Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cheesy Brown Rice with Spicy Italian Ground Turkey & Bell Peppers

Clearly I suck at coming up with names for my dishes... super long and it doesn't even describe the entire dish... fail. Good thing the actual dish didn't though.

It might not look the greatest but its packed with flavor, nutrients, and very filling. Most importantly I made one big batch so I don't have to make lunch for work for several days. I'm pretty lazy when I can help it.

Back to the dish, I love how the rice is infused with tomatoes, garlic, and onions! Vegetables in hiding. Then to top it off some more, I used brown rice instead of white, added bell peppers and corn for more vegetables and finally ground turkey for the lean protein source. Seems involved but its really not. A lot of it is just prepping the work and then waiting (so much waiting!) for the rice to cook. Because I used brown rice, it took a while. In the end it was well worth it.

Cheesy Brown Rice with Spicy Italian Ground Turkey & Bell Peppers Recipe
P.S. Happy 100th Post!  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Spicy Thai (Panang) Curry Noodles!

There is nothing I LOVE more than Thai food (well okay that's probably not all true but it's definitely up there in the "things I love" department), especially the Thai panang curry! In my desperate attempts to try and reproduce the same flavors I can only get at Thai restaurants, I have many times come up short. They were all good, just not the good I was quite looking for...

Recently in one of the many food conversations I had with a coworker, the subject of Thai curry came up and she said that she gets her curry paste from her neighbors who, of course, are authentic Thai that make their own curries. Once I heard that, I knew I had to get my hands on some... beg, plead, anything! Luckily my coworker is awesome and none of that had to take place before she got some from me. I was one happy camper.

So finally, even though she had given me that curry paste for a couple of weeks now, after another sudden Thai food discussion at work today, I decided I'm going to try the paste out (mainly because now I'm craving Thai food).

I didn't have all the traditional ingredients I normally see in my curry but I was close enough so....

add a little bit of green onions
 a little bit of bell peppers
a protein source (ground turkey or beef but I'm saving the beef for another ground turkey it was!) usually chicken breast of beef
and of course, can't forget the noodles!
plus a few more things here and there and a heavenly dish is created!

Once I put in the curry/coconut milk sauce and the aroma reached my nose, I knew this was it! This was the flavor I've been hunting down for so long! I've finally found it! Apparently its all in the curry paste. Only problem now is: if I only knew how to make the curry paste. This probably is not something I can do for a while unless I get super lucky and the people making the curry paste is willing to share their secret. Regardless, even without this (perfect!!) particular curry paste, this dish will still be enjoyable with any type of curry paste. Most of the ingredients used here can be found in any local Asian supermarket or a specialty supermarket like Nuggets or Whole Foods that offers more varieties in their Eastern culture food items.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tri-Tip with Bell Peppers and Potatoes

Sometimes the most simple recipes are the ones closest to the heart. This use to be one of my favorites when I was in college (the later years). No, I wasn't a master chef or anything and as a matter of fact I wasn't even interested in cooking until the last couple of years of college. Believe me, I have had my fair share of cup noodles, hot pockets, and frozen meals. I guess having almost complete control of the kitchen helps a lot (no more drama) and guy roommates who will eat almost anything I make, it was a win win.

I remember getting a request for tri-tip one day but seeing how I didn't just want plain meat for dinner, I decided to jazz it up with some bell peppers and potatoes. The whole thing just came together as I was experimenting/ cooking with the ideas and theories in my head, fortunately everything worked out and my roommate loved it and I made it several more times afterwards. It's actually been a while since I remade this. Just recently I started craving it, no particular reason, and I mentioned it to my coworker who instantly became intrigued and wanted the recipe. Well I didn't have anything written, most of it was from the motion of making the dish and not particularly following a set of instructions but I told her I'd make it again and pay more attention to what I was doing so I can write down something for her.

In conclusion, here is the Tri-Tip with Bell Peppers and Potatoes recipe

p.s. the meat I used came marinated from Costco which helps add extra flavors to the bell peppers and potatoes when you cook them together.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Turkey, Ham, & Cheese Hot Pockets!

They taste way better than it sounds or looks for that matter. I was surprised because I pretty much threw these together last minute with no planning...okay that's kind of normal with the no planning part but they turned out well so it makes me happy!

I had no intention on making anything for the next few days...except last week (p.s. these were made last Friday) when I came into work, my coworker surprised me with an awesome gift!
A multi-grater!! I, of course, was complaining about how I'm lacking in kitchen supplies (yah right!) and wished I had a zester so I don't have to be super ghetto and attempt to zest with a steak knife...I'm surprised I still have all my fingers too...and the next day, she handed me this awesome present. Not only do I have a zester now, I get an egg separator, cheese grater, and juicer! No more squeezing lemons until I can no longer feel my fingers!

As a gesture of my gratitude, I promised to make/bring breakfast for us both for our shift the next day (yes Saturday overtime...). As a result I decided to make a small trip to Trader Joe's again to pick up some supplies.

She took such interest in the chicken bake I made last time, I decided I'll just make something similar to that again. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pre-made raw pizza dough! So easy to work with and super fast bake time. I didn't have anymore chicken, so I had to change it up a bit. Somehow deli turkey and ham meat spoke to me the most for a breakfast option. Add a little bit of cheese and chili flakes and it gives it the perfect kick!

Turkey, Ham, & Cheese Hot Pockets recipe  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Raspberry Lemon Oats Bar!

Newest (technically not really) creation from my personal kitchen to yours (hopefully), Raspberry Lemon Oats Bars! I made these last week but I was so busy with everything else, my posting is falling behind my creations.

These are actually a twist from my Creamy Lemon Oats Bars I made about a month ago. Those were such a hit with my coworkers, I thought I'd play around with the idea some more and maybe introduce different versions of the "same" thing. Since I had some raspberries sitting around in the fridge that (desperately) needed to be used, I thought "hey raspberries would go well with lemons! After all, there's raspberry lemonade, so why not a raspberry lemon bar??"

After dawning on that wonderful idea, I squeezed some fresh lemon juice, threw it in the blender with my raspberries, toss some other things together, voila (give or take)!

Raspberry Lemon Oats Bar Recipe

Friday, June 15, 2012

Apples Madness!

Apple Cobbler.... but that's not quite what it is...I don't really know what to call it.... Apple Madness it shall be.

In reality its just more leftover apple cinnamon craziness from the the last 2 apple crazy creations I've made. Apparently one can make numerous things with just 3 apples!

This entry mainly is to post more pictures of what came out of those apples, not really a new recipe. Everything is made according to the Mini Apple Crumbles recipe with slight alterations:
  1. Make a layer of crust with the 1/2 of the crumble mixture and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees
  2. After crust is done, put apple mixture in and top off with the rest of the crumble mixture, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  3. Serve as is or with some Greek vanilla yogurt or ice cream!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mini Apple Crumbles!

This is what over calculating will do to a person, 3 apples (mentioned from my last post, apple cinnamon crescent rolls) was clearly too many for one can of crescent what to do but come up with another recipe to use my leftover apples and cinnamon fiasco.

My solution: mini apple crumble wonton treats! I've been meaning to try using wonton wrappers as baking cups so why not marinate my two issues into one solution?!

Obviously because I had left over apple mixture from that last food experiment that instantly became the filling. As for the  leftover cinnamon butter...well that gave birth to the crumble. Bada Bing! Bada Bam! A new creation is born!

Recipe to be found here:
Mini Apple Crumble Wonton Treats

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls!

Yes, it is as mouth watering as it looks, trust me! Now I'm not just saying this because I made them, but they are truly DELICIOUS!

Since I have the tendency to bake (a lot) and in order to avoid gaining unnecessary love handles ...after the first or second (sometimes third) quality control test pieces, I usually bring the rest of my little food projects to work for my coworkers to enjoy and to give me their critiques, so as a request from one of my coworkers, he wanted something "cinnamon-y."

Hmm so where to begin from that? Personally I'm not huge apples (computers included!) fan, but another coworker suggested using apples as something to balance with the cinnamon. Actually that sounded really good, I was leaning towards that as well but hesitated because not everyone likes apples (just like not everyone likes mangoes) however after hearing a second opinion I decided apples would make a good candidate.

Hit the stores and picked up some apples... so I had apples... and no plan, sounds like typical me. Several hours later, after scrolling through some pinterest images to see if I can get any inspirations, I ran across 2 recipes (cinnamon crescent rolls and apple pie) I liked and decided to combine bits and pieces of each to create my own experiment (fingers crossed at this point its not going to turn out funny tasting...). I had to make some slight adjustments though. Having no idea how many apples were needed, I settled for 3 (turns out, that can make twice my batch, 16 rolls, I only made 8). Then there was so much butter!! I cut that down as well. I know butter makes everything taste like heaven...but I'm not looking into literally going to heaven because of it. My heart will appreciate even if my soul is a little saddened.

Fortunately the cooking gods from above were with me again, another first shot success! I loved it! They turned out great and my apartment smelled so good for hours! If only pictures can capture scents as well, I'd take so many more! I bought them to work and got consistent thumbs up. I will definitely be making these again, I didn't make that big of a batch so I had to keep it on the down low since the rolls were limited and some people weren't able to try any... next time.

Here's the recipe for my delicious Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls, give it a try, you won't regret! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Simple Homemade Garlic & Herb Chicken Bake

Nothing beats making your own chicken bake on a Saturday afternoon (or early morning...)!

All day at work yesterday all I could think about was what my next food project will be... originally I was thinking of garlic cheese bread and because laziness run quite deep with me, I'd had been thinking of a way to avoid having to deal with making my own bread... which I'd love to do but just not right now. Many people opted for Pillsbury dough...which I went to go check out but after glancing at the ingredient list... that pretty much drove me away from that option...what is with all that partially hydrogenated crap??

Nutrition/Food Science FYI: Anything that says partially hydrogenated anything oil equals trans fat even though the package says zero grams. That only means the trans fat isn't large enough to make it onto the package but it's still there. If you think about it, 0.4grams of trans fat technically is 0grams if you round (which most companies do) and that's only for one serving... well most packages of food we buy are rarely just one serving, so lets say its 8. Well 8 servings later 0.4 grams of trans fat x 8 servings and now its 3.2 grams. Something most people don't think about... but I'm not here to preach, just stating some not so obvious facts.

I'm not a huge crazy health nut but being a food science and nutrition minor back in college has definitely has me being more aware of what I eat and what goes into the stuff I eat. Let's face it, I'm sure there's enough other kinds of fat floating in my body, let's not add onto it with even worst crap like trans fat and such...

Anyways back to how I came upon (or remembered) this wonderful Trader Joe's raw pizza dough. I was having lunch with my coworker and she whips outs this great looking slice of pizza and me being obsessed with food, I asked if she made it and of course we know where the rest of that conversation went. Having realized that, quickly after work, I drove to my local Trader's Joe and picked up a bag of that pre-made raw dough! Quickly scan ingredient list, passes and there we have it, ready made raw dough cuts my work in half!

They have 3 different types of dough (regular, whole wheat, and garlic & herb), I decided to use the garlic and herb thinking I was going to make garlic cheese bread... somehow along the way (and some personal difficulties with the dough) I decided to change that idea altogether... Garlic & Herb Chicken Bake became the new project which was great because I had a ton of left over chicken. One thing led to another and BAM here we are:

Garlic & Herb Chicken Bake (recipe here)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cake Truffles, Cake Pops, and all sorts of goodies!

Crazy madness of last night!

Cake pops, cake truffles, and some other things my coworker ordered after I showed her some of my proud moments from this blog (because I'm such a blog whore!). I take opinions of all sorts, positive or negative. Positive ones obviously makes us feel great and negative ones are the ones that make us grow even though I rather not have those as much, regardless can't go wrong with either one. Clearly this time it was positive and I was more than happy to take the order.

Usually I'm pretty picky with my projects and there's always something I want to change or could've done better, however, this time around, I'd have to say I was pretty pleased with the outcome (she as well).

Nutella Cake truffles! I finally found the perfect (not to mention better) name to these buggers. I used to refer to them as cake balls... just didn't have the right ring to it. Now, cake truffles, who wouldn't want some of that!? I'm certainly starting to be quite comfortable making these. They're much easier to handle once you've gotten the hang of things ( troubleshooting entry).

Yes, yesterday was a creative overload day, I also made a thank you card and a graduation lei using some stampin' up stuff (long neglected supplies) and candies picked up from Costco...