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Mediterranean Chicken & Rice

6 Aug
Here is some interesting information that I need your opinion on: I am thinking of switching URL’s to something easier to remember like “lauren’s lifestyle” or something along those lines. I’m just so indecisive that I can’t decide what to do or when to do it, so tell me what you think of the name, if you like or don’t like it better than golokitchen, etc. etc. It would really help! 
Also, don’t forget to see what I’m up to on twitter (@golokitchen) and make sure you check out the GoLoKitchen facebook fan page!
Now, onto this delicious chicken! I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while now, but I kept forgetting. It wasn’t until today that I found all these photos that I took a few weeks ago for this recipe. So, without further ado, I give you a delicious and healthy dinner that I call simply Mediterranean Chicken & Rice. 
I don’t remember this dish as vividly as other ones because it’s been a while, but my husband certainly does. He scarfed this one down and then took the leftovers to work the next day for lunch. Mediterranean cuisine is very different from our go-to day in and day out meals. We usually go for Southwest and Italian. I wanted a change from the ‘norm’ and this was the ticket! The kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes and lemon juice were just delicious together and made a great addition to the sauce. I like acidity, so I squirted in lots more lemon juice. The fresh parsley was a nice touch to round out the dish. All in all, a fabulous meal that came together in about 30 minutes. A great summer meal and a great way to switch things up! 
*I didn’t have any artichoke hearts on hand to toss in, but they would be a perfect addition. (I actually meant to pick some up from the store and completely overlooked it, even though it was on my list! How crazy am I?)
Mediterranean Chicken & Rice
yield: 4 servings
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large chicken breasts (sliced in half or pounded out and cut in two–you want 4 cutlets)
1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil & herbs, chopped

1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon oregano
lemon juice, to taste
1/2 cup chicken stock or white wine
splash of cream (1/4-1/2 cup)
fresh parsley
more salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice

In large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Stir salt and pepper into flour. Coat chicken in flour and cook in hot oil until browned but not necessarily cooked. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Pour in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan and reduce heat to medium. Saute onions, garlic, green pepper and sun dried tomatoes until onions have softened, 5 minutes. Stir in olives, bay leaf, oregano, lemon juice and white wine or stock. Place chicken breasts back in to pan. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in cream, parsley and more salt and pepper. Serve over warm rice with lemon slices.


Shortcut Pierogies

28 Jul
Have you ever had a pierogi before? My Mom would rarely buy them and make them, but when she did–boy oh boy were we in for a treat! Now, I’m not Polish or Ukrainian so I don’t know how to make these correctly. So I purposely made them incorrectly! That’s right! You heard me. This is the untraditional pierogi recipe that takes half the time to make (or less!) than regular traditional ones. This is my kind of cooking. If you are a hardcore Polish or Ukrainian traditionalist, then you may want to avert your eyes and not read any further. 
Now, pierogies are like little dumplings or pillows that are filled with mashed potato, cheese and onion that you boil in water and then fry in bacon grease and onion. At least, thats how my Mom did it. So, that’s how I do it too and these are to die for! Of course it’s a little labor intensive but I took a shortcut by using store bought wonton wrappers. A wonderful time saver! 
If you have an hour or so, then you can whip out a bunch of these! Once you fill the wonton skins, you can freeze them on a baking sheet and then transfer them to some freezer bags and portion them out accordingly. I got a lot of pierogies made during my daughter’s nap one day! And, they make for a quick dinner when you’re in a pinch. Once you start boiling the pierogies, they only take about 3 minutes to cook and then its a matter of browning them up in a frying pan with some bacon and onions. I like mine with lots of cold sour cream and a side salad. I had dinner done within 20 minutes! And, we all loved them! Gordon has never tried or had even heard of a pierogi before, but after we finished dinner, he cooked up some more for a second helping! Love at first bite! 
So if you are like Gordon and have never heard of these little devils before or you have any want to try to make your own untraditional kind, then give these ones a whirl! The flavors are out of this world!
Shortcut Pierogies
yield: about 36
1-12 oz. package round wonton skins (you won’t use the whole thing unless you’re feeling ambitious)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 large Idaho potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
a few splashes whole milk
for frying about 12 pierogies, I would use
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
for garnish:
cheddar cheese
green onions
sour cream
Scrub potatoes clean under cold water and prick deeply with a fork or knife. Microwave potatoes until completely soft (about 9 minutes for me). You could also bake them in your oven or use some left over baked potatoes. 

Cut cooked potatoes in half and scoop out the insides into a large bowl. Mash potato with butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir in milk to get a smooth consistency. Stir in cheese. Set aside. **You could also use left over mashed potatoes! Just be sure to stir in the cheese and more milk or cream to get a smooth consistency**
In small bowl, whisk egg with water. To assemble pierogies, take one wonton wrapper and brush the edges with the egg. Place 2-3 teaspoons worth of potato filling into the center. Fold wrapper in half to create a half moon shape and press edges together keeping the potato filling inside and removing any excess air. Repeat this process until no more filling remains. Depending on how much or little you fill your pierogies, you could end up with more or less than my 36 I got. 
Place pierogies on baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Transfer to freezer bags until ready to cook.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, start rendering the chopped bacon. After about 3 minutes of cooking the bacon, add in chopped onion. Once water has come to boil, drop in pierogies and stir. After 2-3 minutes, pierogies should be finished cooking and should float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, drain pierogies and drop into skillet with bacon and onions. Fry pierogies until golden brown on either side or until cooked to your liking. Bacon and onions should be completely finished cooking by this point. Serve warm with sour cream, more cheddar cheese and/or chopped green onions.

Beaver Tails Recipe – A Taste of Ottawa!

22 May

Before you think I went out and hunted a bunch of beavers, cut off their tails and then fried them up, let me explain:

I was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada — the nation’s capitol. Isn’t it purdy?
In Ottawa and other select Canadian cities (and the Canadian Pavilion at Disney World), there are restaurants called Beavertails that only sell beaver tails–a fried dough shaped like a beaver tail and then coated in cinnamon and sugar or other decadently sweet things. I only ever ate them once or maybe twice a year if I was lucky. It is a definite treat and a real taste of home. I hear they are similar to elephant ears, but I’ve never had one or seen one being sold here in the states.
Now, let me put some things in perspective for you: I went away to school in 2004 to Idaho where I met my husband. That’s SIX years, people! We just recently moved to Oregon.
I’ve been away from home for a while. Of course we visit from time to time, but there’s nothing like food to bring you back to the comfort of home. Beaver tails are one of those foods for me. Warm, comforting and reminds me of home. I remember going skating on the canal with my family and getting hot chocolate and beaver tails. By the way, the canal is the longest outdoor skating rink in the world, pictured below.
So for whatever reason, I was in the reminiscing mood and decided to make some beaver tails today. They are just so tasty and satisfying to eat. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like a fried piece of dough. Its just so good. There are very few recipes for beaver tails online and the ones I did find were for a huge crowd so I just made up my own recipe that only makes 8. You can store the dough you don’t use in the fridge and fry them up another day. So, lets get frying! Its worth the wait!
Beaver Tails
yield: 8

1/4 cup hot tap water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 package quick rise yeast (.25 oz.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
any light colored oil for frying (such as canola, vegetable or peanut oil)
sweet toppings:
lemon juice
1. In large bowl pour in hot water and 1 teaspoon of the measured sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top and stir. Set aside to proof, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in microwave safe bowl, heat milk, butter and remaining sugar to melt butter and dissolve sugar. Stir to cool–you want it to be a little warmer than room temperature, but not scalding to kill the yeast.
3. Pour butter liquid into yeast mixture and stir. Whisk in egg and salt. Stir in flour using 1/2 cup increments until it forms a dough. Knead dough 2-3 minutes until a slightly sticky dough has formed, adding more flour when necessary.
4. Place dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in a draft free, warm spot in your kitchen for an hour or so to let dough rise. Punch dough down and cut into 8 equal pieces.
5. Preheat oil in fryer or deep skillet to 350 degrees, or medium heat on the stove top. Roll dough out to be long ovals that are 1/4-1/8 inch thick…or should I say thin. And, they don’t have to be perfect looking either. Mine weren’t:
Carefully place in hot oil and fry 20-30 seconds per side. (See recipe tips at bottom)
6. Once beaver tail has finished cooking remove from oil and hold the beaver tail over the pan to let the excess oil drip off of it. Then immediately coat in cinnamon sugar–a classic combination for a beaver tail. You could also place on paper towels and then spread on nutella as well. Another favorite way to eat a beaver tail is coating it in sugar and then adding a little lemon juice. So tasty! Be sure to serve these warm and fresh!
Recipe TIPS:
Your oil should be hot enough to get a medium to lightly dark brown color on them within 30 seconds. The dough will puff up, so you may want to cut a slit in the middle to cook the dough evenly. You could also press the middle down into the oil using tongs.


20 Mar
So, I’m writing this post en route to Boise! How cool is that? Technology is awesome. Where would we be without laptops, cell phones and internet? I don’t want to think about it……..Anyways……….

This dinner probably doesn’t look like much, but when my Mom told us we were having Letcho for dinner, we went crazy for it. For me to say that my siblings and I LOVE this stuff would be an understatement. It brings us back to being kids and trading our vegetables at the dinner table.

“I’ll trade my mushrooms for your green peppers”


“I’ll trade your 2 pieces of meat for the rest of my rice”

etc. etc.

Surprisingly, my parents didn’t care too much that we did this. In retrospect, I guess it’s not that big of a deal. Speaking of my parents, this meal has a lot of significance for them. Maybe not a whole lot of significance, but significance none the less. This is the meal that my Opa (thats Grandpa in german) made for my Dad the first time my Mom brought him home to meet the parents back in the day when they were dating! Funny part of this story is that my Opa purposely used the spiciest sausage he could find to ‘see how much of a man’ my Dad was. It apparently didn’t scare him off because soon after they were engaged! 30+ years and 6 kids later, we all still eat and crave letcho. Its just plain ol’ good, simple Hungarian food.

This whole meal doesn’t take a lot of prep work, just some chopping of the vegetables and meat. Then after that, you sauté it all, add the rice and cook it in tomato or vegetable juice. *Side note: My Mom always made this with tomato juice, but I have found that if you make it with some vegetable juice (like V8) it adds more nutrition and tastes exactly the same. So really, its up to you. Also, if you wanted to try brown rice, go for it! I’ve never tried making this with brown rice, but it should work just fine–it just might take a little longer to cook. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the recipe tips! They will help you not burn your food or have to scrub your pot! Enjoy and you’re welcome.


yield: 6 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cup mushrooms, washed and sliced

2 pre cooked sausages, slices (I used pepperoni, but you can use your favorite kind of sausage)

2 cups long grain rice

4 1/2 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice




1. Preheat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Pretend there’s a photo of that here.

2. Take your chopped onions and peppers and throw them into the pot. Saute 5-ish minutes.

3. Cut your mushrooms and sausage up and throw those into the pot too.

It’ll look something like this.

4. Add in the rice and stir it around until its moist.

5. Add in the vegetable juice, salt and pepper and stir.

Make sure you cover it up! This is the brand of pots and pans I have and I love love love them. Look here and here for these pots and pans! Reduce heat to medium and lightly simmer for 30-45 minutes until the juice has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Look below for a great tip!

This is what it should look like once its all done!

Recipe TIPS:

-You should stir the rice every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking and burning! It also helps things cook evenly.

-Also, in the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir the pot and turn the burner off leaving the lid on. This will loosen up any stuck rice on the bottom of the pot as well as finish cooking the rice completely.

Creamy ‘Green Curry’ Soup

12 Mar

Can you guess what is in this soup? If you’re thinking along the lines of everything that goes into a traditional green curry, you are WRONG. Yes, I used curry powder, but its split peas that makes this soup green! Crazy, right? Well, let me tell you how un-crazy and delicious this soup is. It is so so so so so good. It’s creamy in taste and texture thanks to the blended peas and other veggies as well as the cream! The taste is very pleasant and not too strong. Some times when curry is involved I think strong flavors, but this is the opposite. I purposely added less so it wouldn’t be so overpowering. Its obvious that the curry powder is there, but it won’t blow you away. Its just a lovely soup that takes you out of the ordinary rut.
My 1 year old loved it as well as my husband. Actually, after asking what he thought of it, Gordon started his sentence like this : “I don’t like soups like this….(me in my head:”WHAT?” I was in utter shock and disbelief that he could not like this soup-I started having a nervous breakdown which was slowly leading to heart failure when he said)….usually, but this one is delicious!” Maybe that was a total over exaggeration on my part, but it did give me quite the little scare.
Moral of the story: make this and love it. The end.
PS- Did I mention its healthy too?! Just looking out for your well being! You’re welcome.
Creamy ‘Green Curry’ Soup
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup green split peas (you know, the dried kind that are really inexpensive!)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (I used Knorr)
6 cups hot water
salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (plain yellow curry powder….not spicy)
1/2 cup cream (You can use milk too, but why?!)
In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onion and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and carrots. Cook another 5 minutes. Stir in split peas until they are coated in remaining olive oil and residual juices from vegetables. Add in all remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and lightly simmer until peas are very soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once peas have softened completely, remove bay leaf and blend with immersion blender, blender or food processor. Stir in cream and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Chicken Paprikash

11 Mar

To me, this is heaven on a plate. Chicken Paprikash is a Hungarian dish that my mom made a lot when I was a kid. I am part Hungarian, part German and part Romanian, so we ate a lot of ethnic food in my house….probably because it was better for us and it was a heck of a lot cheaper than eating out! I come from a large family and we usually only ate out maybe twice a year if we were lucky. Let me tell you why this is amazing to me: we practically ate home cooked meals every day-meaning my Mom cooked dinner every evening! Nothing processed, nothing pre-done. Incredible! And she had 6 kids no less! I have 1 and its tough!

Anyways, this dish is like a Hungarian version of chicken cacciatore……sort of. Its a tangy tomato sauce with onions, peppers, mushrooms and chicken overtop rice, pasta or nookedly–small homemade dumplings. I used bone-in chicken thighs and removed the skin and any excess fat to make it a little more figure friendly. Thats how my mom did it, so thats how I do it. Thats probably the hardest and most time consuming part of the recipe…..and skinning chicken really isn’t difficult AT ALL. You’ll have to chop some veggies and do some stirring, but other then that its easy breezy! I like to use a pretty deep skillet (like this) but a pot will work well, too! Try something new and interesting today!
Chicken Paprikash
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (not smoked, not spicy…just the plain stuff)
1-1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, skinned (4-6 pieces)
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used organic)
1/4 cup water
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh diced tomatoes (preferably sweet ones–I used cherry tomatoes)
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
lots of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
1. In deep skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add in onion and sautee 2 minutes.
2. Stir in paprika and cook 2 more minutes ensuring it doesn’t burn! Careful!
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces into pan to brown each side (about 3 minutes per side)
4. Add in fresh and canned tomatoes, green peppers, salt and pepper. Lightly simmer (covered) over medium-low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour stirring and turning chicken occasionally.
5. In the last 15 minutes of cooking add in mushrooms.
6. In small bowl, stir sour cream and flour together until smooth. In the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, remove chicken and stir in sour cream mixture to thicken sauce. Stir chicken back in to reheat. Once thoroughly heated through, serve hot over rice, pasta or nookedly.
Recipe TIPS
-Once you add your paprika into the cooking onions, watch it carefully! It can burn easily!
-If you don’t have canned tomatoes but you have fresh (or vice versa) you can easily substitute them for each other.
– This recipe needs lots of salt. Keep salting as you go, little by little. Before you serve it, do a taste test just to make sure its still good. After the sour cream is added, it tends to need a little more salt and pepper.