My family loves Chinese food and we do a good amount of take-out. I know we could lessen that and so I decided to begin to make my own version of our favorite things. The first step was fried rice. A long time ago we went to one place that put ginger in their fried rice. I loved it and haven’t found anyone else that does that. I knew that was a must ingredient to my homemade fried rice. I also love hoisin sauce and thought that might work in the rice too. I’m so glad I decided to add these two ingredients into the dish, the rice turned out to be some of the best I’ve ever had.
Making your own fried rice is really easy, but you do have to plan in advance. From what I’ve read, using cold cooked rice is the best way to get the right texture. I made the rice in the morning and put it in the fridge when it was done. If you don’t have time to do it in the morning, make it the night before. Either way, you must make your rice in advance.
Homemade Vegetable Fried Rice:
- 3 cups cooked long grain rice, white or brown, cold
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 small white onion, diced small
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tsp finely minced fresh ginger or freshly grated ginger (using microplane)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tbs low-sodium soy sauce (you can add more to taste)
- 2 tbs Hoisin Sauce
- Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a wok or 12 inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and 2 tbs of the ginger, cook until fragrant. Add half of the green onions, peas and carrots and cook until they are warmed, about 3 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to the side of the pan; making a hole in the center and add the remaining 2 tbs oil. Add the eggs to the center of the pan and whisk constantly till the eggs are just about cooked. Mix into the rest of the vegetables.
- Add the rice and break up the clumps stir everything together then flatten the rice out. Let sit untouched for about 2 minutes. Stir the rice and add the soy sauce, remaining 1 tbs of ginger, and hoisin sauce, continuing to break up any rice clumps. Add the remaining green onions and adjust seasonings, to taste. Enjoy!
Source: Gina Marie Original
We have been doing really good about eating better and I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh ideas. I have my go-to recipe when it comes to pork tenderloin but there are times I want something different. When I got the new America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy 2012 magazine, I saw on the front cover was a fabulous looking pork tenderloin. This is the first recipe I’ve tried out the magazine, and there will be a lot more to follow.
I loved the combination of fennel and artichokes. I left out the olives because my husband despises them, but left them in the recipe so you can choose to put them in or not. I find it’s very important to get the silverskin off the tenderloin. If you don’t, the pork can be chewy and will get into a weird shape while cooking.
The picture above shows what the silverskin looks like. Take your knife and angle it slightly upward and use a gentle sawing motion to cut the silverskin away from the meat. That’s it! Very simple and makes for a better tenderloin.
Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
- 2 (1lb) Pork Tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and silverskin
- 2 tsp dried herbes de Provence
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slives
- 12 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
- 1/3 cup pitted nicoise or kalamata olives, chopped coarse
- 8 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbs grated lemon zest plus 2 tbs juice
- 2 tbs minced fresh parsley
- Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels, then season with herbes de Provence, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
- Combine the fennel and 2 tbs water in bowl, cover and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain fennel well and toss with artichokes, olives, 2 tbs oil, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.
- Spread the vegetables in a large roasting pan. Lay pork on top of vegetables. Roast pork and vegetables for 15 minutes. Turn pork over and add tomatoes to roasting pan. Continue to roast pork and vegetables until meat registers 140-145 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Transfer the pork to carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Stir broth and lemon zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir remaining 2 tsp oil, lemon juice, and parsley into roasted vegetables and season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice pork 1/2 inch thick and serve with vegetables.
There are times when I see something on my Google Reader and I have to make it right away. This is one of those times. Pioneer Woman posted this recipe and it looked so good, that I knew I had to make it ASAP. What makes it even better is that I already had all the ingredients. It was totally meant to be. I am going to admit something… I am not a huge chicken fan. If given the choice, I won’t ever pick chicken. I will make it and eat it, but I won’t ever get seconds. I loved this dish so much, that I got a second piece of chicken! Even my daughter, who doesn’t like a lot of saucy things, loved it. This says a lot. The only thing I changed from the original recipe was adding shallots. Personally, I love shallots, but my husband said I could leave them out next time. It’ll be up to you and whether you want to add them or not.
You must go make this dish now! It’s fast and easy and you won’t regret it.
Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce:
- 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or 8 chicken cutlets
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 2 medium shallots sliced thin (optional)
- 1 cup Brandy (or White Wine If Preferred) *I loved the Brandy*
- 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Grainy Mustard
- 1/4 cup (to 1/2) Heavy Cream
- 1/4 cup (to 1/2) Chicken Broth
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- If using chicken breasts and not cutlets, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that you have eight smaller, thinner chicken cutlets. Salt and pepper both sides.
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cutlets on both sides until nice and golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and keep on a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the garlic to the pan and saute it for a minute, stirring to make sure it won’t burn. Next pour in the brandy (or wine if using) being careful if cooking over an open flame. Then just let the brandy bubble up and cook until it’s reduced by half.
- Throw in the mustards and stir to combine, then pour in the cream. Stir in chicken broth, adding more if the sauce seems too thick. Taste sauce and adjust whatever you think it needs. Add chicken breasts back to the pan, nestling them into the sauce. Allow sauce to cook for another few minutes, shaking the pan if needed to move things around.
- Serve chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.
Source: slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman
Lately, I’ve been all about healthier eating. I am feeling a lot better and even losing weight. But I have to admit that I can’t cut everything out, I must have my baked pasta’s! But who’s to say you can’t eat baked pasta? As long as it’s healthy, go for it! That’s where this recipe comes in.
We really loved this dish. I was so happy to see my kids eat everything including the Kale. Kale is one of those greens that has many nutrients and vitamins. I don’t make it often, but I think that will change. I did omit the red bell pepper, but that’s because my husband can’t eat them. I’m leaving it in the recipe because I’m sure it tastes great in the dish. The recipe also calls for leftover chicken but I didn’t have any. I took chicken breasts and roasted them in an oven for 35 minutes, till they were done and shredded that. All in all, it’s a dish I do plan to make again. I really think you and your family will enjoy this meal.
Baked Penne with Chicken and Kale:
- 13.25 oz box whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 2 bunches kale, stems removed and chopped
- 48 oz ricotta, part skim
- 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups leftover chicken, shredded. (you can roast 2 chicken breasts in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes, till done)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot pot.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion and red bell pepper, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add grated carrot and garlic, cooking another 2 minutes. Add kale, toss, and cover, turning off the heat and letting sit for 5 minutes. Transfer to the pot with pasta.
- Stir in ricotta, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, chicken, and reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan. Bake until bubbly and the top golden brown, 30 minutes.
Source: Slightly adapted from Foodie Bride
2011 has been a pretty decent year for us. The beginning of the year brought us new and exciting changes. We have been having a wonderful time in our new home and I’ve had fun in my kitchen. I look forward to 2012 and all the things I hope it brings. I will admit that the beginning of 2012 is going to be a bit shaky, my husband will be having surgery to have part of his thyroid removed and checked for cancer. We are very hopeful that it will all work out. I will apologize right now for any lack of postings in the month of January. I will try to not let the downtime be for too long. But if there is, you will understand what is going on.
This past year has been great for the blog. Particularly for the #1 most looked at post of the year. I must thank Pinterest for help with that. For those unsure of Pinterest, it’s a site you can pin your favorite things around the web to. It’s fun and addicting and you must give it a try.
I’ve composed the top ten posts of 2011. Enjoy and have a safe and Happy New Year! Love you all!
Baked Ravioli is a family favorite. It’s like an easy lasagna.
Loaded Baked Potato Dip is a perfect party dip. It tastes just like baked potatoes.
Cupcake Tower with Ganache filled Cupcakes I have a link to how to make a cupcake tower and the recipe for some really yummy chocolate cupcakes
Stuffed Strawberries is a favorite of mine not just because it was my first ever post on the blog. It’s also very delicious!
Onesie Sugar Cookies were so much fun to make. I made them for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. She gave me a beautiful niece in return for these cookies.
Easter Lamb Cake is a family tradition. I can’t wait to make it this year because I got the cast iron lamb mold that my great-great grandfather made.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Feta and Spinach is something I created a long time ago. It’s one of the only ways I can get my son to eat pork.
French Toast Bread Pudding would be perfect to serve for breakfast on New Years Day
Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Filling is a great combination of flavors.
The number one post this year is Hot Corn Dip. I make this a lot because it’s easy to throw together and it’s a real crowd pleaser.
I love making soup because it’s so versatile. You can adjust any of the ingredients to your own personal liking or add things as you wish. Beef and Barley is one of my families favorites. When I make soup I usually just throw it together. But I wanted to share with you our favorite soup so I made sure to write down everything I did so I could pass it on to you. Please feel free to adjust this to your taste.
Beef and Barley Soup:
Serves 4-6 people.
- 1 1/2 – 2lbs cubed stew meat
- 4 tbs Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 1 onion, diced small
- 1 garlic clove chopped finely
- 1/2lb-3/4lb fresh green beans, ends cut off and cut into small pieces
- 1 (15oz) canned corn, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine (or beef broth to deglaze)
- 2 (32oz) Beef Broth
- 1 (32oz) Chicken Broth
- 3/4 cup instant barley
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, add 2tbs olive oil. Salt and Pepper the cubed beef. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed beef in batches and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and continue browning the meat till all the meat is browned.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining 2tbs of olive oil and the carrots and onion; saute till softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine (or beef broth) to deglaze the pan. Let simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Add the beef and chicken broth,(If you need to add more broth, use chicken broth) bay leaf, fresh thyme, canned corn, green beans, and diced tomatoes. Let simmer on low for about 1 1/2 hours. Add the barley for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Enjoy!
Source: Gina Marie Original
Not sure how many of you are like I was when it came to pot roast. I’ve made it every which way and I was never thrilled about any of them. Some turned out good but there were things missing in it that didn’t give it the punch I was searching for. Turns out I was over-thinking it too much and putting too many things in it. Pot Roast needs only simple ingredients and minimal spices. When I saw Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pot roast I figured I’d give it try. She has created what I believe to be the perfect pot roast. I used to always cook the potatoes with the roast but I never really did like them. They were always mushy and somehow flavorless. Instead of cooking the potatoes with the roast, serve the roast over mashed potatoes. It’s brilliant and exactly how this meal should always be served.
The biggest test of the meal was my husband. He’s not a big pot roast fan but the guy does love his food to be saucy and this recipe creates a wonderful sauce. He really liked it and he won’t wince anymore when I tell him we are having pot roast for dinner.
*Side note* The recipe for mashed potatoes is perfect to serve for holiday’s. I made them the day before Thanksgiving and when I served them for dinner they were just as creamy as the day I made them.
Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast:
- 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 whole Onions
- 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
- Salt To Taste
- Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
- 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste
- Salt and pepper your chuck roast (make sure to get a nice marbled piece of meat, the fat adds flavor). Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
- Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
- Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
- If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
- With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
- When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
- 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 3/4 cups Butter
- 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
- 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper
- Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
- Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
- Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.
- Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
- Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Source: Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes