Brotherly & Sisterly Love

Having my in laws as neighbors can be viewed as both positive and negative. However for us, we all like hanging out together when our schedules allow. Tonight my brother in law and sister in law came over for dinner and a movie.Originally the plan was to make individual calzones but were too hungry to attempt being creative in the kitchen. So instead, I made a big pan of pizza.Here’s how I prepared the pizza:

1 ball of pizza dough (Trader Joe’s)
1 cup of canned whole tomatoes
pinch of salt & pepper
3-4 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
shredded italian cheese blend
your choice of toppings
– italian sausage
– chopped onion
– chopped green bell pepper

Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out to form the crust.
I used a large stoneware bar pan, which helps make the crust perfectly crisp.
In a blender, combine tomatoes, basil and seasonings to make sauce.
Spoon sauce onto rolled out crust
Top the crust with your choice of toppings.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
(We prefer our pizzas well done!)

You can use other sauces too aside from the standard tomato sauce. Some ideas include pesto, alfredo, garlic cream, or no sauce at all!

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Mojito Rice?

Slowly, the insides of my fridge and cupboards and becoming bare! It’s almost like every night feels like an Iron Chef moment where I’m trying to think of creative ways to make something delicious with limited ingredients. So tonight, my “secret ingredient” was a jar of Cuban Mojito Simmering Sauce from Trader Joes.
The dish is similar to an Arroz Con Gandules ( a Puerto Rican Dish I made in an earlier post) however the flavor of green chiles from the mojito sauce definitely shines through.

Here’s my recipe for Mojito Rice with Pork and Pigeon Peas:

1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pork chops, cubed
1 jar Cuban Mojito Simmering Sauce
1 1/2 cups of long grain rice, uncooked
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can pigeon peas, drained
1 tablespoon cumin
garlic powder & onion powder to taste
salt & pepper to taste

In a pan, saute garlic in oil.
Season pork with seasonings and brown with garlic.
When browned, add rice and stir to coat with oil.
Add sauce, tomatoes, pigeon peas.
Stir and allow to cook on medium to medium low heat.
Add more seasonings to taste.

Indian in an Instant

It was a busy day for me so I cheated my way through dinner. Tonight’s theme was Indian and I ordered out Chicken Tikka Masala from a local Indian restaurant, Hema’s Kitchen. Along with it, I served biryani curried rice and garlic naan, both from Trader Joes.
Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world, though it originates from Britain. Its popularity has proven so great that almost every Indian restaurant worldwide offers it. It has even replaced tandoori chicken as the flagship of Indian & South Asian cuisines. Oddly, this dish isn’t nearly as popular as it is outside of India.

The chicken tikka masala I ordered was kind of lacking chicken so I cut up 2 chicken breasts and cooked the take out & chicken in a pot. It completely defeated the purpose of ordering out food when I ended up cooking the dish again. But nonetheless, it was still a good and satisfying meal. (I just wont be ordering take out from that place again.)

Here’s the doctored Chicken Tikka Masala, from Hema’s Kitchen:
Here’s the rice ~ Biryani Curried Rice, from Trader Joe’s:
Here’s the ~ Garlic Naan, from Trader Joe’s:

Mojito Mama..

After a slight break in posts, (since I didn’t have anything blog worthy to add with previous meals), tonight I made dinner at home using a Trader Joe’s simmering sauce called “Cuban Mojito.”
A Mojito is a traditional Cuban cocktail which became popular in the United States during the late 1980s, and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity.

It’s traditionally made of five ingredients: mint, rum, powdered sugar or sugar cane juice, line and club soda. Its combination of sweetness and refreshing citrus and mint flavors are intended to mask the potent kick of the rum, and Trader Joe’s captured it in a simmering sauce. I used this sauce as a marinade rather than a sauce for my chicken to simmer in.
Here’s the recipe for my Cuban Mojito Chicken with cilantro black bean & corn rice:

1/4 cup of Cuban Mojito simmering sauce
1 tablespoon chopped green chilies
2 chicken breasts
2 cups hot cooked rice
1/4 frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lemon

– In a ziploc bag, add chicken breast, simmering sauce and chopped green chilies.
– Allow chicken to marinate for overnight.
– Grill chicken in a grill pan, grill, George Foreman or panini grill until cooked through.
– To make rice, combine hot cooked rice, corn, beans, cilantro and lemon juice.
– Toss until fully incorporated.
– Serve chicken over a bed of the rice.