Easy Red Beans and Rice

I’m a sucker for any combo of beans and rice. I think this is my favorite, though, because finding appropriate seasonings in Germany (blackening spice? good quality pepper sauce?) can be difficult, so we don’t get to enjoy these flavors that often.

475 ml Water
185 g cooked rice
450 g spicy sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
2 (15 oz.) cans canned kidney beans, drained
1 (16 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp blackening spice
0.8 g dried oregano
1 tsp pepper sauce
salt to taste
1 g pepper
3/4 C chicken broth bullion

1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. In a large skillet over low heat, cook sausage for 5 minutes. Stir in onion, green pepper and garlic; sauté until tender. Pour in beans and
tomatoes with juice. Season with oregano, salt an dpepper. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve over rice. Season with hot pepper sauce if you like.
Prep Time. approx. 10 minutes. Cook Time: approx. 30 minutes.
Ready in: approx. 40 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Chicken Lo Mein

Welcome to Lo Mein 2.0! The first incarnation of this was a Rachael Ray recipe (as evidenced by the former, cutesy title, ‘No pain lo mein’). I was kind of desperate for something approximating my Chinese take-out order and the recipe I found was okay, but not RIGHT and certainly nothing special. So I kept tweaking to make it less salty (not so much soy!) and more spicy (mmm, chilies.) and I think I finally got it to where I’ve wanted it all along. Move over, Rachael!

3 T sesame oil
2/3 lb boneless chicken breasts, sliced thin (about 1/3 inch)
1 t salt
1 t ground white pepper
1 1/2 t ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 t dark soy sauce
1 T Hoisin sauce
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head of broccoli, florets only
1 can baby corn, drained
1-2 red Thai chilies, chopped (discard seeds for less heat)
1/2 mushrooms, sliced
4-6 oz bean sprouts
1 lb lo mein noodles, cooked and tossed with a little sesame oil

Heat 1 T oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Toss chicken with 1/2 t each of salt, white pepper and ginger until just coated, then add to skillet with onion and garlic. Stir fry until chicken is well browned. Remove to chicken mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 t soy and 1/2 T Hoisin. Set aside.

Heat another T of oil to medium high in skillet then add pepper, broccoli, baby corn and chilies. Stir well to coat with oil, then add remaining salt, white pepper and ginger to vegetables. Stirring frequently, cook until broccoli is just tender-crisp. Add remaining oil to heat then add mushrooms and sprouts. Cook all vegetables, stirring often, until sprouts become translucent. Add remaining soy and Hoisin, then stir in chicken mixture and heat for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and add noodles. Toss until well coated and serve immedately.

Chicken Piccata

This one got overhauled, too. See, Cliff and I are sort of what I like to call ‘sauce pigs.’ When I make something with a sauce that goes over rice or pasta or something, I tend to like A LOT of sauce. And I’m getting better at sauces, too. So it was time to update this one and we were very pleased with the outcome.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded and cut into strips
4 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T olive oil
1 t oregano
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c lemon juice
1 c chicken stock
1/2 t tarragon
Capers
1 T cornstarch
1 T water

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Mix flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a shallow bowl, then dredge chicken through flour mixture and brown on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan and deglaze with white wine, cooking for 2-3 minutes, then add lemon juice, chicken stock, tarragon and capers to pan. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to a slurry, then add to sauce, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Return chicken to pan to warm until ready. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Pierogi Casserole a.k.a “Rogi-Sagna”

It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of dishwork afterward, but man is it ever worth it!

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
450g bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 pkg Pasta Käse (=pasta cheese, because cheddar is damn near impossible to find in Germany)
salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot with water to cover over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, drain, then combine with the milk and 6 tablespoons of butter, mash and set aside.
3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the bacon, onion and garlic in the butter for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.
4. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions and cool under running water.
5. Place 1/2 of the mashed potatoes into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top this with 1/3; of the cheese, followed by a layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat this with the remaining potatoes, another 1/2 of the cheese and a layer of noodles. Then arrange the bacon, onion and garlic over the noodles, then another layer of noodles, and finally top all with the remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (175°C) for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream and chopped fresh chives.