Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Mmmmmmm! I love Chinese food. I love to order it, and wait for the nice Asian man to deliver it to my door. He is always so nice and kind to my kids. :-)

However, sometimes it's just not in the budget. And I've never had much luck making my own. Something is always missing.

But once I tried this recipe that I got from BBC, I have changed my mind! This is not the exact recipe, but my version of it. It might seem like a lot of ingredients, and truthfully, too many ingredients turns me immediately off when I read a recipe. But the beauty of this recipe is that most of these things you have in the pantry or spice cabinet. I didn't put any fresh ginger in this because I don't have any. But it would give it a nice fresh flavor. Feel free to experiment!

Baked Teriyaki Chicken:
1 T cornstarch
1 T cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used my handy garlic press)
1 t Siracha chili paste
pinch of salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Chicken thighs would also be great in this... I'd use 6.
Cooked white rice
Steamed veggies- broccoli, sugar snap peas, etc (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili paste, salt and pepper. Cook on medium, stirring frequently. Bring it to a slow boil and stir until it starts to thicken.

In an 8x8 or 13x9 baking dish, arrange the chicken. Pour the sauce over the top, and stir so all the chicken is coated.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve over rice, and reserve some teriyaki sauce for the vegetables if you like. I also sprinkled some sesame seeds on each serving, just for crunch and presentation!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Restaurant Salsa

I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I have tweaked it to exactly how I like it, and I'd like to share it with you. It's awesome because you can make delicious salsa all year round. It's cheap, and it makes a LOT. Even still, we go through one whole jar every week. My husband can eat chips and salsa as a meal.

I throw it all in a blender, because I don't own a food processor. It works just as well.
This is what you need:

1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can of Rotel tomatoes (whatever kind you like- hot, original, mild, or the new Mexican lime and cilantro)
1 medium onion
1 bunch of cilantro
4 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno
1 T salt
1 T cumin
2 T lime juice
1 t sugar

I roughly chop the onion and jalapeno just to make it blend a little better. Then everything goes in the blender. I pulse it until everything is the right consistency. Mmmmmmm
Taste it and see if you need some more salt. Sometimes I need more salt or lime juice.
Store the rest of the salsa in a jar. I don't recommend putting it in a plastic container because the flavor seeps into the plastic, and sometimes leaves the plastic strong with jalapeno and onion flavor.... We saved a large applesauce jar, and that's what we use.
Enjoy! Open a bag of chips and go to town!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. Not the singer so much, although Dylan likes him....
But I digress...

The idea of a sweet and sour meatloaf was a crazy good idea. So I wanted to try this recipe. It's been in my "to make recipe" folder for a month now.

The pros: amazing flavor, meatloaf revisited. Would be delicious with rice and stir fried veggies. Heck, just the sauce would be amazing on some chicken stir fry. It reminds me a lot of my mom's chinese chicken wings.

The cons: not your typical meatloaf. Also, it crumbled apart when I served it, so I don't know if the meatloaf sandwiches I had planned to eat this week will work out.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I had 2lbs)
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I used oatmeal)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried minced onion (I grated some fresh onion, about 3T)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard (I used grainy mustard instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, salt, ground black pepper, eggs, onion flakes and 1/2 of the can of tomato sauce. Mix together well and place into a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
Push the meatloaf down into the pan forming a well for the sauce around all the edges.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, white sugar and mustard. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
After meatloaf has cooked for 40 minutes, remove from oven and pour sauce over the top of the meatloaf.
Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 more minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crock Pot "Pizza"

Hi everybody! Tonight I tried a new recipe. I read a few food blogs, and this was on a blog that I've had success with before. I thought it was interesting, and not too casserole-y. Dylan isn't a big fan of casseroles, so I don't make them too often.

It's supposed to cook for 5 hours on low (3 hours on high), but I just never seem to get my life together in the morning to have the crock pot going before we walk out the door. I'm much more of an evening person than a morning person- at least when it comes to energy and motivation. So I only cooked this for an hour and a half. The onions and peppers were still very crunchy. I actually like crunchy veggies, so I am not complaining. I think it gives it more pizza authenticity. Mushrooms would be awesome in this, too, if you can get your family to eat them.

I give this two-thumbs up. It really does have the flavor of pizza. I used whole wheat penne pasta, because that's all I had.

Crock Pot Pizza

1lb. ground beef, turkey, or Italian sausage
1 box of penne or ziti pasta (the box I used was a little over 13oz)
2 jars of pizza sauce (I had Ragu- they were 8oz jars)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional- or you could use a small can of mushrooms)
1 package of pepperoni slices
2 cups of mozzerella or pizza blend cheese
Parmesan cheese for topping.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, but leave it a little firm. Drain and dump into the crock pot. Crumble the meat and cook over medium until the meat is no longer pink. Drain and dump into the crock pot. Chop the onion and green pepper. Dump into the crock pot (notice a theme going here?). Dump in the pepperoni and the pizza sauce. Stir everything up, and add the cheese to the top.
Cover, and set the crock pot for 5 hours on low.

We had ours with some garlic bread I had in the freezer. It was good, and I'll definitely make this again.

Friday, February 4, 2011

And I'm Back in the Game

I have neglected this blog for a year! Woah. So much has happened since I last posted. We bought a house, moved into the 'burbs, and just got busy with life.
I went through a big cooking rut, and I've finally found my way out.

I teach at a preschool, and we started doing a Crock Pot Friday (CPF). Every week, those teachers who want to participate, give me $2 or $3, and I prepare a meal in my Crock Pot for lunch. It's been really fun, and has been very well received by everyone at school. It started small. One 7qt Crock Pot and a delicious potato soup, and it's expanded! The most I've served is 18 people, including me, with 2 large Crock Pots!

So I'm going to be posting our CPF menu on Fridays on this blog. And I am challenging myself to update at least twice a week.

I've also started baking a lot. I got a bread machine LAST Christmas from my parents. And I started using it THIS Christmas (see, the blog is not the only thing that got neglected this past year, lol). I've fallen in love with baking bread. And I haven't bought sandwich bread at the grocery store since December!

Thanks for checking back! I'm excited to be back!


Dirty Rice

If you know me, you know I just sang this blog title like "Dirty Pop," from 'NSYNC.


Anyway, I love Cajun food. So much! I found this recipe online a week ago. And decided immediately that we must give it a try. It's spicy, comforting, and crazy simple.

Dirty Rice

1 lb of pork sausage (Jimmy Dean- hot is good, or mild, whatever)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red peppper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I used my Pampered Chef garlic press)
2 teaspoons (or more) red pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning
1 32-oz box of beef stock (I always get low- or no-sodium)
2 cups of rice

Heat up a saute pan that has a lid. Add the sausage, onion, peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and Cajun seasoning. I tend to be a little heavy-handed with the spice, because we like it like that. Adjust according to your tastes. The recipe as written is on the light side. Cook until the sausage is crumbled and cooked through and the veggies are tender. Add the rice and the beef stock. Bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

This made a lot more than I expected. But I really liked the proportion of everything, so I guess you could cut it in half, and it would be okay. But I don't like leaving a half of a tube of sausage in the fridge. Somehow it always gets shoved in the back of the meat drawer, never to be found again. Until it walks out on its own.


Anyway, try this! It's so easy. And it's a great weeknight dinner!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

It's definitely soup season. Not only is it the ultimate comfort food, but it is easy on the checkbook, too.

I got this from my favorite website for food.. and I loved it.

This is my version.

Baked Potato Soup

4-5 slices of bacon, sliced (I have to cook at least 6 slices as the Bacon Theif always eats about half of it before I can use it)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of flour
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups of chicken stock
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup of half and half or whole milk.
2 tbsp hot sauce

shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sliced green onions for garnish

Cook the bacon on medium-low until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Cook the onion and garlic in the bacon fat until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle with flour, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Turn down the heat to low. Take a potato masher and squish the potatoes to give the soup a thicker consistency. Drizzle in the milk and hot sauce and serve with the garnishes.

*Note* You can use leftover baked potatoes for this soup. Just add them in with the milk instead of with the chicken stock. It'll give a smoother consistency.
If you like thicker soups, increase the flour to 4 tbsp. We prefer a thinner soup in our house.