Easy Zucchini Bread

August 26, 2010

Who doesn’t have access to great zucchini in the summer? As expected, we found a couple of beautiful zucchinis in our CSA share a couple of weeks.  As soon as I saw them, I knew that I wanted to make them into bread. While I really enjoyed this Zucchini Bread’s recipe from Heidi Swanson, I wanted something a little bit quicker, and it’s always good to have a quick go-to recipe for your busy summers. Happy eating!

Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups of shredded zucchini, squeezed (~2 medium)
2 large eggs
1/3 cups of flavorless oil + 2 tbsp of unsweetened apple sauce
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1-1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour (or if you use all purpose flour, omit the apple sauce)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1/4 cup raisins, optional (I used craisins)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease bottom of 8-1/2 X 4-1/2 X 2-1/2 inches pan. Mix the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, do not over-mix.

Bake for 50-60 min (I would start checking at 40 min to make sure that it is not over-baked).

Yield: 1 8×3-inch loaf

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Easy Turkey Sloppy Joe

March 6, 2010

I got into thinking that I haven’t had sloppy joes in a very long time; probably almost four to five years ago. This dish is very simple to put together, can be modified pretty easily and has great leftover! Why don’t I make this more often? I don’t normally use ground beef in my cooking; but this recipe can easily be modified to use ground beef if you prefer. If you want yours to be more chunky, you can have cut up beef instead of ground. And finally, if you want more veggies, feel free to add chopped green peppers or celeries. See… how easy can this get? Happy cooking!

Blissfully Delicious Original

Ingredients
2 lb of ground turkey
2 cups of ketchup
4 tbsp of yellow mustard
4 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups of minced onion
2 tbsp of garlic
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of crushed red pepper
2 cups of water

Directions
Brown the ground turkey along with minced onion, garlic, and water. Season them with salt and pepper.

When the ground turkey is halfway browned, add the rest of the ingredients, mix together. Let is simmer for about an hour, until it thickens.

Serve on toasted hamburger or other favorite buns.

Yield: 6-8 servings


Cookie Dough Truffles

February 11, 2010

I saw this recipe a couple of months ago, and knew right away that I had to make them! Who could resist the old-fashioned flavor of cookie dough, dipped in chocolate? What can potentially go wrong with that combination? Nothing! What makes this perfect is that it uses condensed milk instead of raw egg yolks, therefore, it is truly convenient. Another bonus, this recipes makes whopping 5-1/2 dozens of truffles–and you will need that many since they will go fast! Since I wasn’t here during the holiday, I decided to whip them up now.  I think they will be wonderful for Valentine’s Day if you want to bake up something special this weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you want to try other truffle recipes, check out:
Chocolate truffles
Oreo Truffles

Adapted from Taste of Home Holidays-Christmas edition

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 lbs semisweet candy coating, chopped

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually, add the flour, alternatively with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on waxed-paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs until firm.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed-paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. If desired, remelt remaining candy coating and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 5-1/2 dozens.


Chicken Fried Rice Noodles

November 2, 2009

lil noodles

I bought a bag of rice sticks noodle about a year or so ago, because I was shopping with a friend of mine, and she picked up several bags of these noodles. I had no idea how to make them, or had I ever tried to cook with them. As I was inspecting my pantry’s inventory, I ran across this bag. I grabbed this and casually told Red that we need to use this up sometimes or we’ll forget that it’s sitting there in the corner of the pantry. As I had expected it, when we were trying to figure out what to eat for lunch this past weekend, he said, “Let’s use up the rice sticks”.  Soon, I began my search for a simple recipe that doesn’t require a lot of unique ingredients, hopefully something that I can find in my pantry and  local grocery stores. I found this recipe that I thought would be a great starting point.

I made a little bit of tweaks in the seasoning sauce (see note below), and substituted the bean sprouts with thinly sliced red bell pepper (I used about 1 cup) because our grocery store ran out of it. I added the sliced red pepper quickly after the garlic was browned. Then I folded in the noodle, and sauce. It took me probably a little bit longer than what the recipe below said to stir fry, probably a total of five minutes before all of the sauce evaporated. I used two wooden spatula to toss the noodle back and forth in the wok to ensure that the noodles were cooked and seasoned thoroughly. For a few minutes, I was actually worried that all of the sauce will not evaporate, and I kept on thinking, this noodle should be dry! Thankfully, it finally dried up after a few extra minutes of high heat. We both enjoyed this very much, but were missing our bean sprouts, so next time, I will make sure that I grab some bean sprouts before making this dish again.

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Ingredients

1/2 pack rice sticks (8 oz)
2-3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 big handful of fresh bean sprouts
3 stalks scallions (cut into 2-inch length)
1 boneless & skinless chicken breast (cut into small pieces)
1/2 teaspoon corn starch (to marinate the chicken)
4 tablespoons oil

Sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce (Kimlan Light Soy Sauce)
1 tablespoon ABC sweet soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 dashes of white pepper powder

Directions

Soak the rice sticks in warm water for 30 minutes or until they turn soft. Set aside in a colander to drain the excess water. Rinse the bean sprouts with water and set aside to drain excess water. Lightly coat the chicken meat with the corn starch (to tenderize the chicken).

Mix all the seasonings and water together and set aside. (At this point, I tasted this mixture and added several more dashes of white pepper and about several teaspoons of salt)

Heat up a wok and add in the cooking oil. Add in the chopped garlic and stir-fry until aromatic or turn light brown. Add in the chicken meat and stir fry until the chicken is half done.

Add in the rice sticks and then follow by the seasonings. Stir the rice sticks continuously to blend well with the seasonings. Continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until noodles turn soft or no longer wet, then add in the bean sprouts and chopped scallions.  Stir-fry for another minute or until the bean sprouts are cooked.

Dish out and serve hot.

Yield: 3 generous servings


Slow Cooker Double Onion Chuck Roast

October 23, 2009

I really enjoyed my adventures my slow-cooker in the past few weeks or so, making this Classic Pot Roast, then this Pepper Steak.  Both times, it cranked out a wonderful meal that I don’t have to fuzz with when I got home from work..(a huge BONUS!!) I really was not looking for a new recipe to try when I stumbled upon this recipe, originally was intended to be used with beef brisket. I noticed that they used chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar! I really think that the sweet and spicy combination of the spices would be excellent with meats that are slow-cooked.

But then, I wasn’t able to find any beef brisket at my local grocery store. So here I was, making my first substitution. I thought that maybe a slab of chuck roast would do just fine! And I think it came out fabulously. My suspicion was indeed right: the sweet and spicy combination in the spices really added a nice kick to the ordinary slow-cooked meat. I made several changes to the original recipe-especially on the chili sauce, since we both love spicy food.

DSC07171

Inspiration from: Taste of Home Holiday-Halloween Edition

Ingredients
1 fresh beef chuck roast (~1 to 1.5 lb)
1-1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1-1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup Vietnamese chili sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 envelope onion soup mix

Directions
Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat. In the same skillet, cook and stir onions on low-heat for 8-10 minutes or caramelized.

Place half of onions in a slow cooker; top with celery and roast. Combine the chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and the soup mix. Pour over the roast, top with remaining onions.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours or until the meat is tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 3 servings


Classic Pot Roast

October 6, 2009

My mom used to make a lot of our meals in her slow cooker when we were in High-School, but I just recently realized that I barely use my slow-cooker now at our house. I also associate slow-cooker with beef, which I don’t eat on a regular basis, this is probably why I don’t usually think of making my meals in a slow-cooker.  My dad is really a meat-and potato kind of guy, so a slow cooker is an ideal tool for mom so she can quickly put this together before she leaves for work, and it will be ready when we get home. 

Recently Red has been asking for a roast beef, and he has convinced me on how easy this would be to make in a slow-cooker. We just need to lay a bed of chopped veggies, throw some seasoning, broth, and a slab of meat, and let it cook all day. So this is ideal for any day, a weekend day where we spend all day catching up on chores, or week day when we’re at work and want something ready in the kitchen when we get home. I finally agreed on making this dish, thinking that it would save me some cooking time.

    I wanted a recipe that uses simple ingredients without any thickening agents from a can, so I settled on this recipe from AllRecipes that I thought had simple ingredients and easy to prepare–and didn’t involve any cream-based soup in it. I doubled the vegetables called in this recipe, added some shallots, rosemary and parsley seasonings to the beef. I also used chicken stock instead of water and cooked it for 8 hours. The meat was so tender, and we didn’t even need a knife to cut through it–and loved the heartiness of this dish! I think I am sold now on this concept of cooking more this type of dishes. I am going to find some more recipes using slow-cooker and see if we can get even more creative with our protein and selection! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

    DSC07042

    Adapted from AllRecipes

    Ingredients
    4 pounds chuck roast
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 packet dry onion soup mix
    1 cup water
    3 carrots, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1 stalk celery, chopped

    Directions
    Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat.
    Place in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes and celery.
    Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

    Yield: 6 servings


    Espresso Brownies

    May 10, 2009

    Red first introduced me to this yummy adult treats when we first met 2.5 yrs ago. All of his friends always requested him to whip up this treat for parties and get together. One even asked if Red could shipped them through Fed-Ex when he moved to Iowa. We made these a couple of days ago to the delight of our friends, Jill and Sarah who drove 2.5 hrs to see us.

    This isn’t a kid-friendly recipe since kids don’t usually like the coffee flavor in the frosting, but adults love since it adds depth to the chocolate flavor.

    Espresso Brownies
    Courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis (Food Network)

    Ingredients

    • Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
    • 1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
    • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

    Brownie Directions

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
    • Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix.
    • Stir until well blended.
    • Stir in the chocolate chips.
    • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.
    • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes.
    • Cool completely.

    Frosting Directions

    • Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl.
    • Whisk in the vanilla.
    • Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth.
    • Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set.
    • Cut into bite-size pieces.
    • Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.