Friday, September 28, 2012

Asian Burgers

I created this masterpiece in my mind one day when I had a mixed craving for Asian food and burgers. It has the sweetness from the dressing, the tang from the pickled cucumbers, the grilled burger flavor and the the crunch from the chowmein noodles which all comes together nicely with the creamy texture from the dressing. You'll want to eat two or three of these so plan accordingly!

I serve mine with sweet potato fries dipped in the same ginger dressing I make for the burger. Oh paradise!!

  Asian Burger
  • Artisan buns
  • 1 bag crunchy chow mein noodles
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Kraft Mayonnaise made with Olive Oil (not miracle whip)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • tiniest pinch of salt
Mix together meat mixture in a large bowl. Shape into patties and refrigerate them for 2 hours if possible (to hold shape better). During this time place cucumber slices in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, salt & pepper, ginger and sugar. Marinate for 1-2 hours in fridge. Blend dressing ingredients in the blender and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Grill patties, set aside covered with lid. Toast patties on grill or in frying pan with 1 Tbsp oil. Placed toasted buns on plate. Top with patty, spinach leaves, cucumbers, chow mein noodles and then generously drizzle creamy dressing on top. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza

 Just look at the the width and depth of that pizza slice! I have to say this is my favorite way to make pizza now! What the kids loved most about this pizza was the soft (spongy) crust. It was like biting into a muffin or sponge cake, yet the pizza slice was heavy. This was the first time ever my kids have eaten their pizza crust. They actually said, "Mommy you make the best pizza!" and I'm not even Italian!

Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (105 degrees F)
  • 1/4 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for dough)
  • 9 ounces vegetable oil (3 ounce per pan)
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 1 can (8 ounce size) tomato sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large (2 qt.) bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed.

Turn out on to a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into three balls. In three 9" cake or pie pans, put 3 Oz. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9" circle. Place in cake pans.

Spray the outer edge of dough with cooking spray. Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Combine ingredients and let sit for 1 hour.

For Each Nine Inch Pizza: Preheat oven to 475 degrees F Spoon 1/3 cup sauce on dough and spread to within 1" of edge. Distribute 1 1/2 Oz. shredded mozzarella cheese on sauce. Place toppings of your choice in this order: Pepperoni or Ham Vegetables Meats (cooked ground sausage or beef) Top with 3 Oz. mozzarella cheese Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp

So we have an Asian buffet that is a little "iffy" but I'll never forget the creamy coconut shrimp I have long craved for years. This dish is usually featured at every Chinese buffet and I recommend it as a side dish rather than a main course. It's very sweet so you wouldn't want it to be your entree but rather something to compliment your entree. It would go great with ant kind of sweet and tangy Chinese chicken dish.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to your desired sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the canola oil in a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Saute the shrimp for 2-3 minutes.
Add green onion. Cook 1-2 minutes more until shrimp begins to caramelize. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Add heavy cream, coconut milk, and sugar to the pan. Simmer on medium, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken and is reduced by half (about 5-8 minutes). Add shrimp back into pan along with the coconut and vanilla extracts. Simmer 1-2 more minutes and serve.

General Tso's chicken

 Don't let the long list of ingredients frighten you. This dish was fairly easy to make and finger licking good! It satisfies the strongest Chinese craving. My family devoured it in minutes.
General Tso's chicken
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 6-8 spring green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • hot pepper flakes (optional)

Mix together the first 6 ingredients (through the water) and set aside. This is the sauce.

Dredge the chicken cubes in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the chicken until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil with onions and chopped ginger. Fry about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. Add the chicken back to the skillet, toss to coat with sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Serve garnished with green onion tops and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This is soul food and perfect for fall. So many creamy layers. I serve mine with a light salad! Love it!!

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
  • 5 lb russet potatoes
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chives, minced
  • 2.5 c cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces. Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

Texas Sheet Cake

Mmmm! This is so yummy! I love mine cold and a day old! Those Texans truly know how to make a cake. The texture of the cake is brownie like and the frosting is smooth like mousse or silky velvet. Here is my little version of this classic recipe. Enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted (4 1/4 cups sifted) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/s tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
Make cake according to directions on box. Add cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and vinegar to batter. Spray a cookie sheet with oil Pour in batter and spread evenly. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.

Frosting: Combine 1/2 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of cocoa, and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add the confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and almond extract - mix well with electric mixer. Pour over the cake and spread. Top with pecans. Enjoy warm or cold.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

There's nothing quite like some great spicy buffalo wings dipped in cool ranch dressing. Why not try it as a salad? If you know me, I turn all my favorite foods into salads. This was a hit! The chicken was tender and juicy with a delicious breaded skin. For the kids, I left off the hot sauce but they ended up wanting it anyways. Yep, totally my kids!

Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • 4-6 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced 
  • 2 Tbsp red hotsauce
  • bottle of buttermilk ranch
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Boil chicken breasts until white in centers. Drain water and slice into strips. Set aside. 

Set up three soup plates. One containing flour, the second containing milk and eggs whisked together, and the third containing the remaining dry ingredients. Heat a skillet on medium high and add 1/2 cup of canola oil. Dip chicken strips in flour (coating all sides), then coat in egg mixture and then coat with crumb mixture (it may be easier to put crumb mixture in a Tupperware or zip lock bag and shake to coat well). Add to hot sizzling oil and fry on both sides until golden and crisp. Once fried, set aside and cover until all chicken has been fried. Place chicken on a platter and spoon hot sauce over coating evenly on all sides.

In a large bowl, toss together spinach, carrots, tomatoes and onions. Spoon salad onto plates. Arrange chicken and avocado slices on top. Drizzle ranch over. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dutch Oven Pizza Pull Aparts

Yes, ours got a little crisp around the edges, but that's a chance you take when cooking with a dutch oven over coals. Nevertheless this was super delicious! The inside was moist, cheesy and the bacon was smokey! We dipped it in our favorite dipping sauces (ranch and marinara). When in a hurry I take canned spaghetti sauce and add about 3-4 Tbsp sugar to it. We like our marinara sweet rather than salt. There is enough salt in the pizza and ranch!

This was super easy to make and now our favorite food to make while camping.  You can try any of your favorite pizza toppings. Give it a try you'll love it!  (you can also bake in a casserole dish on your oven. 350 degrees 30-35 minutes).

Dutch Oven Pizza Pull Aparts
  • 15 frozen Rhodes dinner rolls (be sure to thaw and let rolls rise prior to making this)
  • 2 Tbsp. Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Oregano  
  • 1-2 cup crumbled,cooked bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Place dinner rolls in dutch oven, one layer at a time. Sprinkle1 cup of cheese over first layer. Top with remaining rolls. Allow rolls to rise according to directions on bag. Once dough has risen, combine melted butter, garlic salt and oregano - brush mixture over roll dough. Top with remaining cheese and bacon.  Cook over coals with coals on top for about 25 minutes or until dough is fluffy (you can poke with a fork). Serve hot!

Scrumptious Toast


This is one of the best appetizers I have ever had! It's creamy, flavorful and you can't have just one. For a nice twist, try replacing the basil with mint leaves! 

Scrumptious Toast 
  • 1 french bread baguette, sliced
  • 3-4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup fetta cheese
  • 6 basil leaves, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Paprika
Remove peel and pit from avocado. Place in a bowl and mash with fork. Add 3/4 cup fetta, basil. lime juice, salt and pepper. Mash until blended well. Toast bread slices on a cookie sheet in oven at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread avocado mixture onto each slice. Sprinkle remaining fetta cheese on top. Garnish with fresh basil and paprika. Enjoy!

Mango Chicken Salad

I created this last week and it is now my favorite salad ever!! Try it and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's sure to be an end of summer sensation at your next family BBQ.

Mango Chicken Salad 
  • 4 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cups match stick carrots
  • 1 tsp dried parsely
  • 6 cups spinach leaves
Boil chicken breasts for about 10 minutes or until white in (this will keep it juicy after it has been fried). Slice chicken into 1 inch cubes. In a saucepan on medium high add oil and fry chicken until golden brown (you do not want to overcook chicken and dry it out). Add a pinch of salt. Set aside and cool.

Mango Dressing
  • 1 to 2 large (about 3/4 pound) mangoes, peeled, flesh cut away from the pit
  • 1-2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dash of salt (amount to your liking)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Blend together in food processor until creamy. I like to chill in the fridge for a couple hours before serving, so it becomes thicker.

Toss chicken, tomatoes, red onions, carrots and dressing in a bowl. Add dressing and stir until evenly coated. Chill 1-2 hours and serve over spinach leaves. Top with parsley!