Thursday, January 27, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Chinese Beef & Broccoli



So apparently, my doctor feels that I need to increase my red meat intake. (Sigh...) I truly am not a big beef eater, but I told the hubby that I would try to start making more beef for dinner. He responded with a loud and profound "YESSS"! LOL. My hubby is definitely a steak and potatoes kind of guy...


Well, you guys know me, anything that I can fix in my new wok is gonna be high on the recipe finder list. So, back to Youtube I went to look for a good-looking and delicious-sounding recipe. Of course I checked out my girl Lila's site. I've never been disappointed by anything that I've made from her page. I also checked out my current obsession with Kai. He had a good-looking Mongolian Beef video, but there were too many ingredients that I didn't have in the house and I really didn't feel like going to the grocery store. So, I combined aspects of his recipe with parts of Lila's and made my own tasty homemade Chinese.

It came out really great and tasted delicious. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb flank steak or stir-fry beef - cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 bag frozen broccoli cuts
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbsp cooking oil

Meat Marinade (Marinate for approx. 10 mins while preparing other ingredients):
1 Tbsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Stir-Fry Sauce (can halve the sauce for less if you like):
1 cup beef broth
4 tsp sugar
4 tsp rice vinegar
4 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Sauce Thickener:
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Water (just enough to dissolve cornstarch when stirred)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp cooking oil in wok on high heat.
  2. Cook onions and garlic in oil until tender.
  3. Add beef to wok until browned (should still be pink in the center to avoid overcooking).
  4. Remove beef from wok and add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to wok to heat.
  5. Add broccoli cuts and stir fry until tender.
  6. Add beef back to wok.
  7. Add stir fry sauce to wok and heat until boiling.
  8. Pour sauce thickener into mixture, stir well and return to boil.
  9. Simmer on low heat until sauce has thickened.
  10. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

KITCHEN KREATION: Homemade Chili with Beans


On this cold and blustery winter night, I thought I would prepare a delicious pot of homemade chili. I didn't know what category to put this recipe in, so I looked up the definition of chili on Wikipedia. I know, I know, just wanted to broaden my horizons a little bit, and hey, if you don't know something, google it! LOL!

According to Wikipedia:
Chili con carne (often known simply as chili) is a spicy stew. The name "chili con carne" is taken from Spanish, and means "peppers with meat." Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included.

Hmm, I think somewhere in my mind I knew that Chili was a Mexican dish, but for some reason, I was having a full mental moment. I don't have an actual recipe for this dish. This is one that I have perfected over the years since I am a chili-lovin' gal. So this is a true "original," as in coming straight from my kitchen to yours. Hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped medium yellow onion
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
4 cans kidney beans - rinsed
8 oz. can tomato sauce
10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes - undrained
2 packages McCormick Mild Chili seasoning (can use hot-your preference)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups water - can add more or less depending on how thick you want your chili
shredded cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet.
  2. Cook garlic, bell pepper and onions in oil until tender.
  3. Add ground beef and ground turkey.
  4. While meat is browning, heat water in large pot.
  5. Open cans of beans. Rinse well and dump in pot.
  6. Add Rotel tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  7. Add McCormick Chili seasonings, cumin, brown sugar and chili powder. Stir well to combine.
  8. Heat to boiling. Stir occasionally.
  9. When meat is completely cooked, drain fat and add to beans. Stir well to combine.
  10. Lower temperature on stove, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
  11. When done, add cheese and sour cream to garnish as desired.
  12. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

KITCHEN KREATION: Sausage & Cheddar Pinwheels


Tonight, the hubby and I decided to have breakfast for dinner.

He often indulges me when I find a new recipe and tonight was no exception. I found this one on Pillsbury.com and it was originally titled Bacon & Cheddar Pinwheels which we have made before and they turned out great.

This time I decided to switch it up a bit and make it with the Jimmy Dean "All Natural" sausage. Hubby said that they turned out great. We scrambled up a couple of eggs, added a side of grapes, and a glass of orange juice and breakfast (for dinner) was served.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 package of Jimmy Dean sausage
1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp Philadelphia Sour Cream & Chives cream cheese
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in skillet and saute onions and garlic until tender.
  3. Add sausage and cook until brown. Stir to combine and drain well.
  4. Unroll dough. Separate into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle.
  5. Firmly press perforations to seal.
  6. Evenly spread cream cheese over crescent dough.
  7. Add sausage, onion, and garlic mixture, then add cheddar cheese.
  8. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal.
  9. Wrap in saran wrap and place in freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  10. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 1/2-3/4 inch slices.
  11. Place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet
  12. Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and enjoy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Louisiana Crunch Cake


This weekend, I decided to try my hand at baking. It's sad to say that I have never made a cake from scratch, but there it is. So anyway, I saw this video on YouTube where these girls were making this delicious-looking cake. Here's their original video, titled "Cookin' with the Twins: Homemade Louisiana Crunch Cake From Scratch"...

I saw the video and thought that it looked pretty easy to make, so I decided to try my hand at it. I only changed one thing in the recipe. I switched the almond flavoring in the Vanilla Glaze to lemon flavoring. Everything else was the same. I had to use the mouth-watering picture from their blog because let's just say that my cake did not come out looking like that.
Care to see a picture? I promise it will make you laugh out loud...

Now, look at the twins' cake, now look at mine... Notice anything different???
And yes, as you can see, I did go ahead and put icing on that broken-down thing!
LOL!!!

Apparently, I didn't bother to read the line in the directions that CLEARLY states to let the cake cool. As soon as I tried to flip it, it fell apart and I knew immediately that I should have let it cool. Hmmm... One of those Homer Simpson moments, where I was like, "Doh!"
I'm not even sure why I didn't bother to wait for it to cool. Guess I was just a little bit anxious, with it being my first cake from scratch and all.

LOL-I swear, every time I look at that picture it cracks me up!

So anyway, here are the directions and ingredients for this Louisiana Crunch cake. Even with it being ugly as sin, it still tasted delicious!
Hope you try the recipe and be sure to let me know how it comes out! Oh yeah, it helps to watch the video too because the alternating between the buttermilk and the dry ingredients was a little confusing when reading, but was easy enough to do after watching the video.

Cake Ingredients:
3 c. cake flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter...softened
1/2 c. sour cream
4 large eggs...room temp.
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/4 c. sweetened coconut flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees...Have a non stick tube cake pan ready.
In a medium bowl sift together cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda...Set aside.
Beat softened butter and sugar together until very fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Mix in sour cream.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Add in buttermilk and the cake flour mixture in alternates and beat until fully combined.
PLEASE DO NOT OVER BEAT OTHERWISE CAKE IS GOING TO BECOME ROCK HARD!!!
Thoroughly grease a non stick tube pan. If your pan in not a non stick pan, you will need to grease and flour it.
Add approx 1/4 cup of granulated sugar to the pan, and tap around the sides and bottom until evenly coated.
(Optional) Sprinkle coconut flakes on the bottom of pan...You may add more or less coconut, its totally up to you.
Pour in batter.
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a wooden skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. DO NOT OVER BAKE!!!!! Otherwise cake will become dry.
Once cake is finished baking, remove from pan and let cool.

Vanilla Lemon Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
4 tbs. butter...melted
4 tbs. canned evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Directions:
Whisk together powdered sugar butter and milk.
Add vanilla extract and lemon extract and mix.
Drizzle glaze over cake and let set for 10 minutes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: The Green Hornet

Grade: B-

The hubby and I went to see The Green Hornet in 3D this weekend.
The 2011 version is a remake of the television series that starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet/Brett Reid and Bruce Lee as Kato. The new version stars Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet/Brett Reid and Jay Chou starring as Kato.


We haven't had much luck going to see movies that made the transition from comic book to silver screen (the Ironman & X-men series not counting). However, I thought that this was a pretty good adaptation. I'm not old enough to remember the radio version of the Green Hornet or the television series, however I did see parts of it during Bruce Lee's biography, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. The movie had a lot of really cool guns & cars, nice 3D effects, lots of action, and a surprising amount of humor in it. I think I liked it better than the hubby did...


All in all, I recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of the comic book series or if you just like good action movies with funny one-liners. I give it a thumbs up, the hubby gives it a thumb turned sideways. [LOL!]

Friday, January 14, 2011

TGIF Music Blast: Mariah Carey - "Heat"



Oh my word, this is definitely one of my favorite songs from the E=MC2 album.
This song is called "Heat" and it should have definitely been released as a single. It's so catchy and the lyrics are hilarious. I've never seen Mariah like this with the sassy attititude. Love it! So anyway, this is the song of the day for me. Hope you enjoy!

You think I won't come out these heels and make it clear, ho?
I ain't the one.
You think I won't sweat out my hair and take it there?
(Sure ain't the one!)
Keep your hands up off my boo.
Ain't no telling what I'll do.
What makes you think you're fly enough to take my man, ho?
I ain't the one!

LOL! Epic!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Chicken Parmesan with Angel Hair pasta














MIDWEEK FEAST: Chicken Parmesan with Angel Hair Pasta

So, all week long, I have been having this craving for Italian food. I scoured the internet looking for recipes and finally decided to take their ideas and make my own.

Let me tell you, this has got to be one of my best "kreations" yet. The chicken came out so flavorful and tender. The hubby said that it tasted like something from the Olive Garden (high praise indeed). So, give it a try and let me know what you think.

INGREDIENTS
Thin-cut boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Ragu spaghetti sauce (Your choice. We used Sautéed Onion & Mushroom)
Angel hair pasta noodles
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup shredded cheese (Your choice. We used the Kraft Italian blend.)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Non-stick cooking spray
1 Tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Rinse chicken breasts.
2. In shallow dish add the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Stir to combine and mix well.
3. Season chicken breasts with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasonings.
4. Spray chicken breasts with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Dip chicken breasts in parmesan/bread crumb mixture.
6. Heat olive oil in skillet and add breaded chicken breasts when hot.
7. Brown chicken breasts on both sides, approx 6-8 minutes.
8. While chicken is cooking, prepare angel hair pasta according to package directions.
9. When chicken is browned, add approximately 1 cup of spaghetti sauce to chicken.
10. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
11. Add shredded cheese to top of chicken breasts, cover again. Remove from heat.
12. Drain angel hair pasta and return to pot.
13. Add remaining spaghetti sauce to pasta, stir well to combine.
14. Plate and enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

TGIF Music Blast: Vintage Janet Jackson

Thank God it's Friday, family!
So, I'm sitting at work thinking about the salad that I have for lunch and I am in the mood for a little vintage Janet. Of course, off to Youtube I go in search of some of my favorite videos. Since I am a big Janet Jackson fan, I couldn't decide on which video should make the TGIF Music Blast, so I put 3 of my favorite ones on there.

I can remember trying to learn these dances back in the day and of course I had to have my hair like Janet's hair because it was "so fly"! LOL!!!
Anyway, I hope that you all enjoy this walk down memory lane as much as I did.
[Time to go warm up that grilled chicken for my salad.]


"Together Again" - from The Velvet Rope (1997)



"If" - from Janet (1993)



And who could forget this one? This definitely takes me back...
"Rhythmnation" - from Rhythmnation 1814 (1989)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Chicken Stir-Fry w. Brown Rice (new & improved recipe)

DSC00276

MIDWEEK FEAST: Chicken Stir-Fry w. Brown Rice (new recipe)

So, tonight I wanted to try my hand at making Chinese again. We had some left over chicken thighs from our Chicken Alfredo pizza that I made yesterday. It was so yummy and I had 3 chicken thighs left, so I thought well, what can I make that will be quick and easy and semi-healthy for us. I thought about trying out a Food Network recipe that I found for Chicken Parmigiana, but changed my mind. It didn't seem as easy or as quick as making the stir-fry, so that's what I chose. I thought I would try some of my new Chinese 5-Spice seasoning that I got from the wonderful Soulard Spice Shop located at the Soulard Market in St. Louis, MO. [The link to order online is included, just click on the name. You can get every spice imaginable from them! I will be doing a blog about the Spice Shop another day after going to visit them again to try to get some pictures.]

I also changed the recipe by adding a little ginger to it. It definitely gave the stir-fry a different taste, not better or worst, just different. We both approve. So, I hope that someone out there tries my Stir-Fry recipe and lets me know what you think. Thanks again and have a blessed day!

Ingredients
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1-2 bags frozen stir-fry vegetables (of your choice. We use 2 bags b/c I like a lot of veggies.)
½ medium onion
½ tsp garlic salt
2 tsp cornstarch
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp cooking oil (or stir fry oil)

Sauce Ingredients

1 cup chicken broth
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp Chinese 5 spices seasoning
2 tsp cornstarch with water (thickener)

Directions:

  1. Remove all of the fat from the chicken and then cut each breast into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Sprinkle these pieces with the garlic salt and cornstarch and mix it in thoroughly. Then set the pieces aside while preparing the other ingredients.
  3. In a large cup, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set this mixture aside.
  4. In a small cup, make the thickener by mixing the cornstarch with a little water just until it dissolves and set it aside.
  5. Heat a non stick wok on high. Once the wok is hot add the cooking oil and let it get hot.
  6. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.
  7. Add the chicken and stir fry it until it browns, about 6 to 8 minutes. To help the chicken brown quickly, let it sit for about 2 minutes on one side, then stir it, flipping it over. Let it sit again for another 2 minutes before stirring once more.
  8. Once the chicken browns, add in the vegetables and saute until tender.
  9. Add the sauce mixture. Add first 6 sauce ingredients together and let the sauce come to a boil.
  10. Once the sauce boils, add in the cornstarch mixture and stir until it becomes thick.
  11. Then remove from the heat and serve. This is great with fried rice and white or brown steamed rice.
  12. Eat and enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lime Sherbert Punch


Lime Sherbet Punch



From Paula's Home Cooking

Servings: 6-8 glasses

Prep Time: 10 min



Ingredients
2 quarts lime sherbet
2 liters ginger ale
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
Lemon slices
Lime slices
Maraschino cherries

Directions
In a punch bowl, add 2 quarts of lime sherbet.
Then add ginger ale and pineapple juice.
Decorate with lemon and lime slices and some maraschino cherries.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: New Year's Feast


First and foremost, I would like to wish every one reading this message a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and Happy New Year! For me and our family, 2010 was full of a lot of health problems, stress, and downright craziness. On the flip side of that, with all the hardships and heartaches, there was life and love, peace and resolution. There was joy with the pain and a renewed sense of being on the right path God has set for me. 2010 has probably single-handedly made me realize that not only am I doing what it is God wants for me to do, but I know first hand what it means to say that you are blessed and highly favored. It humbles me. Lord knows that I am not worthy of such grace, but I am so thankful and awed. I am here for a reason and I know that I have work to do...

So, to celebrate being blessed to see another year, I decided to fix the hubby a New Years feast!
On the menu for tonight was a baked hen with cornbread dressing, collard greens, black-eyed peas (recipe courtesy of Pat & Gina Neely), homemade cranberry sauce (thanks LadyRosie!), and sherbert punch (recipe courtesy of my girl Paula Deen). I was so pleased that everything turned out deliciously. I'm glad that I started yesterday so that I wouldn't be too tired to enjoy my meal today. Hubby gave tonight's feast two thumbs and two big toes up! LOL!!!

Here are a few recipes from tonight's menu:


Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys



Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Hot-pepper vinegar, as desired

Directions

If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Alternatively, you can "quick-soak" the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


The next wonderful recipe comes courtesy of Paula Deen. It was delicious!






Lime Sherbet Punch


From Paula's Home Cooking

Ingredients

2 quarts lime sherbet (we used Rainbow Sherbet)
2 liters ginger ale
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
Lemon slices
Lime slices
Maraschino cherries

Directions

In a punch bowl, add 2 quarts of lime sherbet. Then add ginger ale and pineapple juice. Decorate with lemon and lime slices and some maraschino cherries.


The last recipe comes from my girl LadyRosie's blog. Let me tell you, she has helped to make my hubby a cranberry convert! No more canned cranberry sauce for our house. LOL!!!
Here is Rosie's delicious cranberry sauce recipe:

Rosie's Homemade Cranberry Sauce RECIPE

16 oz of frozen cranberries
12 oz can of DOLE'S Pineapple Orange Concentrate
1 cup of white sugar, OR splenda!
1/2 of water

Pineapple Orange Concentrate










1. Put your Dole's Orange Pineapple Concentrate in a medium size pot. Turn your stove on medium high. Wait for the concentrate to completely melt.
2. Add your cranberries.
3. Add your sugar or splenda.
4. Turn your heat to high. When it starts to bubble, Turn it down to MEDIUM. Make sure you constantly stir to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
5. Cook until your cranberries fall apart or POP... Once they do, turn your heat to low, and let cook for 5 minutes
6. Remove your sauce and place it into a glass bowl, make sure you cover it with plastic wrap.
7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving!

Well, I know that this was a long one. I hope that you can take one (if not all) of these recipes and give them a try. They were amazing and made my New Year's dinner a true triumph.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful year ahead.

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