Tag Archives: cooking

It’s Birthday Season

23 Jul

It’s birthday season here in the Goodwin house. My son D’Andre celebrated his 11th birthday while we were in California on vacation. He wanted red velvet cheesecake for his birthday cake, so I obliged. I have made this cake 2 times June…that’s how good it is.

 

red velvet cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake

source: Stuck at home mom

Ingredients:

CHEESECAKE:
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

RED VELVET CAKE:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring***I DON’T USE THIS MUCH!, I used gel coloring and it doesn’t take this much I just added enough to turn the batter red****
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

 

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan). In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake). Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.

2. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

3. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy.

4. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
5. Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer to the cake- use a long, thin spatula to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Be sure to wipe off your spatula each time you are about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any red crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the 2nd layer. Start by adding a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Because you applied a crumb-coat layer, you shouldn’t have any red crumbs floating around in the final frosting layer.

red velvet cheesecake sliced

I will be celebrating my birthday this Thursday but we celebrated this past Saturday. I wanted Brown Eyed Bakers Snicker Cake for my special day. Let me tell you it didn’t disappoint either.

snickers cake

Snickers Cake

source: The Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

Cake
2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
¾ cup vegetable oil
4½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Nougat Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
1½ cups marshmallow fluff
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup salted caramel sauce *The recipe I used below*
2 cups powdered sugar

For the Milk Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped *I used Milk Chocolate Chips*
4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream

For the Assembly & Garnish:
Additional salted caramel sauce *The recipe I used below*
Chopped peanuts *I used salted peanuts*

Directions:

1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the insides of the pans, tapping out excess; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand mixer), sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).

4. Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

5. Make the Nougat Filling: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Fold in the peanuts. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools.

6. Make the Frosting: Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes (I like to use the whisk attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, but it’s not necessary). Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

7. Assemble the Cake: If your cakes baked up uneven or have domed on top, level off the tops. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Top with a second cake layer and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Place the final cake layer on top face-down. Frost the cake with the salted caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the frosting is set.

8. Make the Chocolate Ganache: While the cake chills, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture in the center, gradually working your way outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, yet still a pourable consistency.

9. Garnish the Cake: Transfer the ganache to a 2-cup measuring cup. Slowly pour the chocolate ganache into the center of the cake, letting it push itself outward and flow over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, giving the ganache a chance to set up. To finish garnishing, drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce over the top and side of the cake, and top with chopped peanuts. Keep the cake refrigerated, removing it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving.

snickers cake side

snickers cake sliced

I didn’t have all the right ingredients to make the Brown Eyed Bakers Salted Caramel sauce so searched Pinterest for another one. You can add a tad more salt to yours if you’d like but I suggest you taste it before you do.

salted caramel sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

source: Recipe Girl

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and shake/swirl the pan very often (don’t stir it while it’s boiling) until it turns a medium amber color (should take 12 to 15 minutes). If sugar crystals gather along the sides of the pan during the cooking process, you can use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sugar down the sides of the pan so that it becomes incorporated into the boiling mixture.

Remove the pan from heat and pour in the cream. It will bubble up like crazy. Give it a whisk, then add in the butter, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk again until everything is nice and smooth. It should be the color of caramel. Cool it in the pan, or pour it into a large measuring cup so that it will be easier to transfer to jars when cooled.

Divide the sauce evenly among the four jars. Place lids and labels on and refrigerate until ready to use or gift to friends. The sauce must be kept refrigerated and it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.

 

I will be posting 2 more cakes in August, my son Kizaiah and daughter Cierra will be celebrating their special days. Happy Baking.

 

Quick Weeknight Meals

18 Jul

A new school year is just around the corner. I went into Walmart and picked up the kids supply list and it made me think of the busy year ahead. Everybody needs quick meals to make during a busy week. Here are a few of our favorites.

Spinach artichoke pasta

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

source: The Pioneer Women

Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 20 min.

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Butter
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
2 bags Baby Spinach
2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Halved
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 cups Milk
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 cup Mozzarella Or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Chicken Broth (less Or More)
12 ounces, weight Penne, Cooked Until Al Dente
1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste

Directions:

 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.

 

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

 

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in chicken broth.

 

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.

20120804_130

Pizza is one of our favorite meals to eat in this house. You can easily make the dough over the weekend. Split the pizza dough in two equal pieces. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.

When you want to use the dough pull it out about an hour or so before you want to use it or the night before and place it in the refrigerator to defrost. Once defrosted make the pizza as you usually would. If you try and use the dough and its still frozen in the middle, just split it and let it sit out a few minutes more.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

A Punky original

I use this Pizza Dough recipe.

Ingredients:

A couple of cups of Leftover Chicken, Shredded

1/4 c Franks Red Hot

2TBS unsalted butter

Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 red onion, opitional

blue cheese crumbles, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500° with pizza stone place in the bottom half of the oven.

In a skillet over med heat, put franks red-hot sauce and butter in. Heat just until butter has melted. Add chicken and coat with buffalo sauce. Turn off heat and set aside. Press dough out into a pizza round. Dock center of pizza dough. With a slotted spoon remove chicken from skillet and place on pizza dough. You don’t want to use a lot of the sauce. If you do you will have soggy pizza. Top with Cheeses, and onions. Bake in a 500° oven for 8-10 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown.

 

asian noodle salad

 

Asian Noodle Salad and Egg rolls

original salad source: The Pioneer Women

I modified a bit for what I had on hand.

Egg rolls: A Punky original

Ingredients

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

1 package Linguine Noodles, Cooked, Rinsed, And Cooled
1 head Sliced Napa Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1 small head Sliced Purple Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1 bag Bean Sprouts (reserve half for egg rolls)
Handful of baby carrots,sliced thin (reserve half for egg rolls)

1 Chopped Cilantro, Up To 1 Bunch, To Taste
3 whole Scallions, Sliced (reserve some for the egg rolls)

_____
FOR THE DRESSING:
1 whole Lime, Juiced
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
8 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons (up To 3 Tablespoons) Sesame Oil
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Chopped
2 cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 whole Hot Peppers Or Jalapenos, Chopped
Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

 

Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on a platter.

Note: dressing keeps for up to three days before serving, without cilantro.

Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 pkg Egg Roll wraps

1 lb ground beef, pork, or turkey

the reserved vegetables from the salad

2 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 TBS cooking sherry

1 tsp ground or fresh ginger

2 TBS corn starch

1 TBS oil, to saute vegetables

oil for frying, at least a couple of inches worth

salt and pepper, to taste

little bowl of water, so that you can dip your fingers in to seal the egg rolls

Directions:

In a large skillet brown meat, when done browning drain off fat. Set meat aside. In a measuring cup or bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, cooking sherry, ginger and cornstarch. Mix well so that there are no lumps of corn starch.

In the same skillet add 1 TBS oil over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot add vegetables to the skillet. Saute vegetables for a couple of minutes. Add the meat back to the skillet. Pour sauce over meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. You wont need a lot of salt because of the soy sauce.  Warm for a minute or so. Turn off heat and set aside.

Pull out egg roll wraps from the refrigerator. Spoon 2-3 TBS of filling in the middle of the wrap and seal egg roll with a bit of water on your fingers. In a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat add a couple of cups of oil, at least enough to go up the side of the egg rolls. Once oil is hot enough, about 350°, place only enough egg rolls in the pot seam side down being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry till golden brown and flip carefully. This doesn’t take very long. Once fried remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate.

This can be done ahead of time and you can freeze finished egg rolls. On the evening you want to eat them heat oven to 375° and bake for about 20 minutes or so.

eggrolls

 

 

Eggplant baked pasta

 

Eggplant Baked Pasta

a Punky Orginal

Ingredients:

5 TBS Extra virgin olive oil

1 eggplant, cut into cubes

1/2 box of mini penne pasta (or rotini, penne, ziti, or farfalle pasta)

1 small white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2-2 c. Mozzarella cheese

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Turn on oven to broil.

In a large pot cook pasta according to package until pasta is al dente. Once done drain off water.

In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the diced eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add onion, garlic and spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning to the pot. Simmer sauce for about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and about half the cheese to the pot. Stir to combine. Pour pasta into the baking dish. Shred fresh Parmesan cheese and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Place in oven and broil just until cheese is nice and brown. Maybe about 5 minutes, watch carefully you don’t want burnt cheese.

Serve with garlic bread.

shrimp fra diavolo

 

Super Quick Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

as seen on my sisters blog.

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes *I used a 28oz can
1 cup dry white wine *I omitted this because I didn’t have any, you can use chicken broth or omit all together if you use a big can of tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves * I used about 1/2 dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

 

 Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, add the red chili flakes to the oil. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, add the salt and toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

 

Hope these recipes turn into your “go to” weekly recipes. I know they are ours. Happy eating.

Cinnamon Rolls

2 Apr

My friend requested Cinnamon rolls for Easter, of course I had to oblige. Here is the recipe that I have used for years. I make them a couple of times a year. They are so easy and good and make enough rolls to freeze for later or to give as gifts.

Cinnamon rolls iced

Cinnamon Rolls

Preparation time: 30 minute(s) (plus additional rise time)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Yields: 12 huge “Cinnabon” size or 18-22 regular sized rolls.

Dough
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. yeast)
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup water (110 °)
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Up to 8 cups all-purpose flour
Coating
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  • Mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar and the cinnamon; set aside (this will be used later to spread on dough)
  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water; set aside
  • In a large bowl, mix together milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup melted butter, salt, and eggs; add yeast mixture and 4 cups of flour to mixture; beat until smooth; stir in enough flour to form a slightly stiff dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, or if you have a mixer that can accommodate this many ingredients. I always know when my dough is finished kneading (either by hand or machine) when it can stretch quite well. It must be elastic enough.
  • Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a 15″ X 20″ rectangle.
  • Brush 1/2 cup melted butter over dough; sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally over dough
  • Tightly roll up dough and pinch edges together to seal; cut the roll into 12 – 18 slices using unflavored dental floss or thread.
  • Lightly grease a couple of 9″ pie pans. Place 6-8 rolls in each pan. You can either cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze at this point or place in refrigerator overnight.
  • If you are going to bake them right away then cover pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until they have nearly doubled in size.
  • Bake rolls in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

***If you are going to bake the frozen rolls, pull them out the night before and place them in the refrigerator. About an hour before you are going to bake them then set the rolls on the counter to allow to rise the final time. Then bake according to the directions above.***

cinnamon roll no icing
Cream Cheese Frosting ***if you aren’t planning on baking all the cinnamon rolls at once you can easily half this recipe***
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz.  Butter

1tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
16 oz. powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Spread frosting on warm rolls.

cinnamon rolls

OMG Beef Broccoli

18 Mar

I have to start out by saying this was so darn good. I have been watching a lot of The Big Bang Theory in this house lately and every time they sit and eat Chinese food I get a hankering. I hopped on over to pinterest and looked for a new recipe to try. I modified the recipe slightly. I will post a link to the original if you’d like to give it a try.

beef n broccoli broccoliBeef with Broccoli

Original Source: Rainy Day Gal, 

(This is my modified version)

2 head broccoli, crowns only cut and rinsed.

1 1/2 lb. Flank Steak sliced thinly against the grain.

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

pepper to taste.

Marinade:

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbs. corn starch

1 Tbs.water

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, add the meat and toss together. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Sauce:

1/4 c soy sauce + 1/2 c water ( I used this as a substitute for low sodium soy sauce)

3 Tbs. brown sugar

3 Tbs. flour

1 1/2 Tbs. sherry or rice wine

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl making sure to get clumps of flour incorporated. Set sauce aside.

Cooking Directions:

In a large pot/pan bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add cut broccoli and cover with a lid. Steam for about 3 min. Pull out and set aside season with pepper. Dump water.

In the same pot/pan add 1Tbs of vegetable oil to pot. Place an even layer of marinated meat to the pot. Cook over med/high heat. Do Not Move or flip the meat until the first side has gotten a nice crust on it, flip and cook the other side. Remove cooked meat and repeat the process adding oil as needed for the remaining batches. Once all the meat has been cooked dump the excess oil from the pot.

beef n broccoli meat

Put broccoli and meat back into the pot over low heat. Add Sauce to the pot and stir to combine. Leave the heat on just until it’s all heated through. Serve with or over white rice.

beef n broccoli dinner

In other news I did a little bit of sewing this past week. I made a skirt out of $1 bandana from WalMart for my daughter for St. Patrick’s day. 30 minutes of sewing time used some black and whited polka dot fabric from my stash. Can’t beat that. Cheep and cute. That’s how I roll. 🙂 Here’s a picture of “Little Miss Sassy Pants” in her Cheaply Cute skirt.

st patty's day skirt

Happy Cooking and Crafting.

 

 

 

Happy blogiversary to me :)

6 Feb

Well it’s officially been a year since I started blogging again. Thanks to my readers and pinners who have visited my site. I have a couple new recipes to share. First one of my favorite things to eat. Chicken Chow Mein. Since moving to Oklahoma I haven’t been able to find a good Chinese restaurant. If anybody knows a good 0ne in the Lawton/Fort Sill area I would really appreciate the suggestion. Anyway, since I get a hankering for Chinese quite often I decided to add another recipe to the mix. The other one that I make is this orange chicken. Orange chicken is my husbands favorite and I really only make it when he’s here to eat it. Don’t get me wrong I like it too but it’s not on my short list when we go out for Chinese.

chicken chow mein

Ingredients:
source: Favorite Family Recipes

2-3 Boneless Chicken Breast
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 (5.6 oz) packages refrigerated Yaki Soba noodles (found in the produce section of the grocery store) (or you can find the dried Yaki Soba noodles. They are cheaper but you do have to cook them according to the package)
2/3 c. chopped celery (chopped diagonally)
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
2 c. cabbage, thinly sliced

Directions

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.
Cook or grill chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. When done set aside to add to the noodle mix later. Or you can use leftover chicken from a previous meal.
Remove Yaki Soba from packages and discard included flavoring packets. Rinse noodles well, drain, and set aside.(this is for the Yaki Soba noodles that are already prepared)
Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add celery and onion and saute for about 1-2 minutes or until onions start to become soft and transparent. Add cabbage and saute an additional minute or so.
Toss Yaki Soba noodles and soy sauce mixture with the vegetables over medium-high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are heated through. Add cooked chicken and heat just enough to warm it. Not too long or the chicken may dry out. 
chicken chow mein up close
 
What’s an anniversary without dessert? I had some really ripe bananas sitting on my counter and what better way to use them. You could make this banana bread or you could make chocolate chip banana cupcakes. The original recipe is one that I found on All Recipes. It was for 2 8 inch cake pans. This makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
banana chocolate chip cupcake stand
 
Chocolate Chip Banana cupcakes with Vanilla frosting
source: All recipes

Ingredients

2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

4 ripe bananas, mashed

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 pkg. chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8 inch round pans. Or prepare cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared pans or scoop batter into cupcake tin. Fill 2/3 full with batter.
For cake bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes for cupcakes back for 18-22 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean and tops are golden brown. Mine took 20 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting cupcakes.

banana chocolate chip cupcake bite

Nothing fancy vanilla frosting

Ingredients: makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes, about 1 cup frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk, I had to use a bit more
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
In a bowl of a mixer combine the sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Start mixing slowly so that sugar doesn’t go all over the place and then increase speed to medium speed until smooth and fluffy add more milk if needed.
banana chocolate chip cupcake bite close
 
Thanks again for an awesome year. I will be posting tomorrow to so you all my latest creation using my new sewing machine.

 

Winner winner Chicken dinner

5 Jan

This post is really about the sides but I did roast a chicken and I couldn’t resist this title 🙂 First this is how I prepared my chicken. I didn’t take picture of the process quite frankly it’s not a pretty site but the results are well worth it. Super easy and lots of flavor. I opted out of making the sauces. I just really like the finished chicken.

chicken dinner

But like I said this post is really about the bread and the green beans. I usually only make these rolls for special occasions. I don’t know why it’s not like they are hard to make. So I decided on Christmas that I would be making these way more often.

honey buns

Honey Yeast Rolls adapted from Cooking with the Big Dogs seen on Mom Makes aka my sisters blog

2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
1¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups bread flour (508 grams)
1 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons honey
Directions –

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, stir together the yeast and warm water – let sit for three to five minutes. Add the honey, oil, salt and egg to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add three cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on low, incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour.Continue kneading on low-speed for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sometimes, depending on the time of year (during the winter, especially), the dough is a bit drier, and I add in water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should feel soft (not sticky) and pliable when you are finished kneading it.Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it is doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work space and knead about 30 seconds. Cover and let the dough rest for another 10 minutes. Punch the dough down and divide it into 10-12 equal sized pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball and place into a greased 9×13 inch dish, spacing evenly. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 20-30 minutes.Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together melted butter and honey and brush the mixture over top of the unbaked rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the rolls are baked through. Let cool slightly before serving.

green beans

And then there’s the green beans. OH MY GOODNESS! We eat these at least three times a month. They are super easy and so darn tasty. So much better than canned green beans and a lot cheaper in the long run too. The biggest expense is the Parmesan cheese but the block lasts FOREVER!  You wont be sorry that you bought it plus you can use it on other things like Garlic bread, pizza, spaghetti the possibilities are endless.

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

1 lb. fresh green beans, stems removed
2 tbsp. unsalted butter (***I usually use olive oil instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Steam green beans until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Melt butter (***or olive oil) over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Transfer steamed green beans to the melted butter and garlic. Toss to coat green beans evenly and continue to sautee for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and sprinkle grated Parmesan. Toss once again until Parmesan is melted, approximately 1 minute.

 

New Year’s Tradition Pozole…repost

1 Jan

Every New Year’s Eve while I was growing up my Grandma would make pozole and every Christmas she would make tamales. I figured that I would continue this tradition and make some pozole for my family. I have yet to attempt to make tamales even though my Grandma mailed me her recipe months ago.  Here is the recipe that I use. It’s not exactly like my Grandma’s but it works for us.

Pozole 

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2″ pieces

2 c. chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 TBS. chili powder

1 (14oz) can chicken broth, or more for more broth

1 (15.5oz) can hominy, drained

3/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp salt

Garnish

onion, diced

fresh cilantro

lemon wedges

cabbage, sliced thinly

Directions:

In a large pot over medium-high heat, put some oil in and add pork to pot cooking for 4-5 min and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.

In same pot, over medium-high heat add a little oil saute onions for 2-3 minutes add garlic, chili powder and cook for 15 seconds. Add pork back to the pot and chicken broth stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add drained hominy, cumin and salt(if needed). Simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Serve in a bowl with a squirt of lemon, cabbage, raw onion, an cilantro; or any variation of the garnishes. Enjoy on a cold day or just cause you have a hankering for a good soup.

 

Quick Weekend Dinners and Sewing

14 Oct

Just wanted to make a quick post and show you what I’ve been up too. I really should be sewing Christmas gifts but for those of you that know me personally you know that I tend to have Craft ADD ;). Anyway I made a peasant dress for my daughter this week using this tutorial. I was super easy to make and turned out super cute. Next time I make it I will be increasing the flare and making it long sleeves so that she can wear it this winter.

I also whipped up a cute skirt using a headband that I bought at WalMart for $1 and some orange polka dot fabric that I had in my stash.

For dinner this weekend I wanted something quick easy and good. Every weekend the kids request pizza but this week I decided to make pan pizza. So good and easy. The only problem is the pizza is limited to the size of cake pan that you have. I used a 9″ cake pan for one pizza and then I made a hand tossed pizza so that we would have extras for lunch the next day.

I used these recipe for the pizza dough and the sauce. The only change is that you oil your 9″ cake pan, I used extra virgin olive oil, and preheat your oven to 400°.  Stretch and press the dough into the pan covering the bottom and up the sides. Top with sauce and toppings and bake for 30-35 minutes.

On Saturday night we had BBQ Chicken Taquitos. These are so good. I tried the original but wasn’t impressed but once I found the BBQ version over at Pink Parsley I was hooked. You can use pork or chicken. I used leftover rotisserie chicken. I think it would be good with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving too.

 

 

 

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos
inspired by these Baked Chicken Taquitos (which are from Our Best Bites)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (reduced-fat is fine)
1/3 cup bbq sauce1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion
3 scallions, thinly sliced (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I used a sprinkle of dried parsley, because I didn’t have either of these fresh on hand)
hot sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked pork or chicken
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used Colby Jack)
8-10 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas (I used flour)
cooking spray ( I used Extra virgin olive oil spray)
Ranch Dressing and/or BBQ Sauce, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, chile powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, scallions, onion, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the pork and cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Add hot sauce if you like things spicy!

Take 8-10 (6-inch) flour tortillas, wrap them in plastic wrap and microwave for about 30 seconds, just to make them pliable.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with bbq sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Hope that everybody had a great weekend. Now I have to head back to my sewing room and get going on all the Christmas gifts that I have to make.

 

Alfredo, Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

7 Oct

I have made this recipe for years. It simple and delicious. Great for a make ahead meal and using leftover chicken or even Thanksgiving Turkey. I noticed that my sister posted this a while back and it has gotten over 48,000 pins, that’s crazy. So I thought that I would get it pinned a couple more times 😉 Originally this recipe was supposed to be for stuffed shells.  They are good but a lot of work. And lets face it some days you don’t want to have lots of work in the kitchen, so I decided to throw it all together in a baking dish. Still tastes just as good without the hassle of stuffing darn shells. Enjoy.

Alfredo, chicken and broccoli casserole

Ingredients:

1 pound box of shell pasta ( I use a little over half a box)
1 1/2 – 2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken breast ( chicken or even turkey works great)
1 – 14 ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
1 – 16 ounce jar alfredo sauce
1  – 8 ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated(I’ve used colby jack too)
salt, pepper and olive oil for roasting chicken
lemon pepper or Mrs. Dash

Directions –

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts then season them well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Let the chicken cool until you can safely handle it, then shred it  and set it aside.

Cook pasta according to package and drain.

Steam the broccoli in the microwave by dumping the bag in a microwave safe container. Add a little water then cover tightly with plastic wrap – don’t forget to poke a few holes to let steam out. Cook for 4-5 minutes– they don’t have to be completely cooked through.

Get a large bowl out and put pasta, shredded chicken, cheese, broccoli and alfredo sauce, then season well with lemon pepper and mix well. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and pour the pasta mixture then sprinkle the top with more cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Yummy Buns

6 Aug

While on vacation, my sister and I made a lot of yummy food. One of the things that she made for the 4th of July was hamburgers on homemade burger buns. I decided to make them again last night and we used them to make hamburger for dinner and Honey BBQ chicken sandwiches tonight for dinner. Last night we had baked zucchini as a side dish using some zucchini from my friends garden.

 Burger Buns: source Roxana GreenGirl, via Baker Street

Ingredients

4 cups (480 grams) bread flour
2 1/4 tsp (7 grams) dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 whole egg
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
4 tbsp butter diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water (optional)

Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl sift the flour. Make a well in the middle and pour 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast and leave at room temperature until the yeast is dissolved and it foams, like a sponge.
  2. When the yeast is proofed, add the egg, mashed potatoes, butter and salt.
  3. If you’re using a stand up mixing, with the dough hook on, start mixing slowly adding 1/2 cup water and keep mixing until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.
  4. If you’re mixing by hand, use a Danish whisk or a wooden spoon and slowly add water in the middle of the flour mixture until the dough is formed.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl (no mater if you’re using a stand-up mixer or a Danish whisk) and place it on a floured working surface.
  6. Knead by hand until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Place the dough into a floured or oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.
  8. Take the dough out of the bowl, place it on a floured surface and divide it into 8-12 buns, depending on how small/big you want the buns.
  9. Place the buns on a baking sheet, cover and leave at room temperature until almost doubled in size.
  10. Meanwhile heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Just before putting the buns in the oven, brush them with egg wash (egg yolk mixed with water)
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before removing them from the baking sheet.
  13. You can store the buns in the fridge or in the freezer. When ready to use again, just heat the oven to 350°F and place the buns in the oven for few minutes until warm. Or you can microwave them for few seconds.

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