Monday, August 15, 2022

Hawaiian Stir Fry



Stir fries are one of my favorite ways to get lots of vegetables into one meal, and also have a super fast, easy, delicious, dinner. This one is particularly fun due to the addition of pineapple, which adds great color and sweetness to the dish. 



I made this with chicken but I think pork tenderloin would be another good option. You can also vary the green vegetables based on what you have on hand - although I am sure many of you are "swimming" in zucchini right now, and this is a great way to use it!


Once your chicken, vegetables and pineapple are all sliced up, this comes together quickly. 



You should definitely start cooking the rice while you're chopping, otherwise you'll be waiting for it!  This is a great meal to make in the summer that won't heat up your kitchen, and is light and refreshing to boot. It's also great for when school starts and you need a quick dinner between school/work and sports or evening activities.  Enjoy!



Hawaiian Stir Fry

4 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil, divided

1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup zucchini, sliced into thin, bite-size strips

1 cup fresh snow peas or pea pods

4 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 chicken breast halves, cut into thin bite-size strips

1 cup fresh pineapple cubes

6 tablespoons stir-fry sauce, plus more for serving

In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm half of the oil til sizzling, then add the chicken pieces. Cook, stirring constantly, until just barely cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Heat the rest of the oil in the pan over medium high heat, then add the onion slices, mushrooms, peas and zucchini. Cook and stir until the onions start to wilt and the zucchini and peas are al dente, only about 3 minutes. 

Reduce heat to low; add chicken to pan along with pineapple. Drizzle the stir fry sauce over the top and stir well to coat all the meat and vegetables.

Serve over rice with additional sauce. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Lemon Custard Cake


Oh my goodness, no new posts since Mother's Day. Yikes. Life is just life sometimes, right? But today I have a great recipe for you, especially for those that love lemon. 


This lemon custard cake is a breeze to make, and tastes so summery! While it bakes, it separates into a custardy layer and a cake layer, and I love the airy texture.

It's pretty hot already here in Minnesota, but hopefully a cool down is coming to your neck of the woods so you can turn on the oven and make this delicious cake. 


Lemon Custard Cake

4 eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup flour

2 cups milk, lukewarm

Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in a large bowl. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until stiff peaks form. Set the eggs whites aside.

Add the sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Add the melted butter, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk once again. Gradually add the flour, whisking well in between each addition, then repeat with the milk.

Gently fold the egg white into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the batter into a greased 8 or 9-inch square baking pan and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until the cake is golden. Allow to cool in the cake pan completely. 

Remove individual pieces and dust with powdered sugar before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Monday, May 2, 2022

Mini Meringues with Lemon Curd


This is a fantastic spring dessert, perfect for the next upcoming holiday, Mother's Day!  I made these for Easter and they were a wonderful light ending to a big meal. If you're cooking for your mom on Mother's Day, this is the perfect dessert. This dessert is also gluten free so it is great to have in your back pocket if you have guests with that sensitivity.



The sweetness of the meringue is tempered by the tartness of the lemon curd. Then there's the crunch of the meringue contrasted with the smooth lemon curd. But one of my favorite things is that since meringue uses egg white, and the curd uses the yolk, there's no egg waste! This is a far cry of a favorite thing compared to the TASTE of this dessert, but still - there are lots of good reasons to make this.

If you've never made meringues before, or a pavlova, it's not too difficult. You just have to be patient as you whip the egg whites. If you have a stand mixer, this will be a snap. If you're using a hand held electric mixer, you will get a work out. In the end you will have beautiful meringue shells like these. I didn't work to get them too identical or perfect - so another Great British Baking Show fail - but it doesn't really matter. 


Making the lemon curd is not difficult, but again, patience is required. First you'll zest the lemons into the sugar.


Then you'll massage that zest into the sugar for maximum flavor, and it will look like this:


Add the egg yolks,


and whisk until smooth. What a beautiful color this is!


Now cook the curd over boiling water until it coats the back of the spoon - don't let it simmer - this will take about 15 minutes. 


Finally, press the curd through a sieve so that the bigger chunks of zest are left behind. I like a few flakes of zest so I pressed a lot of it through.


Oh my goodness, this is SO GOOD! I could have just eaten it straight out of the bowl. 


But I didn't. I saved it overnight and then made these cutie pies the next day. So cute! So delicious!



Enjoy!


Mini Meringues with Lemon Curd


Meringues:

4 egg whites

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla


Lemon Curd:

2 large lemons

3/4 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

3 Tbsp. butter


Assembly:

cool whip or freshly whipped cream


For the meringues:

In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, and cornstarch. Beat the egg whites on medium/low speed until they begin to thicken, then increase the speed to medium.  With the mixer running, sprinkle in the sugar mixture a small amount at a time. Beat for another minute or two once all the sugar is added, then add vinegar and vanilla. Continue to whip the mixture until the egg whites are glossy, and stiff peaks form.

With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop meringue batter in generous dollops evenly spaced over two cookie sheets lined with silpat or parchment paper. Use the back of a spoon to create an indentation in the center of each. 

Bake at 250 for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway. When ready, the meringues should feel firm and dry, should give slightly when pressed gently. Turn off the oven and let them dry inside the oven for at least 1 hour.

In the meantime, make the curd: 

Find a heatproof bowl that will fit over a saucepan (double-boiler style). Add the sugar to the bowl then finely grate the zest of both lemons into the sugar. Massage that sugar and peel combo with your hands to release a lot of the flavor. Then, add the juice of both lemons and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Bring an inch of water to boil in the saucepan, then set the bowl over it. Cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon or whisk (between 170 and 180°).  This will take some time - mine took between 15-20 minutes. Don't let the curd simmer. Remove from the heat, add butter and stir, then strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover the curd and let it cool completely. Then refrigerate until assembly. 

When ready to serve:

Place a small dollop of the lemon curd into each meringue indentation. Top with cool whip or freshly whipped cream, or berries. (or both!) 

Meringues can be kept on the countertop in an airtight container for about 5 days before starting to taste "old." The curd keeps in the fridge for quite a while, but it probably won't last that long, as you'll want to eat it with a spoon if you've run out of meringues...


Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen


Monday, April 18, 2022

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken {Greek Chicken}


You guys! This chicken is SO good. And (relatively) so easy. And it is super impressive, so it's great for when you have company. Or for when you just want a healthy and delicious dinner. 


This chicken is stuffed with fresh spinach, black olives, mozzarella and feta, then covered in salt, pepper and paprika and baked. That's all there is to it! Well, sort of. You do have to butterfly the chicken in order to "stuff" it - and that can be a little tricky. But luckily, once it bakes, it really doesn't matter how good of a job you've done butterflying it. Really! I practically destroyed some of the breasts in the picture above, and you can hardly tell. So it's super forgiving. (Look closely and you can see the cheese oozing out the top of a few pieces - those were terribly butterflied but it didn't matter!) 


I like to pound out the chicken first to get them all to a uniform thickness, and then I usually cut them in half (what is it with gigantic chicken breasts?? I feel badly for those birds. ha!) and then butterfly them. If you've never done that before, you simply cut into the chicken breast the long way, "sawing" carefully, to create two thin sections. Then open it like a book, add the filling, and close it back up. Even if you have shreds for a top layer (which I did sometimes!) it will bake up just fine. 



This dish is lovely with a cucumber salad (not pictured here cause it runs all over the plate!) or with some roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans. I hope you love this as much as we do. And let me know how your butterflying goes! :)

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

3 large or 6 small chicken breasts
8 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. feta crumbles
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 cup mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
paprika

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it's hot, add the spinach and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.

Pound out the chicken breasts with a meat mallet to make them even thickness/ If you're using large chicken breasts, cut them in half. Carefully butterfly each piece to create a pocket. Place the chicken pieces on a large cookie sheet coated with nonstick spray.

Divide the spinach mixture between the chicken pieces. Then top with feta, olives and mozzarella. Carefully fold the "top" back over the chicken bottom, tucking in any loose filling as best you can. Season the tops of the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.  Serves 6.





 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Lemon Blueberry Scones




It's a beautiful, sunny day here today so it's time for some spring-themed baking! These lemon blueberry scones will have you singing like a birdie, they are so good! Here's a close up to entice you:



They would be perfect for Easter morning, or for any morning actually. They are just the right blend of tartness from the lemon and sweetness from the blueberry, and they aren't all dry and craggy like some scones. The cup of buttermilk ensures that these are just plain downright delicious.

Look at these beauties, straight from the oven:


An easy lemony glaze tops these scones, which takes them over the top. Once the scones are cool, I like to place the wire rack right over the cookie sheet so I can glaze away with abandon and not worry about the mess on my counter. 



You will definitely feel spring in the air when you make these scones. Even if it IS going to snow AGAIN later this week. Grrr. 



Lemon Blueberry Scones
2 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

Glaze:
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 -2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar


For the scones:

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.  Add in the cubed butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. You still want some small, pea-sized chunks of butter, so check it after you've pulsed a few times! Transfer to a large bowl. 

If you don't have a food processor, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. 

Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork to make a soft, sticky dough. Lightly flour your hands and gather the dough, making a ball as best you can! Knead this about 10 times on a lightly floured service. 

Then fold in the blueberries. This will be tricky, but do your best. 

Press out the dough until it is 1" thick.

Using a 2-½ inch cutter, cut out rounds. 

Place on ungreased baking sheet. Gather up any scraps and cut out more rounds.

Bake at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the glaze:

Whisk 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and 1-½ tsp. lemon zest. Add more lemon juice until desired consistency.  Drizzle over the top of scones. 

Store in an airtight container. 

 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Sourdough Waffles

 


We love waffles at our house. They are a traditional Saturday or Sunday brunch (or lunch) item. (When you have teenagers, they call it breakfast. For me, it's lunch. Ha!) I almost always make my favorite oat waffles, and sometimes I change it up with bananas or pumpkin, but these.  These sourdough waffles.



These waffles are SO good. They truly melt in your mouth. And the overnight sponge gives them just enough sour flavor to be SO incredibly delicious. How many times can I capitalize SO? 

These do take an extra little bit of effort, since you prepare the sponge the night before, then let it sit out on the counter all night. This seems weird, especially with two cups of milk included, but it's what gives these waffles their outrageous lightness and flavor.



These also only work if you have a sourdough starter. I know. I really try to refrain from posting recipes that are too specialized, and this is one. However, if you don't have a friend to give you some starter, you can make your own. I assure you that it will be worth it! Plus once your starter is activated and ready to go, you can make bread, too! I've been making our sourdough bread and it's SO good. (There I go again with the capital SO.)


Make these waffles and have a great day, or weekend. You'll still be thinking about them hours and days later, I promise!

Sourdough Waffles

Sponge:
2 cups flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sourdough starter (discard is fine too!)
2 Tbsp. sugar

Batter:
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

For the sponge, in a large bowl or batter bowl, combing the flour, sugar and buttermilk and whisk well. Stir in the starter, then cover and let sit in a cool place (or on the counter if your house is not above 70!) for 8-12 hours. 

(If there is a time lapse between the 12 hours and making the waffles, it's ok to stick the batter in the fridge. For example, I made the sponge on Saturday night, put in the fridge 12 hours later, then returned from church to finish the recipe.)

Add the eggs, oil, salt and baking soda to the sponge and stir well to combine. It will also "grow" because of the baking soda, so hopefully your bowl was big enough!  

Pour the batter onto a preheated waffle iron. Note that sourdough waffles spread quite a bit, so you might want to use less than "normal."  Cook according to your waffle maker's guidance.  Enjoy with syrup, berries and cream, or your favorite toppings!



Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Korean Beef Sloppy Joes

 


At our house, we love Asian flavors and I'm always game for a fusion - combining two different styles into one food. These Korean Beef Sloppy Joes are just the ticket! Similar to a regular sloppy joe in substance, but with a much tangier, kickier flavor.(Kickier is not technically a word, however it is a great descriptor here, so I'm going to go with it.) 



I also liked that these sloppy joes were not as, well, sloppy, as the traditional recipe that I make. And let's be clear, I love sloppy joes. They are often my request at our family birthday dinner! But this year, these Korean Beef Sloppy Joes won the day. And everyone at the party agreed that they are fantastic.

We enjoyed these at home with sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli, and at the birthday party the Asian Coleslaw (or try this one with mangoes!) was the perfect accompaniment. Followed by cake, of course!



So whether you're having a party, or it's just a regular day, these Korean Beef Sloppy Joes are sure to be a hit. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Korean Beef Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
6 hamburger buns, lightly toasted

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, breaking it up slightly with a spoon or spatula. Be sure to leave some larger chunks of meat, so don't break it up entirely. Drain any fat.

Add the garlic, sesame oil, ketchup, hoisin sauce, water, soy sauce, vinegar and chili garlic sauce. Stir well to combine, then bring to a light simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes to combine the flavors. If it's not sloppy enough, add up to 1/4 cup more water. 

Spoon the meat mixture onto the bottom half of the buns, and then garnish with green onions. Top with the other half of the buns.  Serves 6. 


Monday, March 14, 2022

Bailey's Brownies



Thursday this week is St. Patrick's Day. And if you like to get in the spirit with what you cook and bake, you should definitely consider Irish Stew, Beer Bread, Lucky Charms snack mix, or other traditional foods like Corned Beef and Cabbage or Soda Bread. You should consider those. That makes sense. 



But you should DEFINITELY make these Bailey's brownies for dessert! These nearly defy description. But I will try. Fudgy brownies that you make from scratch are the base for all the Irish Cream goodness. Now, these are super simple to make from scratch, but if you wanted to, you could easily just whip up a box mix. Don't let the from scratch deter you.


A thick layer of Irish Cream frosting is next, topped by a glossy ganache, again laced with Irish Cream. 


These brownies are SO good. It's likely that you will dance an Irish jig or break out into O Danny Boy or something like that, you just won't be able to help yourself. 

And I promise, you won't need the luck of the Irish when these brownies are in your life. 


 
Bailey's Brownies

Brownies:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour

Frosting:
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 cups powdered sugar

Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 Tbsp. half and half or cream

For the brownies, place the butter in a large glass bowl or batter bowl and cook at 50% power in the microwave until the butter is melted. Let cool slightly, then add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each, then stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Finally, add the flour and beat vigorously until the batter pulls away from the side of the bowl. 

Line an 8" pan with foil or parchment paper, then grease the foil. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs attached. You want them to be fudgy but not dry.  

Cool the brownies completely before adding the frosting and ganache.

For the ganache, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and Bailey's together until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is thick and creamy. Spread the frosting over the brownies and then put in the freezer while you make the ganache.

For the ganache, place the chocolate chips in a small heat-proof bowl. Heat the Bailey's and the half and half in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove until it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir well until glossy. Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour ganache over. Let them sit at room temperature for half hour, then refrigerate for several hours before serving. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Sour Cream Coffeecake


Coffeecake is such a luxurious breakfast or morning treat. Especially when it's layered and topped with streusel. This cake, that you can eat for breakfast because of its clever name, will get your day off on the right foot. Paired with a steaming hot cup of coffee, and maybe even scrambled eggs if you're fancy, you will feel like you can tackle the world.




Just look at those yummy layers - it even makes the bird on the plate jealous! ha! Seriously though, a super tender crumb with sugary, buttery streusel in the middle, topped with more cake and streusel - every bite is a marvel. I usually don't use a lot of flowery language here, but sour cream coffeecake deserves every accolade.


I hope you will make this soon - you probably have the ingredients already! - and that your family and friends will love it as much as we do.


Sour Cream Coffeecake

1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Streusel:
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add egg and mix again, then add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined. 

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add this mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into a greased 8" pan. Smooth into an even layer.

In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of this streusel over the batter.  Spoon remaining batter on top of the streusel, and smooth as well as you can. Then sprinkle remaining streusel over the top.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.  Tent with foil if the cake is browning too much after about 25 minutes. (Mine did not need the foil.)

Cool for at least 10 minutes. Leftovers can be frozen or stored in an airtight container. 

 

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