Dined Well

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own


Dad’s Chicken Enchiladas

My Dad is one of the best cooks I know, which is funny because it’s only within the last few years that he’s actually cooked for us. Growing up I don’t remember him cooking very much. He cooks according to feel and taste, and most of the time just makes things up. These are my favorite enchiladas of all time!

Sauce Ingredients:

1 bunch cilantro (finely chopped)

1 bunch green onions

1 medium onion

2-3 medium tomatoes

3-4 tomatillos

1 each of red, yellow & green bellpeppers

2 limes

4-5 chili peppers

some Jalapenos

1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2-1 tablespoon pepper

2 tablespoons minced garlic


Food process everything, cook on stove 30-45 minutes.

Filling Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breasts 3/4 inch diced

Cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

12+ oz grated mexican cheese

corn or flour tortillas


Brown chicken in skillet, add 1/2-1 cup sauce. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Add 1+ can of soup (or sour cream). Heat through and add mexican cheese.

Put some sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Put filling in tortillas and wrap. Fill the pan with wrapped enchiladas. Cover enchiladas with the remainder of the filling and then pour the rest of the sauce on top.

Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour. Add 4-8 oz more cheese to cover well, then bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.


 This recipe is also from my friend Jiyoung. Just experiment with the seasonings to find a good combination of tastes!


 Ground beef

Purple sweet potato starch noodles (from Asian store)

Red/yellow/orange peppers



Soy sauce

Brown sugar


Sesame oil

Sesame seed


Boil the sweet potato noodles. Cook ground beef with salt. Fry onions and peppers separately with salt. Steam spinach.

Drain and cool noodles with cold water and then place them in a large bowl. Cut the noodles with clean scissors into smaller, more manageable lengths.

Add vegetables and seasonings to the noodles to taste. Serve cold.


My sweet Korean friend Jiyoung taught me how to make Bulgogi. However, she cooks according to feel and was unable to give me exact measurements on the ingredients. She goes heavy on the soy sauce, light on the sesame oil, sesame seed and red pepper. You just have to experiment to find a taste you love.


 Beef (roast, sirloin, etc)


  • Onion
  • Green, red, yellow pepper
  • Carrots (matchstick)
  • Mushrooms

Soy sauce (from an Asian store, not any of the American junk)


Sesame oil

Sesame seed

Red pepper powder (also from an Asian store)

Garlic (at least 4 cloves)


Romaine lettuce leaves


Slice the beef into bite size strips and place in a large bowl. Add vegetables and seasonings (to taste) and mix thoroughly. In a large saucepan (or two) cook until meat is done. Do NOT drain the juices. As the meat cooks the juices will be absorbed. If you drain the juices, you will lose the delicious flavors. Serve with rice on a lettuce leaf and enjoy!

Tikka Masala

Tikka Masala

Cook Time: 60 minutes plus prep time (chicken must be marinaded overnight)

Serves: 6


Masala Marinade:
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper


2 pounds chicken breasts (about 3-4 chicken breasts) (Can also be made with shrimp, lamb, and/or vegetables)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala (if you don’t want to buy this spice blend, google “make your own garam masala” to check out some homemade versions)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (last time the garam masala recipe I found contained a lot of cayenne pepper. In the future I’ll go easy on the cayenne pepper because it was a little bit too much.)
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
16-ounce can tomato sauce
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish: lots of fresh cilantro


  1. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate covered overnight.
  2. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
  3. In a large enameled cast-iron dutch oven or a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chili powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce and the sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes. While the mixture begins to simmer, remove the chicken from the marinade and cut into bite-sized pieces. Throw the chicken into the pot of simmering tomato sauce. Continue simmering/cooking the chicken, partially covered, for an additional 10-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened just slightly. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Serve with lots of fresh cilantro over hot, steamed rice. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days after making, reheat gently before serving.

This recipe is from: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/05/chicken-tikka-masala-2.html

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Cook Time: 55 Minutes

Serves: 5 as a main course

Broccoli Cheese Casserole


  • 2 pounds broccoli, stems removed, large florets cut, yielding about 8 cups of broccoli florets (I have also used Cauliflower)
  • Salt for blanching water
  • 2 strips of thick-cut bacon (about 2 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide strips (When I don’t have fresh bacon, I use bacon bits)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I haven’t tried the recipe with Dijon mustard because I keep forgetting to buy it, but it sounds yummy!)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (one of these days I’m going to experiment with different kinds of cheese)


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water). Add the broccoli florets and boil for 3-5 minutes or until just tender enough so that a fork can easily pierce the floret, but still firm. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

2. While the water in step one is coming to a boil, cook the bacon pieces on medium heat in a frying pan until lightly browned, but not crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. In a bowl, whisk the eggs into the flour, then whisk in the cream and milk. Add the black pepper (more or less to taste), salt, and mustard. Mix in about a third of the cheese.

4. Place the parboiled broccoli florets in the casserole dish, sprinkling about a third of the cheese over the broccoli florets as you lay them down. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the broccoli. Pour the egg, cream, milk, cheese mixture over the broccoli, moving the broccoli pieces a bit so that the mixture gets into all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining cheese.

5. Bake for 25-40 minutes, or until set. Once the top has browned, you may want to tent with aluminum foil to keep from burning.

This recipe is from: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/broccoli_cheese_casserole/