Monday, January 28, 2013

Just for fun!

I've been wanting to post a recipe for spaghetti anyway, but I saw this tonight and had to share it on my cooking blog. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Country fried steak with gravy and onions

Tonight's dinner was fabulous. If I wasn't already married, I would have married myself after tasting my own food. I haven't made this meal in a very long time, and it was the best version of it that I'd ever had.

The whole meal was country fried steak with gravy and onions, mashed potatoes, and broccoli with cheese. I thought I'd share the recipe about how I made the steak and gravy. Which, by the way, I know some people call it chicken fried steak and others call it country fried steak. I've always referred to it as country fried steak because calling it chicken-anything seems confusing to me. Maybe I'm over-thinking it though.

4 - 4oz cube steaks
4 eggs
2 cups of flour
garlic powder
chili powder
1 cup milk
oil for frying
1 onion

There's really not an exact science to how I make the flour mixture for breading the meat. I don't really measure anything, I just toss all the ingredients together on a plate and mix it until it is all blended. I don't like my food to be bland, so I use a heavy hand at adding the spices in. I basically just eyeball it until it looks like a good combination of everything.

In another bowl, beat the eggs together.

Let the oil get hot while preparing the meat. The oil needs to be hot before adding the meat, otherwise it won't start frying immediately and your breading will likely fall off.

Triple bread the cube steak... dredging it in the flour, then the egg, then the flour again, then the egg, and back through the flour again one last time. I triple bread the meat because I like for there to be a thick breading on my steak. This isn't necessary, and does require more flour and eggs, but it's worth it in my opinion, especially if this is a rare treat for the family.

By this time the oil will be nice and hot and ready for frying.

Fry the steaks for about 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Remove them from a pan and lay them on paper towels.

Pour out all but about 2 tablespoons of the remaining grease and drippings from the pan. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the dredging flour into the pan and and cook for about a minute, scraping up any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. SLOWLY whisk in a small amount of milk. The liquid will seize the first time you pour some of it into the pan, but don't freak out, just keep stirring. Pour in more milk a little at a time while continuously stirring. After several minutes the gravy will start to thicken and get bubbly. It is thick enough when it coats the back of the spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 If you haven't already, dice up an onion and saute them in a separate pan until they caramelize. Once they are browned, add them to the gravy and stir them in. I added just a tiny amount of water to the gravy at this point because it got a little thick while waiting on the onions to caramelize.

Serve the steak and gravy with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese, and you will have a happy family at dinner tonight!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Bake Cheesecake

I have been really busy lately!

I started classes for spring semester this past week, and outside of doing homework and working, the hubby and I also had some friends over to visit on a couple of different occasions as well. We loved the company, and it's definitely something we'll be doing a lot more of in the future.

It was not my original plan to post a dessert recipe next. I have this fear that my readers are going to think that whatever I post on here are the only things we ever eat, and based on that, it doesn't look like we eat very healthy at all! We actually do eat a lot of vegetables and healthier meals too, and in time I hope to post more of the nutritious recipes on here as well.

The reason I decided to move this next recipe to the fore-front is because I made one of these cheesecakes yesterday and received a compliment from my husband's friend that, "it was the best cheesecake he's ever had" so I decided to post it on here for you guys. My husband also told me it was the best cheesecake he'd ever had the first time I made it for him. And since both of these guys love cheesecake, I feel that that is saying a lot!

(2) 8-oz packages of softened cream cheese
1 8-oz container of cool whip
1/2 cup of sugar

1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 of melted margarine/butter

Make your crust by mixing all ingredients for the crust together and pressing the mixture into your pie plate with the back of a fork. After the crust is formed, I usually put it in the fridge to let it harden while making the cheesecake mixture.

With a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Next, fold in the cool whip (by hand, not by mixer) until it is well blended.

Pour the mixture into the crust and allow it to set in fridge for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight. Be patient and allow this cheesecake the time it needs to firm. It will not be as tasty if you rush the process. Trust me, it is worth the wait!

This cheesecake has a lighter/fluffier texture than traditional baked cheesecake, but that is why my husband prefers it. He doesn't want a cheesecake made any other way!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Egg Rolls! But first, a note from Kami.....

Dear Friends,

I am so excited to have finally started my food blog! I have been wanting to make one for quite some time. I am always looking for new recipes and cooking ideas to try, and since I find myself talking about this so often with my friends online, I figured I'd make it easy by creating a site just for this purpose; to share pics and experiences of the food I make for myself and my family.

I really hope you enjoy what you see here, and let me know if you decide to try any of the recipes! I would love to hear about it! 

- Kami

Today's recipe is not my own recipe. It was forwarded to me by my friend Angel. This is an authentic Vietnamese egg roll recipe. It took me almost a year to finally try this recipe out after Angel sent it to me. I finally got around to making them in early December of this past year and now I do not know why I waited so long to make them. The process was way easier than I thought it would be. It also gave me a reason to use the food chopper that my in-laws gave us as a wedding gift, too.

I did cheat a little though. I did not buy a whole head of cabbage, and I did not grate my own carrots. I bought a bag of coleslaw mix for the cabbage instead, and the carrots were pre-shredded. I know I spent more money than I had to because of that, but I was feeling lazy! I still think they turned out great though.

Be prepared to have a large batch that makes between 20 and 30 egg rolls! The mix freezes well, so you can easily freeze it for later. That is also what I did with mine.

1 head of green cabbage
1 small onion
4-5 peeled and grated carrots
2 C bean sprouts, roughly chopped
2 tsp. fresh, chopped ginger
(If you opt to use ground ginger, use just a pinch or two. It's very strong)
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2-3 roasted (or boiled) chicken breasts, diced finely
2 eggs
salt & pepper to taste
soy sauce
sesame seed oil
egg roll or spring roll wrappers (not rice paper spring roll wrappers)
vegetable oil for frying

In food processor, chop up your cabbage and onion in batches. You can also add your ginger and garlic into one of the batches to get it finely chopped. In a large bowl, mix up all of the vegetables until well blended.

In a large pot, heat a couple tsps. of sesame seed oil and then add half of the cabbage mixture. If you add the whole mixture, it'll be really hard to work with. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, adding salt & pepper to your taste. If you use soy sauce, remember that it's extremely salty. I omit it. You'll notice that the mixture cooks down and renders a lot of juice, so I drain it really well into a colander, pushing down with a spoon to get as much juice out. Put mixture back into the pot and then add half your chicken to heat through. Add 1 egg and just mix it in. Cook for a couple of minutes until you know the egg has been incorporated and cooked in. Place mixture into a large bowl and then do the same thing with the other half. Let mixture cool for about 10 minutes before working with it.

Use a damp towel or paper towels to keep the wrappers moist. Pull apart and set on the counter. In one corner of the wrapper, add about 2 TBSP of mixture. Roll up, pulling in the sides like a burrito. Dip your finger in water and use on the last edge to seal the egg roll. Make sure you pull it all tightly because it will fall apart in the oil if it's done clumsily. Repeat until mixture is gone.

Fry them up a few at a time until golden brown and enjoy!

Note from Angel:
I use spring roll wrappers rather than egg roll wrappers because they're thinner and get crispy. The egg roll wrappers require a longer cooking time because it's thicker and you have to make sure all the inside part gets cooked or it'll taste like raw dough. You'll find the wrappers in the frozen section of the Asian store. They thaw out very quickly! If you opt for the grocery store, you'll find them in the produce section where bagged salad is. That's also where the bean sprouts will be.
It seems like a lot of work, but it's really easy and so worth it. You get to decide what goes in, the sodium content and everything is fresh. I never buy them from the grocery store either, but using the wrappers used for spring rolls makes them so much better than what you'd get at any Chinese restaurant. Yum!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cream Cheese Sauce for Pasta

A favorite dish of my husband's is chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli. He loves to pick out as many broccoli pieces as he can for himself. He calls them "trees", and I'm always lucky to get very many trees for myself unless I add a lot of broccoli to the dish.

Recently, I wanted to make this meal for us but I didn't have any freshly grated Parmesan cheese to make alfredo sauce. I took a chance and used cream cheese instead. I was a little hesitant to do it because I wasn't sure how it would taste, but my husband really liked it (and he is very picky). I thought this sauce had a much richer texture than alfredo sauce, and enjoyed it more than any alfredo sauce I've ever had. Plus, come on, lets face it, how can a recipe that includes cream cheese ever taste bad?

I made the sauce by putting a block of cream cheese in a pan  and adding about 1/2 a cup of milk to it. I stirred and stirred until it became a thick sauce being careful not to let the sauce burn. I also added lots of pepper and some garlic powder for seasoning. Easy peasy!