Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spicy plum chicken, baked potatoes and salad

Tuesday: Fish and chips

Wednesday: BLTs with curried butternut squash soup

Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner

Friday: Thanksgiving leftovers

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Red chicken curry with butternut squash

Tuesday: Lasagna rolls

Wednesday: BLTs with tomato and basil soup

Thursday: Herb roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pineapple-Coconut Jasmine Rice

Randal and I eat curries quite frequently, but sometimes I just get bored of the same old plain jasmine rice, so over time I ended up making our perfect rice for curry and now Randal wants this every time I make a curry. It is really quite simple but it's so delicious and we just love it, I always keep a bag of Trader Joes frozen pineapple tidbits in the freezer for this recipe alone.

2 cups jasmine rice
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp pilau rice seasoning
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk
1 cup pineapple chunks
3 cups water

In a large frying pan melt the coconut oil over high heat.  Add the rice and fry until the rice turns white.  Add in the nigella seeds, pilau rice seasoning and salt and add 3 cups of boiling water, pineapple and the coconut milk.  Stir to combine everything, cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pineapple-Black Bean Guacamole

I love guacamole, but I really wanted to make something a little different his time. In the past I have made a mango guacamole which is probably my favourite guacamole, this time though I thought I would try making it with pineapple and I used a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

2 medium Avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
 In a large bowl mash avocados. Stir in salsa and sour cream until combined. Stir in pineapple, beans, jalapeno, onion cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and cumin. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until ready to serve.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cuban Sandwiches

I love Cuban sandwiches, but I have never made them at home before and knowing there was little chance that I would find actual Cuban bread here in Houston, I bought panini bread from Central Market that worked out great for these sandwiches.

Panini bread
Roast pork, sliced
Ham, sliced
Swiss cheese, sliced
Pickle slices

Slice the bread open, spread mustard on both sides of bread.  Place a layer of pork on the bread, followed by a layer of ham, then swiss cheese and finally pickles.  Close the sandwich and spread a thin layer of butter on one side.  Place in a heated pan and use something heavy to help press down the sandwich, once the bottom has browned flip the sandwich over and brown the other side.

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Cuban Pork Roast

When I bought this pork roast I had intended to make the cranberry pork that Randal loves, however on a whim I thought I would try making a Cuban pork roast, with the intention of using some of the leftovers for Cuban sandwiches. I knew that McCormick had a Cuban seasoning but I looked in multiple stores and I couldn't find it, so I looked up the ingredients in their seasoning and decided to just try making my own. I really wasn't sure how this would turn out, but we both absolutely loved this, Randal said it was the best roast pork I had ever made and even after finishing off this huge roast over a few days he wants to know when I am making it again.

Pork roast
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp adobo seasoning
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice

In a small bowl combine the cumin, oregano, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, adobo, salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering.  Add half of the seasoning mix and cook for 30 seconds or so.  Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then add the orange juice and lime juice.  Put back on the heat and cook for 5 minutes.  Leave to cool.

Season the pork with the remaining seasoning mix, place into a large ziploc bag and pour over half of the marinade.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Cook the roast at 350 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, brushing with the remaining marinade every 45 minutes.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Bbq brisket, baked potatoes and corn

Tuesday: Beef and ale stew

Wednesday: Chicken tikka with coconut pineapple jasmine rice

Thursday: Spag bol and garlic bread

Friday:Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Cooking on the Ranch. Lea Ann blogs from Denver and has a really great blog filled with such lovely photographs of her recipes.  I decided early on that I wanted to make her jalapeno bacon cheese ball, but at the last minute I changed my mind because I knew that Randal would prefer the Lemon Zucchini Bread and I love anything with lemon anyway, and it was just as delicious as we thought it would be!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add the oil and sugar and mix together.  Add the buttermilk, lemon zest and juice.  Add in the zucchini and then add to the dry ingredients, mix well.  Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until cooked through.  Let cool completely

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

In a small bowl mix the sugar and juice together, pour over the loaf and leave to set. 
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Hot Milk Cupcakes

This was one of the cupcake recipes I tested out for the United Way bake sale. These look quite plain because I was just testing the recipe, but we loved the end result I just had to put them on the blog. I found this recipe over at Sweet revelations a long time ago, these cupcakes are so light and moist and I topped them with just a simple vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 plumped vanilla bean
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
10 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liner.
In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until thick and lemon coloured.  Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture has thickened.  Add in the vanilla extract and the flour and mix just to combine.

In a small pan heat the milk with the vanilla bean and butter until simmering.  Remove the vanilla bean and gradually add the hot milk to the batter.

Fill each liner 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until cooked through.

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 plumped vanilla bean
pinch of salt

To make the frosting, put a few inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the egg whites and sugar into a bowl that will fit over the pan of water and whick until it reaches 150 degrees and the sugar has all melted. Transfer mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until the bowl feels cold (this can take up to 10 minutes) add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, then add the scraped vanilla and salt.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

I love lamb burgers, Randal prefers more traditional hamburgers but I still make myself delicious burgers like these, and just freeze the remaining patties for another time.  I usually would make a mint and feta lamb burger, but thought I would try something different this time.  

1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a food processor combine the currants, pine nuts, shallot, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Process until it forms a coarse paste.

Place the currant mixture into a large bowl, add the lamb and mix together well.  Form into four patties.  Grill burgers for 5 minutes each side.

I served mine on an onion roll as that's my favourite roll for any burger, topped with some tzatziki sauce and lots of fresh mint.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

I absolutely love black forest cake, Randal not so much, so when I told him I was planning on trying out some black forest cupcakes he was less than thrilled. I have made lots of new cupcakes recently when I was testing recipes for the bake sale, nothing surprised me more though, than Randal saying that these were his favourite.

I made my favourite chocolate cake recipe, and filled the center with a cherry filling I found at specialty baking store in Houston (regular cherry pie filling would work just the same) and for frosting I went with a sweetened whipped cream that Randal made for me, I took half of the cream and added some of the cherry filling to create a swirled frosting.

Chocolate Cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Cherry filling

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes, in a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes.

Once the cupcakes have cooled remove the center of each cupcake, fill with cherry filling and cut the bottom off the cone of cake and place the top back on the cupcake.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the cream, tartar, vanilla and icing sugar until stiff.  remove half the cream to a large bowl and fold in 1/4 cup of the cherry filling. Fill a piping bag with the frosting, filling one side with the cherry cream and one side with the plain.  Frost each cupcake and top with some grated 72% valrhona chocolate.

The first time I made these cupcakes I tried using those split piping bags that are specifically made for swirled frosting.  I do not know what I was doing wrong but they just did not work for me.  Filling a standard bag a spoon at a time on each side works so much better!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baked Potato Soup

Randal suggested making this last weekend when discussing the menu plan for the week. I was quite surprised as I have never made this before and baked potato soup isn't usually something that Randal eats that often.  Considering this was my first time making this we both really enjoyed it.

3 large baking potatoes
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chicken soup base
1/2 tsp thyme
5 tbsp butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
2 spring onions, sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wash and dry the potatoes, bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Lower the oven temp to 375 and continue baking for 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked through.  Set aside to cool.

In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan.  Add the onion and leek to the bacon fat and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Add in the chicken soup base and dried thyme, stir together then add the butter.  Once the butter has melted add the flour and let cook out for a few minutes before slowly whisking in the milk.  Add in the cheese.

Cut the baked potatoes in half and scoop out the potato and add it to the soup. Add in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 20 minutes before serving.  Top each bowl with the cooked bacon, spring onions and some additional cheese.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Baked potato soup

Tuesday: Cuban roast pork with twice baked potatoes

Wednesday: Mango chicken curry with bombay potatoes

Thursday: Cuban sandwiches

Friday: Tacos with black bean and pineapple guacamole

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie