Monday, August 27, 2012

Loaded Scrambled Eggs

A few random things in my fridge: eggs, scallions, carrots, roasted garlic... I wanted to see what I could make without having to go to the store. I searched online to find some options. I found some recipes for Chinese scallion pie, fried rice, garlic noodles, and omelets.

I settled on making an omelet for dinner. Easy light dinner in less than 15 minutes!

Heat the pan to medium heat, add roasted garlic (3 cloves), a 1/4 tsp of cumin, a tablespoon of diced up bacon, and several sliced baby carrots. Meanwhile, scramble 3 eggs with a splash of milk (little less than 1/4 cup) and some cracked black pepper. Once carrots are soften, about 5-7 minutes, and bacon is crispy, pour in the eggs and some scallion.

Theoretically, let the eggs cook then fold it into an omelet... however mine turn into scrambled eggs at this point. I had a griddled English muffin on the side.

Yum! I would add in more cumin next time since I liked the flavor.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Roasted Garlic

Girls club! I wanted to make something light and easy after all the zucchini breads (Morning Glory MuffinsZucchini bread with chocolate chips) and I have wanted to try to make roasted garlic since it seems fairly easy and is just so tasty.

Roasted garlic is buttery, smooth, and spreads nicely on fresh bread... or mashed into some potatoes, or added into tomato sauce, or mixed into some pasta... its just wonderful and comforting.

I meant to take pictures of it being served with the bread, but we were hungry and I forgot.

 Remove tops with a sharp knife, place on foil, and cover in olive oil
 Place on baking sheet, this happens to be next to some "homemade" Pillsbury french bread
It is done when it is soft and easy to get out of the skins. I just checked in the foil at the 20 min mark and at the 40 min mark. At 40 minutes I decided it looked like the cloves would be easy to remove when I poked at it.

I served it on some "home cooked" Pillsbury french bread with some seasonings to pick from: oregano, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, black pepper.

5 of us ate the loaf of bread and 1 bulb of garlic, it was plenty but we probably could have snacked on some more.

Next time? Serve with some fancy homemade bread (I'm feeling an onion rosemary focaccia bread). I could try to commit to one oil dipping mixture with seasonings to make it a little easier for spreading/tasting. I would also consider roasting the garlic with some flavors such as salt and pepper.

Roasted Garlic
Makes however many bulbs of garlic you want to make

Preheat oven to 400F
Peel away some of the garlic papers but leave enough to hold the bulb together.
Cut a bit off the top so you can expose the cloves of garlic. Keep the top pieces if there is garlic in them.
Place the garlic pieces and tops onto some foil
Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil and make sure its covered
Seal up the foil into an evelope
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until soft
Use a fork to pick out the cloves of garlic or use your fingers to squeeze the garlic out of the bulb.
Add to whatever you are making!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cube Steak Parmesan

I had another piece of cubed round cut beef from the Marlboro Man Sandwiches that I made the other day (I froze the meat!). There were a few ideas such as fried steak and stews, but I had some left over tomato basil sauce so the Parmesan recipes really caught my eye.

Dip the steak into 1/2 cup flour, then dip into 1 beaten egg, then into 1 cup of panko bread crumbs. Heat up the skillet with some oil and placed the  meat into the pan once it was hot. Cook each side for about 4-6 minutes until cooked through.

 Next place tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan, add the crispy meat, top with more sauce and some shredded cheese. Bake in the oven at 375F for about 20 minutes until its all hot and the cheese is melted.

Serve over pasta and top with any remaining sauce.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Marlborough Man sandwiches

I made this a while back and just got around to writing it up... I found this recipe online at the request of Nate who wants "meat." This is from the Pioneer Woman's website. This was another under 20 minute dinner and reminiscent of a Sloppy Joe with different meat.

It uses cube steak which is round steak that is extra tenderized. It reminded me of a really flat piece of steak with a breaking apart texture of ground beef.
Melt a tablespoon of butter at medium heat. Add in sliced onions. Once they are clear and starting to brown remove from the pan. It asked for more onions but I didn't have enough.

Meanwhile slice meat and season with the Lawry's seasoned salt. Add to frying pan. Let it brown. Flip once its turning a nice deep brown. Approx 5 minutes.
Add Tabasco sauce, I used Sirracha because that's what I had. Add in Worcestershire sauce and an additional tablespoon of butter. Add onions back in.
Let the sauce thicken for a few minutes. Griddle buns in some butter.

Place meat and the sauce on the bun. 

Any changes? Nope! Good as it was! Enjoy!

Cube Steak Sandwiches

1 whole large onion
1 sticks Butter
2 pounds Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
4 whole French/deli Rolls

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.
Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.
Add 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.
Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet.
To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

Continuing on the zucchini binge (Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts)...

These are some of my favorite hearty muffins. Its a regular moist quick bread with lots of tasty things such as coconut, raisins, walnuts, pineapple, etc. I have no idea where I found this recipe but it is a fast go to recipe for me. I substituted in zucchini for the grated carrots. It also calls for 1 apple but I don't include that since I generally don't have apples hanging around. I normally make jumbo ones and freeze them. This time I was feeling lazy so I make them in 8x8 pans.

While there are a lot of ingredients, it is a basic recipe. Wet ingredients + dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Preparing the pans (if you aren't going to use muffin papers) is just spraying the tins with non stick spray, then taking a tbsp of flour and tapping it around until all the surfaces are covered.

This makes two 8x8 pans (40-45 min), or 1 8x8 and a loaf pan (50-60 min), 16 jumbo muffins (20 min), and 14 regular muffins (15-18 min) and 24 mini muffins (13 min).

Morning Glory Muffins

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (used ½ apple sauce ½ oil)
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup raisins, light or dark
1/2- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnut

Position a rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Add coconut, raisins, pineapple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.
Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling to top of each cup. 
Bake until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean (see above for timings).
Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips & Walnuts

Nate's mom brought me a 5-6 pound 18 inches large zucchini. This zucchini was the equivalent of 12 cups of grated.... NOW WHAT?!

What I didn't do and what you should do when dealing with giant zucchini is peel the zucchini first, the skin is very tough. I just hacked away until it was pieces small enough to fit into my food processor.

So here is a Zucchini Bread recipe! (Here is the Morning Glory Muffin recipe). I found this on AllRecipes here Zucchini Bread. I used 3 cups instead of 2 cups of zucchini, reduced the sugar and used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar, also I used 1/2 apple sauce and 1/2 vegetable oil.

 Combine wet ingredients.
 Add dry ingredients.
 Add in the toppings: shredded zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
Pour into prepared pans: spray with cooking spray and sprinkle tin with flour. Tap it around to coat all the corners and sides.

The 8x8 pan took about 45 minutes.

Zucchini Bread
makes 2 8x8 pans

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnut
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease and flour two 8 x 8 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts until just combined. 
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Here is a quick and easy tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes and left over cream cheese (from the Lime and Coconut Cupcake frosting!).
 Tomatoes, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also added in 1/4 cup of water
 Mash as they cook down. Then pulse in the food processor until pureed. Pour back into the pot. Add in basil.
 I added in spoon by spoon the cream cheese. I added in a little under 1/4 cup of cream cheese. But basically go until it tastes how you'd like it to.
The rest of the meal... I seasoned the chicken with garlic powder, oregano, and sauteed in olive oil for about 8-10 minutes. Pasta was whole wheat spaghetti which cooks in about 4-5 minutes.

Next time maybe add in a few red pepper flakes for a little kick. 

Tomato Basil Sauce
Makes 3 servings

8-10 Tomatoes
1 tsp each Onion powder, garlic powder, oregano
1/4 cup cream cheese

Heat pan with tomatoes and spices. As tomatoes heat through mash them down with a spoon, about 5 minutes. Puree in the food processor. Stir in cream cheese until its reaches the desired creamy taste and let simmer until rest of meal is ready to eat.

I served over pasta with a side of chicken.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Slow Cooked Thai Chicken

 Ok... not the best looking meal to photograph... but it was SO tasty!

Nate was the main chef of this meal and got everything going while I was at work the other day. He assembled all the ingredients and started the cooking process. After I was home from work and realized we didn't have any more lime (see Coconut and Lime Cupcakes) or any peanuts to garnish, he drove us to Wegman's when I realized . He also waited patiently while I debated on the cilantro (decided on omitting it since it was a little pricey).

This is slow cooked chicken with all sorts of yummy spices! I found the basic recipe here but I added more of the spices, extra coconut milk, and some chicken broth because we wanted a saucier texture. Crushed the peanuts in the food processor and mixed it in the chicken mix at the end. 

Next time? I'd add in some cilantro to see what we were missing. Also, keep the chicken into larger pieces otherwise it turns into a chili/blended together texture. But overall it was great!

Serve over rice or noodles. Happy eating!!

Slow Cooked Thai Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings

3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 cup medium or hot salsa
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbs. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Cilantro (for garnish)
Chopped peanuts
Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Pour mixture over chicken. This was really thick so I added in the chicken broth. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken from cooker and shred. Return to crock pot. Add coconut milk and turn to warm setting for 15-20 minutes prior to serving.
Serve over rice or noodles. Top with the cilantro.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Put the Lime in the Coco-nut...Cupcake

Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all uppp! Coconut cupcakes! I did lots of research prior to making these. Do you include lime, or not. Do you toast the coconut, or not. Do you use coconut milk, or not. Almond extract, or not. Extra large egg is how many large eggs... How much butter for the frosting?!

I took the regular cupcakes recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, and looked at her cake recipe too. I looked at random recipes online and different techniques. I prefer making cupcakes so I can taste one before bringing them places. Folks would notice a slice of cake missing!

In the end, I used the basis for the cupcake recipe. I used toasted the coconut as that is supposed to enhance the coconut flavor. Reviews listed coconut milk to help with the coconut flavor. And since I was feeling creative I added some lime to half the recipe to try it out. I omitted the almond extract because I didn't have any. Some used coconut extract with the vanilla extract. Since I was halving the recipe (5 eggs originally) I used 3 large eggs.

First toast the coconut. Easy, just put your desired amount into the frying pan. I put it on medium heat and it took about 2-4 minutes. Stirring a bit. 

Next, combine sugar and room temperature butter until its creamy and combined.
 Add in eggs 1 at a time. The batter should be wet.
Alternate adding in the dry mixture with the wet. Fill in the cupcake tins 2/3 of the way. I had a little overflow so I made a few mini ones!

Aren't the mini ones so cute?! Keep an eye on them towards the end of the time to ensure they don't burn.
I let them cool completely before frosting them and dipping/sprinkling them into the toasted coconut.

I halved the recipe, but the recipe below is the full one. Half the recipe makes about 14 cupcakes.

These were not very coconut-y but they very moist and light cupcakes. Next time I would consider adding in an extra tsp or tsp and a half of coconut extract. I added about half of a lime's worth of juice to the frosting but I add as much as you want.

Other variations I'd like to try include omitting the coconut flakes in the cupcake and adding in orange or lemon extract with respective zest.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • Optional: zest of 2 limes, 2 tbsp of lime juice; add in when adding in extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 - 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • Optional: 1 tbsp lime juice, zest of 1 lime; add in when adding in extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In the mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after the additions. Add the vanilla extracts.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.

Line a muffin tin with the paper lines. Fill the liners 2/3 way to the top with the batter. Bake 12-15 minutes for mini muffins and 23-26 for regular size. Keep an eye until the tops are starting to get brown and the toothpick comes out clean. Allow them to cool and then let the cool on a baking rack.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth.

Frost cupcakes and top with additional coconut.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Almond Crusted Chicken

 This recipe is a keeper! Nutty, versatile and fast. 15 minutes for making breadcrumbs and bake for about 20 minutes (depending on thickness of the chicken).

I found the basis for the recipe from Cooks Illustrated, but you can't actually see the recipe unless you sign up... so I found another blogger who made their recipe :) See here. Basically I didn't follow the recipe at all, I just took the breadcrumb technique from them.

Melt some butter in a pan. I added oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper at this point.

Meanwhile use the food processor (I love using this machine..) to chop the nuts. I used almonds because they were the cheapest. I wanted to use pecans or macadamia nuts... but it was about twice as expensive. FYI the 99 has macadamia crusted chicken... its amazing.

Once the butter is melted, wait a few more minutes. It should start to turn a golden brown. Once that happens change the temp to med low and add in the panko breadcrumbs and the almonds. Stir it around gathering up all the butter and spices. Stir occasionally but this step toasts the almonds.The kitchen starts to smell awesome at this point.

I want to point out that we used panko breadcrumbs. This blogger gives more information about panko. But long story short, these are Japanese breadcrumbs, flakier and bigger than regular style, and don't absorb grease as much either. This yields a crispy and crunchy crust for whatever you are cooking.

Time to get the chicken ready! I used thin sliced chicken breast because it cooks faster and I'm an inpatient chef. The recipe says to pierce the chicken a few times with a fork and salt it. I did it, I didn't notice any changes though. Does anyone else know?

Flour the chicken and shake off any excess.
Dip it in the egg mix and let the extra drip off.
Then go ahead and put it in the heavenly breadcrumbs.

I used foil in my pan for faster clean up.

Bake at 350 for about 15-25 minutes. I'd keep an eye on the chicken though, you don't want it over cooked but the cooking time really changes based on the thickness.

This also makes about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds (8 pieces of chicken).

What would I change next time? I would be more patient when browning the butter. I would try different nuts. I'd add in more oregano, closer to 2 tsp because I like oregano.

Almond Crusted Chicken
Serves approx 8

4 tbsp butter
1 tsp oregano, garlic powder, onion powder
Salt & Pepper
1 cup Panko Bread crumbs
1 cup chopped almonds
2 lbs of chicken (8 chicken breast, thin slice)
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten

  1. Melt butter with the spices. Once melted wait another 4-5 minutes for butter to turn light brown. Add in bread crumbs and almonds.
  2. Lower temp to med low. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Taste to see if you need more seasonings.
  3. Put some flour in a bowl and beat 2 eggs in another bowl.
  4. Coat chicken in the flour. Shake off excess. Dip it in the egg, let excess drip. Dip in bread crumbs. Press crumbs in as needed.
  5. Place in casserole dish and cook at 350 for 15-20 minutes.