Friday, March 30, 2012

Lemon Pepper Shrimp

I was a little worried that Randal wouldn't like these lemon pepper shrimp as he usually only likes shrimp if they are fried and served with tartar sauce, but he actually really liked this, we both did!

1 lb medium shrimp
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
1 lemon, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoons course ground black pepper

Place the 1/2 cup of cornstarch into a plastic bag, add the shrimnp and let sit for 5minutes.

Heat the cup of vegetable oil in a wok, add the shrimp and fry for about 4 or 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove shrimp and discard the oil.

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok, add the garlic, ginger and sliced lemon and stir fry for a minute. Add the soy sauce, combine 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3/4 cup of water and add to the wok. Add the brown sugar, lemon juice and black pepper, cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat, add the shrimp and coat in the sauce, serve immediately.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cream Cheese Pastries

I made these for breakfast on Randal's birthday. I found the recipe over at Laura in the kitchen, and while they don't taste exactly like real danishes, they are a really quick and easy alternative that I definitely would make again if I didn't want to spend days making the real thing!

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sour cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest in a bowl and mix together.

Roll out the puff pastry sheet so it's a little thinner, cut into 4 squares and place the filling in the center of each square.

Beat the egg with a little water and brush the edges of each square of pastry with the egg wash, pinch together 2 opposite corners, place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash, bake for 20 minutes, dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Randal saw a picture of this cake on my pinterest recipe board a few weeks ago and asked if I would make it one day, so he made the decision of what birthday cake to make him this year very easy!

There are quite a few steps to making this cake from Hungry Happenings, but they are not difficult at all, it just takes some time to get all the layers made.

Chocolate Cake
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 inch springform pan.

Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. In a heat proof bowl combine the butter and chocolate and melt over the double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the egg yolks and vanilla.

Whisk egg whites and salt for a minute, add 1/2 of the brown sugar and whisk until combined. Add the rest of the brown sugar and whisk to soft peaks

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Leave to cool for at least an hour.

Chocolate Mousse
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 egg yolks

Whisk the whipping cream to soft peaks. Set aside. In a medium bowl melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water.

In a small saucepan add the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl, slowly add a third of the simple syrup, once combined and the rest of the sugar water.

Combine egg mixture with melted chocolate. Once combined you will need to heat the chocolate mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds, because adding the egg mixture makes the chocolate seize up. Then add one third of the whipped cream and whisk until well incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream, and pour mousse over the chocolate cake layer. Spread evenly over top then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Raspberry Mousse
16 oz raspberries
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pour water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom.

Put raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the raspberries have broken down and come to a boil. Strain the raspberries through a sieve into a bowl. Discard solids and put the raspberry juice back into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the juice reduces to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Put white chocolate into a bowl and pour the raspberry juice over chocolate, leave for a few minutes then stir until melted and smooth.

Whisk cream to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour over the chocolate mousse layer and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge, Eat At Home

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

These bacon wrapped potatoes from The Kitchn are so easy to make and are a really good appetizer served with a spicy sour cream sauce.

Red potatoes
Thick cut bacon (I used peppered bacon)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 400.

Slice the potatoes into same size pieces, add to a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, season with salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked through.

Drain the potatoes, season with salt and pepper.

Slice bacon into thirds, wrap each potato with a slice of the bacon, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, flip the potatoes over and bake for another 15 minutes.

Mix the sour cream and hot sauce together and serve with the potatoes.

Linked to: Eat At Home

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spanish hamburgers and potato salad

Tuesday: Lemon pepper shrimp and fried rice

Wednesday: Crockpot cheesy chicken and rice

Thursday: BLT's and tomato soup

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Crash Hot Potatoes

I have been making these potatoes from the The Pioneer Woman for a long time, but I have never posted them. I made these to go with the beef wellingtons and even though I didn't smash these as well as I normally do, they still turned out delicious.

Small red potatoes
Fresh rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and as many potatoes as you need. Cook until tender.

Place the cooked potatoes on a baking sheet that has been drizzled with olive oil, using a potato masher smash each potato and drizzle with olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary and salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes.

Individual Beef Wellingtons

I have wanted to make these for Randal for quite a while, and I thought his birthday week would be a great time to do just that. These are not the traditional beef wellingtons, there is no pate or mushrooms in these as both of those would have ruined this meal for Randal. Instead I cooked a red onion with a little balsamic and added that to the wellingtons in place of the mushrooms. This might look like a complicated meal to make, but it's actually very quick and easy to prepare.

1 sheet puff pastry
2 small filet mignon
1 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 egg
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for anotherminute. Remove onions from pan and set aside.

Season the filets with salt and pepper, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat and sear the steaks for a minute or two on each side, just until browned.

On a floured surface roll out the pastry until it is just a little thinner, then cut the pastry into 4 squares. For 2 wellingtons you will only need 2 of the squares, so set aside the remaining pastry.

In the center of each square place half of the onion mixture, brush the filets with mustard and place ontop of the onions. Beat the egg with a little water and brush the edges of each square of pastry with the egg wash, and seal the pastry around the beef.

Place the wellingtons seam side down on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Ham and Cheese Croissants

I had some puff pastry leftover from making the individual beef wellingtons, which I will be posting next, and I remembered seeing these ham and cheese croissants over at Laura in the kitchen. These were the perfect thing to make with the leftover pastry, I had everything I needed in the fridge and they are quick to make and really good.

1 sheet of puff pastry (makes 8)
Ham slices
Cheese slices
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Roll out the puff pastry sheet so it's a little thinner than it is coming out of the box. Cut the pastry into 4 equal squares, and then cut each square into two triangles.

Take any kind of ham and cheese you would like and fold a piece of each onto the largest end of the triangle.

Beat the egg with a little water to make an egg wash, and brush the edges of each triangle with it. Roll the pastry ending with the seam side down.

Brush with the egg wash and season the top of each pastry with salt and pepper and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coronation Chicken

Coronation chicken is a cold, curried chicken dish that was created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll in 1953. There seems to be so many versions of this British classic, some more complicated than others, but my version is quick and easy, with the addition of dried cherries. If you have never tried coronation chicken I really recommend this one, it's so delicious and Randal and I are addicted to it, we have served it in little phyllo cups for an appetizer or on crunchy bread for sandwiches.

3 chicken breasts
1 onion
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup hot mango chutney
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Curry powder (I like the penzeys sweet curry powder)
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 bayleaf
2 tbsp chicken soup base
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water with the bayleaf and chicken soup base to a boil, rub chicken with some of the sweet curry powder and add to the pot of water, poach chicken for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pot and leave to cool.

Finely dice the onion, add a little olive oil to a pan and cook the onion with the tsp of tumeric and a tsp of the curry powder until the onion is soft. Leave to cool.

Mix together the mayo, mango chutney, and apricot preserves, and a tablespoon or two of the curry powder.

Dice the chicken into a large bowl, add the onions, the sauce and the dried cherries, combine well and season with salt and pepper.

Linked to:  The Grocery Cart Challenge, Gooseberry Patch

Cheese and Chicken Stuffed Peppers

I have had this recipe saved for a long time, mostly because one of the stuffing ingredients is stouffers corn souffle, which Randal loves.

4 bell peppers
1 box of stouffers corn souffle (thawed)
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, diced
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp taco seasoning
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375

Cut peppers in half and remove seeds

Combine all other ingredients in a bowl, except for 1 cup of the shredded cheese

Fill each pepper with mixture, bake for 25 minutes, top with remaining cheese and bake for 5 minutes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It's Randal's birthday at the end of the week, so I am making a few meals that he loves, like the coronation chicken, beef wellington and the appetizers for dinner.

Monday: Coronation chicken sandwiches, fruit salad

Tuesday: Individual beef wellingtons, rudy's creamed corn, rosemary roasted potatoes

Wednesday: Tamale chicken pie

Thursday: Mango chutney short ribs, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday: Appetizers for dinner - Steak phyllo cups, tapas burgers, bacon wrapped potatoes with spicy sour cream sauce, bacon wrapped jalapenos

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Stuffed peppers and salad

Tuesday: Chili rellenos casserole

Wednesday: Sausage stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Thursday: Chicken fettuccini alfredo and salad

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread

I wanted to make garlic bread to go with the lasagna, and after a quick search I found this cheesy garlic bread over at Laura in the kitchen and I am so glad I made this, it really couldn't be easier and it is so delicious.

1 loaf of italian bread
5 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded provolone

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a blender puree the garlic, parsley and olive oil.

Split the bread in half and spoon the garlic and parsley oil all over the inside of the bread, put the bread back together and wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove from the oven, lay the bread cut side open and sprinkle over both the mozzarella and provolone cheese, bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Pioneer Woman's Lasagna

Being English I prefer my lasagna to be made with a bechamel sauce, Randal likes lasagna made with cream cheese (his favourite lasagna is made by his friend Kelly, who was the first one to introduce him to the idea of cream cheese with pasta dishes, and now he has cream cheese with pretty much any italian meal we make) and neither one of us care for ricotta much at all. This lasagna is made with a mixture of beef and hot breakfast sausage and a lot of cottage cheese. I really thought that I would be okay with this and Randal would eat it but not really like it that much because of the cottage and parmesan cheeses. I was so wrong, Randal LOVED this, even took a big portion to work today for his lunch, and I really didn't like it that much. I really do not like the sausage flavour in this or the spice from the hot sausage, and I really missed the smooth creaminess that the bechamel brings to lasagna, but I do blame my English tastes for me not liking this, I think most people would love it. The only changes I made to The Pioneer Woman's recipe was that I used half a pound each of mozzerella and provolone, rather than just all mozzerella.

1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 lb hot breakfast sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 ounce) whole tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounce) tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
1 box lasagna noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In a large pan brown beef and saussage, drain fat, add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, the basil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 45 minutes.

In a bowl combine the beaten eggs, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons of parsley and 1 teaspoon of salt, mix together.

Once the water comes to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and add the lasagna noodles, cook for 10 minutes.

To assemble the lasagna, place a layer of noodles on the bottom of a baking pan, put half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over noodles, cover that with the mozzerella cheese and add a third of the meat mixture on top of the cheese. Repeat the layers, this time adding provolone instead of the mozzerella and sprinkle a generous amount of parmesan over the top of the last meat layer.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Pioneer Woman's Lasagna with salad and cheesy garlic bread

Tuesday: Enchilada casserole (didn't make last week)

Wednesday: Chicken tikka masala, jasmine rice

Thursday: Leftover lasagna

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Rudy's Creamed Corn

As soon as I saw this recipe over at Bluebonnets & Brownies I knew I had to make this for Randal. Every time we eat at Rudy's BBQ he orders the creamed corn, and always comments that he wished we could make it at home. The end result was very close to Rudy's corn, but Randal thought it was a little bland, but he always wants his food spicy. The original recipe uses 4 lbs of corn, but I halved the recipe because we really didn't need 4 lbs of creamed corn!

2 lbs frozen sweet corn
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place everything into a slow cooker and heat on low for four hours.

Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole

Yet another Pinterest recipe! last week I was looking for really simple and quick meals, and had Randalpick a few from my Pinterest page. After the first bite of this I didn't think I liked it very much, but by the end of dinner I was quite happy with it. Randal actually liked this quite a lot and said he would be happy to have this again, but with a bit of spice next time.

1 large can refrigerated crescent rolls (8 rolls)
1 can cream of chicken soup
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄3 cup onion , finely chopped
2 large cooked chicken breasts , finely chopped
¾ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon seasoning salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 -2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter a casserole dish large enough to hold the 8 rolls.

In a saucepan, mix cream, 3/4 cup grated cheese and chicken soup, heat just until the cheese melts.

To make the filling - in a bowl, mix the soft cream cheese with butter until smooth, then add in garlic powder, chicken, onion (I cooked the onion in a little butter before adding it to the filling, because I hate raw onion, and wanted to make sure it would be fully cooked) and cheddar cheese, the 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, season to taste and mix until combined.

Unroll the crescent rolls and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture in the middle of each crescent triangle, then roll up.

Add a small amount of soup mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish, place the crescent rolls seam-side down and pour the remaining sauce on top and top with 1-2 cups of grated cheese, bake for 30 minutes.