Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ground Turkey with Tomatoes

When Gary tries a recipe, he likes to make it a few times until he *thinks* he’s perfected it. It’s a good way for him to learn his way around the kitchen, but that means we have to keep this meal in rotation at least once a week until he thinks it’s perfect.

This recipe is loosely adapted from a beef and tomato recipe his dad makes. It’s one of the comfort foods he’s grown up with, so who am I to argue.


Ground Turkey and Tomatoes
Adapted from: Gary’s Dad
Made by Gary

1/2 lb ground turkey (you can also use ground beef or sliced beef)
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tomatoes, halved then sliced
cooking oil
2 Tbsp oyster sauce

1. In a small bowl, combine ground turkey, rice wine, soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp sugar and olive oil. Marinate for about 20 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice into half inch wide pieces.

2. In a skillet, brown the turkey and set aside.

3. Heat a wok with a little oil. Add tomatoes and stir fry until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and remaining sugar, stir, then add turkey. Stir until combined. Add a little water, cover and steam for 1-2 minutes.

4. Transfer to dish and serve. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chinese Five Spice Chicken Wings

Gary’s mom makes these awesome chicken wings that I’ve never been able to duplicate. It’s probably the most basic recipe, and she told me how to make it too. Maybe I should have listened when she was explaining it to me! In the meantime, while I wait for the recipe (again!), I will make it my way.

Instead of stir-frying the chicken wings like I usually do, I decided to pan fry in some oil. I was hoping to get the skin crispy like fried wings do, but without fully immersing the wings into the oil. I don’t think the skin was as crispy as I wanted, but it worked well. The love the flavor of the 5 spice powder. There were a few wings that were larger than the rest, so I cooked those longer. I usually slice them open to see if it’s fully cooked in the middle. We’re slightly paranoid (especially Gary) about undercooked chicken.

5 spice wings

Chinese Five Spice Chicken Wings

1.5 lb of chicken wings
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
cooking oil

1. Clean and pat the chicken wings dry. In a large bowl, combine the wings with all the ingredients except for the oil. Toss together to coat evenly.

2. On high heat, heat a pan with oil about 1/4 inch deep. Lower the heat to medium. Place the wings in a single layer in the pan and fry for about 5-7 minutes each side, or until juices run clear.

3. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

5 spice wings

Monday, February 23, 2009

Roasted Red Potatoes

We ended up picking up a bag of red potatoes from our trip to BJ’s this weekend. Gary originally wanted to pick some up because he saw a recipe for roasted red potatoes he wanted to try. I heard him say something about 2 Tbsp of salt…and lots of oil…for 6 potatoes! He didn’t know what else to put in it, so of course I had to help him out. I let him start off…and he put 1 full Tbsp of salt onto the potatoes, which was way too much! I improvised with the other ingredients, hoping it would turn out ok. It did turn out ok, except for the saltiness. The recipe below is adjusted for the salt content.

We ended up mashing this together with the meatballs the next day to make a pseudo hash/potato type meal. That ended up pretty good…considering I forgot to add salt into the meatballs. I guess the 2 of us are perfect together in the kitchen! ;P

roasted red potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

6 red potatoes 
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Scrub and clean potatoes. Cut into bite sized wedges.

3. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Spread the potatoes out into a baking dish and bake in oven for 40-5o minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baked Turkey Meatballs

turkey meatballs

For a long time, I’ve only used one recipe for meatballs. It was from Kraft. It wasn’t until I saw Alton Brown’s recipe that I decided I need to step away from the extremely easy recipe to something with more flavor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great basic recipe. However, I didn’t want to compromise the flavor of the meatballs since I was not using cheese, so I used AB’s recipe.

I saw Alton Brown’s recipe and thought I should try it. However, he used ingredients that I didn’t have on hand at the moment, so I improvised. I also tried to keep this dairy free by omitting the parmesan cheese that was added. Although I started off with the Kraft recipe in mind, I think the result was more of a mish mosh of both recipes. End result was a great tasting meatball.

Baked Turkey Meatballs
made by cathy's kitchen journey
inspired by Alton Brown/Food Network and Kraft

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients, except for the cooking spray.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray.
  4. Shape and roll the meatballs into balls about 1.5" in diameter. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until fully cooked through.
Yield: 15 meatballs

Pin It

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Since Gary is now trying to be dairy free, one of the things he misses most of course is ice cream! He found a decadent non-dairy ice cream from Whole Foods that he loved. The downside? Over $5 for a pint! That’s just crazy. I’ve seen many recipes for ice cream out there, so I thought it was time for me to invest in something that would help us save money in the long run…

My new Cuisinart ice cream maker!! SO, for my first recipe I made Peanut Butter Banana ice cream, and it was pretty good. I chose this because I had all the ingredients on hand and didn’t require the thickener other non dairy ice creams needed.

While it was spinning, both Gary and I were watching it spin and work its magic. I walked away and did other stuff and expected Gary to still be there when I got back. He wasn’t there watching anymore, but he did admit he was watching it spin for a little while.

Dairy drinkers can definitely use whole milk and it would be great!

pb banana ice cream

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Source: A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise

3 ripe bananas
2 cups non-dairy milk or creamer (for a real treat, use coconut milk!) (I used unsweetened rice milk)
½ cups brown sugar
½ - ¾ cups peanut butter (depending on how much you love peanut butter)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Peel bananas and place in a blender. (I used my food processor because that’s what was on my counter). Add non-dairy milk/creamer and puree.

2. Transfer the liquid to a medium-sized sauce pan. Over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar and peanut butter into the liquid. It will be really thick and creamy at the end!

3. Remove from heat. Add vanilla.

4. Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. It will get really thick when it’s refrigerated. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies

AKA Inside out Red Velvet Cookies!

I love oatmeal cookies, so when I saw these stuffed red velvet cookies from The Oatmeal Cookie Guy, I had to try them. I wanted to make something else in addition to the so called blondies I made for the bake sale. These were perfect since it was a Go Red theme and Valentine’s day was just around the corner. Let me tell you, these cookies had rave reviews! I seriously am my own worse critic. I thought they weren’t that great until I heard from my coworkers how great they were.

I started out rolling and stuffing the dough like the original post states (link below), then I changed it to the way I make my pb banana filled chocolate chip cookie. In the end the technique ended up being a mix of the two, where I flattened the top layer of the cookie on top and rolled it a little.

At first I read 3 teaspoons of food coloring, and I thought, fine, I have enough. However, the recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons! I also don’t have liquid food coloring in my pantry (except for black), so I used gel food coloring. I didn’t use as much as the recipe called for anyway. I could have used more, but I didn’t need it to be overly red. I followed the recipe exactly, and I thought it was a little dry, so next time, I will add more milk.

Also, there’s only one picture because I only have 2 hands, and they were tied while shaping the dough.

stuffed red velvet cookies

Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies
Source: The Oatmeal Cookie Blog
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies (I got 15…mine were a tad big - I used my cookie scoop)

6 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
1/3 heaping cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cookie batter:
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons red food coloring (I had gel food coloring, I used about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon milk (I used fat free)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups finely ground oatmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Toast the pecans then roughly chop them. Grind the oatmeal in the food processor until fine.

2. Add all the filling ingredients to a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well blended. Let the mixture cool and solidify in the freezer until step 8.

3. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

4. In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, food coloring, vanilla, milk, and vinegar, then add to the butter mixture. Mix together until smooth.

6. In another large mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer. Mix until evenly combined.

7. Shape dough into balls—about 2 tablespoons each. (Make dough this size if you are stuffing the way the original post states – see link. Otherwise, dough balls at half that size will work with my technique.)

8. Remove the filling mixture from the freezer and stuff each dough ball with 1 teaspoon of the mixture. (To stuff, I flatten 1 tablespoon of dough. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling on top of the dough. Place another flattened piece of dough on top, sealing any cracks.) Put the stuffed dough balls in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up. (I put it in the fridge)

9. Place chilled dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.

10. Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are firm. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.

Store cookies in the fridge until serving. I stored it in my fridge overnight, took it to work and let it sit on the counter for people to take. When you take it right out of the fridge, it will be hard, but once out for a couple of minutes, it’s perfect.

Chunky Butterscotch Walnut Blondies

Let me start off by saying, I was looking forward to trying my first Dorie Greenspan recipe, but these did not turn out chewy as the original recipe stated. I was making this expecting it to be like a soft chocolate chip cookie, or have the consistency of the gingerbread blondies I made (which were amazing BTW), but nope, it totally left me unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, if you like crisp and crunchy cookies you would love this! The taste was there, but I usually make soft baked everything! I also think it was an error on my part, thinking I would be able to make it the same way I made the other blondies. I spread it out on my 12x17 pan and baked for 35 min. I think if I baked it for less time, it would have been soft and chewy like it was supposed to be. I will try these again, but I will definitely follow the directions next time!

These were made for our Go Red for Women bake sale at work. I wish it turned out as expected, but oh well. It’s still good. I was bummed and was about to go make something else, but it was almost 10pm at night, and I didn’t want to do anymore.

*Chewy* Chunky Blondies
Source: Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours", as seen on Sugar and Spice


2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips or Heath Toffee Bits (I used butterscotch chips)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and put it on a baking sheet.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, nuts and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the top as best you can.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. Invert onto a rack and cool the blondies to room temperature right side up.

Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chicken with Mushroom in Wine Sauce

I search for a recipe that used chicken and mushrooms and found chicken marsala recipes. I would have made that, but I didn’t have marsala wine, and most of the recipes I found used some pork in one way or another. I was happy to find a recipe from Joelen’s blog that didn’t use pork. She mentioned that I could use any chicken part I wanted, another reason I chose that recipe. I usually don’t have chicken breast on hand and that’s what most of the recipes I found called for, so I used chicken thighs. I still didn’t have the marsala wine, so I looked up alternatives, and pretty much there is no alternative. I decided to use all wine and renamed it. I also didn’t have the portabellas, so I used white mushrooms.


Chicken with Mushroom and Wine Sauce
Adapted from: Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

6 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
cooking oil
1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground, black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 cup red cooking wine
juice of 1/2 lemon (I didn’t have this, so I used 1/2 tsp white vinegar)

1. In a pan, sauté garlic & onions in a little oil.

2. Season chicken with salt, pepper & oregano.

3. Add chicken and brown, cooking thoroughly, and remove from pan.

4. Add mushrooms to pan and cook until it starts to caramelize.

5. Add wine, chicken stock, lemon juice or vinegar and deglaze pan.

6. Add chicken back to pan & simmer in sauce 15-20 minutes. Season to taste.

I served this over white rice. Gary thought it would be great served over pasta. I agree.

My first award!

I was delighted to find myself nominated by Stephanie from Stephanie Cooks for the Lemonade award. I’m humbled because I’m such a novice in the kitchen. I’m glad that others are able to enjoy my cooking and baking through this blog.


Now the rules are as follows:
- Add the logo in your blog.
- Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
- Nominate 10 other (refreshing…like lemonade) blogs of your choice.
- Don’t forget to add links to those blogs in yours.
- Also leave a message for your nominees in their blogs, informing them about the award.

Here are my nominees in no particular order:
1. Oatmeal Cookie Blog by Oatmeal Cookie Guy
2. Cake Wrecks by Jen
3. $5 Dinners by $5 Dinner Mom
4. Baking Bites by Nicole
5. Clumbsy Cookie by Clumbsy Cookie
6. Appetite for China by Diana
7. Amber’s Delectable Delights by Amber
8. Beachlover’s Kitchen by Beachlover
9. Savvy Housekeeping by the Savvy Housekeeper
10. Simple Mom by Simple Mom

I have also nominated non food blogs because I think they’re just as refreshing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cumin Lentil Soup

When I saw this recipe for lentil soup on Someone's in the Kitchen with Brina... I knew I had to try it. I bought lentils previously to try a vegetarian meatloaf and still had half a lb left over. The lentil soups I’ve always had were from delis during lunch time, and they were always too salty. I liked this version because I had all the ingredients on hand (except for the onions, which I thought I had), and it looked fairly simple for a weeknight dinner.

I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Tasty Tools for February. This month’s event highlights the food processor.

Her original recipe called for 10 cups of water, which I already knew was way too much for the 2 of us. I halved the recipe and adapted it to what I had on hand.

lentil soup

Cumin Lentil Soup
Adapted from: Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina…

3 carrots, peeled and chopped*
2 celery ribs, chopped*
1 small onion, chopped (I realized I didn’t have any after I started, so I used 1 tsp onion powder)
1 1/2 cups green lentils
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken stock (or water to make it vegetarian)
3 cups cold water

*I will admit that I cheated a little and did not chop the vegetables. I ended up putting the carrots, celery, and garlic in the food processor and pulsed it a few times. However some pieces were bigger than the others. I think it was better for me because this is the only way I can sneak celery into Gary’s meals (as I do with other vegetables too). He doesn’t like celery, but he gobbled this up. My secret to getting a picky eater to eat his vegetables!

chopping veges

1. Sort and rinse lentils. Using a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil, and sweat for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the cumin, bay leaves, lentils and water. Stir and turn up heat until it boils. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaves and season to taste, if you want more salt and pepper.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dessert Crepes with Fruit and Nutella

big2009Happy World Nutella Day!

Today’s entry is a tribute to the wonderful chocolaty goodness that is Nutella! This year, the celebrations are being hosted by Ms Adventures in Italy, Bleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day. Check out the sites for other fabulous recipes using Nutella!

Strawberry Banana Crepes with Nutella
Source: All Recipes
Makes about 8-10 crepes.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar 
whipped topping (optional)

1. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt until smooth.

2. Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. (I sprayed with a little bit of cooking spray). Using a serving spoon or small ladle, spoon about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. (I used half of a scoop of a ice cream scoop). Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

3. Thinly slice 4 slices of banana and 1 strawberry per crepe. Assemble with the slices of banana then strawberry. Spoon the nutella into a small zip top bag, cut a small hole in the corner and pipe the nutella on top of the fruit. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

4. Fold the sides of the crepe together and top with whipped topping.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009!

Chinese New Year is always a big celebration in my family. It’s a time for all of us to get together and celebrate the upcoming year with good food and fun times.

fat gow “Fat Gow” fortune muffins. “Fat”  is what they call the blooming parts of the muffin and the word sounds like the word for wealth in Chinese so it symbolizes wealth.

My parents have always been the ones to throw the big celebrations. My brother said his friend called it the “Chinese Christmas”, but I think of it of more of like Thanksgiving because it’s all about the great food and family togetherness.

goose chicken
Whole goose and chicken

I used to love going to Chinatown to see the fireworks. I remember when the red paper leftover from the firecrackers would cover the streets and I wouldn’t be able to see my feet. It’s all changed now, since firecrackers aren’t allowed anymore.

confettiConfetti that comes out of the poppers. They’re just not the same as real firecracker papers.

decorationsDecorations for sale 

We celebrate for 2 weeks. It’s been a week and a half. I think every year about this time, I gain about 5lbs from all the food! It’s all worth it though!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Product Review: Philadelphia Key Lime Cheesecake Filling

I’ve never been able to find key limes anywhere around my area. I’ve tasted authentic key lime pie from Florida, and it is one of my favorite pies. I’ve never made it myself since I can’t find key limes anywhere.


I saw this in the cream cheese section at my supermarket and I decided to try it. It was on sale, and I had a coupon in hand, ready to purchase.

I brought this over to my parent’s place so I can share. There were mixed reviews. Too sour, too sweet, tasted like plastic.

philly key lime cheesecake

I agree, it’s not the best tasting thing in the world, however it comes close. I guess since I love tart things, it tasted fine to me.

graham cracker crust

I made it semi-homemade by making my own graham cracker crust. You can find the recipe here.

I baked the crust in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes. Let it cool, then added the filling.


Spread it into the pan and serve or put in fridge to keep cool.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from: All Recipes
Made by: Cathy

I love peanut butter cookies. My aunt REALLY loves peanut butter cookies. I remember making peanut butter cup cookies for her and she ate quite a few cookies in one sitting.

I was craving cookies since I gave away all the chocolate chip cookies I made. Since I was going to see my aunt today, I might as well make something that we would both enjoy. These fly off the plate so fast.

The only change I made was adding and extra 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I’ve also made these with crunchy peanut butter before and it tastes wonderful like that too.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will both work)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets. (Flatten the cookies because these don’t spread.)

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 33 cookies