Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cheesesteak Sandwiches

My husband likes this sandwich so much that this is the meal he chose for Father's Day this year.  I must admit that the first time I made it did not go well.  It tasted great, but I hadn't thoroughly read the sidebar on the cookbook.  If I had, I would have realized that the best way to slice the meat thinly was to freeze it for about 2 hours and then slice it thinly using my food processor and its slicing blade.  Instead I tried to slice it with a knife, unfrozen, and ended up with something that was like eating fajitas on a sandwich.  Still tasty though.
If you can remember to put the meat in the freezer 2 hours early, this really is a quick prep.  Also, make sure you use quality hoagie rolls.  A hot dog bun will not do at all.  As for the meat, it is less important which cut you use, since you are going to slice it really, really thin.

Cheesesteak Sandwiches

1 lb. boneless steak, sliced very thinly (see above)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
hot sauce/Tabasco
sliced provolone cheese
4-6 Hoagie rolls

1.  Melt butter in large skillet over med-high heat.  Add steak, stirring constantly.
2.  When meat is halfway browned, add onions and peppers.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Continue stirring until meat is cooked thoroughly and onions and peppers are tender.
3. Spoon meat filling into sliced rolls.  Top with provolone cheese.  Place under the broiler on a baking sheet for 1-2 minutes to lightly toast the bread and melt the cheese.
Serve immediately.

source:  Our Best Bites Cookbook

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I must admit, that once or twice I've cheated on this one and used store-bought meatballs when they were on sale.  Beef prices being what they are, I'll usually go for the cheaper option.  Given a decent price for ground beef, however, these are pretty easy to do.
When I've done them with the cheap frozen meatballs, I've just prepared the sauce and put it with the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker for a couple of hours.  When making them from scratch I usually prefer just to do it on the stovetop since it is relatively quick to make.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. minced dried onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg
1/4 c. bread crumbs

3/4 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. white vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1.  Spray a foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray.  Combine meatball ingredients.  (This is best done with your hands.)  Shape meat mixture into 1 inch balls and place on on the cooking sheet.  (For this you can use a small cookie scoop.)  Place under the broiler 5-7 minutes or until brown.
2.  Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Add the meatballs, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over rice.

source:  Our Best Bites Cookbook

Friday, July 13, 2012

Teriyaki Pulled Pork Sandwiches

What to do with a pork shoulder and you just don't want to dump a jar of barbeque sauce on it again?
That was my dilemma when I stumbled upon this recipe from Six Sisters Stuff.  It is still that yummy texture of juicy pulled pork that you get with barbeque, but with a nice flavor twist.  They recommended eating it with a slice of pineapple and I wholeheartedly agree.  The only real addition I would make is to be sure to toast your buns first.  The pulled pork is really juicy and can make your bun soggy if not eaten right away.

Teriyaki Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 2-3 lb. pork shoulder (boston butt roast)
1 med. onion, diced
1 bottle teriyaki sauce (not marinade)
1 can pineapple slices

1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place roast in slow cooker.  Drain pineapple juice from can and pour over the roast.  Add diced onion to the slow cooker.  Pour 1/2 c. teriyaki sauce over roast.
2.  Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 5-6 hours.
3.  Pull the cooked pork into shreds with two forks.  Add in more teriyaki sauce to taste and stir to combine.
4.  Serve the pulled pork on toasted buns with a slice of pineapple.
optional other suggessted toppings, provolone cheese, sliced jalapenos, sliced red onion.  (I just like it with pineapple or cheese but not both.)
Note to self:  photos taken with my phone do not make the food look as good as it tastes.

source:  Six Sisters Stuff via Pinterest

Ginger Cilantro Swai

Yet again, we chose to substitute yummy swai for tilapia, which we hate.  Did I say that backwards?  It was supposed to be tilapia and we used swai.  You can use whichever you like.
This recipe has such a bright, delicious flavor.  I absolutely stuffed myself on it, and so did the least the ones who weren't bothered by it being pretty green.  (Sorry no photo, but if you like you could check the original Pinterest recipe, though your fish will never ever have lighting that good. )

Ginger Cilantro Swai

2 lb. swai (or tilapia) fillets
salt & pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 jalapeƱo pepper, roughly chopped (optional
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce 
1 tsp. sesame oil
Scallions, chopped for garnish
Extra cilantro, to garnish

1.  Spray a baking pan or 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray.  Salt and pepper fish and lay in the pan.
2.  Combine garlic, ginger jalapeno, cilantro, lemon juice, water, soy sauce and oil in a food processor.
3.  Pour the sauce (though sometimes it actually is almost like a paste) over the fish and gently rub it in a little.
4. Bake at 475 for 8-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily.  Garnish with extra cilantro and scallions and serve over rice.

source: The Kitchn via Pinterest

Italian Fish Skillet

The recipe for this was originally for tilapia, but my husband and I don't like tilapia.  We think it tastes like dirt.  Instead, we used swai.  It is another very affordable whitefish with a mild flavor and texture. (I get it at Aldi.)
Even if you don't use fish, I'm pretty sure this veggie mixture would go great over chicken, but it wouldn't be nearly as fast.
This recipe is perfect for the summertime, because it makes great use of summer garden vegetables, and is on the stove for a relatively short time, so as not to heat up the house.

Italian Fish Skillet

4-6 Swai or Tilapia fillets
1/4 Italian vinaigrette dressing
1 Tbsp. pesto
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced
1 c. grape tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1. Spray skillet with cooking spray.  Brush fish fillets with half of the Italian vinaigrette dressing on both sides.  Cook on medium heat in skillet, 3-4 minutes on each side.  Transfer to plate and keep warm.
2.  Add pesto, 2 Tbsp. of dressing, and vegetables to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender and heated through, about 5 minutes.
3.  Spoon veggie mixture over fish.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.
Serve immediately.
The veggies before spooning them over the fish.
source:  Kraft Food & Family magazine

Country Style Ribs

This is a great Sunday recipe!  The slow cooker makes the meat nice and tender, so all you have to do is finish them off on your broiler or grill.

Country Style Ribs

2-3 lbs country style (boneless) ribs or riblets
1/2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. Italian Dressing
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place ribs in slow cooker.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the ribs.  Cook on high 3-4 hours.
3.  Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place on a foil lined pan.  Place under the broiler for a few minutes per side, until a little char forms on the outside. (You can also grill them, if you prefer.)
Serve with Cole Slaw.

Alternate directions:  For extra flavor you can create a little baste with  2 Tbsp.Italian dressing, 2 tsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard and 1 tsp. ground ginger and brush it on the ribs prior to broiling/grilling.  It's not necessary, but adds another pop of flavor.


Cole Slaw

Or as my grandma used to call it, slaw. This is your basic KFC style cole slaw, creamy, not vinegar-y, only a bit lighter.  You could use a bagged cole slaw mix, but a head of cabbage is so dang cheap, I don't know why you would.
It should be chilled a bit before serving to let the flavors really come together, and if you ask me, it is really better the next day.

Cole Slaw

1 head of cabbage, finely shredded.  (Use a food processor)
2 medium carrots finely shredded. (ditto)
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. mayo
1/4 c. buttermilk (Or use 1/4 c. milk + 1/4 tsp lemon juice or vinegar and let stand 5 minutes)
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice.

1. Mix carrots and cabbage together in a large bowl.  
2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt pepper, mayo, buttermilk, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Pour over cabbage mixture and toss.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Fresh cole slaw
A glimpse of one of our summer dinners:
BLT's, corn on the cob, cole slaw, and watermelon.
source:  multiple

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Avocado Basil Pasta

Yet another successful Pinterest find!  We've made this a few times now and it has always resulted in a very quiet dinner table, because everyone is too busy eating to talk.  That's a big accomplishment with 4 children!
This recipe could be a side dish, but I actually like it as our main course in the summertime. The flavors are bright and it does not take a lot of time on the stove, which makes it perfect for summer.

Avocado Basil Pasta

12 oz. bow tie or wagon wheel pasta (or mix the two)
2 med. avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
8 strips of bacon, cooked to crisp and crumbled
1/2 c. fresh chopped basil  (I really just use a handful)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese (to taste)

1.  Prepare pasta according to directions.  Drain.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with hot pasta.  Sprinkle cheese on top or on individual servings. Serves 4-6

source: via Pinterest

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spicy Avocado Enchiladas

These enchiladas are so very yummy.  I found them on pinterest, but I had had a bad run with mediocre pinterest recipes for a while and was not excited about trying a new one.  As soon as I tasted them I was smitten.  When they were gone I missed them.
This recipe makes a lot!  The original recipe didn't specify, but I made them in two 9x13 pans, though you could probably make them in one and just have 2 layers, or maybe roll your enchiladas really, really skinny.
In any case, I had 2 pans of these with 6 enchiladas each, which was perfect since I had a friend who just had a baby and I could just pop over with our second pan.  Alternately, you could just freeze the second pan before baking for future use.

Spicy Avocado Enchiladas


1 Tbsp. butter
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp flour
1 c. chicken stock
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 c. mild salsa verde (you could amp up to medium if you want more heat.)
1/2 c. sour cream

3 c. cooked cubed or shredded chicken

2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 sm. onion, chopped
2-3 avocados, peeled and chopped
10-12 flour tortillas

1.  Melt butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute serrano pepper and garlic, for 1 minute. 2.  Add flour, stirring constantly and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil. 3.  Whisk in the sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro. Remove from heat.

4.  Combine chicken, 1 c. of cheese, onion, and avocados.  

5.  Spray 9x13 pan(s) with cooking spray.  Pour half of the sauce in bottom of the pan(s). 6.  Spoon enchilada filling into tortillas and fold, placing seam side down in the pan.  
7.  Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  
8.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.

source:  The Novice Chef via Pinterest

Chocolate Chip Banana Scones

These were born out of a multitude of ripe bananas.  The chocolate chips were an obvious addition.  I really like these with the glaze on them, but they are just as good without.  
When you add the milk or half and half, start with 3/4 c. and add more a little at a time until the consistency is right.  It should not be super sticky.  For more photos, see the Lemon Blueberry Scones recipe, as the steps are identical minus the banana and chocolate chips, of course.

Chocolate Chip Banana Scones

5 c. flour  (I used 1 c. whole wheat and 4 c. all-purpose)
3/4 c.sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, cut into cubes
2 medium bananas, mashed

3/4-1 c. half and half or milk (not skim) (use a little less if using milk)  
1 c. mini chocolate chips

Glaze (optional)
1/4 c. melted butter
2 c. powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp milk or half & half
For glaze, combine all ingredients above and beat until smooth and creamy. 
Add more liquid if too thick.  You don't want it too runny though.

for scones:
1.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender (you can also use a food processor)  until you have coarse blend.  Add remaining ingredients and gently fold to combine. 

2.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and work gently until dough comes together.  Pat it into a 1 inch thickness and a vaguely rectangular shape.  Use a knife or roller cutter to slice into squares.  (Some people make their dough a circular and cut into pie shaped pieces, but this recipe is too big and would make weird long skinny pie pieces.)

3. Place on baking sheet and Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. 

4. To glaze, place on a rack above waxed paper and spoon glaze over the tops of the warm scones.  

source:  adapted from Lemon-Blueberry Scones