Friday, July 31, 2009

Shrimp Omelet

This past week, we didn’t do a full grocery shopping trip. That meant, we didn’t have as many fresh ingredients in the fridge as I wanted. We always think about getting takeout as well, but in an effort to save money, I end up making something with ingredients I have on hand.

Gary’s mom makes something similar to this. I think my mom does too. We were discussing today and wondering why our moms cook so well. We chalk it up to the many years of experience they have. Hopefully, in 10 years, that will be the case with me. A side thought: is it me or does it seem like moms never seem to need a recipe for anything?? They seem to everything ingrained in their brains.

Anywho, I checked the freezer for something. Our freezer is packed, BTW. Everything in there needed time to defrost…except for the shrimp! That takes just minutes to defrost! So this was how this recipe was born.

shrimp omelet

Shrimp Omelet

~20 medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 TBSP margarine (or butter)
1-2 TBSP oil
1 small onion, diced
5 eggs, beaten
dried parsley
garlic powder

Peel and clean the shrimp. Set aside

In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add in diced onions and cook until they turn clear.

Add shrimp and cook for 3-5 minutes until mostly pink. Shake the pan to form an even layer of shrimp. Pour eggs over the shrimp. Add salt, parsley and garlic powder over the top of the eggs. I didn’t measure. I just shook it over the top of the eggs.

Reduce temperature to medium-low heat, cover and allow the eggs to cook through. If possible, flip the whole omelet over and cook for another2-3 minutes until eggs are no longer runny. Of course, I couldn’t flip the whole omelet. I cut it into quarters and flipped each section.

Transfer to plate and enjoy.

Yes, I understand it might look gross, but it was pretty tasty.

This will also be submitted to the NTTC#5 July 2009 Challenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mango Sorbet

I’m not a huge fan of mangoes, however Gary loves it. We first saw mango sorbet at Trader Joes. We bought it, and it was done in a few days. I didn’t have any of course. The flavor doesn’t appeal to me.

A few months ago, I bought a bag of frozen mangoes on sale at the supermarket. I intended to replicate the TJ’s sorbet when I found the right recipe. I saw this recipe and decided to try it. After Gary’s first taste from the spatula, he loved it! He said it’s even better than the TJ’s one. Of course! It’s homemade!

Now, since I didn’t have any of it, I’m just going to have to take his word on it. I only had a small taste, but since I don’t like mangoes, my opinion doesn’t count.

My changes with the recipe are indicated below.

mango sorbet

Mango Sorbet
adapted from: The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 ripe mangoes, about 1/2 lb each (I used a 1 lb bag of frozen mangoes)
juice of 1 lime (I omitted)
splash of vodka (my addition, optional)

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan . Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely and the syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Peel the mangoes and cut as much of the fruit as you can away from the pits. If using the frozen mangoes, allow to thaw while the syrup is coming to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. (Because I used frozen mangoes and it was slightly frozen, the mixture was cold enough to go directly into the ice cream maker.)

Stir the chilled mixture, then freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer sorbet, transfer to a freezer save container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dried Apple Chips

I can’t really call these chips, because they didn’t really dry to a crisp. However, they had great flavor, a great chewy texture, and tasted just like dried fruit snacks you would get at the store!

I first saw this recipe a while back when it was first featured in Tastespotting. I love eating dried fruit. Dried apples and bananas were always my favorites.

The original recipe called for coring the apples using a melon baller (which I didn’t have), and slicing with a mandolin slicer. I had the slicer, but I thought it would be easier to use the all in one apple/corer/slicer I had, even though the slices would be thicker.

apple chips

Dried Apple Chips
adapted from: Apple Pie, Patis, & Pâté

1 cup (7 ounces / 200 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces / 200 grams) water
2 green apples, preferably a tart and crisp varietal such as Granny Smith (peeling optional)

In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Cut the apples in half crosswise and core with a melon baller. Using a mandolin slicer, slice the apples crosswise into paper-thin rounds. (I sliced/peeled/cored with my apple peeler/slicer/corer.)

apple corer slicer peeler

The rings will be connected. Slice it down on one side with a knife. Voila, rings!

apple rings

Drop the sliced apples in the syrup immediately and heat gently for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sliced apples cool in the syrup, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175ºF / 80ºC. (My oven is not digital. I set it to below “warm” setting and relied on my oven thermometer.)

Carefully remove the apple slices from the syrup and place gently on sheet pans lined with silicone mats or parchment.

apple rings on parchment

Dry in the 175ºF / 80ºC oven until crisp, at least 2 hours. (Because my slices were thicker, it was in the oven for about 4 hours.)

apple chips stack

Note: After about 4 hours, I sort of gave up. It was way too long for something to be in the oven! I took it out, let it sit at room temperature a bit. It dried up a bit more, but it was still wasn’t crispy. That was just a minor setback though. It still had a great flavor. It was a bit sticky from the sugar, and it was chewy. I will probably try this again with a mandolin instead.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kiwi Sorbet

This past weekend was the the first hot and humid day so far this summer. We haven't had any scorchers lately, but this was the type of weather where you want to lay down, have plenty of cold drinks or just have something cold and refreshing. It was the perfect time to whip out the ice cream maker and use up the kiwis I bought.

I first saw this recipe in The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, and thought it was something I had to make. The original recipe called for lime juice as well to the recipe, but I didn't have any, so I omitted it. Also, as I look at the recipe again, I totally read the recipe wrong! For some odd reason, I thought it said 1/3 cup plus 2 TBSP sugar…so that’s all I added. However. It tasted fine to me! So, it all depends on the ripeness of your kiwi! Mine was super ripe, so it was a lot sweeter. Remember to taste the kiwi to gauge the amount of sugar you use.

Let me tell you, this was so light, tart and refreshing! I love tart fruits and this sorbet is something you can't buy at the supermarket...or at least, I've never seen this flavor in my supermarket.

kiwi sorbet

Kiwi Sorbet
adapted from: The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP sugar (use as little or as much as you need…I used way less than this)
1 1/2 lb kiwi (about 6-8 medium)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 lime (I omitted)

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil the syrup for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.

Peel the kiwis and cut into quarters. Place the fruit in a blender with the cool syrup, lime juice, and vanilla. Blend on low until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled mixture, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer sorbet, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chicken Mushroom Romaine Lettuce Stack

Or you can call this a romaine lettuce “lasagna”. Whatever you call it, it will still tasty the same…delicious!

Earlier in the week, I purchased a family size bag of romaine lettuce because it was on sale. Of course, there’s a certain amount of salads I can eat before I get sick and tired of it. I wanted to come up with something else to use up with the chicken I had in the fridge, so I thought about the cabbage wraps my sister makes. She uses ground pork and fishcakes…but of course Gary and I don’t eat pork.

I called her and I asked her what she added in her recipe, and as we were talking, I came up with this idea. Since romaine is fairly hard to roll unless I wilt it first, why not layer it like a lasagna?

So this is what spawned from that idea.

chicken shitake romaine lasagna stack

Chicken Shitake Mushroom Romaine “Lasagna” Layers

1 lb boneless chicken thighs, ground (or use ground chicken)
8 dried shitake mushrooms (or use fresh)
2 scallions sliced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
1 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
1 bunch romaine hearts
cooking spray

Soak dried mushrooms in cold water for about 20 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, trim excess fat from chicken thighs and cut into 1” cubes, add to food processor. Squeeze water from mushrooms, break off mushrooms stems, discard stems, and add the mushroom caps to the food processor. Pulse both items in food processor a few times until ground.

Mix in scallions, soy sauce, mirin, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.

ground chicken mushroom mixture

Spray cooking oil in a 9” glass pan, line the bottom with a layer of the large leaves of the romaine lettuce. At this point, you can also add another layer of the little pieces that are from the middle of the heart.

romaine layer

Spread half the chicken mixture on the romaine. Repeat with another layer of romaine, then the rest of the chicken mixture, then top with the last layer of romaine.

chicken romaine stack uncooked

Steam for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

chicken romaine stack cooked

Cut into pieces, and enjoy!

chicken romaine lasagna slice

This tasted great! This also reminded me of dumpling filling, so I might even use it for that!


This recipe is being submitted to: original recipe logo

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grilled Chicken Romaine Salad

This was the salad I had with the leftover chicken I made. It was pretty hearty because of the walnuts.


I was able to make 2 salads with this:

1 bunch romaine heart, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 cup chopped walnuts
leftover grilled chicken, cut into pieces
raspberry walnut dressing (or your favorite dressing)

Combine all ingredients. Toss together to coat dressing evenly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garlic Herb Grilled Chicken and Pasta

During the weeknights (or lazy weekends), I try to make something simple, so I don’t spend hours in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being in the kitchen, but not when it’s yucky and hot outside.

One of my favorite spices to use is Mrs. Dash. I love it because all the herbs and spices have been mixed into a convenient bottle for me. Of course, I can mix a bunch of herbs together to make this, but this is a great shortcut to take once in a while. I used the garlic and herb spice mix. I also used my George Foreman grill for this.

I had some leftover chicken while making this, so I used the leftover chicken for a salad for lunch.

grilled chicken and pasta

Garlic and Herb Grilled Chicken and Pasta

1 lb chicken breast (mine was a little under a lb.)
Mrs. Dash garlic and herb spice
8 oz. thin spaghetti
1 head broccoli florets
olive oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt to water, and boil pasta until al dente. Add broccoli during last 4 minutes of boiling.

Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken breast, cover with saran wrap, and pound thin. Coat both sides of the chicken with the spice mix.

Grill on the George Foreman grill for 7 minutes. Cut into slices.

Drain the pasta. Drizzle with 2 TBSP olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer pasta to bowl, add chicken, and serve.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Apple Turnovers

I first made these last year or the year before for a fourth of July also. It turned out very well, although I didn’t use the glaze with it. This year, I decided to make it again, since I my dad requested it. I told him I was making a strawberry pie, but he said he didn’t like strawberries, and he wanted apple pie. Of course. That’s the same thing Gary asks for all the time too!

I tried to access, but unfortunately their site was down for a few days. Luckily, I printed this recipe a long time ago before I had a laptop, when I was still printing and keeping recipes in a binder.

I didn’t have a chance to get puff pastry from the supermarket, so I used the phyllo dough I had on hand. It was the first time using phyllo dough, and it seemed pretty easy. Maybe I will finally make the baklava I’ve been meaning to make.

phyllo apple turnover

Apple Turnovers
adapted from:

2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups water
4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons butter (I used margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (I used phyllo dough)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the lemon and 4 cups water in a large bowl. Place the sliced apples in the water to keep them from browning. (I didn’t do this. I used an apple peeler/corer/slicer while the butter was melting and quickly placed the apples in the pan once I was done.)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain water from apples, and place them into the hot skillet. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Stir together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Pour into the skillet, and mix well. Cook for another minute, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

If using puff pastry:

Unfold puff pastry sheets, and repair any cracks by pressing them back together. Trim each sheet into a square. Then cut each larger square into 4 smaller squares. Spoon apples onto the center of each squares. Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal. Place turnovers on a baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing.

If using phyllo dough:

Unroll puff pastry onto a dry surface. Cover with saran wrap, then a damp towel.

Take 1 sheet, brush half of the length of the sheet with melted butter or margarine. Fold the other half over the sheet. Brush with more butter. Lay another sheet over that, repeat with butter and fold. You should now have 2 fold sheets (or 4 half sheets) alternating with butter.

Place about 2 TBSP apples on one end of the sheet.

apple filling

Fold over one corner, and continue to fold until the end of the sheet.

Place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Brush top with butter. Bake in oven for 15-20
minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool before glazing.

To make the glaze, mix together the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Adjust the thickness by adding more sugar or milk if necessary. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers. (I did not add the glaze.)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Sesame Chicken Wings

I hope everybody had a great holiday weekend! It’s been a food filled weekend for us!

We went to Gary’s family’s annual BBQ. We were in charge of burgers, hot dogs, and chicken wings.

I made 2 types of wings. One was the hoisin 5 spice marinade I’ve used before. I doubled the recipe for 3lbs of wings and marinated overnight, and it was incredible with wings! We had some left over afterwards, so I baked those for 30 min at 425° on a greased foil lined pan.

I found the second recipe at They have lots of great recipes! I loved the fact that I had everything on hand. This was such a simple recipe, and it tasted so good!

sesame chicken wings

Sesame Chicken Wings

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 green onions, with tops, sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used roasted sesame seeds)
dash ground black pepper
dash ground cayenne pepper, optional (I added)
3 pounds chicken wings

In a large food storage bag, combine soy sauce, water, sugar, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, sesame seeds, and peppers. Add chicken wings; turn bag to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken to a shallow rack in baking dish or roasting pan. Discard the marinade. Bake wings, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Turn wings and bake 25 minutes longer, or until tender. (I grilled these).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Panko Crusted Salmon Bites

I started making this to try to duplicate something my sister used to make. I think it was salmon dipped in a cornstarch type batter. I didn’t know if it was something that was an egg/cornstarch/water batter or an egg/flour/water batter. I ended up making something totally different from what she made.

In the end, the salmon bites came out very nice, perfectly cooked and looked too perfect to eat! They sort of look like chicken nuggets, but when bitten into, you realize it’s fish. Gary liked it a lot. He checked my plate to see if I finished mine, since he usually finishes off my leftovers, but I ate it all too.

salmon bites

Panko Crusted Salmon Bites

1 salmon steak, skinned (mine was about 11 oz)
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko crumbs (season with herbs of your choice)
2 TBSP oil (not olive oil)
salt to taste

Rinse the salmon clean and pat dry. Using a paring knife, skin salmon steak. Cut it away from the bone and remove as many stray bones as possible. Cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Season with salt if desired, I did not use.

Dip the salmon in the flour, then egg, then panko.

Add oil to a preheated pan. Reduce temperature to medium heat. Cook salmon for 1-2 minutes on all sides. Transfer to a plate line with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Gary ate this with ketchup. He’s a ketchup fanatic. He thinks anything breaded and fried should be eaten that way.