Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ginger Flank Steak & Oyster Sauce Stir-Fry

Ginger Flank Steak and Oyster Sauce Stir-Fry

  1. 1 1/4 pounds flank steak, very thinly sliced
  2. 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  3. 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  4. 1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
  5. 1 tbsp brown sugar I've used splenda before, if you're wanting a healthier option
  6. 2 tsp toasted Asian sesame oil
  7. 2 tbsp water, plus 1/3 cup water
  8. 1 tsp cornstarch
  9. 2 tbsp peanut or sesame oil, divided
  10. 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into small florets I cut mine into large florets, go for small!
  11. 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  12. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  13. 1 tbsp ginger, minced and peeled
  14. 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • In a medium bowl, combine beef slices and soy sauce. Marinate beef at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. In a small cup, whisk oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar, dark sesame oil, and 2 tbsp water. Whisk in cornstarch to form a thick paste. Mine did not create a thick paste, it was still very liquidy, no problem.
  • Warm 1 tbsp peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add beef and cook about 2 minutes, stirring often. Beef will be browned but not cooked through. Transfer beef to a large bowl.
  • Warm same skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add 1/3 cup water, cover pan and cook 2 minutes, until broccoli is tender crisp. Transfer to plate with beef.
  • Warm remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil in same skillet, over medium heat. Add pepper strips and cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add garlic and ginger and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant, stirring constantly. Return beef, broccoli and any juices in the bowl to the skillet. Add oyster sauce mixture and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and beef and vegetables are coated. Transfer to platter and serve over rice. Garnish with scallions.
VERDICT: Grant and I both give it a 4/5

Grant and I both liked this dish. It was really good. Grant's suggestion is more sauce next time. He's a saucy guy! So, I would double the sauce recipe next time, and add a titch more cornstarch to thicken it. I also thought of adding Hoisin sauce next time, that would probably help thicken it as well as give it that extra punch of flavor! yum!

One thought.... you know how some foods are ever better as leftovers? well, this is NOT that dish. While it was really delicious the night I cooked it, it was not so good as leftovers the next day for lunch. So, if you're thinking that you're going to make extra for leftovers, spare yourselves!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weekend Food

Last weekend... we had good food!

We went to Tehachapi Saturday night and spent a night out on the town!
Las Palmas for dinner and District 9 at the Hitching Post Theatre.
Great Night!
Las Palmas has amazing salsa! Really good! We all know that salsa is such an important part of a Mexican restaurant!

The rest of the weekend, Grant and I ate more good food.
Last Thursday I made Kraft Mac n Cheese... nothing beats a properly made bowl of Kraft Mac n Cheese!

     Then Saturday morning before we went to Tehachapi, I made breakfast for Grant and I! We love the Jimmy Dean Skillet Breakfasts! So good! Sausage is the best one! Super easy to make, one skillet meal! I, of course, add extra seasonings, like red pepper. I add a little milk to the eggs to help em' fluff before adding them to the skillet. Then I added some cheese and sour cream to the top. I also made some of Grant's childhood favorites: the cheese dog roll up thingy. You take the Pillsbury crescent rolls, place a hot dog on top, slice the hot dog open and put cheese inside the dog. Then roll the dog up, bake it at 350 for approx. 12 minutes. Super good too!

     While at Tehachapi, Ron and Betty Barker told us that we just had to go to the bakery and get some fresh bread, upon asking the gal what the best was, she said the 6 grain, so we purchased it. I have to admit I was a little skeptical... it looked like some healthy piece of bread... but! It was really really good! I made some Chicken Salad Sandwiches for dinner when we returned home on Sunday night. I grilled the chicken on Saturday before we left, and shredded it up. Then all i had to do on Sunday was add Mayo, chopped celery, cranberries, salt and pepper, and chopped fresh taragon! It was really good. And I served it with some Macaroni Salad!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taco Soup

  • This recipe is so amazing! I love it with every fiber of my being!

  • Hopefully you will think it just as delicious!
  • There are many recipes out there like it.... this one... is FABULOUS!
  • If you're looking for a quick, easy, scrumptious meal, pick this one!
  • I usually make two batches, so I double everything, but to make it easy, I'll list it for one batch, and depending on how much you want to make, you can decide if you want to double it. I'm thinking it serves about 5-6 people maybe... one batch.

Taco Soup 

  1. 1 lb ground meat (I usually use ground beef, but we've used ground turkey and ground chicken before.... all are good. Sometimes we'll use a pound of each if we are making a double batch!)
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 1 can each of corn, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans (or any type of beans you want!)
  4. 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  5. 1 small can of diced green chiles
  6. 1 pkg each of taco seasoning mix, and ranch seasoning mix (And don't go for the knock-off brand on these... I've tasted knock-off brand Taco Soup... not as good... definite difference... it's a pkg of seasoning mix... spring for the $1.29 package.... you'll be thankful!)
  • ALSO REMEMBER, if you are making a double batch, be sure to get double packets of the seasoning mix.... I've forgotten to do that... trust me, you don't want to make that mistake... the Ranch does wonders, you don't want to miss out on that!
  • Optional, but definitely worth it: Sour Cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla strips.
  • Saute the onions and ground meat together. Drain.
  • I like to season my meat before adding to the soup, so I put my meat back into the pan and season it with some of the spices that are in the taco seasoning mix. They are spices you probably already have in your cabinet. I use Paprika, Cumin, Garlic Powder, salt and pepper, maybe a little cayenne if you'd like. Let the meat cook for a few minutes after you season it so it will absorb all the flavors... nothing is worse than flavorless meat! nothing!
  • To a large stock pot, add the meat and onions, then open all your cans of vegetables, with juices, and empty them in the pot (I chose to add a can of crushed tomatoes to this recipe, so I didn't use the juice from the canned corn, and substituted the crushed tomatoes instead). Pour both seasoning packets into the pot and stir.

  • Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer on low for however long you want! I try to let it simmer for at least an hour!

Pour soup in a bowl, top with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheese, and some tortilla strips! MASTERPIECE!

VERDICT: 4.5/5
Grant said that this would have been better had i added tortilla strips to it, I reminded him that I opted to save a little money by not purchasing the tortilla strips, and he liked my decision... so not bad! point is: it's great! He even opted for seconds!

This soup is soooo delicious! You MUST try it!
I've tried a soup like it with olives in it, I'm not a huge olive fan anymore, but if you like olives, you might want to add them to this soup and see if it sparks your taste buds even more!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rosemary Chicken Breasts, Brown Butter and Balsamic Ravioli, and Steamed Broccoli


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, just enough to coat the chicken lightly

2 tbsp evoo

2 stems of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic


Salt and pepper

1 pkg fresh ravioli (12-16 oz), any flavor

3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 handfulls grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped



(It is not in the recipe, but I pounded the chicken breasts so that they would cook more evenly!)

Marinate the chicken: coat the chicken in balsamic vinegar, then evoo. Season the chicken with rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Start the ravioli: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and drop ravioli in water. Cook 6-8 minutes or until raviolis expand and float to top of water and are al dente. Drain.

(After I drained the ravioli, I filled the pot with about 1/2 cup water and added the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and allow the broccoli to steam on low for 10 minutes, stirring a few times.)

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts. (The recipe does not say to oil the pan... I'm assuming because you marinate the chicken in evoo, however, I found that the chicken burned this way, so I would spray the pan with cooking spray before adding the chicken!) Cook chicken until juices run clear, 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally. The balsamic vinegar will produce a deep brown, sweet finish on the chicken as it cooks.

When the chicken has cooked midway, 5-6 minutes, start to prepare butter for ravioli: to a cold skillet, add butter and turn on medium heat. Let the butter brown. If you start with a cold pan, the butter should be lightly browned by the time it comes to a bubble. When the butter for the ravioli has browned, add the cooked ravioli to the pan and turn in butter to heat through. Add balsamin vinegar to the ravioli and cook 1-2 minutes longer to reduce the vinegar and glaze the ravioli. The vinegar will become think and syruplike. Add the cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

(Be careful when adding the ravioli, I walked away to attend to the parsley and the ravioli started to crisp up a bit.... which it turned out we ended up liking, but you might not, so just watch your heat level carefully).

Slice cooked chicken on an angle and serve with ravioli and broccoli.

VERDICT: We both give it a 3/5

Grant thought the chicken was okay... from what he said, it seems like he didn't like the balsamic vinegar part.

He thought the pasta was okay as well... again, the balsamic vinegar. He likes creamier sauces he said. We decided that with mozzarella cheese instead of Parmesan it would be better.

He said the broccoli tasted like broccoli.... which is good I guess... I know I didn't ruin the broccoli!

I enjoyed the whole dinner... I thought the pasta was really yummy! It was different though, a different sauce unlike anything I've ever had... but it was good different.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Rachel Ray "Get Stuffed" Menu
Originally set to serve 4, but I adjusted the recipe for 2 people.

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Wax Paper
  • 1 Pkg. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 12 small mushroom caps
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallot (onion), sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (I used Fat Free)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • toothpicks
  • 3 tbsp evoo

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used cooking wine, you can find it in the dressing/vinegar aisle)
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Place chicken between two large pieces of wax paper and pound the chicken from the center outward using a heavy bottomed skillet or mallet.

Place spinach in a kitchen towel (I used paper towels) and wring it out until very dry. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.

Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat, when hot, add the 2 tbsp butter, mushrooms, garlic and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse grind the mushrooms. Add to the spinach in the mixing bowl. Add ricotta, grated cheese, and nutmeg and combine.

Return skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Place a mound of stuffing on each chicken breast and roll the breast over the stuffing (I added a bit too much stuffing, almost a cup, so depending on the size of your chicken breasts I would go with 1/2 cup of stuffing). Secure with toothpicks. Add 3 tbsp evoo to the pan, add the chicken and brown on all sides, 10-12 minutes. The meat will cook quickly because it is thin. Remocve the stuffed chicken to a warm platter.

To make the sauce, add the 2 tbsp butter and flour to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Then, whisk in the wine and cook to reduce, 1 minute. (The mixture got VERY thick at this part for me, sort of pasty) Whisk in the broth and return chicken to the pan. (I let the sauce simmer for a few minutes before adding the chicken back into the pan) Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve. Serve the stuffed chicken breasts whole, or slice on an angle and fan out on dinner plates. Top with generous spoonfuls of the sauce.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1 small to medium zucchini
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese or Romano.
Put a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta. When water boils, add salt and pasta. Cook according to package directions. (I cooked whole wheat pasta for 8 minutes)

(After I took the chicken out of the pan, I started the water boiling for the pasta, and after I added the chicken broth to the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes, I began preparing the zucchini)

Meanwhile, pile up 2-3 paper towels on a work surface. Using a box grater, hold the zucchini at an angle and shred onto the towel.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat (the heat level depends upon your stove, my stove is hot so I needed to turn the heat down to low/medium. You DO NOT want to burn the garlic).
Add the evoo, and then the garlic. When the garlic sizzles, after 30 seconds or so, add the shredded zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 7 - 10 minutes. Add hot, drained pasta to the pan, and toss with zucchini. Add a couple of handfuls of grated cheese, and adjust seasoning and serve. (Grant added Tony Chachere's creole seasoning to the pasta for flavor)

I really enjoyed the dinner. I thought the pasta was great, the cheesy chunks were fabulous, the sauce was soooo good with the chicken! I was very grateful that I did not cut the quantity of sauce when I cut the recipe in half. However, Grant thought the pasta was just okay. The zucchini was too much for him towards the end. He suggested adding some red pepper flakes next time.

He also suggested adding red pepper flakes to the chicken, of which he did enjoy.

When asked what else he would enjoy stuffed in the chicken, he responded with cheese and bacon... so next time, I will have to switch things up. And maybe I'll try a cheese sauce with it, because you can never have too much cheese! Or Alfredo... mmmmM!