Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hiding Food


My children, especially my son, will eat just about anything they can find in the fridge and pantry.  Even when I tell them not to.  Especially when I tell them not to.  I had some chips that were just for me, and twice I had to go retrieve them from both kids.  I don't eat much junk food, but every now and them I like to have some chips.  My husband sometimes does it too.  I make a list every week and my husband does the shopping.  He asks everyone what "extras" they want. Then I have certain ingredients reserved for recipes.  Nothing irks me more than getting ready to cook something and, you guessed it, somebody ate something I needed.

So I've resorted to being sneaky and hide things from them, like under the vegetables.  They never look there.  I wanted to make this Orange Chicken, but I knew they would eat the oranges.  So I hid them in a drawer behind some lemons and under some tortillas.  It worked, and then we got this delicious dinner!  

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe.  They are juicier and to me have more flavor.  The fresh oranges made the dish bright.  And the sauce was fantastic over rice. My poor daughter was at work and she didn't get any, since my son ate like 10 chicken thighs.  Okay, there weren't really 10.  But my husband and I both ate one and my son ate the rest.  This is teenager friendly and husband approved. Enjoy!

ORANGE CHICKEN
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt & pepper
3 T butter
Sesame oil
2 oranges (plus one for serving, if desired)
1/2 C chicken stock
1/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C hoisin sauce
1/4 C Mirin wine (or white wine)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried ginger
Red chili flakes, if desired
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Zest the oranges and then squeeze the juice from the oranges and put the juice and the zest into a small pot.  Add in the chicken stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, garlic, chili flakes and ginger.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly.  Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and drizzle in a little sesame oil. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper and cook the chicken in two batches for about 4-6 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover the plate.  Add the Mirin to the same skillet and deglaze the pan.  Add the chicken back to the pan and the sauce.  Cook for an additional 6-7 minutes to finish the chicken and thicken the sauce more.  Serve the chicken with the fresh cilantro and slices of oranges, if desired.  This is great over rice.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Breakfast Sliders


These yummy Breakfast Sliders disappeared really fast at my house!  They are filled with scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, cheese and spinach.  They are pretty easy to make and darn tasty!  Enjoy!

BREAKFAST SLIDERS
12 dinner rolls (or a package of Hawaiian rolls)
9 eggs
Salt & pepper
Butter (to cook the eggs)
5-6 slices deli ham
8 strips of bacon, cooked and drained
6 Cheddar cheese slices
3 ounces baby spinach leaves (a good handful)
2 T melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lay the bottoms of the dinner rolls in a 9 x 13 pan.  Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper and scramble them in some butter.  Spread the eggs out onto the roll bottoms.  Next layer the ham over the eggs, then the cheese and bacon.  Spread the spinach leaves around over the bacon.  Put the roll tops on.  Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle a little more pepper on top.  Bake the sliders for 20 minutes.  You may have to cut in between each one to separate them.

Source:  Tasty

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Food Fights


Have you ever made a meal so good that people in your family fought over the leftovers?  Well, that's the case with this dish.  We loved it so much, and my son and I fought over the leftovers.  I always take leftovers to work the next day since eating the same restaurant food, while really good, gets boring after a while.  But my son said he was going to eat it today (he didn't) so I didn't take it.  You can bet I'll take it tomorrow.

My husband and I have a new found love of chicken thighs. The meat is so much more juicy and flavorful.  We buy the boneless thighs and put it in a lot of things.  This dish is Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Potatoes.  I could call it Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Potatoes, Onions, Green Beans, and some herbs, but that's just way too long.  We cooked this in the crockpot, and it was fantastic!  Although I didn't put lemon juice in it, something about the herbs gave it a slightly lemony taste that we loved.  And I love garlic (duh) so there was plenty of that.  And cheese.  I love cheese.  And bacon and butter.  Anywho, this dish is easy to put together and darn tasty.  Enjoy!

GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN & POTATOES
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 T butter
Olive oil
2 lbs small red potatoes
About 2 1/2 C fresh green beans, trimmed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
3/4 C chicken stock
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Thyme leaves
Dried basil
Dried oregano
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped

NOTE:  I didn't measure the herbs out.  I just sprinkled them on.  Use as much or as little as you like.  Also, we put chicken stock in the crockpot to help steam the veggies, but we discarded the juice when we served it.  

Melt the butter in a skillet and drizzle in some olive oil. Season the chicken on both sides with the seasoned salt, garlic powder, and black pepper and some thyme, basil and oregano.  Brown the chicken on both sides over high heat. You aren't cooking the chicken through, just getting some color on the chicken.  

Put the potatoes, onions, garlic, and green beans in the bottom of a crockpot.  Season the veggies with salt and pepper and sprinkle in some more thyme, basil and oregano. Lay the chicken over the top of the veggies.  Pour in the chicken stock.  Cover the crockpot and cook on low for about 8 hours.  When serving, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and parsley over the top.

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Texas Heat


It is extremely hot here in West Texas lately.  Usually it cools off at night, but we aren't having any luck with that.  My husband doesn't want me to cook much so that we don't heat the house up.  It's been in the 100s, and we really don't feel like eating much anyway.  What's really weird is our son, who usually doesn't come out of his room much, has been packing a backpack with water, snacks, and ice and going out in this ridiculous heat to play Pokemon Go and catch Pikachus, whatever the heck that is.

Anywho, I actually convinced my husband that we needed to cook so I'd have something to blog.  We made this Creamy Spinach & Shrimp Ravioli.  It doesn't take long at all and it was so darn tasty!  Even our son loved it.  Our daughter is usually never home at dinnertime, but she gets weird about shrimp sometimes and won't eat it anyway.  If you dare to heat up the house, this recipe is worth it.  Enjoy!

CREAMY SPINACH & SHRIMP RAVIOLI
1 lb fresh cheese ravioli
1/4 C diced onion
2 cloves garlic
3 T butter
Olive oil
12 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C half and half
8 ounces very soft cream cheese, cubed
1/2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained (preferably loose leaf)
Red chili flakes, if desired

Cook the ravioli according to package directions.  

Melt the butter in a large skillet and drizzle in some olive oil. Cook the onion until tender.  Add in the garlic and shrimp and cook 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp is done.  Add in the spinach and stir.  When the spinach is hot, add in the cream cheese and stir to melt it.  Add in the half and half, Parmesan, Mozzarella, red chili flakes and salt and pepper, to taste.  When all the cheese is melted and combined, stir in the ravioli and serve.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sopa de Fideo


This is kind of a Tex-Mex version of chicken noodle soup. Sopa means soup and fideo is a noodle that is kind of like broken vermicelli noodles.  My wonderful friend and coworker who comes from Laredo, Texas, introduced me to fideo several years back, and I wanted to try my hand at it.  The way she does it is different than the way I tried and a lot easier.  

But I came across a recipe that someone's grandmother, who came from Mexico, insisted that the fideo be cooked this way. So I tried it, and we thought it was fantastic!  There is a long cook time here, but it seems to go fast since you add to it every 15 minutes.  Supposedly cooking the noodles slowly for a long time and adding in liquid in intervals causes the noodles to be infused with more flavor and will keep your soup from solidifying in the fridge overnight (it worked...it was still soup the next day).  I roasted the veggies before blending them, and you can absolutely taste the "roast" in the sauce. We added rotisserie chicken to it, but we imagined all kinds of possibilities, like carnitas or shredded beef.  This is hands down one of the best things I've made in a while. Enjoy!

SOPA DE FIDEO
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
1 large onion, rough chopped
3 large Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 large jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C water

FOR THE SOPA:
One 5-ounce package fideo
2 T vegetable oil
3 C chicken stock
3 C water
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
Fresh cilantro, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put the garlic and all of the veggies for the sauce on a sheet tray and spread them out.  Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.  Roast the veggies in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the are soft and start to look slightly charred. Put the veggies and the 1/2 C water into a blender and blend until smooth.  

Put the tomato sauce into a large pot and turn on very low. Put the vegetable oil into a large skillet, big enough to spread the fideo out in sort of a single layer.  Heat the oil to medium. Add the fideo to the oil.  Cook and continuously stir the fideo until it is browned but not burned.  Don't walk away from it or stop stirring.  When the fideo is browned, drain it on a paper towel.  Add it to the tomato sauce.  Add in 2 C of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.  Cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add in 2 C water and stir the pot.  (You will have to slightly adjust the temperature each time you add something to make sure the liquid is bubbling slightly but not boiling and not still.)

After another 15 minutes, add in the last 1 C chicken stock and stir.  Check your temperature and cover.  Wait 10 minutes and add in the last cup of water and the shredded chicken.  (We used most of the rotisserie chicken but not quite all of it.)  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.  Serve with the cilantro on top.

Adapted loosely from Azucar and Spice

Monday, July 4, 2016

Good Times


I don't normally get more than one day off a week, which is Sundays.  But, for this 4th of July holiday, I got a three-day weekend!  Woo-hoo!  One of our favorite things to do is to go to all the antique stores in town and look around.  And they are only open on Saturdays, so it's rare that I get to go. But I had Saturday off, so we went.  

You'd be amazed at some of the cool stuff you can find in an antique store.  It's not all stuffy Victorian era furniture and dishes.  We find all kinds of interesting "junk."  We have eclectic taste and decorate our home with things like antique wooden Coke crates and old tractor seats and parts.  And we like colorful stuff, so there's a lot of color in our house.  Our favorite antique mall has this one room that I call the creepy doll room and I refuse to go in there.  There really are some weird antique dolls in there, and it gives me the heeby jeebies.  

Anywho, we came home and made a very delicious Honey Mustard Chicken Cobb Salad.  We marinated the chicken in the honey mustard and then pan fried it.  This salad was very hearty and even the boys liked it.  It was a great ending to a great day.  Enjoy!

HONEY MUSTARD COBB SALAD
FOR THE MARINADE AND DRESSING:
1/3 C honey
3 T spicy brown mustard
2 T yellow mustard
Pinch of garlic powder
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 T apple cider vinegar

FOR THE SALAD:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T butter
1/2 lb cooked and crumbled bacon
1 C grape tomatoes, halved
1 C frozen corn kernels, thawed (I forgot to put those on the picture plate)
2 heads Romaine, washed, dried and chopped with ribs removed
1 large avocado, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
4 boiled eggs, quartered
1 C shredded cheese
Croutons

NOTES:  The marinade/dressing doesn't make a lot of extra dressing. I did this because not everyone in my house wanted honey mustard dressing on their salad.  If you want more dressing, just double the dressing ingredients.  Also, I pan fried the chicken in butter in a skillet.  This is a messy task and spits and spatters.  It left the bottom of my skillet very browned and messy.  But a good soak in hot soapy water lifted it off just fine.  You could also cook the chicken in the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until it's at 165 degrees internally.

Whisk together the marinade/dressing ingredients.  Put the chicken in a large zipper bag and pour in a little less than half of the marinade.  Put the remaining dressing in the fridge until you're ready to eat.  Marinate the chicken for at least an hour in the fridge.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and cook the chicken on medium high heat until it's browned on both sides and is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side.  Be careful because the butter will burn slightly and the pan will spit and spatter.  Let the chicken rest covered for 10 minutes.

Slice the chicken into thin slices.  To serve, put the romaine in bowls and line the remaining ingredients in rows on top of the lettuce.  Serve it with the remaining dressing or a dressing of your choice.

Adapted from Cafe Delites