Monday, July 28, 2008

Mongolian Beef

We like this recipe for both beef and chicken. The chicken is a little quicker since I skip the cornstarch step since it does not need to be tenderized like the beef.

 2 t vegetable oil
 1 T garlic, chopped
 1/2 C soy sauce
 1/2 C water
 3/4 C dark brown sugar
 1 C vegetable oil
 1 lb flank steak
 1/4 C cornstarch
 2 large green onions, sliced

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Add garlic, then quickly add the soy sauce and water.
3. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium; boil for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
4. Remove sauce from heat.
5. Slice the steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices, then cut into bite size pieces. (Tilt the blade to a 45° angle to get a wider cut.)
6. Dip the steak into cornstarch; set aside for 10 minutes.
7. Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or skillet. (Make sure the meat can be mostly covered with oil.)
8. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for two minutes or until the meat just begins to darken on the edges. (The meat does not need to be cooked through—just evenly.)
9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat; empty the oil from the skillet.
10. Put the meat back in the skillet; cook for a minute.
11. Add the sauce; cook for one minute while stirring, then add the green onions.
12. Cook for one minute, then remove the beef and onions to a serving plate; leave excess sauce in pan.

Pork Dumplings

1 lb ground pork
2 T green onion, chopped
1 t minced garlic
1 t sesame oil
2 t oyster sauce
Dumpling wrappers (usually found in produce area)

Sauce ingredients:
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C sugar
4 t vinegar
1/4 t sesame oil

1. Mix sauce ingredients together.
2. Mix ingredients thoroughly.
3. Fold dumplings using store bought wrappers; make sure they are completely closed.
4. Heat skillet and add oil.
5. Add dumplings and fry over medium heat for about one minute.
6. Add 1/2 C water, cover and let cook for about 4 minutes.
7. Eat immediately with sauce.

**You can also make with other ground meats.**

5-in-1 Bars

3 C graham cracker crumbs
2/3 C margarine
1/3 C sugar
24 oz milk chocolate chips
3 C coconut
2 cans sweetened condensed milk

1. Mix crumbs with melted butter and sugar.
2. Press crumb mixture on bottom of 15 x 10 cookie sheet.
3. Top with chocolate chips, coconut, then sweet-ened condensed milk.
4. Bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mac-n-Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower

I had this the other day at my friend's house (leftover). So good. Really yummy. And my little girl (18-months) and her son (2 1/2) ate it, too.

from Rachael Ray, Food Network

1 lb. elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
3 c. whole milk
1 c. chicken stock or broth
3 c. shredded smoked Gouda (about 12 oz)
1 T Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta.

Cook for 5 minutes, then add the cauliflower and cook for 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked al dente and the florets are just tender. Drain well and return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the flour, cayenne, and paprika.

Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serves 5-6.

For the Halibut

or Salmon . . . to die for -- seriously!!

1 lb fresh halibut chunks
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped onion

Dip each halibut chunk in the melted butter and roll in bread crumbs. Mix mayo, sour cream and onion, and pour evenly over halibut. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately. I had this when I was visiting my mom. I didn't know it would be so undescribedly delicious or I would have taken a picture before it was all gone!

Quesadilla Salad

flour tortillas
cheddar cheese
taco meat or fajita chicken/steak
sour cream
avocado -- I didn't have any, but it would have MADE the dish if I did.

Prepare a quesadilla by layering meat and cheese between tortillas. Cook in a hot skillet with butter, so that the tortilla gets nice and crispy. Cut quesadilla into 4 triangles. Serve on plates by layering the following:

1/4 quesadilla
sour cream

Serve as a regular salad, but allow your guests/family/kids to cut up their own quesadilla, or pull it out and eat it separately. This was so yummy!

Peanut Butter Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk

Combine all ingredients, using 1 1/2 cups milk to start. If it seems thick, add more milk until it is the right consistency. Cook as usual, on a hot skillet. Serve with maple syrup, jam, jelly, bananas, whatever. THESE WERE GREAT! And I totally snuck some extra protein into my son's breakfast this morning. lol.

Creamy Squash & Pasta

This is a great meatless dish ... perfect for summer time!2-3 yellow squash, peeled & diced
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS butter
1 1/2 TBS flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 small onion, diced
garlic salt & pepper
prepared pasts noodles
fresh parmesan cheese

Melt butter with olive oil in a hot skillet. Add squash and onion, cooking on medium/high heat. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until onions are transparent and squash is starting to brown, just a little. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat throughout, cooking about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow sauce to come to a boil, in order to thicken ... about 1-2 minutes. Pour over pasta noodles and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Baked Potato Soup

8 russet potatoes
1 lb smoked ham, diced (not lunch meat)
1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 cup french onion sour cream dip
1 can cream of chicken soup
2-3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (I used whole milk ... skim could be sketchy)
1 small onion, diced
1 TBS parsley flakes
salt & pepper

Cheddar cheese & fresh chives for garnish

Peel 4 of the potatoes and dice them up. Dice up the other 4 with their skins still on. Place in a crock pot. Add the onion and chicken broth, until potatoes are covered (2-3 cups). In a skillet, brown up the diced ham (again, use good ham here ... not lunch meat). Once it's browned a little, place it in the crock pot. Cook on high for 3 hours.

In a skillet, brown the diced bacon until crispy. Drain fat and add to the crock pot. Slowly whisk in the cream of chicken soup, milk, parsley flakes, and sour cream dip. Cook for another 45 minutes on high. Salt and pepper to taste ... it's gonna need quite a bit of salt to flavor all those potatoes ... just add it a tsp, or so, at a time. Garnish with cheese and chives. Mmmm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Caramel Pecan Ring

1 refrigerated Pillsbury French Loaf
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine sugar, butter, and Karo syrup in a sauce pan. Heat throughout, until sugar is dissolved. Add pecans. Grease a 9x9 square dish. Open the French loaf. Score the loaf approximately every 2-3 inches. Place loaf, in the shape of a ring, in the greased dish. Drizzle the entire caramel mixture over the top of the loaf. Bake at 350* until golden brown and bubbly ... about 18 minutes, I think. **Also, check the package of the loaf to verify the oven temp. I'm pretty sure it was 350*, but you may want to double check that.

This is DELICIOUS! And there is NO refrigerated dough taste AT ALL. Super easy, and impressive dessert. Enjoy!!

No Sugar Added Smoothie

1 cup frozen fruit (whatever you like best)
1 6-8oz container yogurt (whatever flavor you want)
2/3 cup apple juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. This is designed to be a single serving smoothie. If you use apple juice, it is PLENTY sweet enough to cover any needed sugar. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

I know, I know ... it's ANOTHER Yoshida's concoction. It's that good. Go buy some! 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, DICED
2 cups green beans (or whatever frozen veggies you have on hand)
1 1/2 cups Mr. Yoshida's Original Gourmet Sweet & Savory Sauce
2 cups prepared sticky rice (I use the Botan Calrose brand -- white bag with red flower)
garlic salt & pepper
olive oil

Saute the thighs in a hot pan with olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt (Lawry's Garlic salt is my fav) and pepper, turning to cook on all sides. When chicken is fully cooked and starts to caramelize, add the Yoshida's sauce. Allow chicken and sauce to come back to a boil (add more sauce if you think you need it) and then let simmer for about 5-10 minutes, so that the meat soaks up the sauce a little. Add green beans (or any frozen veggie) for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve over sticky rice ... or whatever rice you prefer.

***I'm not sure where all you can find Yoshida's sauce, but I buy mine in the 1/2 gallon size at Sam's Club OR Costco and it lasts all year. Finally, Costco is carrying the stuff!! It's on the spice aisle ... I think.

PERFECT Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Crisscross with fork tines. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Do not overcook ... take them out when they are barely golden. Makes about 30 cookies. ***Also great with crunchy peanut butter.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pizza Rolls

So we moved last week and this was part of our "last meal" in other words making something from whatever is left in the fridge. It turned out pretty good...

Refrigerator Crescent rolls
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
Parmesan cheese

Pizza sauce for dipping

Preheat oven. Lay out the dough, spread cream cheese on it, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, lay about 4 pepperoni's on it, roll up into crescent rolls. Bake for the amount of time on the crescent roll package or until it looks done. Dip in pizza sauce.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fall-Apart Pork Chops

Forks only with this one ... you won't need a knife!8-10 bone-in pork chops
2 bottles Bulls-Eye ORIGINAL bbq sauce
garlic salt

Garlic salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Place in a 9x13 casserole dish ... you can stack these 2-pork-chops high, but no higher. I had to use 2 casserole dishes for the 10 chops. Pour a ridiculous amount of bbq sauce over the top and make sure all the chops are coated with the sauce. I used 1 1/2 bottles of sauce on 10 chops. Cover tightly with a greased piece of foil. Bake at 300* for 3 1/2 hours.

Fire up your grill. Remove chops from oven. Grill chops for about 3-4 minutes on each side ... just until the sauce chars a little bit. Serve with more fresh bbq sauce on top. These made our 4th of July HEAVENLY!!! The meat is so tender, flavorful, and juicy ... Enjoy!

** You can make your own bbq sauce, or use whatever your favorite is. We love the Bulls-Eye ORIGINAL though. MMM.

Taco Salad

This is perhaps the world's most ghetto taco salad ... so if you are a gourmet chef, you probably won't like this one. If you're a busy mom who is looking for a 5 minute healthy dinner (that your kids will eat!) ... this is for you.1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
2-3 cans of chili with beans (my favorite is the low fat Stagg brand ... get whatever you like)
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
Crumbled tortilla chips
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes, optional

Begin by heating the chili up in the microwave until it is HOT; about 2 1/2 minutes, depending on how many cans you're using. Don't forget to cover it with a paper towel ... I don't want y'all cursing my name later.

Okay. This is sooo simple. Make this as individual portions in a bowl. Layer like this:

Hot Chili
Tortilla chips

Make sure the chips are on top ... it will lure your kids into eating a salad. lol.

Garnish with sour cream and salsa to taste ... leave it out all together if your kids don't like it. Fresh diced tomatoes make it even better, if you have them on hand. Let your kids stir theirs all together on their own. They'll love it!

If you have plenty of time on your hands and you're a fresh-kind-of-person ... whip up some ground beef with taco seasoning instead of the chili.

Fudge Jumbles

2 sticks butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups old fashioned oats

Fudge Topping:
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cans sweetened condensed milk

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until well mixed. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; stir in oats. Gradually stir dry mixture into beaten mixture. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate pieces. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Press all but about 1 heaping cup of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over the oat mixture. Using your fingers, crumble remaining oat mixture over the chocolate.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate mixture will still look moist). Allow the Jumbles to cool for about 45 minutes before cutting to serve. Makes a WHOLE bunch! Yum!!

*Cover these with foil and store at room temperature ... if they aren't covered the chocolate will get crumbly instead of staying fudgey. MMM.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Skillet Penne with Chicken and Broccoli

This is a VERY yummy pasta- sorry for the lack of pictures. You'll have to trust me- its the latest Crofts Family Favorite!! Its from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook-with a few minor changes of my own...enjoy!

1 lb. chicken breasts, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Salt and Pepper
3 Tbs. butter
1 onion, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. penne (2 ½ cups)
2 ½ c. chicken broth
½ c. heavy cream
1 bunch broccoli (1 ½ lbs.), stems discarded and florets cut into 1 inch pieces
1 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped as fine as desired
½ c. parmesan cheese

1. Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 Tbs. of butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until its lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add 1 more Tbs. butter, onion, red pepper flakes, oregano, and ½ tsp. salt to skillet. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
3. Sprinkle penne evenly into skillet. Pour the broth and cream over it. Cover and bring to boil, about 5 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to med-low and stir in the broccoli and roasted peppers. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until the pasta begins to soften and the broccoli turns bright green, about 8 minutes.
5. Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juice. Cover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
6. Stir in remaining butter and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.