Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cream Cheese Wontons

You can do a couple of different things with cream cheese wontons. I personally do not like them with only cream cheese inside. So I add crabmeat. You can do the same, or make your own with only cream cheese. Or try both. See what you like best. I do not use canned crabmeat. I use imitation crab and shred it before mixing it with the cream cheese. It's not that canned crabmeat doesn't work, it's that I like the leftover imitation crab to put in salads, eat as a snack, etc! I have always folded my wonton wrappers exactly the way the package tells me to. So don't throw away the little card inside the wonton wrapper package until you have looked it over. Also, I like to make all the wontons first, and then fry them in small batches. That way, I don't burn any of them.

1 8oz box of cream cheese
1 cup of crabmeat, shredded
1 package of wonton wrappers
a little bowl of water (to seal the edges of the wrappers)
oil for frying

Mix together the cream cheese and the crabmeat. Put a heaping teaspoonful of cream cheese mixture in the middle of each wonton wrapper. Dip your fingers in the water and brush the water around the edges of the wonton wrappers. Fold the edges over to seal closed. Fold the wonton according to package directions. Fry in oil until golden brown. Put on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Continue wrapping and frying until all the wontons are done. You can serve them with sweet and sour sauce or whatever your favorite is.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken

Here's another Chinese dinner I make at my house! Perhaps I should have put these up sooner and said they were in honor of the Chinese New Year. :) If you don't like pineapple, you could always buy just the juice at the store. You need it to make the sweet and sour sauce. It won't end up making the dish taste like pineapple, so you are safe that way. We love pineapple in our house. When I made it this time, I used canned pineapple. However, I have used fresh in the past and it's amazing!

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 big can of pineapple tidbits, drained - but keep the juice (it's about 2/3 of a cup usually)
2 Tablespoons of ketchup
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon water
rice, cooked according to package directions

In large skillet, over medium heat, cook the chicken in the olive oil until no longer pink in the center. Add the peppers and pineapple. 

While they are cooking, mix together the pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add the mixture to the skillet and stir well. Let everything cook for about 2 minutes. Stir together the cornstarch and water. Add to the pan. Continue cooking until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beef with Snap Peas

 
We love Chinese food at my house. So I try to make it several times a month to curb my hubbie's craving. I created this recipe after several "trial and error dinners." I just couldn't get the sauce to taste right. I am now happy to say, this recipe is ready to share! I like to marinade the meat to maximize the flavor, but you really don't have to. I typically cut the meat and get it marinading in the morning, then I head to work. When I get home, this meal comes together quickly. Perfect after a long day of work!

1½ pound steak  
½ cups soy sauce  
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
3 Tablespoons beef broth 
2 Tablespoons brown sugar  
2 Tablespoons cornstarch  
1 teaspoon ginger (or you can use 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, just mince it up)
2 packages of fresh peas in pod 
rice, cooked according to package directions
    Cut the steak, against the grain, in thin pieces. In a storage bag (ziploc), mix together the soy sauce, beef broth, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add the meat and set aside. Marinade for at least 1/2 an hour.

    Add the meat to a skillet, leaving the marinade in a bowl, and cook on medium high heat until the meat is cooked through. Add the marinade and the peas. Cook until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Serve over rice and enjoy!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Banana Cream Pie in an Instant

    I LOVE making this pie for multiple reasons. It's so fast. It's delicious. It's easy. And almost everyone at least likes banana cream pie. I put this on here so if you are ever looking for a super quick dessert idea or a way to get rid of bananas that have barely passed the stage you want to eat them, this is perfect for you! Another day, I'll post my banana cream pie recipe I actually make from scratch but everyone can use some easy suggestions, right?

    1 graham cracker pie crust
    2 or 3 bananas
    1 large box of instant vanilla pudding (cooked pudding often makes the bananas brown)
    milk (the amount it calls for on the pudding box)
    cool whip

    Slice the banana into about 1/2 inch slices and place on the bottom of the pie crust. 

    Make the pudding according to the box directions for pie (not the regular pudding directions) and pour it over the bananas. Put the pie in the fridge for four our more hours.

    Just before serving, top with cool whip.

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Spinach-Parmesan Souffles

    Now that I have figured out that souffles are easy, I'm finding some more to make. This recipe comes from a magazine called Bon Appetite. I made it with the pork roast recipe I posted two days ago, and it was a great combo. But it really could go with almost any meat, depending on how it was flavored. What I found most surprising about these souffles, is just how cheesy they taste. 

    Just remember, you want to put these directly from the oven to the table, so you can eat them right away. Souffles fall quickly once out of the oven. Also, this recipes need 6 individual sized souffle dishes (or custard dishes). It's easier to put them all on a cookie sheet and then the cookie sheet into the oven, rather then putting each individual cup in.

    1/4 cup butter
    6 Tablespoons flour
    1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    1- 9 or 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
    1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
    6 large egg yolks
    2 teaspoons salt
    3/4 teaspoon pepper
    8 large egg whites

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or grease the 6 souffle dishes or custard cups. Place the dishes on a cookie sheet.

    Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, whisking for another minute. Stir in the spinach, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until FIRM peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the spinach mixture in 3 additions. Divide equally among the prepared dishes.

    Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the souffles are puffed and brown on the top. Serve immediately.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Bacon and Lemon Stuffed Pork Roast

    This may seem like a strange flavor combination but trust me, the taste is AMAZING!! There are several steps required to make this, so give yourself time to get in all together. You must slice the lemon as thinly as possible. The couple of slices I put in that were thicker, the lemon flavor tended to be a little much. Even though there are several steps involved, this dish is not difficult to make. And it's fancy, so have fun impressing your family and/or some guests!

    4 pound boneless pork loin roast
    12 slices of bacon (you may need more or less and I totally used precooked bacon)
    1 large lemon, very thinly sliced
    1 Tablespoon basil
    1 Tablespoon parsley
    1/2 cup bread crumbs

    Place the pork roast on a cutting board, with one of the short ends facing you.

    Using a long knife, cut about 1/2 an inch from the bottom of the roast. Continue cutting to about 1/2 inch from the end of the roast - so don't cut all the way through.

    If you do it correctly, you roast will now look like this. Well, maybe yours won't be cool like mine with a heart shape inside it! :) One side will be about a 1/2 inch thick, the other side will be quite thick because it's the rest of the roast.

    Put the roast back together and cut on the opposite side from where you just cut. If your previous cut is on the bottom of the roast, cut on the top. If the previous cut is on the top of the roast, cut on the bottom. Your cuts will go in opposite directions. When you are are finished, the roast will open up like below...

    So now the roast is a wide, about 1/2 inch thick slab. Pretty cool, huh? You don't want it too thick or it will be too difficult to roll up. At this time, trim the excess fat off. I also had the "top" of the roast that made one part too thick, so I trimmed that off. Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

    Lay the bacon on top of the roast, followed by the thinly sliced lemon. Sprinkle the basil, parsley and bread crumbs on the top. Now roll it up and place it, seam side down, in a 9x13 pan. Mine stayed rolled up, but in case yours doesn't, you can tie it closed with cooking string.

    Put the roast into your preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees (with the roast still inside) and continue baking for 45 to 60 minutes. The time depends on how thick the roast is. You will know for sure it's done when a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.

    Once it's done, cut it into 2 inch slices and enjoy!!

    Here is the recipe without the pictures:

    4 pound boneless pork loin roast
    12 slices of bacon (you may need more or less and I totally used precooked bacon)
    1 large lemon, very thinly sliced
    1 Tablespoon basil
    1 Tablespoon parsley

    1/2 cup bread crumbs

    Place the pork roast on a cutting board, with one of the short ends facing you. Using a long knife, cut about 1/2 an inch from the bottom of the roast. Continue cutting to about 1/2 inch from the end of the roast - so don't cut all the way through.

    Now turn the roast over and cut on the opposite side from where you just cut. If your previous cut is on the bottom of the roast, cut on the top. If the previous cut is on the top of the roast, cut on the bottom. Your cuts will go in opposite directions. Again, don't cut all the way through.

    Open the roast up so is a wide, about 1/2 inch thick slab. Pretty cool, huh? You don't want it too thick or it will be too difficult to roll up. At this time, trim the excess fat off. I also had the "top" of the roast that made one part too thick, so I trimmed that off.

    Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

    Lay the bacon on top of the roast, followed by the thinly sliced lemon. Sprinkle the basil, parsley and bread crumbs on the top. Now roll it up and place it, seam side down, in a 9x13 pan. Mine stayed rolled up, but in case yours doesn't, you can tie it closed with cooking string.

    Put the roast into your preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees (with the roast still inside) and continue baking for 45 to 60 minutes. The time depends on how thick the roast is. You will know for sure it's done when a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.

    Once it's done, cut it into 2 inch slices and enjoy!!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Chocolate Give Away Winner!!

    I couldn't get the random selector to work for me. Then it finally worked but I couldn't transfer over the little screen that shows who won the chocolate. So, I'm just going to have to write the name out. I'm still trying to figure all this stuff out, so bare with me. And please don't think I'm lame!

    Congratulations to...... Jiggs LeMieux!!!!

    I'll send you a message for your address and then expect your Ghirardelli chocolate in the mail this week!

    Thanks everyone for becoming my followers. Suggest my site to your friends! I'll be doing more giveaways soon. Tune in tomorrow for another great recipe.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

    While I was in Indiana, my super cute nieces helped me make these for their preschool teachers. We had so much fun! They are great decorators. I had to include my favorite ones below...
     
    I don't have children, so I did not know how fun a project like this could be with little helpers. And technically, we did make them for Valentine's Day, but they are perfect for every day of the year. They are just that delicious, easy and fun to make. And who doesn't LOVE chocolate with peanut butter?? This is the first time I've dipped pretzels and I thought I'd share a few tips with you. I used a skewer to pull the pretzels out of the dip so my fingerprints wouldn't be on them. If you use a cooling rack that can hold the pretzels without them falling through, put a cookie sheet and/or wax paper underneath. That way, the extra chocolate in the holes of the pretzels will fall through and the chocolate won't pool in the holes. And you can use that same chocolate to cover more pretzels. Just heat it back up and dip away!

    1 bag of chocolate chips
    3/4 cup peanut butter
    1 bag of pretzels (but you will only use about 1/4 of the bag)
    sprinkles (optional)

    Put the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted and smooth.

    Dip the pretzels so they are completely covered with the chocolate mixture and remove them with a skewer. Place them on waxed paper (and a cooling rack) and cover with sprinkles. Let them sit until they are set. Now, try not to eat too many!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Grocery Store Grab - Ghirardelli Chocolate Souffle

    So it was nearing Valentine's day and I wanted a REALLY good chocolate dessert. I figured this was a great time to grab something at the grocery store and trust an amazing recipe was just waiting for me to discover it. Then I saw this Ghirardelli chocolate bar and I instantly fell in love. I used to live in San Fransisco and you could SMELL the chocolate for miles. I knew there was going to be something more than amazing chocolate waiting for me behind that wrapper. So I bought it and I was not disappointed. At all. In fact, I'm headed back to the store to load up on some more because I NEED to try the other recipes. It was a tough choice, between the SIX recipes, what I should make. And I must admit, making souffle has always been a dream of mine. For some reason, I think it's really hard. I'm here to tell you it's not true. It's easy and delicious and wonderful!

    So here is my question for you...
    Want some FREE chocolate?? Become my follower and one lucky follower will randomly be chosen to win two free Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bars!!! Let the chocolate baking begin!

    1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons sugar
    1 Tablespoon flour
    1/2 cups heavy whipping cream or half-and-half
    4 eggs, separated
    1 1/2 bars (6oz) Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bars, melted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    pinch of salt (optional)
    pinch of cream of tarter
    2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    Grease a 1 1/2 quart ceramic souffle dish and coat with 2 Tablespoons of sugar.

    In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and flour; mix well. Add the whipping cream and then cook over medium heat until the sugar melts.

    Beat the egg yolks, then gradually add the warm sugar-cream mixture to the egg yolks, stirring continuously. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and mix well. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Set aside to cool.

    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, with the cream of tartar, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg whites until no streaks of white remain. (Don't over stir!)

    Spoon the souffle into the prepared dish. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until puffed. (Don't open the oven while baking.)

    Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. (It's even better with some vanilla ice cream!)

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Pizza Factory-ish Breadsticks

    These breadsticks are so amazingly delicious. (And my niece is just adorable!) Have you ever been to Utah and had Pizza Factory breadsticks? You never forget them if you have. Well, these breadsticks have the same glaze on them as the Pizza Factory! And that is what makes those breadsticks to-die-for. You must use skewers for these breadsticks, which you can find for super cheap at almost any grocery store. But, unlike the Pizza Factory, these breadsticks are flat on one side. My next goal is to find, or make, skewers like the Pizza Factory and see how I can make the breadsticks completely round. I already have some ideas. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, these still taste AMAZING and you will want to use every teeny tiny drop of the glaze it's just that delicious.

    1 1/2 cups hot water
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    1 Tablespoon yeast
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp oil
    3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
    10 to 12 skewers, rubbed in oil (so the breadsticks won't stick)
    6 Tablespoons butter, melted
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dill weed

    Combine water and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into the mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover with a lid and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is nice and bubbly. (I call this festering, cause I like to, but it's really called proofing. For years I stayed away from making anything with yeast because it never turned out, but when you proof the yeast, the recipe never fails.)

    Here is the yeast sprinkled on the hot water and sugar.

    And here is the yeast once it festered (or proofing as people who use correct words call it.)

    Add the salt, oil and enough flour to make a soft dough. You will know you added enough flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 3 minutes. (I always let my trusty Bosch do the work for me!)

    Pull out pieces of dough and roll it into ropes that are about 1 1/4 times the length of the skewers. Twist the rope around the skewer and place on a greased cookie sheet. Use about 3/4 of your skewer, so there is room to hold the stick later when you are eating. Continue until all the dough is used. Let twists rise until they are doubled, about 30 minutes. (My house is always cold, so I preheat the oven to 100 degrees, turn it off and let the dough rise inside the oven. If you do that, the dough will typically rise faster.)
         All doubled and ready to bake!

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the breadsticks for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.While they are baking, combine the melted butter, garlic salt, garlic powder and dill weed so the flavors get all yummy. Once the breadsticks are done, remove them from the oven and brush with the butter mixture while still hot.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Cesar Salad

    I have to admit, I don't typically order Cesar salad. I like my salad loaded with veggies or fruit. Just a personal opinion. However, it seemed the perfect salad to pair with Parmesan chicken, so I tried it out. But I couldn't find anchovy paste...anywhere (okay, I really didn't look too hard)...so I made it without. And, did you know that the dressing has raw egg yolks in it? I didn't. I have fears about eating raw eggs (unless, of course, it's in cookie dough) so I bought the egg substitute you get at the store that is pasturized. You can, however, just use two egg yolks instead. Me and my hubbie both liked what I came up with, so give it a try.

    1 head of Romaine lettuce, chopped
    1 clove of garlic
    2 Tablespoons of egg product (not the egg white kind)
    1 Tablespoon of dijon mustard
    2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

    Put the garlic, egg, dijon mustard, and lemon juice into a blender. Blend on low, slowly adding the olive oil. Pour the desired amount of dressing on the lettuce and toss with the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Chicken Parmesan

     
    What's for Valentine's Dinner at my house? Chicken Parmesan, Cesar Salad, Breadsticks (to die for) and Chocolate Souffle! YUMMY! Now that's my kind of fancy, stay-at-home dinner. Hopefully, I can convince my hubbie to do the dishes as my Valentine present! So stay tuned this week while I share all these recipes with you.
    
    As for this yummy Chicken Parmesan, I really took down the calorie count, while making this dish melt in your mouth delicious. It takes a little longer than a typical dish I post on here, but it's worth the extra effort. I really wish I would have bought Parmesan cheese I needed to grate myself, but I bought the kind that is already grated. It didn't really melt. But it didn't change the yum factor at all.

    1 pound of linguine (I used thin)
    2 chicken breasts
    1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
    2 Tablespoons butter
    1 onion, chopped
    4 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 cube of chicken boullion
    3 cans of tomatoes (if they are big pieces, you will need to cut them up - and DON'T drain them)
    1 cup of Parmesan cheese (splurge and buy the kind you have to grate)

    Start cooking your linguine according to package directions.

    Cut each chicken breast into two pieces (so it will cook much, much faster) and pound them flat. Flat chicken is the key, so don't skip this step. Put the Italian bread crumbs in a ziploc, then put in the chicken and shake until coated. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once it's melted add the chicken and cook on both sides for about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

    Add the onion, garlic, bouillon, and cans of tomatoes (and juice) to the same pan. Cook over medium high heat until the liquid reduces to about half. Add the chicken back to the pan and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. This should only take a couple of minutes if your chicken is thin enough. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and cover the pan with a lid. Let sit for a couple of minutes while the cheese melts. Once the cheese is melted, serve over the linguine noodles.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Meatball Madness



     
     Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs! What would Superbowl be without some meatballs. And of course, I couldn't pick just one flavor. Instead, I'm sharing my two favorite meatballs recipes with you. The top picture is made with cranberries and chili sauce. The bottom picture is grape jelly and barbeque sauce. It's kind of funny, because when I went to buy some jellied cranberries for this recipe, I found the recipe right on the can. I had no idea! I made both these recipes on the stove top but they can also be cooked in the crockpot. The crockpot would be ideal for a Superbowl setting to keep them nice and toasty.

    Meatballs
    1 pound of hamburger
    1 egg
    1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon onion powder

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ingredient using your hands. After all, you are going to get them all hamburgery when you roll it into meatballs, right? Once it's well mixed, roll into Tablespoon size meatballs. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Pour into the sauce of your choice.

    Cranberry and Chili Sauce

    1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
    1 cup chili sauce (not the kind in the Asian food aisle but the kind in the ketchup aisle)
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

    Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Add the cooked meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes.

    Grape jelly and Barbeque Sauce

    1 jar of grape jelly
    1 cup of barbeque sauce

    Whisk the two ingredients together. Add the cooked meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick.



    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Chicken and Bacon Taquitos

    For these taquitos, you will need tortillas that are not cooked. If you haven't tried them, you really need to. I can never go back to the regular grocery store tortillas ever. They are so yummy! I always get mine at Costco. You can get 44 of them for about three bucks! Even better. So once you have these yummy uncooked tortillas, use a round cookie cutter and cut each tortilla into four small circles. The circles will seem small, but trust me, they are the perfect size.

    10 to 12 tortillas1 box of precooked bacon (or you could cook your own)
    1 8oz cream cheese
    2 cans of chicken, drained
    canola oil, enough to fill a frying pan about 2 inches

    Cut each tortilla, using a circle cookie cutter, into 4 circles. Start heating the oil over medium heat. It's ready when it's 350 degrees.

    Mix together the bacon, cream cheese and chicken until well mixed. Drop 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each tortilla. Roll the tortilla up. Fry, in the oil, for 4 or 5 minutes, or until the tortilla is just browning. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Cornflake Clusters

    I have a warning about these - they are extremely addictive. Don't make them unless you are prepared to face the consequence of consuming one after another. My Mom made these when I was a kid. I haven't made them for years and after making them, I remember why I haven't made them. I ate them, too many of them, and when they were gone, I wanted more. A lot more. But I have resisted. After posting this recipe, I'm hoping I can forget all about them. I'm hoping I can get back to life before my taste buds remembered how delicious this little guys were. I think they would make a great Superbowl treat. Everyone will love them. In fact, I think for years to come they will remember these little clusters and have no idea who won or lost on the big day. 

    1 cup cornsyrup
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup sugar
    6 cups cornflakes

    In a large microwaveable bowl, combine the corn syrup, peanut butter and sugar. Microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring well. Add the corn flakes and stir to coat evenly. Drop, by the Tablespoonful, onto waxed paper. Cool.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Dill Dip

    In my opinion, if you are going to have dill dip, it needs to be DILL dip. And, this recipe may seem a little different than one you have used before, because, well, I hate mayo/miracle whip so I always replace it in recipes. You must, must, must make dill dip at least several hours before wanting to serve it so the dill has a chance to flavor the rest of the ingredients. I even suggest making it the day before to maximize its delicious flavor.  

    2 cups sour cream (I used low fat)
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    2 teaspoons dill

    Stir all the ingredients together. It's just that easy. And amazing. And be prepared to LOVE raw veggies again.