Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot and Sour Soup

One of my absolute favorite dishes is hot and sour soup.  I can usually tell if a Chinese restaurant is worth a try by their hot and sour soup (no joke).  I was more than happy, you can imagine, when I found this recipe.  It got even better when I made it and realized that is everything I want from this soup.  Super easy, delicious, spicy and amazing.  Enjoy!
-6 cups chicken broth
-1 pork chop, boneless, trimmed of all visible fat, julienned
-8 oz sliced mushrooms
-2 Tbs garlic and chili sauce
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-3/4 tsp ground pepper
-1/4 cup white vinegar
-1 (5 oz) can bamboo shoots, sliced and drained
-1 (5 oz) can water chestnuts, drained
-1 (4 oz) can cut sweet baby corn
-1/2 lb tofu, sliced into small cubes
-5 Tbs cornstarch
-1 egg, beaten
-1 tsp sesame oil
-chopped green onions for garnish (optional)
Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a large pot.  Add soy sauce, pork, mushrooms and garlic and chili sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add pepper, vinegar, bamboo shoots, chestnuts, corn and tofu.  Simmer for 10 more minutes. 
While that's simmering, mix the 5 Tbs cornstarch with 5 Tbs water.  Add to the boiling mixture.
Pour the beaten egg in a thin stream into the soup, while stirring.  Remove pot from heat.  Gently stir in the sesame oil.  Garnish with green onions, if desired.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

M & M Cookies

These cookies are not only simple and delicious; they're also perfect for bonding time with your children.  I enjoy making these with my little ones, having fun measuring, pouring, tasting and so forth.  Enjoy!
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 cup shortening
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups M & M's, divided
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In your mixing bowl add brown and white sugar, shortening, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.  Add the flour, half a cup at a time.  Add baking soda and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in 3/4 cup M & M's.
Scoop batter with a spoon and line cookies on prepared sheets.  Press a few extra M & M's on top of each cookie.
Bake in preheated oven for 11-12 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes.  Remove onto serving plate and enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ioana's Perfect Fried Chicken

Yes, yes, I know... another fried chicken recipe...  I have made this for a while and it's probably my favorite recipe.  It's quick, easy and delicious!  It's the perfect fried chicken: crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  YUM!  Enjoy!
-vegetable or canola oil, for frying
-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 1/2 Tbs seasoned salt
-1 Tbs garlic powder
-2 tsp ground black pepper
-1 tsp cayenne
Heat oil in frying pan to medium heat.  Do not raise the temperature or your chicken will burn and not cook all the way through!
Score each thigh on both sides.
Mix flour, salt, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne in shallow dish.  Dredge scored chicken and coat well on both sides.  Add chicken to hot oil.  Cook for 10-15 minutes on each sides, or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Well, shocker here, I have never had churros!  Everyone around me praised them like they were the best things on the planet, so of course I had to give them a try.:)  I'm so glad I did, because they were delicious!  Super easy to make and very, very tasty.  I know that they're supposed to look a little different, but hey, this was my first try.:)  They look more like a funnel cake.  Anyway, they are delicious and can't wait to make them again!  Of course, make sure you eat them nice and warm, with a glass of cold milk.  Yum!  Enjoy!
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 cup water
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/3 cup butter
-1 cup flour
-2 eggs
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.  Set aside.
Heat oil in frying pan.
In a sauce pan, mix water, brown sugar, salt and butter.  Mix and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the flour.  Mix until well blended. 
In a separate bowl mix the eggs and vanilla.  Add this to the flour mixtrure. 
Fill a decorating tool with this mixture and pipe pieces of it in the hot oil.   Fry until golden brown (they cook FAST), then drain on paper towel.  While still warm, dredge through the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jello Mousse

My sister pointed out to me this recipe and I'm so glad she did.  See, she doesn't like things simple; she likes to tweak them here and there, and this is one of them.  This is such a simple recipe, yet the result is absolutely delicious!  It's a hit with everybody!  Enjoy!
-1 1/2 cups boiling water
-1 (3 oz) package of your favorite jello flavor (I used grape)
-1 (8 oz) tube cool whip, thawed
In a bowl, mix boiling water and jello powder.  Mix for 2 minutes.  Whisk in manually the cool whip.  Whisk until well combined.  Cover and place in the fridge for 6-8 hours or until set.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lemon Cream Pie

If you love lemon, then this is the pie for you.  The flavor is not overpowering, but it is absolutely amazing!  The filling is wonderful even by itself, so you could serve it as a custard on the side, if desired.  Still, the entire pie is absolutely delicious.  You could serve it with some whipped cream, but I personally did not find that necessary.  Enjoy
-1 (9 inch) deep pie shell
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1/2 cup cornstarch
-2 cups half-and half
-1/2 cup margarine
-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
-the zest of 1 lemon
-6 eggs yolks
-1 1/2 cups sour cream
Bake the pie shell according to package directions.
While that's cooking, mix in a saucepan the sugar, cornstarch, half-and-half, margarine, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolks.  Stir well oven medium heat until the mixture thickens and boils.  Remove from heat.
Add sour cream and mix well.  Pour mixture into baked pie shell.  Cover and place in refrigerator until set.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pan Fried Whole Trout

This is another very quick dish to put together on a busy night.  Don't be intimidated by a whole fish.  Most stores sell them already scaled and gutted, so all you have to do is rinse them and prepare them.  I served ours with some broccoli rice, and they were perfect together.  Enjoy!
-2 whole trout, cleaned with tails and heads on
-1/2 cup flour
-1/2 cup cornmeal
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-lemon juice
Heat the oil in large skillet.
In a shallow dish, combine flour, cornmeal, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Dredge the fish to the mixture, on both sides.  Add fish to hot skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until meat flakes with a fork.  Remove from skillet and sprinkle with a little lemon juice.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Seven Layer Dip

Easy, fast and yummy.  This goes very well with some Tostidos scoops.  Enjoy!
-1 (16 oz) can refried beans
-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-14 oz guacamole, either store-bought or homemade
-2 cups sour cream
-1 lb extra lean ground beef
-1 package Taco seasoning
-1 (2.25 oz) can sliced olives, drained
-1 tomato, chopped
-5 green onions, chopped
Heat up the refried beans.  While they're heating up, brown the ground beef and add the Taco seasoning to it according to package directions.
Once the beans are warm, spread them at the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Top with 2 cups of the cheese.  Add the guacamole and spread evenly.  Add the sour cream and the seasoned ground beef.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Top with the sliced olives, chopped tomato and green onions.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Moo Shu Pork with Noodles

This dish is such a nice treat.  Quick, easy and absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!

-12 oz uncooked fettuccine
-3 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
-3 eggs, beaten
-3 medium boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
-5 green onions, thinly sliced
-1 tsp ground ginger
-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-8 oz sliced mushrooms
-1/4 cup hoisin sauce
-3 Tbs soy sauce
-3 cups shredded cabbage
-1 cup chicken broth
Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the hoisin and soy sauces.  Mix well and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs of the oil.  Add the eggs and scramble.  When done, remove the eggs from skillet and keep warm.
In the same skillet, heat the rest of the oil.  Season the pork with salt and pepper, and add to hot skillet.  Cook until golden brown.  Remove meat from skillet and keep warm.
In the same skillet, add green onions, ginger and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add the cabbage and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes.  Add the eggs and pork back to the skillet.  Pour the sauce mixture on top and mix well, until everything is combined.  Add the chicken broth.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Add the cooked pasta and mix well.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ultimate Brownies

These brownies are seriously out of this world!  They are by far THE BEST brownies ever!!!  They are moist, fudgy, rich, fluffy, and the list can go on forever.  Very easy to make and very, very, very tasty!  The key seems to be in the whipping of the batter.  Don't skip that step, since it's probably the most important.  Enjoy!
-5 (1 oz each) squares of unsweetened chocolate
-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-1 cup butter
-5 eggs
-3 cups sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat 9x13 baking dish with baking cooking spray (the one with flour and butter).
Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Set aside.
In a mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes (very important step; do not skip it!).  Add the chocolate mixture, the flour and the salt.  Mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, but not more.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Easy Sauerkraut Side

I love sauerkraut.  I grew up with my parents making it from scratch, which would take a few weeks for the cabbage to pickle.  Nowadays, I don't have to do that, as you can find it in every grocery store ready to eat.  How neat is that?  This side is very easy and it goes perfect with many dishes.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is as topping on a nice, juicy, grilled bratwurst.  Oh, yeah!  Make sure though you get some that's been brined in salt, not in vinegar.  It makes a huge difference in taste.  Enjoy!
-1 (14.5 oz) can sauerkraut (in salt)
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 to 1 tsp paprika
Mix everything together.  Let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Southern Brownie Pie

What's even better than brownies?  A brownie pie!  This is pure decadence here.  So chocolaty and delicious!  LOVED this one.  Of course, it has to be served warm with some ice cream on top.  Vanilla or chocolate go very well, or try it my way with some delicious fat free orange sherbet.  Yum!  The best part is that it doesn't need to be refrigerated, but it has to be eaten within 48 hours (if you can last that long!).  Enjoy!
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1/4 cup margarine
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 eggs
-3 Tbs flour
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup chopped pecans, optional
-1 (9 inch) frozen pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place frozen shell on prepared sheet.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, margarine and cocoa powder.  Stir on low heat until everything is melted and well blended.  Remove from heat.
Beat eggs in a small bowl.  Scoop a Tbs of chocolate mixture into the eggs and stir well.  This will prevent the eggs from curdling.
Add egg mixture to the chocolate.  Stir in the flour, vanilla and  pecans (if using).  Mix well and pour into pie shell.
Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  Enjoy!


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