Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ramen Slaw

This is so easy and everyone LOVES it!

You will need:

1/4-1/3 C White Sugar
1/2 C Oil
1/4 C White Vinegar
1/4 C Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pepper

1 head Cabbage Shredded
1/2 C Sliced Almonds
1 Bunch of Green Onions (Sliced)
2 Packages Oriental Ramen Noodles

Mix the Sugar, Oil, Vinegars, Pepper & Ramen Seasoning in a large bowl.

Slice the green onions and add them to the dressing as with the almonds.

Thinly shred the cabbage and add it to the bowl as well.

Last, break up the raw ramen into small pieces and toss everything together.

2/23 Bountiful Basket Ideas

Oh my.... our Bountiful Basket this week was..... uh... BOUNTIFUL!

I actually prefer to get something a little odd in my BB so I can move around my culinary comfort zone.  I have to say nothing super strange in the basket this week.... for me, anyway.  I can't wait to get a Buddha Hand!!!

This week we got:

1 bag +15 Petite Potatoes
2 Japanese Eggplant
2 Large Leeks
1 Head of Red Leaf Lettuce
1 Bunch Broccoli (I volunteered, so I got an extra)
11 Multi-Colored Carrots
1 Pineapple
9 Bananas
2 Grapefruit
7 Gala Apples
6 Naval Oranges

My Plans:

Eggplant Parmigiana Sandwiches
Potato Leek Soup
Grilled Pineapple
Chicken & Dumplings (Carrots)
Carrot Cake Granola Bars
Broccoli Salad
Buffalo Chicken Wraps (Lettuce)

As usual, we will consume the fruit (besides the Pineapple) as snacks.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sesame Ginger Salmon

I *really* miss having fresh fish in my freezer at all times.  There were perks to living in Alaska... fish was one of them!!!  Now that that isn't the case, I can either beg for it or buy it at the store! 

I had recently saw a segment on Dr. Oz about fish at the grocery store.  It was talking about farm vs wild fish as well as certain distributors of seafood substituting cheaper fish for others and calling it the more expensive. This kinda freaked me out.  When I went to Fred Meyer to get some Salmon, I asked the fish guy if either of the salmon displayed had added coloring.  He showed me that the one in front (pre-cut fillet portions) did, but the whole fillets did not.  I asked for a chunk of the whole fillet.

And this is what I did with it:

First, I let the fish thaw for about 30 mins.

Then, I sprinkled ground ginger on the meat and rubbed it in.

Then I put about 1/2 cup brown sugar on it and tried to rub that in as well.

Next, I put it and 1 cup soy sauce in a Ziploc bag and let marinate for about an hour.

I put the fillet (and all the liquid) in a small casserole dish lined with tinfoil.  I sprinkled more ginger and some pepper over the top and covered the top with more foil.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

When done, sprinkle with Sesame Seeds.

Chicken & Dumplings

I am so excited to use the colored carrots from my Bountiful Basket in my Chicken & Dumplings.
This is by far one of the best comfort foods/cold day dinners that I can imagine.

7 carrots and  7 ribs of celery cut up into big chunks and place on the bottom of the crock.

Add 3 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cans 1 can cream of chicken soup 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup milk and crock on 'keep warm' all day.

About an hour before serving:
Using kitchen shears, cut up a tube of raw biscuits & mix inside. Cook on low until done.
Using Bisquick, make a small batch and using a small scooper, drop raw biscuits into crock and cook on low until done.
Make/Bake regular Biscuits and serve the crocked 'stew' on top.

I actually used a tube of crescent rolls this time around. Salt & Pepper to taste- I added Franks Hot Sauce (of course).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

There is a secret ingredient in the BEST Banana Bread.

I am on a mission to use up stuff that has been sitting in my pantry.  This is an effort to get the junk unavailable and so if I have to bake something special, I'll have to go get the ingredients or supplement what I do have.  As much as I love to have treats laying around, I have a 2 year old that likes cookies, candy, etc. <- Go figure, right?  If it is unavailable then.........solved.  Plus my stepdaughter got braces in January and poor thing can't have candy. (Whats a kid to do?)  In any case, I had about 1/2 C of cocoa I wanted to use up as well as around 4 dozen black bananas taking up too much space in the freezer.

This recipe will be available ONLY through my e-book... COMING SOON!


A friend, Kristianne on my Crockpot group on Facebook shared this recipe.  I am so excited to bring this to fruition!!!  This is incredibly similar to my Mongolian Beef recipe (besides all the massaging) and the coke. 


Beef-chuck roast (or any other type of roast you'd like to use)

Slice your beef VERY thin -I just purchased Carne Asada- already thinly sliced.

Put your meat in a large bowl,

Brown Sugar- about 2-3 handfuls, massage onto meat.

Coke/Cola (about 12 oz) - coat meat and massage.

Soy Sauce- about 1/2 cup. Massage.

Honey- a few Tbs. Massage.

Sesame oil- about 1/2 cup. Massage

Garlic- (I use the chopped in a jar 2 tbsps ish). Massage.
Black pepper- Guess & massage.

Green onion- 1 bunch (I used dried minced)

Garlic powder- guess, what ever you'd like. (I forgot)

Onion powder- guess, what ever you'd like. (I forgot)

MIX everything really well!
Marinate over night (I did ALL day)

Stir /flip meat in the morning/when you are getting ready to cook.

As you can see, the meat soaks EVERYTHING up! 

Tell your husband to turn on the grill and cook you dinner :)

or just.... Grill up meat at dinner time.

Incredible.... really... so so sooooooooo good!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pasta Fazul

I seriously felt like the Rat in Ratatouille as I was making this.  There is just something about using fresh herbs in Italian food that makes it so amazing..... This dish is commonly known as Pasta e Fagoli. Something about the word Fazul makes me smile.  I can hear my daddy saying it. So I went with Pasta Fazul.....

I gathered a 'base' of what I thought would/should go in the Fazul:

1 tsp Minced Garlic
2 Italian Sausages - Next time, I'll use more.
1 box smallish Pasta
1 can diced tomatoes (I added a second one)
2 Cans Tomato Sauce (I added a third)
4 cubes Chicken Bouillon
5 cups water
1 Bay Leaf
Fresh Italian Parsley
Fresh Basil
Fresh Oregano
Fresh Rosemary
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Kidney Beans

First, I cut up the sausage with kitchen shears, added garlic and browned on the bottom of my soup pot.

Next, I added the bouillon and water and brought to a simmer.

In went all the herbs........

Add tomatoes, sauce, pasta and drained cans of beans.

Let simmer until the pasta is done.

This is a 'stew' like consistency.  If you want it soupier, add more chicken broth or tomato sauce.

Garnish with Parmesan Cheese.

Yeast Yam Bread

So I got this gigantic Yam...(just 1) in my Bountiful Basket the week before last.  I *really* needed to use it but wasn't really interested in the normal mashed yams side dish.  A lady on my dinners group on Facebook suggested Yam Bread.  I did some research online for tried and true recipes and found one to get an idea.  I tweaked- it was in milliliters and incomplete so... winging it again! Plus I decided to put it in my bread maker..... Turned into some seriously beautiful results :)

Before I got started, I peeled and cut up the yam.  Then I microwaved it until it was mashable.  Since the yam was HUGE, I put half in a Ziploc and threw it in the freezer.  Then......

Let these 3 things foam in the bread maker:
1 cup warm water
1 tsp Sugar
2 1/4 tsp Active Yeast (or 1 packet)

Then add:
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 C Vanilla Rice Milk (you can use regular)
2 1/2 C Bread Flour
1 C cooked/mashed Yam

I chose the 'dough' setting.  When it was done kneading and rising, I switched the setting to 'bake only'.

That's it.

This bread is so moist and fluffy, yet doesn't smell or taste sweet and has a lovely orange hue.  I made my husbands turkey & jalapeno sandwich on it this morning.  That's sure to catch him off guard!  I'm sure I'll get a: "What kind of bread did you make my sandwich out of this morning?" - when I get home. Ha.  I'm full of surprises...................
*Update........... As soon as my hubby got home and put his lunchbox on the counter, the EXACT words out of his mouth were: "THAT BREAD WAS BOMB! - Where is the rest of it?"

***Since I did this in my bread maker, I am not sure how you would do it otherwise.  I can assume knead as you would normal yeast bread, let rise until doubled in size, punch and knead again, shape, let rise again and then bake at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depending on size, shape of loaf, etc.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

I originally wanted to make this a lettuce wrap, however I knew that wouldn't fly with the hubs, so.... FULL BLOWN burger it is. :)

I can't believe how quick these actually were to throw together.  I have always been partial to a meatless burger patty or turkey patty, but it seems like turkey patties are always dry.  These are not even remotely!  I was so pleased with the moist meat, I think I might need to make it a mission to create all kinds of different turkey burgers!!!

This recipe available ONLY in my E-Book..... COMING SOON!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Squasharoni & Cheese

I have to admit, this was fun to create!  Not only did I trick my kid into eating squash, this was WAY healthier than any other Macaroni & Cheese and it turned out delicious.
I gathered ANYTHING I could possibly sneak in this dish to make it tasty and healthy without the lack luster of typical Mac 'N Cheese.
1/2 Package Bucatini Pasta (broken in 2" pieces)
2 whole Spaghetti Squash (previously cooked)
2 eggs
1/2 C YoChee
1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Sharp is best)
1 cup diced ham
Chili Powder, Ground Mustard, Salt Blend
First, I cut the squash in half, removed the seeds, sprinkled with chili powder and 'steamed' in my crockpot.  (Only one is shown at right) ->

This took about 5 hours.  I removed them and let cool completely.
I broke up a half a package of Bucatini pasta into about 2" pieces and put on the bottom of the crockpot.

Then I covered (just barely) with milk and turned the crock on low.  As soon as I could see the pasta starting to get a bit soft, I mixed in the can of soup.

*This is all a fairly quick process so, don't leave your crockpot for hours on end, or the pasta will be mush.

Next, I added the YoChee, Eggs, Cheese, Ham and Spaghetti Squash.  I mixed it up really well, seasoned and let cook for about 25 mins.
This needs salt & pepper (IMO) but really turned out GOOD!

*Pasta in the crockpot is kinda hard to get right.  It is very easily overcooked.  The pasta I used for this (Bucatini) is basically a super thick hollow spaghetti.  It held up REALLY well in the crock and was also a fun shape.

New England Clam Chowder

My husband grew up eating his Grandmother and Great Grandmothers Homemade Clam Chowder.  We went grocery shopping this weekend together and as I grabbed a couple cans of clams off the shelf, he exclaimed, "You should make some Clam Chowder!"  The excitement in his eyes when I said I planned on it, completely melted my heart.  As this was cooking, he reminiced about staying at the Seaside beachhouse in the 80's.  The family would go Clamming on the beach. Then the Grandmas would make a batch of chowder with the fresh Razor Clams that everyone had dug. This is one of the many dinners that will be repeated for my husband just to give him a happy place. 

This is what the Simpsons call comfort food.

You will need:
1 C Precooked Bacon Bits
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Large Yellow Onion
6 Stalks of Celery
8-10 Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
4 C Milk + 1 C for thickening
2 C Half/Half (or swap for milk)
4 Cans Clams (with the juice)
Fresh Parsley, Thyme
Ground Red Pepper flakes
Celery Salt, Garlic Salt
Corn starch 
Wash and Peel (almost completely) potatoes.  Chop with large grate on chopper so you have about 1" cubes.  After potatoes are chopped, microwave the chunks for about 2 minutes to cook them quickly. Chop celery & onion on same grate.

In a large pot, put about 2 tbsp olive oil with the onion, garlic & celery.  Saute for a couple mins then add bacon bits.  Allow the bacon to excrete a bit of grease and then add the potatoes.

Cook on high heat (stirring frequently) until the onions and celery are translucent.  Add the clam juice (just the juice) and let everything come to a simmer. Then add the milk, half/half, thyme, and red pepper.

Bring everything to a simmer again then assess the thickness.  Start thickening by adding 1/4 c cornstarch with 1/4 c cold milk to the pot until desired thickness has been achieved.

Taste & season, then add clams and fresh parsley at the end.

I served in sourdough bread bowls.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day! Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This is about as simple as you can get!

I melted white & milk chocolate in my Crockpot little dippers.

Then, using my mini processor, I made 'dips.'

Mint Creme Oreos
Mini Chocolate Chips
Macadamia Nuts

Here's my workstation:

Enjoyed by ALL :)

Eggplant Spinach Involtini

Growing up with a 100% Italian Father has made me very curious about the real cuisine of the country.  I have been digging deep into different cultural dishes lately and decided to use my eggplant from my Bountiful Basket in something truly Italian.  Although this dish has a fancy name, it means nothing more than 'Little Bundles.'  Involtini typically is made with thin slices of meat with ricotta inside and grilled, then baked in gravy (tomato sauce).

This was the first time I have made this, so it definitely wasn't picture perfect!

1 Jar/Can Spaghetti Sauce
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 Eggplant (sliced thin- 1/4-1/2")
1 Scallion
3 cloves Garlic
Fresh Basil (10ish leaves)
Fresh Parsley (a handful)
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese
1 16oz container Cottage Cheese
1 egg or 2 whites
2 cups Spinach (frozen is fine)
1.5 Cups Shredded Mozzarella

Slice the eggplant and salt each side, then lay flat.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to sweat.  Wipe each side off to remove moisture and then grill eggplant to make pliable. I grilled in my oven. *Make sure to spray the surface- mine stuck and I had to start over.  When done grilling, let cool for at least 10 minutes before assembling.

Puree the following in a food processor:
Scallion, Garlic, Basil, Parsley, Parmesan

Put into a bowl and set aside.

Sieve the cottage cheese so that most of the liquid drains out- otherwise your cheese mixture will be rather runny. 

Put cottage cheese and 1 egg in the food processor and pulse until creamy.  Add cottage cheese mixture to seasoning mixture then add spinach and about 1/2 c mozzarella- Or as my Dad would say: "Mooozerellll!"

Put Tomato Sauces in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Now, take one piece of grilled eggplant and put 1 scoop of cheese/spinach mixture on fat end.  Roll up lightly and place seam side down in tomato sauce.  Repeat until all eggplant is gone.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 mins.  Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella over the top and bake for another 10 minutes.

After removing from oven, let rest for about 10 minutes to set.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken Vegetable Curry

Another perfect dish for me & my family.

I felt like Jack Sprats wife last night as my husband handed his plate to me and said: "I don't like the vegetables in my Curry."  I was expecting this- Half the reason I hadn't made myself a plate yet.

So the picture above is of my food (why you can't see any chicken).

And- I'm admitting this before I get called out on it....

There's a JAR of curry in this recipe.

If you want to make curry from scratch, its no more difficult than taking a can of coconut milk and adding curry paste to it.  I suggest lemongrass and thai basil in addition to the base.

Again... not what this was today though, but simple and really tasty.

For this recipe I used about 1.5 lbs Bone/Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into strips with kitchen shears.

My vegetables were a fresh 'stirfry' mix plus I added the remaining bell peppers from Sundays dinner.

And of course the dreaded curry sauce (in a jar).  I got it at Costco.

Wok the chicken with a bit of oil until cooked thoroughly.

Add about 1/4 c water and all the vegetables.  I covered everything with the biggest lid I could find so that the veggies would steam for just a minute.  Then, I added the curry and mixed together to get completely heated.  Serve over rice or noodles.