Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Madi's Chicken and Rice: Easy Garlic Curry Style!

So, a while ago I tried out my brother's rice cooker that he "let me borrow" cause he's the bomb-dot-com. I first tried just plain white rice. It turned out PERFECT! The FIRST time! I couldn't believe that I had been trying to cook rice myself on a stove! What a fool I've been! Needless to say, he's never getting the thing back. I told my mom about the experience. 

Me: It's the best thing ever. I love it! 
Mom: You know they have whole recipe books for rice cookers? 
Mom: Yeah, I'll send you one of my recipes for steel cut oats.
(PS: I've yet to try the recipe but it's on the list)
Me: Awesome! (Proceeds to Google "rice cooker recipes") 

Did I mention, I love my momma? Well I do. Anyways. Back to present time. 

I was fretting about making dinner since my friend always seems to outdo me in that area. I tend to make mac and cheese or chicken nuggets while he makes real food. Yesterday I was surprised with tacos that could only be beaten by my mom's. Now how do you outdo tacos on a college budget?? What did I have? ... A rice cooker!! Faster than a slow cooker and better than my own skills, I decided to experiment with my rice cooker. 

After researching a few recipes, I found a Tuna Curry recipe that sparked my own creativity! Here's what I came up with:

1 1/2 cups white rice
1 14.5 oz can Chicken Broth
1 12.5 oz can of Chicken (don't drain! Dump it all in and if it's a little too chunky, mash up the chicken a bit)
1 cup Mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans was the one I used)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. Coriander (technically you want masala but this works too)
3 cloves of garlic minced
Pinch of salt

Directions (my favorite part of this recipe)
1. Throw it all in a rice cooker.
2. Stir it all together.
3. Close lid and press appropriate setting*

*Mine has a setting for white rice so I just pressed that. It cooked for about 35 min. 

Yeah. It's that stinkin' easy! And pretty cheap. The cumin, tumeric, and coriander (or masala) are kinda pricey (for a college student who lives on $10 a week) BUT they are a staple for anything curry. So I consider them worth getting since I like curry dishes. 

The Verdict: 

Taste test - Approved!
College budget - Approved! 
Difficulty - Super Easy! 
Serves - 4 (or two and you have leftovers! A college student's friend!)

Mashed Potatoes: Just in case you do fail...

I have tried making mashed potatoes many times. You would think it would be a snap, right? And they would always turn out perfect, right? 

I don't know what it is but for some reason, I have yet to make perfect mashed potatoes. Maybe one day... But for now I've gotten pretty good at improvising with what I have. I may not be the best cook, but I'm quite good at figuring out how to salvage a disaster of a dish.

Some of you may be asking: How in the world do you mess up mashed potatoes?? My answer (and my answer to almost anything you ask me): Magic. But seriously, it is often due to the cause that they are too... creamy? Milky? Not the thick mashed potatoes one usually gets. So if you're like me and have this problem, don't worry. I have hope and a solution for you!

FRY 'EM! Yes. You read that right. It's so very simple and is my answer for almost all my cooking problems. I do believe the movie Tangled was on to something when they showed the enormous potential of the frying pan. I personally have my own trusty frying pan that I acquired through my mom.
You go girl. 
Here's the trick. Don't add butter or Pam or vegetable oil. The extra liquid in the potatoes will do that job. And no one really wants the extra fat do they?
I will add a word of caution: have a guard of some sort over your frying pan (as a poor college student, I use a paper towel). This makes it so you don't get splattered with potatoes.

To make your fried mashed potato patties, heat up your pan a little and be ready with your cover for the pan. Then take a spoon full of your mashed potatoes and place it in the pan. Cover it and let it fry. When you see the sides browning, it's time to flip them. Don't worry if they fall apart. It still tastes good. When they are as brown as you want them, slide them onto a plate. Enjoy! (but don't burn your tongue!)

Use as a side with:
fried eggs
toast and cream cheese
chicken and waffles
dinosaur chicken nuggets <----- Favorite
teryaki sauce/soy sauce
or whatever you like with potatoes!

Another meal saved in a no fail way. Really the only way you can fail this recipe is if you don't have that guard and give yourself a burn. Ouch!