Monday, January 31, 2011

Sugared Cranberries

If you've never tried one, cranberries straight up are pretty sour and tart. While I am not really a fan of cranberry anything, I knew other people would be and I thought these would be a nice snack to have before Christmas dinner. These cranberries are super simple to make, requiring only a few ingredients and a little prior planning. The result is a festive, sparkly snack that is still a little tart, but balanced nicely with the sugar.

Sugared Cranberries
Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Cooking Light

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar processed for 30 seconds in a food processor)

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat, being careful not to boil or the cranberries will pop when added.  Stir in the cranberries, then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Drain the syrup from the cranberries, reserving liquid if desired.  Place the superfine sugar in a shallow dish, and add the cranberries.  Stir lightly to coat completely, then transfer the cranberries in a single layer to a baking sheet.  Allow to dry at least one hour before serving.

Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to one week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp

I tend to think that shrimp tastes the best when flavored with lemon and garlic, so this dish did not disappoint. As an accompaniment to a steak and lobster New Years Eve dinner, I actually didn't have enough room to eat as much shrimp as I would have liked. No real worries though, the flavor goes a long way in this dish. Even though it's highly unhealthy, my favorite part of this dish was using crusty bread to sop up all the melted butter yumminess hiding under the shrimp!

*Note, I halved the original recipe, making enough for 4 people

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Source: The Pioneer Woman


1 pound Raw Shrimp, Deveined, Shells On

1 stick Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 cloves Garlic, Peeled

1/8 cup Fresh Parsley

1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 of a Lemon, Juiced


Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles evenly over the shrimp.

Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly, roughly 10 minutes.

Serve shrimp and melted butter with hot crusty bread.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chinese Egg Rolls

 I like to think I have made it through this pregnancy so far without many cravings. However, one thing had been on my mind for weeks.......egg rolls! Since we are trying to cut back on frivolous spending (but really, are pregnancy cravings frivolous?!?) I decided to attempt making my own egg rolls. The actual assembly of the egg rolls was no big deal, but believe it or not this was my first attempt (ever) at frying food! I have a number of recipes saved that keep getting pushed back because they require frying and I have always been intimidated by the idea of frying food. What kind of oil do I use? What do I do with the leftover oil? How can I attempt to eat healthier if I'm frying food?

Well, I tried my hand at frying, and the results were amazing. Granted not healthy, but the perfect item to satisfy the craving and I can now say I accomplished something new in the kitchen.

If you decide to make these, I recommend reading the Egg Roll rules from the original blogger, Steamy Kitchen. This was so helpful to me, and includes step by step pictures. As you can see from my picture compared to her's, I could not find the correct wrappers and just went with the refrigerated wrappers found by the produce, resulting in the big bubbles when fried:/ While I still found them tasty, next time I may try harder to find the recommended wrappers. These are a bit time consuming, but one batch makes enough to freeze so you can have egg rolls at your disposal anytime:)

Chinese Egg Rolls
Source: Steamy Kitchen


50 Spring/Egg Roll Wrappers (about 2 packages), defrosted unopened at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight
Water, for sealing edges
Oil, for frying

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
½ head of cabbage (about 11 ounces)
3 carrots, shredded
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried black mushrooms soaked overnight), stems discarded
1 tablespoon cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper


1. To make the filling, combine the ingredients for the ground pork together. Marinate at least 10 minutes. In the meantime, shred the cabbage and the carrots using your food processor or by hand. Slice the mushrooms into very thin strips (or you could use your food processer and pulse a few times to get a fine dice.)

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, push the meat to one side of the pan. Add the garlic, cabbage, carrots, ginger and the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the vegetables are softened. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute. Scoop out the filling to a baking sheet and spread out to cool. Prop up one end of the baking sheet so that it tilts, allowing all the moisture to drain to one end. Let cool for 15 minutes.

3. Discard all of the accumulated juices. Use paper towels to blot the filling to rid of extra oil or juice. Now, you're ready to wrap (see photos from Steamy Kitchen for instructions on how to wrap). IMPORTANT: Only use 1 heaping tablespoon of filling for each egg roll, the width of the egg roll should only be 1.25" diameter.

Keep the rolled egg rolls in neat, single layer and covered with a damp paper towel to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep wrappers also covered with damp paper towel to prevent drying. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to fry or freeze.

4. To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or pot with 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) or until a cube of bread will fry to golden brown within 10 seconds. Gently slide in or lower the egg rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 1½ minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.

NOTE: To fry frozen egg rolls, do not defrost the egg rolls – just add them to the oil frozen, frying 4 to 6 at a time. Add an additional 1½ minutes to the frying time since they are frozen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Muffins that taste like donuts=genius! I made these way back in October while visiting my sister and her family in Dubai. We actually ended up making them twice, one batch for us and one batch to take to Mason's school bake sale. Mason was my little sous chef! I got the ingredients ready and he did all the batter mixing, filled the muffin tins, watched them bake, dipped the muffins in butter and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. He was quite the helper and I think he was pretty proud of himself.

These muffins come together in a flash and truly taste like a donut. I actually forgot about them for awhile, but I think I need to make them again soon.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
Source: Bella's Bistro, originally from Tasty Kitchen

1 3/4C. Flour
1 1/2t. Baking Powder
1/2t. Salt
1/2t. Nutmeg
1/2t. Cinnamon
1/3C. Vegetable Oil
3/4C. White Sugar
1 Egg
3/4C. Milk

For the topping:
1/4C. Butter
1/3C. White Sugar
1T. Cinnamon

In small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In large bowl combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add the dry ingredients and stir only to combine.

Bake in well-greased muffin tin, at 350 degrees, for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl.  Combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake muffins out while still hot.  Dip muffin tops in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix.  Let cool.

Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is a winter staple, but when I am not sick it is not something I have cravings for. When I had turkey leftover from Thanksgiving I wanted soup, but nothing traditional. And then one day this soup magically appeared in my google reader and all was right in the world.

This soup is an awesome take on chicken noodle soup. It is a bit spicy, but the flavor is amazing. This soup also comes together in a flash, especially if you use leftover chicken/turkey, but that's certainly not a requirement! I also added in frozen, shelled edamame to incorporate some veggies. I can't wait to make this again!

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Source: adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures, originally adapted from America's Test Kitchen

6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (substitute 2 Tbls white wine and pinch of sugar if don't have mirin)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce (or to taste depending on your preferred spice/heat level)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 (3 ounce) packages of dried ramen noodles
1/2-1 cup frozen, shelled edamame (optional)
3 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (I omitted)
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)

Bring broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and chili garlic sauce to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the cut up chicken breasts to the pot and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through.

Open the packages of ramen noodles and discard the seasoning packet included. Place the dried ramen noodles and edamame into the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just about cooked. Stir in the scallions and cilantro and serve in bowls. Garnish each bowl additional fresh cilantro leaves and a drizzle of 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. If you like things on the spicy side, sprinkle a few red pepper flakes for garnish.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Carmelized Chipotle Chicken

I was not expecting to like this meal as much as I did. Traditional barbecue flavors are not something I am drawn too, however the smokey, spicy flavor of this chicken was surprisingly delicious. If you've never tried chipotles in adobo sauce I encourage you to try this recipe. The chipotles give off a smokey flavor with quite a bit of heat, but the flavor is mellowed out by the additional ingredients. I served this with simple basmati rice which also helped tame the spicy flavors.

While this dish has a couple steps and may appear time consuming, it is not all hands-on so you have the ability to get other things done while sauce simmers/chicken bakes.

Caramelized Chipotle Chicken
Source: Pink Parsley, adapted from Gourmet, September 2009
  • 1.5 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion until golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450.

Add the garlic and remaining ingredients, up to chicken, to skillet. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and continue cooking until sauce is slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Reserve half of sauce and set aside. Add chicken to skillet and coat chicken with remaining sauce in pan. Bake chicken 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with reserved sauce; continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, 10-15 minutes.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce

A very simple and healthy meal that takes no time at all on a busy weeknight. These pork chops have a lot of flavor and were great served with simple buttered egg noodles.

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce
Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 pork chops, 1 inch thick, trimmed of visible fat
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fat free/low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon)
In a large saute pan heat the butter over moderately low heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium, add the chops to the pan and sauté for 7 minutes. Flip and cook until pork chops are browned and done to medium, about 7-8 minutes longer. Remove the pork chops and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and boil until it reduces to 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, herbs, and 1/8 tsp pepper. To serve, spoon sauce evenly over pork chops.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

Just like Hamburger Helper, but better because you know all the ingredients. This meal is comforting, easy and delicious. We went through a phase where we made it quite often because of its simplicity, and it is a great meal for Andy to tackle when I am working late.

Creamy Taco Mac
 Source: Delish

1.25 lbs ground turkey
8 oz dry pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp mild taco seasoning
3 oz cream cheese*
1/2 cup sour cream *
salt & pepper
cheddar cheese (optional)
*you can successfully use low fat versions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions, reserving one cup of pasta water.
Over medium heat, brown ground turkey and drain any excess liquid. Add taco seasoning and diced tomatoes; simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until cheeses melt and all is incorporated.  Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm back! (hopefully)

I cannot believe it has been 6 months since my last post. Since July I have finished my internship, graduated, been asked to stay on as an Associate therapist, and traveled to Dubai. Oh yeah, and I've been baking up a little man in my belly:) Now that life is settled down for awhile, I am hoping I can get back into posting about my adventures in the kitchen. In the hopes of getting back into things, the next few posts may be shorter on commentary!