Entries Tagged 'easy' ↓

Semi-Homemade Egg Rolls

eggrollsThanks to co-author Alan, I found this great foodie blog called Full Bellies, Happy Kids which is now in the links to the right. This recipe I saw there inspired me to the point of actually buying some ingredients in advance that I wouldn’t normally have on hand. However, being us, we made a bunch of substitutions and in this case completely made up our own dipping sauces. Check out the original recipe for more instructions and ideas.

Had to buy:

  • 1 bag tri-color coleslaw mix
  • Egg roll wrappers

Had on hand:

  • a small Baby Bok Choi
  • 4 Green Garlic bulbs (like giant green onions)
  • 1/2 lb pre cooked frozen shrimp (TJ’s of course)
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • canola oil
  • soy sauce
  • Sriracha (rooster hot sauce)
  • salt and pepper

First I thawed the shrimp and let them drain for a while. I combined 1/2 of the package of coleslaw with the finely chopped bok choi, garlic bulbs and added finely minced ginger. I also started the oven pre-heating to 400 degrees- which for my small egg rolls now seems a bit too high.

I stir-fried the veggies in olive oil and added the finely chopped shrimp at the end with a good strong dash of soy sauce, a small bit of the sriracha, and salt and pepper. This yielded a pretty wet mix, probably due to not draining and drying the shrimp enough, so we put it in a strainer over a bowl to get the good stuff high and dry.

On an oiled nonstick baking sheet we assembled the egg rolls following the folding directions on the package and also found in the recipe link above. After brushing the tops of our cute little rollups with some additional oil we popped them in the oven and set the timer for 18 minutes since we know our oven runs a bit hot.

Its a good thing I checked them early because they were done – more than done really about 4 minutes early. I was pretty sparing with the filling and next time – and there WILL be a next time – I will really load them up. These were so easy and so good that I am really wishing I had made more filling.

For our dipping sauces I decided to play around a bit and came up with the following quick and dirty and delicious condiments.

Mustard Teriyaki
This is simple but very tasty – I just mixed equal parts Dijon Mustard and Sesame Teriyaki Sauce (TJ’s again). This was just right with the egg rolls, spicy but not too hot for my husband.

Heather’s Generic Dipping Sauce
Equal parts Soy Sauce and Rice Wine Vinegar mixed together with a few drops of chile oil, a pinch of minced ginger, a pinch of minced garlic and this time a pinch of fresh ground horseradish. We usually make something similar to dip almost any Asian food into.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we did.

Olive Oil: sometimes it’s even better than butter

I am one of those people who would rather die than put margarine on anything. Butter is a staple in our household, and it’s excellent on almost everything. Ever fried bacon in butter? Your arteries will cringe, but your tastebuds will leap for joy, trust me. 

Sadly, I needed a grilled cheese sandwich, badly, one afternoon. No prob: I have some homemade bread, some american cheese (yeah, the kind wrapped in individual slices)…and –OH NOES–NO BUTTER! 

Rather than turn away from the kitchen and head out to the local store for butter, I grabbed the olive oil, spiraled a little bit around in the pan, and grilled the sandwich con olio d’oliva. You have to watch the sandwich carefully, since the oil will absorb into the bread, and the bread will burn more quickly than with butter. Keep the heat a little lower than you’re used to, and you should be fine. 

The end result was dee-lish. The olive oil imparted another layer of flavor to the sandwich, and next time I have some fancy brie or camembert laying around, I’ll try this recipe with that instead, for a more “authentic” eurpoean grilled cheese. In the photo at right you can see the darker areas of the bread where the oil swirls were…the oil does spread out from there, and the contrast in taste between the darker areas and lighter areas are lovely.

Hearty Stew

Hearty Stew
Okay, after what seems like forever I am finally posting something…

Since the weather is now getting cold, and I want to go out to the grocery even less than usual, I have started to make dinner with what ever is on hand. I tend to make a lot of soups and stews because I can make them in the morning or the day before and let them slow cook all day. They is very little prep involved and they cook a long time all by themselves. And let me say nothing is better to coming home to the yummy smell of stew cooking. I have never made two stews exactly the same and I don’t like to measure anything, but the basics of any stew are all the same. You need a base, some meat and/or veggies, some spices, and a Crock-pot. The following is the stew I made yesterday.

First, I browned some cube steak in dash of olive oil in a skillet. You can really use any cut of meat you have on hand, rump, round steak, cube, roast, what ever. I was using some of our lovely organic cow that we purchased this past summer. I must say that the better the quality of the meat the better the stew in the end. While you are browning the meat add whatever seasoning you like. It is best to add things that go well with the meat as this seasoning will not really penetrate the whole stew but will stay in the meat. I used some dry thyme, coriander, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As far a how much of everything, they are in order of greatest to least… it was mostly thyme and a small dash of nutmeg. When the meat was browned on all sides, but not over cooked I covered it with red wine. I used pinot noir, but again use what you like. If you like to drink it, it will taste good in your stew.

For other stews I have used beer as the base, but had a bottle of wine opened so I used that. For beer I prefer the stouter variety for stew, but have used just about everything that is amber to black in color… My husband’s homebrew is my favorite.

While browning the meat I start to throw the other stuff into the Crock-pot. I used a can of chicken stock (beef, chicken, vegetable stock, whatever you have) Some more of the red wine, maybe a cup or two, kind of depends on how much stew you are making. The rule of thumb is that you just want enough liquid ingredients to cover the meat and veggies so nothing get scorched in the cooking process, also the liquid will cook down quite a bit. I added about 4 potatoes peeled and chopped, and handful of chopped carrots. I usually like more veggies, but having not gone to the store the pickings were slim this time. In the past I have used frozen and fresh veggies. Both work but the frozen tend to break down more than the fresh, they still taste great but kind of disappear visually. I also added a spoon full of horseradish, a good squirt of spicy mustard (you can use dry if you have it, but regular old sandwich mustard works just fine),a spoonful of beef bouillon, and some butter (about 1/4 a stick).

Next I added the meat to the Crock-pot and that’s it. Let cook for anywhere from 3-8 hours on low. Just cook till everything is nice and soft. You can turn it on in the morning before work and it will be nice and ready when you get home. One final thing you can do if you want is when you are about ready to eat take some of the broth out and put it in a jar and add a spoon or two of flour to it, shake vigorously to mix and then add back in to the stew and let cook for a few more minutes. This will thicken up the base a little bit and make it more stewy. Enjoy and have fun.

Three Cans & a Box

I’ve been making up recipes for years. I think it all started when it was my job to have the family dinner on the table by the time mom came home from work. Ah nothing like the pressure of cooking everyday with limited store bought ingredients, but plenty of frozen & canned meats, fruits & veggies from the garden to get those creative juices flowing.

Here’s one I made up in college, flexing my skills on the fast, easy, available, pre-made foods. I gotta say it became a favorite among my friends. This one also works wonders for those last minute potlucks too. Just double the recipe to 6 cans & 2 boxes & use a larger cake pan. Guys at potlucks love this stuff & clean the plate every time! Go figure…

Three Cans & a Box

1 Can Tamales
1 Can Chili
1 Can Corn
1 Box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix + milk & egg

Pre-heat oven 350°

Open can of tamales & dump into 9×9 pan. Remove the pieces of paper surrounding each tamale & chop into bite size pieces. Open can of chili & add the pan. Open can of corn, use lid to drain juice & add to the pan. Mix ingredients together. Make corn muffin mix by following directions on the back of the box. Spoon batter over the top of the chili mixture & bake until the top is golden brown.

Cold Spicy Noodle Salad

It was unexpectedly bloody hot and humid today – a day filled with numerous technical snafus and stress. But I was hungry anyhow and this is what I threw together. All I can say is that it was tasty enough to inspire this blog.

Cold Spicy Somen Noodle Salad
here’s what’s in it:

1 packet somen noodles (1 serving)
8 mint leaves finely sliced
hot and sweet asian chile sauce
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar

I added what i had left of pickled herring and onions in wine sauce – about 1/2 cup rinsed thoroughly and drained

Toss the seasonings and herring/onions in a bowl while the noodles are cooking. Rinse the noodles under really cold water and stir in.

total time – about 10 min.

I’m thinking I could do this with canned tuna or a nicer protein if I wanted to serve it to others…