Blog Archives

Mmm… Stir Fry Green Beans

DSC_9715 (1600x1060)I always add the green beans to my plate whenever we hit the Chinese buffet that’s located in the same complex that holds the grocery store and the farm goods retailer.  I tell myself I’m going to make them next time I have some fresh beans but I never seem to remember.  I made a point of making them today since I was already set on stir fry.  They aren’t too hard, trim to the size you like and cook them in oil with minced garlic in whatever measure you like.  I added sliced onions to these and cooked them for three or four minutes before adding a splash of water and covering the pan.  Cook for another few minutes, add a slug of oyster sauce and toss to coat.  Cover and reduce the heat until you are ready to plate.  I cut the onions too small this time.DSC_9712 (1600x1060)The main dish was chicken and snow peas in a spicy brown sauce over rice.  Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in soy sauce, minced garlic, a splash of Chinese cooking wine, a few tablespoons of water or stock, a tablespoon of chili garlic paste, and a spoonful of corn starch.  I usually make additional sauce that is similar to the marinade but with more stock and a splash of oyster sauce or sugar to sweeten it a tad.  I find that if I nuke the snow peas for a minute or two in the microwave all they take is another minute in the wok, added with the extra sauce when the chicken is finished.

Tidbits

DSC_9654 (1600x1060)Orange chicken is one of our favorites but for whatever reason we don’t do it that often.  I’ve been getting navel oranges at the local Kroger store that are very good, nice and sweet, so I was disappointed when they didn’t have any the last trip we made.  They did have a sack of regular oranges so I bought those.  Alas, they weren’t as good as the navels, a little too acidic for my taste.  Perfect for cooking, though!  I like RasaMalasia for their take on Asian cuisines and that is where this recipe came from.DSC_9646 (1600x1060)I used chicken breast meat for this one but boneless skinless thigh meat would be great.  I’m using a deep cast iron skillet for this batch, keeping an eye on the temperature with a thermometer.  I kept the temps around 350 for this, and added the chicken a piece at a time so it wouldn’t clump together.  Take the pieces out with a slotted spoon as they reach the color you are looking for and drain them on paper towels.DSC_9647 (1600x1060)While the last of the chicken was frying I started the orange sauce in another pan.  Bring it to a simmer and check the taste, add cornstarch in a slurry if it’s too thin.  Keep an eye on the other pan so you don’t overcook those last few chunks.DSC_9648 (1600x1060)When you are ready to serve, dump the chicken into the pan with the sauce…DSC_9649 (1600x1060)…and flip it a bit to coat everything.  I waited until the rice cooker told me the jasmine rice was ready before I took this step.PICT1540 (1600x1060)And now for a different orange… LOL!  The crittercam caught Ginger Boy trying to sneak up on a Cardinal.  I can assure you no birds were harmed during the making of this wildlife cameo.DSC_9634 (1600x1060)Blueberry muffins!  Google told me that a yellow cake mix would work just fine for these, and Mrs J turned out these after getting the specifics from here.  (ProTip:  these are filled just a wee bit too full.)DSC_9637 (1600x1060)I noticed that the recipe didn’t include any information on the yield.  It definitely makes more than eight, a dozen might be the right number.  The crumble topping was good on these.  We give them two thumbs up!

Chicken

DSC_9518 (1600x1060)Don’t ever ask me what my favorite meat is when I’m eating a nice juicy cheeseburger but at most any other time I’ll answer that with a “hmm… chicken, I guess”.  These are chicken enchiladas with jack cheese in a tomatillo sauce.  Yummy!DSC_9519 (1600x1060)I made some beans to go with them, and added a daub each of guacamole and sour cream.  I like the chips for the crunch they add.DSC_9508 (1600x1060)I ordered in a bucket of duck fat after a search turned up a source that wasn’t asking an arm and a leg for it.  I have the tub broken down into smaller containers and most of it is frozen save for about a half pound in the fridge.  I read all kinds of good things about it and am really looking forward to some turkey leg confit.  I did use a spoonful of it when I browned these thighs and really got a nice color on them.  I braised the thighs in stock and squeezed in the juice of a lemon and added capers at the finish to make a nice lemon sauce.  It was good on the steamed broccoli, too.DSC_9506 (1600x1060)The rice is a box mix that works well for me – Zatarain’s is a good brand.  I really like their wild rice mix.DSC01248 (1600x1060)… and a puppeh!  I love the expression on his little puppy face.  Mrs J says he is a chihuahua terrier mix and was adopted today.  Yay!

We Love Our Gumbo!

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I’m happy enough with how my gumbo turns out that I don’t much use a recipe anymore.  The fellow over at NOLA Cuisine always gets my nod when someone asks for recipes for these sorts of dishes, be sure to take a tour of his place – click on his recipe page for sure.

This one has genuine Louisiana made Andouille sausage and chicken thighs.  (Link goes to a Cajun Grocer’s page.)  I ordered one of their turduckens to have on hand for the upcoming holiday.

Gumbo Pr0n – With Homemade Andouille

DSC_9104 (1600x1060)…and chicken!  I even added some cut okra to this one.

Stuffed Green Peppers

 

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Stuffing for peppers – Photo by JeffreyW

A friend asked me for my recipe for Stuffed Green Peppers. I have a couple of recipes (here and here) and JeffreyW has done several (here and here), but I didn’t have just a simple, traditional recipe on the blog. So here it is. 

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

  • 6 large bell peppers
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    Photo by JeffreyW

  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef (or half beef, half spicy sausage)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 – 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water (or tomato sauce)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan, your choice)

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.

Cut off the top from the peppers (about the top 1/4 inch),  remove seeds and membranes.  

Add peppers to boiling water, remove from heat and let soak 5 minutes.  

Remove stem and then chop pepper tops.  

Brown beef with chopped peppers and onions in skillet.  

Remove whole peppers from water and turn upside down on a paper towel to dry.  

Add tomatoes, spices, rice and water to hamburger mixture, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover until rice is tender (about 15 minutes)  Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and fill whole peppers.

Place in a lightly oiled 8×8 baking dish and top with remaining cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees until cheese if bubbly and golden.

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Cajun Food Pr0n – Gumbo

DSC_9004 (1600x1060)I always send folks to this page when they ask for a gumbo recipe.  It’s for a chicken and sausage gumbo but easily adapts to whatever meat you have on hand.  The pictured gumbo has the chicken and sausage, plus precooked shrimp and crawfish tails that were added just at the end to warm through.

Weekly Dinner Menu: Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

I love tuna steaks. I live in a land-locked state. This is when it’s good to have a relationship with your butcher, because he’ll let you know when some really good tuna arrives.  I don’t make this every often, but enjoy it when I do. It very simple. I’ve also grilled it instead of pan-searing, which adds a depth of flavor. Remember to preheat the grill and oil the grate well before placing steaks on to cook.

On the board tonight:

  1. Seared Ginger Tuna
  2. Rice*
  3. Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Tossed Salad
  5. Sliced Apples w/Caramel dipping sauce

Seared Ginger Tuna

  • 4-4oz tuna steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. While pan is preheating, rub tuna with 1 tbsp lemon juice, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, and remove from pan. This will cook it rare (it will be cool pink in the center). Remove and place on serving platter. Turn heat down to medium and add remaining lemon juice & the rest of ingredients to pan and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 papaya, cut in small cubes
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste

serving bowl

Combine all & stir well.  I know it’s called salsa, but it’s a nice fruity side, or serve it over the rice. Serves 4

*Rice:  Change things up a bit and try a different style of rice – Jasmine, Aborio, Basmati or Brown rice, each one brings its own flavors.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb tuna steaks
  • 1 small fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 papaya
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (enough for 1 cup)
  • 1 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salad fixings of your choice
  • 4 apples
  • Caramel Dip

Also: olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes

Originally posted September 2009

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Too Hot To Cook: Polynesian Ribs Dinner Menu

Polynesian Ribs 3a

It’s been much too hot to cook over the last two weeks and with the fairly consistent afternoon showers, grilling is out. So I pulled out the slow-cooker and have been making some nice main courses. I had a craving for a roasted chicken (can you imagine?! It’s 101 degrees out and I want to roast something!), so I put thighs (bone-in, skin on) in the slow-cooker, on high, with some seasoning and in 4 hours had nicely ‘roasted’ chicken. Served with a fresh salad and tomato slices.

After that, I decided that a slow-cooker meal would be a nice idea for this week’s dinner menu. This one is full of exotic flavors and fresh vegetables. I put green beans on the menu, but whatever catches your eye in the garden or farm stand would do just as well.

And if you have peaches available, use them instead of tropical fruit cocktail.

On the board tonight:

  1. Island Ribs
  2.  Marinate overnight, Slow-Cooker
  3. Pineapple Pilaf
  4. Green Beans
  5. Tropical Fruit w/coconut and ginger ale 

Island Ribs

Slow-Cooker

  • 5-6 lbs pork ribs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 to 3 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes (opt)

Slow-Cooker

Night before, rub salt and sugar on pork ribs and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, put ½ cup water in slow-cooker along with ribs.  Mix together remaining ingredients and pour onto ribs.  Cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually 8-10 hours on low) until meat is tender and pulls from the bone.

Note: Depending on your slow-cooker size, you may have to cut the ribs into sections that fit.

Pineapple Pilaf

  • 1 cup rice
  • drained pineapple juice and enough water to make 2 cups
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, drained

saucepan, skillet

Add rice and liquid to saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until all water is absorbed.

Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, walnuts, raisins, salt & ginger; cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until onions are tender. Add rice and pineapple; stir and heat thoroughly. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Tropical Fruit w/coconut and ginger ale – drain fruit then toss with ginger ale and coconut.

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Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Dinner Menu: Chicken Satay and Spring Rolls

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I LOVE spring rolls and they are so easy to make. And you can fill them with a variety of items, so use the recipe below as a starting point, but let your imagination run wild. This recipe is simple but full of flavor. It’s quick and you can buy shredded carrots and shredded lettuce to save even more time. When you pound the chicken, it’s easiest if you place the meat between two pieces of plastic wrap, then pound flat. This keeps things neat and avoids tearing the chicken as it gets thinner. This is also a good recipe to experiment with rice varieties.

I have a sudden trip out of town this week, so I don’t think there will be a recipe exchange on Friday unless I find a quiet moment later in the week. But as the weather has begun to warm up, I find my desire to cook returning, so that’s some good news!

On the board tonight:

  1. Thai Chicken Satay
  2. Rice
  3. Thai Spring Rolls
  4. Pineapple rings w/vanilla yogurt

Thai Chicken Satay

I usually make my own simple peanut sauce – peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice and a touch of hot sauce.

  • 2 boneless breasts
  • 4 boneless thighs (or 2 breasts)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp peanut sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • peanut sauce for dipping

bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least 10 minutes), broiler

Pound chicken flat and combine with remaining ingredients, except dipping sauce, and mix well. Marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.  Remove chicken from marinade and cut into 1-inch strips. Thread onto skewers, one piece per skewers and broil or grill, about 5 minutes, until cooked through, the thinner they’re pounded, the quicker they will cook. Turn once to ensure they are evenly cooked. Serve with extra peanut sauce and rice.

Thai Spring Rolls

  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (or white wine vinegar)
  • 8 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 ½ cup shredded leaf lettuce
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

bowl, plate

Mix together fish sauce and garlic. In a bowl of cold water (I actually use a large, deep sided plate), soak 1 wrapper, until limp. Lay out flat on a plate, add 1/8 of each of the ingredients, in order, then drizzle with fish sauce mixture.  Fold ends up and roll like a burrito.  Moisten seam, press close and set seam side down on plate.  Repeat for all wrappers.  Cover with a moist paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve, with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

Mix together:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or fish sauce or rice vinegar)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or more as desired)

Shopping List:

  • bamboo skewers
  • 2 boneless breasts
  • 4 boneless thighs (or 2 breasts)
  •  toasted sesame oil
  •  peanut sauce
  • 8 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium carrot

Also: soy sauce, white wine vinegar, sugar, ground ginger, fish sauce, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice

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