Sunday, January 30, 2011

Demetri's Pad Thai

All hail my Hot Husband -- For he has made Pad Thai!!!!!!!!!!

We got the original recipe here, but Demetri altered it and it turned out AMAZING. As good as a restaurant! Also, I know this recipe looks long (10 steps! Gasp!) but it's not as hard as it looks.

1 box regular (or GF) pasta - linguini-width (or fried Pad Thai rice noodles)
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup soft tofu)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup cabbage, roughly chopped (optional)
additional veggies of your choice (we* used sugar peas and baby corn)
2 cups bean sprouts
2 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup fresh coriander/cilantro (we used cilantro)

3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste (available at Asian/East Indian food stores)
1/4 cup hot water
3 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 to 2 tsp. chili sauce (to taste), (we used 1/2 tsp)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. peanut butter

3-4 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable or faux chicken stock

1. Bring a pot of water to and cook noodles 2 minutes less than package direction (noodles will finish cooking in frying pan)
2. Dissolve the tamarind paste in the hot water. Add the other pad thai sauce ingredients and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Don't skimp on the sugar (you need it to balance the sourness of the tarmaind). Reserve.
3. Place large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus the garlic and red onion. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
4. Add the cabbage and the stock. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
5. Push ingredients aside and add 1/2 Tbsp. more oil to the center of the wok/pan. Add the eggs (if using) and stir-fry briefly to scramble them.
6. Add additional veggies if using.
7. Push eggs aside and add a little more oil to the middle of the wok/pan. Now add the drained noodles (and tofu, if using) and 1/3 of the sauce. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute using 2 utensils and a tossing motion.
8. Add a little more sauce and continue stir-frying in the same way for 1-2 more minutes, or until the noodles begin to soften and become sticky. Reduce heat to medium if noodles begin to stick and burn.
9. Add the bean sprouts plus the remaining sauce. Stir-fry to incorporate everything together for 1-3 more minutes, or until noodles are done. Noodles are cooked to perfection when they are soft but still deliciously chewy and a little bit sticky.
10. To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with the green onion, coriander/cilantro.

* and by 'we' I mean Demetri

Chop Suey - American Style!

I got this recipe from the blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. This woman cooked in her crock pot every day . . . for a year! And that's, you know, TOTALLY AWESOME. I altered her recipe slightly (left out the bacon and used ground turkey instead of beef). This recipe was not only delicious, but it was the perfect comfort meal for mid-winter. It's also wicked kid friendly!

1 pound lean ground turkey, browned and drained
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 can water (empty tomato can)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jar prepared pasta sauce (I used Classico Marinar with Plum Tomatoes)
1 (16-ounce) package pasta of your choice (I used gluten free brown rice rotini pasta)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. In a large skillet, brown turkey the and onion all together until the meat is no longer pink. Drain well and put in crock pot.
2. Add everything else into the pot except for the pasta and cheese.
3. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for about 4* hours. Stir in the raw pasta and cook on high for approximately 20 - 30 minutes, or until pasta is bite-tender.

*Mine was totally done, complete with pasta, in 4 hours

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken, Artichokes, & Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Yet another recipe purloined (and slightly modified) from the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book. Erin and I would get sued for infringement if it weren't for the fact that recipes cannot be copyrighted. Or so I remember from my copyright class that I took exactly 10 years ago. Not much has changed in the law since then, has it? Oh it has? Well, let's just hope I'm still right about the recipes.

ANYWAY, I broke the cardinal rule (or is it Murphy's Law?) that says you must NOT make a recipe you have never tried before when having company over, or else the recipe is sure to totally bomb. I had chef-block and couldn't think of a recipe to make for Katie and Sean last weekend, so I actually busted out the cook books to search for one. My husband says I'm a good cook who has TERRIBLE taste in recipes (thanks, butthead), but in this case I scored. This turned out really yummy, although I will caution you against buying chicken breasts that are too thick because they take waaaaaay longer to cook than the recipe instructs. Thank goodness for patient guests and husbands who will distract hungry children while you stress about how long the chicken is taking to cook.

Chicken, Artichokes, & Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Start to finish: 30 minutes (unless you buy thick chicken, then it's more like 45 minutes)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crushed*
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves**
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered (drained)***
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup dry white wine****
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese*****
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (I considered this optional.)

1. In a shallow dish, stir together flour, sage, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and pepper. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Coat chicken with remaining flour mixture.

2. In a large skillet (I used an electric skillet), cook chicken in hot oil over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. or until no longer pink, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet; cover and keep warm. Drain off any excess oil in skillet.

3. In the same skillet, cook mushrooms and artichoke hearts in hot butter/margarine over medium heat for 3 minutes or until artichokes and mushrooms are tender.

4. In a small bowl stir together reserved flour mixture, wine, broth, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until smooth. Add wine mixture to skillet. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, the cook for 1 minute more. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.


* Does it come any other way than crushed?
** Was this my problem? Did I buy whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts? I must investigate next time I go back to the grocery store. I am a bit worried though, because last time I was there 90% of the poultry case was empty with absolutely no explanation. Was there a run on ground turkey? Did the Foster Farms chickens finally convince their brethren to escape? What is going on here in Franklin, TN?
*** The recipe calls for frozen artichoke hearts, which I was unable to find for some reason. Instead, I used canned, but I didn't write down how many ounces were in the can before I tossed it. The can I used probably had about 10 or 12 ounces of artichoke hearts in it, I think. When I'm investigating the Great Missing Poultry Episode of 2011, I will stop by the canned veggie aisle and confirm.
**** I used boxed wine that had been in our fridge for probably close to six months, but it tasted just fine! Honestly, the end result didn't have a very strong wine taste, so you could probably just substitute chicken broth for the wine and call it a day.
***** I know I'm getting a little ridiculous with the asterisks, but I just had to share that for some weird reason, my father's family refers to grated Parmesan cheese as "stinky foot cheese". I blame my Grandpa Chuck, who has a habit of calling things by weird names, overusing the word "incidentally", and adopting bizarre accents for no particular reason during otherwise normal conversation.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pesto-chicken penne casserole

This is one that I pulled out of my Freezer Meal cookbook---so it can be doubled and frozen, taken out when needed. I loved it, as did my family. It is ALMOST like Olive Garden at home. Really. Yum.

1/2 package penne pasta (8 oz. of a 16 oz box)
3 cups cooked chicken
2 cups shredded italian cheese blend
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
8 oz. crushed tomatoes (half a can)
8 oz. Alfredo sauce (half a jar)
5 oz. prepared pesto (half a container)
3/4 cup 2 percent milk
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, pesto, and milk. Drain pasta and add chicken mixture, toss to coat.

2. Transfer to a greased 8 in square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and oil. Sprinkle over casserole.

3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.

It really is good. And yes, it is a lot of "pre-made" sauces, but I'm okay with that--less work! Who has time to make homemade alfredo sauce and pesto?!

Marinated London Broil

So easy, and SO good!


1/2 C each of:
red wine vinegar
vegetable oil
soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine all ingredients and pour into freezer bag. Score a London Broil (shallow cuts in a crisscross pattern on both sides.) Add meat to bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Grill on barbecue or under broiler until done. We like it medium rare, so about 3-4 minutes on each side. Will vary according to size. Slice thinly against the grain and devour.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams

These are homemade Reese's. They're bars, so they're super fast to make. They also travel VERY well, and everyone seems to love them.

22 graham cracker squares, crushed.
(Do yourself a favor- buy the box of crumbs and use 1 1/2 cups.)
3 C powdered sugar
8 oz butter, melted (Yes, it's 2 sticks of butter. Get over it. It's CANDY)
1C creamy peanut butter
1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine crumbs and powdered sugar. Stir in butter and peanut butter. Mix well and spread evenly in an ungreased 12x13 pan. Press firmly into an even layer. You can cover with plastic wrap if it's too sticky.

Place in fridge for 45 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave on defrost, stirring frequently, until completely melted. Spread over peanut butter mixture and let firm up for at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares. They're rich, but delicious. Enjoy!

Lamb Koftas

These little lamb koftas by Annabel Karmel are super easy to make and are really delicious. My 2 year old devoured them, as did my husband which in my book means a win-win situation! I've doubled the suggested recipe here and added a few ideas of my own and it fed the three of us with enough for a light adult lunch or a toddler main meal left over.

1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1lb ground lamb
breadcrumbs from 2 slices of bread, crusts removed
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp clear honey
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper to season

1. Fry the onion in the olive oil on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened
2. Add the cumin and garlic and continue to fry for another minute.
3. Transfer onion mixture to a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients (see I told you it was easy!). Mix well.
4. Take generous tablespoon sized portions of the mixture (you can make bigger or smaller but you'll just need to adjust the cooking time) and form into sausage shapes - it'll make about 12-16 - and put onto a broiler sheet. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so (they work ok without being chilled but have a tendency to fall apart more easily).
5. Pre-heat the broiler to high and grill the koftas for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway, or until cooked through. They won't freeze, but will keep for a couple of days in the fridge and to heat through, just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds per kofta.

I served with a cold potato salad (new potatoes, enough greek yogurt to coat and a couple of tablespoons of chopped mint), spinach leaves, tomatoes and cucumber. Yum yum!!

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is my favorite Indian dish and, if I do say so myself, IT WAS AWESOME. In fact, it was as good as in a restaurant. A good restaurant.

Chicken Marinade:
1 cup yogurt (I also threw in about a quarter cup of sour cream for fun)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoons salt (optional)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
several long skewers (I bought the wooden kind at the store and used about 10)

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh poblano pepper, finely chopped (if you want serious spice use a whole jalapeno pepper instead)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (if desired)

1. For marinade, in a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, ginger, and 1 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to broil. Cover grill with foil for easy clean up. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 - 10 minutes on each side.
3. For sauce, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and poblano pepper for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and a dash of salt (if desired). Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve over rice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Macaroni-Cheese Puff

I found this recipe in the "all-time favorites" section of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, and it is so awesome! I hate pimiento, so I left it out, and my puff (kind of like a souffle) turned out the tiniest bit bland, but it was still fabulous enough that my husband, my 19 month-old daughter, and I all inhaled it. Does anyone have any ideas of a tasty ingredient that could be added to this souffle in lieu of pimiento? The only things I could come up with were bacon and corn.

It's not beautiful, but it's tasty!!

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Oven: 325 degrees

1/2 cup elbow macaroni (uncooked)
1 1/2 cups milk
6 oz American cheese slices, torn
3 Tbsp butter (use the salted kind)
3 eggs (to be separated)
1 cup bread crumbs (about 1 1/2 slices)
1/4 cup chopped pimiento (optional)
1 Tbsp snipped parsley (optional)
1 Tbsp finely chopped or minced onion
1/4 tsp cream of tartar


1) In a small saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the milk, cheese, and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

3) Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, putting the egg yolks in a small bowl and the egg whites in the electric mixer's bowl. Beat the egg yolks. Stir about 1/2 cup of the hot cheese mixture into the egg yolks. Pour egg & cheese mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot cheese mixture and stir to combine.

4) Add the drained macaroni, bread crumbs, pimiento (optional), parsley (optional) and onion to the egg & cheese mixture in the saucepan. Set aside.

5) Beat the cream of tartar and egg whites with the whisk attachment for your electric mixer* until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold into macaroni mixture.

6) Pour mixture into an ungreased 1 1/2 quart souffle dish (or a 2 quart casserole dish).

7) Bake in a 325 degree oven for 50 minutes. Serve immediately.

*If you do not have an electric mixer, con someone else into beating the egg whites. This is a TON of work to do by hand!! And if you don't have a whisk attachment, I think the normal attachment will also work, but it might take longer. I could be wrong about this.