September 22, 2014

About Dana Kim

Dana Kim – Blog Contributor
Dana currently lives in Hollywood, California, with her husband and two children. She is currently learning to cook traditional Korean food, to teach her daughters about their heritage and culture. She loves trying all different kinds of recipes and is happy to share those recipes here!

Chicken and Rice

 

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This is a recipe I learned when I was in 7th grade Home Economics. (Do they still offer that in schools?)  I liked it so much, I brought the recipe home and asked my Mom if I could make dinner for the family for the first time.  I did – and it was a success!  How’s that for boosting your kitchen self-confidence?  Your kids can make this too:  Chicken and Rice!

There are any number of variations you do make:  add onions or garlic to the rice.  Sauté the mushrooms in wine and herbs before you add them to the casserole.  Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing first.  Parboil brown rice and use that instead of white rice.  The sky is the limit, or you can keep it simple.  I made it like this last night and my whole family loved it.  Yours will too!

Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of milk (see below)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.  In a large casserole or baking dish, spray some cooking spray on the bottom and sides.  Evenly place the six chicken thighs in the dish.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, empty the can of cream of mushroom soup.  Fill that empty can with milk and mix with the soup.  Add in the rice.  Chop the mushrooms and add to the soup mixture.  Add salt and pepper, stir, and pour over the chicken.  You want the rice mixture to be evenly distributed in the dish.  Depending on the size of your dish, that may mean it nearly covers the chicken, or not even halfway.  Just spread it out so it lies pretty flat.
  3. Cover the dish with foil and bake for an hour.  Check for doneness – you want the thighs to be 175*F.  Serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

 

Sriracha Butter

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Are you a griller?  Admittedly, I am not.  The two things I avoid, as far as cooking goes, are baking with yeast (it hates me and refuses to cooperate) and the grill.  I love it when my husband or my Dad grill up something, and I will prepare everything for the fire—as long as I am not the one doing it.  Why?  I don’t know.  I’ve never done it and I guess I’m intimidated.  So even though we live in sunny Southern California, we eat pan-fried steaks much more often than grilled.  Sound boring?  Not when you serve them with Sriracha Butter!

This is a Martha Stewart recipe I found in the back of her magazine this summer.  If you haven’t tried it yet, Sriracha is a brand of hot sauce that is beloved for it’s spicy, fruity bite.  If you don’t have Sriracha handy, try another hot sauce – just not something that’s got too much fire!  The other ingredient that makes this butter special is the anchovies.  I didn’t have any, but I always have a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge (for this Caesar salad recipe and this Green Goddess dressing).  HINT: Any time you see an anchovy fillet in a recipe, you can substitute one inch of anchovy paste.

We ate this on sirloin steaks that were very lean, so the added flavor and fat from the butter were a welcome addition.  My spice-shy daughter loved it and even put some on her steamed cauliflower!  Ready to try it?  Let’s go!

Sriracha Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced (or use a 2-inch squeeze of anchovy paste)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or other chili sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste (I didn’t add any extra salt to mine)

Directions:

  1. Mash the softened butter together with the anchovies, Sriracha, and garlic.  Taste to see if you want any more salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Melt on steaks, cooked vegetables, or potatoes.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Chickpea Cranberry Salad

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When I was in 10th grade, I decided to become a vegetarian.  My mom made no objections, but she did make it known that it was up to me to make sure I was eating a balanced diet, and that I should do some research.  “You can’t live on cheese sandwiches!” she told me more than once.  So I read up (in actual books.  It would have been so much easier to go online, but the internet hadn’t been invented yet!) and found out which foods were good sources of vegetable protein.  Chickpeas are your meatless champions!  Try this Chickpea Cranberry Salad and see for yourself!

Whether you are a vegetarian (or making lunch for someone who is), or if you just want a few meatless options, chickpeas are your friend.  Stock up on canned chickpeas for making hummus or adding to soups and salads.  I like to buy them dried.  They’re cheap and they pretty much last forever in your pantry.  Soaking them the night before you make this will cut down on cooking time, and also helps eliminate some of the chemicals that can cause gas and bloating in more sensitive tummies.  I like them better this way, because you can cook them to your preference—you can make them soft like the canned kind, or (and I highly recommend this) a little bit al dente.  The toothsome texture makes them seem more filling to me.

Serve this Chickpea Cranberry Salad between slices of bread, like a sandwich, or wrap it in lettuce.  Out of lettuce, like I was?  Use half of a sweet bell pepper as a taco shell!  Crunchy, delicious, meatless, marvelous!

Chickpea Cranberry Salad

(makes two servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (or use 1 regular can of chickpeas)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. The night before you make the salad, pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover with water by at least an inch or two.  Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter overnight.
  2. After soaking, drain the chickpeas.  Place in a pan and cover with water.  Simmer, covered, for about an hour.  Taste one and see if you like the texture.  Cook longer if you like.  When done, drain off the water and pour the chickpeas into a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork.  I like to leave them a little chunky.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Tarragon Green Bean Salad

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Green beans – get ‘em while they’re hot!  Or cold.  They’re in season now, so green beans are cheap and plentiful.  My husband likes them best splashed with olive oil and roasted in the oven, but sometimes you don’t want to heat up the house.  For a yummy, summery green bean dish that’s delicious warm or cold, try this Tarragon Green Bean Salad!

Fresh herbs are a joy, and this recipe uses parsley, tarragon, and green onions.  Technically this may be a green goddess salad dressing, and it IS wonderful on a salad with fresh tomatoes.  You will have enough dressing left over to do just that!  Make the dressing while the beans are cooking and this recipe is ready in a snap.  Let’s go!

Tarragon Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch squeeze of anchovy paste or one small anchovy fillet (you can sub soy sauce if you must)
  • 1 fist full of parsley
  • 1 fist full of tarragon leaves
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt (or sub sour cream)
  • juice of 1 lemon (or sub tarragon vinegar, if you’re fancy!)

Directions:

  1. Prep the green beans:  cut off tops and tails and cut the beans into 1-inch pieces.  Put the beans in a covered dish with some water and cover.  Microwave for about six minutes.  You want the beans tender-crisp.
  2. While the beans are steaming, make the dressing:  Blend all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.  It doesn’t have to be homogeneously smooth, but you don’t want to bite down on a big chunk of garlic!
  3. To serve:  Toss the beans in half of the dressing.  Serve warm, or refrigerate until ready to serve.  It’s great cold too, especially with grilled meats.  Serve the leftover dressing with salad and tomatoes, or use it as a dip for carrots and peppers.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Korean-Style Tuna Salad

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Now that school is starting up again, it’s time for some lunchbox ideas.  One of my favorites as a kid was tuna salad.  Growing up, I had it only two ways:  with mayonnaise, and the way my Mom made it, which was with mayo and chopped celery.  It wasn’t until I was in high school that I had tuna salad made with mayo and pickle relish.  (Thanks, Mrs. Carson!)  It’s really easy to believe that a food will only taste good if prepared in the way you’re familiar with.  I mean, even 15 years ago, I would have been hard-pressed to believe that I would like tuna salad made without mayonnaise.  But old dogs can learn new tricks, so here I present to you:  Korean-Style Tuna Salad!

My husband asked me to make this for him several years ago, because this is the way he grew up eating canned tuna.  Believe it or not, Koreans do enjoy tuna salad, and even make a dish called Tuna Kimbap with it – tuna salad rolled up in rice and seaweed (kind of a Korean sushi roll.)  In this Korean-style dish, the mayonnaise is gone, replaced by savory sesame oil.  The celery is joined by minced carrot and green onion, and the whole dish is seasoned with a little vinegar and a healthy shake of sesame seeds.  It’s a whole new take on tuna!

Try this wrapped in lettuce or served on crackers for lunch.  Ready to break out of your comfort food comfort zone?  Let’s go!

Korean-Style Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans tuna, drained
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or use lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the tuna.
  2. Finely mince the green onion, carrot, and celery.  Add to the tuna.
  3. Pour in the sesame oil and rice vinegar.  Toss to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds and salt. Crush them together with the back of a spoon until most of the seeds are crushed.  (You can also do this quickly in a mortar and pestle, if you have one.)  Pour the sesame seed salt mixture over the tuna and mix well.  Taste – now you can add more sesame oil, vinegar, or salt.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

 

Fruity Energy Bars

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I’ve got a lot of hoops to jump through when it comes to making snacks for my girls.  I try to eat Paleo myself, and while I do serve my girls grains and legumes, I am always searching for recipes that rely on Paleo ingredients first.  Next, my older daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.  That eliminates a giant swath of choices in the Paleo category, which excludes grains in favor of nuts.  So for baking, that leaves me either coconut products (which we love and use often), or seeds, like pepitas or sunflower seeds.  I found a recipe that sounded good, reconfigured it for our needs, and now I proudly present:  Fruity Energy Bars!

In the grocery store, you’ll find half an aisle dedicated to energy and granola bars.  I love them and I love that, for the most part, they’re healthy and nutritious.  They are, however, kind of pricy – sometimes two or three dollars a bar!  And it seems like the ones with the fewer ingredients are even more expensive!  (I’m looking at you, Larabar!)  Now, these Fruity Energy Bars couldn’t be quicker – just three minutes in the food processor, and about half an hour to chill and firm up.  I think you could easily exchange the dried cranberries for another dried fruit – apples, apricots, raisins, prunes, or cherries would all work.  If you want to use nuts instead of sunflower seeds, try almonds or walnuts.  They do warm up very quickly and get soft, so keep them in the fridge until ready to eat.  Ready?  Get energized!

Fruity Energy Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (I used roasted and salted)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pour all the ingredients into the bowl of  your food processor.  Pulse to blend, then mix for about 3 minutes.  You can blend it all the way together and it will form a ball, but I took mine out before that so I could still have a little texture to the bars – kind of like the consistency of sticky sand.
  2. Line an 8×8 pan with plastic wrap, or grease with a little coconut oil.  Press the mixture into the pan and press down with the back of a big spoon.  Refrigerate for at least half an hour.  Cut into 1″x4″ bars.  Get energized and go be productive!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

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To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Machine Needed!)

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A few months ago, my daughter made vanilla ice cream in her kindergarten class.  She raved about how fun it was to make it, and how the finished product was delicious.  Well, I took her story with a grain of salt (unintentional pun!) because 6 year-olds aren’t really known for their discriminating pallets.  But I researched online, found a recipe, and decided to give it a whirl.  And you know what?  If anything, she undersold it!  This stuff is fantastic!  Here’s my recipe for Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.

We don’t have an ice cream machine.  It sounds like kind of a waste of space, because it’s not something I’d use too often.  The only equipment this recipe needs is two Ziploc bags!  The technique is easy and is perfect for kids to make.  All the recipes online were the same, so I used one (of several) you can find with a Google search.  But what’s even better than vanilla ice cream?  Strawberry ice cream!  Instead of just sprinkling chopped fruit on top, I made a strawberry puree that, when mixed into the vanilla ice cream, makes a strawberry ice cream as good (or better!) than anything you can get at the grocery store.  Also, the serving size is just right.  It’s big enough that you can satisfy two kids with this recipe, and get a taste or two for yourself.  But it’s small enough that you won’t beat yourself up if you eat the whole thing yourself!

Becky puts in some sweat equity

Becky puts in some sweat equity

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Machine Needed!)

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Puree:

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup half-and-half (or use 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rock salt or kosher salt (whatever you can find that has big grains of salt, the bigger the better)
  • ice
  • sandwich-sized Ziploc bag
  • gallon-sized Ziploc bag

Directions:

  1. First make the strawberry puree:  Wash, hull, and quarter the strawberries.  Over medium-low heat, mix together the strawberries, honey, and water.  Mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher, but leave some chunks.  Cook on low for about 20 minutes until reduced and thickened a little.  Don’t let it burn!  Take off the heat.  (You can do this the day before, if you want.  Just pop it in the fridge when you’re done letting it cool.)
  2. For the ice cream:  In a bowl, stir together the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour the mixture into the small Ziploc bag and make double sure it’s sealed well.
  3. Fill the large Ziploc bag halfway with ice and the salt.  Add the small bag to the ice, then cover with a little more ice.
  4. Shake!
  5. Shake!
  6. Shake!  (My bag got really cold, really fast, so I had to wrap it in a towel so it didn’t hurt my hands.)  Shake for about ten minutes.  You can squeeze the ice cream bag and tell when it’s frozen.
  7. Serve the vanilla ice cream with the strawberry puree.  Voila!
Sweet success!

Sweet success!

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Summer Vegetable Curry

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If you think about it, there is a lot of overlap between summer produce here in the United States, and what shows up on Indian food menus.  That’s because what grows where it’s hot there is also what grows in the summer here.  Lots of Indian dishes feature zucchini (also called courgettes), onions, eggplants, and tomatoes – all things coming into season now!  Why not try this Summer Vegetable Curry?

You really can’t mess this up or go wrong.  Don’t like garbanzo beans?  Use another bean, or switch them out for green peas or bite-sized green beans.  Like it spicy?  Add some chopped jalapeños or another chili of your choice.  Use whatever curry powder you have.  Out of coconut milk?  Use water or broth instead.  I didn’t have any cilantro, or I would have chopped up a few tablespoons to stir in right before serving.  See?  There is no wrong way.

For a vegetarian meal, double the amount of beans and serve over basmati rice.  Paleo?  Skip the beans altogether and serve this curry as a side dish to your favorite protein.  Ready?  Let’s go!

Summer Vegetable Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter, or oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2  can coconut milk
  • 2 skinny eggplants
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 can garbanzo beans or 1 cup of rehydrated and cooked dried garbanzos
  • cilantro, raw tomato, and rice (optional)  for serving

Directions:

  1. In a very large pot, heat the ghee or butter.  Chop the onion and add to the pot, along with the mustard and cumin seeds.  Fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.  Then add the curry powder and coconut milk and reduce heat.
  2. Cut the eggplants and zucchinis into thin half-moons.  Add to the pot, stir to mix, and cover.  Cook over low heat for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Taste for seasoning – add salt or more curry powder if you like.  Stir in the garbanzos and heat through.
  4. Serve with chopped tomato and minced cilantro.  Serve over rice if you like.

This is definitely one of those recipes that is even better the next day, and it’s easy to reheat.  Have some for dinner tonight and save some for lunch tomorrow!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Bacon Corn Fritters

Last week at the grocery store, my older girl informed me that she had never had corn on the cob.  What kind of monster am I to deprive her of that experience? We bought corn and she liked it.  Then more corn came in my CSA box, and I was stumped: what else can I do with it? I like this recipe but I wanted to try something new. So I flipped open this old dear:

danamennoniteckbk

And I stumbled upon this recipe for corn fritters. Yum! But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I added bacon and summer squash to mine. My new recipe: Bacon Corn Fritters!

These mix up quickly and fry quickly too. My girls ate these like pancakes with a little maple syrup. I ate mine with a dollop of plain yogurt (or you can use sour cream) and some shredded cheddar cheese. Fantastic! I bet these would be great with some cheese and lots of fresh sliced tomatoes. Sound interesting? Let’s go!

Bacon Corn Fritters

danabaconcornfritters

· 3-5 slices of bacon, diced
· 3 ears fresh corn
· 2 zucchini
· 2 eggs
· ¼ cup flour
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1/8 teaspoon pepper
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (or use sour cream, or whole milk)

Directions:
1. In a large pan, fry the bacon. When crispy, remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan!
2. Using a box grater, grate the corn from the cob into a bowl. Grate the zucchini too.
3. Beat the eggs, and then add to the corn and zucchini. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and yogurt.
4. Heat the pan again. Drop the corn batter by large spoonsful into the hot bacon fat. Flip and brown again.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Kale and Barley Salad

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My husband and I eat mostly Paleo.  That means we avoid grains.  But occasionally, I do eat whole grains like barley, wheat berries, or quinoa.  I like their hearty texture and nutty flavor.  They go especially well with greens, as in this Kale and Barley Salad.

You pretty much cover all the bases with this one:  leafy green kale, salty feta, tart dried cranberries (or cherries, or raisins), rich walnuts, and a dressing with a balance of sweet and savory to tie it all together.  You can make this hours ahead of time – even in the morning – and the kale will still have a sturdy texture.  I even eat the leftovers the next day and the kale is chewy and wonderful.  Can’t say that about a lettuce salad!

Try this with pearl barley, wheat berries, or quinoa.  Let me know what you think!

Kale and Barley Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Directions:

  1. Boil one cup of salted water.  When the water boils, add barley and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until done and the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.  (Depending on the grain you’re using and other factors, these directions may vary.  Use your best judgment.)
  2. While the barley is cooking, prepare the kale:  Tear bite-sized pieces off the tough ribs and wash thoroughly.  Spin dry and place in a very large bowl.
  3. Make the dressing:  In a bowl, combine tahini, vinegar, honey, and soy sauce.  Mix in oil.  Pour it over the kale and mix it in with your hand.  Really!  Get in there and massage and squeeze the kale, to make the dressing stick and soften up the tough leaves.
  4. Add the barley, cranberries, feta, and walnuts.  Toss again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!