Black Pepper Chicken

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Chinese takeout is one of my favorite kitchen cheats, but with recipes like this, I can prepare the salty deliciousness myself. Yes, friends, this is another fakeout-takeout recipe. I will admit that Panda Express got me through my long Tuesdays on campus at Cal State Long Beach. I would arrive at 9am and my last class would end at 10pm. Truly, I owe my degree to Panda for fueling me through my last semester. Upon graduation, I needed to find a way to satisfy my Tuesday cravings. That is where the adventure for this recipe began. Before I knew it I was whipping it up myself! This recipe is fairly easy and features that super savory pepper sauce. If you don’t feel like fussing with fresh ginger, you can substitute it with ground ginger powder. However, I will advise that it’s very much worth fussing over the fresh stuff.  Recipe For.png

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from https://sweetcsdesigns.com/panda-express-black-pepper-chicken-copycat-recipe/

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Eggroll Soup

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Friends, we have made it through the blistering summer. As we approach cooler nights I am inspired to cook a big pot of soup. If you’ve been following this recipe blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve not done a great job of posting consistently. This means I have about a year’s worth of goodies stashed away to get up on this site. The recipe you find here is one that has become a family favorite during my absence.  It satisfies the craving for Chinese take-out while also packing in veggies. The added bonus for my family is that Perry, my husband, gets to take a few servings for lunch to warm and fuel him up after a long morning of diving in the chilly Pacific. This soup features the flavor you’d find in traditional eggrolls with a nice crunch from wonton toppers. Cut the sodium by using vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth and you’ve got yourself a hearty and healthy dinner option. Also, add any additional vegetables that appeal to you. Some ideas include mushrooms, bean sprouts, and even diced water chestnuts. Truly, you can tailor this soup to your taste.

Serves:  8-10    Time:  45 minutes   

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, I prefer olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 6 cloves of garlic (you know me, I use an excess of garlic. If you are not a garlic fan cut this back to 3 cloves)
  • 1 small green savoy cabbage, sliced into bite-sized strips
  • 8-10 cups of vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp ginger, ground
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Optional: wonton salad toppers (you’ll find these by the croutons at the grocery store), sriracha for heat

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook the pork over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Once cooked, remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
  2. To the same pot, add the cooking oil and onion, sauteing for about 6 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and garlic, sauteing for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add the cabbage, broth, ginger and cooked pork. Stir to combine.
  5. Continue to cook the soup until it starts to simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the sesame oil before serving.
  7. Top with optional wonton strips and/or sriracha and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

**Recipe adapted from https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/egg-roll-soup/

 

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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This is only my second attempt at cauliflower pizza, and this recipe will become a weekend staple in my home. The crust is fairly light and crunchy, the veggie spread is savory, and the toppings were a perfect pairing. I’ve already started thinking about other topping combinations and think that next I’m going to try sun dried tomatoes, spinach and artichoke hearts. My stomach is growling simply at the thought of it! The recipe you’ll find below is for the crust and veggie spread. I use the veggie spread as a sauce of sorts so if you would rather have sauce, skip the veggie spread ingredients and directions. Finish it off with our favorite toppings, and you’ll have a delicious and healthy pizza! I got this recipe from a magazine put out by my local grocery store, Ralphs.

Serves: 8 slices     Time: 1 hour     Calories: 146/slice (this does not count toppings)

Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of shredded pizza blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • any toppings you would like for your pizza. We used sliced red onion, black olives and cilantro.

Ingredients for Veggie Spread:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, I used canola
  • 3 medium/large zucchinis, shredded
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet or pizza stone with parchment paper
  2. If you have a food processor, pulse the florets of cauliflower until finely chopped.
  3. If you don’t have a food processor, use a cheese grater to “rice” the cauliflower florets.
  4. Place the chopped/riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Once it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out moisture from the cauliflower with a clean towel. It will essentially make a ball of cauliflower.
  5. Transfer the “moisture-less” cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and stir in the pizza blend cheese, Parmesan, eggs, salt, onion powder and Italian seasoning.
  6. Spread this mixture onto your prepared baking sheet or pizza stone in a thin, 12-inch circle.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is firm and crisp at the edges.
  8. If you plan to use veggie spread instead of sauce, start preparing this while the crust is cooking (directions found below).
  9. Top with all your favorites and bake again until your toppings are melted and/or properly heated through.

Directions for Veggie Spread:

  1. Using a cheese grater, shred your zucchini.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil over medium-high and add the shredded zucchini, stirring frequently.
  3. After about 3 minutes of cooking the zucchini add the sliced grape tomatoes. Note, the juices from the tomatoes will  make a paste like spread with the zucchinis. Cook for an additional 2 minutes until tomatoes start to wilt.
  4. Add in the sliced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds until the fragrant.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove from heat and spread on your crust as if it was sauce after the first 30-minute bake.
  7. Top with your favorites and enjoy!

* Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from Ralphs

 

 

 

Tex Mex Potato Chowder

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To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Sriracha Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

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My husband and I will soon be entering a transition period in which our “home roles” reverse. I will be launching a career and he will be staying home with our kids more frequently to accommodate my work schedule. This means that I will be letting him take the reigns in the kitchen a little more often. This is a beautiful thing and is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wanted a place where all of our favorite recipes could live and be accessed from anywhere by anyone. I will admit that I am a little concerned about this transition as my dearest husband has trouble making mac-n-cheese from a box with clearly listed instructions… That said, I took on the hunt for this recipe as a challenge to find a dish similar to the meals my husband makes when he has to cook. There are a few things he can whip up for dinner really well and his go-to dish is ground beef tacos. This recipe is as easy as ground beef tacos, takes about the same amount of time, and the flavor is phenomenal. I am confident that my husband can pull this recipe off. This recipe was adapted from a fabulous recipe blog called Budget Bytes. I highly recommend Budget Bytes to everyone as the dishes look delicious and the author, Beth, breaks everything down financially for people like me who like to eat under budget.

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1bsp canola oil (or whatever unflavored oil you like to use to brown/cook your meat)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced with a potato peeler
  • 1 bunch of green onions, rinsed and sliced
  • 5 oz can of water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • extra sriracha to top the dish (optional)
  • Rice noodles to top the dish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and brown sugar. Mix until combined and set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil over a medium flame and add the ground beef. Once the beef is mostly cooked add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until fragrant.
  3. Add in the reserved sauce you made in the first step along with the sliced cabbage and carrots. Toss this mixture together and cook until the cabbage is tender crisp.
  4. Add the green onions and water chestnuts. Cook until the water chestnuts are just heated through. You don’t want to cook it too long or the green onions and water chestnuts will begin to loose their crunch.
  5. Plate the stir fry and add your optional toppings. We used crunchy rice noodles and a drizzling of extra sriracha.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Stromboli

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Pizza, in all its shapes and forms is always a welcome dish at our table. This blog has inspired me to experiment with pizza recipes. I’ve done freshly made dough, tested various toppings and have even tried grilling it. I’ve gotten so crafty that I realize I have skipped some very foundational pizza recipes. Here we have a Stromboli. It is easy and quick to make, and just as importantly, it is delicious. I chose to stuff this one with pepperoni and salami as the original recipe suggested, but obviously you can stuff it with whatever you like. I think next time I will attempt a spinach and artichoke variation with white sauce. This works well as a weeknight recipe if you use store-bought dough like I did. I was pretty impressed that it took at most 30 minutes to make this beautiful Stromboli. I will strongly suggest that if you are cooking for more than three people it would be wise to double the recipe. If you have little ones this is a fun recipe to get them involved in the kitchen. They can put the toppings on and even help you roll the Stromboli if you are brave. As always, I want to give credit to the original source of this recipe. I found this recipe at http://www.therecipecritic.com . I did make some variations to the original recipe, but I do recommend looking at the original to see if it fits your tastes better than my adaptation.

 

Makes: 1 Stromboli; approx. 6 servings

Calories: 387 per serving (keep in mind this is with the exact ingredients I used, and will change if you use different ingredients.)

Time: 30 total minutes -10 minutes prep; 20 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, about 1/2 cup for the Stromboli and the rest for dipping
  • 1 (3oz) package of dry Italian sausage
  • 1 (3oz) package of sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Garlic powder to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • Italian seasoning to taste, I only used a light sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle your working surface with flour and stretch out your pizza dough.
  3. Spread pizza sauce over the dough being careful not to get too close to the edges. When you roll the Stromboli it will be messy if you have sauce oozing out of the edges. You will not use the entire jar
  4. Sprinkle 1.5 cups of mozzarella over the sauce followed by a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to your personal taste. Once cheese is laid start placing the pepperoni and salami.
  5. Roll the Stromboli length wise being careful not to tear the dough. Pinch the ends and place on a baking stone or cookie sheet seam side down.
  6. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the Stromboli, then slice a few little vents on the top. Distribute the remaining mozzarella cheese on top and finally sprinkle the garlic powder and Italian seasoning over the top (to taste).
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing as it will be piping hot.
  9. Enjoy with the remaining pizza sauce for dipping!

*The photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe adapted from http://www.therecipecritic.com

 

Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com