Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I've learned a couple of tips about making quesadillas from my BIL Peter. He is quite a good cook (for a guy), and we tease him all the time about the deals he finds at the grocery store. Peter uses real butter to grease the griddle (it doesn't take very much at all), and puts a spoonful of alfredo sauce inside the tortillas before anything any other filling ingredients. He says it adds moisture to the quesadilla; I've tried it, and I really like it. I do start with a dry alfredo sauce mix because it has far fewer calories and fat than a jarred sauce, especially if you make it with skim milk.
Let's start with the chicken. I didn't have any chicken broth on hand, so I brought 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot and then threw in the bullion cube (Or, you can bring 2 cups of canned/boxed chicken broth to a boil).
Spread 1-2 tablespoons of alfredo sauce on one side of the tortilla.
Sprinkle some cheese over the alfredo sauce, then some chicken and then add a little more cheese. You will probably use about 2-3 tablespoons of chicken and 4 tablespoons of cheese. We're putting cheese on twice because it acts like a glue and will help the tortilla stay together once we flip it. And you don't have to use cheddar, you might want to try monterey jack, jalapeno jack, sharp cheddar, swiss, whatever floats your boat.
Using a wide spatula, flip over the bare side of the tortilla, like this:
Now you might understand why I don't cover the tortilla with ingredients, lay another one on top, and then flip the whole thing over. It is much harder to flip a whole tortilla; folding it in half isn't as scary and a heck of a lot easier :-).
Monday, January 26, 2009
But I made a new year's resolution to at least try to cook more Chinese food. And I used green onions, snow peas, and cilantro from the garden. This is the first year David has tried growing snow peas. They're doing really well, and they're so pretty... I had to take a picture of 'em all by themselves.
I admit...Chinese food isn't hard to make, but it take a while to cut up and prepare all the fresh vegetables. By the time we sat down to eat, I was starving and praying it would taste good. It did. The chicken did not have the same flavor I am accustomed to (like my mom's), but I know why. My mom marinates her chicken for several hours in soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, and sake (Japanese rice wine). I will have to go down to the local Asian market for the sake--and I intend to do just that this weekend! So when I make this again, I will replace some of the soy sauce with some sake. I also made brown rice instead of white, and used a sugar substitute instead of real sugar (for the hubby).
You do not need a wok for this recipe, but a heavy skillet is necessary, and it shouldn't be the non-stick, Teflon coated type. You want the pan to get screaming hot, and you're not supposed to heat a non-stick/Teflon pan beyond medium. I have a wok, and I seldom use it--something I hope to remedy this year if I stick to my resolution.
And it is fun to eat this with chopsticks--we all use them, even the kids. But using a fork or spoon is perfectly fine :-).
The Pioneer Woman's Monday Night Stir Fry
Ree says you need to have all your ingredients at hand, and she is darn right. My mom always had everything ready BEFORE she started cooking. Stir-frying food goes really, really fast, and you need all your veggies, sauces, etc. prepped and right at your fingertips.
I only took one picture during the cooking process. Like I said, stir fry cooks very fast, and I didn't want to burn anything because my gas burner was cranked up on HIGH.
Here's the finished dish!
One more just for show...
I cooked some brown rice to go with our stir-fry (David requested it b/c it's fewer points).
If you've got chopsticks, it's time to break 'em out and try this dish!
God bless your table tonight!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's book Forever Summer. Since David is still counting points, I cut back on the amount of sugar used to coat the salmon. I also made sauteed an entire bag of spinach to have on the side--which was done in less than 5 minutes.
This is a perfect, quick meal to make for your hubby...and don't forget...Valentines Day is coming up soon!
Mustard Seared Salmon
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I already knew balsamic glaze gives a tangy and sweet flavor to dishes, even more so if you gently boil it down into a thin syrup. This makes it thicker as well, and easier to use.
Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops with Wilted Kale and Polenta
Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, and brush them with the balsamic glaze. When the pan is ready lay the pork chops in, and brush the exposed side with a little more of the balsamic glaze.
Cook the pork for about 5 minutes per side, and brush with the glaze one more time after you flip them.
Now if you were thinking ahead, and put some of the glaze in a separate bowl to use on the pork chops (to avoid contamination), you can skip this step. I wasn't thinking, so the brush I used on the raw pork chops went back into the pot...oops. So if you did what I did, pour the glaze into the same skillet you used to cook the chops. Bring it to a boil, and make sure to boil it for a full 5 minutes to kill any bacteria. Scrap up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
In another large-nonstick skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and saute it for a couple of minutes. Be careful not to let it burn!
Add the kale and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
You will need to add a splash of water every couple of minutes so the kale will steam and wilt down. It will still remain quite crisp (David said he actually liked the crunch, more so than the sauteed spinach I make).
Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I am trying to cook more Chinese/Asian food. I regret I really don't know too much about it...my mother (bless her heart) wasn't patient enough to show me how she cooked, and all her recipes are in her head. I seriously doubt I will be able to get her to write any of them down for me.
5 Spice Turkey Burgers
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder (in the spice or Asian section)
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons bottled peanut sauce
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted if desired
2 scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, liquid eggs, bread crumbs, and 5-spice powder. Get your hands in there and mix it well; this is no time to be afraid of raw meat!
Oops, wouldn't you know it...I forgot the bread crumbs.
And BTW, the mixture will feel pretty wet until the bread crumbs go it, then the meat will get rather pasty and sticky.
Shape each portion into a nice thick patty. To see how I shape patties using plastic wrap and a peanut butter jar lid, chick here.
Since ground turkey is very low in fat, make sure you oil the grates on your outdoor grill, grill pan, or broiler pan. Our outdoor grill wasn't working right, so David ended up cooking our burgers under the broiler. He said to broil them for about 3-4 minutes per side, and not to cook them beyond medium, or you'll have a dry patty.
Place a few leaves of basil on the bottom bun. Lay a turkey burger on top of the basil, then a spoonful of peanut sauce, and a sprinkling of green onions. Cap the burger with the bun top and serve.
Believe it or not, the basil I bought at the store was fantastic; the leaves were so big,they covered the entire bottom bun!
Monday, January 12, 2009
This is something I won't be making again. The kids ate it...after all, anything tastes decent with a lot of ketchup. But I was disappointed, and there was a nice big mess in the kitchen afterwards! Oh well.
And here's the sauce in the works...it only held a hint of orange flavor and the promise of tasting like...well...like chicken broth (which was one of the ingredients).
See...it doesn't look bad. I liked the fact you can see the bits of orange zest in it.
But the only thing good on this plate was the broccoli and the orange slice for the garnish (assuming you like roasted broccoli). Now we have to eat the leftovers tonight :-(
God Bless your table tonight!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Since my hubby is trying to lose some weight, I am making only healthy meals for the time being. So... I fiddled with a recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza to make it as healthy as possible. There is only one change I wanted to make, but didn't really have the time--making some whole wheat pizza dough from scratch. Now that the holidays are over, we've all hit the ground running, and I am going from one thing to the next with barely enough time to pause and take a breath! So if you can, make the pizza crust yourself with some whole wheat flour, it will add some fiber, and make the pizza even better for you.
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
and finally the cheese. Just 1/2 cup. I know...I want more too. Maybe next time.