Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sweetfire Chicken

Randal loves the sweetfire chicken from Panda Express, so I found a similar recipe online and wanted to see if Randal would like it. I was really concerned that this was going to be too spicy when I was making it, but once it was all put together it wasn't that hot at all.

1 lb chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
3/4cup cornstarch
1 red jalapeno, diced
12 oz pineapple chunks, undrained
1/3 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Dip chicken in beaten egg, then roll in cornstarch. Fry chicken chunks until golden brown in vegetable oil, set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of oil over high heat, add the jalapeno and pineapple chunks and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the chili sauce and cook for another few minutes.  Add the chicken chunks to the sauce, leave to cook for just a few minutes to make sure the chicken is heated through, serve with rice.

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Vanilla Bean Belgian Waffles with Whipped Cream and Strawberries

I bought Randal a waffle maker for Christmas last year, and this was one of the first waffles I tried making. I obviously need more practice because they are not pretty waffles, but they did taste good!

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
2 pints strawberries, stemmed, cored and sliced
7 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
In a small pan heat the milk over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the vanilla into the milk, add the pod and let stand for 1 hour.
In a medium bowl mix together the sliced strawberries and 4 tablespoons of the sugar, leave for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Preheat a Belgian waffle maker.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks.
Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, and place the milk into a medium bowl, slowly whisk in the egg yolks and butter.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, pour in the milk mixture and gently fold in the egg whites.
Ladle the batter into the waffle maker, 3/4 cup per waffle. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.  Top with the strawberries and whipped cream.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Macaroni Salad

I have never made macaroni salad before, but Randal loves it and I needed something to go with the ribs I was making, and it turned out to be a good side dish and we both enjoyed it.

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb macaroni, cooked and drained
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Mix together the mayo, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add in the macaroni and the chopped vegetables, mix well and refrigerate until needed.

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Sticky Orange Ribs

I am always looking for new rib recipes because Randal loves ribs so much, and any recipe that adds other interesting things to the traditional bbq sauce is great for me, as I'm just not a fan of bbq sauce.  These ribs from Heather Likes Food were really good, and you definitely taste the orange, and we both really enjoyed them.
1 rack baby back ribs
1 1/2 tbsp steak seasoning
1 tsp salt
2 cups orange soda 
3/4 cup bbq sauce
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1 tsp hot sauce
Preheat oven to 275
Cut the ribs into 3 sections, season with the steak seasoning and salt and place into a large baking dish.  Pour over the orange soda, cover with foil and bake for 3 hours, until tender.
To make the sauce, combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate and hot sauce in a small pan, bring to a boil.
Place the ribs on a foil lined baking sheet, brush on the sauce and broil for 5 minutes.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Herbed Chicken and Dumplings

I finally made a chicken and dumplings recipe that I really liked. I've not had the best luck in the past, but I really loved this herbed chicken and dumplings.

3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
I onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cups milk, divided
1/2 stick butter
1 cup bisquick
3/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pan.  Add the diced onion and cook until softened, add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir together. Add the chicken broth, one cup of the milk and all of the dried herbs except the parsley, stir together.

Add in the cubed chicken and the frozen vegetables, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the bisquick and dried parsley, mix in the remaining 1/3 cup of milk, mix until smooth.  Drop the dumpling mixture onto the chicken and let cook for 10 minutes uncovered, then another 10 minutes covered.
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Amish Chicken

I found this chicken recipe on Pinterest.  I have no idea what makes it Amish, that's just what it was called. I was looking for something new to do with chicken thighs as I usually just make herb roasted chicken, and I thought this recipe looked really good, and it did actually taste great, however Randal wished the skin was more crispy as he is used to the crispy skin on the herb roasted chicken.

3 lbs chicken thighs
½ cup flour
½ tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Coat chicken things in the flour mixture, place in a large baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, turning once, or until cooked through.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Cornbread Salad

I got this recipe from my friend Allison.  I had never heard of cornbread salad, but I knew Randal would love it.  I actually lost the recipe that Allison gave me, but I remembered enough of it that a quick search showed that you can pretty much add anything you would like to this salad, so I went with Randal's favourites such as bacon, corn, jalapenos and bell peppers.  I also halved the recipe as most seemed to use 2 boxes of cornbread mix and I knew we didn't need to make that much.

1 box Jiffy cornbread
4 slices bacon, cooked
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup canned corn

Make the cornbread per package instructions, leave to cool.

Crumble the cooked cornbread into a large bowl.  Chop the cooked bacon and add to the cornbread, along with the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and canned corn.  Add enough mayonnaise to bind all the ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.
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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Herbed chicken and dumplings

Tuesday: Sticky orange ribs and macaroni salad

Wednesday: Sweet fire chicken and jasmine rice

Thursday:  Spag bol and salad

Friday: Eating out
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scotch Broth

This soup just tastes like home to me, although it is a traditional Scottish soup.  I made it with beef because I had a lot of pot roast leftover, but this would be just as good if not better with lamb.

600g leftover roast beef or lamb         
1 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
olive oil
3 litres beef stock
1 small swede, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
80 g pearl barley
salt and ground white pepper

Put the leek, celery, onions and carrots into a large saucepan, add a splash of olive oil and sweat them on a low heat for about 20 minutes, until they are softened and starting to sweeten. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Add the swede, potato and pearl barley, then simmer slowly for a further 50 minutes.

Take the pot off the hob and whisk the broth quite hard to break down some of the potato and bind the soup together. Stir in the pieces of beef and season well with salt and white pepper.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tempura Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Pineapple Ginger Sauce

Randal loves sweet and sour pork, anytime we go to a Chinese restaurant that is what he will order, so I wanted to make this tempura pork from Rock Recipes because I knew that he would love it.  I have to say that this recipe turned out even better than I thought it would, the tempura batter was the best I have ever made and the sauce was so good.

Tempura Batter
2 eggs
2 cups ice water
¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups flour
Pineapple Ginger Sauce
1 ½ cups fresh pineapple
¼ cup finely chopped red pepper
1 ½ cups pineapple juice
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cracked black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tsp corn starch
¼ cup cold water
1 pork tenderloin
To make the tempura, whisk together all the ingredients and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
To make the pineapple ginger sauce, add the pineapple, red pepper and pineapple juice to a medium saucepan, add in the vinegar, ginger, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.  Dissolve corn starch in the water and slowly add to the sauce, stirring constantly, cook for another minute.
Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan to 325 degrees.  Season the pork with salt and pepper, dip into the tempura batter and drop into the hot oil until light golden brown. Serve with pineapple ginger sauce.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Grilled pork tenderloin with coconut curry sauce, jasmine rice and peas

Tuesday: Chicken with lemon sage sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans (still haven't made this)

Wednesday: Southwestern cottage pie and corn

Thursday:  Pastitsio and salad

Friday: Eating out
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Burgundy Pot Roast

If I make pot roast I usually always make pepsi pot roast, but I really wanted to try something new. This burgundy pot roast from Rock Recipes looked really good to me because it looked like an English Sunday roast, with parsnips, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.

4 lb chuck roast
1  lb  carrots
1 lb parsnip
1 large onion, quartered

3 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups burgundy wine
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
6 springs fresh thyme
3 cloves minced garlic

Season  the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan and brown the roast on all sides, then place in the bottom of a crockpot.  Add the peeled carrots and parsnips, the quartered onion, the beef stock, wine, worcester sauce, thyme, garlic, bay leaves and pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yorkshire Puddings

This year I really want to make more of an effort to make more traditional English food. Maybe it's because this May it will be 10 years since I left England for good, but I definitely feel less English as the years go by, my accent is so confused these days, it really is a mix of southern English and American and I have to make an effort to say things the English way and I don't like it. 

Anyway, these Yorkshire puddings were so good, I can't remember the last time I had them (probably the last time my Mum visited, 3 years ago) and they are so quick and easy to make, but like everything else it's been too easy to let go of all my English favourites and traditions, but I really am going to try to make more of an effort this year.

150 grams plain flour
313 ml milk
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, add the egg to the well and mix together.  Set aside for an hour.  Add half a teaspoon of oil to a muffin pan and put the tin into a 450 degree oven until the oil is very hot.  Removed from the oven, fill the muffin pan half way with batter and bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and crisp.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Visitation Cakes

Today is the first Secret Recipe Club reveal of 2013.  This month I was assigned the blog Heavenly Treats and Treasures,  after searching through all of the recipes I kept going back to the visitation cakes as they looked so good and I definitely prefer cakes that aren't overly sweet and without lots of frosting.  I had never heard of visitation cakes before, but they originated in the convent of a community of French nuns called the Sisters of the Visitation.

I ended up having to make these with blackberries, because I spent 2 weeks searching for raspberries as the recipe calls for, but just couldn't find any.  These worked just fine with blackberries but I do think we would have preferred them with raspberries just because we like those better than blackberries. 

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup blanched almonds, finely ground
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Zest of one lemon
Blackberries (or raspberries)

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a mini muffin pan.

Put the butter in a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Continue cooking the butter until it colors lightly. Set aside.

Put the almonds, icing sugar, and egg whites in the same saucepan and place over low heat, stirring constantly, until they are just warm, about 100 degrees.

Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the flour. Fold in the butter, extracts and lemon zest.

Fill the pan 3/4 full, top each cake with a fresh blackberry and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown.  Leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Scotch broth

Tuesday: Chicken with lemon sage sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans (didn't make this last week)

Wednesday: Lasagna and salad

Thursday:  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday: Breakfast spaghetti
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

One of the presents Randal got me for Christmas, was the Baked: New Frontiers In Baking cookbook.  After flipping through it I immediately had to make these crispy peanut butter bars.  I loved the look of them in the book and I had everything on hand to make them, and I loved that they were a rice crispy bar that did not use marshmallows.

Crispy Crust:
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer:
5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Chocolate Icing:
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread (actually, I found it easier to just roll it around until it coated smoothly, avoiding the risk of picking up any of the peanut butter layer with it) into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.

Cut into 9 squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

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Linked to: A Pinch of Joy, Addicted to Recipes, I Should Be Mopping The Floor,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Texas ranch soup, chips and queso

Tuesday: Pineapple and coconut chicken curry, jasmine rice

Wednesday: Burgundy pot roast with roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding

Thursday:  Tempura pork medallions with pineapple ginger sauce and jasmine rice

Friday: Chicken with lemon sage sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie