Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

When I was going to school in Hawaii. I would often babysit for some Chinese friends of the family. In payment for me sitting with their three little girls, they would fix me a lovely Chinese stir fry dinner. At the time I really didn't like anything but hamburgers and pizza. Until this dish came along the vegetables are always so tender. The sauce adds so much flavor. That little touch of ginger is so refreshing to the palate. It became one of my favorites. In celebration of the Chinese New Year this past week.

Chicken Stir Fry With Broccoli and Water chestnuts

1 pound of chicken breasts sliced into 1/2 strips
1 medium onion
1 large carrot sliced long way
1 cup broccoli ends trimmed and separated into florets
1 cup snow peas
1 can drained water chestnuts
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c Teriyaki marinade Sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Heat oil in large nonstick pan or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken brown on all sides, drains excess grease. Add garlic and gingers ,onion saute 2 minutes. Add carrot, broccoli, and snow peas, cook until vegetables are soft and tender. Add soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce and water chestnuts, orange peel cook until well blended about two minutes. This can be served over white rice or brown rice or by itself. When living in Hawaii I always added a little fresh pineapple.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dinner and A Movie

Marley and Me
Still playing at the theater. We loved this show it has a few adult jokes but the dog steals the show. Owen Wilson acts almost as well as he did in Behind Enemy Lines. Jennifer is great they have a cute chemistry. Be sure and have a tissue ready. I dedicated this movie to our two big dogs that went to heaven this year Sonya and Callie. I give this movie 2 1/2 stars very entertaining.

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

1 - 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (preferably the easy release kind).

Wash and clean do not peel. Cut into strips that are about 1/2 inch wide on each side.

Place all ingredients in bowl and mix well thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stay At Home Thursday

This is a recipe that my mother has perfected and been making for years. The Pork Chops and Potatoes usually take about two hours to cook.

Fall off the bone Pork Chops and Creamy Potatoes

4 bone in Pork Chops
one and a half potatoes per person
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 white onion finely chopped
1 cup of whole milk

Cook pork chops in pan on stove season with salt and pepper, I also add a little dry steak seasoning to add a little flavor. Remove pork chops from pan, drain and remove most of the grease leave a few droppings. Cook the onion in the same pan until well cooked, add cream of mushroom and celery soups, blend well add the cream cheese and milk. While this is cooking peel potatoes and cut. Just as the soup mixture starts to boil add the potatoes to the soup mixture, well coat all of the potatoes. Place the pork chops in a glass oven proof casserole. Spread the potatoes evenly over the pork chops and cover with foil. Cook at 350 F for one and a half to two hours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

One of my favorite restaurants is Pei Wei. I just love their Lettuce Wraps. I found this recipe in a Pillsbury cookbook. The recipe makes twelve lettuce wraps 140 Calories each. I have never used ground turkey before, I was very surprised how tasty it was. It was like working with ground beef but less calories. This recipe has tons of flavors from the spices.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons garlic and red chile paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cups chopped salted peanuts
12 medium lettuce leaves rinsed and patted dry

1. In 10 inch nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain and return to skillet. Stir in green onion, cilantro,mint, lime juice, fish sauce, peanut butter, chile paste, sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until hot.

2. To serve, spoon 2 heaping tablespoons turkey mixture, 2 tablespoons carrots and 1 teaspoon peanuts onto each lettuce leaf wrap around filling. Serve warm. We had peanut butter but if you are afraid to use peanut butter, you could use a spicy peanut sauce which I added here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

This recipe was so easy I made it in ten minutes why I cried with Oprah. I was glad I was 't making something sweet she was having a show on overweight teens. If you have children or someone who won't eat vegetables this recipe is great. The cheese spread takes over the flavor of the vegetables.

Stuffed Veggie Pizza

1 10 oz tube pizza dough(Pillsbury)
1 one container 6.5 oz alouette spreadable cheese
3/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated cheddar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 small red onion
1 7 to8-inch-long zucchini thinly sliced
Cooking spray or oil

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread half of dough out on greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Spread half of alouette cheese over dough. I used the sundried tomato & basil. It helps to let it sit at room temperature a few minutes to soften up. Leave a half inch on all edges. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan and half the parsley. Use the other half of the pizza dough spread over cheese portion of the pizza. Take the spreadable cheese and spread over the top layer of the pizza dough. Place the sliced zucchini and sliced onions on top in a row. I just sliced the zucchini and onion on a food grater to make them very thin. I used a large onion because that is all I could find at the store. Cover vegetables with grated Parmesan and cheddar and parsley. Bake for 24 minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gourmet Monday Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes were tasty. I have never made cupcakes before at least not that I remember. They would be perfect to serve with tea or at a tea party.

3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter melted
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 c buttermilk
1 c whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries (frozen)

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chilled fresh blueberries
Fresh mint sprigs

For cupcakes: Preheat over to 350 F. Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners. Sift flour and next 4 ingredients into large bowl. Whisk melted butter and oil in medium bowl. Add eggs; whisk to blend. Whisk in buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon peel. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just to blend. Stir in frozen blueberries. Divide batter among liners. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks; cool.

Combine powdered sugar and cream cheese until well blended add butter blend well add vanilla. Decorate with blueberries and mint sprigs.

Saturday Night Specials

When I was growing up we had what the family referred to as Saturday Night Specials. This was a hot dog not your ordinary Oscar Meyer hot dog we had bratwurst and knackwurst from the butcher shop. My parents were stationed in Germany and came back with a love for the dogs and I don't mean German Shepherds.

So each Saturday night I will try and continue the specials. This week we had Tuna Steaks with Tangerine roasted red pepper salsa. I found this recipe in Robin Miller Quick Fix Meals.When you purchase the steaks they will be dark pink in color with no skin and no bones after it is cooked they look just like a beef steak. The picture does not do justice for how great these are. I am a cook but not a photographer. I am getting better please bear with me.

Grilled Tuna Steaks With Tangerine- Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Four Tuna Steaks(preferably sushi quality)
1 1/2 Cups of tangerine sections Chopped
1/2 c diced roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Coat a stove-top grill pan or outdoor grill with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
Season the tuna steaks all over with salt and pepper and place in the pan or on the grill. Cook until well seared and cooked to your desired degree of doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the tangerine, peppers, onion, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and garlic powder, tossing to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve tuna with the salsa spooned over the top.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mini Star- Anise Scones

This recipe also comes from Bon Appetit and I can’t remember when I got this recipe. My husband and my mother just love anise because it tastes like licorice. You can find ground anise in the spice section of your local grocery store. The star Anise in the picture above are sometimes hard to find. I just happened to see them in the grocery store. To make these scones, I just ground the Anise in a spice grinder or you can also use a coffee grinder. Licorice lovers eat your heart out.

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 large egg

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

2 ¼ cups cake flour

3 ½ tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons freshly ground star anise

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse salt

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

½ cup raisins

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Whisk ½ cup cream, egg, and lemon peel in medium bowl. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Using large holes of box grater, grate butter over dry ingredients. Using fingertips, blend until coarse meal forms. Add raisins and cream mixture. Stir until moist clumps form, adding more cream by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Turn out onto floured surface and knead just until dough comes together.

Pat out dough to ½-inch thick round using 2 inch diameter cutter, cut out scones. Gather dough scraps and press out to ½ inch thickness and cut out additional scones. Transfer to baking sheet. Brush tops of scone with 2 tablespoons cream and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown about 16 minutes.

Dinner and a Movie

You have to see Seven Pounds. This is one of the best movies of the year. It Stars Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. I can’t tell you too much about the story without ruining the movie. The chemistry between Will and Rosario is incredible. It starts out a little slow as you try to figure it out but you get caught up at the end of the movie. It is a tear jerker so be sure and have a supply of tissues. When you leave the movie you will be glad you saw it. It is rated PG-13 and it is still playing at the theatre. I give this movie three stars.

Stay At Home Thursday

We usually stay home on Thursday night because we like all the shows on TV. This is where the DVR really comes in handy. We can watch Grey’s and record CSI and watch it later. Oh, and if Survivor is on we are always home. Last night I prepared a roasted chicken. I found this recipe in January 2009 issue of the Bon Appétit Magazine.

Roasted Chicken

one 12-ounce unpeeled russet potato , well scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes
one 12-ounce yam (red-skinned sweet potato ) peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium parsnips cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion quartered
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh sage
1 garlic clove pressed
one 4lb organic chicken

Toss first 6 ingredients in large roasting pan. Mix butter, sage and garlic in small bowl. Place chicken in center of vegetables. Using fingertips loosen skin from breast and spread 1 tablespoon of the sage butter under the skin of the breast. Rub 1 tablespoon sage butter over entire chicken. Dot vegetables with remaining sage butter. Here I added a little dry steak seasoning to the top of the chicken and vegetables. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast chicken and vegetables for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F, continue roasting until instant-read thermometer that is inserted into chicken thigh registers 165 F, and vegetables are tender. Stir the vegetables once. The recipe says to cook one hour, mine took about an hour and a half.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday Spaghetti Squash

Low Cal Wednesday we love spaghetti squash. I know you are saying squash I have not been known to each very many myself. This is quick and easy, even small children will like this.
Spaghetti squash is very rich in beta carotene.

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
1 c spaghetti sauce
1/2 c cheddar cheese
1/2 Parmesan cheese

First very carefully cut the squash I have found if you use a very sharp knife it is a little easier to cut. Clean out all of the seeds and flesh like the inside of a pumpkin. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for five minutes. Meanwhile heat up the spaghetti sauce. After the squash is cook take fork and pull apart should look like spaghetti. Pull strands apart all that you can. Pour spaghetti sauce over squash. Sprinkle top with cheeses put under broiler for about one minute or two. You can remove the spaghetti from the squash if you would like and just serve like spaghetti.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Five Bean Soup

Five Bean Soup
1 can (15-ounce) black beans drained
1 can (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15-ounce) garbanzo beans drained
1 can (15-ounce) red beans drained
1 can (15-ounce) navy beans drained
1 can (141/2-ounce) chopped tomatoes
1 can (14-ounce) vegetable broth
¾ cup salsa
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
½ cup sour cream
1 cup chopped green onions
1. Puree black beans in a blender.
2. In large pot, stir all the remaining beans, the tomatoes, broth, salsa, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Stir in pureed black beans. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.
3. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with sour cream and onions.