Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thai Cucumber Sauce


I love Thai food and one of my favorites is the cucumber salad. I bought a cook book many years ago because I wanted to learn how to make red curry sauce. This book also had a great recipe for cucumber salad. It is called Keo's Thai cuisine. The recipe is slightly different because I don't always have red chili's in the fridge and I use less shallots. Try it and let me know what you think. 


Ingredients

1 cucumber 
5 tablespoons sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 small pinch of red pepper flakes
half of a shallot sliced thin.


Directions

Peel cucumber but don't remove all of the peel. Slice in half. I liked to take the seeds out with spoon. Then I slice them. In a bowl add sugar and pour in boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add salt and white vinegar. Stir and then pour over cucumber, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Chill and enjoy later. 


Friday, February 28, 2014

Christie's Lemon Drop

My sister makes the best cocktails. My favorite is her lemon drops. She made them last summer and they were such a hit that she made them for our family vacation and lets just say that was a great day. It is the best amount of sour and sweet combined. Try it and let me know what you think.

This is her exact measurements and I added the ounces to give you an idea. However not every shot glass is 1 ounce. It may be a little more and that's ok. This is a guide and you can alter it to your size glass. Its best to chill the glass before adding ingredients. Enjoy.

Ingredients

1 shot fresh lemon juice (aka 1 ounce)
1 shot Vodka (aka 1 ounce)
1 1/2 shot triple sec (aka 1 1/2 ounces)
1 cup ice
1/4 cup sugar to rim glass (optional)

Directions

Pour all ingredients in a shaker except sugar and shake well. Rim glass with lemon juice and then dip in sugar. pour in cocktail and add garnish of a lemon slice. This makes one cocktail at a time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup



My family loves soup and one of our favorites is Broccoli Cheddar. I have seen several recipes on the food network and on pinterest. After reading many and trying some I came up with a nice version that my family just loved. It is perfect for a cold winter day like today. 

This soup is not a low calorie soup but I saw it done with half and half and I was able to make it with whole milk which made it less fattening but still creamy. Let me know what you think. 

Ingredients

5 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 of a medium onion chopped
1 1/2 cup broccoli floretts 
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot add 1 tablespoon of butter and chopped onion. Cook about 1 min until onion softened. Add 4 tablespoon butter and once melted add flour. whisk and cook about 1-2 minutes until creamy and bubbling. Slowly add 2 cups chicken broth while whisking and then add milk. Simmer for about 10-20 minutes until nice and creamy. 

Add bite size broccoli florets and carrots along with one more cup of Chicken broth. Cook on low for about 20 minutes. Add nutmeg and cheese. cook until cheese has melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. I emulsify one small section to cream just a bit of the broccoli but that's eat because my kids love the broccoli the most. 

This serves 4 but you can double it so you can have leftovers. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pasta E. Fagioli (Olive Garden Copy Cat)


One of the reasons I love having a facebook page is that friends share their wonderful recipes. I posted a question about favorite soups and a friend recommended this recipe. I had to change it a bit because my crock pot was not big enough to double just about everything. I wish it was because then we could have some for dinner and freeze some for a later day. She also added Tabasco sauce. I would normally add that but my son sometimes has a hard time with tomato base soup and the added extra spice would make it even more difficult for his tummy. I am not used to making soup with pasta and 8 oz seemed like so little so I made 16 oz and added as much as I thought made sense. I regretted that because the pasta soaks up a lot of broth and I had to add more broth later.

This soup reminded me of a cross between lasagna, chili, and minestrone. We all loved it and had seconds except Brody. He doesn't really like chili or lasagna so it made sense he didn't like this soup. I loved it and am looking forward to making it again.

The next time I make it, I may change adding the pasta. I may only add it to each bowl. It might be better when reheating. Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

1lb Ground Beef. 
1/2 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 can diced tomato 
1 can red kidney beans rinsed
1 can northern beans rinsed
4 cups beef stock or broth
1 (25 oz) jar Prego spaghetti sauce (I used tomato garlic)
2 teaspoon dried Oregano
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz ditalini pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping 

Directions

In a large skillet brown ground beef. Add it and all ingredients except pasta to the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or low for 4-5 hours. The last hour of cooking you should boil pasta and under cook slightly. Drain and add during the last half hour. 




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Swiss Steak


My mother made this recipe for me a few times. She got the original recipe from her mother-in-law Lucy. Lucy was an amazing cook and I hope to one day make Macaroni and cheese just like hers. What I love about this recipe is that it is easy and it slow cooks for hours. You put it in the oven and forget it. It's wonderful for a cold winter day. I like it over mashed potatoes but you could do it over egg noodles and rice. It makes lots of gravy. Try it and let me know what you think. 

One of the things that drives me crazy about recipes is the cuts of beef are very different in different states. I went to the store and asked for round steak. I saw a package of round steak London broil. I asked a guy if that was the same thing. He looked at me like I was crazy. Luckily I was right. I worried the whole time. It was a tender as a young maiden's heart. That is a quote from my mom. 

Ingredients

2 lbs round steak (London broil) 
1 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/2  onion sliced
1 package of gravy mix
1/2 cup of water
2 carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper. 

Directions

Pre heat oven to 225 degrees. Prepare gravy mix according to package. It is important you do this and not just add the gravy mix to pot. Tenderize the meat. I don't own a tenderizer mallet so I stabbed it with a fork all over on both sides and banged it a couple of times with my large ladle. It seemed to have worked just as well. 

In a large skillet heat oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat. I cut the steak into 3 pieces so I was easier to work with. flour the meat and brown in the pan once it is piping hot. Brown both sides. Add onion and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes, gravy and 1/2 cup of water. Add a bit more salt and pepper and couple handfuls of baby carrots. 

Cover and bake for 2-3 hours.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mounds Bars



I started a breakfast group for mothers in my neighborhood about 7 years ago. Each year we have a holiday dinner in December. This year and last year instead of a secret Santa we brought a gift for each friend that is under $5. It can be something you love and want to introduce to us or something you made that you think we would all enjoy. I wanted to make truffles, cookies or some sort of candy. I found these homemade mounds bars in a magazine and decided to make them for my friends. I was worried they wouldn't be good so I did have a back up plan but I figured how could they be bad...its coconut and chocolate so how bad could it be? 

Well they turned out great and my friends were very happy with them. I am dying to make them again. I'm pretty sure I got this out of the foodnetwork magazine. I rip out pages that interest me so I never know if I got it out of foodnetwork, Everyday with Rachel Ray or Martha's magazine. 



Ingredients

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup confectioner sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon corn syrup
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using an electric mixer, combine the coconut, confectioners sugar, butter and corn syrup. On one of the prepared pans, divide the coconut mixture into 15 mounds and shape each into compact 2 inch long bars. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in a double broiler melt three quarter of the chocolate stirring occasionally, until it reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 3 minutes. Remove the insert and stir the remaining  chocolate until smooth and cooled to 90 degrees. 

3. Working with 1 at a time, place the coconut bars on a fork, dip into the chocolate and dunk to coat. Transfer to a rack set over wax paper. Let sit until he chocolate is firm, about 30 min. 

Try it and let me know what you think. These make a great gift for teachers and friends. 



Monday, October 21, 2013

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables


A friend of mine brought this lovely salad to a picnic and I couldn't stop eating it. She told me she got the recipe from one of Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. I immediately found it on the food network and printed it out. I made it for my family reunion this summer. It is a great summer salad but you could make it any time of year. What makes it wonderful besides all the amazing flavors is that you can serve it immediately and can also sit room temperature for quite some time. 

I altered this recipe slightly because I don't like egg plant and feel the pine nuts were not necessary. If you want to follow the exact recipe click link above. 

Ingredients

1 red bell pepper (1 inch diced)
1 yellow pepper (1 inch diced)
1 red onion (1 inch diced)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo pasta
4 scallions minced white and green parts
3/4 pound feta (1 inch diced not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves cut into julienne

For the Dressing

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss red, yellow pepper, red onion, garlic, olive oil on a large sheet pan with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes or until browned turning once with spatula.

While roasting cook pasta in boiling water for 7 to 9 minutes until tender. Drain and add to large serving bowl. Add roasted vegetables, scraping all the drippings from pan to bowl. 

For the dressing combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let cool room temperature. Add feta, scallions and basil leaves. Check the seasoning and serve room temperature. 

Enjoy and let me know what you think. I feel this is a great recipe to bring as to potluck