Biryani with Pineapple & Bacon Chicken Sausage

Every time my hubby and I go to Trader Joe’s, we pick up something new to try. Our latest product testing session led us to Briyani, which has rice, onions, peas, red pepper, apples, raisins, and spices.biryaniricedish

It is slightly spicy, curry-y and fat free. The delightful little peas retain their bite when the Biryani is cooked on a stovetop. I decided to pair the rice dish with slices of smoked chicken sausage and added an onion, garlic, Sri Racha, and a steamer package of broccoli and cauliflower florets for more flavor and texture.  Some cilantro sprinkled on just before serving adds some extra freshness.  Grab a mint when you’re done, though!

I made this as a quick weeknight meal in one pan. It is so simple to make, I can lay it all out in one paragraph:

In a large pan, place cauliflower and broccoli florets and add 1/4 c water, then cover to steam for a few minutes until fork-tender. Add half of a chopped onion and cook until almost transluscent. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic, 2 tbsp Sri Racha and toss in the sliced sausage, stirring occasionally until heated through. Add the bag of Biryani. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.  Serves 4.



Ratatouille, Ooh la la!

On a never-ending mission to get my hubby to like squash, I made ratatouille for the first time many moons ago.  I knew he would give it a chance because it contains one of his favorite vegetables, eggplant, which also happens to be one I don’t much care for, except when it comes to this dish.  Marriage is about compromise, right?


1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions or 1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplants peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
1 lb sliced button mushrooms
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes with basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme

In a Dutch oven (or other heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in eggplant,  zucchini and mushrooms.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add 1 cup of water.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring once, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes.
 Add thyme.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Partially cover and simmer, stirring often, until veggies are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
I like to serve over egg noodles or with a slice of crusty bread.   Leftovers are even more delicious!

Mentaiko Kimchi Udon

This amazing blog, which details the making of every recipe in David Chang’s Momofuku Cookbook,  introduced me to this recipe.  Mentaiko is spicy cod roe and may be purchased at Japanese markets.  Luckily for me, we have several of them throughout Southern Cali.  I am not too experienced with cooking Japanese cuisine, but I enjoyed making this dish.  It was super fast, easy and delish.  It’s like Japanese spaghetti.  I took a few liberties with the recipe and was very satisfied with the results.

Mentaiko Kimchi Udon Recipe

1 package of Mentaiko (all 4 packs)

2 cups of Kimchi with brine

3 bricks of frozen Udon

2 tablespoons of Butter

1/2 c White onion, diced

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

1 dash of Nori Komi Furikake rice seasoning

1 small handful of Cilantro leaves

2 sliced Green onions

Nori strips for garnish

Lime wedges

I got all the ingredients together that the recipes I had looked at said I’d need, but added a couple things I thought would go well as I got further along in the cooking process, so not everything is pictured. Sorry!

Put a pot of water big enough for your bricks of udon to boil on high heat.  Cook the udon according to the cooking directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

In a separate pot, add the butter over medium-high heat.  When the butter is melted, add the white onion and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Add kimchi to the onion mixture and stir together until the sauce starts to thicken and the  kimchi brine is no longer liquid.

Add the udon noodles.  Once the udon is coated, transfer into serving bowls.

Sprinkle with cilantro leaves, rice seasoning, sliced green onions and nori strips.  Squeeze lime wedge over the finished product.  Serve hot.

Asparagus Broccoli Potato Soup

With the scorching hot summer days, all I have been thinking about for the past few weeks is the start of autumn. Today we had cooler temperatures and I even got to see a little rain, so I couldn’t resist filling my house with the aroma of a delicious soup.  This simple soup is super healthy and low in calories, as well as a beautiful hue of green to compliment the gray sky.

Asparagus Broccoli Potato Soup

2 bunches broccoli with stems, chopped

1 lb asparagus, chopped

10-12 Yukon gold baby potatoes, split in half

1/2 c.  onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. thyme

1.4 tsp. nutmeg

2 c. low sodium vegetable broth

2 c. water

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 c. nonfat milk

Boil together water, broth, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes and onion until tender.

Let cool slightly. Puree in blender in small batches, being careful to hold the blender lid with a kitchen towel.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, add olive oil over low heat.  Whisk in flour until completely dissolved, stirring constantly.  Slowly stir in milk and continue to whisk for 2 minutes or until
smooth. Add garlic and spices, then stir in pureed veggie mixture and let cook on medium for 5-10 more minutes.

I topped mine with chopped chives and a little lemon zest.  Some grated cheddar and even bacon crumbles, all paired with a good, crusty, toasty bread would also be excellent.