Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ranch Dressing

For lunch, I make a salad for my husband and I at least 4 days a week.  Eating salad each day, for us, is more about getting our nutrients and fiber from raw veggies than about being a diet food.  Our salads differs each day depending what's in the fridge.  At the beginning of the week I'll prep a variety of veggies so that I can easily pull together a salad each day.  I also like to add boiled eggs, cooked chicken, avocado or even left over steak for some protein.  When it comes to salad dressing, I like homemade.  My go to dressing is ranch and this easy recipe is my favorite.  I always have these ingredients on hand because I make it about once a week.  Ranch dressing may not be the healthiest salad dressing but it's so good and I believe, everything in moderation.  
Ingredients:  (not pictured) half & half, lemon juice, dill weed, parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder.

So creamy!

Today our salad was packed with so many veggies you can hardly see the lettuce!

I love my OXO salad spinner.  After I wash and spin dry my lettuce, what ever is left I just store in the fridge in the basket/bowl with the lid on for the next day.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup half and half *see below
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix together half & half and lemon juice.  Let sit 3 minutes.  The half and half will become slightly thickened and curdled like buttermilk.
  2. Add the other ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
  3. If too thick, add a splash of half & half or milk.
  4. Use right away or refrigerate for about two weeks.  

*You can use milk in place of half & half but it won't be as creamy and thick.  You can also use buttermilk, just omit lemon juice.  I like using half & half because it's always in my fridge because it's what I use in my coffee. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Cravings-Recipes for all the Food you Want to Eat

Photo taken from Chrissy Teigen's Craving's Cookbook

I just recently bought a new cookbook, Cravings, Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat.  The book was written by food-lover and model Chrissy Teigen. I took this cookbook on vacation recently and read it like a good novel, I couldn't put it down.  Her recipes all look and sound delicious.  It's all the recipes I want to make and eat.  Chrissy description for each recipe had me laughing out loud, she's hilarious! When I got home the first thing I made from Chrissy's book was her Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  We loved these lettuce wraps!  So flavorful, delicious and healthy.  I can't wait to make more of her recipes and share them with you but in the mean time check out her book.  It's a good read and is packed with great recipes and photos of Chrissy, her family and of course the food.  I even saw my husband checking out the book but I'm not sure he was looking at the recipes!!  

I did change the recipe, but only a little.  I used only one tablespoon of Sriracha instead of two.   I also used ground turkey instead of ground chicken only because I like the brand of ground turkey from Jennie-O.


Here are a couple of other brands I used in this recipe.
I always have a  bottle of this Mae Ploy Thai sweet chili sauce in the fridge as it a good dip for pot stickers. 

I'm always looking for ways to cut down on salt so I always use low sodium soy sauce. 
Just looking at these pictures makes me want to make them again soon!


For The sauce:
3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 tablespoons Sriracha (I used 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon 100% pure sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger  (I finely grated the ginger using a microplane grater)
For The filling:
1 pound ground chicken (I used ground turkey)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens kept separate
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I finely grated the ginger using a microplane grater)
1/2 pound white mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced canned water chestnuts
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
Directions
MAKE THE SAUCE: In a bowl, combine the chili sauce, hoisin, soy sauce, Sriracha, vegetable oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
MAKE THE FILLING: In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the ground chicken.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering-hot, add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet, then add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their liquid, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then add the water chestnuts, bell pepper, and the rest of the sauce and cook, stirring, until cooked through and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set out with the lettuce leaves.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chocolate Dipped Clementines

It's that time of year when clementines are in season.  I love these little cuties just as they are but they make a perfect snack or a quick dessert.  I use a container of Baker's Dipping *Dark Chocolate.  This container works great with left over chocolate, just pop on the plastic lid and refrigerate until you make these again.  The chocolate won't stay in the fridge long because you'll make these often!
Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper or a Silpat (non stick baking mat). Peel and segment clementines, set aside.  Be careful not to break the skin as the juice will seize the chocolate.  Gently melt chocolate in  the microwave.  Dip segments in chocolate and transfer to parchment-lined sheet. Once all pieces have been dipped, set the sheet aside until chocolate hardens (takes about an hour). To quickly harden chocolate, transfer baking sheet to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

*You can use milk chocolate if you prefer.




Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pot Roast with Onion Gravy

Growing up, every Sunday after church we would come home to the house smelling like pot roast.    I don't make roast very often but it's one of my favorite comfort meals.  Woke to a snowy morning and a day like today with the snow still coming down was a perfect time to make this pot roast.  

One of the best parts about making a roast is it makes the whole house smell so good!

This recipe is the easiest and our favorite.  Only five ingredients, chuck roast, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, onions and carrots.

I love my covered Le Creuset to make this roast but you can also use any roasting pan with a lid or cover with foil. 


Bakes for 4 hours, no peeking.  About 30 minutes before roast is done I make mashed potatoes because this roast makes the best onion gravy.   When the roast is done, it's covered with gravy, falling apart tender and the carrots are perfectly cooked.    I place roast, carrots and onions on a platter and pour gravy into a gravy boat and serve with the mashed potatoes.  Always brings me back to Sunday dinners as a kid,  good and delicious memories. 


Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 lb. chuck roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled (keep whole)
  • large onion, quartered
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. 1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. 2.  Season roast on both sides with pepper and lightly with salt.  Heat oil in a large skillet on high heat and sear each side of roast until nicely browned.   
  3. 3.  Place roast into a large roasting pan. Place carrots and onion around roast.
  4. 4.  In a separate small bowl, combine the mushroom soup, water and onion soup mix. Mix well and pour over the roast. 
  5. 5.  Cover with lid or tightly with foil. 
  6. 6.  Bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours.  No Peeking!
  7. 7.  When done place roast, carrots and onions on platter and pour gravy in a gravy boat and serve with mashed potatoes.

Note:  You can also add potatoes along with carrots and onions to roast before baking.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup



This Asian Chicken Noodle Soup reminds me a little of Pho.  We love Pho! Our favorite place to get Pho in Madison is Siagon Noodles.  If you don't know, Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles a few herbs, and either beef or chicken.  When I'm in the mood for Pho and can't get to Siagon NoodlesI'll be making this soup.  The broth has similar flavors, garlic and ginger.  It's a bit spicy with the chili-garlic sauce added but very flavorful.  I really like that it only makes 4 servings but it would be very easy to double.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 
1 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast *see note below
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1-6oz bag baby spinach
2 scallions sliced thin
2- 3oz pkgs of ramen noodles (season packets discarded) *see note below if only making 2 servings 
garnish with cilantro (if you like) 

Directions:

1.  Bring broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce to boil in Dutch oven.  Add chicken and turn down to medium-low heat, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to plate.  When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with sesame oil.  Add back to broth along with noodles, spinach and scallions.  Simmer until spinach is wilted and noodles are tender, about 4 minutes.


Above is my favorite chili-garlic sauce and I use Kikkoman Mirin.


Use any flavor Ramen because you discard flavor pkg and only use noodles.



*I like to purchase a rotisserie chicken and use the dark meat in this soup.  You can skip the cooking and just add the cooked chicken along with the spinach and noodles.

*If only making 2 servings at a time just cook up one pkg. of the ramen noodles in a separate pan of boiling water for 3 minutes.  Divide noodles into two bowls and pour 2 servings of soup over noodles.  Repeat with the next 2 servings a day or two later.  This way the noodles don't get overcooked when you warm up the soup.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chicken Scaloppini For Two


I'm starting a new section on my blog called Cooking For Two.  Nothing new for a lot of you but it is for me.  I always make too much and I'm not a fan of leftovers.  When I can, I freeze my leftovers for my son, Michael to take home.  Right now, if Michael's reading this he'll be like NOOOO don't stop......don't worry Michael, there will still be leftovers in the freezer but maybe not as much.  
Since it's just my husband and I most of the time, I want some recipes just for two.  Tonight I made Chicken Scaloppini.  Scaloppini means thinly sliced pieces of meat, dredged in flour, sautéed and served in a sauce.  In this case, it's chicken.  Above, it looks like a lot for one serving but it's one small chicken breast sliced horizontally.  I had no problem finishing my serving.  I really like the slicing horizontally method instead of pounding thin.  It was less messy and the chicken didn't tear apart.  Also prepping the ingredients helps the dish come together fast and easy.  I served it with some roasted broccoli and Kevin and I enjoyed every bite.


Ingredients:
  • 2 (6oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts (use smaller beast pieces)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons capers (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into 2 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional, use it if you have it)
                                                           Instructions:
  1. Prep all the vegetables (mushrooms, bell pepper, shallots) on a cutting board and set aside.  
  2. Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally. (If slices are still too thick you can gently pound between plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thickness).  Pat dry and lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread flour in shallow dish.  Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess.  Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium hight heat.  Add cutlets and cook until lightly golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium high heat and cook the mushrooms, red pepper, shallot and ¼ teaspoon of salt until liquid is evaporated and vegetables start to brown, 6 minutes.  Add the capers and garlic, cook 1 minute.  
  6. Add chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil, stirring up any browned bits.  Cook until reduced and slightly thickened 5-7 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter.  Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't need to add any).  Return chicken and any juices to pan to heat through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer chicken to two plates and top with vegetables and sauce.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country
                                                                                
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