Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beef & Broccoli


It is no secret that my husband and I love some good 'take out' Chinese food and this beef & broccoli definitely hits the spot! I found a recipe for beef & broccoli on the Pioneer Woman's television show a few months ago and had to give it a shot. We have since made this dish several times with only a few small changes to the original recipe. This beef & broccoli will definitely be making an appearance at our dinner table again soon!

This recipe will make about 4 servings of beef & broccoli:
  • 1/2 cup LOW-SODIUM SOY SAUCE
  • 1/4 cup CORN STARCH
  • 2 Tbs BROWN SUGAR
  • 1 Tbs GINGER, minced
  • 2 cloves GARLIC, mined
  • 1 lb. FLANK STEAK, sliced very thin
  • 2 Tbs PEANUT or OLIVE OIL
  • 1 lb. BROCCOLI FLORETS, chopped
  • 1/4 cup BEEF BROTH
  • 2 Tbs OYSTER SAUCE
  • Optional: RICE or CHOW MEIN
Mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic in bowl. (...or in the case of the picture below, a measuring cup!)


Pour half of the sauce mixture into a separate bowl and toss the steak in it. Set both bowls aside.


Heat a tablespoon of oil in skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat and cook the chopped broccoli until just tender. Then remove the broccoli from the skillet and set it aside.

Heat the skillet with another tablespoon of oil for a minute or so to allow it to get very hot again. Lay the slices of steak along the bottom of the hot pan in a single layer (as much as possible depending on the size of your pan). Let the slices of steak cook for a minute or two without moving them to allow the meat to brown.


Flip the slices of steak and cook for another 30 seconds before removing the steak from the heat.


Pour the second half of the sauce (that didn't have the steak in it), the beef broth, and the oyster sauce into the skillet and cook over high heat until the sauce begins to thickens. Add the beef and broccoli back into the skillet and toss with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper as needed.


Serve over rice or chow mein!


Yum!






Beef & Broccoli
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup LOW-SODIUM SOY SAUCE
  • 1/4 cup CORN STARCH
  • 2 Tbs BROWN SUGAR
  • 1 Tbs GINGER, minced
  • 2 cloves GARLIC, mined
  • 1 lb. FLANK STEAK, sliced very thin
  • 2 Tbs PEANUT or OLIVE OIL
  • 1 lb. BROCCOLI FLORETS, chopped
  • 1/4 cup BEEF BROTH
  • 2 Tbs OYSTER SAUCE
  • OptionalRICE or CHOW MEIN
Directions:
  1. Mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic in bowl
  2. Pour half of the sauce mixture into a separate bowl and toss the steak in it. Set both bowls aside. 
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat and cook the chopped broccoli until just tender. Then remove the broccoli from the skillet and set it aside. 
  4. Heat the skillet with another tablespoon of oil for a minute or so to allow it to get very hot again. Lay the slices of steak along the bottom of the hot pan in a single layer (as much as possible depending on the size of your pan). Let the slices of steak cook for a minute or two without moving them to allow the meat to brown. 
  5. Flip the slices of steak and cook for another 30 seconds before removing the steak from the heat. 
  6. Pour the second half of the sauce (that didn't have the steak in it), the beef broth, and the oyster sauce into the skillet and cook over high heat until the sauce thickens. 
  7. Add the beef and broccoli back into the skillet and toss with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper as needed. 
  8. Serve over rice or chow mein!



    I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/beef-with-broccoli.html

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Chickpeas


    This is a wonderful soup to make in the fall. The butternut squash is in season and everyone has gourds on the brain. (I'm looking at you, pumpkin spice latte lovers.) The combination of the squash and the gruyere cheese gives the soup a sweet, nutty flavor and the red pepper flakes give it a slight kick. The spicy chickpea topping provides the perfect crunch to pair with the rich and creamy texture of the soup. It is just good for the soul!

    To make 3-4 servings of this delicious soup you will need:
    • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
    • 2 Tbs BUTTER, unsalted
    • 1 ONION, diced
    • 3 cloves of GARLIC, minced
    • 4 cups (roughly 24 oz.) BUTTERNUT SQUASH, cubed
    • 1 pinch RED PEPPER FLAKES
    • 1/2 tsp SALT
    • 1/2 tsp PEPPER
    • 1/4 tsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
    • 1/8 tsp NUTMEG
    • 2 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE STOCK, low sodium
    • 6 oz. GRUYERE CHEESE, grated
    • 1/2 cup full-fat COCONUT MILK (you could also use HALF & HALF)
    • chopped CHIVES, to garnish
    To make the spicy chickpea topping you will need:
    • 1 (15.5 oz.) can of CHICKPEAS, drained & rinsed
    • 1/2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
    • 1/4 tsp SALT
    • 1/4 tsp PEPPER
    • 1/4 tsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
    • 1/4 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER

    Start off by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F, then get the chickpeas ready to bake. Toss the chickpeas in the olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Once the chickpeas are coated in the oil and spices spread them out on a cookie sheet (I put a piece of foil down to make for easy cleanup). Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them, and then bake them for another 15-20 minutes so they get nice and crunchy (but not burnt)!


    While the chickpeas are baking, start peeling and chopping the onion, garlic, and butternut squash.


    To start the soup, melt the butter into the olive oil in a large pot. Then add the diced onion and saute the onion until it just starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic next and cook for another few minutes.


    Stir in the cubed squash, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and nutmeg. Cover the pot and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash has softened a bit.


    Add the chicken stock, cover the pot again, and cook until the squash is completely tender, roughly 15-20 minutes.


    Once the squash is tender, use a blender to puree the soup until smooth. (An immersion blender would be perfect for this, but I just used my Ninja.)

    Note: Be careful when using a normal blender to puree the soup. If the soup is too hot, the steam may create pressure and cause the top to pop off of the blender while blending.


    Transfer the soup back into the large pot and heat the soup over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes. Next, stir in the cheese a handful at a time until it fully melts into the soup. Then, stir in the coconut milk. Heat the soup for a few more minutes to make sure it is nice and hot and then serve!


    Ladle the soup into a bowl, top with the spicy chickpeas, sprinkle on the chopped chives, and then put few drops of coconut milk on top!







    Butternut Squash Soup 
    with Spicy Chickpeas
    Ingredients:

    To make 3-4 servings of this delicious soup you will need:
    • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
    • 2 Tbs BUTTER, unsalted
    • ONION, diced
    • 3 cloves of GARLIC, minced
    • 4 cups (roughly 24 oz.) BUTTERNUT SQUASH, cubed
    • 1 pinch RED PEPPER FLAKES
    • 1/2 tsp SALT
    • 1/2 tsp PEPPER
    • 1/4 tsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
    • 1/8 tsp NUTMEG
    • 2 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE STOCK, low sodium
    • 6 oz. GRUYERE CHEESE, grated
    • 1/2 cup full-fat COCONUT MILK (you could also use HALF & HALF)
    • chopped CHIVES, to garnish
    To make the spicy chickpea topping you will need:
    • 1 (15.5 oz.) can of CHICKPEAS, drained & rinsed
    • 1/2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
    • 1/4 tsp SALT
    • 1/4 tsp PEPPER
    • 1/4 tsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
    • 1/4 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER
    Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, then get the chickpeas ready to bake. 
    2. Toss the chickpeas in the olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Once the chickpeas are coated in the oil and spices spread them out on a cookie sheet (I put a piece of foil down to make for easy cleanup). 
    3. Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them, and then bake them for another 15-20 minutes so they get nice and crunchy (but not burnt)!
    4. While the chickpeas are baking, start peeling and chopping the onion, garlic, and butternut squash.
    5. To start the soup, melt the butter into the olive oil in a large pot. Then add the diced onion and saute the onion until it just starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic next and cook for another few minutes.
    6. Stir in the cubed squash, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and nutmeg. Cover the pot and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash has softened a bit. 
    7. Add the chicken stock, cover the pot again, and cook until the squash is completely tender, roughly 15-20 minutes.
    8. Once the squash is tender, use a blender to puree the soup until smooth. (An immersion blender would be perfect for this, but I just used my Ninja.)
      • Note: Be careful when using a normal blender to puree the soup. If the soup is too hot, the steam may create pressure and cause the top to pop off of the blender while blending.
    9. Transfer the soup back into the large pot and heat the soup over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes
    10. Next, stir in the cheese a handful at a time until it fully melts into the soup. Then, stir in the coconut milk. Heat the soup for a few more minutes to make sure it is nice and hot and then serve!
    11. Ladle the soup into a bowl, top with the spicy chickpeas, sprinkle on the chopped chives, and then put few drops of coconut milk on top!



      I found this recipe on the following blog: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2014/09/smoked-gruyere-butternut-soup-with-spicy-chickpeas/

      Saturday, September 6, 2014

      Orange Mint Tea


      This orange mint tea is the perfect drink for summer. It is sweet and fruity with a hint of mint. This tea has been made for many parties and it is always a favorite! It is so light and refreshing! 

      To make just over a half gallon of tea you will need:
      • 3 & 1/2 cups of WATER
      • 1 cup of SUGAR
      • 4 single cup bags of ORANGE PEKOE TEA (any black tea will work)
      • 4 MINT SPRIGS
      • 4 (more) cups of WATER, cold
      • 1 cup ORANGE JUICE
      • 1/4 cup +  2 Tbs LEMON JUICE

      Bring 3 & 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until it dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes

      Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tea bags and the mint sprigs to the sugar water. Cover the pot and let the tea steep for 5 minutes


      After 5 minutes use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and the mint. 


      Stir in the 4 cups of cold water, the orange juice, and the lemon juice.


      Serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig!


      It is even more refreshing than it looks!





      Orange Mint Tea
      Ingredients:
      • 3 & 1/2 cups of WATER
      • 1 cup of SUGAR
      • 4 single cup bags of ORANGE PEKOE TEA (any black tea will work)
      • MINT SPRIGS
      • 4 (more) cups of WATER, cold
      • 1 cup ORANGE JUICE
      • 1/4 cup +  2 Tbs LEMON JUICE
        Directions:
        1. Bring 3 & 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until it dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes
        2. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tea bags and the mint sprigs to the sugar water. Cover the pot and let the tea steep for 5 minutes
        3. After 5 minutes use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and the mint. 
        4. Stir in the 4 cups of cold water, the orange juice, and the lemon juice.
        5. Serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig!


          This original version of this recipe can be found at the following link: http://www.recipe.com/minted-iced-tea/ 

          Monday, September 1, 2014

          Lobster Rolls


          A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to splurge on groceries for the week and make these lobster rolls. Let me tell you, it was worth it! Imagine sweet, buttery lobster placed over crisp lettuce, and topped with a spicy mayo all on a grilled bun. Delicious. 

          To make 4 lobster rolls you will need:
          • 4 steamed LOBSTER TAILS
          • 3 Tbs + 2 Tbs BUTTER, melted
          • 1/4 of an ONION, finely chopped
          • 4 NEW ENGLAND STYLE BUNS (you could just square off the sides of 4 hot dog buns)
          • 8 BIBB LETTUCE LEAVES (I used romaine because my grocery store was out of Bibb lettuce)
          • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
          • 1 Tbs RED WINE VINEGAR
          • SALT & PEPPER, to taste
          • 1/2 cup of SPICY MAYO (see recipe below)
          • 1 Tbs CHIVES, minced
          • Optional: LEMON WEDGES
          For the spicy mayo you will need: (DON'T SKIP THIS! It makes the whole dish! (I also put this on sandwiches!))
          • 1/2 cup HELLMANN'S MAYO
          • 1 Tbs DIJON MUSTARD
          • 1/2 tsp MUSTARD POWDER
          • 1/2 tsp LEMON JUICE
          • 1/4 tsp OLD BAY
          • 1/4 tsp SRIRACHA HOT SAUCE (add more if you like spicy food!) 

          Start off by making the spicy mayo. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix!


          Whisk up the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then dress the lettuce with the mixture. 


          Take 3 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it onto the cut (outer) sides of the buns.


          Grill each side of the buns until golden brown. 


          Take the cooked lobster meat out of the shell and cut it into bite sized pieces.


          Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot and then saute the onion in the butter.


          Toss the lobster in the butter and onion.


          Assemble the lobster rolls by placing the lettuce leaves into each bun, add the buttery lobster, drizzle on the spicy mayo, and lastly garnish with chives and lemon juice.


          Then enjoy!






          Lobster Rolls
          Ingredients:

          To make 4 lobster rolls you will need:
          • 4 steamed LOBSTER TAILS
          • 3 Tbs + 2 Tbs BUTTER, melted
          • 1/4 of an ONION, finely chopped
          • NEW ENGLAND STYLE BUNS (you could just square off the sides of 4 hot dog buns)
          • BIBB LETTUCE LEAVES (I used romaine because my grocery store was out of Bibb lettuce)
          • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
          • 1 Tbs RED WINE VINEGAR
          • SALT & PEPPER, to taste
          • 1/2 cup of SPICY MAYO (see recipe below)
          • 1 Tbs CHIVES, minced
          • Optional: LEMON WEDGES
          For the spicy mayo you will need: (DON'T SKIP THIS! It makes the whole dish! I also put this on sandwiches!)
          • 1/2 cup HELLMANN'S MAYO
          • 1 Tbs DIJON MUSTARD
          • 1/2 tsp MUSTARD POWDER
          • 1/2 tsp LEMON JUICE
          • 1/4 tsp OLD BAY
          • 1/4 tsp SRIRACHA HOT SAUCE (add more if you like spicy food!) 
          Directions:
          1. Start off by making the spicy mayo. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix!
          2. Whisk up the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then dress the lettuce with the mixture. 
          3. Take 3 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it onto the cut (outer) sides of the buns. Grill each side of the buns until golden brown. 
          4. Take the cooked lobster meat out of the shell and cut it into bite sized pieces.
          5. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot and then saute the onion in the butter. Toss the lobster in the butter and onion.
          6. Assemble the lobster rolls by placing the lettuce leaves into each bun, add the buttery lobster, drizzle on the spicy mayo, and lastly garnish with chives and lemon juice.



            This original version of this recipe can be found at the following link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/lobster-roll.html


            Wednesday, August 20, 2014

            #EverythingIsAwesome Breakfast Burrito


            I made this for the first time a few weeks ago and I haven't stopped thinking about it since! In my household this steak and egg burrito is affectionately known as the "#EverythingIsAwesome Breakfast Burrito." The tender, juicy steak is paired with sweet onions, and then combined with scrambled eggs and creamy, nutty gruyere cheese. It is simply wonderful. There is nothing ground breaking about this dish, but the combination of flavors just work! Excuse me while I make an emergency trip to the grocery store so I can make this now...

            To make 2 dinner servings (4 wraps) you will need:
            • 1 Tbs BUTTER
            • 1 small ONION, sliced thin
            • 8 oz. STRIP STEAK
            • 3 EGGS
            • 4 medium sized TORTILLAS (we used the "fajita" sized)
            • 1/2 cup GRUYERE CHEESE
            • SALT & PEPPER, to taste

            Melt the butter in a skillet and then saute the onions in the butter for about 15 minutes or until they are caramelized. 


            While the onion is caramelizing, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and season the steak with salt and pepper.



            Once the cast-iron pan is hot, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side.

            Note: The cook time will depend on how thick your steaks are. Our steaks were extremely thin so they cooked up after 2 minutes on each side. If your steaks are fairly thick you may need to cook them for up to 5-6 minutes on each side.

            When the steaks are cooked, take them off of the heat and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes. While the steak is resting, whisk up the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and then scramble them until sightly firm.


            After the steak has had time to rest, slice it thinly against the grain.


            To assemble the wrap, spoon some of the scrambled eggs onto the tortilla, lay a few pieces of steak on top, add some grilled onions, and lastly top with the gruyere cheese.


            How beautiful does that look?!? I would eat this every week if I could!


            Ok, I'm going to have to make this again soon... writing up this recipe has made me hungry!






            Steak & Egg Burrito

            Ingredients:
            • 1 Tbs BUTTER
            • 1 small ONION, sliced thin
            • 8 oz. STRIP STEAK
            • EGGS
            • 4 medium sized TORTILLAS (we used the "fajita" sized)
            • 1/2 cup GRUYERE CHEESE
            • SALT PEPPER, to taste
                Directions:
                1. Melt the butter in a skillet and then saute the onions in the butter for about 15 minutes or until they are caramelized. 
                2. While the onion is caramelizing, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and season the steak with salt and pepper.
                3. Once the cast-iron pan is hot, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side.
                  • Note: The cook time will depend on how thick your steaks are. Our steaks were extremely thin so they cooked up after 2 minutes on each side. If your steaks are fairly thick you may need to cook them for up to 5-6 minutes on each side.
                4. When the steaks are cooked, take them off of the heat and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.
                5. While the steak is resting, whisk up the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and then scramble them until sightly firm. 
                6. After the steak has had time to rest, slice it thinly against the grain.
                7. To assemble the wrap, spoon some of the scrambled eggs onto the tortilla, lay a few pieces of steak on top, add some grilled onions, and lastly top with the gruyere cheese. 



                      I adapted this recipe from one that I saw on the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/steak-and-egg-burrito.html

                      Saturday, August 16, 2014

                      Ina's "Perfect" Pie Crust


                      I have been on a quest to find a good pie crust for awhile now and this is the best one I have found so far! The crust is tender, flakey, and delicious! Thank you Ina Garten! 

                      To make one 10 inch pie crust or two smaller 6 inch pie crusts (like the pictures shown in this post) you will need:
                      • 6 Tbs UNSALTED BUTTER
                      • 1 & 1/2 cup FLOUR
                      • 1 & 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                      • 1/2 tsp SALT
                      • 3 Tbs VEGETABLE SHORTENING
                      • 1/4 cup ICE WATER

                      Before you start, make sure that your butter is very cold! I usually cut the butter into cubes and then pop it in into the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)!


                      Use a food processor and pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. 


                      Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening to the food processor. Pulse another 6-8 times or until the contents start to look like course meal with pea sized butter chunks.


                      Start adding the ice water a little bit at a time, pulsing in between. (If you have a food processor you can slowly drizzle the water into the feed tube while pulsing.) When the mixture begins to clump together you have added enough water. Pinch the dough in between your fingers to see if it holds together. The 1/4 cup water specified in the recipe should do the trick, but if it is still crumbly and falls apart in your fingers add a little bit more. Be careful not to add too much water though or else the crust will be tough! 


                      Once the dough starts to clump together, dump the dough onto a clean and dry surface. Take the heel of your palm and press it down into the dough in order to 'shmoosh' the butter and flatten it into layers. Then carefully shape the dough into a disk. 

                      Look at all of the butter clumps! This will create an extra flaky crust!


                      Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days).


                      Once the dough is chilled, unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick


                      Next, place the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Carefully press the dough into the corners of the pan so that the dough lines the bottom and sides of the pan. (The picture below is a 6 inch pie plate.)


                      Then tuck the overhanging dough on the edges under itself and pinch with your fingers. Pour in your pie filling and bake at 400 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes!


                      I made a strawberry pie, but you could use any filling you want!






                      Pie Crust
                      Ingredients:
                      • 6 Tbs UNSALTED BUTTER
                      • 1 & 1/2 cup FLOUR
                      • 1 & 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                      • 1/2 tsp SALT
                      • 3 Tbs VEGETABLE SHORTENING
                      • 1/4 cup ICE WATER
                      Directions:
                      1. Before you start, make sure that your butter is very cold! I usually cut the butter into cubes and then pop it in into the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)!
                      2. Use a food processor and pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. 
                      3. Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening to the food processor. Pulse another 6-8 times or until the contents start to look like course meal with pea sized butter chunks.
                      4. Start adding the ice water a little bit at a time, pulsing in between. (If you have a food processor you can slowly drizzle the water into the feed tube while pulsing.) When the mixture begins to clump together you have added enough water. 
                        • Pinch the dough in between your fingers to see if it holds together. The 1/4 cup water specified in the recipe should do the trick, but if it is still crumbly and falls apart in your fingers add a little bit more. Be careful not to add too much water though or else the crust will be tough! 
                      5. Once the dough starts to clump together, dump the dough onto a clean and dry surface.
                      6. Take the heel of your palm and press it down into the dough in order to 'shmoosh' the butter and flatten it into layers. This will create an extra flaky crust! Then carefully shape the dough into a disk.
                      7. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days).
                      8. Once the dough is chilled, unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick
                      9. Next, place the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Carefully press the dough into the corners of the pan so that the dough lines the bottom and sides of the pan. Then tuck the overhanging dough on the edges under itself and pinch with your fingers. 
                      10. Pour in your pie filling and bake at 400 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes!