Friday, April 30, 2010

6 ingredient grilled fish

Yummy note: I love the "warmer" weather. By "warmer," I just mean, the fact that it is above 30-40 degrees out, and we don't freeze our behinds off while trying to grill outside! I really enjoy grilled food. I don't know what it is about the grilled food, but if I have a preference of grilled vs. baked, I'm heading to the grill or I'm sending the husband to the grill :) This recipe is one I've thrown together as I'm always looking for something quick and easy for when I get home at night from work using fresh seafood. There's only about 6 ingredients to this, so it quickly gets mixed together to make a nice flavoring for the fish. Really this is a pretty quick main dish, I think it was done from start to finish in like less than like 20 minutes and it tasted great.


Ingredients:


3 or 4 tablespoons of softened butter
1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon of all-purpose seasoning
1 tablespoon of minced/chopped garlic
1 pound of Catfish or any other selected fish



Directions:
Mix softened butter and lemon juice together. Spread over/coat the fish with the butter/lemon juice mixture. Next, mix the three other seasonings in a bowl and then rub on the fish. Spray a grilling pan with non stick cooking spray, or dab on any leftover butter mixture to the pan to avoid the fish from sticking to the pan. Place grilling pan with fish over medium heat. Cook and turn fish only twice, once on each side. Cook for only maybe about 7-10 minutes total, or until the fish is turning white and flaky. With this coating, you should get a nice light, crispy flavorful crust on your fish.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Coffee Cake

Yummy note: This is one of my easier recipes to throw together pretty quickly, not to mention very tasty. This coffee cake kinda reminds me of those slices of pound cake you pay a couple bucks for at the local coffee shops. What's also great about this recipe, the coffee cake stays pretty moist for several days and makes a great breakfast or anytime snack. My family makes this coffee cake usually in a 9x13 pan and it turns out very well. I decided to take it another route and wanted to do a shaped pan variety. I just bought a new pretty sunflower cake pan I wanted to try out, so I used it to make my coffee cake this time around. It turned out beautifully as you can see.




Ingredients:

1 yellow cake mix
1 - 3oz. package of Instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar and 1-2 tsp cinnamon mixed together - set aside





Directions:
Prepare a cake pan with cooking spray and flour, or use a prepared cake release product. I used the cake release product, as my pan had many groves in it, that I was afraid the sugary sticky cake mixture could get stuck. I couldn't find my pastry brush, so instead I used a plastic baggie to avoid messy hands and applied the cake release product to my pan.
Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry cake mix, instant vanilla pudding, eggs, oil, water, and vanilla together. Stir until combined well and mixture begins to thicken. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Then layer with 1/2 of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Then pour remaining batter over that and sprinkle with remaining topping. Depending on pan, bake anywhere from about 35-40 minutes or so until the coffee cake gets a nice crunchy cinnamon sugar topping and the toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
If you wish, you can add a simply powdered sugar glaze on top. I used about a cup or so of powdered sugar mixed in with about a couple of teaspoons of milk to achieve a thickness of the glaze. Pour over coffee cake and enjoy.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

BBQ shredded pork

Yummy note: Growing up we didn't devise to far off of the ole ketchup, brown sugar, and onion flake mixture of bbq sloppy joes. Since I'm always looking to modify those classic recipes a bit, I took this one another step and decided to intensify the onion part of it. I started with some of the basics from the traditional recipe and have used it in the past for saucing pork, ground beef, chicken, and ground turkey! It really is a pretty standard sauce that amazingly has a lot of flavor from the can of french onion soup that is used. Sorry the measurements are kind of rough below, as I have a tendency to just sometimes just shake or pour ingredients when I'm throwing a dish together, not remembering to measure out...



BBQ shredded pork

Ingredients:


2-3 pounds pork loin
couple shakes of a meat seasoning (I like the Weber Grill Creations brand of seasonings)
1 can condensed French onion soup
3/4 cup ketchup
drizzle of mustard
drizzle of BBQ sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
maybe a half or little less than half a can of coke or pepsi

Directions:

Mix the ingredients in your slow cooker. Place pork loin on top and turn so all sides are covered in the sauce.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and allow to sit for 15 minutes. While the pork is sitting, turn the slow cooker to high and begin to thicken the sauce that is left. Next begin to shred your pork. An easy way to do this is to use two forks and scrape against the pork loin getting your shredded pork, instead of chopping it up. Return to sauce and mix well. Serve on buns. Note: for the buns, I just used frozen bread recipe below.


Easy Buns

Ingredients:

1 loaf of frozen bread, thawed but still cold

little bit of flour

sesame seeds

cooking spray

Directions:

With a knife, cut loaf of thawed bread in pieces. I think I got about 8 pieces from it. Take each piece and roll with some flour and make into a roll shape. Dust with flour and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Place cut side down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Let rise until doubled in size. Remove plastic wrap and bake in 350 degree preheated oven for about 15 minutes of until browned.



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Friday, April 23, 2010

s'mores pie

Yummy note: I ended up making this pie for my husband's birthday this past week, as both him and the kid aren't too fond of a lot of cake. So I was hoping this would be a better crowd pleaser that evening. This is something I put together using a couple of my grandmothers' recipes. The homemade chocolate pudding recipe portion was passed down from my Grandma Alice. The marshmallow and chocolate part of it was from my Grandma Leone, who used to make warm pudding for us and throw in some marshmallows for a nice gooey surprise. I took both of these and combined it to make a S'mores pie! It really hit the spot. Only thing I didn't like was that I didn't leave it sit and cool off enough before I started to cut into it for serving. The pudding pie was still pretty warm in the middle and started to ooze out like a molten lava cake. But as our friends mentioned, the pie was more like eating a true S'mores, since it was still a little warm.... Enjoy as you wish.



















S'mores Pie
Ingredients:


Chocolate Pudding:
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup or so of mini marshmallows

Graham Cracker Pie Crust:
1 package graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup softened butter

Meringue Topping:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
In a plastic baggie, crush about one package of graham crackers until fine crumbs are achieved. Add in sugar and softened butter into the crumbs and squish baggie until combined. Next press crumbs into pie pan. I used the bottom of a glass for this to get the crumbs nicely packed into the pie crust. Then in a preheated 400 degree oven, bake pie crust for about 5-8 minutes or so. Next sprinkle mini marshmallows on top of the crust, and place back in oven and proceed to toast a bit. I think I did it for a few minutes more or until the marshmallows start to get puffy. This could probably be done to your preference of toasted-ness too.

While this is toasting, in a sauce pan on the stovetop, add in flour, sugar, salt, milk, and chopped up chocolate squares. Stir mixture with a whisk constantly on low heat. Continue to stir until pudding starts to thicken up, then SLOWLY add in your beaten egg yolks. Make sure the heat is still very low, and be careful to not add in your egg yolks all at once or too fast, or else you might get up with a lumpy pudding with scrambled egg like pieces in it because of the temperature of the pudding. Cook about 2 minutes longer while continuously stirring, and then add in vanilla and butter. Stir until melted and remove from heat. Pour into pie crust over marshmallows. Note: At this point, don't be alarmed if the marshmallows start to belly up and float as the warm pudding begins to expand them. It still turns out yummy. I guess if you want a "real" layer of the marshmallows, you could potentially cool the pudding a bit before it starts to set and then pour it into crust.

Next, in a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a hand mixer until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating egg whites until stiff and glossy, and add in final vanilla flavoring. Once egg whites have set up, spoon on the meringue over the chocolate pudding. This should cover the pie well. If you still have a few graham cracker crumbs left, you might want to add more on top of meringue. Then place pie back into the 400 degree oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is slightly browned. Slightly cool the pie before serving or cutting into. If desired to serve on the warm side, be warned that the pie might start to ooze out of shape.


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Friday, April 16, 2010

banana bread

Yummy note:
This recipe came from my mom's sister, my Aunt Vera. This is a classic recipe that has always been part of my cookbook as long as I can remember, so it was a perfect reason to put it on here. It is a pretty moist banana bread and it stays really well for several days after you make it. I like making the mini loaves better, as I can easily make a variety at the same time. I just separate the batter into about bowls with about 1 cup of batter into each one and mix in some add-ins. For the mini loafs, a one cup measurement is pretty accurate for the minis. I like to leave a plain banana loaf or two, and then add my favorite, chocolate chips or nuts to the another loaf.


Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine - softened
1 tsp baking soda
1 tblsp orange juice
2 eggs - well beaten
3 large ripe bananas - mashed
2 cups flour
1/4 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Cream margarine and sugar together in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix orange juice and baking soda together until bubbly.
3. Next, pour in orange juice/soda mixture, along with beaten eggs, mashed bananas, and flour into the larger bowl. Stir well incorporating it into the sugar/margarine mixture.
4. Stir in nuts and/or chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into greased loaf pans. I made about 4 mini loafs or you could use probably 2 larger loaf pans. Note: In the mini loaf pans, I used about a cup of batter in each one.
6. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 1 hour for the larger pans or about 35 minutes for the smaller pans. Continue to bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


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Sunday, April 11, 2010

ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Yummy note: I came across this chocolate chip cookie recipe the other night in a search for a crispy, yet chewy soft cookie and this is what I found. It really does fit everything I look for in a cookie. I love this recipe, it is my new cookie recipe I try and go back to each time now.
What's different that I noticed with this recipe compared to any of my other standard cookie recipes, is that it called for a combination of cake and bread flours. This is what I've kinda found out from little bit of research, that a cake flour has lower protein in it and it doesn't absorb as much liquid, lending to a a more pale and puffier cookie, as it leaves more room for steam from the extra liquid. However, a bread flour will soak up more liquid creating a darker or golder looking and crisper cookie. So experiment with the flours as you wish, but I thought that was a cool tip to learn about the different types of flours out there.
By the way, note that this recipe wants you to wait for like a day or so for the flavors to intensify in the cookie dough, but if you are like me and can't wait or maybe don't have the time, they are pretty tasty even right after you make them just in case you can't stand the wait. ;)


Ingredients:
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds chocolate pieces (60 percent cacao content - bittersweet or semi-sweet is nicest flavor)
Sea salt, optional




Directions:
I used a kitchen scale during this too as it was pretty easy to just pour it all in according to the weights...

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, cream butter and sugars together until very light/fluffy-like. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
3. Next, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add in chocolate pieces. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Scoop dough roughly the size of golf balls, or smaller if you'd like, onto baking sheet. *Optional, sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
4. Bake until golden brown but still a little soft, checking after about 18 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes for the cookies to continue setting up, and then place cookies onto another rack to cool.



Original recipe found here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=1&ref=dining
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

Yummy note: I think I originally found this recipe off of a cake mix box years ago. I usually tend to stick with the more normal ones like chocolate, lemon, or vanilla cake mix, but this time I decided to take a chance and use a strawberry one. I wasn't too excited about it actually at the end of it all. I was looking more for an intense strawberry flavor, but instead it was more sweet, almost too sweet. So with that, I have come to realization that I really like flavors with using the other cake mixes the best. What I do like the best about these cookies, no matter what flavor, they are very moist, soft, and chewy cookies.


Cake Mix Cookies




Ingredients:

1 pkg. cake mix
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

optional add-ins:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar (optional for rolling cookies in)

Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cake mix, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in large bowl until mixed well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar and place about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.




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Friday, April 2, 2010

5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Cup

Yummy note: The other day my aunt sent me this email the other day and it was entitled "5 minute chocolate cake" and it caught my eye. I knew immediately, I needed to try it. My curiosity got the best of me, as I think I didn't lasted a whole day after I got that email and took a shot at this. First off, I called it "cake" in quotes, as I think mine turned more into a brownie-like. I believe I microwaved it a bit too long. So be sure and try and gauge that better in your microwaves. Now, looking back, I totally should of took it out way sooner, as then I probably would have gotten a molten lava cake like version instead probably, instead of a denser brownie cake. The texture of the cake was very spongy and porous like in some parts, (that I didn't overbake),but the flavor was pretty good and not too overpowering chocolaty! Indeed, it was a quick 5 minute chocolate cake fix. It's like a quick version of a chocolate "cup" cake :) Next time, I am planning on varying the flavor a bit when I make it... so we'll see what comes up... thinking a mocha chocolate cake, or a white chocolate cake, or maybe vanilla.



5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Cup

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (Microwave-safe)


All of the dry ingredients measured out. I thought this cup was originally big enough. Nope. Too small to add liquid ingredients, without major overflow. So indeed a big microwave-safe mug would be good. Cake expanding in microwave... then falling at the end.


Directions:
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well... Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. Again, this is the part, where to really watch the time, or else you might get a more dense cake, instead of a moist airy cake if you overcook it. Garnish and enjoy!
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