Saturday, December 10, 2011

Soupe à L'oignon

An onion soup that could give Panera's a run for its money. This is a great, easy soup that is absolutely delicious. For some protein and extra veggies, I whipped up a few chicken meatballs and steamed carrots. Surprisingly, when I made the soup, I was able to burn the bread twice and near burn the meatballs. Make sure to keep your eyes on the stove and oven! Don't get distracted by the playlist on your computer... No, I wasn't listening to the Glee Christmas Album 2... Okay, maybe. Happy Cooking!

Onion Soup

Thinly slice 1 and 1/2 to 2 white onions,  and finely chop 2 pieces of garlic.

 Brown the onions and garlic in 3-4 T of butter in a soup pot.

When the onions are ready, add 6 cups of beef broth and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup cooks, brown a few pieces of french bread under the broilers until it's crispy.
Ladle the soup into a bowl, add the bread and top with parmesan cheese.
Simply Perfect.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Broccoli Pasta

This, my friends, is a dish that I love, and a dish that I semi-bombed. It's always the cheese sauce I mess up. I used milk and cheese, melted them together, but I think the cheese I used was too meltable, because it all congealed together, and I got a big glop of cheese, with some cheesy milk sauce. Oops! Fear not though, it was still delicious, and once I put it in the oven, it seemed to melt over everything. But it's on my to-do list to do over. I will not let this sauce get me down. Any thoughts on a good cheese sauce (like a Mac & Cheese) Sauce, would be great! Here's a picture of my end result.

Pasta, broccoli, cheese sauce (yet to be pin downed), bread crumbs and tomatoes! Baked at 350˙ (or you can use the broiler to make the top crispy and brown. Enjoy!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Simply Baked Potato

There are just some nights where I don't want to fuss in the kitchen. And if on those nights I'm patient for a potato to bake in the oven, then I'll bake a few potatoes and have one (or two) for dinner, depending how small they are.

Baking a potato is so very simple. Wash the potato thoroughly (skins on) and pat dry. With a fork, poke a bunch of holes all around the potato to allow the heat to escape while it cooks. Then with a drizzle of oil, coat the potato and rub on a bit of salt. Throw them on a baking sheet or directly on the rack. Bake at 350˙ for an hour to an hour and a half. If you make extra, they are even faster to heat up (if you have a microwave, or about 15 minutes in an oven at 350˙).

Split the potato open, add a pat of butter, some shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt (or sour cream) and a little sprinkle of Mrs. Dash's Onion and Herb Seasoning. Voilà! A baked potato. Make it an MYO by adding whatever toppings you have on hand (bacon bits, onion, broccoli, cheese sauce, beans, etc.). A great way to get kids to have fun with their meal. Simplicity is sometimes the best. Enjoy!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Pad Thai-ish Stir Fry

You never think that after graduating from college you'll miss anything, but I often think about how much I miss The College of Wooster's Stir Fry station in the cafeteria. Let me just say, it was probably one of the best ideas, when it comes to cafeteria style food. You could stir fry just about anything! Pasta with veggies, rice with chicken, and they had sauces galore to add even more variety! I'm not sure if it's been done, but I bet that you could create a different stir fry every day for a month.

One of my favorites to make, thanks to a good friend of mine, was Pad Thai, or noodles with chicken, peas, shallots and peanut sauce. During my senior year, I came home on break and was craving the delicious stir fry and decided to give it a try. I attempted two or three different recipes before realizing it was much easier to add, mix and taste the ingredients, no recipe needed. I googled a few recipes, found the common ingredients and just dove in. Here's what I sort of came up with (but I suggest you add, mix and taste to get what tingles your tastebuds)!

Peanut Sauce: 

Peanut Butter
Soy Sauce
Brown Sugar
Chili Powder
Ginger Powder
Lime (juice)
Greek Yogurt

I start with about 1/2 c of Peanut Butter, 1/4 c Brown Sugar, 1/8 c of soy sauce and allow it to melt and simmer in a small sauce pan on low. You must keep your eyes on this, because of the sugars in the recipe, it will stick and burn to the bottom. Stir frequently. Then I add a few shakes of Chili Powder and Ginger Powder (my guess is probably 2 T Chili, 1 T Ginger). Stir together and taste. A dash of vinegar next, and some water to thin it out (maybe about 1/4-1/2 c). You want the sauce thin but not watery, so it sticks and coats the pasta but doesn't congeal to it. Remember you can always add more but you can never take it away. So add small amounts. Add some lime juice, a few dashes at a time so you get a hint of it when you taste the sauce. Stir it all together, never allowing it to boil, only simmer (small little bubbles). When you taste the sauce it should have the taste of peanut butter, but only slightly. If it is overwhelmingly peanut buttery, add a bit more soy sauce. It should have a soft sweet taste (from the brown sugar) but not overly sweet. I have found that this recipe is a science of taste. Taste as you go! Lastly, when you have a peanut sauce you like, add a little bit of greek yogurt (or any PLAIN yogurt). This will ease the strong taste of the sauce and help give it a bit of thickness. Give it a taste. It shouldn't taste too much like one ingredient. You should get a mixture of flavors with every taste.

To make this into stir fry, I cook up some chicken and pasta, throw them all into the frying pan used for the chicken (if you're not using left over chicken), add frozen peas, chopped shallots, and then drizzle in the sauce. The stir fry just needs to be heated up a bit, be careful not to burn it! Serve with a wedge of lime and crushed peanuts on the top. This is a great meal when you're craving exotic food and want to have some fun experimenting in the kitchen.

I encourage you to look up recipes and give it a try. Some recipes call for hot sauce or garlic, others cilantro and fish sauce. Do what you like and let me know what you've found to taste the best. Enjoy!

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