Saturday, November 26, 2011

Easy Biscuits

I really try to stay away from bread, but I love a good, buttery biscuit with homemade jam.  These were yummy.

2 cups flour
1 TBSP. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 TBSP. white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly.  Gradually stir in the milk until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 15 to 20 times.  Pat or roll dough out 1 inch thick.  Cut biscuits with a large cutter or glass turned upside down.  I just use a pizza cutter and cut into squares.  Place biscuits onto a baking pan and bake for 13 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.  Brush with melted butter.

Sweet Pork Salad

This has got to be one of my hands-down, favorite recipes!  I love this salad.  It does take a little prep work and time to prepare, but it’s worth it!

To make the sweet pork:
Boneless pork ribs, roast or loin, marinated overnight in 1 1/2 cans of coke (not diet coke) and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  The next day, drain the marinade and put pork, remaining 1/2 can of coke, 1/4 cup water, sprinkle with garlic salt in the crock pot on high for about 4-5 hours or until it shreds apart.  Double the liquid if you need to, depending on how much pork you are making.  When pork easily shreds apart, drain the liquid and shred the pork.  

In a blender, blend 1/2 can of coke, 1 can diced green chilies, 3/4 of a 10oz. can red enchilada sauce (medium spiciness) and 1 cup brown sugar.  Pour over shredded pork in your crock pot and cook on low for 2 more hours.

Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 TBSP. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 TBSP. fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan, combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender.  Remove from heat.  In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro.  Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

 Black Beans and Corn:
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 TPSP. fresh, chopped cilantro

In a skillet, cook garlic and cumin in a little olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it.  Add beans, corn, tomato juice and salt.  Continually stir until heated through.  Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.

 2 large, rip avocados, smashed with fork
1 large tomato, chopped
garlic and salt, to tasted

 Cilantro Ranch Dressing:
1 packet traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, and diced
1/2 - 1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded

Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

 Corn tortillas, cut in strips and fried in oil until crisp.

Pico De Gayo:
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Green onions, chopped
Yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic
Sprinkle with Rice Vinegar to taste
Add Salt, to taste

Mix all together in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair

We had Warren’s parents over for dinner and Warren made this yummy Basil Chicken.  It’s a really light, healthy, delicious meal.  

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
6 cups chopped tomatoes
5 cups boneless chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil - it takes a lot of basil!
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Angel hair pasta
Oil, for sautéing

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until it is al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken, basil, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Reduce heat to medium, and cover skillet.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft.

Toss sauce with hot cooked angel hair pasta to coat.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

Lettuce Wraps

Warren and I both love the lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang’s as well.  I found this recipe online and decided to try it.  It isn’t exactly like P.F. Chang’s, but it’s really good.  I had to make the sauce recipe twice.  The first time I followed the recipe exactly and I didn’t like the sauce.  I added and left some things off the second time.  It tasted MUCH better!  Here is the recipe how I made it.  I doubled the chicken, but you definitely don’t need to double the special sauce.

oil, for frying chicken
Chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
Water chestnuts - 1 can
Mushrooms - about a cup
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
Iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 TBSP. soy sauce
2 TBSP. rice wine vinegar
2 TBSP. ketchup
1 TBSP. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. red chili paste
2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Stir Fry Sauce:
2 TBSP. Soy sauce
2 TBSP. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.  Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, red pepper, garlic and red chili paste and sesame oil.  Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.

Bring oil to high heat in your skillet and saute the chicken pieces until done.  Add water chestnuts, mushrooms and onions.  (Chop the mushrooms and water chestnuts into small, diced pieces).  Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes, then serve in the lettuce cups with the special sauce on the side for dipping or sprinkling on top.

Mongolian Beef

My husband invited his life-time friend over for dinner this past week for his birthday and he made him this Mongolian Beef recipe.  It was delicious.  Both he and I are big fans of PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef.  I recommend you try this recipe out.  It’s delicious.
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 TBSP. garlic, minced
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups. vegetable oil (for frying)
2 lb. flank steaks, sliced cross-grain, at an angle
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 large green onions

Make the sauce by heating 4 tsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.  Don’t get the oil too hot.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.  Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens a bit.  Remove sauce from heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4 inch slices.  Tilt the blade of your knife at about a 45 degree angle to the top of the steak so you get wider cuts.  Dip the steak pieces into cornstarch to apply a thin dusting to both sides of each piece.  Let the beef sit until the cornstarch becomes sticky, about 10 minutes.  As the beef sits, heat up the oil in your wok or skillet until it is hot, but not smoking.  Add the beef to the oil and saute for just 2 minutes, or until beef just begins to darken on the edges.  Stir the meat around a little bit so that it cooks evenly.

After a few minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour most of the oil out of the skillet.  Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add the sauce, cook for 1 minute while stirring and add green onions.  Cook for 1 more minute.    Thicken the sauce with a cornstarch-water mixture to desired thickness and serve it over rice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This stuff I am definitely addicted to.  It was love at first taste for me.  Next time I am going to saute some cashews and fry some rice stick and add it to these delicious lettuce wraps.


2 lbs. chicken, diced
8 cloves of garlic
4 shallots
2 TBSP. of fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
Fresh Basil
1 anaheim chili pepper
3 dashes of white pepper
4 TBSP. oil
1 TBSP. of lime juice
1 tsp. crushed red pepper


Heat oil.  Add garlic and shallots, stir constantly.  Add chicken.  Stir fry.  When cooked, add chilies, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and continue stirring.  Add basil and cook until aromatic.  Sprinkle pepper over dish, stir.  Serve lettuce wrap style or over rice, if you prefer.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

This dough is great chilled and sliced the next day to bake fresh.

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins or craisins
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, optional

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add all the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Add craisins and nuts and mix lightly.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a greased cookie pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Thai Curry Soup

1/2 pound rice noodles (pad thai noodles)
2 TBSP. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSP. minced lemon grass
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 TBSP. and 1 tsp. red curry paste
2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP. white sugar
2 (13.5 oz) cans reduced-fat coconut milk
1 cup peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 /2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 (5oz.) bag baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add rice noodles and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking; set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic, lemon grass, and ginger;  cook and stir until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds.  Add the curry paste, and cook 30 seconds more.  Pour in about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, and stir until the curry paste has dissolved, then pour in the remaining chicken stock along with the soy sauce and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, lime juice, and cilantro.  Increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until the shrimp turns pink and are no longer translucent, about 5 minutes.

To serve, place some rice noodles into each serving bowl and ladle soup on top of them.  Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

Sukhothai Pad Thai

I came home from work to the smell of some serious yummy food coming from the kitchen.  My husband decided to surprise me with dinner.  It tasted delicious!  Seriously delicious!

1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup of orange juice
1 (12 oz.) pkg. dried rice oodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 eggs
10 oz. of pre-cooked chicken, ut into 1/2 inch strips
4 oz. pre-cooked shrimp, diced
1 TBSP. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. of sweet red chili sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 TBSP. paprika
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups ground peanuts (we did not use as we have 2 children w/peanut allergies)

Directions:  To prepare Pad Thai sauce:  In a medium saucepan over medium heath, blend sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and orange juice.  To make Pad Thai:  Soak rice noodles in cold water until soft; drain.  In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, warm oil and add garlic and eggs; scramble the eggs.  Add noodles and stir until cooked.  Stir in Pad Thai sauce, 1 TBSP. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Stir in peanuts and sweet red chili sauce.  Remove from heat and add chives and paprika.  Serve with lime and bean sprouts on the side.

Pineapple Glazed Pork Ribs

Fall off the bone, tender, extremely flavorful and different from your normal barbecue ribs.

Baby Back Ribs, brushed with sesame oil and salt and pepper, sprinkle LIGHTLY with chinese 5 spice.

Pineapple Glaze:
2 TBSP. unsalted butter
1 pineapple, peeled and cubed
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce
3 TBSP. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 red chili, thinly sliced (or 1 TBSP. red chili paste)
2 tsp. minced garlic
2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

Arrange the ribs in a single layer in a pan.  Cover with oil and sprinkle spices.  Cover with tinfoil and bake at 300 for 3 hours.

In the last 30 minutes of roasting time, baste the ribs with some of the glaze.  When the ribs are done, the pork will pull away from the bone.  Before serving, baste the ribs with more glaze and place them under the broiler for a few minutes to give it a crust.

For the glaze:  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the pineapple chunks; saute for 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook, stirring until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Once it is thick, pour the glaze into a blender and puree until smooth.

To serve, sprinkle w/sesame seeds and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Lentil Tomato Soup

This is a yummy, warm weather soup.  Next time I think I will add some italian flavored sausage to it, but it was yummy just as it is.  If you are trying to eat healthier, this is a great nutritious soup.  I will tell you, my younger children didn’t gobble it up, but the rest of us really enjoyed it.

4 1/2 cups water
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 can (6oz.) tomato paste
2 TBSP. minced fresh parsley
1 TBSP. brown sugar
1 TBSP. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan, combine the water, carrots, onion and lentils; b ring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.  Stir in the remaining ingredients; return to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3/4 cup equals 138 calories, 27 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 8 g protein.