Friday, April 30, 2010

Jacki and Leslee’s Review of Ginger Shrimp and Couscous.

I am here at Leslee’s still helping out and I made these two recipes a couple of nights ago.  Only Sean and I tested them because Leslee doesn’t care for shrimp and the couscous wasn’t gluten free.  We both liked the recipes but had some suggestions.  We would add less fresh garlic to the Ginger-Hoisin sauce.  Probably only 1 tsp – it had a very strong ginger flavor.  This would be a good glaze for chicken or beef too.  I ended up buying already cooked shrimp because the store didn’t have any peeled shrimp and I didn’t want to peel them.  I tried to just barely cook them enough to heat but they did seem a little tough but they turned out well enough.  I had the scallions all chopped and ready to go in a little ramekin – just like the pros – but I forgot to sprinkle them on the shrimp so that is why you don’t see any.  The couscous was good.  I even bought the salt free garlic herb spice so I could follow the recipe exactly.  Sean had never tried couscous and liked it.  I had made it once before a few years ago but didn’t add any seasonings so it wasn’t very good but I really did think this recipe was tasty and so fast and easy to prepare.  With a side of broccoli,  this was a tasty meal.



Friday, April 23, 2010

New Recipes for week of April 25th-May 1st

Since we have a busy weekend, I decided to get the new recipes up today for those who are weekend shoppers for the coming week. We all like shrimp, so this recipe looked simple and tasty. Hope that it tastes good :)

Grilled Shrimp with Ginger-Hoisin Glaze pg 217

Serves 4

Ginger-Hoisin Glaze
2 Tbl. hoisin sauce
1 Tbl. rice vinegar
2 tsp. peeled & finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tsp. peanut or olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. large or jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white & green parts)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, add the glaze, and simmer until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, top with the scallions, and serve.

Garlic-Herb Couscous pg 262

serves 4

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup couscous, regular or whole wheat

1 tsp. garlic-and-herb seasoning (preferably salt free)

2 Tbl. chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint, parsley, or basil, or a combination of any of these herbs.

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous, garlic-and-herb seasoning, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jacki and Leslee’s Review of BBQ Meatballs and Green Beans with Pineapple Vinaigrette.

I am visiting with Leslee and family and helping with new baby Knox.  We made this meal last week and thought it was “ok” but I don’t think I would make either one again.  It was definitely edible but didn’t totally impress me.  The BBQ sauce had too much chili powder in it for me and I like the bottled kind better – especially Sweet Baby Ray’s – yummmy.  The meatballs were good though.  We served it over steamed rice.  I actually liked the green bean dish but I thought it was a bit labor intensive.  It had a good flavor.  I used frozen green beans and  heated everything together for a warm dish.  It made a good accompaniment for the BBQ  meatballs.  I think everyone here felt about the same as I did regarding these recipes.  Interesting to try but probably would not make again.  If any of you have tried these two recipes let us know. 

Meatballs in the pan and ready to brown.

IMG_2732 IMG_2735

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Audrey's Broccoli Soup & Calzone

As you can see Mother and Dad were at our place for a visit, so I decided that it was a good time to try out the new recipes. I followed the recipe for the Broccoli soup closely, but didn't use as much milk as it called for, since we like our soup somewhat thick. I used fresh broccoli and chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. I didn't have an immersion blender, so I had to blend the mixture in batches, which can get a little tricky since it is a hot liquid. I would highly recommend getting an immersion blender if you can :) Most of us really liked the soup and would fix it again. In fact, we had extra so I froze it in single serving containers for future use. We did sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the soup before eating and we really liked that. It was a pretty easy recipe. I thought that this was a good recipe and would fix it again. It is a very filling soup. We had it another time and we had grilled cheese sandwiches with it, which tasted real good.

I did make some changes with the Calzone. We aren't fans of Ricotta cheese, so Mother and I decided to go with cottage cheese, which we all like :) We couldn't find fresh or frozen pizza, so we got the refrigerated in a can, which worked just fine. We tried several different ingredients: pepperoni, spinach and cheese mixture; pepperoni and cheese mixture; spinach and cheese mixture. I think that the favorite was the original spinach and cheese mixture. We also felt that it needed some pizza sauce, so we heated that up and used it for dipping. We all really liked the Calzone and I would definitely fix it again. There are so many different ingredients that could be used. Thanks for the good choice on recipes :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

catching up!!!!

Ok, so this last week we had some of the dishes we missed while we were out of town for Spring Break I am hopping to be able to make the other dishes this next couple of weeks…
The spinach cheese calzone was really good. I just added ½ cup cream cheese, onion and garlic powder. It sure makes a lot we had 2 meals out of this recipe!!!

The chicken and sausage sandwiches were a big hit!!! Alexandro had a friend over and he liked it as well. The boys added pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocados and jalapeƱos. They also had mayo and mustarded on the buns. I had mine over rice and some salad on the side and that was delicious!!!!!

I loved the stake and shitake fried very easy to make and so, so good. I used Korean rice and added frozen green peas and sesame oil.

For the Pan-grilled chicken with Orange-ginger sauce I added garlic, rice wine, green onion, soy sauce and marinated over night. I served the orange sauce on the side and cooked some Jasmine rice to serve it with, the chicken was delicious!!!! But nobody liked the orange ginger sauce L For a vegetable we had the Garlic-Roasted Asparagus with almonds the boys said it was ok and they prefer not to have the almonds.

As expected the mixed fruit tart with Vanilla cream was a HUGE hit. So easy to make and so, so tasty!!!! Great recipe for Oregon Summers can’t wait until my marrionberries are ready!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recipes for Week of Apr. 11-17, 2010

Since I love all things BBQ, I chose the following recipes:

Meatballs with Root Beer BBQ Sauce  (pg 164)

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
2 tsp salt-free garlic-and-herb-seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tblsp olive oil

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 12-ounce can or bottle root beer
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
2 Tblsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
Dash of hot sauce

1.  In a large bowl, combine the beef, garlic-and-herb seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Mix well and shape into 16 to 20 meatballs, each 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients, then add to the meatballs and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Green Beans with Pineapple Vinaigrette  (pg 243)

4 cups green beans, ends trimmed
2 medium shallots, minced
One 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits or chunks in juice, drained and
                                     juice reserved
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the green beans in a colander set over simmering water, cover, and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes (or steam in the microwave in a shallow dish with 1 Tblsp water, covered with plastic wrap or a paper towel, on HIGH for 2-3 minutes).

2. Transfer the beans to a large bowl, add the shallots and pineapple, and toss to combine.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved pineapple juice, oil, mustard, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour over the beans, toss to combine, and serve.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Coconut Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce

We had another fine meal at our home tonight with this recipe and we both liked it.  I made the Coconut beef as directed and let it marinate all day.  I used some stew meat I had in the freezer and sliced it a little thinner.  I skewered the pieces but ended up taking it off the skewers because it wasn’t cooking very evenly on the grill pan.  (I have a cheap grill pan).  I made the peanut sauce as directed but I have to agree with Leslee – it was too bitter – so I added some brown sugar too.  I served it over steamed rice and spooned the peanut sauce over the top.  Sauteed zucchini and sliced mango completed our meal.  Soooo delicious and very easy to make!

Ingredients gathered and ready to prep the meal.

Jacki's Pics 144

How good does that look?!  A mighty tasty meal.

Jacki's Pics 146

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Chicken Gumbo

Tonight we had the Chicken Gumbo and man-oh-man it was good.  I like anything tomatoey though.  Rich took one glance at it and said it looked like heartburn.   He seemed to like it too and ate it without complaint.  I followed the recipe as directed.   I felt like I was making a nice, healthy meal with all the slicing and dicing  of veggies.  It was pretty easy to make.  I didn’t add all of the chicken broth called for because my pan wouldn’t hold anymore and I was shy about 4 oz of tomato juice for the same reason.  Robin hit it spot on with the combination of all the spices because I thought it had a really good flavor.  I served it over steamed rice with a side dish of sliced mango.  I think the leftovers will be even better!  I would like to try it with shrimp next time.

Most of the ingredients assembled. 

Jacki's Pics 141

Simmering on the stove.

Jacki's Pics 142

Final product served over steamed rice.  Even the okra was tasty.

Jacki's Pics 143

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two Meals

I hope I am not the only person trying out all these recipes lately! I have been enjoying having new things to cook as my old stand-bys have gotten a little boring.  Anyway we have tried both of the recipes Nika chose so I will report on them.

The Coconut Beef Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce
I have been wanting to try this one for a while so I was excited that it was finally picked.  I really like things with peanut sauce and we usually have it with lettuce wraps.  I cut the steak into strips and marinated it in the coconut milk mixture for several hours before it was grilled.  I put it on squewers for the grill.  Sean did the grilling and although he is usually an excellent griller, the meat got a little burnt this time.  It was probably the marinade that made it cook a lot quicker and chare up on the outsides.  It might work better to cook it on a grill pan if you want to retain the coconut/curry flavor.  I followed the recipe for the peanut sauce but it was a little bit bitter for my taste so I added some brown sugar and garlic powder.  We liked this meal and when you dipped the meat into the sauce you couldn't even taste the burnt flavor:)  I might try this again with chicken. 

Chicken Gumbo
I ended up making several adjustments to this recipe but it turned out very tasty. I looked at the recipe and wrote down the necessary items on my shopping list but apparently I missed a few things so I made some accomodations.  Instead of the green pepper I added about a cup of chopped carrots along with the celery and onion.  I used all the spices but only put a small amount of thyme in and added a little curry powder.  I couldn't find any frozen okra at the store I went to so I just decided to skip that although I think it would change the texture and consistancy quite a bit! For sausage I used some leftover turkey sausages I had in the freezer from the sandwiches a few weeks ago.  It wasn't precooked so I gave it some time to cook with the chicken before adding the broth.  I only used about 2 1/2 cups of broth and eliminated the tomato juice.  I am sure this didn't turn out anything like it was suppose to but we thought it was really good.  It reminded me a lot of the Mulligatawny Stew that we made a while ago. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Leslee's Soup

A few nights ago I decided to try out the garlicky broccoli soup. Since we were going to have it as a main course I decided to add some potatoes to it for a little more substance.  I peeled and chunked three potatoes and added them in the beginning with carrots and onions.  I didn't realize it called for celery until I was cooking so I just eliminated it.  For some reason I thought I should add more liquid because of the potatoes but that made the soup too runny so next time I would probably add less then it called for.  I used my little food processor to blend up the soup in batches and then added the milk.   The soup had a very nice flavor and I sprinkled a little cheese over mine.  It was a litte runny as I mentioned but not too bad.  Sean ate his with left over calzone from the night before which made a nice little meal. I have heard mixed reviews of this so far so I will be interested to see how it works out for other cooks...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Leslee's Calzones

We like pizza over here and have homemade pizza quite often so I was excited to try these out.  I made two different kinds of homemade pizza dough, a regular one for Sean and Summer and a gluten free one for me.  For the filling I made a mixture of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, olives, pepperoni and spinach.  Both calzones cooked up nicely although I could probably a little work on the looks of them! Sean really liked it and both he and Summer dipped theirs into some red pizza sauce.  I liked mine too although I am not a huge fan of the ricotta cheese taste and texture.  I also decided that I didn't really like the spinach in there.  We both decided that next time we would like to try them with more mozzarella cheese and less ricotta.  I also would probably use some more different pizza toppings inside.  Very tasty and a nice change to traditional pizza! I am planning to try the soup tonight so I will give a report on that soon.
Mine (please excuse the Hello Kitty Plate!)

Summer enjoying her's with her crazy hair!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Selections for the Week of April 4th


Here are my selections for next week. I am posting early because I probably won’t get a chance for the next few days.  These both look like they could be main dishes to me so I guess you can have dinner for two nights.

Chicken Gumbo  page 24

Robin likes to serve this over rice.  See the cookbook for other suggestions. 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper,seeded and chopped

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into  2 inch pieces

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

one 10-ounce package frozen sliced okra, thawed (about 1 1/2) cups sliced

2 links andouille sausage or any seasoned cooked sausage, such as chorizo (2 to 3 ounces) diced

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups tomato juice


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and belle pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Add the thyme oregano,salt, bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, cayenne, and black pepper and stir to coat.  Cook for 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant.  Add the okra, sausage, broth, and tomato juice and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves before serving. 


Coconut Beef Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce  page 182

serve with rice or noodles

cooking spray 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chili oil

1 1/4 pounds lean beef steak (such as sirloin, rib-eye, or round) cut into 2 inch cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

metal or wooden skewers


Thai Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


1. coat large stovetop grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat

2 in a shallow dish, whisk together the coconut milk, curry powder, coriander and chili oil.


3. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper.  Add the beef to the coconut milk mixture and turn to coat.  Thread the beef on skewers and place in the hot pan.  cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, turning frequently.


4. Meanwhile, in a small pan whisk together the broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. 

5. Serve the beef skewers with the peanut sauce on the side in small bowls for dipping.