Glazed Salmon

It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze  on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!

What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)

Glaze:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Grenache
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen

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Glazed Salmon


Sticky Honey-Soy Chicken

I make a lot of chicken in this house. It’s better for our bodies and the only beef The Hubs likes is steak. Pork I’m still working on (it’s usually too dry and over cooked). I can and will start incluing more fish. overall, though, that leaves us with chicken. Chicken several times a week can get sooo boring. How do you mix it up, making it interesting? By constantly being on the lookout for something different, even if it’s a little tweek here or there. While this chicken is similar to many other chicken recipes, especially using soy, this one has a secret ingredient. It’s hidden right there in the name, honey. In this instance, I used the honey at the end, to add a sort of glaze. This locked in the flavors and added a very nice, sweet finish. Served over rice, a pretty perfect meal.

Ingredients:

2 Lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger (I use Gourmet Garden’s Ginger Paste)
2 cloves minced garlic (Pre-minced can save a few minutes in prep time)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup honey

Preparation:

Mix together soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Add chicken to a gallon zip-lock bag, pour in sauce. Allow to marinade from 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt and pepper. In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter in olive oil. Grill chicken on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes each side. The last 2-3 minutes each side, brush with honey butter mixture.

Serve with sticky rice topped with teriyaki sauce (recipe to follow).

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Gewürztraminer
Grüner Veltliner
Riesling

Serves 4

Total time: 40 minutes

  *Derived  from Tyler Florence at Cooking.com

Meatballs in Beef Gravy

I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.  And gravy, well, that just puts it over the top for me!  Gravy makes everything that much better. Like bacon, or something being deep fried. You hear gravy and you just have to go with that option!  This is no exception to the rule. And sorry my friends, this just isn’t one of those healthy dishes. But I know you weren’t expecting that, what with “meatballs” and “gravy” in the name. So, let’s all sit back, ignore the calorie / fat content and just enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 small chopped onion (time saver: use frozen or pre-chopped in the produce section)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (time saver: buy the pre-sliced mushrooms in the produce section. Go with your favorite.)
5 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 pinch cayenne (I omitted because my kids are still getting used to spicy heat)
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this ingredient adds such a rich flavor to almost everything, even Checks mix!)
3 Tbs ketchup
2-4 tsp beef bouillon powder (I didn’t have the powder, so I used the jarred “Better than Bouillon”, you’ll want to go with the least amount as it tends to get salty)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
kosher salt (option and to taste)

For Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (mix what you like, chicken, turkey, pork)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs minced garlic (time saver: buy the jarred minced garlic)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned to add more flavor)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (or more, you can never have too much cheese)
1 1/2 tsp season salt (I use Lawry’s)
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes (such as Litehouse)

Preparation:

Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 1″ balls.

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat (be sure to use a deep skillet to hold in the gravy with the meatballs). Add meatballs in two batches and brown until just about cooked through, turning frequently for even browning.

To skillet, with about 3 tbs of fat remaining, add onion and saute until softened, scrape any brown bits that have accumulated in the skillet.  Add mushrooms and cooking, stirring until softened.  Add flour, stir 1 minute.

Slowly add beef broth, bring to a boil whisking constantly until smooth, bubbly, and thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and black pepper; bring to a simmer.  Add beef bouillon powder or ‘Better than Bouillon’ and ketchup (can add more if desired).

Add meatballs and simmer, uncovered, 20-25 minutes.  Stir frequently. Season with salt to taste if needed.

At the end of cooking, stir in sour cream until combined and heated through.  Serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves 4 medium portions

Total time: 1 hour

Serves4

Derived from: Kittencalskitchen / Food.com

Crispy Chicken Bites

You know how sometimes in life you just happen upon something and it turns out to be so amazing you are STILL talking about it?  Like the “Cowie” that I bought for my niece when she was two.  Cowie is a stuffed Precious Moments cow that I bought on the clearance table outside of a Hallmark store. I know I didn’t pay over $5 for him (if even that), and I had no idea the impact Cowie was going to have on Alyssa.  Lys immediately started carting Cowie everywhere with her.  I can’t tell you how many times my sister had to turn the car around because Lys had forgotten Cowie somewhere.  How Cowie was in Lys’s backpack through each and everyday as she navigated elementary and junior high school.  Well, Lys is now in high school.  I don’t think Cowie is still tucked away in her backpack, and I know that’s because my sister cannot repair Cowie anymore.  He’s too thread bear and been repaired too many times before.  So, Cowie rests at home now, waiting for the moment Lys will get home and hold him in her hand again. This recipe, admittedly somewhat less dramatic, is like that amazing purchase you make and can’t get over.  When I found this recipe, I read it, I rolled it around in my mind.  Thinking of ways to make it mine. This dinner was THE dinner of the week, if not the month!

Ingredients:

For the Sauce:

3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for low sodium)
2 Tbs barbecue sauce (check out Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water

For the Chicken:

1 lb boneless / skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup panko
Oil for frying

Preparation:

To make the Sauce:

Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Set aside until the chicken is done.

To make the Chicken:

Add flour to a gallon Ziploc bag.  In a small, shallow dish (I usually use a Tupperware type dish), whisk eggs together.  In a second gallon Ziploc bag, add the panko.  To bread chicken, first add several pieces to the flour.  Shake your money-maker for all it’s worth!  Then dip the chicken in whisked eggs.  Finally, add chicken to panko Ziploc bag and again, shake it.

Add oil to a large, nonstick frying pan. Heat to medium high. Cook chicken in batches for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crispy. Chicken should be cooked through.

To Assemble:

Add cooked chicken back to pan and pour sauce over, coating chicken thoroughly.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chenin Blanc
Fume Blanc
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4 small portions. For lunch tomorrow, double the chicken and adjust everything else

Total time:  About an hour and half

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*Derived from Nora Rušev

Apricot Chicken

Say good-bye to take out!  This is a super delicious and extremely easy chicken recipe that you can count on being ready in less time than it takes to get take out. This was a hit with the fam (and you know if it’s not, it won’t show up here)!  Even D, who I struggle to make lunches for because she doesn’t like sandwiches, said, “I want THIS for lunch tomorrow!”  I’m seriously considering keeping it on hand for just that reason. ¡Buen Provecho!

Ingredients:

3 tsp sesame oil
4 Tbs BBQ Sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1½ Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for the low sodium version)
1½ Tbs honey
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can use breast meat, too)
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup orange juice

Preparation:

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together sesame oil, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and honey.  Add chicken chunks, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes but up to overnight.

Heat large pan to medium high.  Remove chicken from marinade with tongs or a slotted spoon (don’t throw away the marinade) and brown.

Add the apricot jam and orange juice to the marinade.  Add to chicken and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is done.  Serve over warm steamed rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chenin Blanc
Riesling
White Zinfandel

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes  Marinading & cooking time: 40 minutes

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

*Derived from Nora Rušev

Beef Teriyaki & Vegetables

It has been so long since I’ve updated my blog. Life has been incredibly hectic. Am I the only one looking forward to summer? A little less hussle to get out the door before school starts each morning will be nice. I’ll still need to go to my office, but just taking away that stresser will be nice.

It has been HOT in Cali this week! When it’s hot I like to make quick dishes that don’t require a lot of heat. This is just that dish, and the bonus, I used my rice cooker!

Ingredients:

2 cup carrots sliced thin (I used the precut carrots in the produce section)
2 cup snow peas (just the name cools me off!)
1/2 cup terijaki sauce (your favorite bottled will do just fine)
3 tsp corn starch
6 tsp vegetable oil divided
12 oz sirloin tip steak thinly sliced against the grain into strips (you could even purchase the already sliced carne asada in the meat department.  Also, feel free to sub chicken if prefered.)
4 scallions diced, whites and greens seperate (I omitted b/c the kiddos would have crinkled their cute little noses)
Small pinch red pepper flakes (omitted for the same reason as above)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (purchase presliced in the produce section)
8 oz mixed sweet bell peppers cut into strips (red, yellow, and / or orange)

Preparation:

Either cook rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, prep all other ingredients.

Stir cornstarch into teriyaki sauce and set aside.  In a wok or heavy bottomed pan, over very high heat, place one teaspoon of oil and let it get smoking hot.  Add beef (can divide into two portions for even browning) and brown on both sides (about 1 minute) and remove to a bowl.  If browning beef in two batches, add next teaspoon of oil, allow to get smoking hot, brown second half of meat, remove to same bowl.  Let pan get smoking hot again, add third teaspoon of oil add carrots and snowpeas.  Cook until crisp / tender, 4-5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, mushrooms, and peppers.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly cooked but still a little crunchy. Return cooked beef.  Stir, keepin heat on high.  Stir teriyaki again and add to pan.  Remove from heat and stir a few times.  Serve immediatlely over warm rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Cabernet Franc
Grenache
Merlot
Syrah / Shiraz

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 1 hour

Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Mongolian Beef

This dish came together so quickly and easily, it was ready before the rice cooker! My kids always say, “I’m hungry. When is dinner going to be ready?” This time when I answered, “In just a minute.” I was telling the truth! Full of flavor to rival any takeout. My youngest foodie was putting the sauce not only on her rice, but her broccoli too! That’s when you know the dish is a keeper.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb steak (sirloin or flank), sliced thinly (time-saving tip:  pop the meat in the freezer for 15-20 minute before slicing, it will make that task so much easier)
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs hoisin sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tsp chili sauce (I used Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce b/c the kiddos are not quite ready for the full chili effect)
1 clove garlic minced (time-saving tip: by it already minced in a jar, such as Spice World)
1 tsp grated ginger (time-saving tip: I don’t know what I’d do without my Gourmet Garden ginger paste)
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/3 cup beef broth
1 Tsp sesame oil
¼ cup sliced green onion

Preparation:

Heat oil in large, nonstick pan, over medium-high heat.  Add beef and sauté until just cooked, about 2-4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, and water.  Add this to meat and cook about 1 minute, until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat, mix in sesame oil and serve over rice or noodles.  Top with sliced green onions.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot

Serves 4

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

Courtesy Closet Cooking