Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Chinese Take-Out Cookbook Giveaway

Diana Kuan's The Chinese Takeout Cookbook has changed my life when it comes to making Chinese food.  I purchased this cookbook and the first thing I made was the Kung Pao Chicken Blog Post Link it was so simple to make and delicious.  All of Diana's recipes are approachable and she explains them so well that I may never order Chinese take-out again.

When I participated in the Chinese New Year virtual pot-luck on Diana's blog Appetite For China I received a copy of her cookbook.  Since I already have Diana Kuan's cookbook I am giving away that copy I received along with a Calphalon Commercial Nonstick 10 inch stir-fry pan to one lucky person.

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home by Diana Kuan

Calphalon Commercial Nonstick 10-in. Stir Fry Pan

There will be NO jumping through hoops to win all you have to do is leave a post answering this one question.

When you get Chinese Take-Out where do you get it?

That's it, so simple....You have until May 14th to enter, one entry per person, open to US and Canada only.

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beef Taquitos with Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo is coming up this weekend. Are you hosting a party or going to a party?  This year I thought it would be nice to try something new.  I have never made taquitos this is my first attempt. They are not as easy as I thought they would be and after a few mishaps of the tortilla tearing I finally was on a roll, pun intended.  They are worth the effort.

Beef Taquitos
with Guacamole

12 corn tortillas
shredded mexican beef (recipe HERE)
1/2 onion, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
vegetable oil
guacamole (recipe HERE note I did add chopped tomatoes to this recipe)

With a small amount of oil in a skillet sauté onion, jalapeño and garlic for a few minutes.  Add shredded beef and heat through.  Take off heat and add cilantro.  Heat oil in a skillet place tortilla in oil and turn once just to soften tortilla.  Drain on paper towel add some of the shredded beef mixture to the tortilla and roll up use a toothpick to hold in place.  Do the same with the rest of the tortillas.  Add more oil and heat on medium high.  When hot add taquitos 3 at a time cook until golden brown remove toothpicks and turn over and cook until golden brown remove onto a paper towel.  Top with guacamole.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chicken Salad

It's time to start planning Mother's Day.  Are you taking your mom out to lunch or dinner.   When we were living in California Mother's Day was CRAZY every restaurant was packed and loud.  As a mom I didn't not find it enjoyable so we went either the week before or the week after Mother's Day.  Then on Mother's day you can enjoy a nice luncheon at home.  (Just make sure you do the dishes for her too)

Chicken Salad is always a nice luncheon go to dish.  The cranberries and jelly added to the mayonnaise adds a nice sweetness that is not expected. Pecans or toasted almonds would also be a nice surprise.  

Chicken Salad

4 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablepoons Jalapeño Apricot Jelly
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup OceanSpray Craisins Cranberries - Pomegranate
fresh spinach leaves
4 slices swiss cheese
4 Croissants

Mix together mayonnaise, jelly, pepper and salt.  Add cut up chicken and cranberries to mayo mixture and mix thoroughly. If too dry add a little more mayo you don't want it too wet.  Slice croissants add cheese, spinach and chicken salad to make sandwiches or serve on a bed of lettuce as a salad.

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick Dessert - Nutella and Strawberries

When Nutella calls, sometimes you just have to answer.  Okay, you have to answer every time. 

I love chocolate and I love hazelnuts so of course I love Nutella.  Instead of grabbing a spoon I went for a mock strawberry shortcake.  I had everything on hand and it was a quick dessert to throw together and in less than 15 minutes I was in Nutella heaven.

Nutella and Strawberries

2 baskets strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Wash and cut strawberries into 4ths and place in a bowl stir in 1/2 cup sugar, place in refrigerator for at least a 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Take a spoonful of Nutella and spread on each crescent roll, roll up and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Spoon strawberries with juice over the crescent rolls and serve warm.

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lemon Pasta Salad

With warmer weather and April showers it is finally feeling and looking like spring especially after getting 6 inches of snow a week ago.  I should have daffodils popping up any day now.  I'm now in the mood for pasta salads and to kick off spring I'm going for a light and fresh Lemon Pasta Salad.  One of things I love about pasta salads it can be a side dish or a meal in it's self.  If I pick up a rotisserie chicken I will use half of it in my pasta salad.

Lemon Pasta Salad

1 lb box of your favorite pasta (I used Mostaccioli)
2 overflowing cups fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 cups red cherry tomatoes
1 8oz brink of swiss cheese, cut into bite sized cubes
asiago cheese

Lemon Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon zest from one lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box.  Allow to cool along enough to handle.  Place pasta, spinach, tomatoes and cheese in a large zip lock bag.  In a jar add olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon pepper, salt, oregano, sugar and red pepper flakes.  Place lid on and shake until emulsified.  Allow vinaigrette to sit for 20 minutes.  Give vinaigrette another good shake and poor into the bag of pasta.  Shake bag around until everything is well coated and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before placing in a serving container top with grated asiago cheese. 

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Artichokes

I love artichokes and have always had them steamed and I would dip them in butter.  Then I had the grilled artichokes at Yard House (I really need to get a Grill) and they were bursting with flavor.  I will never have a steamed artichoke again.

 Instead of dipping them in butter I decided to roast the artichokes in butter and not any butter but garlic and fresh rosemary.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Artichokes

20 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 large artichokes

Peel 16 cloves of garlic and set aside.  Mince the remaining 4 cloves of garlic and add to a small bowl with the butter.  Mince rosemary add to the butter along with the salt and pepper.  Mix together and allow to sit for several hours.  I usually make the butter in the morning and allow to sit out at room temperature until I use it in the evening.

Trim artichokes cutting the stem and trimming thorny leaves.  Cut top off artichoke about an inch down.  Stuff 4 cloves of garlic into each artichoke.  Divide the butter between the 4 artichokes and smear the butter mixture over the top pushing it down between the leaves.  Standing the artichokes upright wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a small baking dish so they do not fall over.  Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.  After removing from oven allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from foil.

Until Next Time,
Foodie Friends Friday

Monday, April 15, 2013

Classic Cheesecake

This month our challenge in Baking Partners is cheesecake.  I picked the Classic Cheesecake.  Since their is no leveling agents in cheesecake I followed the recipe to a "T".  I forgot that I still need to bake the cheesecake longer than the recipe calls for.  Next time I make the cheesecake I will bake it for 15 minutes longer.

There are a lot of steps to the recipe but it is a very easy recipe.  Since I didn't add the extra baking time the cheesecake stuck to the pan and I did run a knife around it but the cheesecake also stuck to the knife.  The cheesecake was creamy and delicious and I will make it again.

My husband while it was baking took off for downtown and didn't tell me why.  He went to the market and bought a can of cherry pie filling for the top of the cheesecake.

You can find the recipe for this Cheesecake at Simply Recipes

If you would like to join The Baking Partners check out our Facebook Page at Baking Partners we would love to see you there.

Until Next Time,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rancho Delux Photo's

It's a cloudy gloomy windy day at Rancho Delux.  I took a walk around the house to snap some photos of what is going on around our place.

 Olive waiting for me in the middle of our driveway
The snow is almost gone - Woo Hoo

Bill has been trimming the trees.  Before he started you couldn't even see in there.  Look at those 
giant piles of trimmings.  He tells me he is fixing it up like Jellystone Park

I love this view of our house

This is our covered deck.  We need to sand the wood and re-stain it  this year.  I would like to pick another color but Bill wants to stick with the green.  Would like to get a nice outdoor table and chairs so we can eat out there during the summer.

Olive uses her feet to grab rocks and bat them around like a cat 

The daffodils are sad that it is so gloomy out

I hope you are having a beautiful spring day.

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bacon Tortellini Salad

I love pasta salads and will be sharing some through out the month.  What is great about pasta salads?  They can be a meal on their own or a side dish.  They are perfect for pot-lucks and to serve on a hot summer night.  You can keep it all veggies or add meat such as chicken, bacon, salami the possibilities are endless.

Bacon Tortellini Salad

1 package of Buitoni Tortellini (I used the Three Cheese Tortellini)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
3 stalk celery, diced
1 cup cilantro, rough chop
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 purple onion, diced
8 sliced of cooked bacon


1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 tablespoons country dijon mustard
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake until incorporated.  Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

Cook Tortellini according to package, drain and allow to cool to the touch.  Cut up all the vegetables no larger than the tortellini and place in a large bowl.  Cut up bacon and add to bowl along with tortellini. Pour dress over tortellini and toss until the tortellini and vegetables are coated in the dressing.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

When the call goes out there is a Cookie Party at Foodie Friends Friday you get in the kitchen and bake some cookies. Thank you Walking on Sunshine Recipies I am a little short on baking supplies right now - no chocolate chips - no nuts - no chocolate baking squares.  I went with what I had on hand unsweetened cocoa and maraschino cherries.  I picked a great combination of flavors.  

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pure cherry extract
2 tablespoons cream
2 large eggs
1 cup maraschino cherries

Sift together in a small bowl flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set to the side. Drain and chop maraschino cherries set aside.  In a mixing bowl add softened butter, sugars and both extracts and cream.  On medium speed beat until creamy.  Add one egg at a time mixing until incorporated.  Gradually add the dry mixture, beating well.   Add cherries by hand.  Drop by teaspoon on baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree pre-heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Until Next Time,

Foodie Friends Friday

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Mashed Potatoes

  My husband does not like gravy doesn't matter what type of gravy it is he will not touch it and frankly I don't need it although I love gravy.  When I make mashed potatoes I will add goodies to them.  This time I went with an Italian inspiration adding oregano, parmesan cheese, garlic and sun dried tomatoes. They came out fantastic and I didn't even miss the gravy.

Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Mashed Potatoes

3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (divided)
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 pint whipping cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large bulb of roasted garlic
6 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil (I used DeLallo)

Peel and dice potatoes making sure the potatoes are around the same size.  Place in a large saucepan add 2 tablespoons of salt and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over a medium high heat and cook until potatoes break apart easily with a fork.  Drain and place back into saucepan.  Heat over low cream, butter, oregano, salt and pepper until heated through (do not bring to a boil).  Pour cream mixture a little at a time into the potatoes, using a hand mixture to incorporate cream, alternate until all the cream  is mixed in.  Chop garlic and add to potatoes, pat dry the sun dried tomatoes with a paper towel, chop and add to potatoes.  Mix thoroughly. 

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Grilled Pineapple Curry Tuna Salad

Last week I was in California for my daughter's 24th Birthday.  I told her we were unable to make it and Monday we showed up at her work and surprised her.  She walked over and gave us the biggest hug and was crying.  It was a wonderful week with her and we were lucky that everything worked out on her days off.  We did some shopping and a lot of eating went to places that we don't have here and I ate enough sushi to take care of my cravings for the next few months.  

Now it's time to start eating a bit more healthy and every so often indulge in some not so healthy foods. 

However, this weekend I did enjoy this Grilled Pineapple Curry Tuna Salad.  

Grilled Pineapple Curry Tuna Salad

6.4 oz pouch Sunkist Chunk Light Tuna packed in water
3 tablespoons Light Miracle Whip
1 can pineapple rings
2 teaspoons reserved pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
pinch of salt
Fresh Gourmet Sliced Almonds - Honey Roasted

Drain pineapple reserving 2 teaspoons of pineapple juice.  Grill pineapple rings on both sides until lightly golden with grill marks.  Place tuna in bowl add Miracle Whip, pineapple juice, curry powder, salt and mix together.  When grilled pineapple is cooled take 3 of the rings and cut into bite size pieces and mix into the tuna.  Scoop out a serving of tuna mixture sprinkle with almond slices and serve with remaining pineapple rings.

Now to pop in my Turbo Fire DVD and do some workouts.

Until Next Time,
Jam Hands

Monday, April 1, 2013

Apple Caramel Spice Bread

Have a craving for something gooey?  Here it is Apple Caramel Spice Bread.  I had one slice to sample  and my husband ate the entire loaf of bread.  Nice to know when you find something they really like.

Apple Caramel Spice Bread
adapted from Zucchini Spice Bread - nancycreative.com

1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 granny smith apples, grated
12 Kraft Caramels
Cinnamon Sugar

Cut the Kraft Caramel squares into 4ths and sprinkle with flour to coat and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs, set aside.

In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients blend well.  Fold in grated apples and caramels.

Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle the top with more cinnamon sugar.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan then cool completely before slicing.

Note:  I am at 7200 feet baking at high altitude I adjusted the baking soda and baking powder to 1/4 teaspoon on each of these.  Also after 45 minutes baking I increased by 5 minutes each time checking it with a toothpick.  Happy to announce this is the first bread that did not sink.

Until Next Time,

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