Chocobo’s Paradise

Choco returns to Mene“Oh!!! Legend was true, kupo! I’ll tell you a secret. I’m looking for paradise on earth!”

—Mene, FFIX

Make sure you have plenty of fresh limes on hand for this delicious summer treat. The mug should be chilled in the freezer prior to preparing the drink.

  • 1 16-ounce mythril mug (you can substitute copper)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) rum
  • 6 ounces (half a bottle) ginger beer
  • Lime wedge
  • Fresh mint

Pour or squeeze fresh lime juice into the mug and add 2 or 3 ice cubes. Add rum and fill with ginger beer. Stir and serve with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint.

Advertisements

Airship Salad

Aeris and airshipCid: “Wow, what a ship!”

Setzer: “That landing really messed up the engine. It’ll take a while to fix.”

Cid: “I’ll help. No machine can stump me!”

Setzer: “Don’t touch anything!”

Cid: “Go kill time in the casino! I can speed this crate up!”

—FFVI

You can use any dressing you like with this recipe. Here are two suggestions: Trader Joe’s low-fat parmesan ranch dressing, or for a more indulgent choice, Russian dressing (first three ingredients of the linked recipe).

  • 7 oz. chopped butter lettuce (about 5 cups)
  • 8 oz. cooked chicken or turkey breast, cut into strips
  • 8 oz. smoked deli ham, cut into strips
  • 4 oz. crumbled Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, ends removed, cut in half, then quartered lengthwise
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, washed well and cut into wedges
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, peel and pit removed, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, warm (optional)
  • Watercress sprigs or microgreens, for garnish (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salad dressing

Divide ingredients evenly between 4 bowls. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

Per serving (does not include salad dressing): 509 calories, 27 g. fat, 17 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 47 g. protein, iron 12%

Elixir Soup

Terra and elixir in Narshe“Show me the alchemist who doesn’t wish in his heart of hearts to know the secret behind making an elixir, and I’ll show you a fraud! Of course, he might already know it… but it’s taboo to reveal the ingredients.”

—Tyak, Master Chef, FFXII

Okay, so you already know to start a pot of White Mage Chicken Soup when you feel like you might be getting sick, right? Well, this is the soup to cook when you’re feeling stressed out, rundown, and in need of some serious super-strength mind and body healing power. It’s packed full of ingredients to reduce your stress levels and make you stronger.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 3½ oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced very thinly
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1½ pounds beef stew meat, uncooked, cut into 1″ pieces
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dry green split peas (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 oz. sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Fresh oregano sprigs
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 5-inch pieces of dried seaweed (optional)
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets
  • 6 oz. baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8–12 cloves), peeled and grated or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)
  • Diced avocado and fresh basil leaves (optional)

Heat olive oil and coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat just until the oil begins to shimmer. Add onions, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat as needed if the onions are browning too quickly. Add carrots and mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add chicken and beef and sprinkle with sea salt, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in split peas and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sweet potato and continue cooking for another minute. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and seaweed. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until stew meat and split peas are soft and tender, about 2 hours.

Remove from heat and stir in broccoli, bok choy, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and let rest for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and crunchy-tender. Divide into bowls and top with avocado and basil, if desired.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including avocado): 319 calories, 9.2 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 2.5 g. mono. fat, 79.1 mg. cholesterol, 966.4 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 724.5 mg. potassium, 25.2 g. carbohydrates, 6.1 g. fiber, 34.2 g. protein, vitamin A 62%, vitamin C 58%, calcium 9%, iron 17%

Dining Car Casserole

Shadow and Interceptor on the Phantom Train“I love trains.”

—Selphie Tilmitt, FFVIII

  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, 98% fat free
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (4 oz.)
  • ½ cup sour cream (4¼ oz.)
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 oz.)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. fresh broccoli florets
  • 12 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (1 oz.)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar cheese, wine, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the broccoli and chicken.

Spray an 8″x11″ 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the broccoli and chicken mixture to the casserole dish. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 575 calories, 40.9 g. fat, 13 g. saturated fat, 12.9 g. poly. fat, 7.8 g. mono. fat, 123.6 mg. cholesterol, 2162.9 mg. sodium, 505.1 mg. potassium, 12.2 g. carbohydrates, 37.9 g. protein, vitamin A 27%, vitamin C 110%, calcium 34%, iron 1.6%

Behemoth Steak

Lightning and Behemoth“How many steaks you think we can get outta this?”

—Wakka, FFX

More accurately, this recipe could be called Behemoth Steak… Plus a Chicken. I hate to let the coals go to waste, and after you’ve gotten them nice and hot for the steak, they’re the perfect medium temperature to smoke a chicken for tomorrow’s lunch.

While the chicken is cooking, enjoy your steak with a salad topped with homemade dressing (3 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice) and blue cheese. A big red wine like Malbec is a perfect accompaniment. One porterhouse steak makes a good meal for two people, or a very large serving for one. Make sure you each get to taste both sides of the steak — one side is tenderloin, the other sirloin. Compare and contrast!

For the steak:

  • One 1″-thick porterhouse steak (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Prepare a grill to high heat. Brush the steak on both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place steak over direct heat and cook, covered, for 4 minutes. Flip, re-cover, and cook 2 minutes longer, until the internal temperature reaches 125-135°.

Transfer to a carving board, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, get the chicken cooking.

For the chicken:

  • One 3-1/2 lb. chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon halves and thyme sprigs. Brush all over with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Push the coals to one side, and add a drip pan under the area where the chicken will be cooking. Place chicken onto the grill breast-side down, cover, and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 1½ hours, rotating occasionally as needed (breast-side down) to ensure even browning.

Remove chicken from grill and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Cactuar Nachos

Cactuar“Nacho nacho!”

—a cactoid, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can refried beans
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. thick tortilla chips
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz. grated cheese (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • Salsa
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add refried beans and broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until combined and heated through.

Arrange tortilla chips on an ovenproof platter or baking sheet. Pour refried beans over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with black beans and cheese and bake for about 5 minutes, until cheese is completely melted. Remove from oven and top with avocado. Serve immediately with salsa and Greek yogurt, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Oerba Harvest Hodgepodge

Oerba“Miracles are things that we make for ourselves.”

—Oerba Dia Vanille, FFXIII

This is an extremely versatile recipe for using up leftover vegetables from your refrigerator or garden.

  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous (about 6 oz.)
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions (about 3 oz.), washed, root ends removed, halved and chopped
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed and ends removed, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, washed and ends removed, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, rinsed and chopped (optional)

Place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat 1¼ cups broth or water to boiling (reserve the other ¼ cup for later use) and pour over the couscous, stirring once to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the light-green parts of the onion (save the dark-green ends for later use), garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, black beans, lime juice, remaining ¼ cup broth or water, and hot pepper sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and dark-green onion ends.

Fluff the couscous with a fork. Serve 1 cup of the black bean mixture over ½ cup of cooked couscous. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 287 calories, 3.3 g. fat, 0.4 g. saturated fat, 0.4 g. poly. fat, 1.7 g. mono. fat, 670.4 mg. sodium, 316.4 mg. potassium, 52.7 g. carbohydrates, 10.3 g. fiber, 14.2 g. protein, vitamin A 9%, vitamin C 98%, calcium 14%, iron 19%