Easter Menu

Easter is upon us.

I am not ready whatsoever. Graduate school is kicking my butt, however I’ll be down to one internship in the summer so I should be less frazzled.

I have been racking my brain for the last few days about what to eat on the day the prodigal son rose. Bryan hates ham so the traditional Easter meal will never happen in this household.

I also wanted to make something easy since it’s just the two of us. Last year I didn’t even remotely got within the same room as what I had planned to cooked. It’s the overachiever in me.

Also, the gluten free thing makes things a wee bit harder. I have like 9 pie crusts and puff pastry in my freezer. So one of the desserts will not be gluten free.

So completely not traditional, and quick and easy,  and remotely gluten free. Sounds complex somehow.

Easter Menu

MAIN
Sausage, beans, and rice
Corn on the cob

DESSERT

Strawberry and creme pie – not gluten free
Greek custard.

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Honey Vanilla Porter Chicken Skewers

Happy New Years!

Hopefully you will fulfill your resolutions if it tickles your fancy. My resolution is the same one I made in 2012 which ironically is the only one that I can fulfill – not dying or being hospitalized for diabetes. Or in other words – no DKAing.

The hubby has a whole different view of 2015. New year, new him. His descent into having a ripped body starts, and to be quite honest, I’m not looking forward to it. We spent part of last night watching youtube videos of bodybuilders routine and tips on getting massive. Eat big or go home or something like that. Lots of protein powder and pre workout drinks and protein this that and all other. It’s a lot to take in. A lot. But I’m happy he’s taking some initiative.

If you want something simple and tasty, these chicken skewers are perfect. They also go well if your watching all the bowl games.

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Honey Vanilla Porter Chicken Skewers

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vanilla porter
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
6 boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into cubes

Directions

In a large bowl, soak the bamboo sticks for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix everything except the chicken to make the marinade.

Add the cubed chicken making sure the chicken is completely coated.

Put in fridge for 30 minutes.

While waiting, get grill going.

Pierce chicken with bamboo sticks. I would put about 4 – 6 cubes on each skewer.

Place the chicken on the grill.

With a brush, baste the chicken with the remaining marinade.

Flip the chicken after 3 minutes, basting again.

Take off grill.

Makes 15.

This was pretty amazing and happened to be the best appetizer as I made Christmas dinner. The honey paired well with the vanilla porter giving the marinade extra flavor as it penetrated the chicken. The smoke from the grill seared this flavor into the chicken allowing it to be tasted in every single bite.

It was absolutely fabulous. And welcoming.

Of course most people just do kabobs or slather barbecue sauce on chicken, but this takes bbqing chicken to a whole entirely different level of happiness.

Having the guys over to watch a game? Like, I don’t know the superbowl? Wow them with this offering to the superbowl gods.

Or make it into a meal with some rice and a vegetable kabob.

Brisket

If you ask Bryan, I forced him to make a brisket this year. And he didn’t want to do it. And I better stay up with him while he smokes it.

Which I did.

We went to bed at 4:30AM Christmas morning.

I asked my father in law for his recipe to marinade the brisket. My father in law cooks the most amazing BBQ ever created. If he had a BBQ place, he would be sold out every day. Every. Single. Day.

His ribs are my favorite though.

He gave me a not exact recipe because he eyeballs it. It was pretty close to a bulgogi recipe but without the meat tenderizer or the sesame oil. Seemed easy.

He also told me to start the marinade two days ahead and that the meat might turn black.

Don’t ask me how to smoke brisket. It took Bryan about 11 hours, constantly checking it. As long as it stayed around 250 the whole time, the brisket comes out juicy. We ended up using pecan wood chunks and pecan wood chips. Always use pecan when you can. If possible, use walnut.

Of course, this whole smoking brisket thing didn’t go as planned, and there was heated discussion about it. Add the fact that there was some confusion about what the brisket was for because family Christmas is two days after Christmas, it became more of a hassle. Which made the whole thing rather frustrating.

For some odd reason, I don’t know how and I don’t really care who decided it, the family was under the impression that the brisket Bryan was smoking was for family Christmas instead of our personal Christmas. I must admit, this misunderstanding was a rather frustrating one because no one called us to confirm what our brisket was being used for. So that when this mysterious fog cleared, confusion had slipped in. We never said we were bringing the protein to family Christmas. Hell, I didn’t even know it was going to be pretty much a potluck until Mumika came into town. But somehow, someone decided that was what was going to happen.

This assumption was not only improper but also impolite. Someone should have picked up a phone and talked to one of us. A five minute conversation of “Hey, is that brisket I know your making for us or for you?” Instead of a, “Well, I thought you were making that brisket for the family.”

I just don’t get it. I just don’t know. It feels like some sort of scheme. Like someone put it into someone else’s head and everyone just ran with it assuming we would bring some of the leftovers. I mean, it was an 11 pound brisket and other than Mumika, there is only two people eating it. Why would two people need an 11 pound brisket?

Well, I have plans for it. Brisket tamales, brisket enchiladas, brisket shepard’s pie. That’s at least 6 days of food I don’t really have to worry about. With a rather hectic schedule from school, internships, work, probably two jobs, and what have you, I need to be able to have meals in the freezer that only needs to be popped into the oven at whatever temp and baked for so long and *boom* dinner’s ready.

But I digress
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Brisket Marinade

3/4 cup sugar
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
a few dashes of garlic power
some salt.

Directions

Get a huge sturdy plastic container that can fit the brisket.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Salt the brisket.

Pour some of the marinade at the bottom of the plastic container.

Place the brisket into the plastic container.

Pour marinade over brisket.

Place lid on top and shake a little. Put in the fridge for up to two days. Shake the container every so often.

 

 

Merry Christmas and Pernil

Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.

Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.

A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.

Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.

Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.

The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.

A few things about this Pernil:

I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.

Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.

I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.

Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.
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Pernil


6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.

Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO COOK:

Put pork into a roasting pan.

Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.

After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.

This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.

I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.

Makes a lot.

It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.

I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.

And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.

It’s going to be amazing.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition in this house.
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Carne Asada BBQ Sandwiches with Avocado

I love BBQ. I love everything about it.

When Bryan deemed the carne asada tacos unacceptable use of the carne asada, I was not happy. To me, it was perfect. The he said, “get some pickles and buns.” I saw where he was going.

Shredded beef sandwiches.

We could have made some rice and bean bowls with onion, tomato, cheese and avocado. But no. “Get away from Mexican stuff” Bryan tells me.

Fine. Be that way.

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Carne Asada BBQ Sandwiches with Avocado

Carne Asada
14 hamburger buns
2 jar of sliced pickles
1 onion, sliced
3 avocado, deseeded and sliced
BBQ sauce – I used hickory, Bryan used Carolina

Directions

Open hamburger bun up.

Place onions at the bottom.

Pile the carne asada on top of the onions.

Drizzle the BBQ sauce on the carne asada.

Place slices of 2 pickle slices on top of the carne asada.

Place avocado slices on top of the pickles.

Place the top half of the bun on top of the avocado.

Makes 14.

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. This is phen-fucking-nonmenal.

I hate it when Bryan is right. I really do.

The tacos were good, but these sandwiches are out of this world.

Everything is perfect. The crispy spiciness of the onion, the meat, the saltiness of the pickles, the creaminess of the avocado, and the BBQ sauce ties everything together.

This is definitely a must have for any BBQ. A must have. Love it!

Carne Asada Tacos

You waited the however many hours for the carne asada to cook in the slow cooker. Now what?

Carne asada tacos of course!

I took all the fancy stuff out of them. No sour cream (much to Bryan’s dismay), no guacamole, no pico de gallo, no pickled jalapenos, no tomatillo sauce, no salsa, no caramelized onions or bell peppers, no pineapple slaw, or whatever the latest gourmet craze. Just pure and simple foods in their natural form.

And it was amazing.
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Carne Asada Tacos

Carne Asada
Avocado, deseeded and sliced
Tomato, chopped into chunks
1/4 onion, diced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
12 flour tortilla

Directions

Make tacos. Simple right?

Makes 12 tacos.

This is the best taco I have ever made. I’m serious. It was so good. Why haven’t I made tacos like this yet? Ground beef, move over. It’s carne asada from now on.

Bryan hated the fact that it was shredded meat. But whatever.

It was so flavorful. Everything was perfect. Also helps that when I warm the tortilla in the microwave, I put the cheese on it so it’s slightly melted. I swear, deep down inside, I’m a little fat girl. Who does that? Who thinks, hey let me melt this cheese so the tacos have that perfect melted cheese on it to make these even more amazing. I do. The little fat girl inside of me that wants to eat everything but can’t because she’s diabetic and will die does. But it makes all the difference.

Melted cheese in tacos makes it perfect. So you have to melt it when heating up the tortillas. Then stack all the veggies on one side and the meat on the other and fold in half

No I know what you’re thinking, Michelle, the cheese isn’t melted in the picture. That’s because I thought of it on my third taco. See, it takes a while for diabetic skinny Michelle to listen to fat Michelle. It’s because fat Michelle is always begging for a donut or something and complaining about how skinny diabetic Michelle needs some meat on her bones. So skinny diabetic Michelle has learned how to ignore fat Michelle. It’s a huge ordeal.

But now you know how to make the perfect taco.

 

 

Slow Cooker Carne Asada

When I decided to make this I was thinking tacos. Only tacos. And I had never made this before, so I thought sure why not.

Remember what happened with the porcupines. Well it happened again. This time Bryan caught it. I could have sworn it was on because the power strip light was on. However, what Bryan didn’t tell me was that he had unplugged the slow cooker.

I lost a whole whopping 90 minutes because of this.

Moral of the story – If the house doesn’t start smelling like yummy happiness after about an hour, then the slow cooker is definitely not on.

I was soo livid when it went down. I’m never going to use the bloody slow cooker again. And if I do I am going to be paranoid the whole time thinking it isn’t on and then I’ll develop OCD from continuously checking to make sure it’s still one. In the end I will be a psychotic meltdown waiting to happen.

You should not be having psychotic meltdowns while cooking, you should be relieving the urges to murder, both physically and psychologically, things aka your daily life stressors. And this definitely should not be happening when using the slow cooker because in reality, you aren’t cooking. You’re dumping food into a magical vessel that cooks, simmers, and mesh flavors together while you do nothing. All you have to do is turn a knob….and make sure it’s plugged in.

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Slow Cooker Carne Asada

1 lime, juiced
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/4 cup beer
1 3/4 pounds of beef roast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash red pepper flakes
dash onion powder
dash garlic powder
3 garlic cloves, chopped

Directions

In a small bowl combine lime, orange, beer, olive oil, and all the seasonings.

Spread out onions in the slow cooker.

Place the roast on top of the onions.

Pour the marinade mixture on top of the roast.

Sprinkle the garlic on top of the roast.

Cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Makes 10.

This came out pretty tasty. It’s like a Mexican version of shredded beef. Although authentic carne asada uses steak and is grilled, the marinade used is the same.

It would go great in tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, and what have you.

Although Bryan view it more as shredded beef and has decided shredded beef sandwiches are the way to go. This is how you know you’ve married a country boy. Just because it’s shredded, he automatically goes to typical Texas BBQ with the onions and pickles.

Personally, I wanted to put it on top of some rice with black beans and melted cheese.  With mashed avocado on top of the carne.Maybe next time.

Either way, it’s yummy, and makes more than enough.

Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken.

It’s named after one of the most wildest streets in the country let alone Louisiana and New Orleans. The key ingredient – whiskey.

I’ve always viewed it as mall food. You know, one of the food places in the food court to whose sole purpose is to feed hungry masses of shoppers on a daily basis. And you can hardly ever find this food outside of the mall unless it’s a fast food giant like Wendy’s or Subway, or Taco Bell, or Arby’s or something. The mall I went to all my life that I used to know like the back of my hand, has this place. And they always had those free samples. I would go through the food court eating these free samples. It tasted so yummy. The tanginess, the bourbon, the chicken. So yummy. Pair it with some rice and I would be in heaven.

They don’t have Bourbon Chicken where I live now. It’s sadness. Which means, I have to learn how to make it. Off to the internet I went comparing at least 10 different recipes. One had honey in it. Hmmm….

And then as I was making it, I thought I had picked up the ginger but it turned out it was the cinnamon.

Really Michelle? First the porcupines, now this. Ugh.

I shouldn’t cook during the end of the semester when everything is due. I really shouldn’t. Thank god the stove isn’t plugged in. I might have burned down the house. Bryan probably would have loved that, except we don’t have homeowners insurance on it yet.

I was too tired, and out of ketchup, to remake the sauce. So into the crockpot it went.

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Slow Cooker Borubon Chicken

2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4  cup bourbon
3 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

Place chicken thighs in the bottom of slow cooker along with the diced onion.
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, ketchup, bourbon, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes and salt.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to combine.
Set on HIGH and cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally, if possible.
After the chicken has cooked, stir the chicken to break up any large chunks.
In a small bowl, mix the water and cornstarch until completely dissolved.
Stir the cornstarch mixture into the chicken and mix thoroughly.
Allow the cornstarch to cook in the slow cooker for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is nicely thickened.
Makes 8.
You couldn’t taste the cinnamon.
It was tangy. It was sweet. It was succulent.
Taste just as good as the food place at the mall.
And it pairs perfectly with the rice. Although I did wish I had bread to make a sandwich. Maybe next time.
Bryan gobbled it up.

Porcupines in Marinara Sauce

I was in the middle of writing a paper when I made this. Bryan had unhooked the stove the night before and I found myself where I was the previous year, using the slow cooker.

I probably could have gone to the in-laws to make a meal, but I didn’t feel like it. I did go there to experiment with pie crust, sugar, butter, and cinnamon (but that’s for a later post).

In the end, my focus on the psych paper got the best of me. Turns out I didn’t even put the slow cooker on. SO here I am typing away when all of a sudden I wonder why the house isn’t smelling amazing as it usually does when I’m using the slow cooker.

I caught this travesty at roughly 6PM and Bryan came home 30 minutes later.

Luckily, there isn’t a long cooking time one it. THANK GOD!

 

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Porcupines in Marinara Sauce

1 pound ground beef
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup uncooked instant rice
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups marinara sauce

Directions

Combine meat, garlic, salt, pepper, rice, bread crumbs, milk and tomato paste in a bowl.

Shape into huge meatballs.

Place in the bottom of a slow cooker, in a single layer.

Pour marinara sauce over the top of the meatballs.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours or HIGH for 90 minutes.

Makes 9.

I swear these porcupines are the very meatballs used in spaghetti and meatballs where the dicks give you this one huge meatball on a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce poured over it.

You know those restaurants. And you sit there looking your plate thinking, “What the fuck is this?” Is this a joke? How is this even a serving size of protein.

Then you mash it apart to make spaghetti and meat sauce.

The very same thing. Literally. This is how they make it. But someone calls it porcupines instead. Which despite research, lots of it, I still don’t understand it. Is it porcupines because of the use of rice? Specifically uncooked rice which can stick out like the quills of a porcupine?

One website claims that it’s because it’s bound together using rice and not bread crumbs, but um, this recipe has panko which is essential – you guessed it – bread crumbs.

Supposedly they were created during the Great Depression when rice was cheap and meat was scarce. The use of rice was a way to mask the lack of actual meat in them. Probably one of many good things that came out of the Great Depression. That and chicory coffee…hmmmm….

They taste amazing on their own. As you can see I garnished shaved parmesan cheese on top and paired it with peas. But I seriously wished I had pasta of some kind.

I love how it is literally cooked in the savory tomato sauce soaking in the amazing yumminess. Sort of takes it to a whole new heightened flavor meatball profile.

I’m going to have to try the version with a parmesan cream sauce next. Pair it with mashed potatoes smashed with peas, onion, and bacon. Man that sounds good right now.

If you have to have a snack with your nighttime insulin like I do, this would be a perfect snack. One good thing about diabetes, I have to eat something before I go to bed or else I go low. Yay for midnight snacking!

 

OMG I survived my first semester of grad school AND Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Yesterday I officially finished my first semester of GRAD SCHOOL, round two.

This past week has been insane. I wrote two 15 paged research papers, I went to practicum orientation which was 9 – 5 and more like common sense than anything, I wrote a case conceptualization, and took two finals.

I was doing great, pacing myself with the two papers. I finished the first one on the 3rd at like 4AM and that was after scraping the first one because I didn’t have enough evidence to support my statements. I was in the middle of reading the 10 research articles for the second paper when I had to go to the orientation.

That’s when the ladies in my class made a bombshell. The final was posted. He posted it the night before and it was due Sunday by 11:59PM. When I went to open the final, I found 27 essays questions staring back at me. 27!!!!! I only had to do 20, but still. Took me 8 hours (I submitted it at 4AM), but I did it and on to the research paper I went. Shadow, was not happy with me that night. I forgot to take my night time so he sat on my lap making it impossible to work on my final until I took my insulin. Got to love that baby man.

I ended up finishing the research paper around 3AM the next day. It was horrible. I hit a brick wall around page 10 an there was no way around it. So I turned it in with 3 pages of content missing.

Sunday I took a day off, and didn’t even look at blackboard or my email.

WORST IDEA EVER.

When I went to download my final, it wasn’t even on blackboard. He had taken the final down. I had missed my final completely. I didn’t even know I had missed it because the due date was the 11th on the syllabus.

Panic attack in 5….4….3…2….wait, let email this girl and see if she can email me the final and I’ll just email it to the prof and beg for forgiveness in hopes that I’ll get a partial grade. Crisis averted. Bryan would be so proud of me not going into full panic meltdown.

When the prof emailed me back, I guess I wasn’t the only one that did that because the final was put back on blackboard and I was able to submit my test.

And that was how this semester ended. 2 finals, 2 15 paged research papers, an orientation, and a case conceptualization all completed in a week.

I think this college is trying to kill me.

But none of that mattered Monday, as I dumped the ingredients in the slow cooker, plugged it in, and turn the dial on high. Let the flavors mingle into tasty goodness over the next 4 hours.

 

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Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 12 ounce cans of coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon ground ginger
2 coups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lime, juiced

Directions

Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl.

Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

Add in the peas and stir in lime juice, cook for 30 minutes longer.

Serve with white rice.

Makes 8. WITH RICE. WITHOUT RICE.

The coco nut milk curdled. I read somewhere that it would, and it did. Does it matter, nope. Why? Still tasted amazing.

This isn’t authentic Thai coconut soup. And I didn’t expect it to be. But it sure as hell tasted yummy.

All the flavors came together creating a soup that smelled like heaven.

I would put more red curry in it if you like more heat to the sweetness of the coconut milk. It wasn’t crazy sweet, it just needed heat to bring the flavor up a notch.

When you pour the broth over the rice the rice absorbs it quickly and takes on those amazing Thai flavors. And then the chunks of chicken fall apart and have a faint coconut milk red curry taste to them.

So if you are in a rush and need to make something where you pretty much dump and are done in soup form, this is your soup.

The flavors are magical.