Friday, May 31, 2013

Sesame Beef Wraps

We have become quite a fan of "Asian inspired" foods.  Toasted Sesame Oil is one of my new favorite ingredients forever. I LOVE the way it smells and tastes...worth every cent.

So when I saw this recipe (I think on Pinterest but I am not totally positive), I knew I had to try it.

I happened to have some flank steak in the freezer, not enough to make a steak dinner but enough for a meal like this. So I pulled it out for this recipe.

And it was good stuff.

We will have this again (though not too often; I can't afford flank steak very often).

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil (YUM!)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Freshly ground black peppercorns

1 lb flank steak cut thinly against the grain


Butter lettuce leaves (I had a hard tine finding them...I had to buy a LIVE lettuce plant from the grocery store, roots intact. That being said, these are great leaves for wraps!)

Optional toppings:  Shredded carrots, brown rice (cooked), green onions, etc.

Sauce ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp sriracha chile sauce (I omitted due to food issues here)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp green onion, chopped

1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 Tbsp water

Note:  Since many of the marinade ingredients AND the sauce ingredients are the same or similar, I would make them both at the same time. I didn't pay attention to that part when I made it. :)

Mix together the garlic, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and peppercorn.  Pour into a large ziplock bag and add the flank steak. Refrigerate 1-3 hours (or longer if needed).  Like I said above, it would make sense to go ahead and mix the sauce ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

 When ready to cook, heat about 1/2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet.  Put about half the meat in the skillet and brown. 

Once it cooked through, place that meat in a serving dish.

Add about 1/2 Tbsp more oil to the skillet and cook the remaining meat.

I just put all of the foods on the table and let the family build their own. Some don't like lettuce, so they just put the meat on top of rice. I put some rice on lettuce then added the meat and carrots and dipped in the sauce. 

Very quick, very good!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May's Menus

I am behind on menus.

What can I say?

End of school and life gets a little crazy!

In spite of that, I HAVE been cooking!  

Week of May 6:
Sunday: Hamburger Pie (I think I forgot to post this one), carrots and Ranch, parker house rolls
Monday:  Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, salad, crescent rolls
Tuesday: OYO
Wednesday:  Ham sandwiches/sliders made on homemade rolls (I need to share that recipe), chips
Thursday:   Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps (I need to post this was good stuff)
Saturday:  Out

Week of May 13:
Monday:  Beef and potatoes (need to share), Rhodes bread, carrots and Ranch
Tuesday:  OYO
Wednesday:  pancakes/bacon
Thursday:   Pot Roast Pizzaiola, cavitappi pasta,
Friday:  OYO
Saturday:  Chicken Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes (new recipe) , Skillet rolls, Green Beans

Week of May 20:
Sunday: tostadas, chips and salsa,
Monday:  OYO
Wednesday:  Pad Thai
Thursday:   French Dip Sandwiches (new recipe), chips
Friday: Pizza out
Saturday: Spaghetti Bread, salad

Week of May 27:
Sunday: Sweet and Spicy Chicken, basmatti rice, crockpot corn on the cob, Rhodes rolls
Monday:  Steak (grilled), potatoes, black eye peas, corn on the cob, garlic toast (new recipe)
Tuesday:  OYO
Wednesday:  Swai, Angel Hair Pasta, French bread, carrots and Ranch
Thursday:   Waffles, Bacon, Fruit
Saturday: Hamburgers, French fries, shakes


All caught up.  

So, what is for dinner at your house this weekend?


Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

I saw this on Pinterest not long ago and thought it looked like a good (and quick) meal to make.  Then last night was the perfect opportunity.  We had been hiking all day.  I needed something quick. I had corn in the crockpot (I have decided that IS the way to cook it) and rolls rising.  And I had chicken in the fridge, needing to be cooked. Perfect.

So when I got home, I started the rice, then turned my attention to the chicken.

And in 30 minutes or so, I had a complete meal.

And a good one.

This will be going into our rotation...

I loved my son's perspective on it.

He said it was "Masian" food.  He said it was like Mexican and Asian food combined in one.

And in a way he is correct, though I don't think the original recipe had that intention.  But I changed out one of the ingredients which did indeed give it a Mexican flair. :)

Lots of flavor, a short cooking time, the perfect combination for me.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the original recipe called for 2, I used five.  And this recipe will be based upon that; I doubled the recipe.  I actually cut mine into smaller pieces like time I will just BUY tenderloins which will cook even a little faster!)

2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp paprika (we can't/don't do paprika right now due to a child's food sensitivities, so I did cumin instead which is probably where the Mexican taste came from :)

2 Tbsp sugar (granulated) 

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp dried parsley

4 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

(I doubled the butter and olive oil, but I think next time, I would stick with 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil...we had MORE than enough for the skillet)

the juice of one lemon

Flatten the chicken with mallet for even sizes.  I put mine in a large ziplock bag to do this.

Combine all of the spices/herbs (salt, paprika/cumin, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley).  Coat chicken with mixture.  (I dumped the spices/herbs into the ziplock bag with the chicken and just gave it a few was covered :)

Heat the butter/oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the skillet.  The original recipe calls for letting it cook about 6 minutes per side.  I just eye it and always check the inside of a chicken piece to make sure. I think mine took a little longer because it was still fairly thick even after using the mallet on it.

Partway through cooking, squirt the juice from the lemon over the chicken.

Cook until done.

We ate ours with basmati rice, Rhodes rolls, and corn on the cob.  (I also had a salad that was wonderful :)

It was good stuff.  Easy and good.

Happy cooking!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Skillet Rolls

The other day, when I was making fried chicken, I wanted some sort of bread to go with it.  I have several roll recipes I love but they take a while to rise (twice).  So I did a little Internet search.  I started in one spot and ended up right here. 

Rapid Rise Rolls.

Exactly what I need.

So I made them.

And ate them.

And loved every bite.

Note: This is the original recipe.  When I made this, I cut the recipe in half.  I LOVE rolls but I didn't need 24. :)

1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp yeast

1 3/4 cup warm water

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup melted butter

2 tsp salt

2 large eggs, beaten

4-6 cups all purpose flour

Place sugar and yeast in a bowl with warm water.  Mix together and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  It should get bubbly. :)

Stir in the honey.  (You can use a mixer for this; the original recipe is for a mixer. I do it all by hand...)

Add in the butter, eggs, and salt.

Slowly add in the flour, a cup at a time.  Continue adding and kneading until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is not too sticky.

Rolls into 24 balls.  (Or in my case 12)

Place in a greased iron cast skillet.  You can also make these on a cookie sheet, though I haven't tried that.

Cover and let rise about 20 minutes or until doubled in size. I think mine took longer than that but I wasn't in a hurry that day. I just waited a while before checking on them.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the risen rolls with melted butter.

Bake for 25 minutes or so.

Brush with more melted butter once you remove them from the oven.

They were really good. And even better, they only require one "rise" which definitely cuts back on time.

We WILL be having these again!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Fried Chicken and Gravy

Last night, other than the green beans, we had a meal of Pinterest recipes.  I have plenty to share this week, just from one meal!  (When I have time, that school year is wrapping up and it is a bit crazy busy around here)

Anyway,  I have made fried chicken before but when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was eager to try it.  I mean, gravy too?  That is just icing on the cake.  Or gravy on the chicken.

I followed the recipe fairly closely but next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time), I will make some minor changes.

Chicken Ingredients:
Chicken breasts or tenderloins (I used a couple pounds of tenderloins)

3 cups of flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed into little tiny pieces

1 Tbsp bacon fat (I have started saving bacon fat from when I "bake" bacon and freezing it...came in handy!)

Vegetable or canola oil (as needed)

Chicken Directions:
If possible, "brine" the chicken by placing it in a large ziplock bag filled with water and salt.  Keep in the fridge for a few hours.

Drain the chicken, then pound it with a mallet to make it thinner.  

Meanwhile, heat the bacon fat and the oil (I just did poured oil until the skillet had at least an inch in it) into the skillet.  Heat on medium heat.

Mix the flour and cracker crumbs together in a bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste. (The original recipe suggested 2 cups of flour with salt/pepper in one bowl, and then 1 cup of flour mixed with the cracker crumbs in another for a second dip. Honestly, in the future, I would just dip once (one bowl with 2 cups of flour and 1 sleeve of crushed cracker crumbs).    Saves on dirtying up the dishes. :)

Dip the chicken into the flour mixture(s).

Add to the skillet (when hot), making sure not to crowd them.

Heat/cook on one side until golden brown, then flip it.

When it has cooked through, remove from oil (and then add another).  We put a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and let them sit on the cooling rack (covered by aluminum foil to keep warm).

Gravy Ingredients:
1/4 cup pan drippings (from frying chicken)

1/4 cup flour (you can use 1/4 cup reserved flour from the chicken but I just got a new 1/4 cup flour)

1 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste
Gravy Directions:
Remove about 1/4 cup of pan drippings from the skillet.  Heat in a saucepan or another skillet (or you can do the same one but I did it in a saucepan so my gravy would be ready when my chicken was) over low or low/medium heat.

Add in 1/4 cup flour.  Stir frequently until nice and smooth.

Slowly add the milk.

Continue to stir as it thickens.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat until heated through.

Serve over chicken and/or mashed potatoes.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes

The last time I made these, I thought, "I need to post this recipe..."

But part of me thought, "For pancakes?"

I have a confession.


I have always made pancakes from a mix.  Like a box mix.  Sometimes I use the ones you add water to, other times I actually add the eggs and oil.

But recently I have been trying to do more "home cooking".  So I have been searching for just the right recipe.

I have tried one or two that were so so.

Then I decided to try this one

I will admit: It is labeled as an IHOP copycat recipe. I am sure I have eaten at an IHOP.  I think.  Maybe once or twice a LONG time ago?  Not in any recent memory.  So I can't really compare.

But that isn't what inspired me to try it.

It was the picture, the easy recipe, the basic ingredients.

So I made them.

And they worked for me.

Tonight (breakfast for dinner) we had them again.

And I still liked them.

Which means NOW it is time to post the recipe.

By the way, this recipe feeds all 6 of us with just a few left over.  (Which I freeze...they warm up nicely)  If you want a smaller serving, check out the original recipe.

3 3/4 cups of flour (I actually rounded up slightly. I used 2 cups of all purpose and 2 cups of white whole wheat flour)

3 tsp baking powder

3tsp baking soda

pinch of salt (or two or three :)

3 eggs, beaten

3 3/4 cup buttermilk (Note: If you don't have buttermilk, you can use regular milk and add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of milk; let it sit for 5-10 minutes)

6 Tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

Stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt).

Mix the eggs and buttermilk.

Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredient mixture.

Add the sugar and butter.

Stir until just mixed.

Fry on a greased griddle.  (I used my electric griddle set on 375 degrees F.

We butter them as soon as they come off the griddle.


(PS Can be frozen; I would separate with wax paper or parchment paper or they will stick together)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cheese Bread

I really wish I had a better picture than this.

I will make it again soon and hopefully will get a better one.

We were behind schedule for dinner so I had to just point and click.  Quickly.

Anyway, tonight we had the Grilled Shrimp Boil Kabobs.  Well, some shrimp. I made some without. 

Anyway, I was trying to decide what kind of bread to have, and a picture from Pinterest flashed through my mind.  Cheese bread.  You know, like the kind you get at a certain seafood restaurant? 

What I really liked about the recipe was that it makes one load, not biscuits.  That means easier for me which I am all about. :)

And it was good.

Or at least I thought it was. 

Took a good deal of willpower to not eat several slices.

3 cups flour (I used all purpose)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted that)

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper (I just added some ground black peppercorn...didn't measure)

4 oz cheddar cheese, cut into little cubes (I used sharp)

1 1/4 cups milk

3/4 cups sour cream

3 Tbsp butter, melted

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease/spray a 9 x 5 bread pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. 

Add the cheese so it is coated with the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, sour cream, butter, and egg.  Once mixed, pour into the flour mixture and stir until just mixed.  Do not overstir.

Spoon/pour the mixture into the bread pan.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  After about 10 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan on a cooling rack.  Wait an hour or so to cut (unless you are in a hurry like me, then you just cut it as soon as it has cooled just a bit because it is time to eat). 

Then enjoy.

Happy cooking!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pineapple Fluff

Not long ago, my Sunday School class had a little potluck after church.

One of my friends told us she would be bringing "Pineapple Fluff". 

I have to admit.

I am not normally a big fruit desserts. I like fruits alone. Just not in desserts. Usually it isn't a dessert to me unless chocolate is involved.

But I decided to take one little taste (to be polite).

But one taste turned to another and another and another.

I wanted to eat the whole pan!

Well, not the pan, but the contents of the pan.

Oh yum.

I begged for the recipe.  Okay, I really asked but begged sounds so much more dramatic.

And my friend shared the one she used.  She had gotten it from Pinterest

So I have made it.  Twice.  In like a week and a half.

Not for me...always for someone else.

Though I wish it were for me sometimes.

Or all of the time.

So here is the recipe. 

Ingredients for the "fluff":
1 box cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 20oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 container Cool Whip

Cream the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy.

Add in the pineapple and Cool Whip and mix together (I used my electric mixer).

Chill until ready to serve.

Ingredients for the "crunch":
1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels (I just put some in a ziplock bag and hammered away with my meat tenderizer tool.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Mix pretzels, butter, and sugar together.  (I just used a spoon/spatula)

Spread into a 13x9 dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Press the pretzel mixture into the dish.

Bake at 400 for 7 minutes.

Once it has cooled, break apart and toss into the "fluff".

Note:  I do this part as last minute as possible to keep it crunchy as long as possible.



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

You may remember that I love pumpkin.  Especially pumpkin muffins. I used to make them all of the time.  A cake mix, a bag of cinnamon chips, a can of pumpkin.

That was it.

Except those cinnamon chips...they have dyes in them.  Evil dyes (at least for one of my kids).

And the cake mix? Full of preservatives/artificials...which we also cannot have.

So my pumpkin muffin baking days came to an end.

However, I find myself STILL craving some pumpkin muffins.

So not long ago I did a recipe search.

And I happened upon this.

So a couple nights ago, I decided to just make them.  (I baked them at night since they would take a while.  I have been keeping them in the fridge, and we heat them in the microwave as needed)

And they are rather tasty.

Not as easy or as simple as the ones I used to make, but that hasn't stopped me from eating them.  I mean, these have a crumb coating. You can't go wrong with that!

8 oz cream cheese block (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Note-While the cream cheese definitely adds to this muffin, next time I will probably halve all of these ingredients so not have quite so much cream cheese involved.

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar (granulated)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have any and left it was fine without it)

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin (I just used one regular size can)

3 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp butter (melted)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Filling-  Combine the cream cheese fillings in a bowl and beat (I used my little hand mixer) until smooth.  Place on a large sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a "log".  Place in the freezer for about an hour. 

Topping:  Just before removing the cream cheese from the freezer, put the topping ingredients in a bowl.  Use a fork to mix it.  It will form little clumps.  Resist just sitting and eating the topping...good stuff.

Muffins:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with liners.  This recipe easily makes 16.

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices/salt) in a large bowl.  Stir together.

In another bowl, combine "wet" ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, oil, vanilla).

Make a "well" in the middle of the dry ingredients.  Pour "wet" ingredients into the hole.  Stir all ingredients together until mixed.  Do NOT over mix.

Add about 2 Tbsp of muffin batter to each muffin liner. 

Slice the cream cheese log into 16 equal size pieces.  Like I said, I think next time I will half is a lot of cream cheese :).  Place a cream cheese "slice" in the middle of each muffin liner.

Top the cream cheese with remaining muffin batter.

Sprinkle the topping on top, pressing it down to ensure it sticks.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.