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Monday, August 29, 2011

Zucchini Pizza Slices

Pizza on zucchini slices? Yes! The fact that I had to turn on my broiler temporarily, to melt the cheese, didn't deter me from making this delicious pizza side dish tonight, even though the 106 degree temperature today made it feel as if I was living on the face of the sun!! This is super easy to make and was actually great. I wasn't sure if I was going to love it, even though I love zucchini. I am not a huge pizza fan and had to make one for me without pepperoni, as I'm definitely NOT a fan.
 *Makes 4 slices
2 Zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 jar Pizza sauce
Mozarella cheese, grated
Pepperoni, sliced

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Place face down in a dry skillet and roast for approximately 7 minutes. (Longer if the zucchini is super thick) After it's roasted, it should be semi soft. Place the slices, face up on a cookie sheet or broiler pan. Top with pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Place into the broiler on high for approximately 4-5 minutes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Veggie Sandwich

It's not too often that you eat a sandwich and say "WOW". This is what seems to happen to me every time I eat one of these vegetarian sandwiches. The best part about it is that no skills are required. So if you don't like to cook and you want to eat healthy, this ones for you!!
Basically you just put your favorite veggies on your favorite bread and chow down!!
I used Miltons Multigrain bread
Lite Mayonnaise, spread extremely thin
Cucumber, sliced very thinly
Tomatoes, sliced
Red onion slices
Fresh alfalfa sprouts
Seasoned salt and Pepper

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pork Ribs with Tomatillo Sauce

I love being able to walk across the street and have my friend teach me how to cook authentic Mexican food. This is one her recipes and it's ssssoooo good!  It's a little spicy, but that's how I like my food. You will need to have the butcher at the local grocery store, cut the ribs into shorter pieces for you. Then when you get it home, you can cut it in between the bones to make a lot of pieces.
2 lbs pork spare ribs, cut into small sections
1 1/2 cups oil (canola or vege)
salt to taste
5-7 dry chili arbol (small dried red chilies)
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 section of an onion, not cut (approx. 1/4 of a small- med onion)
2 lbs tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
3/4 cup water

Put ribs into a very large skillet or stock pot. Cover with water. Add  the oil and lots of salt. Boil uncovered on high for 1 1/2 - 2 hours on med-high. Stir occasionally. ( Don't add more water. )        Let water boil down and the meat should turn brown.
While the ribs are cooking, make your salsa by  roasting (in a dry skillet with no water or oil) the chili arbol, garlic and onion. Set aside. In the same skillet, (with no water or oil) roast the tomatillos on high for 2 minutes then cover them and turn to medium to roast the tomatillos for 15 more minutes. When they are finished roasting, pour the 3/4 cup water on top of them. Place the tomatillos with the water, and the chili arbol mixture into the blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Now take a ladle and remove as much of the oil from the top of the water, that the meat cooked in, as you can. Discard the oil. Put the meat back into the pan after the oil is removed. Add the blended salsa to the meat and stir. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Mango and Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

I love, love, love Vietnamese food. If I didn't love to cook so much, I'd be stopping at the Vietnamese restaurant, down the street, all the time. Today while the hubby was out bike riding with some of the family, I decided to attempt making these. I think for my first time they turned out fairly well rolled. They tasted so fresh and light, and I will definitely be making them again. Maybe next time I can get them rolled a little tighter.

** If you follow the link below to the recipe....I added thinly sliced cucumber to my rolls.

Chocolate Chip, Oreo, Brownie Bars

Yes, you read that title right! It's all of the above....baked into one glorious cookie bar. So simple, so rich, so yummy!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 Bag Oreo Cookies
1 Box of brownie mix

Preheat your oven to 350. Make your cookie dough however you normally make it. I use the original Nestle recipe for  this bar. Line a 9 X 13 pan with wax paper. Spray the wax paper with Pam. Spread the cookie dough onto the wax paper in the bottom of the pan. Next, place Oreos on the top of the dough, placing evenly on top. Now mix up your box of brownie mix according to the package directions. Pour the batter directly over the Oreos. Make sure you cover all of the Oreo's and chocolate chip cookie batter. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa

Once again I tried to bring the flavor of the tropics to our house tonight. This salsa worked very well on the fish as it had some sweet, some spice and gave the fish a lot of flavor.
1 Pineapple, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper,chopped
2 dry red chilies, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
Salt/Pepper to taste

Combine all salsa ingredients together and stir. Place on top of fish or chicken.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chocolate Covered, Cake batter flavor with sprinkles, Rice Krispy Treats

This is what happens when I am bored on a Sunday afternoon. I had recently stumbled across an idea on the internet of making cake batter flavor rice krispy treats. I thought it sounded good...I mean who doesn't like cake batter flavored anything???? So I completed the rice krispy treats and then it hit me....cover them in chocolate and they will taste even better. Sugar rush? Yes! But oh so good!!

This is just part of the oh so yummy goodness that you need.....
This is after the rice krispy treats were baked and sitting on the counter. At this point I had not gotten into them.....
Cut into squares and waiting patiently to be "dipped"
This is after I had only dipped one or two. Here you can see how yummy they are looking....
AH...the final product....
3 tbsp butter
10 oz mini marshmallows
1/3 cup yellow cake mix
6 cups rice krispys
1.75 ounce container of sprinkles
Melting chocolate
White chocolate

Melt the butter and marshmallows together on the stove top in a large pan. Stir in little bits of the cake mix powder at a time and make sure you stir it in thoroughly. After all the cake mix is mixed in, stir in the rice krispys and half the bottle of sprinkles. Mix thoroughly. Leave on counter top for at least a half an hour. To insert the stick, I like to melt just a touch of chocolate and dip the end of the stick into the chocolate before inserting it into the krispy pop. This helps stabilize the stick and somewhat adheres it to the rice krispys. Place the stick into the pop and dip into melted chocolate. After the chocolate hardens on the outside, drizzle white chocolate over the top of it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicken Posole

Last week my husband came home from work saying how much he loved the Posole they sell there. I got to thinking "hhmm how does a girl who was never taught how to  make authentic mexican foods, begin to find out how to do this"? Well.....I have the sweetest neighbor who is such a great cook. I went to her house and though her English is still "broken" I did my best to write down the recipe as she told me. Tonight after it was finished, I took a bowl to her house for a seal of approval. Guess what??? I got it!! She told me she really liked it and I made her promise she would tell me the truth even if she thought it would hurt my feelings. My husband also gave me the stamp of approval. So tomorrow for lunch it's yummy leftovers for sure!!
*Her recipe calls for an entire chicken, but my husband doesn't like dark meat too much, so mine is cooked with only chicken breasts and I improvised with a couple bullion cubes to add some chicken flavor to the broth. 

1 Medium size can hominy
1 whole, peeled, bulb of garlic (yes the entire bulb...not just a clove)
1 whole onion
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
4 California dried chilis
2 clove garlic
lg pinch of marjoram
lg pinch of oregano
salt to taste

*For garnish, cut up cabbage, radishes, lime slices, onion and cilantro

Use a knife to poke holes into the onion and the garlic bulb. Boil the garlic. the onion and the hominy (with plenty of water to keep it covered) for one hour, with a lid on the pot.
In the meantime, while this is boiling, put the red chilies into boiling water for 5-8 minutes to soften them. Cut the stems off after they are soft and put the softened chilis into a blender along with the 2 cloves garlic, the marjoram and the oregano. Blend thoroughly. (you might need to add a little bit of water to the blender). After it's blended, push through a strainer into a bowl. After the hominy has cooked for one hour and is soft, add the chicken and the chili mixture into the pot with the hominy. Cook until the chicken is done. Salt if needed and serve with garnishes on the side.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hidden Valley Ranch Chicken

Tonight I racked my brain as to what I could do different with chicken. I have never used Hidden Valley Ranch powder on my chicken, so I put my thinking cap on and tried to come up with a creative way to use it. I'm using up things I have present in my pantry, because once again we seem to be in a budget crunch. We both really liked this chicken. It was super moist on the inside and the outside coating gave it just enough of a texture to compliment the juicy meat of the chicken.
*Sorry the picture is so blurry, I think it actually steamed up my camera because it was so hot when this picture was taken ;)

4 chicken breasts
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (powder)1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Salt / Pepper to taste

Mix  together the milk and egg in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the hidden valley, corn flake crumbs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture and then immediately into the crumb mixture. Place into a baking pan that you have sprayed with Pam. Bake at 375 for approx 25-45 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken breasts are) or until cooked through. 


Applewiches? I guess that might lead to a question like that! What else do you call an apple sliced and filled like a sandwich? There are many versions out there on the web, but I tried to put my own spin on this by adding some cinnamon and sugar! It was super delicious and I can't wait to have this again. It's really a light dessert and takes only a few minutes to make. No cooking needed for this one!!

1 apple, sliced into thick slices
Cinnamon/Sugar mixture
Peanut Butter
Dark Chocolate Chips

Slice the apple into fairly thick slices. Sprinkle all slices with whatever ratio of cinnamon and sugar that you like. Spread peanut butter onto one slice. Place chocolate chips on top of the peanut butter and place another apple slice on top. Enjoy!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Almond Tilapia

Tonight we had another dinner at our house that we both really enjoyed. It's super hot outside and so I'm desperately trying not to use my oven, but only use my stove top, so that I'm not in competition with my air conditioner. This morning before work, I laid out tilapia with no idea how I was going to cook it for dinner. After contemplating for quite awhile, I decided on some kind of nut crusted fish. So when it was time to cook it, I decided instead of making an almond "crust" for the fish, that I would just cook it with an almond topping. It turned out really good!!

3 pieces tilapia, or any fish of your choice
1 Tbsp butter, melted

3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp lime juice1/4 tsp grated ginger root
Salt/Pepper to taste

1. Salt and Pepper your fish.

2. In a small-medium skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter with 3 Tbsp lime juice. Add the almonds and toast until golden brown. Turn the fire off or turn it to extremely low and keep the almonds in the pan. (If you turn the fire off, make sure you heat up the almonds again just as your fish is finishing up cooking)

3. In a separate skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp lime juice and ginger. Cook the fish in the melted butter and lime juice until the fish is done. Top with almond mixture and serve!

Sake mushrooms

I know what you are probably thinking...Sake and Mushrooms??? I wasn't sure how these would turn out either. I had mushrooms, and because of our budget crunch these days, I am trying to make sure I use up everything that I buy at the grocery store instead of letting things go to waste. So I got out my mushrooms and thought about it for awhile. How could I make a different sauteed mushroom other than just butter? I would have used white wine, but we don't have any so I attempted the saute with sake. After adding the sake and butter I got even more creative. I really, really like these and I do believe that this will be the new way for me to saute any mushrooms in the future in our household. That is....until another creativity bug strikes ;)
2 tsp butter
1/8 cup sake
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ginger1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced

In a medium- large skillet, melt butter. Add in the sake, garlic, ginger and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are still somewhat firm, but tender. You do not want mushy mushrooms. Add the green onions and saute just a minute more. I like my green onions to have just a bit of a crunch still. You can saute them until they are completely soft if you like.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Orange Glazed Carrots

What a beautiful So Cal evening! It's a full moon outside. The palm trees in the yard are gently swaying with a light breeze. The shadows of the mountains just before sunset were gorgeous! The crickets are chirping outside and the whirring of the fan is a constant hum in the family room. The hubby is already drifting off to sleep after a long day working overtime. Content? Yes....very much! I was reminded tonight as I was thinking about all these things, that the very God who created all this beauty is the very same God who loves me enough to offer me eternal life! AMAZING!!! ☺
I also was thinking tonight how lucky I am to live in a country where I can go to the store and buy pretty much anything I need, to cook and create food for my family. Tonight I decided to try a new idea and see if it turned out ok. It sure did and I will definitely be making these carrots again soon. I love when I create something in my head and it turns out better than I thought it would!

 2 cups of shredded carrots
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice
Salt to taste
Zest of 1 whole orange
2 Tbsp orange juice

Cook carrots until tender. Set aside. In a skillet, melt butter and then all the rest of the ingredients and also the carrots. Cook over medium heat until carrots are glazed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Orange Chicken

I am just amazed at how much I love cooking Asian food. There is such a great blend of spices and sauces in their foods. Tonight I made Orange Chicken and we loved it! I served it over Jasmine rice and with mustard greens on the side. I know mustard greens definitely do NOT normally go with orange chicken, but I had a bag of them in the refrigerator and I needed to use them up before they went bad. So out of  necessity of not being wasteful, I served them tonight on the side.
2 lbs chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup cornstarch plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
Oil for frying chicken
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp sake or rice wine
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sesame oil
Orange Sauce Ing:
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp water
5 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp white vinegar
Zest of one orange

Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
In a separate small bowl,
stir cornstarch and flour together. Stir into the chicken/egg mixture. Stir to coat all chicken pieces. 
Make your orange sauce by stirring all orange sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. 
Heat oil in a skillet. Add chicken and cook in small batches, frying for 3-4 minutes for each batch, until golden crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Clean the skillet and add 1 Tbsp oil. Heat for just a few seconds. Add the ginger and garlic and cook about 15 seconds. Add crushed red pepper flakes and green onions and cook for another 15 seconds. Add sake (or rice wine) and stir once through. Add orange sauce to skillet and bring to a boil. Add cooked chicken and stir until well mixed. In a small bowl mix remaining 1 Tbsp cornstarch with enough water to make it smooth and liquidy. Add this cornstarch mixture to the skillet. Stir until the sauce is thickened. Serve over jasmine rice.