Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Year of the Dog

We've started a little tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year just for the fun of it.  It's usually nothing outrageous, but a fun excuse to bring a little culture and flavor to our table.

This year I decided to give this Restaurant Style Asian Orange Chicken a try.  Orange chicken is probably doesn't qualify as terribly authentic, but it sure is good.  And even though this recipe was a little bit of work (read multiple steps and lots of dishes), it was excellent.  It could have gotten just a little crispier, but otherwise, it was perfect.  That may have as much to do with my impatience at the skillet as much as anything.

If you are craving take-out but want to stay in, this is a great alternative.  Awesome orange flavor with all the comforts of home.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Shrimp and Bacon Baby!

Bacon came back on the menu this past week.  It had been a while, surprisingly, and it came back strong.

I'll call this a recipe inspiration.  I started with these Shrimp and Bacon Quesadillas, but then adapted for our tastes some things I had on hand.  I had some leftover onion and chive cream cheese left from the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pot Pie, so I put a light smear on the inside of one tortilla.  I knew the creaminess and light onion flavor would be perfect with the bacon and shrimp.  I didn't feel like we really wanted any heat in our version so I left the pepper out.  For cheese, I used a combo of quesadilla and Monterey Jack.  Finally, I used olive oil on my griddle when I cooked them.  Why did I never use olive oil before!?!  They cooked so much more evenly than with butter.  I'm never using anything else in the future.

The creamy cheesiness of the quesadilla was out of this world.  I enjoyed the combination of the bacon and shrimp too.  I was so full, but so sad I couldn't eat anymore.  It was that good. Highly recommend, with whatever modifications your family would enjoy!😉

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Olympic Traditions

I'm so excited the Olympics are back!  The spirit of competition, the personal stories, John Williams' music, all of it, are just so enjoyable.  There is no question that we had to celebrate with Olympic foods.  (See past celebrations: RioSochiVancouver)  We were in desperate need of family time, so I didn't go all out this time making lots of dishes and inviting lots of people.

This Slow Cooker Korean Beef was super easy, very tender, and had great flavor.  I would make it again in a heartbeat, even if I wasn't celebrating the Olympics.  I swapped regular hot sauce in for the Sriracha, and left off the sesame seeds, but otherwise followed instructions.  Also, don't be afraid to serve this to your kiddos, mine loved it and had leftovers for breakfast!

These fruit torches were Pinterest inspired.  They were super easy--just orange and pineapple slices in a sugar cone.

Finally, a giant sugar cookie with my favorite buttercream.  I was going to make the Olympic rings out of the M&Ms, and even had it all laid out on the counter.  I soon realized I had absolutely no patience for lining everything up, yet again, and on frosting, so I went with Olympic colored polka dots instead.😀 You gotta know when to fold 'em folks.

We had a great time at our little family celebration, and found a new family favorite dish in the process.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Better Than OG

Alfredo that's better than Olive Garden?  That's a big claim, even if you don't love Olive Garden Alfredo.  Of course I had to see if the recipe lived up to the hype.

The love affair the youngest member of our household has with Alfredo is well documented here, here, and here, among many others.  For last week's National Fettuccine Alfredo Day, we went with the Better Than Olive Garden Seafood Alfredo selection.  Only shrimp could improve fettuccine Alfredo in the eyes of my kiddo, and she loved this recipe.  Loved it so much she ate it for dinner, and for lunch the next four days in a row.

It was a great Alfredo version.  I only made a half recipe, and there was still plenty of sauce for our breadsticks.  I also used only shrimp, instead of the shrimp and scallop combo the recipe called for.  All in all, this recipe is pretty easy, and I liked the extra creaminess of the mozzarella.  I felt a little rushed making this meal, but I think that was my timing, rather than the recipe.

As evidenced by a steady diet of seafood Alfredo for the last week, this was a great recipe, especially for the Alfredo-lover at your house.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Soup + Pot Pie = Yum!

Broccoli Cheddar soup is a big favorite at our table.  So are pot pies, as documented here and here, among others.  What happens when you bring those two fabulous ideas together? Magic. Pure magic.

Now this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pot Pie is not a snappy recipe.  There are several different steps, but every single one is worth it, and surprisingly I followed them all.  This pot pie was a wonderful, cozy mix of cheesey goodness enveloped in pie crust.  There's not a whole lot more to say.  We loved it.

Monday, February 5, 2018

I Didn't Know What to Expect

I've had these Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes pinned forever.  I've even had them on the menu before, and just never got around to making them.

Even this time around, I was a little bit of a skeptic.  I wanted to try them, but I had serious concerns about how they would turn out.  I needn't have worried!  Although it's probably not something I'll make on a regular basis, the almost corn fritter flavor was delicious. A perfect pair to the maple bacon syrup.

For our version of these griddle cakes, I left out the cayenne pepper.  I never know when a little spice goes too far at our house, so it's safer to leave it out.  I also did my usual swap of the Kirkland bacon crumbles instead of cooking my own bacon.  I recommend adding just a bit more milk to this batter. Mine was super thick, and it was a struggle to get the cakes to actually spread out and cook through.

I loved this dish as a semi-breakfast-for-dinner option.  It would also be good for a brunch if you are looking for a semi savory option.  You could even make little cakes as dippers for syrup if you wanted to change things up a bit.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Perfect for a Souper Bowl

Need the perfect soup for the Super Bowl, but don't want to make chili?  I think I have one for you!

Cheesy Sausage Soup that is slightly spicy, creamy, and cheesy all at the same time.  Paired with tortilla chips and sour cream garnish, it was fantastic.

As usual, I'm hard pressed to leave a recipe as is.  The adjustments for this one were a combination of absentminded forgetfulness--I bought the wrong kind of hashbrowns--and adapting for our afternoon schedule.  This is not a crockpot recipe, and I'm sure it doesn't need to be, but a crockpot was an essential element to my being all the places I needed to be during meal prep.  So, here's what I did:

  • About four hours before serving, I browned the sausage, added the flour and let it cook down.  
  • To get things going in the crock, I dumped in the hashbrowns, Rotel, corn, minced onion, and most of the chicken broth.  
  • Once I'd added the sausage to the crock, I used the remaining chicken broth to deglaze my pan, and added everything back to the crockpot.  I turned the crock on low, and let it cook for awhile.
  • With 1.5 hours to go, I added the Velveeta and turned the crock to high.  I stirred everything to help break down the cheese and get it evenly distributed.
  • Finally, with about 15 minutes to serve time, I added in the sour cream.
Now, I'll grant you that the crockpot method was not carefree, but it did allow me to step away to take care of things, as well as make a short trip to the dentist.

Whatever you choose as a method of preparation, I highly recommend this recipe.  It makes a ton, so you'll have plenty to share as you watch the game, or leftovers if you're just making it for home.  Either way, it's a souper win.