Monday, June 20, 2011

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 8:00 AM

These Spicy Peanut Noodles from the Amateur Gourmet make the perfect summer dish. Though nice and cool, it still packs some heat with spicy ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha sauce.

Mmm. I love this spicy peanut sauce on everything. If you have any left over, try dipping cucumber slices into it.

I tinkered with the recipe a bit and I posted my edited version below.


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Friday, June 3, 2011

Vegan enchiladas with avocado cream

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I've just completed my first attempt at vegan cooking ... and it wasn't so bad. I found it's like cooking vegetarian, but also forgoing cheese and butter along with the meat.

The recipe for these vegan enchiladas with avocado cream comes from the blog Oh She Glows. Stuffed with a filling of cooked sweet potatoes, spinach, black beans, onions, and bell peppers, these were sort of like baked burritos.

They are healthy, they taste that way. They're not something you gush about how spectacular they taste. They're simple ... and that's OK because sometimes you just want it that way.

I'm not sure if I'd make the enchiladas again, but the avocado cream served on the side is a keeper. Who needs sour cream when this avocado stuff is just as creamy and is so much more flavorful?

Get the enchilada and avocado cream recipes here on Oh She Glows.

(Note: Though the recipe says it makes 4 enchiladas, I found I had enough filling to make 6.)


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Monday, May 9, 2011

Shrimp pasta in a foil package

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Pulling an aluminum foil package out of the oven to serve your guests probably isn't the classiest thing you can do, but you'd be surprised how incredibly easy and delicious cooking this way can be. Ain't no shame in it.

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. Basically, you cook some pasta and make a quick tomato sauce, then you dump raw shrimp over the sauce, and then pour the pasta over that. Then you transfer the entire mix into a foil package and throw it into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

What comes out is a fragrant linguine dish tossed with succulent, garlicy shrimp infused with bold flavors after being steam cooked in fresh, homemade tomato sauce. It was so good I was practically sucking up the sauce with a straw. Well, not really, but I think I may ditch all my other pasta dishes for this one.

A tip: I created and baked the foil package in a baking pan to prevent any liquid from spilling into the oven.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rice Peepsie Treats

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM

... Or is it Peeps Krispie Treats? Or Rice Krispie Peeps?

Anyway, I murdered some Peeps to make this recipe.


I creamated Peeps marshmallows left over from Easter and reincarnated them as Rice Peepsie Treats. I followed the original Rice Krispie Treats recipe on the back of the cereal box, but subbed in my yellow friends for some of the marshmallows. (Since I only had two packages of Peeps (10 total), I had to use some plain marshmallows, too.)


I had originally wanted different colored Peeps to make a rainbow-colored mish-mash, but since I only had yellow ones, I added some drops of food coloring to the marshmallows to make my technicolored Rice Peepsie Treats.

These are definitely better than plain Rice Krispie Treats. Anything rainbow-colored tastes better, right?


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Monday, February 28, 2011

Thomas Keller's Simple Roast Chicken

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM

This roast chicken recipe is the easiest thing I've probably ever made, and it's probably one of the tastiest dinners to have ever come out of my oven.

Thomas Keller of the famous restaurant French Laundry in Yountville, CA choses his own roast chicken to be included as part of his "last meal" in the book "My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs And Their Final Meals: Portraits, Interviews, And Recipes."

I can understand why. The chicken comes out with perfectly crisped skin and juicy, flavorful meat.

What's ridiculous is that this roast chicken recipe can't possibly be any easier. You take the chicken, wash it, dry it, truss it (if it's not already trussed), sprinkle it with salt and pepper, throw it in the oven, add some thyme, and voila. Done.

I served it with some sauteed green beans and roasted red potatoes.

Side note: While washing the dishes after dinner, I found my dining companion licking (yes, licking) the chicken-juice-covered cutting board when he thought no one was looking ... I guess the chicken is that good.


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Monday, January 31, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Sticky Chicken

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 8:02 AM

I've been making this recipe for Sweet & Spicy Sticky Chicken since it was published in the November 2001 issue of Fine Cooking. That's almost 10 years. I don't think I have many recipes that stand the test of time. I usually cook recipes once, toss, and then look for the next best recipe.

This recipe has stuck around because I really like the flavors here. It's sweet from the brown sugar, spicy from red pepper flakes, and it's pretty salty from soy sauce and fish sauce. Some people don't like fish sauce, but I love it. I'm not really sure how it's made (and I don't think I want to know), but it has a distinct, pungent flavor. You can find it at any Asian grocery store.

The dish is pretty healthy as it calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs and only requires 1 tablespoon of oil for cooking. Serve it with rice to mellow out the salty sauce.

I've made my own Bento box here ... a little rice, a few chicken thighs, and a side of pickled mustard greens:


Sweet & Spicy Sticky Chicken


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes

1 tablespoon peanut oil or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 scallions, thinly sliced

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, excess fat removed

fresh cilantro stem (optional)


In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, fish sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, black pepper and crushed red chile flakes.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the thighs and the brown sugar mixture. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, turning the thighs occasionally for about 20 minutes.

Then turn the heat back up to high and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until sauce thickens and slightly browns chicken. Garnish with cilantro.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spaghetti and meatballs

Posted By on Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Stick a fork in it. Dinner is ready.

With the help of a couple jars of store-bought tomato sauce, you can feed your family a hearty dinner of spaghetti and meatballs within 45 minutes or so.

These meatballs are bigger than golf balls, but smaller than tennis balls. They're not the kind that just fall apart when cut into, but they aren't the super compact kind either. You know ... the ones that look like processed meat? Well, I guess I'm trying to say they're just right. Serve them with whole wheat pasta if you want to be healthy.

Sure, there are many amazing recipes out there that require ground pork, veal, beef, fancy spices, and 5 hours of cooking. But this one is straight forward, fast, and still tasty. Perfect for a weekday meal.

I found the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, The Amateur Gourmet. Instead of making my own sauce, I used two jars of Bertolli tomato sauce to save time. Get the recipe and check out the AG's step-by-step photos here.




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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM

For some reason, I always crave the same foods at any given time. It's always either ice cream, spaghetti with red sauce, pizza, or pad thai. Weird, right?

Well if you love yourself some pasta with red sauce too, you should try this Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce, from the blog Bell'alimento.

The sauce is kind of ridiculous because you simmer four (or five, in my case) whole links of Italian sausage in tomato sauce for four hours before chopping them up and throwing them back into the sauce. All the sausage juices, or as some like to call it, fat, simmer right into the sauce.

My only deviations from the original recipe were using one extra sausage (hey, it comes five to a pack at Harris Teeter), and pureeing some of the onions and carrots post simmering to make the sauce thicker and less chunky.

This stuff is so comforting on a cold, dark night.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Braised short ribs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

These braised short ribs are good. Like so good.

The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Like most of her recipes, this one was deeeeeeeelicious. Ree had named this recipe as one of the top dishes you must try before you die. She calls these short ribs "heaven on a plate." After eating these last night, I am in agreement.

Set aside a lazy weekend afternoon for this dish. From start to finish, it took me about 3-4 hours.

After checking at two Harris Teeter stores, I had to go to The Fresh Market (in Strawberry Hill) to pick up the beef short ribs, which sell for $5.99/lb. At The Fresh Market I was also able to acquire some beautiful Italian pancetta ($9.99/lb), a type of dry cured meat which is like the fattier and tastier cousin of bacon.

To start, the pancetta is cooked down and a good helping of fat is rendered, then the ribs are seared in the fat, and then the veggies are cooked in all that goodness along with red wine. Then after 2.5 hours in the oven, the short ribs come out oh-so-tender with the meat just falling off the bone. I served these over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes with a huge scoop of the juice from the ribs on top.

Make these. You won't regret it. Here's how...

(Sorry for the crap photos. I was too into cooking and devouring than my usual food styling and lighting.)


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dinner: Gorgonzola Penne with Shrimp ... and a salad

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 4:59 PM

This Gorgonzola Penne with Chicken dish won $25,000 in a recipe contest through Taste of Home. $25K? Dang.

Since it was deemed worthy of the hefty monetary prize, I had to try it.

I'm not a big fan of chunks of chicken in my pasta, so I subbed in shrimp instead. The prep was simple and the cooking was easy. I'd say it turned out pretty freakin' tasty. Even my lactose-intolerant friend scarfed it down, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

Penne pasta and shrimp are tossed with in pungent Gorgonzola cream sauce, made of cream, white wine, sage, and garlic. Thanks to the addition of the light orange shrimp, the dish wasn't completely a monochromatic and bland white.

Here's my version:


Lacking greens, the rich and creamy pasta pairs well with a fresh salad with tart flavors. I made an Spinach Apple Salad to go with it. You can do it too. It's easy! Just a cup of diced apple, a few raisins, chopped red onion, and spinach. Toss it with a simple dressing, and voila:


Read on to get the recipes...

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