Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scary Halloween Cupcakes

I know its been months since I updated this blog. I have been cooking in that time, but I seem to have lost to motivation to get to the computer, upload pics and write about what I cook. Hopefully sometime I can jump back on the blogging bandwagon.

I did take the time to upload some pics of the cupcakes I made for a Halloween party we are hosting tonight.

Some scary goblins that made using licorice pieces for the eyes, gummy fangs for mouths and candy corns for spiky heads.

And these are the mini eyeball cupcakes I made with gummy life savers, red and black jelly beans and some red frosting for veins.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chicken Stir Fry with Double Pan Fried Noodles

This was a dish I modeled after the Double Pan Fried Noodles at PF Changs. It was pretty good, but my noodles did not stay as crisp as they do at the restaurant. Here is how I made it.

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
3/4 cup stir fry sauce
Chuka Soba noodles (Japanese style noodles)

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
dash of sesame seeds

Marinate the chicken in the marinade for 30 minutes. Cook the chicken on medium high heat in a little oil for a couple minutes, until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside, keeping warm. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until al dente. Remove noodles, drain. Heat 2 Tbsp oil the pan you cooked the chicken in and put half of the noodles into the pan and flatten them down. Allow to cook until crispy on the bottom, then flip them over and cook the other side. When both batches of noodles are done, set them aside on paper towels to drain. Now stir fry the veggies until crisp tender. Return the chicken to the pan and add the stir fry sauce. Cook for a minute until heated through. Add the peanuts. Serve over the noodles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Carrot Soup On The High Seas

Recently, I bought Sam a cookbook with recipes for kids. Lately, he doesnt seem interested in eating anything. I figured if I let him pick things out of the book, then have him help me make it, he will be more interested. This soup was really easy to make. It was actually very good too. Ive never thought about having carrot soup before. The kids pretty much played with their boats, ate the goldfish out and were done. I guess even fun carrot soup didnt strike their fancy this time around. Oh well, I will keep searching! If your kids arent as picky as mine, Im sure they would love this. Its a great idea for any creamy soup.

Carrot Soup on the High Seas (from The Geronimo Stilton Cookbook)

3 to 4 medium sized carrots, about 1/2 lb
1 medium sized leek, halved lengthwise
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 small zucchini
2 wooden toothpicks
construction paper
goldfish shaped crackers

1. Clean and peel the carrots. Cut 2 long thing strips from 1 carrot for the sails of the boats. Set aside. Clean the leek in cold running water.

2. Cut the remaining carrots and leek into slices. Place in a saucepan. Add milk, water, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to the veggies. Cook covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

3. While the veggies are cooking, make the boats. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides of both halves. Cut one end of each zucchini half into a sharp point to make the prow (front) of the boats. Push toothpicks through the carrot sails and stick them into each zucchini boat. If you wish, make a flag from construction paper. Stick it on top of the toothpick.

4. Let the pan of cooked veggies cool. Pour the mixture into a blender. Work in 2 or 3 batches to prevent the liquid from spilling. Bleand until creamy. Return blended soup to the pan to reheat. Pour the soup into 2 bowls. Garnish each bowl with a zucchini boat. Add goldfish shaped crackers to the soup. Enjoy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Really Refreshing Iced Tea

I drink just about a pitcher of this iced tea almost every day during the hot months. Its so cool and refreshing when you swallow it. Steeping fresh mint leaves with the tea bags really makes it have a cooling effect. It feels colder than it really is when its going down. So perfect for this 110+ heat we get here in Phoenix. I grew up drinking my tea unsweetened. But as Ive gotten older, Ive started sweetening it a little more. This is a great tea without any sugar at all though.

Rachel's Everyday Iced Tea

2 family size Luzianne tea bags
1/2 quart water
a sprig of peppermint leaves
1/4 cup or a little less of sugar

In a pan, bring the water just to a boil. Add the tea bags and peppermint leaves and turn off the heat. Let it steep for 5 -10 minutes. Remove from heat, fish out the tea bags and mint leaves. Stir in the sugar until its dissolved. Pour the hot tea over a pitcher filled half way up with ice. Stir and enjoy.

Horshradish Cheddar and Smoked Turkey Quesadillas with Dill Mustard Aoili

This was a midnight snack the other night that turned out SOOO good! Wow. There is really nothing Mexican about this quesadilla at all. The flavors were so different and yummy. I love to get my sliced meats and cheese at Basha's because they have Boar's Head, and I havent found any other meats or cheeses that taste better. The Boar's Head horshraddish cheddar is really good. Its got a kick to it that will clear out your sinuses!! I made up the mustard aioli based on things I like on sandwiches with turkey and cheddar, mustard, mayo and pickles.

2 12-inch flour tortillas
8 slices of horseraddish cheddar cheese
4 slices of turkey lunch meat
1 Tbsp mayo
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp dill pickle relish
chopped fresh dill (just a little)

Place the 2 cheese slices onto each tortilla, on one side. Top with turkey, then remaining cheese slices. Grill on a griddle heated to high heat, until crispy on each side and the cheese is melted inside. While the quesadillas are cooking, make the aioli dip. Mix the mayo, mustard, relish and fresh dill. Split into 2 portions and serve with the quesadillas.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chicken Chilaquiles

Ive always wanted to try out a Chilaquiles recipe. I found this one on Martha Stewart's website. I was planning on following it to a tee, but then I accidently licked a bit of the adobo sauce from the chipolte peppers after I had chopped them and my entire mouth was on fire! Since I was expecting my kids to eat this, I decided to replace the chipolte peppers and adobo sauce with a can of diced green chiles. Also, I used Queso Fresco cheese instead of Feta cheese, I cant imagine eating Feta cheese in Mexican food.

This recipe turned out really good. My only complaint is that there wasnt very much. I only used 2 cups of shredded chicken. Even so, I used a larger can of tomatos than the recipe called for and I used a whole can of chicken broth, in place of the 1 cup of water. It was barely enough for 3 people. Next time I will definitely double the recipe. We all liked it.

Chicken Chilaquiles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in puree
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 small cooked rotisserie chicken (about 1 3/4 pounds), skinned and shredded (about 4 cups), carcass discarded
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 4 cups (about 3 ounces) tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1.75 ounces Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
  1. Combine oil and garlic in a large (3-to-4-quart) saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes with their puree (breaking tomatoes up), green chilis, and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer rapidly until lightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.
  4. Divide chips among four shallow bowls; top with chicken mixture and sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, sour cream, and cheese. Serve.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Queso Fresco Quesadillas

Living in AZ, we eat a lot of Mexican food. I bet at least 3 meals a week are Mexican inspired. I bought some yummy tortillas at Ranch Market here in Mesa, so I decided to make some quesadillas. These are different. Usually I make them with cheddar cheese and green chilies and refried beans if I have them. Tonight I decided to try something a bit lighter. With Queso Fresco cheese and fresh chives and cilantro, this is a fresh change to the normal quesadilla.

Queso Fresco Quesadillas

2 flour tortillas
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped cilantro
salsa and sour cream for serving

Preheat a cast iron skillet to Medium heat. Place 1 tortilla on skillet. Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco all about tortilla. Then sprinkle with chives and place tomato slices on top. Season with salt and pepper. Dont be shy with the S&P, queso fresco needs a lot of flavor. Place remaining tortilla on top and cook until cheese is melted. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until both sides are crisp and the cheese is all melted. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and fresh salsa.