Category Archives: recipes

Steak Fajitas

Standard

One of the worst times of year for a teacher is the two weeks before school starts. It’s not because we are dreading it, but the anticipation of the work load, and wanting to enjoy every last drop of summer–those two things form a dichotomy that keeps many a teacher up with insomnia at night and cranky during the day. I am starting to have stress school dreams and I am starting to get on my husband’s nerves. Buckle up, sweetie, we’ve only just begun.

We didn’t get the best news today either. Henry got hired at a new job and they originally wanted him to start next Wednesday. Sweet. We made camping plans for this weekend. They called today and said, actually, can you start Friday. He wasn’t in the position to say no–so I am going camping by myself. Well, not all by myself, but without Henry.  Bummer. This was our last hurrah for the summer.

Our consolation prize? Fajitas for dinner. It’s not camping, but it’s something.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound steak, sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder (I used california)
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • half of an onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice from half of an extremely juicy lime
  • zest of half of a lime
  • half of a large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • large drizzle of garlic olive oil

Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

fajita1

Fry it up. Serve it up. Try to not pout about not camping with your sweetie.

I separated out the peppers and fried them first. It’s super important that you don’t overcook your steak, and if you separate out ingredients that cook at different rates, you can make sure that doesn’t happen.

I love my new old cast iron pan!

I love my new old cast iron pan!

 

 

Advertisements

Artichoke and Kale Chicken and Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

Standard

This is adapted from a recipe I found about a month ago, but never got around to making. The original recipe called for thawed and squeezed, frozen spinach.  I thought using kale instead would give some texture to the final dish, as it doesn’t mush up like spinach does. I also added fresh herbs to my recipe and subbed in Japanese mayo, just because I had it around.

As a side dish, I peeled an enormous sweet potato and cut it into rounds. I laid the rounds on a sheet pan, drizzled them in garlic olive oil, and gave them a pinch of minced rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. I baked them in the oven with the chicken dish and they finished at the same time. Perfect.

Disclaimer. I did not measure my ingredients. Use your best judgement. Taste. Make enough sauce to coat the chicken and kale. Use equal parts mayo and yogurt. Make it your own!

Ingredients:

  • Four boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kale–half of a bunch, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts–marinated in oil, rinsed and diced
  • Parmesan cheese–grated
  • mayonnaise–I used Kewpie mayo
  • Greek yogurt
  • fresh sage, thyme, rosemary–finely minced
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic–minced
  • onion–diced
  • half of a red bell pepper–diced

Method:

Salt and pepper chicken. Brown it on both sides. Don’t worry about cooking it through. I did the entire dish in a cast iron frying pan, so it is a one pan dish–stove to oven.

Mix artichoke, cheese, mayo, yogurt, herbs, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

After chicken is done, set aside on a plate. In the same pan, saute onions, peppers, garlic–then add kale and cook down.

dish2

Turn off the heat, add the cheese mixture.

SAM_0796

Nestle chicken in the sauce.  Bake until chicken is done and sauce is melty and gooey.

dish1

Tacos à la Shiela

Standard

Quintessential childhood foods.

As adults looking back, we often wonder, how in the world did my folks think it was ok to feed me that? Or why did I think that tasted so good? But they did and we did and we grew up healthy and happy, right? Well adjusted adults–regardless of the fried spam sandwiches and spaghettios.

Chef Boyardee. Campbell’s. Tony the Tiger. Squeeze its and Capri Suns. Push pops. Ring pops. Pudding cups. Most of it highly processed. Loaded with sugar, salt, fat, and gimmicks.

We survived, though–and I try my hardest to give the kids wholesome foods–hoping that those recipes will be quintessential for them when they reflect as adults.

And then sometimes, like tonight, I hearken back to a simple time–a time when it was perfectly acceptable to include cheese whiz in a recipe and feed it to your family. Tonight, I make tacos à la Shiela.

Shiela is my dad’s sister–and for all intents and purposes, she is my mom. The best memories of my childhood were with her–and some of my earliest and strongest food memories are with her as well. These tacos are simple, addictive, and trashy. Cheese whiz, browned and drained hamburger, and a can of rinsed kidney beans. Mix it all together, throw into a taco shell along with your regular cast of taco characters and you’ll have something that is salty, gooey, creamy, and crunchy. The best guilty pleasure I can think of. And now I get to share it with my family. I’d have taken a picture of it cooked, but it’s equal parts brown and gloppy–not exactly the most photogenic dish.

SAM_0769

In other news, we are making garlic and onion wine tonight. Super excited!

SAM_0770

A Day of Pizza

Standard

I am really going all out with pizza today. But not in the traditional sense.  I am taking the expected ingredients–marinara, cheese, and pepperoni–and using them in strange ways. First up this afternoon was pizza biscuits. I took the regular whomp biscuits, cut slits into them, and slipped in a spoonful of marinara sauce, spoonful of ranch sauce (why not?!), a pepperoni or two, and a large pinch of cheese. Then I sealed up the edges and baked them like normal biscuits. Henry said: Can you make these always forever? (not the child, the adult).  Needless to say, they were a hit.

Tonight, I am turning those same ingredients into Pizza Pasta. Here’s the breakdown.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta, your choice of style. I used penne.
  • some meat sauce I had in the freezer. Several cups? Use however much you’d normally use for a pound of pasta.
  • 1/2 cup ranch mixed with 1/2 cup ricotta
  • Grated cheese
  • Pepperonis

Method:

1.  Boil the pasta, but do not cook it all the way. Leave it a little raw. It will continue to cook in the oven.

2.  Layer the pasta down on some meat sauce in a baking dish. Half of the pasta goes down. Put down a sprinkle of cheese and all of the ricotta/ranch mixture. Then add the second half of the pasta, and the meat sauce on top of that. Then more cheese, and then your pepperonis.

3.  Bake it at 425 until it’s done. 30-45 minutes, I think. 

pizza pasta

Giada’s Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Bobby’s Greek Potatoes (and pie!)

Standard
Giada’s Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Bobby’s Greek Potatoes (and pie!)

This afternoon, I tried to drink a slimfast. The three year old slowly came towards me, licking his lips: “Is that called chocolate milk, Jenn?” He whimpered and crept closer.  I took a drink. He eyeballed me. The six year old corrected him: “No! It has protein. It makes Jenn strong.”

I just sat there and wondered if it would be ok to lock myself in my bedroom for the rest of the day.

Instead of running away for the rest of the afternoon, we took the kids to the park to play.  We amassed a snail army, ate blackberries we found, and took turns down the fireman’s pole.  and when we got home, I made Parmesan crusted pork chops, Greek potatoes, green beans, and a fairy pie (also known as a raspberry lemon refrigerator pie).

snails

The kids wolfed it down. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Recipes are linked above. Changes I made were minimal. I added frozen raspberries to the pie to make it pink and that was about it.

parmpork

 

Okonomiyaki

Standard
Okonomiyaki

I have been pining over this recipe for years. Years. But I never wanted to attempt it until I tried it in a restaurant, so that I knew what I was aiming for. I could not wait any longer. And I’m so glad that this recipe is now in my repertoire. Here’s the recipe that I adapted from Serious Eats.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup dashi (I used instant)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt (will use a larger pinch next time)
  • 1 cup shrimp, raw
  • 4 slices raw bacon, halved
  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded. I used coleslaw mix
  • sesame seeds
  • kewpie mayo
  • sriracha
  • okonomi sauce
  • pickled ginger
  • green onions

Method:

Combine flour, dashi, eggs, cabbage, shrimp, scallions, and salt. This recipe makes two LARGE pancakes, so take half of the batter and fry it up. When it’s getting brown on the first side, add the raw bacon to the wet side. Flip, carefully, and brown bacon on second side. Cook longer than you think you need to and be careful not to burn it.

Add the rest of the condiments to your taste when it’s done cooking.

Notes: Next time I will make small pancakes to ensure even cooking. I am also excited to try different variations. The husband is allergic to shrimp–and he ate two today.  He’s not feeling it. So I have to think of a replacement. Imitation crab? We’ll see.

Obligatory apology for long absence

Standard
Obligatory apology for long absence

Half of the reason it’s so hard to get back into blogging after a long hiatus is the explanation I have to give as to why I was absent, and how I vow to turn over a new leaf and boy you guys, get ready for this new chapter in my life. I cringe to think how many times I have done that little song and dance since starting this blog.

So, I am not doing that. Instead, I am going to tell you that I have been ruminating about blogging and I think I am finally ready to stick my toe back into the vast ocean of information we call blogging. 

Well, since I am foregoing the apology, I’ll just jump right in.  I got married last month. Here are the highlights.

 

wedding1 wedding2 wedding3

 

You can see we had wedding pie, an ominous, stormy backdrop to the ceremony, and lots of dancing. It was a whirlwind, kind of soggy, very emotional, fun, and perfect. After the wedding, we spent a few days at Yosemite.  That consisted of lots of driving, terrible California drivers, triple digit temperatures, hiking, arguing, having conversations with the GPS, and long train rides.  Highlights: Yosemite Rose Bed and Breakfast, sushi with family and friends, swimming, and listening to A Song of Ice and Fire on the train and in the jacuzzi tub. And the whole being married part was pretty cool, too. 🙂

We came back to a messy apartment, family drama, and an intimidating “to do” list. Then Henry sliced his toe off (well, not off, but nearly off). So now we are sitting around, waiting for it to heal. He’s not even supposed to be walking around. The long and short of this rambling exposition is that summer has been an adventure so far and we have quite a bit of summer left.

The sitting around the apartment has had its benefits. One of them being I stumbled upon two recipes that I am scheming to make.  The first is okonomiyaki. I have never had this dish before–and I have never spoken with anyone who has eaten it or made it. I’m just intrigued. I went to the Asian grocery store yesterday and got kewpie mayo, pickled ginger, and okonomi sauce. The rest of the ingredients are fresh and I’ll be able to get them from Winco.

The next recipe is for gingersnaps made with…bacon grease instead of butter. I plan on using bacon in the okonomiyaki and reserving the fat for the cookies. Ridiculous? But of course! Stay tuned…