Sunday, November 28, 2010

Orange Chicken

All I have to say about this one is that we loved it and it was really easy! Great recipe from my friend, Linda Dahlianut at gardenbuddies! I added broccoli to the recipe and some sliced clementines. This one is a keeper! Thanks, Linda!

Orange Chicken
Source: Linda (dahlianut) from gardenbuddies
adapted There's Always Thyme To Cook
Printable Recipe

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
about 3 tablespoons oil (for sauteing)

Orange Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
a few slices of clementines, or any orange you like
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 package fresh broccoli florets, steamed in microwave oven

In a large saucepan combine the water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil. Combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce, bring sauce back to a boil, stir until it thickens. Reduce heat to low and keep sauce warm. If sauce too thick, add a little orange juice to thin it out.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in flour mixture to coat. I pour it all in a ziploc bag and shake it to coat the chicken. Then shake the excess flour off before adding pieces to the pan. Saute chicken in a skillet or wok, until browned. 

Add the broccoli to the pan. Pour sauce over the chicken and broccoli, and simmer for at least ten minutes, until chicken is completely cooked! Serve over rice.

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Skirt Steak

I had to make a few skirt steaks for dinner the other night,  and I was tempted to ask the Griller to grill. He was very happy when I decided to follow the recipe and pan fry them instead! Too many starving kids were over, so I used two cast iron pans or else I'd be dealing with those starving children all at once, there were friends involved!  One was a big cast iron grill pan, the other a skillet. Both came out really good with this marinade! We loved it, although Miss Picky still had to dip hers in Peter Luger Sauce!

Skirt Steak Marinade
Source: Cindy5_NY, she found it from yahoo answers, I adapted it a bit!
Printable Recipe

3 pounds skirt steak (cut in 1/2 pound pieces)
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
Worcestershire sauce
2 small onions or a few shallots, sliced
oil for sauteing

Rub both sides of steak with cut side of garlic. In a large ziploc bag, pour in some Worcestershire Sauce, a little salt, some pepper, the garlic and the sliced onions. Let marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for an hour.

Add oil to frying pan, heat pan to medium or medium-high heat. When hot, add steak and the onions and sear a few minutes on each side, depending on desired doneness.

Joining Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday because skirt steak has been mentioned here plenty! Any time a steak is being cooked at our house, you can bet there is skirt steak involved, it's Miss Picky and the Big Kid's favorite kind of steak. That just leaves more Porterhouse and NY Strip steaks for me and the Griller!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here we go again...

Have to say this is a great recipe! Banana Crumb Muffins. Even easier, Banana Crumb Muffins made into a cake pan. Baked for a little bit longer. I did fine with the time adjustment and fine with the ingredients this time. However, if you use a Bundt pan, it's better if you put the streusel crumb topping on TOP! Which in a Bundt pan is the BOTTOM!

bottom's up?

 So it became a Banana Pecan Streusel Upside Down Upside Down Cake! and on the plate you couldn't tell a thing :)

The recipe for Banana Streusel Muffins is here!
Don't tell Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen that I listened to her advice and used a Bundt pan. She'll tell me I told you so! But she never reminded me that bottom's up? Or not?

I was a little too wordy this week for a Wordless Wednesday, but I like playing anyway!
More Wordless Wednesday can be found here!
and here!


A very happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Some Thanksgiving humor...

What are unhappy cranberries called?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Tomatoes!

Tomatoes. They go soft too fast, or maybe I just buy too many. It's really that I buy too many! So cooking them is a great way to use up the soft tomatoes. This recipe said it's a great way to use up summer tomatoes, well, it's not bad for crappy supermarket tomatoes in the fall and winter as well!

 The topping is delicious and the tomatoes release juice, the flavor is amazing, even with supermarket tomatoes.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Source: EatingWell, July/August 1998
Adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

8 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish or coat it with nonstick spray.

Arrange tomato slices, slightly overlapping, in prepared dish. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sprinkle with vinegar. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, thyme, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle crumb mixture over tomatoes and drizzle with oil.

Bake tomatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden. Serve hot.

NOTE: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear bread into pieces and whiz in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.  I use leftover burger and hot dog buns, sandwich bread, baguette's for the crumbs. It all goes in a ziploc bag and stores in the freezer. I don't bother to trim the crusts.


Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Here are some of our favorite ways to can use up the winter supermarket tomatoes...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tortilla Soup

This is such a great soup! We had it the other night and there's no leftovers! I've posted about it before so I'll join Suzy over at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday because this one is so good it will be repeated again and again!

It was topped with lime, sour cream, fire-roasted salsa, and avocado! and I forgot the cheese and chips! But it didn't matter one bit.

Original post can be found here!

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Source: Marilyn (DanaIN) - Gardenweb Cooking Forum
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 corn tortillas (regular or fried)
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chilies (I used 2 10-ounce cans of Rotel tomatoes with chilies)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon turmeric (I omitted)
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1 cup diced, seeded Roma tomatoes or 1 cup salsa for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
Tortilla Chips for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Slice or break tortillas into small pieces and add to onions and garlic; sauté until they are soft. Add tomatoes, broth and spices and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; allow to cool for 5 minutes. Puree soup base in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth, return soup to pot. (I used an immersion blender)

Add chicken, corn and cream and return to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle in cheese and cilantro; stir to melt cheese. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arugula-Endive Salad

At least my screw ups taste pretty good most of the time. Of course once again this time I didn't read the recipe through completely. Just sort of of saw what I wanted to see and thought this is very easy! Added a few extra's like frisee, radicchio and fennel. Cremini mushrooms, too. It still tasted amazing, even without following it completely! Loved the salad, loved the dressing, and next time I will actually follow through and make the honeyed pine nuts. Honey-Pine Nut Brittle would have made the salad more than amazing!

The big kid had some with me for lunch, minus the fennel and blue cheese. He's pretty adventurous when it comes to ingredients, but has yet to acquire a taste for blue cheese. I'm pretty much alone in this house when it comes to stinky cheeses! I think I may have this one again today!

Check the link for the original salad recipe with the brittle!

Arugula-Endive Salad with Pine Nuts
Source: Food and Wine Magazine, August 2008 - original recipe by Susan Spungen
adapted There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup pine nuts (2 1/2 ounces) toasted
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups baby arugula
1 Belgian endives—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
4 ounces Maytag blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

frisee, torn in small pieces
radicchio, thinly sliced
fennel, thinly sliced
fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced

In a nonstick skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderately high heat, stirring, until the nuts are golden and fragrant. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the honey with the vinegar and the mustards. Gradually whisk in the oil; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, toss the arugula with the endives and whatever else you are using along with the blue cheese. Add the pine nuts to the salad. Add the dressing, toss to coat and serve at once.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A simple pasta lunch!

Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh basil and Wagon Wheel (Ruote) Pasta! 
Fun pasta shapes for lunch!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Banana Muffins this time!

and you thought another banana bread? I think I finally found perfection with banana bread. We absolutely love that last recipe I tried, but I'm always open to try another! So with this week's brown speckled banana's I made Banana Nut Streusel Muffins. Rosemary posted the recipe over at gardenbuddies.

One word. KEEPER! These are fantastic, even with lousy baking skills such as mine, these came out so moist, so light and so good! I used brown sugar for the white, and maybe next time would use a little less sugar. and I added pecans. These are a really nice change from the banana loaves my family has come to expect! Thank you, Rosemary, these were delicious!

Banana Crumb Muffins
Source: posted Rosemary at gardenbuddies, original recipe from Allrecipes – Lisa Kreft

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar ( I used brown sugar, not packed)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with muffin papers. I used silicone muffin cups!

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Mix in the pecans, if using. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak

Dope that I am, I took great pictures of a beautiful flank steak we had the other day, well, they looked great to me. I thought I uploaded the photo's to store on Picassa until I finished with the post, but nope. No photo. Not anywhere. And I did the grilling this time. Perfectly cooked, grilled marinade crust on the outside, pink rare on the inside, the ends more well done. Came out perfect, I tell ya!  But even without a picture, I had to post this recipe, it's fantastic. We've had such pretty weather the past few days here. Perfect grill weather. And I checked the grill cookbooks for a marinade. Came up with this one from Bobby Flay. A lot of flavor, it was super. So that's my review. A HUGE THUMBS UP! but if you want to see it and not take my word for it, then you just have to make it yourself. Great recipe, takes no time, simple. But so good. Highly recommended.

From the book Boy Gets Grill by Bobby Flay!

Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak
Source: Bobby Flay - Boy Gets Grill
adapted There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary leaves (I used 1 tablespoon dried)
1 (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound) beef flank steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the vinegar, the oil, the garlic and rosemary in a large dish (or use a large Ziploc freezer bag). Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours, turning every 2 hours.

Heat the grill to high.

Remove the steak from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and crusty, 4 to 5 minutes. (Do not close lid on grill unless it is cold or windy) Turn steak over, reduce the heat to medium or move to a cooler part of the grill, and grill until medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes more. Be careful not to overcook.

Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices against the grain of the meat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms with Brie and Pecans

And now for something a little different! Not your usual stuffed mushrooms, a little different but definitely different is good this time! Delicious actually! Miss Picky absolutely loves stuffed mushrooms, so much that she didn't wait for me to say THESE HAVE CHEESE IN THEM! She just walked by said "oh good, stuffed mushrooms" and popped one in her mouth. I waited for her to immediately grab a napkin and spit it out, followed by a big EEWWWW, what is that? It didn't happen. She kept chewing. Because I wouldn't want to be tricked myself, I said, it's stuffed with brie cheese and pecans. She said it was good. Quick somebody, pick me up off the floor! She liked them, which is quite surprising, she doesn't like to try new foods. She hates cheese. Not the kind in the little green can, not when it's melted on top of a pizza slice, or in baked ziti. But in general, cheese in anything is an issue. Not this time. These she liked. I can't figure her out. And I give up trying.

Can't give a better review than that, except for the Griller. He also doesn't love most cheeses. I can count four and anything else he won't touch. Mozzarella, Muenster, Jarlsberg and American. He liked these mushrooms, too! I loved them. A bit different from our usual stuffed mushroom but different is nice for a change!

I got this recipe from my friend Renee, who got the recipe from the caterer of a party she had attended. She tasted them and raved! SHe said they were abfab! And when she described these lovelies, she said they were "hot mushrooms stuffed with brie and pecans, abfab, and yes, I did ask the caterers! Caps stemmed and baked; the juice and chopped stems mixed with chopped pecans and the brie with some breadcrumbs to bind and baked again."

So armed with that information I just sort of winged it and came up with these...

and Renee was right, these are ABFAB! Absolutely fabulous!

Stuffed Mushrooms with Brie and Pecans
Source: Renee Ascher

1 large package mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 wedge of Brie cheese, remove rind
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4  cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.
Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Put the caps and the stems in  pan and bake for about ten minutes. 
In the meantime, put the pecans, stems, brie and breadcrumbs on a cutting board and chop it all together until it gets kind of crumbly. Take the caps out of the oven after about ten minutes. Pour any juices from the caps into the mixture. Stir it all together and stuff the caps with the stuffing, mound it on top and place the stuffed mushrooms on the baking sheet.
Bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden brown. Serve.

More stuffed mushrooms ...


Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday.

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