Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creamy Eggs

This is our traditional Easter morning breakfast.  It is hard-boiled eggs in a thick cream sauce poured over toast.  We also have kielbasa on the side.  My dad even sings (he is not known for his singing), 'We're creamed eggs on toast! Mom & Dad were Easter Eggs!!' as he ladles up the creamy eggs for us.  It's a great tradition, and I was nervous when I made it for Zak the first time, but he was sold from the first bite.  I made this for breakfast this weekend, because my brother is visiting and we didn't get to make this for Easter, as we were visiting Zak's grandparents.  I was unsure of how many eggs to make, if I should halve the sauce recipe or what, but what I made turned out to be the right amount for the three of us to stuff ourselves with!  It was delicious and worth the wait!

6 hard-boiled eggs
1 cube + 1 Tbl. butter
6 Tbl. flour
3 c. milk
salt & pepper
7 pieces of toast

1.  Place eggs in a small saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover them.  Bring to a rolling boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.  Drain and add to cold water with ice cubes.
2.  Heat butter on medium heat in microwave until melted.
3.  Whisk in flour, cook on medium heat 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, until bubbling almost reaches the top of the bowl.
4.  Slowly add in milk.  Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.  Stir, cook for 2 minutes.  Keep repeating until sauce has thickened.
5.  Peel and cut up eggs, and add to thickened sauce.  Sprinkle in salt & pepper and combine.  
6.  Serve over toast and enjoy!

enjoy with juice!

Crockpot Beef Stew

This recipe was pretty good, it smelled so good in the crockpot all day!  It was great with some thick slices of sourdough bread yum!

2 lb. stew beef
3 - 4 large potatoes, peeled & chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 large onion, sliced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 c. beef broth

1.  Layer potatoes on the bottom of the crockpot.  Add carrots and stew meat.
2.  Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, paprika, flour and soy sauce.
3.  Layer onions on top of meat.
4.  Combine tomato sauce and beef broth and pour over meat and vegetables.
5. Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours (or on high for 4 - 5).

so thick and hearty!


Winger's Sticky Fingers

Winger's is a pretty good restaurant in this region of the U.S. (Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, etc.) and they have great sticky fingers.  The sauce is hot enough, but sweet enough and very addicting.  I saw this copycat recipe and knew I had to try it.  It tasted just like Winger's, and was much cheaper to make (duh).  We had a lot of leftover sauce, but it was good to dip the freezer fries in.  Zak had the best idea for coating the chicken tenders: he suggested that I put the chicken in a strainer with a bowl underneath to catch the excess sauce.  It worked really well.  This was a really easy, fun dinner and I'm sure we'll have it again!

1 package breaded chicken tenders
6 Tbl. Frank's hot sauce (it's important to use the Frank's brand, from what I've heard)
4 Tbl. water
1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1.  Prepare chicken according to the package directions.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
3.  Place cooked chicken in strainer, with a large bowl underneath.  Pour the sauce on the chicken and toss.
4.  Repeat with the sauce that drained a few times and enjoy with ranch dressing!

with flash

without flash, so good!

Lighter General Tso's Chicken

As you may have figured out, we love Chinese food.  And when I saw a recipe for not only General Tso's Chicken (a favorite of Zak's), but a healthier recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew I had to try it.  It was awesome!  The chicken was perfect, and although it was pretty spicy (but not as much the next day), it had such great flavor.  I loved how the chicken came out with the egg white and cornstarch batter, it was just great. Definitely a favorite and an addition to our meal menu.

1/4 c. cornstarch, divided (1 Tbl., 3 Tbl.)
1 lb. snow peas, trimmed (I used 1 lb. frozen sugar snap peas and trimmed them)
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 Tbl. brown sugar
2 Tbl. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (1/4 if you aren't a fan of spicy)
2 large egg whites
1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 - 2 Tbl. oil

1.  In large bowl, stir together 1 Tbl. cornstarch and 1/2 c. cold water until smooth.  Add snow (or sugar snap) peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  Toss to combine and set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites with remaining 3 Tbl. cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Add chicken and toss to coat.
3.  Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Shake off excess mixture from chicken and cook until golden, 6 - 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.
4.  Add snow pea mixture to skillet, cover and cook until tender and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
5.  Return chicken to skillet and toss to coat.

I got about 5 servings from this

the chicken turned out so perfectly

so yummy!

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Pork

I love sweet & sour pork and this recipe did not disappoint.  It was simple and tasty.  And pretty easy to throw together!

1 1/2 - 2 lb. pork loin or shoulder, trimmed & cut into 1-inch cube
1 Tbl. oil
2 (8 oz. each) cans crushed pineapple in juice
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbl. ketchup
1 Tbl. quick-cooking tapioca
3 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1.  In skillet, brown pork cubes on both sides in oil; drain off fat and place in crockpot.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork.
3.  Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours, or on high from 4 -5 hours.

I'm sorry, this was the only picture I managed to get

Slow-Cooker Beef Gyros

This was a pretty good recipe.  And a bit different from our usual meals.  I was a bit nervous about this, because the meat hadn't thawed completely before I put it in the crock pot, and I didn't want to overcook it, but it turned out pretty darn perfect.  Zak was great and made the cucumber yogurt sauce and chopped the onions and tomatoes.  It was all ready when I came home for work and pretty tasty!  We have lots of leftovers!

2 lb. boneless chuck steak
1/4 c. olive oil
2 Tbl. lemon juice
1 Tbl. minced garlic
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Dill Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 c. diced seedless cucumber
1 Tbl. dill
1/4 tsp. salt

Pita bread
toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, red onions

1.  Place beef in crock pot.
2.  Mix rest of 'meat' ingredients in a small bowl and pour over beef, turning to coat.
3.  Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours (until meat is tender, it was practically falling apart!)
4.  Mix sauce ingredients together, spread on pita bread.
5.  Top pitas with meat and toppings.

meat about to be cut up

cucumber sauce


Monday, April 9, 2012

Fail-Proof Pizza Dough

We love making homemade pizza; we used to make it almost every week when we were engaged/dating/in Rexburg.  We don't make it as often now, but it's always fun.  We have almost always used Zak's mom's recipe (they have a Pizza Friday tradition since forever), which is awesome and we love.  But I saw this recipe online and thought I'd like to give it a try.  The gal talked about how the crust was chewier, thinner and like restaurant pizza, and the only major difference was using bread flour vs. regular flour.  Zak was in charge of the dough and when I came home for work, we made two pizzas: one just cheese, and one with pineapple, tomatoes and basil.  It was delicious.  I really liked this recipe, the crust was awesome!  Zak liked it too, but he naturally loves his mom's recipe.  So I think we'll use this one from time to time, depending on our stock of bread or regular flour.  

1 c. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbl. honey (or sugar)
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. olive or canola oil
3 c. bread flour

6 oz. tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. minced onion

~4 c. cheese

1.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together yeast and honey (or sugar) into warm water.  Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam.
2.  Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix on low.
3.  Once that flour is incorporated, start adding rest of flour slowly until dough is slightly tacky, but doesn't stick to hands when you touch it.
4.  Turn the mixer to medium - high to high speed, set a timer for 6 minutes and walk away.
5.  Lightly grease bowl and dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 - 2 hours.
6.  Once dough has doubled in size, punch down, separate into two pieces and roll into circle.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
7.  Mix sauce ingredients, adding other spices to taste.
8.  Add sauce, cheese and toppings to pizza.
9.  Cook pizza about 8 - 10 minutes, until crust has turned a beautiful golden brown color.

at first, I was skeptic of pineapple w/basil & tomatoes, but it was so yummy!

beautiful and delicious

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Chicken

We love curry, but don't have it often enough.  But I've found a few recipes to try for the next month or two.  This one was really good, and I'm sure we'll make it again.  The chicken thighs were so good and moist, and I loved the coconut milk with the red curry, yum!  It just needed some salt & pepper, and that's it.  We omitted the mushrooms, and personally, I'd like twice the amount of bamboo shoots, because they were awesome.  Delicious!

1/4 c. Thai red curry paste
2 - 2 1/2 lbs. chicken thigh fillets, trimmed & cut in slightly bigger than bite-sized pieces
1 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. oil
1 c. sliced bamboo shoots
1/2 c. fresh shiitake mushrooms, halved (we omitted them)
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 (14 oz.) coconut milk (we used lite coconut milk)
1/3 c. basil leaves

1.  Heat some oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.  Cut the chicken up and cook them in batches for 1 - 3 minutes, until sides turn golden.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.
2.  Turn heat to low and add rest of cooking oil.  Add curry paste and stir for 2 - 3 minutes until it releases a sweet aroma.  Add the chicken broth and stir with the curry until it's all dissolved.  Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots, pour over chicken and stir until well mixed.
3.  Cook on high for 3 - 4 hours OR low for 7 - 8 hours.
4.  Combine coconut milk, fish sauce and brown sugar, stir into cooked mixture and cover.  Cook for 30 more minutes on high.
5.  Stir in basil and serve over rice.


picture w/flash

Homemade Bagels

I love bagels, holy cow.  We have an amazing bagel sandwich shop in downtown and it's so hard not to go there all the time.  I've seen a few bagel recipes online and was always discouraged, because they look so complicated.  So when I found this recipe, I was a bit skeptical, because it seemed too easy and that maybe it wouldn't taste like real bagels.  But I was wrong!  This recipe was simple, fun and so freaking tasty!  I think I will make these often, and probably not buy bagels that much anymore.  These are so good.  I got to work on forming them a little bit better, but for my first try, I was impressed with how well they turned out!  We ended up with 4 plain, 2 sesame & 2 cheese.  Delicious!

4 c. bread flour
1 Tbl. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. oil
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 c. warm water

1.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Don't worry about proofing the yeast, just stir all ingredients until it's well incorporated.
2.  Plop the dough on the table, add some flour and kneed for about ten minutes.  Dough should be firm and smooth.
3.  Cut into 8 equal pieces and form in balls, let rest for 20 minutes.
4.  Roll out a dough ball with your hands until it is a little bit longer than the width of your two hands.  Form into a circle--the website had some technique that I couldn't quite grasp.  I just eyeballed it and formed circles that looked uniform enough.
5.  Let rolled bagels rest for 20 minutes; bring big pot of water to a boil, spray cooking sheet with Pam or something & preheat oven to 425 degrees.
6.  Boil as 3 - 4 bagels at a time, one minute per side.  Once they've been boiled on each side, place on oiled sheet.  If you want to add poppy or sesame seeds, or even cheese, simply have a clean plate ready with the toppings and carefully (bagel will be hot) place on top of the toppings.
7.  Once all bagels are done and toppings have been added, bake for 10 minutes.  Flip bagels and cook another 10 minutes.
8.  Let cool 15  - 20 minutes (however long you can stand it) and then enjoy!

waiting to be boiled


into the oven

after first 10 minutes

finally done!

oh the sesame ones were amazing

well, they were all amazing!