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  • Curry in a hurry

    One of the hardest things about having little kids and working in retail is that I don't get to cook as much as I used to. Since we got the CSA delivery, we have a wider variety of produce and so I've been trying some new recipes again. But mostly we rotate through easy-to-make dinners that the kids like, so it's a lot of mac 'n cheese and pizza. 

    I do have a few reliable recipes, though, that are ridiculously easy to make. And this curry is one of them. You only need one pot and four things:

    • Whatever veggies you have on hand, maybe 6 cups total

    • A can of coconut milk (half and half works great, too)

    • Concentrated curry paste - Indian, Thai, whatever you like! I use about half a jar per batch. 

    • 90-second rice pouch

    Basically all you have to do is saute the veggies, add the curry paste and coconut milk and let it simmer until all the veggies are cooked through. If you wanted to add some cubed chicken or other meat, that works too. While it's cooking you microwave the rice and you're good to go. 

    I'm not a believer in cooking one type of veggie for a few minutes, then taking it out and cooking another and so on. Just dump it all in. (The only exception would be if you are trying to render fat from meat and use that to cook with). I really like broccoli and potatoes, but carrots, peas, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, greens and all kinds of other veggies will work. 

    This recipe checks a lot of boxes, too. If you use coconut milk, it's vegan. Put it on cauliflower rice and it's Paleo. Use more meat and fewer veggies if you want more protein. Use basmati instead of brown rice. You do do! 

    The curry paste has all kinds of flavorful spices, so you don't have to add anything. Maybe a little salt and pepper, if you like. Try it! You will love it. 

  • Biscuit donuts

    Um, why did no one tell me about the wonderfulness that is a biscuit donut?

    I learned about them on the Say Yes blog and couldn't believe I'd never tried them before. Basically all you do is crack open a can of biscuit dough, stamp out the middles, fry the donuts in oil and roll them in cinnamon sugar.

    They come out remarkably similar to donuts you would buy in a store. They remind me a lot of the cider donuts you get when you go apple picking.

    It does take a pretty large amount of oil for frying, but you can actually save it an reuse it another time. Because you will be making these again.

    I am a lazy cook, so I did not use a thermometer to figure out how hot the oil was. When it seemed like the donuts were cooking too fast, I turned down the burner a little bit. That seemed to work fine. They got brown and crispy really quickly, so it didn't take long to make a batch of 8 plus the donut holes. Harper ate most of those and we ate the whole ones. Perfect!

    This was sort of the opposite of the breakfast baking I did the weekend before. I have been determined for a long time to find a yeast cinnamon roll recipe that was worth all the effort. I've tried 3 times, I think, and they were never good enough. I mean, how can a cinnamon roll that takes 3 hours to make be just OK?

    But I finally found THE recipe. I think it came up on Pinterest and it just looked too good not to try. One morning I actually had energy so I got to work. I had to be at the store later that morning so I ended up taking some shortcuts and the recipe still turned out fine. For the first rise, I probably gave it 40 minutes instead of an hour. Then I think I shortened the second rise a little too. The dough was very sticky, but it rolled out just fine.

    I made some other changes too. I used all butter instead of margarine because I am a butter girl. My yeast was expired but that didn't seem to matter either. And then I probably used 1 tablespoon of cinnamon instead of 3. That seemed like plenty to me.

    The cream cheese icing seemed like it was too sugary and not cream cheesy enough. But then later it seemed fine, so maybe it just needed to meld a little more.

    I couldn't make this recipe everyday (and definitely shouldn't!) but I will keep it on file for special occasions. It is everything you want from a cinnamon roll — soft, crumbly bread with a gooey center and melty frosting on top. And at least when you make these at home you know what's in them.

  • Easy enchiladas

    Now that we have two kids, it's even harder to find time to cook weeknight dinners, so we've had to find recipes that come together really quickly. And we're finding that the secret is tacos! Actually, any kind of variation on a meat that you can put on corn tortillas, so we've had a lot of enchiladas, too.

    I've been making this recipe for green chile enchiladas with the leftovers from a roast chicken — something we also have a lot because it's easy.

    You take all the meat that's left on the chicken and shred it. I would say it's about 2 cups.

    Then saute some sliced onions and mix it with the chicken. Then you add about half a jar of roasted salsa verde (I really like the Archer Farms version from Target).

    That's your filling. Roll it up inside corn tortillas, adding a little shredded Monterrey Jack cheese to each one.

    Spread some salsa verde in the bottom of your baking dish, then add the enchiladas. Pour a little more salsa verde on top and sprinkle with a little more cheese.

    Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and you're done!

    You can also make a sort of free-form enchilada casserole by layering tortillas with salsa verde and whatever other toppings you like. I made this one with black beans, sweet potatoes, and then some crema and feta cheese on top.

    On the taco front, we've made a lot of crock pot shredded pork, which is great with pickled red onions.

    Or, you can saute some pork tenderloin slices and then cut them up into chunks to put on tacos (hat tip to Real Simple for this one). I made some with pineapple, and they were so good! Super easy because the thin pork slices only take a few minutes to cook.

    When all else fails, we just hit up the neighborhood taco trucks. Their al pastor is so good!

  • Grandma's potato salad

    I finally did it. I took a stab at making my grandma's famous potato salad, and I think I nailed it. Her recipe is legendary in our family. And while I could never make it as well as she did, I couldn't imagine not having it anymore. So I dug out her handwritten recipe and tried it.

    I'm going to share it here because I love the way she wrote it with such detailed and funny notes. It cracks me up that she referred to the cost of the celery seed, because her thriftiness is one of the things I loved most about her.

    I remember watching Grandma cut ingredients into the tiniest pieces without even looking. She was a pro!

    Really the only thing I changed was to use real mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. I wasn't sure if she used regular mustard or mustard powder, but I used powder and I think regular mustard would work just fine.

    I always thought it was the pickle juice that was the secret ingredient. But now I think it's the egg-to-potato ratio, which makes her recipe like a combination of egg salad and potato salad. When I took the bowl out of the fridge after mixing it up, the smell made me tear up. It was just like hers. I love how a recipe can do that for you.

    Here's another kind of unusual thing — have you ever boiled whole russet potatoes with the skins on? I wasn't sure I'd be able to get the potatoes cooked without being too mushy, but it worked just fine. I tested them with a fork a few times until they seemed soft. Actually one potato completely fell apart, so I just tossed it and used one less egg.

    I like that you can adjust the recipe for how many people you're feeding. Grandma always had a HUGE bowl of potato salad in her fridge, but we didn't need quite that much. I'm excited to make it again for our next potluck or family gathering!

    [yumprint-recipe id='15']