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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


My kids recently gagged---yes, physically gagged---on homemade macaroni and cheese. Come on! Mac & Cheese? It's an American kid's staple food, right? Tonight I made a Korean dish called Bi Bim Bap. They licked their plates. Go figure.

Bi Bim Bap literally means "mixed rice". It's usually warm rice topped with some sort of meat (usually beef) and various vegetables and then topped with a fried egg and mixed together with some hot sauce. Tonight my husband and I had traditional Bi Bim Bap.
Looks good, huh? Rice, seasoned ground beef, wilted spinach, shredded carrots, julienned cucumbers and red bell peppers and sautéed shitake mushrooms.

My daughter doesn't like eggs, nor does she care for anything slimy (she'll eat raw spinach, but refuses cooked spinach.)

Hers consists of rice, seasoned ground beef, julienned cucumbers, shredded carrots and edamame.

My 4 1/2 year old son isn't quite as adventurous yet.

He had plain burger, rice, peppers and cucumbers.

No matter which version of Bi Bim Bap each family member had, this is what the plates looked like at the end of the meal.

Bi Bim Bap (serves 4)

3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 pound ground turkey, beef, or pork
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups cooked rice (Chinese takeout works well)
Assorted vegetables (shredded carrot, canned baby corn, spinach, bean sprouts, julienned cucumber…), steamed or raw
Hot sauce such as Srircha

Prepare your vegetables and set aside.

Mix together the first three ingredients; set aside.

In a pan, brown the meat in half the vegetable oil, about 5 minutes. Add half the soy-sauce mixture and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.

In another pan, fry the eggs in the remaining vegetable oil, 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Arrange some vegetables and meat on top. Top each bowl with a fried egg. Drizzle hot sauce on top and mix together right before eating.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have a love hate relationship with Frank's Red Hot Sauce. I absolutely love the smell of it while it's cooking! It seriously makes me drool. When I take my first bite I love it ... and then I experience the burn and I curse whoever Frank is. Then I take another bite, because I just can't stand to be without it.

We really like buffalo chicken wings, but I'm not going to fry chicken wings at home. Rather, I make a lot of buffalo chicken recipes by poaching chicken breast tenders in butter and Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Yum! It makes the whole house smell scrumptious.

Tonight's buffalo chicken masterpiece was buffalo chicken eggrolls. I was inspired by a blog called Can You Stay for Dinner? I changed it up a little bit by using shredded carrot and julienned celery instead of broccoli slaw. Super tasty, but I think next time I'll try replacing the carrot and celery with cabbage slaw. My husband figures this will add to the egg-rolliness of the dish.

Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls (serves 4)

12 egg roll wrappers
1/2  lb of chicken breast tenders
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup shredded carrot
2 celery stalks julienned into 2 inch sticks
(in lieu of carrots and celery you can use 2 cups of coleslaw)
Nonstick cooking spray
Blue cheese dressing for dipping

Combine the butter and Frank's Red Hot Sauce in a skillet over medium heat. Poach the chicken until cooked through--about 12-15 minutes. Pour the chicken and the sauce into a bowl and cool slightly, then shred with two forks.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay one egg roll wrapper on a clean work surface with a corner facing you.Begin by placing a bit of vegetable and 1 tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles in the center of the wrapper. Next, place 2 tablespoons of shredded chicken on top of the vegetables and cheese. Do not overfill.

Fold the left and right corners into the center of the filling. 

Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling and, making sure that your filling stays inside, form the roll by rolling and tucking the wrapper like a burrito.

Repeat with remaining rolls.

Place the rolls seam side down on a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet (I lined the cookie sheet with some parchment paper to catch any drips.)  Spray each roll evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls crisp and turn a light golden brown. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I always overdo it when I make a salad. My caesar sale for two is always big enough for 4. And when I make an Italian antipasto salad, I put so much stuff on it, the salad hardly fits the platter. Tonight was no exception. I found a recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad on a site called "foodie crush". It called for lettuce, chicken, almonds, and crispy wonton strips. That's not a salad! I added a lot more items. The recipe for the sesame dressing is awesome. Great dinner salad. My version is probably enough for 4.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

12 3-inch wonton skins, sliced into 1/4″ strips
1/4 cup canola or corn oil for frying
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 large chicken breast, shredded
1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
1/4 European cucumber thinly sliced
1 carrot shredded
1/4 cup pea pods thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted lightly
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups cooked fusilli pasta noodles, cooled

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, fry wonton skins in batches of 5-7 strips for 10 seconds each side or until lightly browned, working quickly so they don’t burn. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels until cooled.
They fry up quickly! Seriously, I burned this batch just in the time it took me to take this picture.

2. In a large bowl, combine veggies, chicken breast, almonds and pasta and toss to mix.
3. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well until sugar dissolves. Dress lettuce mixture with the desired amount of sesame dressing. Toss salad again to distribute the dressing and top with sesame seeds and wonton strips. Serve.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Tofu. It's what's for dinner. Tonight's dinner definitely takes a little bit of planning because I like to press my tofu for a while before marinating it. But, it is so tasty!

Grilled Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

1 Brick of firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

The night before you make this dish, slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices and lay the slices on a paper towel lined plate. Cover the slices with another paper towel. I change the paper towels once to make sure I can absorb as much liquid as possible.

Once the tofu has been pressed at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and garlic in a shallow dish and place the pressed tofu into the marinade. Let it sit in the marinade about an hour or two.

In the meantime, put all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. You can add a bit of chicken broth or water in it to thin it out if necessary.

Grill the tofu on a non-stick grill pan until seared on both sides. Serve with the peanut sauce on the side. I also sautéed some bok choy with a little canola oil and soy sauce.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Do you remember coming home from school to the amazing smell of Snickerdoodles baking? No? Sorry.

It's an unforgettable smell. A memory that I try to recreate often. I am a big chocolate chip cookie fan (crispy, not chewy.) But, every once in a while I realize that I have depleted my supply of chocolate chips. Then I am reminded of the Snickerdoodle. I told my son that we would make cookies this afternoon before I had to head out for carpool. With no chocolate chips in the house, I went straight for the Snickerdoodle recipe. Quite a few years ago I asked my mother if she would give me her Snickerdoode recipe. My dad emailed me a scan from a cookbook. I don't know what cookbook it is from, but it is definitely my mother's recipe.

Here you go. Thanks Mom (and Dad.)

Snickerdoodles (makes about 3 dozen)

Mix together 1 cup soft  shortening
                       1 ½ cups sugar
                       2 eggs
Sift together and stir in
                       2 ¾ cups sifted flour
                       2 t cream of tartar
                       1 t soda
                       ½ t salt

Chill dough.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. (I use a 1 oz ice cream scoop) Roll in mixture of 2 T sugar and 2 t cinnamon. Place about 2” apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned…but still soft—about 8 to 10 minutes.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I had plans to make "Sunday Gravy" today (meatballs, sausages, etc.) But my shower surround was being replaced today and I wasn't up to cooking with the dust and smells of bathroom remodeling in the house. I was going to run to the store to get something, but the installer didn't leave until close to 5:00. So, I whipped up a last minute Buffalo Chicken Salad!

I don't have any pictures...sorry.  It was tasty though, so I'll make it again and be sure to photograph my creation next time.

I use this technique for making buffalo flavored chicken for buffalo chicken quesadillas, buffalo chicken panini, and other tasty treats that make you think you're eating an order of Buffalo Wings.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing (serves 2)

6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
6 chicken tenders
6 cups  lettuce leaves, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 carrot, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Bleu Cheese Dressing

Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the hot sauce. Place the chicken in the sauce and simmer for about 6 minutes on one side, turn and simmer until cooked through--another 5 or 6 minutes.

Divide the lettuce, celery and carrot between two plates. Remove chicken tenders from the pan and cut into bite sized pieces. Top each salad with some chicken and dress the salad with bleu cheese dressing.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I love my wok.  I don't use it nearly enough. Mostly because I have to store it in a cabinet above my refrigerator and my angel food cake pan (which I also don't use nearly enough) and my 2nd-oldest-brother-made lazy susan (only used on taco night) is stored on top of it.

Tonight's dinner also reminded me how much I truly love bok choy. I didn't use enough in tonight's stir fry. And, as you can see from this picture, I had a lot of bok choy to use.

My stir fry secret comes from an inspired article in Food Network Magazine (I think it was the March 2010 issue). They lay out a "system" where you can choose a protein, veggies, and then give you recipes for several different kinds of sauces. Tonight we had chicken, carrots, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, pea pods, and bok choy. I used the recipe for the "clear sauce" and served it over rice.

Pick a Protein

¾ lb flank steak, trimmed and thinly sliced against the grain
¾ lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, thinly sliced
12-oz package extra firm silken tofu, cubed
¾ lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
¾ lb medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined


Whisk 1 egg white, 1 T Chinese rice wine or dry sherry and 1 T cornstarch. Toss with your protein; cover and refrigerate, 1 hour.

Prep 3 cups of vegetables (in any combination)

Sliced carrots                             whole snow peas
Sliced celery                              sliced asparagus
Sliced bell peppers                   quartered plum tomatoes or
1 inch scallion pieces               halved cherry tomatoes
sliced onions or shallots           baby spinach
quartered mushroom caps       blanched broccoli or cauliflower florets
sliced bok choy or cabbage     thawed frozen peas or edamame
sliced leeks                               

Choose a Sauce

Clear Sauce: Mix ¾ cup chicken broth, 1 T cornstarch, 2 T Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, ½ t sesame oil, 1 t salt and ½ t sugar

Sweet-and-Sour Sauce: Mix ¾ c chicken broth, 2 t cornstarch, ¼ c ketchup, 2 t soy sauce, 3 T rice vinegar, ¼ c sugar, ½ t salt and 1 t sesame oil

Brown Sauce: Mix ½ c chicken broth, 1 T cornstarch, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T hoisin sauce and 1 T Chinese rice wine or dry sherry.

Oyster Sauce: Mix ¾ c chicken broth, 1 T cornstarch, 1 T Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, 1 T soy sauce, 3 T oyster sauce and 2 t sesame oil

Spicy Sauce: Mix ¾ c chicken broth, 1 T cornstarch, 2 T each soy sauce, rice vinegar and Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, ½ t sesame oil, 1 T sugar and 2 t Asian chili sauce


Drain the excess marinade from the protein. Place your sauce, vegetables and protein near the stove.

Heat ¼ in peanut or vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the protein; slowly stir until almost opaque, 30 seconds to 1 minute (for tofu, brown on both sides—do not stir). Transfer to a plate; discard the oil and wipe out the pan.

Heat the pan over high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 T oil, then 2 cloves minced garlic (or 4 cloves if using spicy sauce), 1 to 2 t minced ginger, 2 minced scallions and a pinch of salt and sugar; stir-fry about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook; stir-fry until crisp-tender.

Add the protein and the sauce and stir until the sauce is thick and the vegetables and protein are cooked through about 3 minutes. 

Thin with chicken broth, if needed. Garnish with sliced scallions, peanuts, sesame seeds, sliced jalapenos and/or cilantro.

So tasty, my daughter actually at bok choy tonight!