Posted by: Lauren | January 23, 2010

3 completely different dinners

First, I have to say:

CONGRATULATIONS to my sister-in-law, Emily and her husband Steve on the birth of their sweet baby boy, Samuel!!!!!! Oh he is so so precious and we can’t wait to go down to Dallas and meet him!


The following 3 dinners that I’ve made the past week are so completely different, but I don’t take sides, I enjoyed them all.

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry

New England Clam Chowder

Organic Beef Burgers

You can find the original recipe for the curry here (Cooking Light) and the Chowder here. The burgers were all my own, baby.

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry


I’ve made this before, and put it on the blog (guess I really like it?), but here is the recipe that I slightly adapted (in italics). I definitely recommend it, and it’s awesome for leftovers. My sweet in-laws came over and had it too!

  • 2  teaspoons  curry powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper (I used prob 1/8 cayenne)
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 lb)
  • 1 1/2  cups  vertically sliced onion (whole onion)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2  cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
  • 3/4  cup  canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (whole can)
  • 1/2  cup  frozen green peas (1 cup)
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice (I used 1st time, but not 2nd)

1. Combine curry powder, coriander, turmeric, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and bay leaf in a small bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high; return chicken to pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add curry powder mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in potato and chickpeas. Cook, uncovered, 30 minutes. Add peas; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Discard bay leaf. (Lauren’s note: sweet potatoes can be added earlier-they take longer to cook than the recommended time.)

I served it over whole wheat cous cous.


This is the way we roll around here. When people come over for dinner, we’re sitting at the island, sitting at the table, on the couch, standing around. Nothing formal in this house. The idea of a big farmhouse table with loved ones all around it is a nice idea for the future, though…

Yummy spices:



New England Clam Chowder

Again, you can go here for the recipe. (The only things I changed were using only about a tsp. of canola oil instead of 2 Tblsp. of veg oil, and many dashes of hot sauce.)

Joe requested clam chowder, and seeing as he doesn’t care about food nearly as much as me, I was happy to meet his request. And he made it with me!


Oh and you see that garnish there? Yup, it’s supposed to be parsley. I bought cilantro. Oops. Those ugly looking spots are Frank’s hot sauce. Yum.





My new favorite dressing: Newman’s Own Organic Low Fat Asian. Soooo good! It is light but really, really flavorful, with almost a spicy kick at the end. I’ve had soy/ginger dressings that I don’t care for, but this Asian dressing was very different.



Organic Beef Burgers

IMG_0861 IMG_0860

Ok, guys, this one I am excited about. As some may know, I’m not much of a beef fan, but the other day, I randomly had a big craving for a burger. Then I was thinking about a burger cooked out on the grill, with the sweetest ear of corn fresh from my parents’ garden, and it got me in a total summer nostalgic mood… But anyways, back to the burger. Crazy thing was, my mom grilled burgers that night, and I had no clue! Guess who’s house we went to for lunch on Sunday? Yeah, that’s right.

It doesn’t end there. Maybe my iron is low, maybe I’m not getting enough protein (doubtful), but I wanted another one days later. So while at Trader Joe’s I bought a pound of their organic lean (92/8) ground beef, and a package of whole wheat buns. I know I’ve talked about Costco’s organic ground beef that we use for chili and really like, but I wanted something extra lean since we don’t have a grill to cook it on (nor would I use it in the freezing rain), and I didn’t want a really greasy burger.

So this what I threw in the bowl, and hoped it would all taste good. I also used a few tricks I learned from my dear friend, Rach, and all those times we spent together after school. My other good friend, Giada, doesn’t really make burgers, so I have no tricks from her. I did the pseudo measuring as RR does, as well as quartering the slab o’ meat with indentations to have perfectly portioned burgers.

Recipe (approx. measurements):

1 lb lean ground beef (I swear organic tastes better)

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 Tablespoons dried minced onions

Good sprinkle of paprika

Good sprinkle of garlic powder

Before mixing up meat, heat a lightly greased or non stick pan on high. Mix meat, form into four patties, and place on hot skillet. (Good tip: make sure your burgers aren’t really thick:really pat them down, and even do an indent in the middle, because they shrink up as you cook them, and who likes it when they have so much bun and a tiny, thick burger on it?) You can reduce heat to medium/medium-high. Cook for about 5 minutes each side(?). I shut the heat off and covered with lid for about a minute.) Mine were medium cooked, and so juicy, a perfect combo in my opinion.

Served with some roasted green beans.


Joe’s asking when we are going to have these again, and honestly, probably next week!


I saw this verse, and it got me thinking about summer again, much like the burgers. I’m trying to be content whatever season it may be, not wishing away time, but there is just something, I don’t know, incredibly awesome about summer. I LOVE a warm night with a gentle breeze, laying on your back or craning your neck to stare up at a huge black sky filling with glowing stars.

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers-the moon and the stars you have set in place-what are mere mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?” Psalm 8: 3-4





  1. Congrats to your SIL! I love the photo of those spices all together. AND making your own food (that you could get from a restaurant) just tastes so much better not to mention saving $$$.

  2. Organic beef burgers are awesome. My client – La Cense Beef- offers organic beef burgers that are delicious.

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