Friday, January 11, 2008

Fail-proof New Year's resolutions

I’m not a New Year’s resolutions kind of girl.

I’m all for setting goals in the name of self-improvement but I don’t like the completely unrealistic and wildly ambitious resolutions that are de rigueur this time of year.

Low expectations are a better strategy. Which is why I have decided to make two fail-proof resolutions for 2008: 1) cook more, and 2) bring lunch to work at least three times a week.

Now, I love to cook but I only put time and effort into it when I have friends over. It’s no fun to make a nice meal when you live alone.

The trick to cooking more often is to invite people over more often. Which is where my sister Anne comes in. She is the perfect guinea pig for my culinary experiments. First of all, she’s family so I can force her to come over every Sunday night for dinner. Second of all, she’s a student and no student alive would turn down a free, home-cooked meal.

So that’s the plan. Every Sunday night my sister will come over for dinner. I will cook massive quantities of food and then I’ll bring the leftovers to work for lunch. New Year’s resolutions resolved!

To help keep me motivated, I thought I’d post my Sunday Night Supper Club recipes on-line every week. (Warning: I tend to go heavy on the garlic, ginger and chili peppers. Feel free to adjust recipes to suit your own taste.)


Sunday, January 6, 2008

No-frills spicy jerk chicken served with bean casserole and a green salad


3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning (you can find jars of jerk seasoning at most supermarkets or google the ingredients to make your own)
1 tablespoon dried chili pepper flakes
Black pepper to taste

Mix the jerk seasoning with the vegetable stock to make a marinade. Place uncooked chicken thighs in a baking dish. Coat with jerk marinade. Thinly slice garlic. Stuff some garlic slices in chicken and let the rest stew in the marinade. Top with some ground pepper and chili flakes. Cover and marinate in fridge for at least an hour. When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 and bake (covered with aluminum foil) on middle rack for about 45 minutes.


2 cans Heinz beans & tomato sauce
1 can (19 oz or 14 oz) mixed beans (drained and rinsed -- not marinated)
1 diced red pepper
2 green onions
1 tablespoon dried chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
All the garlic you can stomach

Combine all the ingredients in a baking dish and bake on the middle rack at 350 for half an hour. Cover with aluminum foil and uncover for the last 10 minutes. I put it in the oven at the same time as the chicken and cooked both dishes together for 45 minutes. Easy!

I served the meal with a bottle of Reed’s ginger brew and an organic green salad, topped with my famous “quick and dirty salad dressing” (two parts extra virgin olive oil, one part balsamic vinegar, one clove raw garlic minced, a pinch of sea salt, some ground black pepper).

THE VERDICT: Spicy, delicious and super easy! Leftovers lasted until Wednesday. Here's a picture of my sister giving it the thumbs up (she's not giving it the thumbs up with her hand or anything but I know she's giving it a mental thumbs up).

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