Monday, August 29, 2016

Tiger Bread aka Marble Bundt Cake


We spent an amazing couple of weeks in Fiji and New Zealand.   We returned home on a Sunday and Miss F started school the next Wednesday.  Her request for her school snack was "Tiger Bread."  She had it nearly every morning at our hotel in Fiji.  It was essentially marble cake, but since it was served at breakfast, they called it "bread."  Miss F helped make this cake and really enjoyed swirling the batter to create the tiger stripes.  After a week, the entire cake had been eaten...for breakfast, for snack, for dessert...  This recipe was adapted from Sailu's Food
Tiger Bread aka Marble Bundt Cake
http://www.sailusfood.com/2013/11/15/marble-bundt-cake-recipe-easy/

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup hot water
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bunt pan with shortening, then flour it, tapping out any excess. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar and hot water until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the 1 ½ cups sugar and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs and beat on low for 1 minute more. Stir in the flour in four additions, stirring until well combined. Transfer a bit less than half of the batter to a bowl and stir in the cocoa mixture. Alternate scoops of vanilla and chocolate batter into the bundt pan using an ice cream disher. Use a knife to swirl the batters into one another, smoothing the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert to the wire rack to cool completely. Dust with the powdered sugar after cooling.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Instant Pot Bolognese


Miss F first had Bolognese sauce on Valentine's Day at Casa Tua in Aspen. She loved it! It is such a complex tasting sauce and takes a day to make.  Enter the Instant Pot.  I found this recipe and decided to adapt it a bit to better suit my family.  I am still learning how to use the Instant Pot, but this recipe really cuts down on the time it normally takes to make Bolognese sauce.  C is quite entertained by the Instant Pot and my ineptness with it.  The first thing I made in it, I left the steam valve open...oops.  That dinner took a bit longer than it should have.  He even DVRed a pressure cooking television show for me, so I could properly learn the correct (and quick) way to cook.
Instant Pot Bolognese

4 ounces pancetta, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 pound ground beef
¾ cup red wine
1 six ounce can tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups water, hot
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni, prepared per package instructions and drained

In the cold pressure cooker with no oil or butter, with the top off, sprinkle the pancetta in a flat layer and turn on to the lowest heat possible to render the fat. After the pancetta begins to sizzle (in about 5 minutes) add the onion, carrot and celery and raise the heat to medium-low and cook until well softened (about 10 minutes). If things begin to stick you can add a little pat of butter or swirl of olive oil. Raise the heat to medium and add the ground beef and brown well stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes or until all of the liquid from the meat is evaporated and the fat begins to sizzle). Add the wine and scrape the juicy bits stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan and evaporate it completely (about 7 minutes). In the meantime, mix the tomato paste with the beef stock and add salt, pepper. Pour the stock mixture into the cooker and stir well. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve. Add hot water, stir the contents well and scrape any juicy bits from the bottom to incorporate. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve. Stir in the cream and rigatoni. Serve.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

ABCLT Chopped Salad


In the summertime, I could eat a salad every night for dinner. I do get picky about proteins in my salad, I always prefer them to be warm, cold meats just don't do it for me. I made this salad the first night back from our amazing vacation to Fiji and New Zealand. I didn't have high culinary expectations for either location, but I was pleasantly surprised by both...especially Fiji.   This salad is a take on one of my most favorite sandwiches, the ABCLT.  C was happy to trade his tomatoes for my croutons and Miss F was with my parents, so there was minimal whining about having a salad for dinner.
ABCLT Chopped Salad

4 slices bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
¾ cup croutons
½ to ¾ cup ranch dressing (I like Confections of a Foodie Bride’s recipe)

Heat the bacon in skillet over medium low heat, cook until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the grease from the skillet. Add the chicken and pepper, sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and croutons. Pour ½ cup of the ranch dressing and toss well to coat. Add more dressing if necessary. Divide among for plates and serve.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pork “Lo Mein” Ramen


I was obsessed with ramen when I was a kid. I would have a bowl nearly every day after school. I would drain the noodles and toss them with La Choy Lite Soy Sauce. It had to be La Choy Lite Soy Sauce, there was no substitution. In college, I learned to make the noodles in the microwave since I didn't have access to a stove. After college, I would come home to my loft nearly every day for lunch. One of my go tos for lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of beef ramen soup, dubbed the KT special. I always preferred ramen noodles to rice for serving stir fry, so I wanted to try using them in a lo mein recipe. It was fantastic! Totally curbed my ramen craving and added a little healthiness with a nice helping of fresh vegetables.  One thing I have yet to try is a fancy ramen noodle restaurant...I think I would be disappointed.
Pork “Lo Mein” Ramen

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
2 packages ramen noodles, flavor packets discarded
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ pound pork loin chops, sliced thin
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
¼ pound snow peas
½ green bell pepper, julienned
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil

In two cup measure, whisk together the cornstarch, ginger, Sriracha, soy sauce and chicken broth. Prepare the ramen per package instructions, drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry the pork, mushrooms, snow peas, bell pepper and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken and vegetables, bring to a boil and cook for a minute more. Add the noodles and sesame oil, toss well to coat completely. Serve.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Chick-fil-a Tortilla Soup


Miss F is obsessed with the tortilla soup at Chick-fil-a. She can devour it by the bowl full. It is only available in the winter months, which means I needed to find a way to make it year round. This recipe is a mash up of a ton of recipes I found online, some very much like the soup, some nothing at all like the soup.  The soup is much creamier than the tortilla soups I am used to in restaurants, but it is really delicious.  You can also make this in the crockpot, just add all the ingredients into the crockpot except the half and half.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, then stir in the half and half 20 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Chick-fil-a Tortilla Soup

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
¼ cup water
¾ cup half and half

Add the chicken, black beans, great northern beans, Rotel, creamed corn and frozen corn to a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the broth, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and salt. Stir to combine. In a one cup measure, whisk together the flour and water. Stir the flour slurry into the soup. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken with two forks, stir in the half and half. Serve.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Baked Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts


I usually have a large container of plain Greek yogurt laying around. One of my most favorite things to have for lunch is Naan with a huge bowl to Tzatziki. I could live on that stuff.  Miss F loves making baked doughnuts in the summertime, when our mornings are a little more lazy than the madness going on during the school year.  I am not sure I will ever bake a doughnut without Greek yogurt again.  They were amazing.  Truly amazing.   The recipe is title "Best Baked Doughnuts" on Back for Seconds and that isn't a lie.  They are truly the best.  And healthy because protein...right?  HA!
Baked Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
¼ cup milk
2/3 cups plain greek yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup milk
sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a two cup measure, whisk together the egg, butter, milk, yogurt and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into bowl with the dry ingredients until combined. Fill a greased doughnut pan ¾ full with batter and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Heat the milk in a shallow microwave safe bowl for 60 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute, stir until smooth. Dip the cooled doughnuts into the chocolate and then top with sprinkles.
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Instant Pot Hula Chicken Sandwiches


Who all ended up with an Instant Pot from Amazon Prime Day?  I had been debating get one forever, but the hype of Amazon Prime Day forced me to finally take the plunge.  This is the first recipe I made with it and it was delicious.  But it certainly took a lot of studying to figure out how to change a regular crockpot recipe to one that works in the Instant Pot.  I may have had some operator error with the steam valve, but once I got everything figured out, it was a snap.  I wasn't expected the force of the quick pressure release at the end...that is going to take some getting used to for sure. 
Instant Pot Hula Chicken Sandwiches

½ cup water
½ cup crushed pineapple and juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 sandwich rolls
4 slices of Provolone cheese

In a two cup measure, whisk together the water, pineapple, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, vinegar, ginger and garlic. Add the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot and pour the pineapple mixture over the chicken. Close up the pot and set to Poultry for 15 minutes. After it is done cooking, release the vent and shred the chicken. Serve on sandwich rolls and top with a slice of cheese.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


I love a good cookie bar. And a brown butter cookie bar is divine.  Making brown butter is a little more effort than usual, but it is done a heck of a lot faster than allowing a stick of butter to come to room temperature.  The brown butter adds a real richness to these cookie bars.  I loved them.  I may have loved them too much, so I sent most of them over to my parents' house.  That way, I wouldn't be tempted to polish off the entire plate of cookie bars.  Which I could have done.  Easily.  This recipe was based off Wine and Glue
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

½ cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the butter begins to foam up and deepen in color, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs, then mix well to combine. Stir in the flour mixture and then fold in the chocolate chips. Press the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Cool and slice into bars.
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans


This is a photograph of C's plate. He was quite proud of his "fancy" sriracha application and insisted I use his plate for the blog.  I guess he was proud of using a squeeze bottle in such a fancy way.  This recipe comes from Taste of Home Cooking, she always has the greatest stir fries that are a hit with my family.  I made a few changes, mainly in not bothering with pre-steaming the green beans.  It was so much easier to just toss the chicken and beans into the pan and fry them right up.  You could easily swap the fresh green beans for a package of frozen green beans, especially since you are stir frying them.
Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 teaspoons cold water
1 pound chicken breast, cut into ½ inch pieces
3-4 cups sliced green beans
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar sugar, garlic, ginger, ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil, and Sriracha in a bowl. Whisk to combine and then set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and green beans, cook about 5 minutes. Pour in sauce mixture and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a simmer and cool until thickened (it should coat a spoon).

Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over rice.
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