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Lazy Cooking (October 22, 2015)

Chinese Ketchup Shrimp
15-Minute Stroganoffs
Spanish Paella with Chicken and Garden Vegetables
Red Pepper Chicken
Spiced Lentils with Yogurt, Almonds and Mint
Melt in the Middle Mug Cake
Doritos Crumbs

Gotta eat, but tired of take out, frozen or leftovers? Who doesn't want something fresh, but nobody wants to spend more time in the kitchen if we don't have to! Please! Help me!

And indeed, we relaxed on the sofa while cruising cookbooks to find fun, fast and easy recipes that didn't skimp on taste or freshness, and indeed turned up a good batch... none requiring much of any work and, for the most part, ready in a hurry!

We started with Amazing Food Hacks, truly one of the most fun and utterly readable little cookbooks we've seen lately! The founding editor of Buzzfeed (the utterly priceless source for viral content on the web), Peggy Wang, has pulled together 75 crazy-brilliant recipes to immediately eat "stuff that tastes good" even if you're not sure how to turn on your oven! We stopped laughing long enough to try Sriracha popcorn and Melt in your Mouth Yogurt Drops and we're hooked. Wang has terrific food and kitchen tips too; whether you're a gourmet cook or in the kitchen on your own for the first time, this book is for you... and what a great, fun gift!

What can be lazier than a slow cooker? Put in the ingredients, and voila! Hours later and steaming hot, your meal is ready! Our Home Economics colleague Donna-Marie Pye has put her 200 favourite recipes into Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes, with some wonderful surprises you didn't think you could do in this labour-saving appliance! While these are plan-ahead recipes, the point is after you've assembled the ingredients in your cooker, you come back hours later to a no-work, dinner-ready meal! Pour the wine!

Kraft Kitchens New Classics is a gem of updated retro food, much of it in the "comfort" category, that will turn the least competent kitchen person into a genuine cook! The collection is Kraft's most-requested recipes and, as we mentioned in an earlier column, contains great ideas like Easy Dinner Melts and 15-Minute Soft Tacos. One of our favourites is the Stove Top One-Dish Bake, which has it all... speed and simplicity, with a delicious hot meal in minutes.

Woman's Day Magazine has been around forever, and they just keep getting better and better; we've used their recipes for years, always with great success. Haven't checked it out lately? Wait no longer to reacquaint yourself with this trusty old friend: And contact Woman's Day about recipes, crafts, product information or any other magazine-content related issue:

We keep 250 Best Meals in a Mug by Camilla Saulsbury on the A List cookbook shelf, as we fell in love with this concept, and whip up tasty eats in minutes from Camilla's ideas! Whether you're dining solo or you're pressed for time – or both – meals in a mug are the perfect solution. Saulsbury has stripped away all the time-consuming steps as well as all the artificial ingredients found in boxed meals, and made it possible to make a fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meal for yourself and still have time to savor every bite. Camilla Saulsbury is a writer, recipe developer, fitness trainer, endurance athlete and creator of the blog Power Hungry. She's the real thing, and so is 250 Best Meals in a Mug. A must-have!

Instant gratification! Mug Cakes by Lene Knudsen gives us over 30 quick recipes and delicious sweet treats that you have in your hot little hands in less than 5 minutes. Sigh, your old favourite cakes such as lemon, carrot, and a bevy of chocolate delights, and updated treats such as green tea and raspberries or blueberry and ricotta cakes can be yours in a few minutes. Go ahead, you deserve the rewards!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (139 KB)



Chinese Ketchup Shrimp

Chinese Ketchup Shrimp

Don't be put off by the idea of ketchup, when it's cooked down it becomes a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy sauce for the shrimp. Perfect with that leftover white rice... cancel the Chinese delivery, sweetheart, we're eating our own! From Amazing Food Hacks.

Serves 2

  • 1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound medium unpeeled shrimp
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until browned, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sesame oil and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add ketchup and cook until all the shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Tony's wine recommendation:
German Riesling Kabinett or Viognier



15-Minute Stroganoffs

15-Minute Stroganoffs

Whoa! 15 minutes? Let's get started, and the Kraft kitchens are going to show you how! Their terrific cookbook New Classics is a compendium of their most requested recipes made simple, and still fresh and delicious! It's one you keep on the A List shelf.

Serves 4

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Cook 1 pound of meat (see below), and 1 onion, chopped, in a large skillet with a little oil. Add veggies/fruit (see below), a handful per person.
    • Meat: Boneless, skinless chicken sliced or Sirloin steak, sliced or Pork tenderloin, sliced or go meatless.
    • Veggies: Pepper strips, or sliced mushrooms, or sliced apples or sliced mushrooms & frozen mixed veggies.
  2. Add 2 cups broth and 2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles. Bring to boil; cover. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in 1 cup sour cream or 1 tub (8 oz.) cream cheese spread; cover. Let stand 5 minutes.


Tony's wine recommendation:
Beaujolais-Villages,Valpolicella, Ontario Pinot Noir



Spanish Paella with Chicken and Garden Vegetables

Spanish Paella with Chicken and Garden Vegetables

We love paella, but standing over a hot pan stirring and cooking and adding ingredients for what seems like hours is just not something we want to do regularly. Aha... here's the easier way! This recipe is redolent of Spanish flavours we love, and best, when you do the work ahead, it's all ready to enjoy by simply lifting the lid. ¡Olé, Olé, Olé!

Donna-Marie's Tip: For an easier version, substitute 2 cups thawed frozen mixed vegetables for the red pepper, zucchini and peas. Stir in about 20 minutes before the end of cooking.

Helen and Ron's Tip: at the same time throw in 1/2 pound cooked shrimp.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 lb smoked hot sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain parboiled (converted) white rice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
  2. Add onion to skillet and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender and translucent. Stir in garlic, tomatoes with juice, sausage, broth, rice, thyme and saffron; cook for 5 minutes. Spoon over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and rice is tender. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking stir in red pepper, zucchini and peas.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Albariño, Soave, unoaked Chardonnay



Red Pepper Chicken

Red Pepper Chicken

Oh is this easy! 3 ingredients and assembled in 10 minutes. While the chicken roasts for 30 minutes, relax with your guests over a glass of wine! From Women's Day magazine.

Serves 4

  • 1 packet Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin
  • 4 chicken breasts with skin and bone
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  1. Heat oven to 450°F. You'll need a roasting pan coated with 1 tsp oil. Place 2 Tbsp Boursin under skin of each breast. Press down on skin to evenly distribute Boursin on top of breast. Place breasts in pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.
  2. Roast 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken. Add peppers to pan; place over medium heat. Stir, scraping up browned bits from pan, until peppers are hot. Process in food processor until smooth. Serve with chicken.
  4. Different Takes: Use Shallot & Chive Boursin instead of Garlic & Fine Herbs; Sprinkle chicken skin with some dried thyme before roasting; Stir a little sliced fresh basil into sauce.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé



Spiced Lentils with Yogurt, Almonds and Mint

Spiced Lentils with Yogurt, Almonds and Mint

A perfect solo dinner on a cold, rainy night; zesty tomatoes and chilies, warm spices and earthy lentils are the stars in this vegetarian mug. The trio of toppings, yogurt, almonds and fresh mint, heightens the wow factor! Yum. From 250 Best Meals in a Mug by Camilla Saulsbury.

Need: 16 oz (500 mL) mug

  • 1 cup rinsed drained canned lentils
  • 1/2 can (10 oz/285 mL) diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped roosted salted almonds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  1. In the mug, combine lentils, tomatoes, cumin, ginger and hot pepper sauce.
  2. Microwave on High for 1½ to 2½ minutes or until hot. Top with yogurt and sprinkle with almonds and mint.

Suggested Accompaniment: Warm Naan, pita or flour tortilla

Tony's wine recommendation:
Gewurztraminer, off-dry Riesling



Melt in the Middle Mug Cake

Melt in the Middle Mug Cake

You NEED chocolate and you NEED it now! How about it in less than 2 minutes? Thought so! Possibly the most decadent dessert going, so enjoy it slowly. Hahahahahahah. Well, make another, then! From: Mug Cakes by Lene Knudsen.

  • 1 slice of butter 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 2 tsp light cream
  • 2½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 or 3 squares of milk chocolate
  1. Melt the butter in a bowl for 20 seconds at 800 watts.
  2. In a mug: beat in one by one the egg, sugar, vanilla sugar, cream, cocoa, flour, baking powder and melted butter.
  3. Push the squares of milk chocolate into the middle of the mixture.
  4. Cook in the microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds at 800 watts.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Late bottled Vintage Port, cream sherry



Doritos Crumbs

And finally... Doritos Crumbs

Confess, you once wished that everything was Dorito flavored... well, it can be with this smart and tasty tip from Peggy Wang. These crumbs will transform the most boring dish... even cauliflower! A must try!

How to: Crush up the leftover Doritos in a bag, using either a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin. Dump them into an empty pepper grinder. Adjust it to somewhere between a fine powder and chunky. Now you have an amazing seasoning to put on everything from salads to baked potatoes to poultry and fish dishes.

We love this book.



We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs:

Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, a member of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. for permission to publish material and photographs from Amazing Food Hacks, by Peggy Wang. © 2014 Peggy Wang. Photographs © 2014 Davide Luciano.

Robert Rose, Inc. for permission to publish recipes and photographs from Easy Everyday Slow cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye. Text © 2014 Donna-Marie Pye. Photographs © 2014 Guy Saint-Jean Editeur.

Robert Rose Inc., publisher, Toronto, for 250 Best Meals in a Mug by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Text © 2014 Camilla V. Saulsbury. Photographs © 2014 Robert Rose Inc.

Hearst Corporation, 300 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019-5899, for Red Pepper Chicken. To contact Woman's Day about recipes, crafts, product information or any other magazine-content related issue, please email © 2015 Hearst Corporation. All Rights reserved.

Random House Canada and Hardie Grant Books, Australia and London, for Mug Cakes by Lene Knudsen. © 2013 Hachette Livre. Text © Lene Knudsen. Photography © Richard Boutin.

Random House Canada for Kraft Kitchens' New Classics: Our Most Requested Recipes Made Simple. © 2003 Kraft Foods Holdings, Inc.


Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (139 KB)

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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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