What’s for dinner? Crockpot Stew

Lately, I’ve been really loving my crockpot.
I use it about once a week and it’s wonderful!
I think they are great because they are affordable, they cook while you are at work, and they are easy to use!

I purchase my 5.5 QT crockpot for $25 at Target.
It’s very easy to use (Off, Low, High, Warm) functions.
It’s the perfect size for 2 people +  you get some tasty leftovers.


Beef Stew Recipe
*Mostly you can chop up any vegetables and meat you want, pour in some broth and a pinch of spices.
Afterwards you can just leave and voila! It’s done when you come back. It’s a amazing!

This recipe is a collaboration of many different recipes I’ve looked at and what works for us.
I own a 5.5QT crockpot (medium size) so please adjust to your pot size.
Ingredient do shrink some in the pot but don’t overflow it.

Ingredients
2 Cans of Beef Broth
1-2 roma tomatoes
3 stalks of celery  (celery branch?)
3 russet potatoes
1 onion
1 cup of baby carrots
1 pepper
1 pound of beef roast (cubed)
Minced some garlic
Salt, Pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, Chili Sauce
Fresh Rosemary & Thyme – when available

As I said before this is just what I buy and what I have ready.
Basically any stew like vegetable works, it’s just experimenting.

1) First off make sure everything is washed and cleaned including the crockpot
2) Cut up all the vegetables / meat to bite size pieces (1in)
3) Put the food in the pot, make sure to leave 2 in room at the top
4) Pour in 1.5 cans of beef broth + 3 cups of water
5) Mix in 1 teaspoon  salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon of chili sauce (spicy), 2 teaspoons of worchester
6) Pinch up some garlic, rosemary & thyme
7) Stir mixture
8) Turn dial (6 hours cook time – choose High) ( 12 hrs cook time – choose Low)
9) Leave
10) If you feel the broth is evaporating too fast, add  1-2 cups water to the pot

Yep and it turns into this yummy stew/soup.
I like mine with biscuits and food coma 🙂
I like to prepare this the ***NIGHT BEFORE*** consumption and turn it on in the morning.

Mascarpone Fruit Pots – a summer delight!

I wish it was summer already! The weather is quite on the fritz. One moment it’s gloomy and rainy then another moment we are in submerged in a bliss of clear skies and sunshine. Though I can’t really complain because at least we are almost there.

So first off, this was my first time using mascarpone cheese. I actually had to hit up a few grocery stores and call a few friends to hunt down the stuff. I’m so glad that’s it’s in my life because it’s so freakin’ delicious!

Mascarpone can be made from whipping cream.
I bought mine at Whole Foods Market for around $6 a tub.
I found was sold in the refrigerated aisles.


I found this recipe in one of my magazines and I immediately tore it out as I had to make it.
Ha that’s the beauty of magazines I don’t even feel guilty about it and I’m so glad I did. 🙂


Recipe
Serves 4
(feel free to use other fruit, fresh fruit is the best, just not acidic fruit)
2-3 Mangoes
Raspberries – one carton, 8 oz
Mascarpone 6 oz
Heavy whipping cream – 1 pint
Powdered sugar – 2 table spoons
Lemon zest, optional flavoring + zesting tool recommended





Instructions:
Zest the lemon peel, about 2 teaspoon
Wash & Cut the fruit into bite size pieces
Mash half the carton of raspberries with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Using a mixer whip the 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream with the mascarpone cheese into frosting like texture
* Feel free to add more heavy whipping cream until desired texture is received
Place the cream mixture into individual size cups
Layer on the fruit to preference
Sprinkle on lemon zest
Chill for 1 hr in fridge
Serve! 🙂

My Dad’s Famous Spicy Fried Rice (Easy!)



Ingredients
3 cups of day old Jasmine rice
16 oz of frozen vegetables (DO NOT THAW)
2 Chinese Sausages
2-3 slices of thick ham
soy sauce
sweet & sour sauce
salt
pepper
rooster spicy chili sauce
green onions
minced garlic
cooking oil
large frying pan
* You can make this recipe without meat or without spice, adjust as needed *

Preparation
Old Rice is Best!
Make the rice a day ahead to give it stiffness or use less water when preparing
Dice green onion & garlic
Remove the skin off the Chinese sausage
Dice into small pieces the ham & sausage
Do not thaw the vegetables

Information
5-6 servings
difficulty – easy
prep time – 10 min
cook time – 20 min

[How to make My Dad’s Famous Spicy Fried Rice]
1 min – Heat Pot on High
1 min – Add 2 tablespoons of oil
1 min – Add garlic & green onions until aroma appears
2 min – Stir in diced ham and Chinese sausages
2 min – Add 2 teaspoons salt, sprinkle pepper – (to taste)
Remove meat from pan into separate bowl

2 min – 2 tablespoons of oil + stir 16oz frozen vegetables
2 min – Mix vegetables, meat, and rice
6 min – stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rooster spicy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of sweet & sour sauce

~ Enjoy!

Verdict – Deliciousness!

Recipe – Learning how to make Chinese Stir Fry Nian Gao

During the winter holiday, I went back to Minnesota and my mother taught me how to make stir-fry nian gao (rice cakes)
It’s one of my favorite dishes because I love the chewy texture of the noodles.

Nian Gao
Is a flat noodle that’s made from glutinous rice. It’s usually white, molded flat shape and in this recipe needs to be re-hydrated. (1 day ahead preparation)

This dish is very affordable, easy to make and delicious!

Ingredients
2 skinless chicken breasts
bok choy
nian gao (rice cakes – dried package / rehydrate)
Kikkoman soy sauce
Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce
corn starch, salt, sugar, oil
stirring device, skillet pan

Level – Easy
Time – 45 min (including prep time)
You will need to soak the nian gao noodles the NIGHT before

Prep

[Chicken]
Cut the chicken into long strips
Soak to color  in a mixture of Kikkoman soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch, 1 teaspoon of salt

[Bok Choy]
Separate
Rinse/Wash the vegetable

[Nian Gao]
Soak noodles in water for approx 1 day

Steps
For Each Component – Meat – Vegetable – Noodle cook separately*
This recipe is easy to do for both vegetarians and meat eaters.
Also the meat and vegetables can be substitute for any other variation according to your preferences.

1. Heat Pan with Oil


2. Thoroughly cook meat in the pan until tender and not pink, remove

3.  Stir fry bok choy in pan with oil and sprinkling of salt. Cook until vegetables shrink in size and are malleable, remove

4. Cook the nian gao noodles until they become softer in texture and will stick together or appear sticky
5. Add Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce (approx 2 tablespoons) basically color the noodles to light brown
6. Add Meat + Vegetable + Nian Gao + Pinch of Salt & Sugar = Mix

Ta Da! You have achieved it!

The most cumbersome part is that it’s best to cook everything separately for stronger flavors and then combine it in the end. You can also have 2 pans going at the same time to cut cooking time.

Yummy! Yummy! Chicken Cacciatore

For the recipe please check out Pioneer Woman’s website, linked here!

Hi Everyone!
I’m back with a lovely and delicious chicken recipe. I’ve been gone for awhile due to work and summer biking. Oh in my next post I’ll show you my new burgundy cruiser named Rusty. It’s amazing and old-school style bike. Anyways, I can’t believe summer is almost gone and everywhere is preparing for the Fall season. Heck no! I’m not ready for  the end of summer.

No fear, this weekend I will be heading back to my hometown to take full advantage of summer. Woot! Woot! Minnesota! Here I come! ^_^

Ok now to the good stuff!!!

First off, this chicken cacciatore is freakin’ delicious! However, I would say this is “intermediate” recipe and if you haven’t fried anything before I would recommend having someone assist you with this recipe. In my case, it was Max’s mom because I am horrid at preparing chicken. If you are skilled cook, this should be a walk in the park. =)

Ingredients (see above link for specific amts)
Chicken with “skin” on > used for more flavor!
Onions, Peppers, Mushroom, Tomatoes, Garlic
Black Pepper, Salt, Tumeric, Olive Oil, Butter
White Flour
a Splash of White Wine
a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese
Pasta…yes lots of pasta!
a large 9 X 12 cooking pan
Parsley *optional
Tin Foil * easy cleanup

Remember to cook & drain your pasta a la dente
*** Start preheating your oven to 350 F so it will be ready when you are ***


Oh yes flour and brown your chicken in a deep pan.
It may seem gross but keep the chicken skin on. When it browns the flavor increases and really delicious in the final product. However if it’s too fatty you can always just keep some on for flavor but not all.

Watch out as frying can be dangerous! Sometimes the oil will splash out or pop.
So be cautious while approaching this step.

Umm yummy veggies! I love how beautiful the colors of the vegetables are. It really spices up the dish and makes it more aesthetically appealing. After you  lightly stir fry these vegetables, they will be further cooked in the oven.  However, this step does speed up the process and ensures everything is cooked.

The baking in this recipe…makes this quite a long recipe. After you cook the pasta, dice the vegetables, flour & brown the chicken, stir fry everything with a splash of wine and finally scoop it all into tin foiled enrobed pan for the oven. Keep the liquid from the pan as sauce!

I believe it cooks and simmers in the oven 350 F for 45 min and then 375 for 15 min.
This is really builds up the flavor and brings the dish together.

[Note] By this point everything should technically be cooked at least once before you put it in the oven. Thus you don’t need to worry to much about the baking.

When it’s done you can do a extra step of separating out the liquids and re-cooking it to a gravy – like sauce. By this time, I had personally skipped this step due to hunger.

Then pour the chicken cacciatore over some pasta, sprinkle Parmesan cheese, a pinch of parsley and you are ready to go! ^_^

Recipe: Pig Cake (mandarin orange and pineapple)

To Find this original recipe click here (Pioneer Woman Recipe)

Ingredients for Pig Cake
FOR THE CAKE:
1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick Margarine (softened)
1 can (14 Oz. Can) Mandarin Oranges, Drained, 1/2 Cup Juice Reserved
4 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
_____
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 package (4 Oz. Box) Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 can (20 Oz. Can) Crushed Pineapple, Juice Reserved
½ cups Powdered Sugar
4 ounces, fluid Frozen Whipped Topping (such As Cool Whip)
Extra Mandarin Orange Slices, For Garnish

First off, I do not know why it’s called Pig Cake. Actually Pioneer Woman doesn’t know either. That’s just what is it called. No if you eat it you will not turn into a pig. But it is really easy and delicious cake. I think it’s very similar to light fruit cakes that they sell at asian bakeries. It’s not overly sweet which I like. I think as Ree says it would be a great potluck cake or just a treat to eat during the summer. I would definitely make this cake again. {Note} Don’t skimp on the fruits because that’s what makes it so yummy!

Directions: Preheat Oven 350 degrees ( cook 30 min)

First to create the cake: combine cake mix, margarine, .5c of mandarin orange juice, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until mixed.

Mandarin Orange (measured & drained)

Add in the mandarin oranges to the cake mixture. [Note] Don’t over mix and beat them. I think I did this and it was difficult to taste the fruit flavor. I think just gently mix it in and keep it kind of chunky pieces (1/3 size).


Pour it into a pan. You can either use pam spray, flour or like I have down with tin foil. Tin foil is a blessing for cleanup.
Put it into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 min.


Oh la la! I really loved how golden brown the cake turned out. Make sure your cake is thoroughly cooked by piercing the cake in the middle. If your chopstick/utensil/toothpick comes out clean then it’s good to go. Wait for your cake to cool before adding topping.

Cool Whip Topping Deliciousness!!!
Are you ready to make the cake a lot better?




Add pudding package + powder sugar + 1 can of pineapples = mix it up (add all the crushed pineapples!)


Add the whip cream into the mixture. I found that one tub of the cool whip is a bit much. It appears when you put on the cake that it’s a lot of topping. However, the topping is delicious and the cake is deep so I think 1 tub is necessary.


Garnish your cake…I added the remaining mandarin oranges. I love this cake, yummy! It’s not sweet but refreshing!

Recipe: Inside Out Hamburgers

Sorted Food on Youtube Recipe Here

Ingredients
1 1/4th lb ground beef
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
handful of parsley
dollop of French mustard
chunk of Horseradish / Garlic cheese
ciabatta bun
1 fresh tomato
crisp lettuce leaves
mayonnaise (optional)

preheat the oven to 392°.

peel
the onion and garlic (if using) and grate it to a pulp.
cut a the cheese into a thumb-sized chunk.


pound the meat with the salt, pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and mustard to mix well.


form onto 4 heaps of meat and mold into burger shapes.
poke a hole into the center and stuff in the cheese.
squeeze over the top to seal the cheese in.


fry the burger in a hot pan to get a good brown color on both sides then transfer the pan to the oven (make sure it doesn’t have a plastic handle).


cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the burger is cooked right through and the cheese has melted.


prepare the salad ingredients, slice the bun and lightly toast.


smear the bun with mayo, stack up the salad and top with the burger.
balance on the lid, holding together with a skewer if necessary and tuck in.

serves 4

Verdict: Fattening but delicious!

Step by Step Photos: Pineapple Zucchini Cake

I can’t seem to be able to stop raving about this delicious cake that I found on PW’s Tasty’s Kitchen website. It seems everyone else who has tried it loves it too. Don’t let the frosting deceive you, this is a well-balance, flavorful and delicious cake.

You can find the link to the original recipe here.
However I have my “tweaks” to the recipe that I found where quite useful and simpler.

Recipe makes (1) 9 X 13 pan of delicious, awesomeness called Pineapple Zucchini Cake.
Taste it and it will forever change your mind about how vegetables don’t mix with cake. ^_^ Trust me.

Difficult: Medium (due to the intense need to drain the veggies/fruit)
Time: 2 hours (includes prep + cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour (This is my change, it makes it less liquidy)
  • 1-¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Grated (unpeeled) Zucchini (approx 3 vegetables = DRAINED)
  • 1 (20 Oz.) Can Crushed Pineapple In Juice, Drained(reserve juice for frosting -see below )FROSTING
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 8 Ounces Low-fat Cream Cheese, Softened (can Use Full-fat Cream Cheese)
  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Approx.
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Splash of  Pineapple Juice, (for taste)Tools
  • 9 X 12 baking pan
  • Tin Foil or Oil Spray for pan
  • Measuring cups and spoon
  • Mixer, Mixing Bowls
  • Grater
  • Paper towels
  • Strainer


Mix the dry cake ingredient together (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon)


Add in oil, eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees!



Wash zucchini and begin the grating process! You want it to look similar to shredded carrot consistency. Then squeeze them to get rid of the excess zucchini juice and I’d recommend using a paper towel to dry them and remove more liquid.


Open your can of crushed pineapples, I’d recommend a strainer to remove excess juice. Keep the excess juice for later use in the frosting to give it more flavor.
(Nina… make sure to tell your mom to skip the salting the pineapples! ^^)


Mix the zucchini & pineapple into the cake batter mixture and mix!


It should look a bit thicker but similar to regular cake batter. If it’s too dry add some pineapple juice but it’s too wet add more flour.

You can either using a cooking non-stick spray or tin foil for nonstick / easier pan clean up. Basically pour mixture into pan as seen above. Put it in your already pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 33-35 minutes. When time is up, use a utensil and poke a hole through the middle of the cake. If the tool comes out clean then it’s good to eat. If not keep it in the oven a bit longer.


Lookie how beautiful that pineapple and zucchini cake looks fresh from the oven.
It smells Divine! I almost just want to eat like this!

Step 2: Let’s frost this baby!
I think the frosting despite being quite sweet by itself is a great touch to this cake. Don’t worry the cream cheese give it enough uhmph! but not too much sugar to be over-whelming.


Put in your butter,  powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Butter should be softened!
(either leave it out for a bit or cautiously microwave)


Mix it and taste it! If you think it’s needing a bit more flavor add in a splash of your left over pineapple juice. A splash is like 1/4th or 1/3rd of cup of juice. Not too much!

Bam! You got one hella good cake! If you are bringing for a party or an event. You can add some shredded coconut or sprinkles to make it more lively. But that’s completely optional. I think it’s great cake and even has veggies in it! Yum! Yum! Yum! It’s also quite unusual so I’m sure you’ll be the buzz around town. ^_^

Alex’s Mexican Cornbread Casserole Recipe (picture heavy)

Our friend Alex had brought this dish to one of our weekly Sunday Night Dinners and it was such a hit! It’s a  dish that is easy to assemble, has relatively “normal” ingredients, and is really, really good. Perfect for a potluck, rainy day or just  a pick me up.  (5 stars!)

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cornbread mix
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 1/4 ounces packaged taco seasoning
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can rotel
  • 2 ears corn on the cob, boiled and cut off the cob
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can creamed corn

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/mexican-cornbread-casserole-246529#ixzz1Ihs8FIz5










Ta da and it’s done! If I can do it, you can do it too ^_^

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”~Robin Williams (lemonade recipe)

First step is to locate a lemon tree…

Second step is to pick up ripe looking fruit…

Third step is to clean them and cut them in half
Fourth Step is to juice them, then add sugar & water

****** ^_^ Lastly, enjoy with  lots of sunshine and good company! ❤ ********