Quick Fish Dinner

Last night, I went to the grocery store and picked up some haddock, thinking, “It’s fish, it’s easy, I’ll make something.”

(Moments like this are why I need a smart phone. I could get inspiration at the grocery store and then look up recipes right then and there! But oh well, I don’t have one.)

Anyhow, I went home and searched using the new Google recipe feature. I found a very basic recipe, which I modified slightly, and which was both a.) incredibly easy and b.) incredibly tasty.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Haddock

Preheat oven to 350. Cut up about a pound of haddock (or other white fish that’s on sale) into bite-sized pieces. Grease a baking dish and place in the fish. (It’s OK if they’re crowded together.) Melt about half a stick of butter, and mix with a cup of panko (or bread crumbs), a teaspoon or so of garlic powder, about two teaspoons of lemon zest, and a generous portion of your dried herb of choice (the recipe called for parsley, I used dill). Mix all together and spread lightly over fish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chana Masala is a Gateway Drug

Last night, I cleared my schedule and decided to make smitten kitchen’s chana masala. I’d made it once before, but it had been with a bunch of friends over and there were so many hands involved I didn’t have a clear sense of how long it would take. Turns out, that dish takes about ten minutes to prep: Chop two onions (two minutes), press garlic (1 minute), add excessive amounts of spices (5 minutes), add tomatoes, chickpeas, and water (two minutes).

so many spices!

I kid you not, it literally took me five minutes of running back and forth between the recipe and the spices and measuring spoons. There are SO MANY SPICES. I finally understood why many cultures think American (and British) food is so boring– the only dish that I think comes close to containing that many spices is pumpkin pie. And we make that once or twice a year. And it’s dessert, which totally doesn’t count.

Anyhow, after adding everything, the dish simmers for ten minutes, you add some salt and lemon juice, and that’s it. I had so much extra time I cleaned the kitchen! And then ate a very, very tasty dinner!

Problem is–now I’ve got all of these delicious spices and I want to make more delicious dinner foods! Can anyone recommend some extremely excellent Indian recipes that are similarly tasty and easy?

This Week’s Dinners

This week I made two excellent meals:

Lasagna with salad: Made basic lasagna with ground turkey and sauted onions. Used store bought sauce, but grated cheese ourselves. Simple, easy, and made enough for two dinners and a lunch. Made a big salad using pre-washed greens, and my home-made dressing (garlic, oil, lemon juice, s&p, mustard, honey).

Chicken Teriyaki: This was mega cheating (in terms of the teriyaki) but it was still ridiculously good. I had a package of chicken thighs which I marinated in half a bottle of Whole Foods 365 Organic Teriyaki Sauce in an oven-ready dish. While that was marinating, I put on a pot of brown rice, water, and chicken bouillon (ever since I made rice once with chicken stock I almost never make it plain; it’s so tasty this way!). When the oven was done pre-heating, I put the chicken, covered, in at 375 for 40 minutes (and with my new oven in my new home, 375 actually means 375. Amazing.). Some people don’t put marinate in with the meat, but I like my chicken tender and juicy, so I leave it all in. I hate dry chicken and I never make it.

While the rice and chicken were cooking, I installed my knife magnet rack ($14.99 at IKEA and I love it to death) and then prepped a head of broccoli for steaming. One problem, of course: We don’t own a steamer. So instead, I filled a pot with about an inch of water, put in a heart-shaped metal cookie cutter, put a bowl on top of the cookie cutter, and put the broccoli on that, and covered it! It sounds crazy, but it worked! I waited until we were about ten minutes from eating dinner, then turned the broccoli pot on high and set the kitchen timer for five minutes. It came out bright green and al dente. Yum. I served it with a butter/garlic/oil sauce, which was literally just a mug with two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of butter, two crushed garlic cloves, and some s&p–all of it microwaved for 30 seconds (for the butter to melt) and then just stirred some. It makes for delicious drizzling.

All of this made for two dinners and about one and a half lunches. YUM. I’ll definitely be making the chicken teriyaki again.

Simple Dinners

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about myself as a cook. I am not necessarily someone who loves taking on new and challenging recipes to master them. I do not spend my time wishing I had all day to cook. What I really like to do is make and eat simple, delicious food with people that I like.

One of the easiest and tastiest things I’ve been making lately is pizza! My mother got me a pizza stone for Christmas and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. I actually think that it is making me more popular with my friends. Anyhow, while I have (shamefully) not yet made my own dough (it’s so cheap and pre-made at Shaws!), everything we’ve made has been tasty and easy (and also a lot of fun).

Some combos:

  • The Wowser: Garlic & oil brushed onto the crust, covered with parmesan, mozzarella, and fresh spinach. Everyone always thinks pizza has to be with a red sauce. But it is so damn tasty with garlic & oil instead! Sometimes I throw on some toasted pine nuts. Also: Don’t cook the spinach before it goes on the pizza– just pile it high and let it melt in the oven.
  • The Classic: Some tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesean, mushrooms, and sliced-up chicken sausage is very tasty. Spinach never hurt this one, either.
  • The Surprise: I made this one up on Sunday in honor of a weekly “Desperate Housewives” viewing. The show has apples in the credits, so I brushed a honey/butter sauce onto the crust and then added sliced granny smith apples, cheddar cheese, and caramelized almond slivers. I think next time goat cheese would send it through the roof.

But one can’t eat pizza every night of the week (although I imagine there are a host of teenagers and college students that would beg to differ), so tonight I made lasagna: noodles, tomato sauce, grated cheese (are we sensing a theme to our grocery shopping of late?), ricotta cheese, ground turkey meat, and onions. I could’ve gotten fancier, but it actually didn’t need to. We paired it with a salad that had craisins and slivered almonds on it (and an olive oil/garlic/lemon juice/mustard/honey dressing) and it was simply delicious.