Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fish Tacos Aunt Sandy Style

One of our favorite dishes at our favorite pub is Fish Tacos. I haven't been that adventurous to try to make them myself, until I got a bag of frozen fish sticks. So I channeled my inner Aunt Sandy and created my version of Semi-Homemade Fish Tacos. Using the frozen fish sticks and making an Asian cabbage slaw, guacamole and cilantro cream, the resulting dinner was not too bad!

Asian Cole Slaw
from the blog Dinners for a Year and Beyond

5 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of hot sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup toasted almonds, slivered

Mix together mayonnaise, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, hot sauce, and sugar. Add cabbage and almonds and toss to coat. Chill for about 30 - 1 hour before serving.

Not Your Mama's Tuna Noodle Casserole

No cream of crap here. Every now and then, I get a craving for Tuna Noodle Casserole. I love this recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. It uses a mixture of flour and real milk instead of canned soup. I also like topping it with crushed plain potato chips!
Tuna-Pasta Casserole
from Betty Crocker's Cookbook Bridal Edition

Crumb Topping (see below) or 2/3 cup crushed potato chips
1 1/4 cups uncooked medium pasta shells or elbow macaroni (about 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp process American or cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup frozen (thawed) green peas
2 (6-ounce) cans tuna in water, drained

Crumb Topping
2/3 cup crushed cereal (Wheaties, Cheerios or Country cornflakes or dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted

1. Heat oven to 350°. Make Crumb Topping; set aside.

2. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in 1 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese until melted.

4. Mix pasta, broccoli, tuna and sauce in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with topping. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until topping is toasted.

Crumb Topping
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted
Mix ingredients.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Dinner 2008

Happy Valentine's Day 2008! For dinner this year, I decided to go with one of our favorite shrimp recipes, Spicy Shrimp Scampi and roasted asparagus. For appetizers, I came up with an idea to take crescent dough and fill it with a piece of brie and cranberry sauce, and make a mini muffin tart. I baked them in the oven for 10 minutes to brown them and melt the cheese. And for dessert, what better than Funfetti Cake with Strawberry Fluff icing. I also used pink sugar crystals to make a heart decoration.

Cranberry Brie Bites
Spicy Shrimp Scampi with AsparagusFunfetti Cake with Strawberry Fluff Icing

Hershey's Ultimate Brownies

Upon seeing so many yummy brownie recipes online, I am now on a quest for the perfect brownie. I found a recipe in my Hershey's cookbook for Ultimate Brownies and figured that would be a good start. The brownies were pretty yummy and the addition of chocolate chips gave them a little bonus! They were so good plain that I didn't bother with frosting them.

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan or two 8-inch square baking pans.

2. Stir together cocoa and baking soda in large bowl; stir in 1/3 cup butter. Add boiling water; stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup butter; stir until smooth. Add flour, vanilla and salt; blend completely. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan, 30 to 35 minutes for square pans or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. About 36 brownies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Turkey Meatballs & Spaghetti

I have been on a quest to find the best meatball and spaghetti sauce. I recently tried two recipes that were wonderful. I used recipes on two separate blogs to make this dish. For the sauce, I tried a recipe from the Reading, Riting & Recipes blog. For the meatballs, I went to the Carrie in the Kitchen blog, and substituted the ground beef for turkey. I am pleased to report that both recipes were delicious!

1.5 pounds ground round (I used ground turkey)
1/4 cup finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a bowl and stir well. Shape mixture into 1.5 inch meatballs. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking soray. Bake at 400 degress for 15 minutes of until done.

Best Red Sauce Evah
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 cup red wine
28 oz. Diced or Crushed Tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes)
1 Can Tomato Paste (6 oz)
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth (I used beef broth)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried Oregano
2 Tbs Chopped Fresh Basil
3 Tbs Chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
2-4 Tbs butter

Heat the EVOO in a large saucepan. Cook the onions until soft. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth and seasonings. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. At end of cooking, add butter 1 Tbs at a time to round out the flavors and cut the acidity, tasting as you go.

Thai Coconut Chicken

If there is one thing that I love, it's Thai food. I have attempted to make Thai cuisine at home but it never turns out like it does at a restaurant. I found this yummy recipe on the Dinner With The Bickfords blog. I was also pleased to find out that it was Weight Watchers friendly.

Thai Coconut Chicken
2 teaspoons oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (I used green Thai curry paste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound asparagus, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces (I used onions, mushrooms, and green pepper)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tablespoon fish sauce (I omitted this because I hate fish sauce)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice (I used Jasmine rice)

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet, then add the chicken and sprinkle with the salt. Saute until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

2. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over low heat, then add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant and the onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sugar, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the asparagus, coconut milk and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chicken and basil; heat through. Serve over rice.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Favorite Meal - Chicken Scaloppini with Lemon Sauce

Chicken Scaloppini with Lemon Sauce is one of my favorite meals. I love this recipe from my Southern Living Cookbook. I usually thicken the sauce with some arrowroot so it make a gravy to pour over the pasta. Enjoy!

Chicken Scaloppini with Lemon Sauce
Serves 6

6 chicken breast halves, skinned, boned, and halved
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place each chicken piece between 2 sheets of waxed paper; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine flour and pepper; stir well. Dredge chicken in eggs and then in flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Set chicken aside.

Heat butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Cook chicken in skillet over medium heat about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and done. Remove chicken to serving platter; keep warm.

Add mushrooms and 1/4 cup water to pan drippings; cook over medium heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Spoon mushrooms over chicken.

Add wine and lemon juice to the skillet, heat thoroughly. Pour sauce over chicken; sprinkle with parlsey.

Hamburger Steak with Onions & Gravy

I was feeling a bit retro, so I thought I would make a somewhat homestyle meal - Hamburger Steak with Onions & Gravy. I used ground turkey which made it a bit healthier. It turned out great, despite the fact that I had run out of egg noodles and had to use macaroni!

Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy
Ready In: 40 Minutes

Yields: 4 servings

1 pound ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 8 balls, and flatten into patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties and onion in the oil until patties are nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the beef patties to a plate, and keep warm.

Sprinkle flour over the onions and drippings in the skillet. Stir in flour with a fork, scraping bits of beef off of the bottom as you stir. Gradually mix in the beef broth and sherry. Season with seasoned salt. Simmer and stir over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the gravy thickens. Turn heat to low, return patties to the gravy, cover, and simmer for another 15 minutes.