Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kung Pao Style Chicken and Ramen Noodles

Hi! I came across this recipe yesterday and knew I had to make it for dinner. And it was so good that I am coming out of my bloggy "break" to share it with you! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. I really should have. But...I got the recipe from HERE and she has a beautiful picture of the food.

Kung Pao Style Chicken and Ramen Noodles

3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts (mine were lightly salted)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1/2 - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it....I used close to 1 tsp.)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 (3 oz.) packages ramen noodles (throw away seasoning packet)
2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 green onions, sliced thin

In a large (12 in.) nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until rippling. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked thoroughly - about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a medium bowl.

Add 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet. Add red bell pepper and peanuts to skillet. Cook until the bell pepper is softened - about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bell pepper and peanuts to the bowl with the chicken. Try to leave as much oil in the pan as possible.

Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to the still-hot skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth to skillet. Break ramen noodles into the broth mixture. Bring to a simmer and break up the noodles as they soften. Cook for 2-4 minutes.

Stir in the hoisin sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil (this worked best with tongs). Continue to simmer for another minute. Add chicken, peanuts and peppers to the skillet. Use tongs to combine everything. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Truck Stop Buttermilk Pancakes

I have been using this pancake recipe for several years and it's a great stand-by. The original recipe makes a ton of pancakes, so the recipe I use is scaled down quite a bit. The pancakes always turn out wonderful and we all enjoy them. Breakfast for dinner is one of our favorite meals!

(adapted from

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, butter and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Stir gently until most clumps are gone. Add more buttermilk or flour, depending on how you like the thickness of your batter. Cook on a hot griddle (greased or ungreased...however you usually make pancakes) until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook until other side is golden brown.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Coconut Curry Soup

This was a great soup for a cold day. We're in the middle of a winter storm here, so it was nice to have some hot soup while the snow blows outside. The flavors of coconut and curry go perfect together. And even better, this soup comes together really quickly! I managed to chop/dice everything up in the afternoon (while Jack was at school) and then throw it in the pot when we got home from running errands in the evening. Dinner was on the table in 30 minutes...and most of that was simmering time.

(recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 oz.) light unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste...I would suggest 1/2 tsp. if you like it a little spicy)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2-3 cups hot, cooked rice - for serving

In large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add the pieces to the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. The chicken and vegetables don't have to be fully cooked because they'll finish cooking while the soup simmers.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and curry powder. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes (I let mine go for closer to 20). Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The BEST Chicken Pot Pie

Oh my heavens. This was comfort food at its finest. Both Lonnie and I really enjoyed this and thought it was delicious. I am positive that I will be making this again and again and again. I decided to double the recipe that I had and make 2 pot pies. One we ate tonight and one went in the freezer. I have a feeling it won't be long before the one in the freezer is brought back out. :) The following recipe is for TWO pot pies. So if you only want to make one, half it.

Oh, and side note - the card for our camera is broken, so I've been using my phone to take pictures. Sorry if they're not the best!

(adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cookbook)

Makes 2 pies

6 medium carrots
6 celery stalks
1 1/2 large onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp. ground thyme
2 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
2 pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Finely dice the carrots, celery and onions.
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook until the onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and chicken and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Add in the bouillon cubes and stir. Watch the thickening magic happen.

Pour in the cream (yes, all of it) and stir. Allow to cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Taste your creation! Add in anything it might need (more salt, pepper, etc.).

Pour the chicken mixture into two pie pans or small casserole dishes.

Put the crust on top of the pans and cut small slits in the top. Press the crust into the sides of the dish to seal. (I cheated here and used pre-made pie crusts. I hate making pie crust.) Here is where you can put one dish in the freezer (after covering it well, of course) and put the other in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Make sure to put foil under the pie pan to catch the filling that oozes over the sides. Put foil over edges of crust if it starts to brown too quickly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meatless Monday

(his and hers taco salads...can you guess?)

I love taco salads. I mostly love the big taco salads from Mexican restaurants. The ones with the big, fried, crispy tortilla bowl. I know...I know..."they" say that it's much healthier to skip the shell. But I can never resist it!

Tonight we had taco salad on the menu. Since it's Meatless Monday, I decided to skip the chicken or beef. So it was a simple salad of seasoned refried beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream (well, Lonnie skipped the sour cream). To make things a little more exciting, I made our own tortilla bowls. They were perfect! They turned out crispy and light brown. I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Here's how I made them...


2 burrito size tortillas
Canola oil
2 oven-safe cups or jars

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet, place the cups/jars that you will use to drape the tortillas over.
Microwave each tortilla for about 30 seconds, until they are soft. Rub a little bit of oil on each side of the tortilla. I just poured a small amount (1/2 tsp or so?) onto each side of the tortilla and spread it around with my fingers. Drape each tortilla over the cups.

Bake the tortillas for 8-10 minutes, frequently checking on them to make sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Take the tortillas off of the cups and place on plates. Fill with salad!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Penne a la Vodka

Alla? A la? I don't know! I keep seeing recipes written both ways. Apparently it's open to interpretation. :)

This is a very simple, quick pasta dish that has a ton of flavor. It's on our list of meals that get made again and again. We both really enjoy it!

Pasta a la Vodka

(adapted from

1 lb. penne pasta, uncooked
2 Tbps. olive oil
1 lb. Italian Sausage (sweet or spicy)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta for 8-10 minutes. Drain.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove casing from sausage and add to skillet. Cook, breaking up the meat, until brown. Add garlic and red pepper, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
Add tomatoes and salt, bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add vodka and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add pasta. Stir well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheater, cheater...



About that........

We lasted 20 days (well, 18 minus pizza days). After a fairly stressful week and a late afternoon doctor's appointment today, we caved. We went to dinner at Culver's and it was great. Yummy food, eaten somewhere other than home, that I didn't have to make. And frozen custard to top it all off.

Back on track tomorrow. :)