Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodlees

Well it's the weekend and time for my husband and I to try a new dish. We kind of reserve the weekend to make something new together since we don't see each other during the week with us working opposite shifts.

The pick for this week was Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles. This was a recipe that I found on Pinterest and decided that it looked and sounded really up our alley. The website it's from is The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch. She did a wonderful job of recreating the Lean Cuisine dish.

In preparing to make this dish it is important to have everything already chopped before you start to cook. Making this dish goes rather quickly, like most Asian dishes that I've ever made. I just always make sure I've got everything chopped up and ready to go.

If I were to make this dish again I would definitely add like a tablespoon of red pepper flakes. I know the recipe says 1/8 teaspoon, but it just wasn't hot enough for me. I picture Thai food as being very hot! Don't get me wrong it is still a very good recipe, but if you like it hot just ramp up the red pepper flakes.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles
3 T soy sauce
2 T lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/2 T cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 t ground fresh ginger
1 lbs chicken breast tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 C julienned carrots
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 t soy sauce
2 t lime juice
1/2 C chunky peanut butter
1/2 C chicken broth
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1/8 t dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 pound spaghetti
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
chopped cilantro (optional)
1/3 C chopped peanuts (optional)

  1. In  medium shallow glass dish combine the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, the 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken, turn to coat. Let marinate at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done following package instructions, drain and set aside until ready to assemble. While pasta is cooking mix peanut sauce and cook chicken.
  3.  Place peanut butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Remove peanut butter from microwave and whisk in 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons lime juice, broth, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  4. Heat a non-stick deep skillet over moderate heat. Stir-fry the chicken until browned and just done, 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and scallions and stir fry one minute more. Add the peanut sauce to the chicken and scallions and stir to coat. Add the pasta and toss with tongs to coat with sauce. Top with the chopped peanuts and cilantro if desired.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gooey S'mores Cookies

Last night I was super bored and really craving something sweet and preferably chocolate, but I had nothing in my house that fit the bill. There was only one thing to do to solve this dilemma...Bake! I just had to find the right sweet to satisfy my chocolate desire.

After flipping through some recipes I found an interesting recipe that sounded super yummy and super chocolaty. My only problem with this treat was I didn't have two items necessary to make these cookies.

Well there was only one way to solve this problem, but to go to the store.So I was off to Super Target to buy Jet Puffed Mallow Bits and Nestles semi sweet chocolate chips. I wasn't so sure if I could find these mallow bits, but Target came through. They are actually these tiny little marshmallows like you find in the little hot chocolate packets.

Once I got my items purchased it was home to make my cookies. I couldn't wait to try them out. I always had loved making and eating s'mores, so I thought for sure I would love these too.

I also want to give credit to the creators of this treat. I found the recipe on Kevin and Amanda's cooking blog. If you haven't checked out this blog you really should. They have a variety of things to explore on their blog.

Gooey S'mores Cookies
1/2 C butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 C flour
3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
1 t baking powder
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips (or mini Hershey's Kisses)
1 C Jet Puffed Mallow Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, use a food processor or blender graham crackers into 3/4 C fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly and the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.

Place 1.5 T sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Monday, April 23, 2012

Banana Nut Bread

Well this past weekend was a rainy, cold weekend. There wasn't much going on outside that I could do so I had to do some baking inside.

Now of course I had 3 bananas laying around way past their time and I had to do something with them. I wasn't in the mood to make the same old banana bread that I usually make, so I was on the hunt for a new recipe.

I started combing through my stack of recipes that I've cut or printed from the internet. After flipping through a few I found a recipe that Amy Grant had printed in a magazine. It was her grandma Grant and it look like just what I was looking for, so I decided to give it a try.

So I went to work making this recipe and it turned out to be amazing. It had hardly cooled when my family started cutting into it. I made this late Saturday afternoon and by Sunday afternoon only about 1/3 of the loaf was left.

This Banana bread is very good. It has chopped pecans in it which gives it a wonderful flavor and it is very moist. I am most definitely going to make this one again.

Banana Nut Bread
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
2 lg. eggs
3 bananas, sliced (2 c)
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C pecans, chopped
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

  1. Greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2  metal loaf pan.
  2. Cream sugar with butter. Mix in eggs, bananas, flour, pecans baking soda and salt. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Place loaf pan in cold oven. Set oven control to 300 degrees F and bake banana bread 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Cool bread in pan 5 minutes on wire rack. Then remove from pan and cool completely, right side up. Makes 1 loaf. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

So I'm finally getting around to posting a new recipe. I'm so sorry that I hadn't gotten to it sooner, but with the first week back to work after Spring Break and the nice weekend that we just had it was hard to sit down and type.

I did, however, do some baking and I want to share with you one of the best recipes that I tried this past weekend. I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. They are truly amazing! I did not know how this was going to turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I ultimately combined two recipe ideas to make these cupcakes. I got the cookie dough filling and frosting from The cake part was simply a boxed white cake mix. I did have to make some changes to the recipe a bit to make it work, but it worked out rather well.

These cupcakes have a cookie dough center and the frosting tastes just like chocolate chip cookie dough. I think you could even make these with a chocolate cake mix if you prefer. You've got to give this one a try.

 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Cookie Dough Filling
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T sugar
2 T milk
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 C miniature chocolate chips

1 white cake mix, make per directions on box

Cookie Dough Frosting
3 sticks salted butter
3 1/2 C powdered sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
1 C all-purpose flour
3 T milk 
2 t vanilla extract

  1. Prepare the cookie dough filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to stir together the butter, sugars, milk and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Refridgerate for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie dough is firm. Scoop out dough in 1 Tablespoon scoops and place on a cookie sheet . Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the cake mix per the directions on the box. Preheat the oven to 375. Line cupcake pan with 24 liners. Using an ice cream scoop place cake mix into each liner. Place a cookie dough ball in center and push down slightly. It's ok if it sticks up a bit. 
  3. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting.
  4. Prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, milk and vanilla and contiune to mix until all is well combined. Pipe frosting on cupcakes using a piping bag and a 1M tip. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites

Ok I think I just might have died and went to heaven. I made one of the best little treats of chocolate and peanut butter combinations that I have ever tasted. They are the perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter. They are just small enough to pop in your mouth and enjoy. I do want to warn you that it may be hard to stop eating these babies.

Those that know me know that I love chocolate. I especially love brownies. I get a lot of compliments on my brownies that I make, but I can't take all the credit. I basically use a box mix from Aldi's to make them. Put a little canned chocolate frosting on top and you have perfection. I'm thinking that I can't really take credit for making really awesome brownies.

So... these little brownies are a bit of a step up for me. Just a wee bit more work was involved, but not much. I can see serving these at a dessert table.What a wonderful little dessert option. Just enough of a sweet chocolate peanut butter combination.Yum! I'm thinking I might have to make these for a little family gathering.

The original recipe I found on Pinterest and I had to make some changes to make it work for me,but it is still super good and takes less ingredients to make than the original. This recipe is an adapted recipe from Baked Perfection.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bite
1 box of brownie mix
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C creamy peanut butter 
mini cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 mini-muffin cups with liners.
Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. Remove from pan and cool. The centers of the brownie will fall upon cooling. If they don't you can use the back of a melon baller to indent the center of the brownie. Line the pans again and bake 24 more brownies.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30-40 seconds.While brownies are still warm put melted peanut butter into indentation and top with 3-4 chocolate chips. Cool completely. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Smoked Sausage Kabobs

Cavanaugh Smoked Sausage Kabobs

This weather has been so up and down lately. Good old Mother Nature has been teasing us with unseasonably warm weather and then turning around and giving us a chilly day or two. I know that the warm weather is unusual for this time of year here in Minnesota and I shouldn't be so upset about it, but I sure do long for those warm temperatures. Summers here are very short and I'll take the sun and the heat early thank you very much.

Since it was a pretty decent day on Sunday I decided that we should grill something. I didn't want to do the usual burgers or chicken. So after rifling through the fridge I got the idea of doing kabobs using some Cavanaugh smoked sausage that I picked up at Sam's Club. Plus I had also picked up some sweet cherry tomatoes there that I've been just nibbling on as a healthy snack and I thought this would be a good way to make use of these little gems.

Kabobs are great. You can get creative when making them. Just add the meat you desire and any vegetables that you like. The nice thing about using the smoked sausage is you don't have to marinate it before grilling. You are good to go.

A word to the wise if you are going to add little baby potatoes to your kabobs pare boil them first. Just scrub them up and boil for a little bit so they get a little soft. You don't want them to fall apart when you skewer them. By cooking them partially before putting them on the grill you won't have an uncooked potato.

Hopefully this recipe for the grill is the start of the grilling season with many more yummy recipes to come.
Smoked Sausage Kabobs with egg noodles

Smoked Sausage Kabobs
3 smoked sausage links
1 pepper (your choice of color, I used red)
handful of sweet cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion
8-10 small baby red potatoes

Egg noodles

  1. Clean potatoes and put in a pot to pare boil. This will not take long.
  2. Cut sausage links into bite size pieces.
  3. Cut pepper and onion into chunky pieces.
  4. Wash cherry tomatoes.
  5. Once potatoes are partially cooked remove from pan and let cool to touch.
  6. Start to boil water to make egg noodles.Start skewer you food items on the skewer however you desire.
  7.  Add noodles to the boiling water and cook. 
  8. Grill kabobs on medium heat until done.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Santa Fe Chicken

So I am officially on spring break as of 4:00 Friday! I have a list a mile long on things I want to do in the next week and I know that there is no way I'll get to everything that I want to do.

One of my plans for this week is to do some serious cooking and baking. I started out the weekend by making a crock pot dish that I found on Pinterest. I did however tweak the recipe a bit and after making this dish there are a few more things that I would change the next time I make it. Not to say that it was bad, I just want a little more zing!

If I were to do this over I would add one more can of diced tomatoes and I would drain the tomatoes. I would also put hotter chilies in it. I really like spicy dishes when I'm thinking Tex-Mex.

There were plenty of left overs and my husband and I thought that perhaps this could be eaten in a wrap. All it would take is a little cornstarch to thicken it up and ta-da! You've got a new kind of wrap. This will be our lunch today.

I hope you give this one a try. It's very easy and really good.

Santa Fe Chicken

Santa Fe Chicken
2-3 Skinless Chicken breasts
1- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (I would add one more)
1- 4 oz can of green chilies (I would hotter chilies)
1- 15 oz can of black beans
1- 15 oz can of chicken broth
8 oz of frozen corn
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 t garlic powder
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Cooked Rice

  1. Combine tomatoes, green chilies, black beans, chicken broth, corn and spices in crock pot.
  2. Lay chicken on top and salt.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  4. Take chicken from crock pot and shred. Return to crock pot and let cook while you make rice.
  5. Once rice is done serve chicken over rice.
Adapted from Chef in Training.