Friday, October 30

Japanese Pepper Chicken Noodle Bowls

Easy to make this hearty warming noddle bowl cooks up in under 30 minutes and is filled with flavorful layers. Start by using ramen noodles in the dish for a quick and easy time saver.

Full time 30 minutes
Serves 4

The needs-

For chicken-
1 lb chicken cutlets, sliced thin
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

For vegetable-
2 baby bok choy, washed and leaves separated
1 lb stir fry vegetable mix (snow peas, water chestnuts, carrots, bamboo shoots, sprouts, mushrooms, ect. Usually found in produce section)
1/2 tbsp olive oil

For Noodles-
2 packages Ramen noodles, chicken or oriental flavor

For serving-
4 eggs, fried over easy (wait to fry until everything else is cooked)

The know-

Season chicken with pepper and salt.

In a saute pan heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken completely and evenly on both side.

Add in soy sauce and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink and cooked through.

Reduce heat on chicken and let sit while cooking other layers.

In a second saute pan, heat 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat and toss in stir fry vegetables (not the bok choy). Cooking 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are still slightly crisp, but have completely cooked.

Make ramen according to package.

To serve start by placing 3-4 bok choy leaves in the bottom of your bowl.

Top with 1/4 of the vegetable (sorry swap of bowls in photo)

Top with 1/4 of chicken.

Top with 1/4 of noodles.

Top with fried egg and ladle over 1/4 of broth from noodles.


Wednesday, October 28

Japanese Pumpkin Spice Egg Bread (pound cake)

Japan makes some of the best bakery goods and treats. One of my favorite is a simple egg bread, which is really more of a pound cake. Topped with ice cream or toasted with butter is the best way to enjoy these treats!

Full time 1 hour
Makes 12 breads

The needs-

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup fine sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 drop red food coloring
2 drop yellow food coloring

The know-

Preheat oven to 350' and spray a 12 cup muffin or mini cake pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, food coloring, and salt until light and fluffy.

Add in flour and baking powder, stirring just until incorporated.

Add in oil and mix to fully incorporate.

Pour mixture evenly into prepared pan, roughly 1/4 cup batter per well.

Bake in oven 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and they spring back when lightly touched.

Remove from oven and cool in pan 1 minute.

Flip out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


Monday, October 26

MAKE IT: Pumpkin Ice Cream

Does Pumkpin Ice Cream really need an introduction? Smooth, creamy, and full of all those classic Autumn flavors, this is a great flavor for any time of day!

Full time 1 1/2 hours (includes set and machine time)
Serves 4-6

The needs-

1 cup solid pumpkin puree (15 oz can not pumpkin pie)
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup fat free half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp all spice

The know-

In a large mixing bowl blend together all ingredients except pumpkin.

Add in pumpkin and whisk until smooth in texture and even in color.

Pour mixture into ice cream machine and allow cycle to go according to machine directions.

Remove from machine and move to freezer for at least 1 hour to fully set.


Saturday, October 24

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash

I really enjoy roasting squashes. Their meaty texture and heartiness make squashes great side dishes or even main courses. This is a quick and simple way to roast squash using honey and thyme, creating a great savory dish with a sweet hint. It goes great with roasted chicken or pork.

Full time 1 hour
Serves 4-6

The needs-

2 lbs. butternut squash cubed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

The know-

Preheat oven to 400'.

In a large baking dish place butternut squash cubes.

Drizzle olive oil over squash, trying to evenly and completely coat cubes.

Sprinkle over thyme, salt, and pepper.

Give a quick stir just to evenly distribute seasoning.

Roast in oven for 20 minutes. Then carefully remove.

Give it a quick but gently stir. Return to oven an roast another 20 minutes.

Carefully remove from oven and test squash for softness, to do this pierce with fork. If it easily goes in you are almost done, if you have problems piercing you will need longer roast time.

Drizzle over honey and return to oven and roast an additional 10-20 minutes, based on fork piercing ease.

Remove from oven, carefully slide onto serving plate. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 21

BAKE IT: Pumpkin Muffins

I love the taste of a pumpkin muffin, the gentle spice with sweet pumpkin combination is magical. This recipe bakes up light and fluffy, just like the ones you get in cafes.

Full time 45 minutes
Makes 12 jumbo muffins

The needs-

15 oz canned pumpkin puree (not pie)
4 eggs
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

The know-

Preheat oven to 375' and line 12 jumbo muffin cups with paper liner.

In a mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.

Add in all liquid ingredients except pumpkin puree.

Fold in the pumpkin puree.

Fill paper liner 2/3 of the way full.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in trays for 3-5 minutes or until you can easily handle them.

Gently turn the out onto a cutting board and allow to finish cooling.


Monday, October 19

Super Easy Chocolate Fondue

Fondue is fun. Using three readily available ingredients can turn any night into a fondue night! This is a great kid friendly version of a dessert fondue. It is slightly thinner than a traditional chocolate fondue it is perfect for dipping apples, bananas, marshmallows, strawberries, and pound cake.

Full time 10-15 minutes
Serves 4-6 

The needs-

1 1.55oz Hersey Bar
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The know-

Place chocolate chip, cream, and vanilla in a small sauce pan.

Whisk over medium heat until fully melted, roughly 3-4 minutes.

Break Hersey bar into pieces and add to pot. Whisk 2-4 minutes until fully incorporated and melted.

Pour into your fondue server or pot to keep warm, cheers.

Thursday, October 15

Italian Sunday Gravy

I love making a big pot of Sunday gravy, full of flavor, packed with sausage, ribs, and meatballs. Making a pot of Sunday gravy means a great night with the family and great leftovers for almost a whole week! My great grandmother's gravy was the best and for many generations has never been matched, here is as close as I can get to my Nanny's Sunday gravy.

Full time 1 hour if in a hurry (4 hours if going traditional)
Serves ? honestly my family of 4 uses this for 3-4 meals.

The needs-

2 cans (28 oz) tomato puree (homemade use 50oz)
1 can (28 oz) whole plum tomatoes (homemade remove skins of 8 plumb tomatoes)
1 can tomato paste
1 large white onion cut in half
2 lb. country ribs (bone in tastes better)
1 lb. Italian sausage (I use a mix of sweet and spicy)
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

In a dutch oven or deep heavy pot heat olive oil over medium high heat and add in minced garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes.

Add in chopped oregano and crushed red pepper, allowing herbs to wilt.

Add in butter and let it melt.

Add in ribs and sear off for 4-5 minutes per side.

Add in Italian sausage.

Add in tomato puree, whole tomatoes, and tomato paste.

Wedge onion upside down into pot.

Quick method: Allow to come to a low boil and then lower heat to medium-low, add meatballs, and cook covered 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Traditional method. Allow to come to a low boil and then lower heat to low. Cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

After a total of 2 1/2 hours cooking add meatball into pot and cook an additional hour.

To serve place ribs, meatballs, and sausage in a large bowl. Move gravy to an easy pour container. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 13

MAKE IT: Fresh Ricotta

Seriously, making ricotta cheese is one of the simplest things to make. It takes four ingredients, a large pot, some cheese cloth, and really that is it!

When making ricotta the key is proportion: 2 parts milk to 1 part heavy cream. Add 1/8 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tbsp distiller white vinegar per batch and you have the best ricotta you will ever taste. Example: 2 cups milk + 1 cup heavy cream= 1/8 tsp salt + 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar

For each batch remember you will yield  the same amount of ricotta as heavy cream used

Full time: 1 hour (plus cooling time)
Makes 1 cup ricotta cheese

The needs-
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp distiller white vinegar
1/8 tsp salt

The know-

In a pot mix all ingredients (pot should be large enough for ingredients to have an inch or two from top of pot)

Turn heat on medium and walk away, seriously walk away for 10 minutes. Do not stir, do not cover, just let it be

When you come back you should see some lines forming, this is the vinegar doing it's thing. Walk away again

While the vinegar takes action place a colander or strainer in a bowl, try to use a bowl that allows the strainer/colander handles to rest on edge. And line with cheese cloth that has been folded several times to form multiple layers

After approx 10 more minutes* you will see, some bubbles around edge of pot, now slowly and carefully use a spatula to go around edge, to release the skin that  has formed. Do not stir or scrap bottom. If you do accidentally scrape the bottom you will see little pieces of brown skin. Just fish them out after cheese is cooled

Now the fun begins if you look closely you will actually begin to see the curds form, solidify, and move together. As it does it will push the water down and allow the solids to rise to top

Once it begins to boil turn off heat immediately

Then let it sit in pot with heat off for 10 minutes. It will have a silky but lumpy look like ricotta, sorry no comparison except maybe very small curd cottage cheese?

Carefully pour into your cheese cloth set up, watch though if your bowl is smaller you may need to pour out some water

Once it is all in the cloth let sit to cool for 20 minutes then move to storage container or use for dinner!

Will last 7-10 days! Cheers.

 *time will vary when you begin to make more, add roughly 10 minutes per batch