{ Polar Vortex, Wind Chill & Lots of Real Good Sauce}

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“Deadly polar vortex blasts Midwest with record-breaking cold, forecasters warn to ‘minimize talking’ outdoors… This is way colder than your typical cold front. The polar vortex has shifted, sending an incredible combo of very low temps and wind chills to the Upper Midwest…” — quote from news headlines today

Last night our washing machine didn’t work — the water had frozen inside the pipes.

We thawed them, but to keep the water flowing well, I planned to:

  • Get up at midnight and do some laundry.
  • Get up once more during the night and do more laundry.

The second nocturnal laundry phase found the water frozen-in-the-pipes again. But I was already wide awake at 3:30 a.m. So I took a hot, cozy shower, made a cup of coffee, and enjoyed the backdrop of a quiet house in which to complete a project.

During the frigid, early morning hours, I snapped this photo of the thermometer outside our window.

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Like a true Minnesotan, I will quantify the minus 20 degrees and add: “It was really twice as cold when you add the wind chill factor.”

Out of our four working young adults, none went to work today. This was due to cancellations and cars not starting. It was great to have them home.

Out of necessity (always, it seems, out of necessity) I concocted a hurry-up-and-make-dinner recipe. After tasting, my son said:

“See? This is how I like chicken! Not dry and with lots of real good sauce.

(I will take that as a compliment, and not read into it.)

Today, it was e x t r e m e l y. cold outside.

But I am thankful that it’s warm and happy indoors.

Quick Tandoori Chicken with Lots of Real Good Sauce

4 -6 chicken breasts, cut the way you like them or leave them whole

2 cups full fat plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

olive oil

  1. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a 13 x 9 glass pan.
  2. Place chicken pieces in the pan.
  3. Mix spices with the yogurt in a separate bowl.
  4. Spread yogurt evenly over chicken pieces.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for approximately 35 minutes, or until chicken is done.
  6. Serve with Basmati rice.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Weather map: https://www.foxnews.com/us/deadly-polar-vortex-blasts-midwest-with-record-breaking-cold-forecasters-warn-to-minimize-talking-outdoors

{ No Worry Curry }

I liked the theory of the Instant Pot, but had my doubts about throwing everything in for a one-pot meal.

I tried it tonight…and it worked!

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The brown rice looks like curly noodles in this photo.  But, it’s brown basmati rice, which cooked to perfection.  Nothing was overcooked; the scallions are even still green.
No Worry Curry

[curried chicken and brown rice in the Instant Pot]

Serves 6-8

7 cups chicken stock

2-3 cups cooked chicken, chopped

3 ½ cups brown rice

4-6 finely sliced scallions (green onions)

1 cup carrot matchsticks

1-2 Tablespoons curry powder

1 T garlic granules

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all in Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook on high pressure cooker set for 6 minutes.
  3. Allow 20 + minutes for the entire pressurizing, cooking and venting process.

© Lisa M. Luciano

 

{ Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake }

It’s Monday, and it appears that we diminished our food stockpile over the weekend.

I need to buy groceries.

Though the pantry is bare, we can still eat cake.

It won’t be bursting with fruit or chocolate, but with a patina of flavorful glaze, this dessert is sweetly satisfying (and easy to make.)

cake
I made my cake with coconut oil (didn’t have butter- used it all up over Thanksgiving) & I used water (didn’t have milk.) This is a stock photo. Ours looked similar. But, everyone ate it up before I remembered to take a photo.

Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ cup fat (butter, coconut oil, shortening)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk or water

 

Glaze:

  • ½ – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Enough lemon juice whisked into the confectioner’s sugar to create a pourable glaze
  • If you don’t have lemon juice, use milk or water with a few drops of flavoring.

 

  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Beat sugar and fat together. Add eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with wet mixture.
  4. Place in greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. When cake is cooled, pour glaze over.
  6. Eat and enjoy.
  7. Now go buy groceries.

 

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

 

 

{ Pumpkin Butter }

Pumpkin butter is a sweet (dairy-free) spread for bread, pancakes or muffins.  It’s deliciously spiced and very easy to make.  (We use those pumpkins that have been decorating our front steps!)

Bring a jar of pumpkin butter for the hostess at holiday gatherings. This is my own simple recipe and it makes about a gallon of pumpkin butter.

pumpkin1

 

  • 4 quarts freshly cooked pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • A few pinches of salt

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  1. Combine and cook on the stove or in a roaster oven.
  2. Stir frequently as it simmers on low to medium.
  3. The pumpkin butter is finished when it is thick, dark and stays put when spooned into peaks.
  4. Divide into jars, leaving ¼ empty at the top.
  5. Label and freeze.

 

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