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Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas @MJ's Kitchen | mjskitchen.com

 

We all have the need for a variety of quick & easy (Q&E) meals to fall back on for those nights when we just don’t have the time or the energy to put together an elaborate or time-consuming meal.  However, because we still want to eat good food that tastes like we did put a lot of effort into it, our quick & easy meals need to be delicious.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite meals and meal ideas that I’ve been using for many years. They all take less than 45 minutes from start to finish and most take less than 30 minutes. I’ve also included links to some Q&E meals that I have on my list to try. I hope you find a few that you too, can use to make your life a little easier.

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Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats

Steet cut oats with cranberries, orange and nuts. It tastes like cranberry bread! | mjskitchen.com

 

These Cranberry Orange steel cut oats were inspired by my favorite Tried and True Cranberry Bread recipe.  Like the bread, three simple ingredients – dried cranberries, orange zest and nuts – transform a boring bowl of oatmeal into a creamy, healthy, nutty, and tasty breakfast.

If you’ve ever made steel cuts, you know they take 30 to 45 minutes to cook, unless, you pre-soak them.  I used to soak them overnight, but since I found myself forgetting most nights, I’ve gone to a pre-soak in the morning.  While I’m steeping my first cup of tea, I boil some water, pour in the oats, cover and let them soak until I get hungry.  It only takes 30 minutes but they can soak as long as you want. Once pre-soaked, the oats only take about 15 minutes to cook up.

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Red Beans and Rice with Tasso

A hearty bowl of Red Beans and Rice with Tasso, a spicy Cajun pork | mjskitchen.com

A few weeks ago when we were in Louisiana, we dropped by Bergeron Boudin & Cajun Meats on our way out of Shreveport and picked up some cajun meats to bring back home.  We filled our ice chest with boudin, andouille and tasso, some of which we shared with our New Mexico family and friends. We’ve been using the rest to make some of our favorite Louisiana dishes.  Last weekend Bobby planned to make a pot of red beans and rice with some of the tasso and andouille; however, once he cooked down the beans with the tasso he found that no andouille was needed.  The tasso added both the spicy and the meaty components to the beans while delivering a different, but just as delicious flavor as we get when he uses andouille.  The recipe below is Bobby’s Red Beans and Rice with Tasso.  It is pretty much the same recipe he uses for his regular red beans and rice, so I’ve indicated the differences in my Kitchen Notes. And yes, red beans and rice is Bobby’s dish because he makes it SO GOOD!

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Grits with Red Chile and Cheese

Grits with red chile paste, roasted red chile and cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

As many of you already know, grits and chile is one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  At least once a week I’m cooking up a pot of grits and in the cooler months, we could be eating them 2 to 3 times a week.  With all of the great chiles out there it is pretty easy to keep our grits exciting by changing up the flavor with different chiles and cheese.  In previous years, I’ve shared my chipotle, feta and grits and my grits and green chile.  Now it’s time for Grits with Red Chile and Cheese.  These grits are just as easy to make as all of the others and can be made in less than 20 minutes; however, you do need some kind of red chile paste and either some roasted red chile or roasted red bell peppers.

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Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread

A slightly sweet and delicious yeast bread with dried and candied fruits and nuts. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

My friend Giulia at Alterkitchen is always teasing me about the savory breakfasts that I and other Americans seem to like.  She has mentioned several times, that Italians like their sweet breakfasts – rolls, croissants, muffins, sweet cakes, and such.  Well, there are days that I, too, like something a little sweet to start the day.  Sometimes it’s just a slice of toast and jelly and other times I go all out and fix my favorite pancakes – Lemon Cornmeal Ricotta.  But for the past few week, it’s been this Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread.  A wonderful breakfast bread that makes a light and tasty breakfast.  Cut a thick slice, warm in the toaster and top with a touch of butter – no jam or jelly needed!

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Chicken Smothered in Chile de Arbol Sauce

Chicken and vegetables smothered in a chile de arbol pecan sauce and served over rice. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

As promised in my last post, I’m sharing my recipe for Chicken and Vegetables smothered in Chile de Arbol Pecan Sauce.  This dish is a complete meal and, if you’ve already made the sauce, it is a relatively quick and easy meal to throw together.  Even through the sauce takes less than 30 minutes to make, I usually make it on the weekend,  then all I have to do when I’m ready to make this meal, is chop, sauté and heat through. When I feel like a meatless meal, I leave out the chicken and just add larger amounts of the vegetables.  It’s all good!

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Beans and Rice with Sausage – An Easy One Pot Meal

A quick and easy beans and rice dish. Prep to service - less than 45 minutes! mjskitchen.com

 

Beans and Rice is one of those meals that can be time-consuming and dirty up a lot of dishes, or it can be quick and easy.  This Beans and Rice recipe made with pinto beans and sausage is quick and easy to make, delicious and a quick cleanup.  You can change it up every time you make it, switching out the type of beans or sausage, or even making it meatless.  Or you can hit on that one combination that you love and make it over and over again.  Either way – it makes a very easy and delicious meal when it’s one of those nights that you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but you want something hearty to eat.  Start to service, this dish is less than 45 minutes!

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30+ Recipes Using Preserved Lemons

A host of recipes that used preserved lemons mjskitchen.com

 

Do you have a jar of preserved lemons sitting in the refrigerator feeling ignored?  Well, it’s time to quit ignoring it and put those lemons to use.  If you don’t have any preserved lemons, do not fret – one of the following recipes tells you how to make a small batch in just 24 hours.  Following are at least 30 luscious recipes that take advantage of the unique and absolutely divine flavor of preserved lemons.

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Red Chile Chicken Tamales

This red chile chicken tamale is a non-traditional tamale that is easy to make and is just as tasty as a traditionally made tamale. mjskitchen.com

 

In New Mexico, making tamales is a holiday tradition where families and friends gather in the kitchen and spend the day cooking, assembling and steaming dozens upon dozen of tamales. It’s a great tradition with a delicious outcome.  There’s really nothing better than a tamale right out of the steamer. So in keeping with tradition, Bobby and I made two different types of tamales for the holidays this year – Corn, Mushroom and Green Chile and these Red Chile Chicken Tamales.

The tamales we make are not the traditional tamales where the masa is made with lard then layered with a pork filling onto a corn husk.  If you saw my corn, mushroom and green chile tamales from last year you may remember that I replace the lard with canola oil and instead of layering the masa and the filling, I mix them together, making the assembly process A LOT easier and faster.  As a friend of mine said “It all comes together in the mouth anyway.” :)

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