Saturday, April 14, 2012

Korean Food

My kids LOVE noodles and rice. I was talking to my husband how I have to train them to eat sandwiches for lunch or they'll be the odd ones out in lunch eating dinuguan (aka chocolate meat) at lunch time in their magnolia tupperware!!! I love noodles and rice for them too because I can sneak veggies into them pretty good.

So I've been follwing steamy kitchen for awhile. Her recipes are yummy and they are easy. The recipes I have here are for Jap Chae and Korean Beef Bowls.

So let's start out.. I'm not the best cutter in the world. As I said from a previous post I'm not the best cutter and it's because I have a lot of interruptions.. Mommy I'm thirsty, Mommy I need my rapunzel doll, Mommy Mommy Mommy haha..



So I cut everything for both dishes first, then cooked rice and started cooking the Korean Beef Bowl.

2 cups raw rice
1 pound beef (see headnote)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (or 1 cup matchstick cut carrots)
1 small zucchini, diced
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

For the beef, if using flank steak: Cut the steak into very thin slices ACROSS the grain. If using other steak: Cut the steak into very small cubes, about 1/2-inch. If using ground beef: leave as-is.
In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and brown sugar. Add the beef and toss to coat. Let marinate while you prep the vegetables. Steps 1 and 2 can be done ahead of time up to 1 day before.
Heat a large saute pan or wok on medium heat. When hot, swirl in the oil. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Turn the heat to high and give it just a few seconds to heat up. Add in the beef, spreading the beef all over the surface of the pan, tossing with the onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just barely pink.
Add in the carrots, zucchini and toss. Cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spinach and cook for an additional minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

So when cutting the beef I cut it into very very small cubes then tossed it in the soy sauce, seasme oil, ginger, garlic and brown sugar mixture. I let it sit there for a couple of minutes. Then started cooking. I put the onions in my wok first then added the beef.



Once the beef is pretty cooked I added the carrots and zucchini and let it cook.


After a minute I put the spinach in and let it cook.



I serve it with white rice and put sesame seeds on top. This is a favorite at our house and the kids and the hubby eat it up. The hubby adds siracha to his and the kids eat it like a fried rice since they stir it up.

But tonight was a different night and I made jap chae a Korean glass noodle dish with it.

1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake, wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.

In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.

So I boiled the noodles for 5 minutes and drained them. After draining them I rinsed the noodles with cold water drained again and tossed with 1 tsp. of sesame oil. I cut the noodles into shorter pieces.



I made a mixture of the soy sauce and sugar. Just incase I doubled it at this time just incase I needed more sauce.

In a large saute pan I heated up the oil and fried up the onions and carrots. After I added the garlic and mushrooms (dangit I always forget to buy green onions!!).



I added the spinach, and noodles. From there I gradually added the soy sauce and sugar mixture to see how much liquid needed to be added. I ended up putting the whole thing.

Once it was done I tossed it in 1 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil.



The verdict. I thought I would have lunch the next day for the kids but nope they ate it up and left a very small bowl as leftovers. The next morning they asked for more noodles for breakfast. I call that a successful recipe!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tortellini Spinach Bake

Last weekend, I threw a party at my house. I made antipasto skewers (similar to this) as part of the small buffet we had and they were a hit. I definitely recommend these. All you have to cook is the tortellini the night before. Otherwise its just more assembly than actual cooking. Super easy and very tasty.

I got the tortellini that we used from Costco. You know what that means right? I have left over tortellini to last me a whole year. One of the tortellini recipes that I found to try is below and I definitely will be adding this to our family's dinner rotation. The boys loved it.

I made a few changes to the original recipe that I had found. I added more crushed red pepper because we like spicy. You can totally also omit this if you don't care for spicy. I also didn't have enough mozzarella so I used mozzarella and mild cheddar as well as the parmesan. The recipe I found had just mozzarella and parmesan. My point is that you can probably use any mild flavored cheese that you have on hand. And fyi, the bag of tortellini I got from Costco was 1.5 lbs. and I used the whole thing.

Tortellini Spinach Bake with Creamy Lemon Sauce

1-1.5 lbs of tortellini
6 strips of bacon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs flour
2 cups of milk
1 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 medium to large lemon
2-3 cups of spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to directions on the bag. Drain tortellini well once it is done.

Cook bacon until crispy in a medium sized skillet. Remove bacon once it's done and place on a plate topped with a paper towel to drain.

Next, create the lemon sauce. You can do this in the same skillet you cooked the bacon in to avoid more dishes to wash but I chose to make in a sauce pan because it's just easier to whisk/mix the sauce this way.

Use 2 Tbs. of the bacon drippings and add to sauce pan. Using medium heat, heat up the oil and add the crushed red pepper to flavor the bacon grease; heat for about 10-15 seconds. Add the garlic and saute until golden/fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Next, make a roux by sprinkling the flour in and stirring with a whisk immediately and continuously until you reach a light brown color, about 1 min. This thickener gets clumpy because of the garlic but don't worry...you're doing it right.


Slowly add the milk as you continue to stir, stir and stir some more. Stir until smooth. Add pepper and basil and bring sauce to a simmer.

As the sauce is heating, zest the lemon, add zest to sauce. Juice the lemon. I like strong lemon flavors so I juiced the whole lemon and added everything to the sauce. If you want just a subtle lemon flavor, maybe just add 2-3 tsps. Heat the sauce until thickened, about 3 mins.

Once the tortellini is drained, place it back into the large stock pot you cooked it in. Add spinach. You can chop your spinach before you add it but I was in a rush and didn't bother with it. Chop up the bacon and add it to the pot as well. I basically just stacked the bacon and cut them with my kitchen scissors! Add 3/4 of the mozzarella and all of the parmesan. Pour the sauce in and mix/toss gently.


Put the pasta mixture into a 9x9 baking dish and top with the rest of the mozzarella (I actually forgot to save some mozzarella and was short on it to begin with but it turned out fine). Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 mins. until the top is melted and bubbly.








Monday, April 2, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore Risotto and Garlic Bread

Second post so 2 recipes!

I found this blog when a friend suggested a meatball recipe, and I've been a loyal follower ever since. So I try to make this very easy recipe occasionally and serve it with a salad (my kids LOVE salad because they are in LOVE with croutons and I have a deal with them that I'll give them more croutons if they eat their greens!!!) and garlic bread

Chicken Cacciatore Risotto

1 large chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup red wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
3/4 cup grated Romato or Parmesan cheese
freshly minced parsley



Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Heat a large saute pan or wide/shallow saucepan over medium heat, and add the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook 4-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, and crushed red pepper to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer.
Add 1 Tbsp. butter to the pan where you cooked the chicken. Once melted, add the shallot and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and mushrooms and cook an additional minute.

Add the rice to the skillet, and cook, stirring continuously, until the edges are translucent. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the red wine, and stir continuously, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine is mostly absorbed.

Add 1-2 ladle-fulls of the chicken broth/tomato mixture to the rice, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Add another 1-2 ladle-fulls.

Continue adding liquid until the rice is cooked al dente. Taste to check doneness—it should have a slight bite in the center. When cooked to al dente, add 1 more ladle of chicken broth, and remove from heat. Stir in the remaining Tablespoon of butter, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, and add to the risotto. Divide evenly among serving plates, and top with more cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

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So I cut the chicken up and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I didn't have the Herbes de Provence so I just did some basil and oregano.



In my pan I cooked the chicken up and in a pot I brought the stock and tomatoes to a boil then simmered it for a bit.



Once my chicken was cooked I just kept it in the pan and added the butter, shallots, bell peppers, garlic and mushrooms. After cooking it up for a bit I added the rice.



Once the rice was a translucent I started adding the wine and let the rice absorb the wine. Then I just put the whole pot of liquid in the rice. (I know I know it says one ladle at a time, but I don't think the girls would allow me to do this!!)



This recipe is super easy and yummy. I love how it has mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes in it. I feel I'm feeding my family vegetables which I feel there are days we struggle with not getting enough. Add the salad and I feel even better!!!

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My kids like me are carbohydrate loaders, we love bread so when I had a whole loaf of bread I decided to make garlic bread. The great thing with making your own garlic bread is you can use the type of butter you want to use. Since my older daughter is allergic to milk I use vegan butter (Earth's best) and it's nice to know what I'm putting on the bread vs. what I buy in the store.

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 loaf crusty bread, split
3 tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano, optional
Chopped fresh parsley

Combine garlic, butter, and oil in a microwave safe dish or in a small saucepan. Heat garlic and butter and oil in microwave for 1 minute or in a small pot over moderate-low heat for 3 minutes.

Toast split bread under broiler. Remove bread when it is toasted golden brown in color. Brush bread liberally with garlic oil. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and parsley. If you added cheese, return to broiler and brown 30 seconds. Cut into chunks and serve.

So I just combine the garlic, butter and oil in a bowl and microwave for about 45 seconds.

While that is in there I put the bread under the broiler and continually check it to get that nice golden brown. Once I get that nice golden brown I spread the garlic, butter and oil mixture on the bread and I pop it under the broiler for a bit and get it nice and hot. After it's done I put fresh parsley on it.

You can definitely put cheese but we haven't yet.

The kids and I can seriously eat a whole french loaf by ourselves with this recipe!!! I think we only leave a couple pieces for my husband when he gets home. It's an easy and very yummy recipe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roasted Coconut Curry Chicken with Ginger Lime and Cilantro

I found this recipe on my favorite site pinterest! It was inspired by inspired edibles.

· 1 whole chicken
· 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
· 2 cups coconut milk
· 3 tsp curry powder
· 2 Tbsp brown sugar
· 1 cup cilantro, chopped
· 1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger
· 2 Tbsp lime juice
· Sea Salt
· Cracked pepper

Heat oven to 450 F

There's plenty of wholesome fat in coconut milk so I don't rub the exterior of the bird with butter.

Place chopped onion in the cavity of the chicken and set it onto the cooking rack set inside roasting pan.

Combine: coconut milk, curry powder, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, ginger and lime juice in a bowl, whisking to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1 cup of marinade in a separate dish and place in fridge.

Pour 3/4 of the remaining marinade mixture ('active' marinade) over chicken and place in oven for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven, reduce heat to 375 F and, using a brush, glaze chicken with remaining 1/4 cup of the active marinade and return to oven.

Allow chicken to roast in accordance with size/time guidelines set out above. Check on chicken periodically to ensure that it is not drying out. You can spoon juices that accumulate at the bottom of the pan over chicken or use some of the reserved marinade from fridge. If you find that the skin is getting too dark or crisp, loosely tent foil over the chicken.

In the last 20 minutes of roasting, remove chicken from oven and sprinkle skin with 1 Tbsp or so of brown sugar. Return chicken to oven for remaining time.

Meanwhile, heat reserved marinade from fridge in a small pot on stove. This will be used to spoon over chicken (particularly nice for the white meat which tends to be dryer) or on the side of chicken, as desired, when serving.

Allow chicken to settle for 10 to 15 minutes out of oven before carving. Serve with remaining fresh cilantro and warmed reserved marinade as desired.

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So I chopped up the onion and cilantro, grated the ginger and cut the lime to start. I mixed up my mixture of coconut milk, cilantro, brown sugar, lime and ginger.



I should have chopped up the cilantro smaller but I was pressed for time today, and I admit it I'm lazy when it comes to those kind of things LOL.

I put the 3/4 cup of marinade on the chicken and thought it was a little skimp. I put 1/4 cup more on the chicken and put it in my oven preheated at 450 degrees.



After 20 minutes I decreased the heat of the oven to 375 degrees and cooked the chicken for an hour and a half. During the time of the hour and a half I checked the chicken and would brush more sauce to prevent the chicken from drying out. and in the last 20 minutes of cooking I sprinkled a tablespoon of brown sugar on the chicken and let it back for the remaining 20 minutes.

I had my husband check the chicken and he said it looked done so we were all set to eat!!!




I grabbed the chicken to out it on the cutting board and saw pink tinged fluid aka darn it the chicken is not cooked!!!! So we had to resort to cooking it a little longer.




It tasted really good, not dry at all. The coconut flavor of the chicken really stood out in the skin. I wish it had gotten some of the flavor into the meat as well, because the chicken itself didn't have that much flavor.

I hesitated posting this because hey I messed up and honestly I think roasted chicken and I don't get along (the dang chicken never cooks all the way for me!!).. then I realized I'm sure that all cooks especially moms mess up. While cooking dinner you have kid(s) at your legs asking you for things, and your also trying to cook and prepare multiple things at the same time. So I'm glad I was able to save this meal!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tilapia with Sweet Chile Garlic Nectarine Relish



Nectarines are still in season but not for very much longer.  You can still get them at your local farmer's market.  They are very versatile and go well with many things.  Sweet nectarines are great to use in dessert recipes but not many would think they also can be used in many savory dishes.  One of my favorite things to make is a nectarine/mango salsa.  Yum!




I wanted to try a recipe but realized I didn't have one of the ingredients.  But what I did have was a lot of nectarines and thought the flavor combo would work.  I kind of just made it up and was ecstatic with the way it turned out.  I used a recipe I found as inspiration and just substituted for nectarine.

Tilapia with Sweet Chile Garlic Basil Nectarine Relish
inspired by this recipe from What's Cookin', Chicago?

Canola Oil
4 tilapia filets
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
1 Tb garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
2 Tbs sweet chili sauce (I used this, which you can find at Safeway)
2 nectarines, diced (choose nectarines that are ripe but firm; I happened to have white nectarines on hand)
1 sprig of fresh basil, chopped

Using a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.

Season filets on both sides with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Dredge filets in flour.

Shake off any excess flour and add fish to the heated oil; cook until brown, about 2-3 min. per side depending on thickness.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain oil.

For the relish, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add lemon juice and garlic, heat for about 30 seconds or until garlic is lightly browned.  Add sweet chili sauce, nectarines and basil.  Cook nectarines until tender, about 2-3 mins.


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Brazilian Cheese Bread

About two years ago, for our wedding anniversary, my husband and I ate at a Brazilian steak house.  Neither one of us have had Brazilian food before and we were hooked after this place.  Super yummy!  This restaurant was an all you can eat steak house.  We were completely FULL after dinner.

As an appetizer, we were served this amazing cheese bread that I had never had before.  It was SO yum.  I then spent the next two years trying to look for a place near my house that will give me just this bread.  My search gave me nothing so I decided to make it myself.

Finding a recipe online turned out to be a challenge as well.  I found some recipes for the bread but also found that they all varied greatly...which one to choose?  There is this recipe from allrecipes.com but I don't remember the bread we had at the restaurant looking like the picture on this site.  The picture looks like it has a dense muffin texture...this is not quite the texture I was looking for.  So I went with a different recipe but when I first made them they were way too oily and the olive taste wasn't right.  By the second time around, I made some changes and the end product was pretty damn close to what I remember from the restaurant!

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)
inspired by this recipe from simplyrecipes.com

1 egg
1 1/2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 Tbs canola oil
2/3 c milk
1 1/2 c tapioca flour
1/2 c (packed) grated cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin pan tin (I used a tin that would give 18 mini muffins and I found this recipe gives you enough to fill 16).



Put all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.  You will find that the mixture is very watery and not at all doughy like a typical bread mixture.  Fill the tins about 3/4 full with the mixture.  Bake for  about 15 minutes or until they are puffy and just lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.


The texture of the bread is a bit chewy....like tapioca!  They look puffy and may even collapse after awhile but that's typical...you didn't do anything wrong.  These things are super addicting...don't say I didn't warn you.  

Just a head's up, the tapioca flour can be a challenge to find at your typical grocery store (my local Safeway did not have any).  I buy my tapioca flour at Asian grocery stores like Ranch 99.  
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shrimp Orzo salad

This is one of my go to recipes during the summer...especially on those super hot days.  It is light yet filling; great as a side but also hearty enough for a main dish.  It is also awesome the next day (if not better!).  You can make it the night before, chill in the fridge and you have dinner waiting for you so you don't have to turn that oven on in the heat.


You can easily use any Italian dressing or any light vinaigrette dressing.  For a quick short cut, just buy your favorite bottle of dressing.  For this recipe I used a homemade Greek dressing (recipe below).  


Shrimp Orzo salad

1 box (16 ozs.) uncooked orzo pasta
3 cups spinach 
1 lb medium cooked shrimp (~25 pieces)
1 can (14 ozs.) of marinated artichoke hearts
1 small cucumber chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

Bring large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Add orzo pasta and cook 8-10 min. or until al dente. Drain well.

Wilt the spinach.  You can do this by rinsing the spinach clean  with water and draining.  Transfer to pan over medium high heat and saute or shake the pan around until your spinach is wilted.  The water drops on the spinach from when you rinsed the spinach helps to steam it.  Once wilted, transfer spinach to plate until needed.

Drain artichoke hearts.

In a large bowl, combine orzo, shrimp, wilted spinach, artichoke hearts, cucumber and parsley.  Pour about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (depending on your taste) of your dressing of choice and combine well.  Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.  

 Greek Dressing
adapted from this recipe from allrecipes.com

1/4 c olive oil
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 onion powder
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/3 c red wine vinegar

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