Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crab Mac n Cheese

As a kid raised by Chinese parents I never got to eat mac n cheese.  Friends would talk about mac n cheese in a box.  I would watch the commercials on tv.  But at the grocery store my mom would laugh at me when I held up a box of mac n cheese.  Once I got older my mom did try to make me mac n cheese.  My mom used cheese whiz (yes the kind in a jar) and mixed it with noodles.  Now I am not going to say that it wasn't tasty.  But come on, that is not mac n cheese.  So now that I am older, married, and cooking meals I make mac n cheese.  Oh and know for sure my kids someday will be eating mac n cheese. 

What's more grown up than crab mac n cheese?!?  Okay I know mac n cheese is a kid item.  But with a grown up ingredient such as crab there is no need to be ashamed of eating mac n cheese no more! 

2 cups uncooked pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced onion
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and set aside
3.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
3.  Add the onion and cook until tender.
4.  Add flour, salt, dry mustard, and paprika.  Mix well.
5.  Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
6.  Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir until melted.
7.  Toss in the pasta and crab meat.  Pour into baking dish.
8.  Sprinkle remaining cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

This dish is super yummy.  The leftovers are just as yummy.  


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mapo Tofu

Oh one really can't go wrong with Mapo tofu.  I mean, what can be better than the meat-tofu-spicy combination.  Actually chocolate and peanut butter can probably beat it.  But we are talking savory right now.  So remember when I said I could only make a handful of Chinese dishes?  Well if you couldn't tell already the husband and I are having Chinese night for dinner.  Here is my version of Mapo Tofu:

1/2 lb ground turkey (combine with 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch)
1 box extra firm tofu, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks green onions, diced
4 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic chili
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 jalapeno, minced

1.  Fry tofu in oil.  Cook until firm. Set aside.
2.  Saute ginger, garlic, and green onions until fragrant.
3.  Add ground turkey and cook.
4.  In a mixing cup, combine soy sauce, garlic chili, cornstarch, water, and jalapeno.
5.  Add fried tofu to meat.  Pour sauce over tofu and meat.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
6.  Serve with rice.

Now I used ground turkey instead of the traditional pork because ever since the husband had ACL surgery we have not worked out as much, but of course did not eat any less or healthier, so now we are getting back on track.  So turkey is my way of making this dish healthier.  This would taste much yummier with white rice but once again I served it with brown rice.  All in all it's a pretty healthy dish without having to sacrifice too much on flavor.  This dish is extremely easy to make.  One of those even a college student could do it kind of recipe. 


Sweet & Sour Chinese Eggplant

Now I have to be honest.  There are not many traditional Chinese dishes that I know how to make.   Oh and by not many I mean there are really only a handful.  Sweet and sour Chinese eggplant is something I grew up eating.  My mom use to make this all the time.  Of course she has no recipe written down (darn Chinese women who cook from the heart) and she used pork that she cut up herself ... but do I look like a little Chinese housewife to you?  Okay don't answer that.  I don't think I even truly appreciated my mom's cooking until I moved out.

Now there is a difference between Chinese eggplant and regular eggplant.  The regular eggplant that you see in the grocery stores are big and round.  I have only been able to find Chinese eggplant at Asian supermarkets.  Chinese eggplant is purple like the regular kind but long and skinny.  I don't know much about regular eggplants but growing up eating Chinese eggplant all I know is it is good.

Here is my version of my mom's sweet and sour Chinese eggplant:

3 Chinese eggplants, diced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks green onions, diced
1 teaspoon corn starch
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water

1.  Combine ground turkey meat with 1 teaspoon cornstarch and mix well with your hand.  Set aside.
2.  Fry eggplant pieces in hot oil for about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from wok or pan.
3.  Saute garlic, ginger, and green onion in the pan until fragrant.
4.  Add ground turkey to pan to cook
5.  In a mixing cup, mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and water together.  Pour over the cooking ground turkey meat.
6.  Add in the previously fried eggplant pieces and bring to a boil.
7.  Turn the heat to medium low and cover.  Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until cooked.  Serve hot over rice.

Now my mom has never had my version of this dish so I can't tell you if she approves or not but I can say that the husband approves.  So maybe my children won't end up eating only American, Mexican, and Italian food.  Ha!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie

What do I do when I finish my errands and the husband is not home?  Bake of course!  The husband is out with a friend and it's just me and a tired pup.  A tired pup is not normal in my house but since we just got home from a play date she is pretty pooped.  Plus she played outside at a dog park where it's hot.

So I decided to make a stab at making some mint chocolate chip cookies. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Sugar Cooking

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven 350F
2.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside
3.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes)
4.  Slowly add the egg and mint extract.  Combine and scrape down sides of bowl.
5.  Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  (Do not over mix)
6.  Stir in semi chocolate chips.
7.  Use a small ice scooper or cookie scooper.  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  I used a whooping pie pan.  Bake for 9 minutes.  The cookies will seem under cooked but let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These cookies came out thick and chewy.  Just the way I like my chocolate chip cookie.  I think next time I will try making these with peppermint extract instead of mint extract.  But since mint extract is all I had I had no choice.  The cookies came out pretty good, but I think peppermint extract would make them amazing.  Maybe even a hint of green food coloring next time.  Oh well.  



Friday, June 24, 2011

Cheese-EE Artichoke French Bread

 For our Father's Day BBQ I knew I wanted to make something different than the over done rice pilaf or garlic bread.  What better to serve than a cheesy artichoke french bread.  I mean, what's classier than artichokes?  Okay maybe caviar.  But what am I, made of gold?

So this was kind of a bold move on my behalf because my mother in law loves bread but hates cheese.  So I was taking kind of a big risk making this bread.  But then, it Father's Day and not Mother's Day, right?  Good thing the bread was a hit otherwise I would of never heard the end of it that night.

1 french bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can of artichokes in water, drained and chopped (14 ounce can)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Cut the french bread in half lengthwise and brush with olive oil
3.   Evenly distribute the garlic and artichoke hearts
4.  Top cheese
5.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top
6.  Bake for 8 minutes, then heat the broiler and broil for 2 minutes

This bread is so yummy.  It can even be served as a appetizer.  Even the leftovers are yummy.  Now that says a lot.  Also for something that taste so yummy this bread is very easy to make.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Now there are many ways to make chocolate chip cookies ... but have you ever used hot chocolate mix?  I have!  This recipe is unique because it uses hot chocolate mix in the cookie batter.  I used a Nestle hot chocolate mix (I have plenty because on a whim I bought a box of hot chocolate packets for the winter from Costco.  Now I will have hot chocolate for centuries).

The husband seemed to really enjoy these cookies.  Maybe because they taste like you dipped the cookies in hot chocolate.  Or maybe that I just made that up.  Either way they were delicious!

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 ounces hot chocolate mix (not sugar free)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Whisk flour, cocoa mix, salt, and baking soda together
2. Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes)
3. add eggs 1 at a time.
4. Add vanilla
5. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture until combined. DO NOT OVER MIX
6. Fold in the white chocolate chips and semi chocolate chips
7. Chill dough for about 1 hour
8. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.
9. Use a cookie dough scooper and drop about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
10. Bake them 1 sheet at a time for about 9 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These cookies came out nice and moist.  Oh and full of flavor.  The husband and I gobbled them up right away.  They tasted delicious fresh but most importantly these cookies tasted just as yummy the next day.  So the next time you are about to make some chocolate chip cookies consider this recipe.  It will not let you down.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

White Choclate Pecan Banana Muffins

So I made these muffins awhile ago and they were so good but I did not get a chance to take a picture of it and got discouraged to blog about a recipe with no picture.  Oh and I took the muffins to a pot luck at cultivation therefore a angry husband.  Then there was the 2nd time I made them on memorial weekend.  However this time around I disappointed my husband again by taking them all to my parents.  I am really a pretty bad wife if you ask my husband.  Apparently he work up ate a muffin for breakfast and by the time he got home from work they were all gone. 

These muffins are awesome.  Really, they are scrumptious.  I am not sure if it is the amazing banana recipe or if it is the white chocolate but either way the recipe is a keeper.

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 medium or 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray
3.  Mash bananas
4.  Add sugar to bananas and mix until well combined
5.  Add oil, eggs, and vanilla to banana mixture until well combined
6.  In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices
7.  Add flour to banana mixture until just incorporated.  DO NOT OVERMIX
8.  Mix in white chocolate chips and pecans
9.  Use a ice cream scoop and scoop into muffin pan
10.  Bake for 20 minutes 
11.  Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooking rack

If you are like my family ripe bananas are hard to come by.  But if you happen to have some this recipe is a must!

PS.  I need to find ripe bananas again to make up for giving away my husband's muffins twice now.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut

Memorial weekend was a great way to rest after our family vacation the weekend before.  What was even better was we had some friends who were hosting a BBQ.  Don't get me wrong.  I love hosting, but when you are hosting you just don't get to enjoy the moment as if you were a guest.  When I host I am always worrying if there is enough food, if people are having a good time, cleaning up, etc.  Blah!  Much better when I just get to eat, chat, and soak up some sun. 
What to bring?  Oatmeal cookies!  I figured we needed something healthy at a BBQ.  Ha!  These cookies are  loaded with goodies. I know when most people think of BBQ they don't normally think of oatmeal cookies.  But then I like to be different.

1 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flaked coconut
3 cups quick oats
3/4 cups raisins 
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Cream together butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3.  Add in eggs one at a time.
4.  In a separate bowl whisk flour and baking soda together.
5.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just incorporated.  Do not over mix!
6.  Add coconut, oatmeal, raisins, and chocolate chips until just incorporated
7.  Use cookie scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  
8.  Bake for 9 minutes.  Cool for about 5 minutes on sheet before moving to cooking rack.

Sometimes the things I bring to a potluck are either a hit or a bust.  These cookies were for sure a hit.  They were gone in a matter of minutes.  The poor husband asked if there was any more at home and looked pretty sad when I told him no.  What a hard life he lives. 



Asian Bowtie Pasta

I love pasta salads.  They are so versatile.  You can eat them hot, room temperature, or cold.  For my joint birthday BBQ with my friend Leslie I knew I had to make this pasta salad.  

Now if you ask my mom she would tell you that I am a pretty good cook, until it comes to Chinese food.  I say it's not my fault because Chinese food is a art and let me tell you I am not artist.  If you ask a Chinese person for a recipe this is usually their response, "oh just put a little of salt and little of soy sauce and what ever will make it taste good".  That my friend is not a recipe.  Needless to say I hardly ever ask my mom for recipes even though she is a pretty awesome cook.  What will my poor Chinese kids eat?  This salad!  
Okay unlike most Chinese cooks I actually have listed ingredients.  Maybe I am a "banana" like those kids in high school use to call me.  Whatever!  I like instructions.

1 lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, cut julienne
1 cup of green onions diced
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
Pepper to taste
3 cups washed baby spinach
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (optional but highly recommended)

1.  Boil and cook pasta according to directions.  Drain pasta and set aside.
2.  Use small pot to heat oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and rice wine vinegar over low heat until honey is dissolved.  Remove from heat and toss in the pasta.
3.  Add the bell peppers, chicken, green onions, pepper, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.  Toss well to coast all ingredients.
4.  Before serving, toss the pasta with the spinach.

Pasta can be served chilled or warm at room temperature.  

This bowtie pasta salad was a hit at the BBQ.  I made a pretty big tray of it and by clean up time it was all gone.  Even had people ask for the recipe.  I call that a hit!  The husband even asked me to make it a few days later after the party because he didn't get much of it at the BBQ.  


Honey Soy Pepper Wings

I have always been a dark meat kind of girl when it came to my chicken.  So naturally I love chicken wings.  How can one not like dark meat?  When cooked correctly the chicken meat is tender and juicy.  My mom use to make chicken wings all the time when I was a girl.  Mom always said chicken wings are the best because they are easy to cook and easy to serve.  Oh I love my mom.

This is a super easy recipe for chicken wings.  However it does require 12-24 hours to marinade. 

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons siracha sauce (hot sauce or rooster sauce)
3 lbs wings
Sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish

1.  Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2.  Dry wings and place in plastic bag.  Pour marinade over wings.  Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4.  Arrange wings on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
5.  Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 12-18 minutes, until the skin is brown and crispy.
6.  Sprinkle with garnishes and serve!

These chicken wings are super yummy.  The chicken wings are sweet with a kick.  When they first came out of the oven the husband announced that he was not in the mood for chicken wings and ate a sandwich.  What a fool!  He sure missed out.  However, 2 days later he decided to eat the left over chicken and realized that he sure missed out.  Don't be a fool like my husband.  Eat the chicken when it come out the oven.  It is delicious!