Palak Pulao (Spinach Pulao)

Thanks so much to Martine over at Robert Rose for sending me this cookbook! I’m so excited to try more recipes soon. :)

Sarafina's Kitchen | Spinach Pulao

from Complete Book of Indian Cooking – Suneeta Vaswani

  • 2 cups Indian Basmati Rice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tbsp chopped green chiles, preferably serranos
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ lbs fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  1. Place rice in a large bowl with plenty of cold water and swish vigorously with fingers. Drain. Repeat 4 or 5 times until water is fairly clear. Cover with 3 to 4 inches cold water and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes or for up to 2 hours.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, chiles, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add spinach, cumin, and turmeric and sauté for 2 minutes. Drain rice and stir into saucepan. Pour in 3 ½ cups cold water and add salt.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat as low as possible and cook, covered with a tight-fitting lid, without peeking, for 15 minutes. Lift lid and quickly sprinkle lime juice over rice. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and set lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Let rest for 5 minutes. Gently fluff with fork and carefully spoon onto platter to serve.

Courtesy of Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 8 oz can lump white crab meat, drained
  • 2 c frozen, fully-cooked salad shrimp (no need to thaw)
  • ½ c salsa verde , divided
  • 1  c shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • 1  c grated or shredded cojita cheese, divided
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ c chicken broth
  • ¼ c half and half
  • 8 corn or flour tortillas
  • parsley for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together crab, shrimp, ¼ c salsa, ½ c Mexican blend cheese, ½ c cojita cheese, and sour cream.
  3. Spoon about ⅓ c of this filling down the center of each tortilla, fold sides to the middle to cover filling, and place rolled enchiladas seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Enchiladas should fit tightly together in the pan.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Whisk in flour until combined.
  6. Slowly add chicken broth about ¼ c at a time, whisking constantly to keep mixture smooth.
  7. When all chicken broth is added, bring to a simmer.
  8. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, ½ c Mexican blend cheese, ½ c cojita cheese , ¼ c salsa, and half and half.
  9. When cheese is melted, turn off heat and pour sauce evenly over prepared enchiladas.
  10. Cover dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove foil, and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
  12. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. You can also place it under the broiler for 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it so the cheese doesn’t burn.
  13. Serve enchiladas and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Cowboy Beans

I got this recipe from my Dad.  He made these for Jackson’s birthday party, and everyone went crazy for them.  They’re great for parties and potluck meals.  We served them with brisket and coleslaw.

Cowboy Beans | Sarafina's Kitchen

Photo by: Jeff Boettcher

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sorghum or other molasses
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • 1 can (approx. 16 ounces) pork ‘n beans
  • 1 can (approx. 16 ounces) butter beans, drained
  • 1 can (approx. 16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (approx. 16 ounces) pinto beans, drained
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Cook ground beef until browned, breaking up and stirring as it cooks.
  2. Add onion and cook until tender; drain off excess grease.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except bacon.
  4. Put in casserole or crock pot and top with bacon crumbs.
  5. Bake at 350° for an hour, or cook in covered slow cooker or crockpot on HIGH for 1 hour, then reduce heat to LOW and cook 2 to 4 hours.

 

Puffed Pastry Pizza

from thepioneerwoman.com

Puffed Pastry Pizza | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 1 whole Sheet Frozen Puffed Pastry
  • Olive Oil For Brushing
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella, Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 8 ounces, weight Mushrooms, Washed And Sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 cup White Whine
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 8 whole Yellow And/or Red Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • 1/4 cup Goat Cheese (chevre)
  • 12 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  1. Thaw the puffed pastry on the counter for 45 minutes or in the fridge for several hours.
  2. When thawed, carefully open the sheet, then slice it in half down the middle. Place both halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat.
  3. Preheat oven to 415 degrees, then start on the pizza toppings.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms and garlic in the butter for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine and season with salt and pepper. Allow to continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked down and liquid is mostly gone. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. To build the pizzas: Brush a thin layer of olive oil in the center part of each half of puffed pastry.
  6. On each half, sprinkle on half the cheese so that it covers all but a 1/2 inch border all around the pastry.
  7. On one half, sprinkle on the cooked mushrooms. On the other half, sprinkle on the halved tomatoes. Press both mushrooms and tomatoes lightly into the cheese.
  8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes pastry could go crazy and puff up in areas here and there, but don’t worry! It’ll be fine.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles on both halves. Allow the pizzas to sit for 10 minutes. If there are any big air bubbles/puffs, just give them a little smush or wait and they’ll calm down.
  10. Sprinkle on basil, slice into pieces, and serve!

Shrimp Fried Rice

Adapted from therecipecritic.com

Shrimp Fried Rice | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions (optional)
  1. Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Pour sesame oil in the bottom. Sauté shrimp 3-5 minutes, until cooked through.
  2. Add white onion and peas and carrots and fry until tender.
  3. Slide the onion, peas and carrots to the side, and pour the beaten eggs onto the other side. Using a spatula, scramble the eggs. Once cooked, mix the eggs with the vegetable mix.
  4. Add the rice to the veggie and egg mixture. Pour the soy sauce on top. Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Add chopped green onions if desired.

 

Greek Lamb with Orzo

from food52.com

Greek Lamb with Orzo | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • pound ground lamb
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, drained 
  • 14 ounces can of chopped/diced tomatoes
  • ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • pound orzo pasta
  • cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  1. In a good sized Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add the lamb and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break it apart, until it is nicely browned. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander, and red pepper) and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant (1-2 minutes). Then, stir in the smooshed tomatoes.
  3. Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. At this point, stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind you’ll be sprinkling just a touch of feta and olives on, which will add to the saltiness).
  5. While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering together and marrying their flavors, bring a large pot of well-salted water (it should taste like sea water, basically) to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes, usually. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  6. Drain the orzo. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and all of the parsley, adding a bit of pasta water at a time, if you feel it needs additional liquid.
  7. Spread the orzo out on an enormous serving platter. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

from SkinnyTaste.com

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 8 chicken thighs, with the bone, skin removed
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso my favorite!)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as basil or parsley for topping

 

  1. Quick method: Season chicken with salt and black pepper and place in the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken, top with onions and peppers, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours. When the timer beeps, remove lid and keep the crock pot on HIGH one hour to help it thicken.
  2. Better method but requires more prep:  Heat a large skillet over medium-high, lightly spray with oil and brown chicken on both sides a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add to the slow cooker. To the skillet, spray with a little more oil and add onions and peppers. Sauté until juices release and the vegetables become golden, a few minutes.
  3. Add to the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini and Sausage

Thanks to the folks from Lid Pocket® for sending me a free holder. All opinions are my own.


It’s been a while since I’ve used my slow cooker, but this week is going to be hectic, so I knew planning slow cooker meals was the best thing to do.  It also gave me a chance to use the Lid Pocket® I received a few months ago.

This thing is cool.  It gives you a safe place to keep your slow cooker lid while you stir, check, and serve your food.  You don’t have to push stuff out of the way on your counter or find something to lay the lid on.

The low-down:

  • Hands-Free solution when seasoning, stirring or serving
  • Built-in Drip Catcher collects condensation
  • Keeps your counter top free and clean
  • Stores inside the crock
  • Fits 3-Quart and up – round to oval slow cookers
  • Fits the majority of slow cookers

Here’s what I cooked last night. The Lid Pocket kept the mess from the sauce off of the counter…it was a huge help!


 

Adapted from KeyIngredient.com

Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini and Sausage | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 1 bag (19 oz.) frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 2 cans(14.5 oz each) Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-fat chicken broth
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Brown the sausage in a skillet on the stove top until cooked and crumbled. Drain.
  2. Add the sausage and remaining ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook, on LOW for 5 hours, stirring twice during cooking.

Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder

from Iowa Girl Eats

Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 8 slices center-cut bacon, chopped (half used for garnish)
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped OR 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 cups shredded or grated cauliflower (1/2 large head)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 3-4 dashes hot sauce (or more or less)
  • 2-1/2 cups (12oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (half used for garnish)
  • 2 green onions, chopped (optional)
  1. Whisk together flour and 1/4 cup chicken broth in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Saute bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate then remove all but 1 Tablespoon drippings from the pot. Add chopped onion (if using,) celery, and garlic to the pot then season with salt and pepper and saute until vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower and onion powder (if using) to the pot then stir to combine. Add water then place a lid on top and steam cauliflower until tender, stirring a couple times, about 5-7 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and milk then turn up heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Slowly whisk in flour/chicken broth mixture while stirring, then turn down heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until chowder has thickened. Turn off heat then stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese until smooth, then stir in half the cooked bacon. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce if necessary. Serve topped with remaining shredded cheese, cooked bacon, and green onions, if desired.

Use a food processor’s chopping and grating blades to make prepping veggies and cheese a breeze!

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