Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Years / This Week in Dinner, hopefully there will be frequent updates here for two reasons... 1) I have vowed not to work more than 60 hours in any given week and to spend the remaining time doing things I enjoy, (like cooking, writing, and writing about cooking), and 2) as many of you know in our continued efforts to make a baby, I am on a horrifically strict diet, so many of our old standby recipes are no longer acceptable, so I have been trying new recipes, most of which have been surprisingly successful.

Here's this week in dinner...

On Monday we had

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup
4 large eggs
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup diced rotisserie chicken, skin removed
4 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (white, brown, or wild)
1 small can water chestnuts, drained

In a large pot, bring chicken broth and water to a light boil. Whisk eggs and salt and pepper in a small bowl. With one hand, pour beaten eggs in a slow stream into boiling liquid, while gently stirring the liquid with the other hand. Add the green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, chicken, spinach, rice and water chestnuts. Cover partially and simmer until spinach wilts and everything is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Makes about 6 meal sized servings)

We have had this several times, and it is very good, very filling, and very low in fat and calories, though it is a bit high in sodium. We have had it with instant rice, white rice, and wild rice, and a combination of wild rice and white rice is the best. The instant rice kind of disintegrates after the first day, which is not so appetizing. The wild rice is good, but makes it pretty chewy. It does add a nice texture, though, which is why I think a white/ wild rice combo would be best. Also, after the first day, the ingredients suck up the liquid, so if you plan to have leftovers (which we do, as we are 2 people) you might add some extra chicken broth. That said, though, we give this recipe 5 stars (on a scale of 1-5 stars). Brad actually *asks* for it.

On Tuesday we had

Indian Beef Stew
1 pound beef stew meat, cubed
1 tablespoon oil (I use peanut)
1 large onion, chopped into chunks
3 green zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium eggplant, peeled and chunked into 1/2 inch (or so) cubes
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water

Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until browned. Add the onion and continue to cook until soft. Arrange the zucchini over the meat and onions, then layer the eggplant over the zucchini. Sprinkle with garlic. Place tomatoes in a layer over garlic. Sprinkle salt, pepper, curry powder, and turmeric over the tomatoes. Gently pour water over the top, make sure to wet all of the spices. Cook on medium high heat for 30 minutes. Serve over rice. (Makes about 5 meal sized servings)

This was also very good. I was suspect about the serious lack of liquid required, and by the layering process, but it worked out really well. The zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes release a ton of liquid while they are cooking, and I am not sure what the purpose of layering the veggies is, but the product was good, so who am I to question. It turns out to be a thick, rich, flavorful meat and veggie cacophony of texture and flavor.

Brad was craving coffee cake, so that same night I made an apple coffee cake for him to take to work.

Apple Coffee Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 apples - (3 of them peeled, cored and chopped, 3 of them peeled, cored and finely sliced)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and instant pudding mix. Add the eggs, sour cream and oil, mix until well blended. Stir in chopped apples.

In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, pecans and sliced apples.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Place the sliced apple mixture on top of the batter. Pour remaining batter over apple layer.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 1/2 hour before removing from pan to cool completely. Once cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I did not taste it, but Brad says it was popular at work, so I think this recipe is a keeper.

On Wednesday, we had our monthly couples dinner. I made crab rangoon and egg rolls (the recipes for which are already catalogued on this site), beef bulgogi (recipe link to the left), sweet and spicy chicken, steamed rice, steamed green beans, roasted broccoli, and a chocolate cream pie for dessert. There were not very many leftovers at all... barely enough for my lunch the next day... a sign that the meal was delicious, I think.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon Sriacha
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Mix together brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and Sriacha in a small bowl.

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken strips.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken strips and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Chocolate Cream Pie
18 Chocolate Graham Crackers
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks, whisked
3 ounces dark, high cocoa content, chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup heaving or whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. (It should be 1 1/4 cups of crushed crumbs.) Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium bowl. Add cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix until moistened. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes or until set. Allow to cool before adding filling.

In a 3 quart saucepan, which cornstarch, salt, and 1 cup sugar together. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Cook on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, whisking constantly, until liquid is boiling and thickened. Remove saucepan from heat. Slowly pour egg yolks into milk mixture, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook mixture for about 5 minutes, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, chocolate, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until melted and well incorporated.

Pour mixture into cooled crust, and spread evenly. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Beat cream until thickened, gradually adding 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Remove plastic wrap. Spread whipped cream evenly over cooled pie. Slice and serve.

I did not realize it at the time, but effectively the base of this recipe is homemade pudding. It was delightful! In the future, I will probably just use a premade graham cracker crust, because I didn't find the crust to be so amazing as to warrant the expense and effort of making it homemade, but the homemade pudding part is TOTALLY worth the effort. This recipe is a keeper!

On Thursday, we had shrimp and cabbage stirfry over pineapple fried rice. It was a lot of prep work, but very delicious.

Shrimp and Cabbage Stir-Fry
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound Napa cabbage, sliced

Whisk egg white, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in a medium bowl until frothy. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate while preparing remaining ingredients.
Whisk hoisin sauce, vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons corn starch together. Whisk in chicken broth. Set aside.

Drain the shrimp. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute white parts of green onion, ginger, and garlic for about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and saute until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and green parts of green onion and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Pour hoisin sauce mixture over shrimp and cabbage and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.

Pineapple Fried Rice
2 cups cooked rice
1 whole pineapple
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Prepare the pineapple by peeling it, coring it, and cutting it into chunks.

Heat a small skillet. Pour beaten eggs into hot skillet and scramble. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat sesame oil until hot. Add cooked rice, peas, carrots, and scrambled eggs. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring 3 times so rice can get a golden brown crust. Add pineapple chunks, rice wine vinegar, pineapple juice, ginger, and lemon pepper. Sitr fry for an additional 5 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of pineapple juice or water if the rice seems too dry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Brad says the fried rice would have been just as good without pineapple, but I think the pineapple is what made it delicious. Either way, though, it was good. You should try it.

No comments: