Saturday, July 2, 2011

Random Pictures

While on my recent mini vacay to Nashville, my camera gave me a warning that I only had available space for 4 pictures. While I was frantically erasing photos, I discovered a bunch of food photos I was pretty sure I hadn't written about.

Banana Pudding
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) container cool whip, thawed
4 bananas, sliced
1 package vanilla wafers

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk and vanilla until smooth. (Be careful. Beating milk can be messy.) Fold in 1/2 of the cool whip.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with vanilla wafers. Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers. Spread with pudding mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill. For a little something extra, toast some coconut and sprinkle it on top.

Brad really likes Stromboli, so I make it for him periodically. My recipe isn't very exact, but I will share it anyway.


1 premade pizza crust, rolled into a thin rectangle (I buy the kind in the tube)

Thinly sliced deli ham (I buy the presliced in a tupperware package at Aldi)

Salami (8 slices)

Pepperoni (about 20 slices)

Provolone cheese (about 6 slices)

1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 egg yolk, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F, and spray a large cookie sheet with Pam or the like.

Pat out the pizza dough. I put mine on top of one of those flimsy disposable cutting boards (that I don't dispose of until they break), and spread out the dough so it covers most all of the cutting board.

Evenly place two rows of the the provolone cheese on top of the dough, leaving the top end empty.

On top of the provolone and the empty space, layer 8 slices of salami. There should be an uncovered layer of provolone at the bottom, and a layer of salami with no provolone underneath.

Evenly layer ham over entire square, then evenly place pepperoni slices on top of ham.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Mix garlic powder, oregano, parsley and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over cheese.

Roll the stromboli like a jelly roll, beginning at the side with the provolone. Seal the dough together as best as you can. Place roll, seam side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg yolk.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to sit 5 minutes before slicing.
Mongolian Beef

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound beef flank steak, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Whisk together soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add sliced flank steak and refrigerate 1-8 hours.

Heat peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high to high heat. Add green onions and cook for about 10 seconds before adding beef. (Try to leave as much of the marinade out of the pan as possible. If too much of the marinade is present, you will end up boiling the meat, which isn't nearly as tasty as browning it.) Cook and stir beef for about 5 minutes, or until it is no longer pink and is beginning to brown.

Serve over rice.

Whoopie Pies

1 egg

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup marshmallow creme or fluff

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 large cookie sheets and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In the measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat eggs and vegetable oil. Gradually add sugar until well mixed and pale yellow in color. Continue mixing and begin adding dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Drop tablespoon sized batter onto the cookie sheets, and bake. The cookies will spread out a lot, so leave plenty of room. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool on wire racks.

In a medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

When cookies are cool, spread filling on the flat side of one cookie. Press the flat side of a second cookie into the filling to make a sandwich.

You don't need to refrigerate these, but I would recommend it if you aren't going to serve them right away. The bottom cookie got really soggy after about a day, but they were a HUGE hit when I made them for work.

Hamburger Pie (From Kraft Magazine)

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons steak sauce

1/2 cup hot water

2 cups baking mix (Jiffy/Bisquick/ Cheap off brand Aldi variety)

1 cup colby jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Brown ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Drain grease. Stir in corn, ketchup and steak sauce. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine hot water and baking mix. Stir until dough forms, and shape into a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface. Knead 5 times, or until smooth and no longer sticky. Roll into a 12 inch circle (It does not need to be a perfect circle), and transfer dough to a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Spoon meat mixture into the center of the dough, and spread to about 2 inches from the edge. Fold edges over meat mixture, leaving the center uncovered.

Bake 20 minutes in preheated oven. Top center with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Slice into triangles, like pizza.

Curry Chicken Salad with Fruit

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cooked, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/3 cup golden raisins (if you desire, which I generally don't)

1/3 cup seedless green grapes, halved (I think I used red in the picture, though)

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

3/4 cup mayonnaise (though I use 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup mayo)

In a small bowl, mix together pepper, curry powder and mayo.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, green onions, apple, raisins, grapes and pecans. Toss with curry mixture. Serve on croissant or a bed of lettuce.

This is waffles, bacon, and hash brown casserole. The hash brown casserole recipe is archived to the left.

This is Death by Chocolate, and the recipe is archived to the left.

This is Pork Chops and Pierogies. Guess what? The recipe is archived to the left.

This is fruit salsa. I need to check on the status of this recipe.

These are goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped with bacon.

This is artichoke dip. I will provide the recipe at a later date. (Read: when I find it)

I don't remember what this is called, but I will look it up and let you know.

These are crab bites. They are divine.

I will finish typing in these recipes later. I have been working on this entry for like a week, now, and I just want to push "post," so I am going to do so.

Carne Asada Tacos

Carne Asada Tacos
2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
16 corn tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Chopped white onion
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Pico de Gallo:
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1 Serrano chile, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To make marinade, place garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor. Chop until ingredients are finely chopped and paste-like.

Place mixture in a storage container large enough to hold the beef. Add the lime and orange juices, vinegar and oil to the mixture and mix well. Place beef in container and marinate for 1-8 hours. (6-8 hours is ideal. After 8 hours, the citrus juices begin to break down the fibers in the meat, but it takes several hours for the flavors to really develop with the meat.)

To make Pico de Gallo, combine all ingredients. Toss thoroughly. Prepare at least 30 minutes before eating.

Brush the grates of an outdoor grill with olive oil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray BEFORE starting the fire). If using a gas grill, heat to medium-high. Remove beef from marinade. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill 7-10 minutes per side, depending on heat of grill and thickness of meat, until medium rare. Place steak on a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes.

Place the corn tortillas on the grill. Warm for about 30 seconds per side, until warm and pliable.

Thinly slice the beef at a diagonal across the grain. Place beef down the center of a corn tortilla. Top with lettuce, onion, cheese and Pico de Gallo. (I also added sour cream, because I love sour cream.)

I served this with a Rice-a-Roni rice pouch. The rice was nothing to write home about, but the meat was really delicious.

Lemon and Basil

I bought a Basil plant at Trader Joe's because it was the same price as a bunch of fresh basil at the grocery store, and it regenerates. I figured even if I killed it quickly, which was likely, it would cost no more than if I had only bought enough for one recipe. I have managed to keep it alive for close to a month now, so I have been trying to incorporate lots of basil into our meals.

Grilled Chesapeake Bay Prawns with Lemon Horseradish Sauce (from the Penzey's spice catalog)

2 pounds jumbo prawns, in the shells or shelled and deveined

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Chesapeake Bay Seasoning

1 cup tomato ketchup

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

2 heaping tablespoons prepared horseradish

4 shakes Tobasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher or sea)

ground pepper

In a medium bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Add more horseradish to taste, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium high. Just before grilling, toss shrimp in oil and sprinkle with Chesapeake Bay Seasoning. Place shrimp on the grade directly over the heat and grill for 6-7 minutes, turning once, until all parts of the shrimp are the same opaque color. Serve immediately.

Some notes: As we all know, I am both a resident of a rural community, and cheap. Fresh jumbo prawns are unavailable, and frozen ones are not guaranteed. I ended up using medium sized shrimp because that is what I could find. Because they would fall through the grates of a grill, I threaded the shrimp on skewers and grilled that way. The shrimp are juicier if you grill them with the shells on, but the flavor of the seasoning is much stronger if you sprinkle it directly on the flesh. Also, Chesapeake Bay Seasoning is a Penzey's Spice, ( which is where I get all of my spices, but it is pretty equivalent to Old Bay seasoning, which is available at nearly all grocery stores.

Lemon-Basil Potatoes

16 baby new potatoes, halved

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh is always better!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (preferably fresh)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Place the potatoes, chicken stock, lemon, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain potatoes and place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add lemon zest and basil. Toss well.

I served this with fresh sugar snap peas, steamed in a Ziploc steamer bag and tossed with butter and salt and pepper.

Best. New. Recipe. EVER.

I have been trying new recipes the last few weeks. I am trying to expand my repertoire during the summer when I have time to test new recipes so when school starts I have already tested them out. This chicken recipe was a little work, but it is soo good. The sweetness of the apricots combined with the saltiness of the goat cheese combined with the crunchiness of the Panko was like a little party in my mouth.

Goat Cheese, Apricot, and Sage-Stuffed Chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (This is how chicken is standardly sold - in half breast portions)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko crumbs or other toasted coarse bread crumbs
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

Soak dried apricots in very hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and slice apricots into 1/4 inch pieces.

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sweat them out for 5 minutes. If they begin to brown, turn down the heat. You don't want them to brown. Turn the heat down to medium and add garlic. Add sage and salt and pepper and continue to cook until the onions are translucent. Add apricots and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Thoroughly mix in goat cheese and set aside.

Using any method that works for you, (I use my marble rolling pin, though I think they make a specific kitchen utensil for the purpose) pound chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of the apricot cheese mixture down the center of each chicken breast. Fold the short ends in, then roll one long side up to the other side. Tie the ends with string or stick them with toothpicks to secure. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then in the Panko.

In an ovenproof saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Place the chicken in the pan and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Then, put the entire pan in the oven and bake until the chicken is golden and firm when pressed, 10 - 15 minutes, depending on how thin you get the chicken.

USING AN OVEN MITT OR POTHOLDERS remove the pan from the oven. If you have an oven mitt or potholder with a slit in it, put it over the handle of the saucepan after removing to remind yourself that it is HOT! Otherwise, you will burn yourself like I did, and it will be painful.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Remove string or toothpicks from chicken. Loosely cover the plate with foil. Place the pan over medium high heat and deglaze with wine. Boil until reduced, about 2 minutes, and then add the chicken stock. Boil until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and melt 1 tablespoon butter into the mixture. Drizzle chicken breasts with sauce before serving.

Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce
24 ounces (give or take a little) potato gnocchi (I bought mine at Aldi, but you can usually get it in the pasta aisle and/or frozen pasta section of a decent grocery store)
1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage (I used 1 tablespoon fresh sage, because I had it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, and cook until they float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic has softened and is beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sage and salt for a few seconds, then add the cooked gnocchi. Toss gently with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese to serve.

I also made fresh green beans, which I steamed in a Ziploc steamer bag. I drizzled the sauce from the chicken recipe over the green beans, as well. Brad and I thought it was great. He took the leftovers in his lunch, and he said the chicken reheated pretty well.