Monday, September 18, 2017

Ramen Noodle Bowls


Maybe it's my age, but I had never before eaten ramen noodles--not those little packages loaded with sodium, or the real thing from a noodle shop. Because I have come to trust the recipes at Cook's Country magazine, as soon as I saw the recipe for ramen noodle bowls, I knew I had to try it.

I made the recipe (almost) exactly as written, but will add a few ingredients and streamline the instruction next time. Oh, yes! There will be a next time.

Ingredients
2 tbs hoisin sauce (I reduced the amount from their 1/4 cup)
3 tbs soy sauce (I use low sodium)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 (12 oz) pork tenderloin, trimmed halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1/4" slices
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I use fat free, low sodium)
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 (3 oz) pkg ramen noodles (save the seasoning packets for another use; or, discard)
12 oz broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, sliced thinly on the bias

Instructions
Whisk 1 tbs hoisin, 1 tbs soy sauce, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Add sliced pork and toss to coat. Set aside.

Whisk broth, remaining 1 tbs hoisin, and remaining 2 tbs soy sauce together in a large measuring cup and set aside.

Heat 1 tbs oil in large, nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add broth mixture and bring to a boil. Arrange the noodles in skillet in a single layer; cover, reduce heat to medium.  Cook about 3 minutes. Noodles will be soft on bottom, but still dry on top.


Uncover skillet and use tongs to flip noodles and stir to separate. Spread noodles in an even layer and scatter broccoli over the top of them. Cover and cook until noodles and broccoli are tender, about 3 more minutes, tossing halfway through.

Divide mixture evenly among 4 individual bowls and tent with foil.*

*The purpose of doing this is to make this a one-skillet dish. In the future, I will use a second skillet and cook the pork at the same time.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the other tbs oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork in a single layer and cook until browned on one side (1-2 minutes). Flip each slice and brown the other side, then stir to make sure pork is cooked through. Divide among the 4 bowls and top with the scallions.

***************************************
TASTE NOTES
Let's just say, this was love at first bite. OMG! I couldn't believe how unbelievably delicious (and low in points) this dish was. Yes, there is a bit of preparation involved. In the future, I'll do all the chopping well in advance. It wasn't a difficult dish to make and it will go more smoothly the next time using a nonstick wok AND a nonstick skillet. My decision to decrease the amount of hoisin was a good one; I think it would have been cloying with more. I will probably add some shredded carrot, some chopped water chestnuts, and some shitake mushrooms in the future. I might even add some nuts.  However, this dinner was enjoyed with lots of yummy noises just as it was.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cinnamon Chip Scones (Panera Copycat Recipe)


I love all things cinnamon, so when cinnamon chips burst upon the baking scene, I made Snickerdoodle cookies, breads, and cupcakes. One day, I tasted DSO's cinnamon chip scone at Panera's and it was love at first bite. An internet search brought up many recipes and I tinkered a bit and this was what I came up with.

INGREDIENTS
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup reduced fat buttermilk
1 pkg (10 oz) cinnamon baking chips
2 tbs melted butter and 3 tbs sugar (for brushing tops of scones)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk until just moistened. Fold in the chips.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, 12-15 times, until dough is no longer sticky. Divide in half.

Gently pat each portion into a 7 inch circle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Then, cut each circle into 8 even wedges.

Separate the wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake* at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browed. Serve warm.

*I prepared these a day ahead and refrigerated them right on the baking sheet. I baked them in a 425 degree F oven, but it took 28 minutes for them to be done. I also drizzled half of them with a simple glaze made of confectioners sugar, 2 tbs brewed espresso, and enough milk to make the mixture drizzle easily.
***************************************************
TASTE NOTES
I made these scones for my quilt guild's business meeting and they were met with great enjoyment. The one I sampled was absolutely perfect--a great crumb and the icing was just enough. In fact, I thought they were better than Panera's--not as dry.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Lemon Chicken over Rigatoni



Yes, there are other recipes for this dish on The Food of Love, but I'm always striving to improve old favorites, both in terms of their flavor and of their healthfulness. This recipe for lemon chicken--which begs to be served over pasta--addresses both issues with the added benefit of being simple enough to be a weeknight dinner.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
6  boneless, skinless four ounce chicken breasts
all purpose flour for dusting (about 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbs)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
juice of 1 large lemon

DIRECTIONS
*Cook the pasta as you complete the steps below.
Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Dip each breast in the egg, then slip into the skillet and saute for a few minutes per side.
Remove chicken from skillet and cover loosely.
Add the butter to the pan, then the 1 1/2 tbs flour. Stir as the butter melts.
Add the wine and the parsley and cook for a minute.
Add the lemon juice and chicken broth, stirring to combine.
Return the chicken pieces to the pan.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through.
Serve over pasta.
**********************
TASTE NOTES
Each time I make this dish, I marvel anew at how flavorful and satisfying such an easy meal can be! The chicken can be cut with a fork and the delicate flavor of the sauce is perfect over a tubular-shaped pasta like rigatoni.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

S'mores Pie

Image may contain: food and indoor

I have a confession to make. I don't like s'mores. I like graham crackers and marshmallows and I love chocolate, but the sandwich-type s'mores are impossible to eat and really don't do it for me. I've made s'mores cupcakes and found them much more to my liking, so I thought a s'mores pie would be a perfect dessert for a Fourth of July barbecue.

My search for a recipe produced any number of versions, but the one that most appealed was on a blog called Gimme Some Oven. While the baking time in the original recipe was way off, the flavors didn't disappoint. This is a very simple recipe. I do think there could be more crust, but it was still delicious.

INGREDIENTS

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 10 -20 large marshmallows cut in half OR mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE CRUST:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

TO MAKE PIE:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Slowly add in vanilla and whisked eggs, and whisk until smooth.
Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not jiggle when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.
Using a kitchen shears or a knife, cut marshmallows in half. Place halves in concentric circles over the top of the pie until covered.
Lower oven rack to the middle position, and set oven to the lowest broil setting. Place pie on the rack and lightly toast the marshmallows. (I recommend pulling them out the second you see them beginning to turn slightly golden.) You can also use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows instead.
Chill pie in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours. 
TASTE NOTES
This was an easy, delicious dessert. The pie took 40 minutes to cook to the stage where it looked dry on top and had just a slight jiggle. The taste was phenomenal and just a small slice satisfies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Broccoli, Cheddar and Potato Soup



Cold winter days are made for soup--the heartier, the better. This chowder-like soup is stick-to-your-ribs good, but easily fits into a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to Skinnytaste for the base recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour 
2 1/2 cups less sodium chicken broth 
1 cup fat free milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh pepper
cups (about 2 heads) broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
1-1/2 cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar
2 slices 2% American cheese
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS

Chop onion, carrot, celery,and garlic .

In a large pot, melt butter.  Add chopped vegetables and sauté on low heat until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add flour, salt and pepper to the pot and stir until smooth.

Add chicken broth, milk and potatoes and set heat to high until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, parmesan cheese, and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Add cheddar and American cheese, stir well and remove from heat.

Use an immersion blender to achieve desired consistency.
******************************************
TASTE NOTES
At 7 SP per 1 1/3 cup serving, this soup is a real winner.