Category Archives: Cooking

This dish is Asian because I added soy sauce

Hello friends! This has been a particularly busy week for some reason, but a little birdie told me that a loyal reader really missed my posts (hi Ron!). This dish seems mundane to me, but if I can spark an idea in just one brain for an easy and delicious dinner that travels easily to work the next day for lunch, well… then I think it’s worth it.

On the menu:
Chicken stir fry

1 large chicken breast, diced
2 cups vegetables*
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp unsalted peanuts

Heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add vegetables to the pan along with 2 Tbsp of water and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover. Add brown sugar and garlic salt and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and peanuts and toss until everything until coated. Serve over cooked white rice.

*Note: I took a short cut (so SUE me) and bought a bag of “Oriental Vegetables” (hey Krasdale: it’s 2011, time to update) frozen and then threw them into the pan. It was easy as pie. You can surely add raw vegetables to this, though, and as many or as few as you like. This tasted delicious with broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and onions.

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REEEMIX! Onion dip and potato chips

My lovely friend Molly has this really brilliant feature on her blog where she includes a song she’d play while making the recipe she’s blogging about. I love it. I think it’s genius. And who doesn’t listen to music while they cook? So today you can scroll down and listen to the same song I played whilst making this fatty delicious dish.

My mom calls this one “dad’s famous onion dip” because apparently when he was a bachelor he used to bring it to parties and everyone would RAVE and it was his little secret that it is literally the easiest dish in the world to create. But I had a thought. I love all the ingredients. So I will turn it into a fatty delicious sandwich. Try it both ways, kids! You will not be disappointed.

On the menu:
Chuck’s Famous Onion Dip

2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups swiss cheese, diced (why doesn’t anyone ever shred swiss cheese? why don’t they sell it pre-shredded in the grocery store alongside the cheddar and the mozzarella? the world may never know.)

Throw ingredients in a big bowl. Stir. Microwave for 10 – 15 minutes or until melted into one beautiful mixture. Stir. Serve with Ritz. Be as popular as Chuck.

To make the sandwich: thinly slice 1/4 of a yellow onion and sautee with butter until the onions are gently browned. Build a sandwich with turkey, swiss cheese, a healthy slathering of mayo, and the sauteed onions. Grill over medium heat until the bread is browned and cheese is melted.

On the menu:
Homemade potato chips

3 Tbsp canola oil
2 large potatoes (I think any kind will work here, but I used standard Idaho)
Seasoning*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices, using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Toss with oil. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the slices are dark brown, just short of burnt. Immediately after removing from the oven, toss with salt and pepper or seasoning of your choice.

*Be creative! How delicious does shredded parmesan and parsley sound on these? Or a little cayenne pepper? Or just a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper? Or you could get REALLY crazy and sprinkle a little sugar and sea salt on them. The possibilities are endless. And if you mess up… well, you just wasted a couple potatoes. Call me. I’ll send you the $.65.

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Easy Like Sunday Morning

Confession: in the last six months, I’ve become a bit of a takeout queen. I blame the winter. Waking up on a cold Sunday morning, there is little I want to do besides lie in bed and watch TV, much less get out of the warm blankets and go out into the cold to get groceries or bagels. But then I looked at my checking account. Ouch.

Did you know a carton of eggs, a block of cheese, tomatoes, turkey, milk, toast, and butter costs about $12? And lasts for at least 3 meals? Sayonara, takeout.

On the menu:
Easy omelet

2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded
Any additional ingredients your heart desires (the pictured omelet has shredded cheddar, sliced cherry tomatoes, and turkey)

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and the shredded cheddar. Spray cooking spray in a non-stick skillet and turn heat to medium/low. Pour in egg mixture. Rotate the skillet so a thin layer of egg coats the entire bottom of the skillet. Let cook until bubbles start to form. Rotate skillet again so the uncooked egg in the middle of the omelet slides to the outside to cook. Once center is almost firm, line up for omelet filling in one single line in the center of the egg. With a spatula, fold the edges of the egg toward the center, like a tri-fold letter. Cook for another 5 minutes and sprinkle with shredded cheddar.

Note: I did an omelet post awhile back, with the same technique, different filling.

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Homemade but still kind of not

I have a confession to make: I’m a little bit of a food snob when it comes to certain things (no Prego EVER, Bisquick? Uh uh, Aunt Jemima go home), and a total lazy butt when it comes to others (Ortega fajita seasoning YUM, Twinkies and Twix? ok!, Stouffer’s vegetable lasagna helloooo lover). So when a friend from work sent me a recipe that involved Pillsbury crescent roll dough, I scoffed for .2 seconds and then I drooled a little.

Oh, come on, we all drool.

I made this ridiculously quick and easy cheesecake pie for The BF and his roommates (who got mad at me because they apparently have this weird hangup about not eating junk food every day) and in a matter of hours half the pan was gone. Success.

On the menu:
Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

2 (8 oz.)  packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 (8 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9 x 13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent roll dough. Blend together the cinnamon and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.

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Brown Butter Goodness

Remember that time I had planned on making fabulous Greek salads for dinner, and then The Boyfriend said, “…Oh. Really?” but I already had all the ingredients and was totally stumped and starving? That was a nice time.

So I looked at what I had, forced my brain into “comfort, filling food” mode, and came up with this. Very similar to chicken dishes I’ve made in the past, but with a twist. And brown butter never hurt nobody. Well… unless you’re prone to high cholesterol. Then maybe stay away.

On the menu:
Fried chicken with tomato brown butter cream sauce

2 large chicken breasts, flattened to 1 inch thick
1 Tbsp canola oil
8 Ritz crackers, crumbled [I use Ritz because I love the sweet, butteryness of the crackers but Panko works here, too]
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

In a small saucepan, melt better over medium heat just until the color of the butter turns light brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Lower heat, and whisk in flour until a paste develops. Gradually whisk in milk and raise heat to medium. Stir occasionally until the sauce thickens, around 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and stir for another five minutes. Add parmesan cheese and tomatoes and reduce heat so the sauce simmers. Cook for another ten minutes, and then salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, dip chicken breasts in egg and then Ritz crumbs. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium/high heat. Set chicken in the hot oil and cook for 7 minutes on each side, until the breast is cooked through. Plate chicken and pour sauce over.

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Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, loves. I woke up to white powdery beautiful streets this morning, and of course, immediately checked my e-mail to see if I had a snow day. No dice.

Have you seen this? It’s called “Smooth Criminal Flash Mob at Eataly.” Have you clicked it yet? No? Then what the H is wrong with you?

Just wanted to say a quick hello and remind you of some things you might like to make this weekend. It’s all comfort food, and it’s all guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Also guaranteed to make you want to hit the gym on Monday. You’re welcome.

Breakfast! pancakes…

Lunch! peanut butter…

Dinner! carbonara…

Dessert! cupcakes… (pictured above)

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Creamy Dreamy Cuppa Love

A few days ago I left my apartment en route to The Boyfriend’s and the Christmas mood struck me mid trip. I stopped at a deli for hot chocolate, and when I arrived at the apartment, BF’s roommate said, “What kind is it?!” And when I answered Swiss Miss he made a face. “Oh. I thought you’d be drinking something fancy.” I was embarrassed.

So to maintain my reputation, here is my own recipe for hot chocolate, which I promise I do actually make for myself. All the time. And if you should ever stop my apartment and find an empty Swiss Miss packet on the counter next to a Twinkie wrapper… well, those aren’t mine.

On the menu:
Homemade hot chocolate
Serves 2 (in big mugs, which is how it should be)

Disclaimer: this hot chocolate is not for everyone. It is VERY cocoa-y because I use a little less sugar than most recipes call for. But I like it that way. So… there.

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Pour the milk and cream in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the milk simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cocoa, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add the vanilla and stir again. Bring the mixture up to a boil and let cook at the high temperature for around 5 minutes (careful not to let it overflow… or you might have to clean up a big, fat, chocolatey mess on your stovetop. Not that that has ever happened to me…). Reduce to a simmer and let cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point you can taste it to make sure it’s not too sweet (or bitter) and add sugar/cocoa/milk as you please. This is also the important time where you add a small truckload of marshmallows. And then you drink. And then you’re instantly happy. Like magic.

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