There are several recipes that I turn to when I want to cook something fast, favorites that I can almost cook on autopilot. They're recipes that I find myself craving, so the ease in cooking them doesn't mean that taste is ever sacrificed. I made both these meals on separate nights this week when I was tired and wanted a comforting meal.
The first meal is a wonderful Deborah Madison recipe, Pilaf With Tomatoes and Chickpeas, that can be served wrapped in tortillas or alone with cheese sprinkled on top. This dish tastes best when it's made with freshly picked tomatoes. But, canned tomatoes are fine too.
Another recipe that I made was boneless chicken thighs with Thai flavors. I don't like it as much as the pilaf recipe, but I do enjoy the Asian flavors and the generous amount of herbs. Plus, it's low in calories. Although you have to marinate the chicken for an hour, the actual work to fix this is about 15 minutes. The marinade is very nice, and includes fish sauce which I urge you to try if you've never done so. It's a marvelous ingredient that sounds awful to some people. A small bottle of it usually costs around $3, so give it a try. You may fall in love with it. Just remember, there was a time when many people never had soy sauce and wouldn't buy it because it was "strange" to them. Now most people regard it as a staple item in their pantry.
I'm just saying.....fish sauce. Think about it.
Chickpea and Tomato Pilaf (Deborah Madison, The Savory Way)
1 cup long grain white rice
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 thyme branches or a pinch of thyme
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped or 1 15 ounce can of tomatoes drained and chopped
1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
chopped parsley for garnish
Melt butter in a heavy soup pot with the bay leaf, garlic and thyme. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes. Then add the chickpeas and continue cooking until the tomato mixture cooks down into a thick past, 10 to 20 minutes.
Add the stock to the tomatoes and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and add the rice. Cover and reduce heat, cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice set for undisturbed for 30 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and add parsley.
Thai Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Lime (Food & Wine)
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of all visible fat
Freshly ground pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2-1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1-1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lime wedges, for serving
1. Season the chicken with pepper. In a bowl, mix the garlic with 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the fish sauce, brown sugar and chili powder; rub over the chicken and let stand for up to 1 hour.
2. In a small bowl, toss the remaining cilantro with the basil and mint. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces. Transfer the chicken to a platter and scatter the herbs all over. Serve with the lime wedges.
SERVE WITH Brown rice.
One Serving 274 cal, 14 gm fat, 2.7 gm saturated fat, 2 gm carb, 0 gm fiber.