Author Topic: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!  (Read 5639 times)

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« on: November 30, 2016, 03:48:38 PM »
Hi Folks!

Hoping to pick your collective awesome brains! I am working with a Syrian refugee family who just arrived in the community. I am working with the mom, teaching her English through cooking. It's been an awesome success, although we have just made grilled cheese. I need to come up with some recipes that meet some rather odd requirements, if you can help me that would be AMAZING!!

The requirements:
 - No meat (having a hard time finding Halal meat for them)
 - No Gluten (so I can eat with her after we cook)
 - Uses no/minimal fancy ingredients/cooking equipment (although we do have the common Arabic spices and such)
 - Budget-conscious
 - Doesn't have too many or too complicated steps
 - Can be cooked in about 20 minutes
 - Can easily be demonstrated
 - Allows us to use a variety of English words while demonstrating
 - Extra points for "Healthy" versions of what we think of as typical Canadian/American  foods
 - Something more interesting than the usual variations of Rice and Beans

Edited to add: The family consists of parents and a 7,6,2 year old. So family friendly is a must as well.

Also - Arabic tastes tend toward seasoned but not spicy, just to complicate things :D

I'd love actual recipes, or if anyone has any good resources - I'm thinking along the lines of and level of teaching kids to cook but she is not a true beginner as far as cooking skills. I don't want it too easy that she gets bored with the actual cooking.
 
I will be encouraging her to teach me how to cook some Syrian foods as well.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 03:57:56 PM by swick »

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5525
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 03:51:16 PM »
Stir fries of nearly any sort are great for what you are asking, though it may take longer to prep than 20 min if you include cutting all the veggies.

Penny McSave

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 03:52:38 PM »
First thing that came to mind was some sort of vegetable curry. Those are always yummy!

ETA: Did a quick google search and came up with this - http://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/03/thai-curry-vegetable-soup/ Looks delicious!
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 03:55:39 PM by Penny McSave »

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 03:59:00 PM »
Thank you Ender and Penny, I hadn't thought of stir-fries. I can do some of the prep ahead of time as well so that might be a good option. Same with the curry. I'll have to see how adventurous their taste buds are :)

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 04:00:54 PM »
A lot of my standards (that I showed people while I lived in Turkey) was things like Banana bread and french toast and pancakes - basically anything that showcased the Maple Syrup I brought :) But the gluten thing makes it more complicated and while I can probably do those things with her later, I think the act of eating together is important.

KelStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 211
  • Location: BC
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 04:01:34 PM »
Some good ideas already :)

You could use rice pasta and make some sort of tomato sauce, alfredo, or homemade mac n' cheese.  I would add veggies and vegetarian chicken breast too! (not sure if faux meats would be gluten-free)

Homemade veggie burgers with beans/lentils/grains/veggies.  Lots of yummy recipes online and you could eat yours with a gluten-free bun or in a lettuce wrap.

Caesar salad with homemade dressing, chickpeas, and coconut "bacon".

Homemade pizzas - you could use premade crusts (the gluten free ones might be a bit more pricey) and a variety of toppings.

Soups! Lots of affordable and gluten free bases (potatoes, beans, grains, veggies).  You could use veggie broth for the base.

Good luck, sound like a great thing you're doing :)

Dollar Slice

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5825
  • Age: 43
  • Location: New York City
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 04:03:26 PM »
You could put together a little taco bar - corn tortillas, beans, rice, vegetables, salsa...

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5525
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 04:03:51 PM »
A lot of my standards (that I showed people while I lived in Turkey) was things like Banana bread and french toast and pancakes - basically anything that showcased the Maple Syrup I brought :) But the gluten thing makes it more complicated and while I can probably do those things with her later, I think the act of eating together is important.

I've had luck making banana pancakes.

Take a slightly browning banana, two eggs, beat it together and sort of cook like a pancake.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 04:36:24 PM »
You could put together a little taco bar - corn tortillas, beans, rice, vegetables, salsa...

THIS IS AWESOME!!! I LOVE the idea! Also, the "bar" concept could be applied to a few different foods and the whole family can get in on the lesson, They will be somewhat familiar with it as they are familiar with Kumpier a street food  which is basically a baked potato with whatever toppings you like on them.

Thanks ender, I'll have to look at some of the gluten free recipes I've been experimenting with for myself. I just have to be careful about the ingredients so it is stuff they can actually find ingredients for if they want to make again.

Some good ideas already :)

You could use rice pasta and make some sort of tomato sauce, alfredo, or homemade mac n' cheese.  I would add veggies and vegetarian chicken breast too! (not sure if faux meats would be gluten-free) Great idea! I still need to find a good GF pasta. The problem with chicken is there is one store in town that carries Halal chicken but it is 24.00 for 4 tiny chicken breasts!

Homemade veggie burgers with beans/lentils/grains/veggies.  Lots of yummy recipes online and you could eat yours with a gluten-free bun or in a lettuce wrap. I LOVE the veggie burger idea! We could also make a bunch for the freezer too.

Caesar salad with homemade dressing, chickpeas, and coconut "bacon".

Homemade pizzas - you could use premade crusts (the gluten free ones might be a bit more pricey) and a variety of toppings.

Soups! Lots of affordable and gluten free bases (potatoes, beans, grains, veggies).  You could use veggie broth for the base.

Good luck, sound like a great thing you're doing :)

Lots of great ideas! Thanks, KelStache!

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3391
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 04:55:58 PM »
Try some of the recipes from Mealime. It's a meal planner, but it's got a great filter so you can eliminate recipes with meat and gluten. It's also written in a really simple way, that I bet would be great for English language learners.

Do you have a Superstore? My local one carries halal chicken and it's sometimes even cheaper than the regular chicken. Even when not on sale I don't think the price is unreasonable.

Is seafood ok? Salmon is cheapish in a lot of stores right now.

Trifele

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2824
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Outside
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 03:59:37 AM »
X2 on taco bar.  We do this once per week.  Super family friendly -- everyone can make their own and get what they want.

We also make a lot of quesadillas.  Super duper easy -- gluten free if made with corn tortillas.  All you need is a frying pan.  They can be modified endlessy by sprinkling whatever you want in with the cheese.  This week we made one with chard, onions, and mushrooms and man it was delicious.

If they like eggs, omelettes and frittatas are easy and can be made with any vegetables you have on hand, with or without cheese.

mustachepungoeshere

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2405
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 04:36:49 AM »
Pumpkin soup (pumpkin, potato, onion, GF veggie stock, salt, pepper and desired spices. Can make it a spicy pumpkin soup by adding Thai red curry paste.)

Budget Bytes' broccoli cheddar baked potatoes. http://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/06/broccoli-cheddar-baked-potatoes/

Sweet potato hash with fried eggs (leave out the bacon). http://againstallgrain.com/2014/01/16/smoky-sweet-potato-hash/

Catbert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1832
  • Location: Southern California
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 03:33:07 PM »
Budgetbytes.com might be a good place to poke around in.  All her recipes have pictures and detailed directions which might be good for learning English also.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8926
  • Location: Oregon
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 03:44:19 PM »
Toasted chickpeas on a salad are always yummy. Is tofu an option? That could use all sorts of interesting words like "blot" and "freeze" and "marinade/soak" depending on prep technique.

Salad with harboiled eggs and a homemade blue cheese dressing (yogurt + smash up blue cheese- take an incredibly small amount, although this might ruin the "no specialized ingredients" part)

Soups/Stews! Big hunks of potato are always a great option for filling up a meal. Or go for a clear veg broth and drop in an egg? Egg drop soup but with a veggie broth instead of chicken maybe- this could be a good option after the stir fry talked about above, save the scraps and boil them for broth.

Crash hot potatoes are a yummy easy side: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/crash-hot-potatoes/

Maybe a vegetarian chili?

Nachos with corn chips, peppers, black beans, and cheese!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 03:49:32 PM by Bracken_Joy »

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 04:25:04 PM »
*snip*

Maybe a vegetarian chili?

Nachos with corn chips, peppers, black beans, and cheese!

I highly recommend this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/132394/meatiest-vegetarian-chili-from-your-slow-cooker/
I leave out the tofu, as it doesn't add anything to the recipe.  You can pair it with corn chips or make gluten-free cornbread.
I haven't tried this recipe, as we are okay with gluten, but it doesn't require uncommon flours that the family would only use for someone GF: https://www.glutenfreegigi.com/the-best-gluten-free-cornbread/

Also, as a more casual and quick meal, could you cook poutine?  You can make a delicious mushroom gravy using cornstarch to thicken it, and it will be good to introduce the children to a classic Canadian food.  :)

Sandia

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 06:40:27 PM »
A variation on vegetarian chili is Madras Lentils: http://www.food.com/recipe/madras-lentils-499587

It's basically bean chili but with Indian spices and - perhaps most importantly - coconut milk. The creamy, tomatoe-y goodness of this recipe is excellent for days.


mustachepungoeshere

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2405
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 02:34:08 AM »

HoneyBadger

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 03:22:33 PM »
Check this blog - http://syriancooking.com/

This blogger has quite a bit of information on helping Syrian refugees - recipes for refugees, printable grocery lists, Syrian pantry, etc.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1567
  • Location: High COL
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 08:57:39 PM »
This is middle eastern, but simple, delicious, and I think meets all your requirements


http://allrecipes.com/recipe/49353/lentils-and-rice-with-fried-onions-mujadarrah/

Ben Hogan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
  • Location: Texas
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2016, 07:19:07 AM »
This is my favorite food channel. They cover tons of ideas and range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLoA3QrRHhs


BetsyS

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2016, 07:33:07 PM »
This is such a cool idea!

I would try making hummus together. It meets all your requirements and could be a neat cultural touchstone because we use it in so many different ways - so she might make it with Arabic bread, but we have all these North American varieties that no one in the Middle East eats - roasted red pepper hummus, Kalamata olive hummus, etc. and we tend to use it like a dip with raw veggies, which is also different. So it could be a way to help her and them find ingredients for familiar foods, you can pick up a few tricks, and you both end up with a really easy communal meal.

BetsyS

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2016, 07:38:56 PM »
And here's a basic repipe:

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014943-hummus-from-jerusalem

I just use canned chickpeas though. And if for the purposes of time efficient demonstrations you use jarred roasted red peppers, one can always make homemade roasted peppers later.

Also. +1 on the soups. Here's one for roasted tomato and red pepper (so you get value for the same ingredients):

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12169-pureed-tomato-and-red-pepper-soup




Dmy0013

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Central Canada
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2016, 08:09:32 AM »
Not sure if someone else has suggested this but why not make home made tacos with black beans as the protein!?

Here is a link for making your own home made tortillas - don't be intimidated SUPER EASY - the instructions say the tortillas should "bubble" and get air pockets... Sometimes they do... Sometimes they don't... No difference in taste so don't worry is they don't get large air pockets...  again super EASY - here are the instructions
http://thecafesucrefarine.com/2013/08/best-ever-homemade-flour-tortillas/  (gluten version)
http://www.glutenfreebaking.com/how-to-make-gluten-free-flour-tortillas/ (gluten free) - MUCH more difficult to make... however if you are use to making GF you should figure it out (my wife is GF)

As far as the Tacos go make them how you like it... Common spice used might be something like Cumin?

As far as the black beans go, just google a good recipe... I can't find my recipe... I see a lot of 15 minute recipes...  however Black beans take time, so not to sure how the 15 mins recipe will take... my old recipe took 45 - 60 mins to cook... Personally I enjoy the beans just as much as a traditional meat

Fresh tomatoes! Cilantro? You know what your tastes are!

Make some fresh guacamole!  Google some recipes for Mango salsa and away you go!

Best of luck!

GoConfidently

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2016, 08:23:10 AM »
Why not have her make a shopping list (or take a field trip to a grocery store) and let her teach you how to make a dish the family enjoys?

ETA: Making a shopping list is easy with pictures. Great opportunity to practice food words, numbers, even weights and measurements.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 08:25:08 AM by GoConfidently »

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: The ULTIMATE cooking challenge - Help me!
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2016, 08:36:34 AM »
Why not have her make a shopping list (or take a field trip to a grocery store) and let her teach you how to make a dish the family enjoys?

ETA: Making a shopping list is easy with pictures. Great opportunity to practice food words, numbers, even weights and measurements.

This is in the plans too :)

Thank you all for the ideas and resources! I have been going through them and starting to form a plan :)

Check this blog - http://syriancooking.com/

This blogger has quite a bit of information on helping Syrian refugees - recipes for refugees, printable grocery lists, Syrian pantry, etc.

This is a FANTASTIC resource I will be sharing around, THANk YOU!


I also really like the idea of Hummous and lentil soup and other Middle Eastern food that I am familiar with but everyone has their own family recipe for.

Also like the idea of using Salmon and fish as that is Halal. Apparently, crocodile isn't though, the things you learn.

Thanks to everyone who has jumped in with great suggestions, I love this community and appreciate every comment :)