The Lemon Bowl’s Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

I am always on the lookout for a good curry recipe. Growing up, curry was a key ingredient in memorable meals. From my Grandma Love’s curry Christmas supper with spinning topping tray to my mom’s creamy curried chicken over rice, this spice blend is like a warm hug. The Lemon Bowl’s recipe combines my beloved curry with nutrient-rich veggies (sweet potatoes and chickpeas) and lean protein. Yummy!

As usual, I put my own spin on things…I had some carrots in the fridge in need of eating. I chopped ’em up and threw ’em in. I also thought the curry could use some crunch and added some diced sweet peppers on top. As I was finishing the recipe, I looked in the freezer for the peas I knew I had on hand. Yep, no peas. So, I just kept it rolling and called,
“DINNER’S READY!”

This chicken curry is a simple recipe with some exotic (but easy to find) ingredients. It is a great beginner dish for someone who might not have experience cooking ethnic food. I hope you like it as much as I did and make it a part of your family’s culinary memories. Enjoy!

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JBo’s Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Chickpea/Tomato/Feta Salad and Couscous

One of my dear friends from college, Jennie “JBo” Stevens, shares my deep love of all things cooking and food. Her meals are sublime, whether it is a silky tomato soup, farmer’s market quiche, or indulgent pot pie. She kills it every time! I love talking with her about our culinary experiences and kitchen adventures!!!

Years ago, she gave me some of her fav recipes. I make this pork tenderloin all.the.time. Sometimes I switch up the spices a little based on what I have in my cabinet, but it is always a crowd pleaser!

Tonight, I put a little Mediterranean spin on things with my side dishes. You can’t go wrong vinegar soaked veggies and feta! Btw, the couscous is just the “olive oil and garlic” boxed mix from the store made without butter/oil.

JBo’s Spiced Pork Tenderloin
1.5-2 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 vegetable oil
1/4 soy sauce
1/2 tsp sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pepper

(I also like to add 1 tsp dried mustard, parsley, and onion powder)

Mix marinade in a plastic bag for 1 hour to overnight. Place tenderloin on a baking sheet with raised sides. Discard rest of marinade. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is over 145 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Chickpea/Tomato/Feta Salad
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1-2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 green onions, sliced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 Tbs feta
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all the veggies with the feta in a bowl. In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and oregano together. Marinate the salad I the dressing. Pop in the fridge until your ready to serve with a slotted spoon.

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Apple and Banana “Cars”

My husband and I have 19 nieces and nephews…no, we aren’t the Duggards :). Family is super important to us and we spend a ton of time with ours! Today was our first day of Spring Break. So, we decided to have the 4 and 6 year old girls over. Morgan decided to make his famous grilled cheeses…nothing like some good white bread, butter, and American cheese! I wanted to keep the girls occupied while he was cooking/contribute a fun and healthy side.

I was inspired by pictures I have seen on Pinterest . I didn’t have any grapes, but I did have bananas! And these girls LOVE some bananas!!

2 apples
2 bananas
16 toothpicks
*makes 8 “cars”

Cut the apple into four slices. Cut the edges to make a car body shape (see the picture for shape). Chop the banana into 1/2 inch slices. Put two toothpicks into the apple slice, one in the front and one in the back. Put on the banana “wheels.” Take them for a spin and enjoy!

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Turkey Tacos in Lettuce Cups

Since November, I have been using the app My Fitness Pal to track what I eat daily. I have Crohn’s disease and autoimmune pancreatitis. To keep these inflammatory diseases in check, I have been on steroids for pretty much 2 years straight. This round of steroids, I have had no full sensation until I feel sickly full. Keeping track of my calories has not only helped me lose some pesky steroid pounds, but also know when to stop eating without feeling sick.

Since I am tracking my calories, I have become more creative with what I am consuming. I choose lean meats, add veggies whenever possible, and limit carbs/sugar. Of course, I have days when I just need pizza and a piece of dark chocolate, but I have adopted healthier eating habits overall.

This recipe really embodies the healthy choices I have been trying to incorporate into my everyday life, while utilizing spice and flavor.

1 lb lean ground turkey (93/7)
Mexican Spice Blend (see recipe below) or an envelope of taco seasoning
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs water
Sea salt
1 head of iceberg lettuce

Toppings: 2% cheese, Greek yogurt, Wholy Guacamole, jalapeños, salsa, cilantro, chopped green onions, etc.

Sauté the onions and peppers over medium heat with just a bit of cooking spray. Add the turkey and brown. Stir in the spices, tomato paste, and water. Let the flavors mingle over low heat while you prep the toppings. Serve the tacos in crisp, iceberg lettuce cups.

Mexican Spice Blend
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chipotle seasoning (I had this on hand, but it can be omitted)
1/2 tsp red pepper flake

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Veggie Pad Thai from Brownies for Dinner

As I have said in earlier posts, I have a love affair with Asian food. I came across Brownies for Dinner’s Pad Thai recipe while perusing Pinterest earlier this year and have made it 4 or 5 times. The base recipe with a perfectly balanced sweet/sour/spicy sauce can be a vehicle for virtually any protein or veggie. Tonight, I added crisp snow peas, sweet peppers, and an extra clove of garlic. I doubled the sauce like she suggested in her blog and sprinkled in 1/8 tsp of ground ginger. I didn’t have peanuts, but I did have cashews for that crunchy, salty punch. Top it off with some herbaceous cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and dig in! This quick dinner is definitely one of my go-to recipes to satisfy that Asian craving.

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True Detective Red Beans and Aunt Babs’ BBQ Shrimp

I can’t wait for the season finale of True Detective tonight! After hearing Morgan and his buddies raving about the show last weekend, I decided to play catch-up. I watched the entire season, sans finale, last week during our three “snow” days. I was hooked…and I love a theme! So, this Louisiana inspired, finale meal came from reading many recipes on Pinterest, emailing with a friend who went to college in NOLA, and searching through my recipes for one my aunt shared with me years ago. The result is a tasty meal of spicy, smoky red beans with rice and richly-flavored BBQ shrimp with baguette for dipping. So grab a Lone Star (or Abita) and dig in!

True Detective Red Beans
1 lb red beans
1 lb package of andouille sausage (my package was 12 oz)
1/2 lb pork jowl bacon (mine was actually 0.65 lb)
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp hot sauce
3 bay leaves
Red Bean Spice Blend (I made my own, but you can sub 1 Tbsp Old Bay and 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning)
4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)

Red Bean Spice Blend
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of dried mustard
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of mace
Pinch of ground ginger

Pick through and rinse the red beans. Put beans in a bowl and fill with water to about two inches over the beans. Soak overnight.
Put all ingredients in the crockpot. I like to layer the veggies, sausage, seasoning, and beans. Cook on high for 5 hours. It will bubble. Stir every hour or so. Serve with white rice and chopped green onions.

Aunt Babs’ BBQ Shrimp
1 lb shrimp
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 tsp fresh rosemary (I threw in 2 springs)
3 tsp black pepper
3 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt

Add all ingredients except shrimp to a deep broiler pan (I used a Pyrex). Place shrimp on top. Bake a 350 degrees for 5 minutes, baste, and bake another 5 minutes. Cool. Eat with French bread. Dip in basting sauce.
*Her original recipe calls for unpeeled shrimp (the cook time is longer), but I was feeling a little lazy and changed it to peeled, deveined shrimp.

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20140319-213425.jpg Me and Morgan nervously awaiting the season finale of True Detective.

Rita’s CrockPot Cream Cheese Chicken Chile

It’s another cold, “snow” day here in Nashville. So, I decided to try a crockpot recipe that I can’t during the week because of timing issues (aka, I have to leave for work no later than 6:25am). Enter Rita May’s CrockPot Cream Cheese Chile. Who doesn’t love cream cheese and Tex-Mex flavors?!? Ole!

At 9:30am, I assembled all of my ingredients and turned the crockpot on low. I had frozen corn on hand and threw it in instead of canned. Neufchâtel cheese is always a healthier swap for cream cheese. My chicken wasn’t frozen and I was prepared to make time adjustments toward the end…but, hey, it’s a day off so I could watch it. I didn’t mess with anything else in the recipe this time ;). By about 3:00pm, the crockpot was bubbling. I decided to stir and keep my eye on it. By 4:00pm, I turned it from low to warm.

I served this yummy chicken dish over brown rice with a mini toppings bar (salsa, cheese, plain Greek yogurt, jalapeños, Valentina’s hot sauce). Whatever you have on hand will work. This dish will def keep you warm on a cold day and satisfy a craving for a fiesta!

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