Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I came across a Tasty post the other day on Facebook of cheap dinners that use one pound of hamburger and thought it would be great for Whitney. Next year she's moving into an apartment off campus and will be cooking, something that she's super excited about doing. We both looked through the recipes Tasty shared and many look really good. I had some butterhead lettuce in the fridge that I wanted to use up and the Asian lettuce wraps were a good use for them. This dish was really tasty, has a few options for serving, and only took about 30 minutes to make. I think we'll be checking out some of the other recipes over the summer so she has a few easy, cheap meals for the fall.


Asian Lettuce Wraps
makes roughly 10 wraps depending on how big the lettuce leaves are


1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped or a good squeeze of ginger in a tube
1 8oz can chopped water chestnuts
5 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Bibb lettuce (or iceberg)
Optional toppings:
shredded carrots
roughly chopped peanuts
toasted sesame seeds
sliced green onion

Heat olive oil in a large skillet then add ground beef. If you're using fattier meat omit the oil. Break up the meat with a spoon, season with salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink. Set aside on a separate plate. Wipe the hamburger grease out of the skillet and heat a bit more oil then add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the hamburger and water chestnuts. Stir in the hoisin sauce and soy sauce and cook everything together for a few minutes. To serve, place some meat in the lettuce, top with carrots, peanuts, sesame seeds, green onion, and some extra hoisin sauce.

slightly modified from Apple of My Eye

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Chicken Taco Soup

This looked like a super easy recipe, open a bunch of cans, add a few more things, heat and serve. That's exactly what it was and just what Whitney and I needed in Colorado for dinner a couple of nights. It was really tasty, probably a bit on the spicy side for Bob but it worked for us. There's a bunch of optional spices at the end which we didn't add since we were in a Air B-n-B and I'm not really sure you need them. No picture this time, we ate it before I remembered to take one.

Chicken Taco Soup
serves 6-8

1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can sweet corn, drained (or equal amount of frozen corn)
1 14.5oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 10oz can green enchilada sauce
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1/2 half package of grilled chicken, broken up into bite size pieces
1 14oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin, optional
1/2 tsp chili powder, optional
1/2 tsp garlic powder, optional
1/2 tsp onion powder, optional
for garnish - sour cream, tortilla strips, avocado

Put both beans, corn, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chilies, chicken and chicken broth into a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the taco seasoning, other seasonings if desired, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes. If the soup seems too thick add more chicken broth (or water). Serve with garnishes.

slightly modified from 12tomatoes

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Apple-Cranberry Slab Pie

Oh, my goodness, this was so good! We went to dinner at a friend's last weekend and we were asked to bring either an appetizer or dessert. I gravitate towards desserts and went looking at my pinterest board. This looked good and since there were going to be eight of us plus a couple of kids I needed something that had at least 10 servings. I didn't get a good picture, I was running late trying to finish the glaze, get it on, plus get changed to go out but at least I got one before we finished it off.

Apple-Cranberry Slab Pie
serves 16

2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
1 c dried cranberries
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1/4 c unsalted butter, cubed
about 3 Tbsp milk
coarse sugar (for sprinkling on top crust)

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
4-5 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease a 15x10 baking sheet. In a large bowl stir together the apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold one pastry sheet. Roll the pastry into a 16x11 inch rectangle and transfer to the baking sheet. Spread the filling over the pastry to within an inch of the edge. Evenly dot the filling with the cubed butter.

Unfold the second pastry sheet and roll into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Place this on top of the filling. Brush the edge of the bottom pastry with milk. Fold the bottom pastry over the top and press to seal with a fork.

Using a sharp knife cut slits in the top pastry. Brush with milk and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

Bake 50-55 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pastry is puffed and golden. If needed to prevent overbrowning cover the edges of the pastry for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

While the pie cools, prepare the icing. In a bowl combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt; add enough milk to reach a drizzling consistency.

Once the pastry has cooled drizzle the frosting over top, slice, and serve.


from inspired by charm

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Maple Scones

Happy New Year! Now that it's almost March. I'm not sure what we've been eating but apparently it's nothing new or good enough to keep. Recently I made two things worth keeping and these scones are one of them. I was looking for something different for breakfast and have a ton of scones pinned over in pinterest. One criteria was that I had to have all the ingredients on hand since I wasn't going to the store before breakfast. While I don't have maple extract on hand, I made these and substituted vanilla. They were excellent! They weren't as crumbly as some scones, they were moist and held together nicely. They'd probably be good even without the glaze.

Maple Scones
makes 6

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3/4 c heavy cream, plus additional for brushing on scones
1/2 tsp vanilla

for glaze:
1 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 to 3 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp maple extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pakig powder, salt, and sugar. Combine heavy cream and vanilla. Drizzle cream mixture over the dry ingredients and stir, using just enough cream so that there is no dry flour on the bottom of the bow. Using your hands finish mixing, pulling the dough together and form into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk about 5 1/2" across and 3/4" thick. Using a knife (or pizza cutter) cut into 6 triangles and transfer to baking sheet. Place about an inch apart. Brush with some cream to help browning. Bake 14-15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool before glazing

For the glaze - in a small bowl combing the powdered sugar, melted butter, 1 tablespoon milk, the maple extract, and salt. Add more milk by the 1/4 teaspoon until the glaze reaches drizzling consistency and drizzle over the scones*. Allow glaze to set for 5 minutes then enjoy!

*a tip for drizzling the scones - put them on a cooling rack with a piece of wax paper underneath to catch all the drips, makes cleaning up much easier

from Baking Mischief

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Musings on the Instantpot

I made chicken jambalaya the other night for dinner. It's one of my favorite one pot dishes but I haven't made it much the last couple of years because Sarah doesn't like it. I think I've already made it twice this fall. It's a really easy recipe, cook the veggies, add the broth, rice, and seasonings, let it cook then add cooked chicken at the end and heat through. Easy.

So as I was cooking it the other night I was thinking that this was a dish I could probably make in my instantpot - sauté the veggies, add the rest of the stuff, cook for some amount of time, add the chicken. But the more I thought about it I began to wonder why? It wouldn't really save me that much time and it's so easy as it is. I think it would save only a few minutes and it would save stirring a couple of times. But is it worth it? I don't think so and this is why I'm not in love with the instantpot.

Except that it makes perfect hard boiled eggs I haven't really found a reason to love my instantpot. I did makes beans again and this time they came out much better. I think it's just a different way of cooking, learning different recipes, and I still haven't put in a concerted effort. The example above of the jambalaya is one case of why I'm not jumping on the bandwagon. Another is a beef and broccoli dish I made. It was good in the instantpot, although I remember thinking it was kind of a pain to sauté the meat, take it out, then put everything in to cook. Another time I was making the same dish, didn't feel like pulling out the instantpot and make it in a skillet. It worked just fine, was just as fast if not faster since the skillet could fit all the meat in it at once. I'm just not sold.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

The perfect fall breakfast, pumpkin flavors in a cinnamon roll. These are easy to make ahead the night before; let them rise in the fridge overnight, then pop in the oven in the morning to finish rising and bake.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
makes 8

For the rolls:
1/4 c warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 c pureed pumpkin
1/4 c white sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp melted butter

For the filling:
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 c brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 c maple syrup

Combine the warm water, yeast, and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir gently just until all the yeast is moistened then set aside for 3-5 minutes. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt and mix until combined.

To the yeast mixture add the pumpkin, egg, sugar, and melted butter. Dump the dry ingredients into the bowl of the mixer on top of the wet ingredients. Using the dough hook, turn the mixer on low to combine the ingredients into a soft, sticky dough. Knead for about 5 minutes; if the dough seems a little too sticky add a bit of flour, up to 1/4 cup.

Remove the dough hook, form the dough into a ball, and return to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm, dry place and let rise for 90 minutes or until it has doubled.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a large square, about 18 by 18 inches. Combing the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Brush the melted butter over the dough then spread the brown sugar mixture over. Roll the dough up gently then slice into 8 equal slices.

Grease a round cake pan with some butter. Drizzle the maple syrup over the bottom of the pan and place the rolls in the pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap to rise.

To bake now - let the rolls rise about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350* and bake 25-30 minutes.

To bake later - place the covered rolls into the fridge. When ready to bake, set the oven to 350* and place the rolls in while it's preheating. Once the oven reaches 350* set the timer for 25-30 minutes.

When the rolls are done turn them out onto a plate for serving, letting the maple syrup drip over the rolls.

modified from The Busy Baker

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries



I found this recipe in Wegman's magazine, the Thanksgiving issue. It looked good and since I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner and we both love squash I thought I'd make it tonight. I don't usually do "fancy" side veggie dishes during the week but this was worth the bit of extra effort. It was easy to make and I cooked the chicken as the same time; one way to ensure all the dishes are ready at the same time. I modified the recipe from Wegman's and now it's one of those "use a bit of this, a handful of that" kind of recipes.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries

1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
1/3 c dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400*. Toss the squash and onion with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Put the squash into a bowl, add spinach and dried cranberries then toss to combine.