didn't want to fry it, so I found several different recipes for baked coconut shrimp and got some ideas before coming up with my own.

I've never cooked with shrimp before...
to be honest, when I opened the bag and touched the first one, I kinda got the heebie-jeebies.

Oh yeah, these things have tails...umm...eww...

But after dipping, coating, baking, and eating 'em...
heebie-jeebies definitely cured. :)

(I even made a virgin Pina Colada to go with; inspiration from Codee's blog!)

Oh, how I love the tropics.
 Even if they do serve stuff with...umm...tails.

Baked Coconut Shrimp
serves 4
1 lb large, raw deveined shrimp (tails intact; about 24-30)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 egg whites, beaten
1 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs-easy to find)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Rinse & pat dry shrimp. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In another small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Pour Panko and coconut into a resealable bag and shake to mix.
Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge in flour mixture, dip in egg whites, and roll in coconut mixture (I used my free hand on the outside of the bag to mold around the shrimp to ensure the whole thing was coated with the coconut mixture). Place on baking sheet.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, flipping shrimp halfway through, until the meat is bright pink on the outside and coconut is browned.

Apricot Sauce
1/2 cup apricot preserves
3 tsp horseradish mustard*

Mix together and serve with baked shrimp for dipping.
*or use 2 tsp ground mustard and 1 tsp horseradish

My hubby gives this two thumbs up!


Recipe for Love

(Warning: This is cheesy. I don't mean cheddar-cheesy...
I'm talkin' lovey-dovey cheesy.)

I married the boy next door three years ago today.


(This was in his backyard before the reception.)

Recipe for Love

1 tall, brown-haired, blue-eyed, intelligent, basketball player
1 blonde, brown-eyed adorer of the boy next door
3 moves
3 states
3 years of school
1 sweet baby boy

Blend all ingredients together.
Yields three years of happiness and love. :)

Okay, I'm done...


Crispy Yam (or sweet potato) & Black Bean Burritos

*Update:  My favorite way to serve these is with plain yogurt & mango salsa...you have to try it!

Beautiful sweet, roasted yams and savory black beans in a crispy, baked tortilla.
Topped with cheese and sour cream, of course.

(Please excuse my picture. I'll get a better one next time I make it...)

Make these and eat 'em outside while you bask in the sun.
I love summer...

This makes 4 large adult-size serving burritos. If you want smaller, kid-sized burritos, just ration out the filling between 6 tortillas (you may want to add more cheese, though!).

Crispy Yam & Black Bean Burritos
By Kristin
4 servings

2 medium-sized yams, peeled & chopped into large chunks (sweet potatoes will be yummy too)
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 small, white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
garlic powder, to taste
1/4 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro
1-2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 flour tortillas (we splurged this time and used white flour tortillas)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chopped yams on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Toss with hands to thoroughly coat yams. Place in oven and roast, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until soft & lightly browned.

Meanwhile, saute onion & garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add beans and spices to taste. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, if desired.

Lay out tortillas and layer with cheese, black beans, and yams. Roll tortillas up burrito-style with all ends enclosed and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush tops with olive oil, broil in oven for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.


Whole-Wheat Couscous & Fruit Salad

Just imagine biting into crisp, juicy berries, crunchy, sliced almonds, and nutty--almost tangy--couscous.


Well your dreams just became a reality.

This is another winner from Better Homes and Gardens. It was my first time cooking couscous, and I'll be honest--I was a little skeptical--but pleasantly surprised. :)

Super easy to make, too! Yumm-o summer side dish.
The only change I made was substituting green onion for the shallots...that's what I had in my fridge.

Whole-Wheat Couscous & Fruit Salad
4 servings

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped shallots
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous
1 cup chopped nectarine
1 cup mixed fresh berries (I used blueberries & raspberries)
2 Tbsp toasted, sliced almonds*

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, vinegar, shallots, salt, & pepper. Add cooked couscous and fruit; gently toss to combine.

*Toasting almonds is easy! Just heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat, add almonds and cook while stirring, for about 2-3 minutes or until they are lightly browned and fragrant.


Grapes & Almonds

That's it.

Grapes & almonds.

Crunchy, crispy, creamy.

Sometimes you just need a snack to sit out on the table all day that you can grab every time you walk by.

Grapes & Almonds

1 handful large red grapes, washed
1 handful raw almonds, on sale

Place ingredients on a plate. Toss (yes, you must toss) one grape into your mouth, closely followed by one almond. Simultaneously chew both almond & grape to appropriately enjoy the crispness & juiciness of the grape mixed with the crunchiness, yet creaminess, of the almond. Enjoy heaven in your mouth.

Note: The only variation to this recipe would be if your grapes are small. The ratio would then change to 2:1 grapes to almonds instead of the original 1:1. :)

Happiness is in grapes & almonds.


Red Bean & Rice Patties

Red beans, brown rice, and seasonings married together,
topped with fresh veggies,
all snuggled in between a toasted whole wheat bun.
Yum in my tum.
(...tum almost rhymes with bun...nevermind...)

This was my first experience making meatless patties...I thought it might be a total mess with the patties falling apart, but I was pleasantly surprised how well it all stuck together.

Try this lighter, much healthier version of this popular summer cuisine!

Red Bean and Rice Patties
slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

1 15-oz can no-salt-added red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 large (or three small) cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash beans with a fork. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the rice. When thoroughly mixed, add in rice. Divide mixture into four equal portions and roll into balls. Smash down and shape into 1/2-inch thick patties. Place onto preheated, lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until heated through, turning over once. Serve on toasted hamburger buns with your favorite toppings.

Our favorite toppings are olive oil mayo, fresh spinach leaves, avacado slices, tomato slices, and red onion slices.


Banana Crunch Pops

I loooove snacks.

Pregnancy was such a great excuse to bring them with me everywhere...even out to the mailbox.
Interestingly enough, the habit stuck...and you can still find me with a snack stash in my purse. :)


Oh, snacks...

This one's simple as banana, yogurt, and granola.

It's like a parfait on a stick.

It reminds me of our state fair...where everything is "deep fried" and "on a stick!"

Except this one's not deep fried.

It's frozen, refreshing, and healthy.

Like I said, simple as that.

Have fun experimenting with different granolas and yogurt flavors!

Banana Crunch Pops
From Better Homes & Gardens
2/3 cup fat-free yogurt (any flavor)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granola (with or without dried fruit)
4 flat wooden craft sticks*
2 medium bananas, halved crosswise

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper & set aside. Place yogurt in a shallow bowl & mix in cinnamon. Pour granola into another shallow bowl. Insert a wooden stick into each banana piece. Roll bananas in yogurt mixture (I sort of spooned the yogurt on), to cover each banana, then roll in granola to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet and freeze for about 2 hours or until firm. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

*I used skewers, because that's what I had, but I wouldn't recommend them for kids because of the sharp ends! Popsicle sticks are much better.
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