Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heidi's review of the kebabs

I didn't have any luck finding the Ponzu sauce or the black bean sauce so I just used Kikkoman Teriyaki Garlic and Green Onion sauce. I marinated the meat for about 1 1/2 hours. It was really good; but I agree with Jacki that the meat pieces should have been a little smaller. Kenton had to go cook the meat again on the grill as the veggies cooked pretty quickly. I used mushrooms, zuccinni and cherry tomatoes for the veggies.
All ready to go out and grill.
All grilled up - well, the meat needed a little longer :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Ponzu Beef Kebabs

Tonight we had the Mulitcolored Ponzu Beef Kebabs and they were delicious.  I made the sauce and marinated the meat for about 1 1/2 hours before I made the kebabs and then put them in the bag with the marinade.  We both agreed that the beef chunks could have been smaller and marinated for longer.  The sauce was very good.  It was a little pricey to make since I didn’t have the ponzu or black bean sauces but I am sure I will make this again so they will be used.  The veggies were all good marinated in the sauce – it really brought out the sweetness of the red peppers and  sweet onions that I used.  I was a little short on mushrooms though.   I must note however that ziplock bags and wooden skewers don’t go together well so be sure and place it all in a pan or large plate to catch the drips from the poked holes.  I served the kebabs with a homemade rice pilaf and some watermelon.  After looking at the photos I should have served the rice and kebabs with something green for a color boost! 

Kebabs all assembled and ready for grilling.

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Fresh off the grill.

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Not sure why this pic is sideways but here it is  - all plated up and ready for our dining pleasure.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Recipes for the week of 6/27

Multicolored Ponzu Beef Kebabs (page 186):
Cooking Spray
1 1/4 pounds lean beef steak, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup small buttom or cremini mushrooms, trimmed
4 to 6 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
Wooden or metal skewers
1/3 cup ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black bean sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Coat large stovetop grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat.
2. Alternate pieces of steak, tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, and scallions on the skewers. Place the skewers in a large plastic bag.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together with the ponzu sauce, black bean sauce, and red pepper flakes. Pour into the bag with the skewers, seal and shake to coat the beef. Remove the kebabs from the bag, place them in the hot pan and cook until the beef is browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently.

Black Bean & Corn Salad (page 271):
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
One 14-ounce can corn kernels, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, sedded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and cayenne to taste

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice and cumin, tossing to mix. Season with salt and cayenne.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Thai Chicken and Noodles

Whoa!  Robin really hit it out of the park with this one – so deeeelicious.  We both really liked it.  Following Leslee’s suggestion I added some veggies – carrots, broccoli and mushrooms.  Red  peppers and snow peas would have been good too.   I chopped the carrots and broccoli up and steamed until crisp.  I sauteed the mushrooms in some peanut oil although they probably would have cooked enough just adding them to the chicken and cooking a bit.  Anyway, I added the veggies when the chicken was done and the saucy ingredients had been added.  Then I added the rice noodles, mixed it all up and cooked it for a bit until the sauce was all soaked up.  I sprinkled some cashews and the scallions on and stirred them in a bit then served.  A side dish of watermelon and the meal was complete.  I think the rest of you would really enjoy this meal – hope you get to try it.

Ingredients assembled.

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Looking good in the pan.

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Dished up and ready to eat!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Leslee's Thai Chicken and Noodles!

As I may have mentioned before, I have actually made this recipe a few times over the months.  It just sounded so good to me.  After the first time we decided it would be good with some veggies in it.  When I made it the other night I had frozen broccoli and red bell pepper on hand so I used those.  I followed the recipe except for using regular oil in place of the peanut oil. This time I happened to grab some rice noodles that were a little thicker and I didn't like them quite as much as the thinner ones.  The package was pretty much written all in Chinese so I just prepared them how I had with other noodles, in hot water.  It took a while for these ones to soften up but in the end it all turned out okay.  Delicious.  I hope some others get a chance to try this one!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Southwestern Soup

Last night I made the Southwestern Pork Soup except I used chicken instead of pork because that is what I had on hand.  I liked Leslee’s idea of shredding the meat so I put whole chicken tenders in the crockpot and then shredded them at the end.  I sauteed  the onion, pepper and garlic before adding it the crockpot just because I like to do that.  We enjoyed it and thought it had a really good flavor.  Leslee mentioned the soup didn’t have a lot of zip to it so I sprinkled some hot sauce in.  I like a chunkier soup so I only added 3 cups of chicken broth and I thought that was plenty.  I served it with grated cheese, avocado and a dollop of sour cream – delicious!   Sides of cornbread and watermelon completed our meal.  I think you would all like this meal and it is quite easy to put together – especially if you use the crockpot.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pork Soup

Tonight we tried out the Southwestern Pork Soup and it was a success.  This was an easy recipe and to make it easier I just put a pork roast from the freezer into the Crockpot.  Before we ate, I just shredded it up and it worked out nicely. The only other change I made was reducing the chicken broth from 6 cups to 3 1/2.  That was plenty of liquid and my Crockpot was getting full!

The finished product was very good! We expected it to be more spicy but it was pretty mild, which was okay.  I was planning to serve it with cornbread or tortilla strips but since it was a warm day, I decided not to heat up the house and we just stuck with chips.  This was a recipe I would  make again and there are lots of variations you could make with the meat, beans, and veggies. 


New Recipes for 6/20-26

Southwestern Pork Soup pg 26

2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and minced

3 gloves garlic, minced

one 1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

one 15 oz. can pink beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup diced avocados

2 Tb chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic, and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the pork and cook until browned on all sides. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper and stir to coat.  Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a simmer.  Reduce to medium and simmer until the pork is cooked.

2. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the avocado and cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

SLOW COOK IT: Combine all items in the slow cooker except avocado, cilantro and lime.  Cook on low for 6-8 hrs or high for 3-4 hours.

Thai Chicken and Noodles- pg 94

* I have actually made this recipe a few times, and it is delicious! We like it with some veggies added into.

8 oz. rice noodles

1 Tb peanut oil

2 gloves garlic, minced

1 Tb peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2 Tb fresh lime juice

Dash of hot sauce

1/4 cup scallions (both parts)

Lime wedges for garnish

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown on all sides. Add the reserved cooking water, the soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and hot sauce and bring to a simmer.  Add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes to heat through, stirring frequently. 

3. Remove from heat and stir in the scallions.  Serve with lime wedges.

Leslee’s Catch-Up Meal

A few nights ago we combined two more recipes for another new meal! First I made a version of the bacon-wrapped scallops using chicken and cooking the bacon with the chicken rather than wrapping it.  I cooked it in the skillet for awhile before transferring it to the  oven to finish cooking while I cooked some other things.  For the salsa I substituted Mango for Papaya because it was cheaper and looked good at the store.  I have never really bought or used mangos before so Sean helped we with the cutting of it.  The salsa was easy to make and I tested its flavor with a tortilla chip- very good! The mango was a bit mushy so the salsa’s appearance isn’t the best but it tasted good so that is okay.



Next up was the spinach, ham and beans.  For some reason I have never been able to find Pink Beans at the stores.  I know they exist because there was one can that had a mixture of pink beans, some other beans, and spices.  Anyway Summy and I decided to get Pinto Beans instead.  These seemed to work just fine! This recipe was quick and easy to follow and would have been easier if I would have used frozen instead of fresh spinach.  It took a while to snap off all the stems. 


I served these two dishes with some potatoes and it made a nice meal.  I really liked the mango-jalapeƱo salsa on the chicken but my favorite was the beans with ham and spinach.  It had such a good flavor, I really liked it!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shallot-Lemon Butter Chicken and Strawberry Salad

This morning I loaded up the kids and we were finally able to make it to the grocery store to stock up on all the needed supplies to make the recipes for this week, last week, and the ones I am picking for next week! When dinner time rolled around I was a little short on time so I chose two of the recipes that seemed the quickest, the Shallot-Lemon butter flounder and the salad.  As I have mentioned before we aren’t big on seafood so I just used boneless skinless chicken breast and made it nice and thin as suggested in the book.  I cooked it up in the electric skillet and added the buttery mixture for the last few minutes.  I didn’t use quite as much butter as they suggested but it really added to the flavor! All three of us really enjoyed the chicken and the flavor was delicious! I really liked that combination of lemon, butter, shallots, and pepper.  This was so easy to make and I will have to use it again.

When making the strawberry salad I had to make a few substitutions.  Since we are moving soon I don’t want to buy new spices or condiments so I just made did with what we had.  For the strawberry preserves I used some freezer strawberry jam I had, but that might be about the same thing.  I also substituted red wine vinegar for sherry vinegar and honey mustard for the Dijon.  Mine mixed up pretty thick but it had a very nice flavor.  I am usually not a big fan of spinach in salad but this was perfect!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Scallops, Roasted Squash and Salad with Strawberry-Sherry Vinaigrette

For those of you who have not made these dishes – you have something to look forward to!  We liked all three.   Starting off with the Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Jalapeno-Papaya Salsa – The cooking of this dish wasn’t so easy for me as it took longer than stated for the bacon and scallops to cook, especially the bacon.  The bacon shrunk so I just ended up unwrapping the bacon and laying it in the pan amongst the scallops to cook and when it was mostly done I put both the scallops and bacon in an ovenproof dish and finished cooking it in the oven.  (I don’t have an ovenproof skillet).  I just tried to wrap the bacon back around the scallops when I put them in the ovenproof dish.  The salsa was  delicious over the scallops.  I had to use mango instead of papaya because I went to two stores and neither had fresh or frozen papaya and I forgot to check for canned but I just picked up a couple of ripe mangos and it was very tasty.  This salsa was the perfect accompaniment for seafood.  Now on to the Roasted Butternut Squash with Cumin and Coriander – I bought already peeled and cubed fresh butternut since that squash is so hard you practically need a chainsaw to cut it!  A little pricy but worth it.  I used only about 1/2 tsp each of the cumin and coriander and omitted the cilantro at the end.  It had a really good flavor to it and went well with the scallops.  This was easy to prepare ahead.  And now for the final dish – Baby Spinach Salad with Strawberry-Sherry Vinaigrette.  I substituted another type of lettuce instead of the spinach since I had some I needed to use (bought it at the farmers market and not sure of the name).  I splurged and bought some nice sherry vinegar at whole foods (aged up to 15 years:) – it was worth it – so good!  The combination of the strawberries and the fresh lettuce and the Vinaigrette was REALLY good.  I also added some cucumber for crunch.  These recipes made for a good meal.  Hope some of you get a chance to try them.

Mango Salsa ready to serve.

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Butternut squash roasting in oven

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Plated meal before mango salsa so you can see bacon wrapped scallops. (well, kind of wrapped)

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Final plated meal with the salsa – delicious and can’t get much more colorful than that unless you had some beets!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010


Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Jalapeno-papaya Salsa - Page 206

8 slices bacon
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
wooden toothpicks if necessary
1 tablespoon olive oil

Jalapeno papaya salsa
1 medium ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp minced and seeded fresh jalapeno Chile pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 preheat oven to 400
2 halve the bacon slices crosswise and wrap one around each scallop. secure with a toothpick if necessary
3 heat the oil in large, oven proof skillet over medium heat. add the scallops and cook until the scallops are golden brown and the bacon is cooked, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the scallops are opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes
4 meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all ingredients for Jalapeno papaya salsa
5 arrange the scallops on serving platter and top with the salsa

Roasted Butternut squash with Cumin and coriander - Page 255

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp ground pepper, plus more to taste

Add at the end
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 preheat oven to 400
2 in large bowl , combine squash and all ingredients stir to coat. Transfer mixture to large baking sheet and roast until tender and browned, about 25 min.
3 transfer to serving bowl, add cilantro and lime juice season w/ salt pepper, toss to combine and serve.

Baby Spinach Salad with Strawberry-sherry vinaigrette - Page 279

6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed well
1 cup hulled and sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup strawberry preserves (seedless)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1 arrange spinach in large serving bowl. Place the strawberry slices on top
2 In small bowl whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over the spinach and strawberries just before serving.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beef over egg noodles, salad with corn and mango rice pudding

We really liked this dish and the salad was delicious, my mom used to put corn in our salads I had forgotten how tasty it is. I followed the recipe pretty close (for a change) I decided to use beef shank for it's flavor and consistency - besides being cheaper- I always like shank for stews and saucy dishes. I cooked in the crock pot and added fresh herbs at the end. The rice pudding was amazing I even gave some to Alexandro's guitar teacher. I don't use instant rice so i made my regular recipe with coconut and condensed milk and just added the dried mango to it, hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Flounder and Spinach/Beans

Yummmm.  This made for a good meal and we both liked it.  The Shallot-Lemon butter added a fresh, light taste to the fish and it
was so simple to prepare.  I didn’t have any fresh parsley so I used dried basil instead.  The braised spinach with pink beans and ham had a very good flavor and it was easy to prepare also so this meal was pretty quick to put together.  I followed the recipe as directed except I think I probably cooked it a bit longer than Robin called for just because my fish dish wasn’t finished yet.  I was surprised both recipes went so well together but they did.  I hope some of the rest of you get a chance to try these out.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leslee’s Braised Beef

Last night we tried out the Braised Beef recipe and it was a success.  Mine turned out a little different look than my mom’s but I think it is mostly because I didn’t use tomato paste.  We aren’t a huge fan of tomato-ey sauces so I just put a few tablespoons of tomato sauce in to give a little flavor.  I also eliminated the mushrooms but added a bit more carrots and onions.  I thought I got stew meat at the store but when I was opening the package I noticed it was stir-fry beef which I figured was just fine.  It was in thin strips so it cooked up nicely and was very tender.  I made this meal in the Crockpot and it probably only took about 4-5 hrs on high.  We ate it over rice and it was delicious.  I mostly spooned out the chunky parts (carrots,onions, meat, etc) onto my rice with little sauce but Sean preferred to eat it in a bowl with lots more sauce.  The flavor reminded me of Beef Stew!


Summer enjoyed the rice…but thought the meat was too “picy” (spicy).  No wonder there is always so much rice on the floor when she gets done eating…


Monday, June 7, 2010

Super Sized Avocado and Corn Salad

I still am getting caught up on last week’s recipes because I didn’t get a chance to make them before Sean left on a little trip.  I didn’t want to try them out all by myself! Tonight I decided to do the Avocado and Corn Salad but make it into a meal.  I grilled up some chicken breast and also added some tomatoes and cheese.  I wasn’t too sure about the dressing since it had so much orange juice in it but I followed the directions and hoped for the best.  In the end the dressing was perfect for the salad! It was nice and light and refreshing! Sean enjoyed it as well.  Since it was kind of a light dinner we will have to dig into some ice-cream for dessert:) I plan on making the rest of the recipes tomorrow night. 


Recipes for Week of June 6 – 12

I am posting these recipes for Audrey – she was having trouble getting the blog to cooperate earlier.  They look quite tasty.

Pan-Seared Flounder with Shallot-Lemon Butter pg 224

Shallot-Lemon Butter

2 Tblsp unsalted butter, softened

2 Tblsp minced shallot

2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley

1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice


2 Tsp olive oil

4 flounder fillets (about 5 ounces each)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine butter, shallot, parsley, and lemon juice.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season both sides of the flounder fillets with salt and pepper.  Add the flounder to the hot pan and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the butter mixture and cook until it makes a sauce and the fish is fork-tender, about 2 minutes.


Braised Spinach with Pink Beans & Ham  pg 254

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup diced baked ham

One 10-ounce bag fresh baby or regular spinach leaves, washed
well (coarse stems removed if using larger spinach leaves)

One 15-ounce can pink beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ham and cook, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the spinach, beans, and broth, cover, and steam until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Mushrooms w/ Garlic, Parmesan & Bread Crumbs

I am still behind on a few of the past recipes so I tried this one out today with our dinner since I had some mushrooms I needed to use up.  It was quite tasty – a nice variation of sauteed mushrooms.  I followed the recipe as directed and it was pretty simple and straightforward.  I served it as a side dish for some grilled chicken, corn on cob, wild rice pilaf and watermelon.

Ingredients prepped and assembled

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Prepared mushrooms plated with the corn, grilled chicken and rice.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Braised Beef, Greens w/ Avocado and Corn Salad, Mango Rice Pudding

These dishes made for a good meal in our house or at least I thought so.  I think Rich would have liked it better served over rice.  I followed the recipe as directed except instead of the red wine I just added a little extra beef broth and some splashes of red wine vinegar which gave it a good flavor.  I think next time I would add more mushrooms and carrots just to give it more vegetables.  I liked it over the egg noodles but I think it would be good over rice too.  For the salad I used romaine lettuce since I had a lot of it.  I liked the combination of the avocado, corn (I used thawed frozen corn), and olives – just a different twist on a dinner salad.  The citrus dressing was tasty too.  The Mango Rice pudding turned out to be a bit of a disaster for me but it tasted good in the end.  I tried to cook it in my rice cooker  with regular rice but I have an inexpensive one and it doesn’t like it when I try to cook it with anything thicker than broth or water.  It clicked off after just a few minutes so I stirred it a bit, put the lid back on and clicked it on again and left the room.  I heard it click after a bit and went in and most of the liquid was out of the cooker and all over the counter and some had stuck to the bottom of the cooker.  So, I put what was left into a saucepan and added milk and cooked it.  I didn’t really know how much milk to add since I wasn’t sure how much had boiled out.  I kid you not – I ended up cooking that rice pudding for another hour and a half!  I kept having to add more milk and it was cold so then it would have to heat back up and cook etc.  But…in the end when it was all done it was a little mushy but had a good flavor.  I plan to make it again using instant rice or regular rice but cook it in the saucepan.  Don’t let my ineptitude keep you from making it because it really is good.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ingrid's white lasagne and Pesto Strudel Bites

The lasagna was excellent!!! I used the Quattro Formaggio bag from Trader Joes (Blend of Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina and mild Provolone cheeses). I also had some fresh ricotta that I got at Pikes market in Seattle and that made all the difference so, so good and fresh. The boys liked it but they said that they prefer the spinach versus the zucchini =;) For the strudel I didn’t have any vegetables since I was getting ready to go out of town I didn’t want to purchase any, so I just used some homemade pesto and that was quite tasty the boys loved it!!! For me I found it to be a bit rich though.

Recipes for May 30 – June 5

Sorry for the late posting of this weeks recipes.  Hopefully some of you will be able to find the time to try them out and post a review.

Italian Braised Beef over Egg Noodles  pg 170

Mesclun Greens with Avocado & Corn in Citrus Vinaigrette   pg 280

5-Ingredient Sweet Rice Pudding with Mango  pg 297