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Party Food

Snack Wrap

I haven’t blogged a recipe lately, so I thought I’d share one of the family favorites.  You can do this for an afternoon snack or even for a meal.

Ingredients: Patties (Beef or turkey), Buttermilk ranch dressing, green leafy lettuce, parmesan cheese and medium soft taco flour tortilla.

Prep: Boil or grill the patties, add spices and seasoning to flavor.  Cut in half and set aside.  We use the sun-dried tomato flavored turkey patties so no extra seasoning is added.  Wash and dry the lettuce, then cut off the bottom so all you have left are mostly leaf.

To make:  Lay the tortilla flat on a plate.  Place two pieces of lettuce on the tortilla.  on top of it, place the two halves of the patty.  Drizzle some ranch dressing.  Sprinkle some parmesan cheese.  Roll it up and enjoy!

You can get creative, it’s a very simple dish to make and is one of those dishes that can be healthy and the kids will still love it!

 

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Chicken with asparagus in wine & butter

I love cooking with wine.  Most of it makes it in the pan.  Here’s another dish, great for entertaining or just dinner.  This took me about 20 minutes to make and five seconds to eat.  You can make a healthier version by grilling, but we’re talking spring in the Pacific Northwest people.  It’s in the 40’s out there!  For today, we are pan searing indoors.

Ingredients: 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed.  2  cups white wine (I used pino grigio, but any white wine will work, even riesling). 4 tbsp butter.  1 tbsp olive oil.  1 bundle or about 1 lb. asparagus.  About 1 tsp salt.  About 1 tsp pepper.

Wash the asparagus, cut the bottom off.  To know how much to cut off, take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks.  Discard the bottoms and cut asparagus in half, place in a dish where you can soak it in 1/2 cup of wine.

Cut up chicken in strips.  Size and shape is up to you.  The smaller the pieces, the quicker it cooks.  Set heat to medium high.  Place chicken and 1 & 1/2 cups wine in pan and cover.  It should start boiling in about 5 minutes.  Mix it around and add salt and pepper.  I don’t measure.  I use rock salt and peppercorn and crank the grinder over the pan to sprinkle some on the chicken.  So 1 tsp. of each may not be enough, or too much.  Use your best judgement according to your taste and health requirements.

Mix, then cover for another 2 minutes.  Chicken should be cooked by now and wine should be almost gone (if the pan is dry and the chicken is not yet cooked, add another cup of wine for the chicken to cook in).

Increase heat to high.  Add the butter, olive oil and asparagus (with the wine it soaked in).  Mix around and cover for about 2 minutes.  Take lid off.  Sauté to mix flavors around and burn off the wine while charring parts of the chicken and asparagus (takes less than 5 minutes).  That’s it.  Plate, serve and manja!

I’ve used this as an appetizer, but I’ve also used it as a main dish with some pasta, pesto and marinara.  Either way, everyone enjoyed it.


Turkey Sliders

If you’re like me, when someone says “Turkey” I immediately think thanksgiving or too healthy to be delicious.

Well… I just found a way to make Turkey more appealing in flavor, while still keeping it somewhat healthy.  These are great for lunch or dinner and best for entertaining.  Another bonus… Kids love to make it and “gobble” it up.  Okay, enough with the puns… here we go!  We have three types of Sauces.  Italian, Asian and Mexican turkey sliders.

Serving Size: 16 sliders

Bread:  Use Ciabatta or dinner rolls, not exceeding 2.5 inches in diameter or on all sides.

Meat Patties: 2.5 lbs. lean ground turkey.  1 tsp. kosher salt.  1 tbsp. magi seasoning.  1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce.  1 tsp. parsley (chopped or flakes) and 1 tsp. cilantro (chopped or flakes).

Preparation & Cooking:  Mix all together (Make sure meat is thawed).    After thoroughly mixing all together, roll into 1.5 inch balls.  Flatten to 3.5 diameter patties.  Use a skillet or frying pan to cook.  Heat should be set to medium high.  Drizzle a tsp. of olive oil and cook your patties.  Set aside patties on a plate and keep the frying pan going.  We’ll need the pan and grease for the sauce.

Sauce:  Using frying pan and grease from cooking the patties, turn the heat up to high.  Mix in 1 tbsp. crushed garlic and brown.  After garlic is brown, add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and mix for 10 seconds, then see below for following steps:

For Italian turkey sliders in a bowl, put together 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese.  3 tbsp. mayonnaise.  3 tbsp. Caesar salad dressing.  3 tbsp. Ranch dressing.  1 tsp. freshly crushed peppers.  Mix all ingredients.  Pour the sauce from the frying pan over this and continue to mix.    Spread on both top and bottom insides of bread.  Layer: Bottom bread, turkey patty, 1 slice tomato, basil leaf, top bread.  Serve with freshly tossed salad.  Enjoy with a glass of Syrah!

For Asian turkey sliders using the same frying pan after the garlic is browned and the balsamic vinegar mixed in, put 8 to 10 cups shredded cabbage (You can buy a coleslaw mix at the store and use that).  Add 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tsp. magi seasoning.  Mix all together until the cabbage is more than half-cooked.  Use 2 tbsp. or a scoop to put on your patty before placing the top bun.  Serve with some mini lumpia.  Enjoy with cranberry vodka tonic!

For Mexican turkey sliders using the same frying pan after the garlic is browned and the balsamic vinegar mixed in, thinly slice gold (yellow) sweet onions.  Brown it, add a tsp. of cumin and put on your patty, then place some spicy jalapeno potato chips before placing the top bun.  Serve with some tortilla chips, salsa and pico de gallo.  Enjoy with cold cerveza!  


“Make your own pizza” night

For last Friday’s girls’ night, we decided to get creative.

My guests brought their own toppings and drinks…

I provided glasses…

two dozens 8-inch pizza crust and a gallon of pizza sauce (both purchased at Cash & Carry) .  I had my oven set to 425 degrees and covered the bottom grill with foil.  We were able to cook 6 at a time (directly on the top grill, placed mid-high) and took about 12 minutes for each batch.  Keep it in an extra minute or two for a crunchy crust.  The cheese dripping to the foil was burning and produced smoke in my kitchen, which added a “wood fire” flavor so I just kept the vent on high and had the windows open to stop my fire alarms from screaming.  Here are the ones I was able to photograph (before the wine kicked in).  Drum roll please….

Margherita pizza – Pizza sauce, pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil leaves, crushed garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Chicken BBQ pizza – BBQ sauce, chicken sautéed with red onions in bbq sauce, 4 blend cheese and parsley.

Turkey pizza (Voted best) – Pizza sauce, ground turkey pre-cooked, turkey bacon, sliced smoked  gouda, shredded cheddar and cilantro.  I don’t like turkey that much, but I will eat this combo any day!

Classic Hawaiian – Pizza sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple, Colby & jack cheese and green onions.

Garden Pizza – Marinara, Italian squash, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots and Asiago.

We ate, we drank and we were very merry!  Clean up didn’t take long.  At the end of the night, this was all that was left…


Curry Potatoes with Garlic Pita

This dish is not only easy to make, but is also a party favorite!

Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than an hour!

Ingredients for Curry Potatoes: 1 can coconut milk (approx 13.5 fl oz), 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (1 whole is better, but not if you’re watching your weight), 2 lbs. red potatoes (cut each potato into 8 pcs, leave skin on), 1 bunch spinach (cut stems off and then into 3 strips), 4 stems of fresh thyme (each stem about 5 inches), 1 cup chicken broth, 4 cubes curry paste (See samples of curry paste below).  You can choose the spice level.  I usually get the mild one and offer spices to my guests to add the extra kick.  Medium is also safe.

Now let’s cook!  Wash everything (Potatoes, spinach & thyme… not the butter).  Set heat on medium high, use any kind of pan that will hold your ingredients.  Start with the butter and thyme.  Once butter is melted and the thyme has been swished around in it for a minute, add the potatoes.  Mix it around on high to coat the potato, then pour in the chicken broth.  Your kitchen should start smelling good.  Cover for 5 minutes, leaving it on high.  Make sure it does not burn, adjust your heat down to medium if needed or slide the pot back and forth over the heat while keeping it covered.  We are trying to infuse the flavor of the stock into the potato.  Next, add the coconut milk.  Every time you add a new ingredient, mix everything around.  If the thyme leaves have fallen off by now, carefully pull the stem out of the pot, if not then it’s ok to wait till the end.   Cover for 5 minutes, leaving it on high.  Next, add the 4 cubes of curry paste.  They usually come with 8 cubes.  Scatter the 4 cubes in the pot and push it under the sauce.  Cover and leave on medium for 15 minutes stirring every now and then.  Now add the spinach, stir then cover and leave on medium for 5 minutes.  Let it simmer for an additional 20 minutes on low.  Best served hot off the stove.  Make sure all curry paste cubes have dissolved and stir very well to ensure good distribution of flavor.

Garlic Pita Recipe
Ingredients: A pinch of sea salt, Pita bread (5 pcs of the 7″ rounds), 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin is best), 3 cloves of garlic (freshly peeled, not the bottled kind) and 5 big leaves of fresh basil.

Let us begin!  You can do this while cooking your curry.  Crush garlic (a good way to get your aggression out) and put in a small bowl.  Add the pinch of salt and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix around.  Now fold the basil in half and cut off the its spine and stem, then slice it up into little strips (no thicker than 2 pennies).  Add basil to the bowl, mix it around ad let it sit for a few minutes.  Then spread it on the pita using a spoon or marinade brush or even with your hands.  Pre-heat oven to 325 once you set your stove to low for your curry to simmer. On a cookie sheet, place the greased pita and let sit while the oven is pre-heating for 10 minutes then cook it in the oven, middle rack for 10 minutes.  To serve, cut into 8 pieces (like little slices of pizza).

You can pour the curry in a bowl and place it on a bigger plate so you can spread the pita slices on the plate for easy dipping access.  Enjoy!

PS… I will not be held responsible, if your friends start to frequent your house for this app…. just a warning!


Filipino Pork Lumpia

Lumpia are pastries of Chinese origin similar to fresh popiah or fried spring rolls popular in Indonesia and the Philippines. The term lumpia derives from Hokkien lunpia (traditional Chinese: 潤餅; pinyin: rùnbǐng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: jūn-piáⁿ, lūn-piáⁿ), which is an alternate term for popiah. The recipe, both fried and fresh versions, was brought by the Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular where they settled in Indonesia and the Philippines.

In the Netherlands and Flanders, it is spelled loempia which is the old Indonesian spelling for lumpia and has also become the generic name for “spring roll” in Dutch. A variant is the Vietnamese lumpia, wrapped in a thinner piece of pastry, in a size close to a spring roll though, the wrapping closes the ends off completely, which is typical for lumpia.  Taken directly from Wikipedia.

There are many ways to make lumpia.  You can get creative and use other meats, even fruits!  This is one of the easiest way I make mine.  Enjoy!

Makes 60 lumpias

Ingredients:  5 cloves garlic (crush).  1 whole yellow onion (dice).  1 pound ground pork.  3 tbsp. olive oil.  3 tbsp Magi seasoning.  1/2 cup oyster sauce.  2 cups Mung Bean Sprouts.  6 cups peas and carrots (About 32 oz).  1 tsp. black pepper. 2 packs Lumpia wrapper (I use Menlo 8X8 wrapper – see picture below).

How to cook the filling:  On high heat, use a frying pan and add oil.  Brown crushed garlic and diced onions.  Once browned, add pork and sauté until cooked.  Add Magi seasoning while sautéing.  On medium heat, add peas and carrots.  Mix every now and then while adding the oyster sauce, then cover for 5 minutes.  On low heat, add bean sprouts and black pepper.  Cover for 10 minutes.

Once the filling is cooked, either let it cool down completely before wrapping or  refrigerate for one day – which is what I do because the wrapper does not tear as easily.  If you wrap it the same day, drain the liquids from the filling first, then refrigerate for about an hour.

To wrap, follow the instructions on the back of Menlo’s packaging.  To cook, fry in 2 inches of oil at 375 degrees until golden brown.  For dipping sauce, the most popular in the United states is the Thai sweet chili sauce.  A true Filipino lumpia sauce (Called sawsawan) is made with vinegar, soy sauce, crushed black pepper and crushed garlic.  I use 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tsp crushed black pepper.  Eat over steamed rice with adobo (CLICK HERE to check out my pork adobo recipe!)

Enjoy your meal… don’t forget to say grace.


Easy Oriental Noodle Recipe

Picture by CJ Sternfels

This took me 20 minutes to prepare, using left over grilled steak.  Servings 6-8

Inspired by the Filipino dish called Pancit lomein (I think I spelled that right).  Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack.  Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked.  Follow the instructions on the package on how to cook the noodles.  I just boiled some water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 3-5 minutes and placed the cooked noodles in the strainer.  I used two forks to spread them out a bit.  Still in the strainer, I put about two tbsp Maggi seasoning, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp sesame oil and mixed it around.  Because the noodles are still hot, it sucks in the flavors.  Set aside uncovered.

If you don’t have cooked meat, you can stir fry some chicken pieces.  I’ve used de-boned and skinned thighs and used 4 to 5 thawed and fully defrosted thighs.  Slice it in stir fry size (1/2 x 1/2 X 1 inch).  Heat 1 tbsp. sesame oil on high.  Sauté 3 cloves (crushed) of garlic. 3 chives chopped (in 1/4 inch pieces) with the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until meat is cooked and browned.   Flavor with 2 tbsp oyster sauce.  Then mix in 3 bunches of bokchoy or one small Chinese cabbage (Cut in 1 inch strips) and stir for a minute.  You can use any meat and add more vegetables.  This recipe is very forgiving.  While sautéing the meat and vegetables, slowly add the noodles in until all are in the wok or pan.  Add Maggi as needed, scoop some up in a bowl and enjoy!

If you have cooked meat, prepare the same way, just takes less time to cook.


Pop’s Fried Chicken

Inspired by the Filipino fried chicken, goes great with banana ketchup!

Serving: 2-4

1 Game hen, cut in half.  Thawed, washed and patted dry.  In a ziplock bag (One with a seal and big enough to fit your meat), squeeze 1/2 small lime, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. sea salt, 4 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. cummin, 1 tsp. garlic powder.  Place meat in the bag of marinade and massage for a minute.  Place in the freezer for 20 minutes before cooking.

Cook in a skillet.  Set heat to medium high, place meat skin up with marinade in the skillet, cover for 10 minutes.  Take lid off, turn the pieces around, cover for another 10 minutes.  Take lid off (keep it off) and put heat on high.  Pan starts to dry and have some oil from the marinade.  Feel free to add a bit more oil if you have to.  Just enough to pan sear until cooked inside and the skin is a combination of gold and brown.

Great with a spinach and tomato salad with sesame ginger dressing and some steamed rice.

Enjoy!


Home Made Ghirardelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!

Christine Sternfels:

Found this on http://parttimehousewife.com/and HAD to share it. Can’t wait to make them!

Originally posted on Part Time House Wife:

WHY WHY WHY Haven’t I thought of this before!?! I was perusing the aisles of the grocery store this morning picking up a few things for later posts and found myself wandering down the Valentine’s Day aisle. I picked up a few boxes of my husband’s favorite candy and set it right back down. I’m not paying extra because it’s a heart shaped chocolate peanut butter stuffed candy. Then a light bulb went off and I pushed my little cart right on over to the baking aisle and grabbed two 4 oz. Bars and one 12 oz. bag of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Rushed home and my version of Home Made Ghirardelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups were born. I know I’m not an original in this, I’m sure there were hundreds even millions who beat me the punch on this one but I’m still really excited. A perfect Valentine’s Day Treat!

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Empanadas

The Philippines has such a variety of foods, but the ones I favor most are those influenced by Spanish cuisine.  This is one of them.  I remember watching my mom make these when I was my daughter’s age.  While CJ and I were making them yesterday, memories came rushing back and it felt good.  I felt like a child again, but this time I was the mom cooking with my daughter.

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and the south of Europe. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits among others.  CLICK HERE to read more from Wikipedia.

I normally sauté  ground pork with raisins or olives for the filling.  This recipe is the “American Empanada”.  I used pre cooked Tyson chicken breast patties.  I cut each in half, placed it on the rolled dough, folded, sealed and cooked.  It’s like having your fried chicken and roll all in one.  The dough was pretty easy to make.

Ingredients:  3 cups all-purpose flour.  1 teaspoon salt.  1/4 cup lard, cut into small pieces.  1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces.  2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 cup water.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Work in the lard and butter, using your fingers. Work the egg mixture into the dough and knead until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While waiting, grab your yoga mat and do 100 sit ups and push ups.  If you’re too tired or lazy, grab a drink and the remote control and channel surf or watch Oprah.  Ok… now we’re ready to cook!

Take the pre-cooked chicken patties and cut in half.  Take the dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then place it on a floured surface and roll in 6 inch rounds.  Place the half patty on one side of each round (with the straight side facing the center – see picture),  fold it in half, and press the edges together. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork to seal.

In a deep-fryer or large skillet, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Fry in batches until golden brown (About 4-5 minutes in the deep fryer). Drain on paper towels before serving.  Serve these chicken empanadas with dipping sauce like Bbq sauce, catsup or honey mustard.  Or you can eat it commando (naked – the empanada, not you).

Making honey mustard is so easy. The ingredients are 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional). Mix and refrigerate. You can play with the measurements as we all have different preference, some like more honey, some don’t add the lemon juice.

Before serving, you can cut it in half so you don’t get yelled at for double dipping!  So take a piece, dip, open mouth and take a big bite of crunchy, juicy goodness.  Then run five miles so you can have more.  Enjoy!


Mini Philly

What happens when you’re stuck at home, snowed in, starving and there’s nothing in the fridge because you’ve been procrastinating going to the grocery?  You check out the freezer!

So what happens if all you have is a bag of Brown & Serve French Bread Sticks, a pound of beef chuck and a bag of shredded four cheese blend that you forgot about?  You make Mini Phillies!  Thank goodness I stock up on those grill mate marinade spices, now I shall create some yummyness.

I boiled the pound of beef chuck just enough to be able to cut it up in thin slices, added half the packet of spices (Peppercorn & Garlic) in the pot with just enough water to make sure your meat is under water.  After a few minutes I took the meat out, cut it in half and put it back in for another three to five minutes before I sliced it thinly and set it to the side.  Turn the broiler on.

Get a skillet or frying pan out, set stove on high heat.  Add enough olive oil to sauté thinly sliced onions ( about 1/2 of a medium-sized yellow onion) and beef.  Add the onions when the oil is super hot, then once it’s golden brown, add the beef.  Sauté for a minute, add the rest of the grill mates packet and mix to coat all the meat with it.  Add a tsp. of balsamic vinegar, mix all of it around for a minute or two and set aside.

Place the bread sticks open-faced on a cookie sheet.  Put some beef on the bread and top it with cheese.  Broil it till the cheese melts and that’s it… fold the bread and chow down after letting it cool down a bit so you don’t burn yourself.

I don’t know how many servings this makes because it all depends on how much beef and cheese you put on your bread.  I was able to use the whole bag of bread (8 pcs).  It’s a pretty friendly recipe, just have fun with it.  To serve for appetizers, cut in half diagonally, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley before serving.  Enjoy!


Cab Sauv Swirls


This took me 30 minutes to make, using left over wine from a gathering before the holidays. Had we been home for Christmas it would have probably been consumed by now.  Servings 6-8 if served as a dish. 18-24 if served as an appetizer.

What you’ll need are a package of oriental style noodles, 1 stick of butter, 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced lengthwise (not chopped or crushed), 4 defrosted medium-sized skinned and boned chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes, 2 tbsp seasoning (looks like soy sauce and can be purchased at all Asian stores and most groceries in the Asian aisle), 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (normally used as lumpia or crab rangoon dip and can be purchased at all Asian stores and most groceries in the Asian aisle) and 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon.

LET’S COOK!

Start with the noodles. Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack. Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked. Boil 6 to 8 cups of water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 2 to 3 minutes then transfer the noodles to a strainer.  Remember, you will be adding the noodles to the rest of the ingredients later, so cooking it a little less than al dente is ok.  Using cooking shears (Or you can use any scissors, make sure it is clean enough to cut food with), I cut each clump of noodles twice (Once horizontally, once vertically) before I transfered it.  Use caution, don’t burn your hands!  Once the noodles were in the strainer, I ran it under cold water while loosening them, then I set it to the side.  In a frying pan on medium high heat, put these ingredients in this order: Wine, butter, chicken and garlic. Cover until the butter is completely melted. Mix every couple of minutes. While not mixing, keep it covered. Once the chicken is cooked, put the heat on high then add the seasoning and sweet chili sauce. Keep uncovered and stir once in a while. Once all the liquid has been reduced and the meat is starting to sizzle in the butter oil, add the noodles and mix well. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan for 5 minutes. Stir before serving.  It will look like a mess but honey, I promise you it is a delicious mess!

LET’S EAT!

If this dish is for dinner, simply serve in a bowl.  Using a fork, swirl the noodles and serve.  If you’re serving it as an appetizer, use those little disposable bamboo forks you can find in culinary stores or most groceries in the baking aisle.  Using the bamboo fork, swirl the noodles while in the pan and serve it on a small dish or a banan leaf square.  You can also serve it in a take-out Chinese food box and swirl it with chopsticks.  Just have fun with swirling it, but most of all, enjoy eating it!


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