Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspired by India

There just isn't enough hours in the day it seems to complete the things I want to get done.  I love cooking.  LOVE IT!  However, I have neglected this blog to pursue a full time job outside of the home and I just don't have the "time" to snap the pictures I normally post with my recipes.  In the past couple of years, I have also found a new love...Pinterest.  Meal planning has become so much easier with the convenience of pinning recipes.  I have since retired many of my cookbooks.  I believe I may try a new way of doing things around here.  Since most of the recipes I cook are found on Pinterest (and tweeked to my liking, if necessary), I will post those links here since I am sure most of you recipe junkies out there are hooked on that site as much as I am.

Picture found here
Tonight's dinner was inspired by the spices of India.  We dined on Samosas with Peanut Sauce, Crunchy Baked Okra, Strawberry and Spinach Saladwith Balsamic Dressing, and Garlic Curry Naan.

The Samosas were the most time consuming.  They definitely were not a meal I could come home from work and cook.  For the most part I followed the recipe in full, however, I substituted the phyllo dough with eggroll wrappers.  I cut the square wrappers in half to make rectangle shapes.  The recipe for the Samosas can be found here.  I would also check out this How To Video on YouTube.  The recipe itself doesn't give instructions on how to fold them.  Also, I had quite a bit of the filling left over.  I froze it.  Hopefully, it will hold up.

The Crunchy Baked Okra was something I just threw together.  Lately, I've been making Parmesan crusted green beans and asparagus a lot lately.  With that in mind as well as the Indian influence, I thoughtfully came up with a plan.

I chopped the tops off of the okra and sliced them in half.  I rinsed and drained them.  While they were drying, I took a mallet to what was left of bag of walnut pieces (about 1/4 cup).  I placed the walnuts crumbs into a bowl and added 1 cup of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.  I then added 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, mixed it together with the breadcrumb mixture and set aside.  In another bowl, I beat three eggs and set aside.  I placed some flour into a Ziploc bag and toss the okra into it.  I shook the okra in the bag until they were coated in flour.

After prepping my station, I preheated the oven to 400ºF and sprayed a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  In batches, I placed some of the flour covered okra into the bowl of eggs.  When they were coated, I tossed them into the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture until completely covered.  Next, I placed them on the cookie sheet in a flat layer and continued this process with the rest of the okra.

Once all of the okra is laid out on the cookie sheet, place it into the preheated over for 15 minutes.  After which turn them over and cook an additional 15 minutes.  They will be very crunchy,..and super yummy.

Picture found here

I would like to take a moment to say OH MY GAWD cardamom is crazy expensive!!!  Be prepared for a mild heart attack when you buy it.

The recipe for the Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing can be found here.

The recipe for the Peanut Sauce can be found here.  I tweeked the recipe slightly by adding a tablespoon of sweet chili sauce to it.  I used this to dip both my Samosas and Okra into.

Lastly, I had some garlic naan on hand.  I melted 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and added 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom, 1/8 teaspoon of curry powder, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and mixed it up together.  I brushed them lightly with the mixture and placed them in the oven at 400ºF for 6-8 minutes.

My family (especially my husband and my son) enjoyed tonight's dinner.  I had fun making it but as I mentioned before it was time consuming.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wake Up, Tastebuds!

One word:  Pinterest.  When I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes.  "Another social media site", I thought and shook my head.  A friend of mine constantly talked about all the amazing things she would find on there.  When I first glanced at it, I thought it was just albums of pictures found around the internet.  When I discovered the pictures linked back to actual information, I was like a kid in the candy store.  Recipes!  SO MANY RECIPES!  I can die happy now.  :)

Now without further ado, for your reading pleasure I give you a nifty little recipe I found on Pinterest (here). 

Cajun Fire Crackers

1 box saltines
1 1/3 cups canola oil
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 packet ranch dressing mix

*You will need a large Tupperware or disposable container or at least a 2 gallon Ziploc bag.  I prefer the Ziploc, myself.


1.)  Add all ingredients to the bag.  Seal shut and mix well. 

Be sure to break up any of the powdery clumps.  Add the crackers, using all four sleeves.  Turn the bag over a few times to coat the crackers.

2.)  Let it sit for a few hours, turning the bag about every 15 minutes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Truly Perfect Egg Timer

Being a member of (i.e. subscriber to) the Cooking Club of America, I get the pleasure of testing products from time to time.  Recently the club bestowed the Maverick Egg-Perfect Color Changing Eggtimer on my doorstep.  I must admit I was in no way shape or form "wowed" by the packaging.  I found it to be bland, boring, and 80s-esque.  This was definitely an instance of "you can't judge a book by its cover."
When I used it for the first time, I half expected it to melt in the pot of boiling water.  To my surprise, the egg timer really did what it advertised to do.  It changed colors and when it said the eggs were hard boiled, they really were.
Being someone who is notorious for under cooking my hard boiled eggs, this is definitely a product I can stand by.  No more runny interiors for me!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Take A Bite Out Of Breakfast

My kids love breakfast.  I do too...after lunch.  Normally, they ask for breakfast and I slide them the Cheerios.  Oh, you want something hot?  Pancakes on a stick are a fabulous invention.
I found a fairly simple breakfast recipe in a recent Cooking Light magazine (Jan./Feb. 2012).  It gave the kids something warm as well as bite size.  They have officially been dubbed "Breakfast Bites" in our house.

What You'll Need:
8 slices whole wheat white sandwich bread, crusts removed
½ cup 2% milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 green onion, chopped
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I like my super crunchy.  You can also substitute with bacon bits if you like.)
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cooking spray

1.)   Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.)  Lightly coat both sides of the bread with cooking spray.  Press a slice into each cup of the muffin tin.  
Bake for 10 minutes until bread is slightly toasted.
3.)  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
4.)  Combine milk and eggs.  Divide evenly into muffin cups.  Sprinkle onions, bacon, and cheese over the cups.  
Bake for 15 minutes.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Get Your Meat and Potatoes Fix

Sorry it’s been so long but today is you lucky day.  I’m going to share another awesome recipe.  But first, thanks to all of you that gave me vote (or two, or three) for my Yummy Banana Cake.  I came in first in the voting.  Now I have to wait for K over at Big K, Little a to make the final three dishes and see which one she deems more awesome.

My husband is a meat and potatoes man so I found a fabulous recipe called Potato Parmesan Crusted Beef Filet, that I’m trying to perfect for when he comes home from Afghanistan.  I sent him a  picture and he can’t wait to try it.  I found the idea for this in the Cooking Club magazine (Feb/Mar 2011).

I had some trouble finding reasonably priced beef tenderloin steaks.  I plan on splurging for the good stuff when I finally cook it for my husband.  Instead, I found inexpensive filet mignon wrapped in bacon.  I removed the bacon but the meat held the salty flavor.  It was still delicious, just a tad too salty for my taste.

What You’ll Need:
1 lb. hash browns (I find the Hungry Jack ones that comes in the carton work best.  You just add hot water and a few minutes later you have hash brown that are ready to be used in this recipe.)
¼ cup of minced onions
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten
¾ tsp salt, divided
¾ tsp black pepper, divided
3 (6 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks, 1 ½ inches thick
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp butter

1.) Heat oven to 500 degrees.  If you are using the non-perishable hash browns (like the Hungry Jack ones shown), follow the instructions on the box to get them moist and manageable.  If you are using the ones found in the refrigerated or freezer section of your grocery store, just make sure  they are thawed.  If you are a bad mamma jamma and you are grating your own potatoes, you are scaring me, Martha Stewart, and you may need some therapy.  ;)
2.) Place moist potatoes in a large bowl along with onion, cheese, flour, and egg.  Add ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. 
Mix well.
3.) Sprinkle steaks with remaining salt and pepper. 
Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat until hot.  Cook steaks 2 minutes or until browned on each side. 
Put on the side for now.
4.) Put ¼ cup of the hash brown mixture onto the skillet in circular form.  Place a filet on top of it. 
Repeat for each steak, cooking about two minutes or until golden brown at medium high heat. 
Remove steak and potatoes carefully with a spatula and place on a rimmed cookie sheet.
5.) Melt butter on skillet.  Add remaining hash browns.  Cook at medium high heat until golden brown.  Place hash browns onto cookie sheet as well.
6.) Bake 10 minutes for medium rare.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!  I did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Free Cake!!

I'll make this brief.  I am in a contest...a battle of kitchens, if you will.  I'm neck and neck with another contestant battling for first place.  I NEED your votes.  Whip out your pcs, your smartphones, Ipads, ANYTHING that has interent access and vote for my Yummy Banana Cake.

I do not lose gracefully, people.  I'm a sort of a sore loser.

Also, bambi eyes...
How can you say no?  You can't.  If you can, it means you are a cruel jerk that kicks kittens and puppies, slaps babies, and punches old people.  I'm just saying!

So, to prove to everyone you aren't a big meanie pants please visit Big K Little a and vote.  The poll is located on the left hand side of the page.  Please cast your vote for my Yummy Banana Cake.  When I win, I will give all of my supporters a slice.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For When You're Feeling A Little Lazy

Another recipe from Kraft Foods conquered!  I had never tried the new cooking crèmes by Philadelphia before and I thought I’d give them a whirl.  Now I can’t wait to try the other flavors.
I found this recipe in an advertisement in the Food & Family Magazine.  Of course, I made a few minor changes but nothing too severe.

Easy Beef Stroganoff

What You’ll Need:
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup onions, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained
½ tsp. pepper
1 tub of Philadelphia Original Cooking Creme (8 oz. cream cheese, softened and ½ cup evaporated milk blended together well can be used as a substitute)
1 cup of beef broth (I use bouillon cubes and water.)
2 cups hot cooked egg noodles
1 tbsp parsley

1.)  Cook meat and onions in skillet on medium heat approx. 5-6 minutes or until meat is brown and onions are tender.  Drain. 
2.)  Add butter to unwashed skillet.  Melt. 
Add mushrooms and pepper.  Cook about 5-6 minutes.
3.)  Add cooking crème.  Blend well, stirring slowly for about 2 minutes. 
Return meat to mixture.  Stir in broth.  Cook 5 minutes.
4.)  Add parsley andstir.  Cook 2 minutes. 
Add noodles and stir. 
Remove from heat.  Sprinkle parsley over each serving.