I Heart Ginger Sauce

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I never used to buy ginger root, maybe because we were dirt poor or maybe because I had no idea what to do with it (to me it looked like a tumor, lol), but now I couldn’t imagine living without it. In the corner of my kitchen counter you will always find fresh garlic and ginger… usually there are potatoes and apples there as well, but ALWAYS ginger and garlic. I put a clove of garlic into everything I cook but the ginger I use about once or twice a week when cooking chicken. Anyways, the local Japanese hibachi restaurant has a wonderful ginger sauce that I submerge everything in, even my rice. So with tonight’s Teriyaki Chicken I thought I would give the ginger sauce another try (not to mention I got these cute little condiment bowls for Christmas that I was dying to use). Justin and I tasted it a couple dozen times while adding pinch’s more of soy sauce and vinegar, but it turned out delicious!!

2 tablespoons ginger root, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Use a knife to slice the brown skin off the ginger root. Once it is all peeled cut it into small chucks. Stop and smell it, it smells lemony and spicy! I love the way it smells! Use a garlic press to smash the ginger chunks. Put the crushed garlic in a bowl and add the soy sauce and vinegar, taste it, and adjust the flavor to your standards (adding more soy or vinegar). It will be potent so prepare yourself… you are putting it on meat and rice so it needs to have a strong flavor.

Barbeque Beef Sandwiches

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wow, it’s a good thing I got dinner started in the crockpot when I woke up because I spent most of the day reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It’s a young adult book (takes only a couple hours to read) and I suggest that everyone call up their library and get it immediately. It was a very interesting semi-autobiographical book about a teenage boy living on a reservation. I loved it! So I spent the day reading, taking breaks to giggle at my boys playing Guitar Hero, but by dinner I finished my book; we ate and played a game of SpongeBob Life. Everyone thought these sandwiches were a perfect ending to our delightful day!


1 pot roast (anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds)
1 McCormick pulled pork crock-pot packet (found in the gravy mix aisle)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
Optional- 1 medium onion, sliced
Provolone cheese slices
Rolls /buns

In crockpot, mix the McCormick packet, ketchup, cider vinegar, and brown sugar then add the roast (my roast was still partly frozen). Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours (I cooked mine about 6 hours on low before adding the peppers for another hour). One hour before you plan to eat, shred the beef then slice the peppers and onions and add to crockpot. When it is finished, remove meat and veggies with a slotted spoon. Place cheese slices on buns and put under low broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Fill the rolls with the meat and veggies and enjoy!

Cinnamon Biscuits

Friday, December 26, 2008

I swiped this recipe from My Home Cafe which is a great blog with lots of yummy recipes! I chose to have these Christmas morning because they can be made in advance and popped into the oven while we are busy opening presents. Justin and the boys were disappointed because they were expecting monkey bread, this tastes like biscuits with a hint of cinnamon and sugar. I overcooked mine and I am kicking myself for it. I pulled them out at exactly 60 minutes and forked open the middle biscuit and they were just right and white in the middle… but my bacon had 4 more minutes to cook so I put them back into the oven (what’s wrong with me)! When I pulled them out not but 5 minutes later they were hard on the outside and beige in the middle. Luckily I served them with bacon and eggs or my family would have killed me… honestly, who messes up breakfast on Christmas morning (apparently I do)!

1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 stick of butter
Cinnamon and sugar

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment, and grease the parchment and sides. Parchment isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to get the bubbly, sugary buns out of the pan once they're baked. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 cups of the cream all at once, then toss and stir the mixture till the dough comes together. If necessary, add additional cream to make the dough cohesive. Gather the dough in your hands and knead it a few times to make sure there are no dry spots. Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl or pan; or in a plastic zip-top bag. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, or about 1 1/8 ounces. Dip each piece in melted butter or milk, then roll or shake in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the cinnamon-coated dough balls into the pan of your choice in a single layer; they'll be touching one another, which is just fine.
Cover the pan with plastic, and place in the freezer overnight, or for up to a week or so. If freezing longer than overnight wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap, then in foil. Next day, remove the pan from the freezer, and let the buns rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350. The buns don't need to thaw. If you're baking the buns immediately (not frozen), bake them 30 minutes, till the buns in the center are cooked through. You can asses this by taking a toothpick and actually digging into the center bun to take a look; it should look totally baked, not doughy. If the buns have been frozen, bake them for 60 minutes, testing for doneness as instructed above. Cover them with aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, right before serving.

Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We are probably an embarrassing family to go to a restaurant with… Abbott gets ill at the table, Justin mixes his own dipping sauces and orders everything “no vegetables”, and Andrew and Justin smother their Mexican food with beans and rice (see picture below). Justin used to cover his chimichangas with beans and rice when we were dating and he’s just taught Andrew to do the same with all Mexican food. Its funny how Andrew eats just like Justin, it’s like they have the same taste buds!

4 shredded chicken breasts (I bake the chicken in the oven and shred the chicken by hand)
8 ounce package cream cheese
4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
12 flour tortillas
1 10 oz can green chile enchilada sauce
1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
3/4 c shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put cream cheese, chiles, and red enchilada sauce in a saucepan with cooked chicken. Cook and stir over medium heat until blended. Spoon filling onto tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in a 13x9 in baking dish. Pour green chile enchilada sauce over top of rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese and back for 15-20 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, December 22, 2008

These are Deb’s favorite chocolate chip cookie so I had to give them a try! My boys made these cookies while I supervised and finished reading The Host (another novel by Stephanie Meyer that has taken over my life). When I teasingly told the boys they needed to taste the cookie dough I lost a good fourth of my batter, lol! It was yummy cookie dough though! The cookies were very good but different than your average chocolate chip cookie. There’s so little flour it’s almost like a candy bar rather than a cookie. Once the cookies have cooled you need to put them in a air tight bag/container with a slice of bread to keep them moist.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick of butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate chips)

Preheat to 300 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place on the baking sheets. Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store at room temperature in an airtight bag/container with a piece of bread for up to 3 days.

The Lady's Cheesy Mac (Fail)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Justin is a macaroni and cheese connoisseur, he remembers having the perfect macaroni and cheese at a church potluck when he was little but hasn’t had one he really enjoys since. So over the next couple weeks I am going to try out different mac and cheese recipes, this one is from Paula Dean. This mac and cheese was just ok, to be fair I really think I need to make it again because I put it in a 9x13 pan and it was way too dried out to be any good; it needs a deep bowl type dish to cook in instead of a pan. It didn’t have much flavor and wasn’t creamy. The search for the perfect macaroni and cheese continues…

4 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
4 cup cooked elbow macaroni, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mmm… this chicken was good! It was spicy so it’s unusual that I would like it but I ate twice my normal portion of chicken and had no room for a side! In case you haven’t noticed I love trying marinades but because this had lime juice I knew the chicken couldn’t be in this marinade longer than a couple hours. So I made the marinade in a ziploc the night before and added the chicken to the ziploc only 2 hours before cooking, but man-o-man was this flavorful! I think the marinade sitting overnight really caused the flavors to fuse. Besides fanatically trying new marinades lately I’ve also been fixated on flattening my chicken breasts and cooking them stovetop on high heat. I love the caramelized color it gives the chicken and it’s done and ready to serve in 10 minutes (which is a dream come true for a working mom)!

4 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of diced jalapeno (I use jarred jalapenos)
1 minced garlic clove

To make the marinade combine all ingredients except chicken in a ziploc bag or dish. Let the marinade rest in the fridge overnight. In-between pieces of plastic wrap place each chicken breast and gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Add chicken to marinade; turn to coat completely, refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook on high heat in a skillet for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through (resist the urge to flip the chicken for 5 minutes though so you get a good caramelized color). While cooking I sprinkled each side with a little salt and pepper.

Easy Mexican Quiche

Monday, December 15, 2008

There are a couple things I can’t cook.

  • Anything with yeast-I always mess up the rising process.

  • Fried foods- When I have a pot of oil on my stove I will start a grease fire, without fail (I’ve started like 3 so take my word for it).

  • Omelets and Crepes- I can’t figure out the flipping and folding.

So when we went to Colorado last year and Justin fell in love with a Mexican Omelet my heart ached because I knew I would never be able to reproduce it at home. However, I can cook a quiche so I got to thinking… I tinkered with the Bisquick quiche recipe, adding some Mexican flavors and it turned out great! Justin told me he was surprised how good it turned out (as if he has reason to doubt me, ha)! We all ate two slices and it was so easy I am already planning on having it again next week!

1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup Bisquick mix
1 (4 ounce) can of chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon Cholula (or any hot sauce)

Heat oven to 400 and grease a 9-inch pie plate. In a large bowl wisk together milk and eggs, add bisquick and wisk until the large lumps are gone. Stir in the remaining ingredients and pour into the pie plate. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve plain or with salsa (the pepper bellied boys liked the salsa, I liked it plain).

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cake

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This simple cake is one of our favorite desserts. No icing is needed because they are full of milk chocolate chips! This is first on our list of holiday foods and snacks to take on vacations. It’s our comfort dessert that we make just for us and devour immediately. We made cupcakes this week because this was the first week in a longtime that we were all home together (aside from the evening we had to go buy a new dishwasher). We watched The Dark Knight and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian while snacking on these cupcakes; Abbott’s commentary about The Joker was hilarious!

A box of yellow cake mix (and the eggs, oil, etc. to make it)
1 package of instant pudding (vanilla if you want the cake yellow or chocolate if you want the cake brown, you don’t really notice a flavor difference)
1 package of milk chocolate chips

Mix the cake according to the directions on the box and stir in the instant pudding powder. Fold in the chocolate chips and cook according to the cake box!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This was my first attempt at homemade chicken noodle soup. I modified Michael’s Soup which is from Tyler Florence's cookbook. I made everything from scratch, roasted my own chicken, stewed the broth, and even made the noodles using Grandma’s noodle recipe, we liked it but it seemed like it was missing something. My friend Nick ate some and he just thought it needed pepper, so all in all I would label it a success! I finished the soup just in time for our dishwasher to break, sigh… Merry Christmas!

1 roasted chicken (you can buy one at the store deli or roast your own)

8 cups water
2 carrots, washed and sliced into circles
3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
2 cups pasta noodles (dried, frozen, or homemade)
1/2 lemon, juice only

Place roasted chicken in large stockpot and add water, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil to extract flavors of chicken. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, then remove chicken. Remove meat from chicken; shred meat. Discard bones and skin. Season chicken stock in pot with salt and pepper; add chicken and pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked. Finish with lemon juice and parsley.

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

Monday, December 8, 2008

The boys and I love Red Lobster and it’s usually our restaurant of choice for birthday dinners. I have a good story from my Birthday at Red Lobster last year but I don’t think it’s for everyone (especially if you have a weak stomach), so I will post my story as a comment to this post if you are interested click “comments” below. Anyways, back to the biscuits! I found this top secret recipe on the ABC News Website and gave it a try. Of course it’s not as good as the real thing but they were the best biscuits I’ve ever made!

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
Dried parsley flakes, sprinkled on top

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick with butter in a medium bowl, add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic salt and mix until combined. Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I put them on non-stick foil) using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkled parsley flakes over the top of the biscuit balls and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

Trish’s Cornflake Chicken

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Trish is my mother-in-law and cornflake chicken was Justin’s favorite type of chicken when I met him. So much so that he requested it as the meal for our rehearsal dinner at our wedding (his last dinner as a free man, dom dom dom). Justin and the boys eat it with ketchup; I like it plain or with white pepper gravy.

Chicken Breasts (however many you need for your family)
2-3 cups cornflakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup melted butter

In a large ziploc bag combine the cornflakes, salt, and pepper and seal. With a rolling pin or cup, crunch the cornflakes (or let your all too willing children smash the bag in their fingers). Dip the chicken in the melted butter and then put it in the ziploc bag. Shake the bag until the chicken is coated with the cornflakes. Put the chicken in an uncovered baking dish and cook at 375 for 45 minutes.

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This casserole has been one of my favorite sides for years and years. I can remember bringing this to potlucks after my son Andrew (who is now 10) was born. It easy to throw together and everyone always asks for the recipe. Ok... so I know it is terrible for you, but the irresistible comfort flavor helps you overlook the fat content.

1 (1.5 pound) package frozen hashbrown potatoes, thawed
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the sour cream, soup, cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Press the excess water out of the hash browns and then add them to the soup mixture and mix well. Transfer to a 9x12 inch casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.

Banana Dog

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There’s really no recipe to this one, but it’s a fun snack/meal idea (especially for kids). Whenever we eat hot dogs we always have leftover buns so this is a convenient way to use them up, not to mention delicious! I love banana, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches, yum yum!

Hot Dog Bun
Peanut Butter
Strawberry Jam

Spread peanut butter on the inside of the hot dog bun. Put the banana in the bun and top with jam.