Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Banana Fosters Pockets

So you send your significant other shopping and tell him to pick up items for dessert.  He forgets, but brings a few other off list items home: Crescent rolls, bananas and chocolate sauce..  What do you make?  You may as well be on an episode of Chopped here!  This recipe will make sure that you're here to fight another day.

When I first bit in, I was transported back to the breakfast table at my parent's house.  No offense to Lee, but my dad makes, hands down, the best banana pancakes in the world.  They're totally amazing and the combination of dough and cooked bananas smothered in sugary sauce took me right back.  Dad never added chocolate syrup to breakfast though, so these treats might edge them out.  I'll have to demand a head to head cookoff one day.
For the chocolate sauce, we used Smucker's Plate Scapers which lets you have really nice pretty lines, good for pictures, but not good when you just want chocolate NOW!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chickpea Crunch

Looking for a reasonably healthy, protein filled, but sweet snack? Here's one for you... Chickpea Crunch.  It's just canned chickpeas coated in sugary goodness. It's one of those foods that gets better as it sits.  When it first finished up, I felt like my hands were covered in honey, but the next day, they were like little round, sugary popcorns.  
Give it a try!

Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a strainer, then lay on a towel to dry. The key is to get them as dry as possible, you may have to let them air dry for an hour or so.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Omar's Pizza

We've cut WAY back on the amount we eat out lately, but yesterday was payday and decided that pizza would be the perfect way to end a really long day.

We hit up Omar's in St. Ann.

Omar's is a tiny little restaurant in a building that use to be a car stereo store (streetview on Google still shows the old place!)  It's definitely one of our favorites in our immediate area.  Omar's serves Italian and Mediterranean food.  It's a really great place to take people if you aren't really sure what they like because you can get your standard pasta dishes, but also some really great Greek and Middle Eastern food too.
We decided to do a takeout pizza, and got the Greek Lamb pizza, with beef shawarma instead of lamb.  Shawarma is a lot like gyro meat, except thin shavings are put on the spit instead of pressed meat.  It's then roasted for several hours.  It's amazing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

We really like watching the Soup on E!  My favorite segment is Chat Soup, the tagline for the segment is “So Meaty!”   That’s exactly how you can describe today’s dish. 
I know, enchiladas with Lee can be scary… how spicy will they be?  Today’s aren’t so bad.  A mild sauce was used and the gentle smokiness of the chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce made for a gentle heat that was pretty enjoyable. 
These were stuffed full of tasty chicken and topped with a couple of kinds of cheeses.  The tortillas heat up just enough to give a great crunch.  You’re going to love these!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creme Brulee Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I almost got shunned at work for bringing in these gems Lee made over the weekend.  You see, we're supposed to be being good, I mean, it's January.  But Lee made them, and we wanted lots of people to enjoy them....  
Everyone loved them.   
Cheesecake, lemons, creme brulee... I mean, wow!  
Now, if creme brulee sounds like it would make this super hard, don't worry, this one is more time consuming than anything, but it's worth it!   
The crust is just like a cookie and is just the perfect amount of sugary.  The creamy, lemony inside cheesecake part has just enough tartness to cut through the sugar sweetness and  the caramely brulee'd top is the tasty icing on the top. 
Yum.  I wish we still had some left.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crazy Pizza!

You can go ahead and throw away the pizza delivery guy's number now.  Go ahead, go to your takeout pile, find the your regular pizza place's menu and just throw it away.  Tonight's dinner is better than and faster.  

This pizza uses refrigerated rolls (like Pillsbury) instead of regular crust and everything else is pretty much the same.  The dough and the sauce and the cheese melt into each other to make something amazing.  If you live in St. Louis, you might be thinking, "Oh, like Imo's!"  No my friend, this is nothing like Imo's. This is the opposite.  

This is amazingly gooey and puffy and cheesy and wonderful.  It's really easy to overdo it on this pizza because the biscuits make it so light and fluffy. 

The  toppings are the icing on top. The onions were so good, I was chasing the last few around the plate trying to get them!  

From start to finish, this is going to take you, tops 30 minutes- which is way faster than most decent pizza places and it's so much better.  You'll never call the pizza guy again.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Paninis and Pimento Pickles

Our Saturday ritual is to get up early and hit the grocery store before everyone else is out and about.  Then we’ll come home, have lunch or breakfast (whichever is more time appropriate) and take on the day.  
Today we got a much later start than usual and ended up at the store during BUSY time!  Not the best way to start the day.  
Luckily, we were able to keep motivated by remembering what would be waiting for us when we got home.  We picked up a rotisserie chicken and Lee made it into a delicious Panini.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kicked Up Chicken and Dumplings

When Lee told me he was making chicken and dumplings, I threw a bit of a fit.  I've never been a big chicken soup fan, and for some reason in my head dumplings are the same thing as biscuits and gravy which I really do hate.  

Luckily, Lee proved me wrong with this amazing version. 
Perfect broth, perfect dumplings, perfect chicken. 
After last week’s beer brined chicken, he’s obsessed so we picked up a whole cut up fryer at the store and he prepared that recipe.  Then he added just a little spice to the dumplings.  By the way, if the dumplings were called really thick noodles, I probably wouldn’t have had any problem at all. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Twinkie Tiramisu- Way Better Than Regular Tiramisu

Sometimes, Lee takes ingredients I really love and does weird stuff with them.  You walk away feeling like the thing you love has been violated by another thing you love and you feel really awkward about your alliances with both. 

I was really ready for that feeling when he told me he was making Twinkie Tiramisu. 

Now I love Twinkies and coffee and vanilla wafers (I could write a whole post on how much I love these), and cream and sugar and cream cheese.  But when you tell me they’re all going to hop in the oven together, I’m going to be worried. 

Lee’s been wanting to make this for a few weeks, but Twinkies were on sale this week, so I couldn't evade this issue any longer. 

So we gathered the ingredients, and he went to work. 

The original recipe called for mascarpone cheese, but let’s be serious. That stuff is pretty expensive to be putting in a dish that highlights Twinkies.  So we subbed in cream cheese.  If you do this, whip the heck out of the cream cheese or you’ll end up with cream cheese hunks in your tiramisu, not awesome. This is a Food Network recipe originally, but Lee's adapted recipe is below.  

Overall, this was pretty good. Tiramisu is a tough sell for me, but this was definitely easier than regular tiramisu and WAY better than most of the tiramisus I’ve had. The creaminess from the cream mixture PLUS the Twinkie cream makes it extra delicious.  

By the way, you can chill it for just a few hours before serving, but this is definitely one of those recipes that gets better the longer the flavors meld together, if you can keep it overnight, do it. 

Twinkie Tiramisu
8 Twinkies
1 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
16 oz (2 packs) cream cheese, at room temperature
Yellow food coloring
10 vanilla wafers

  1. Slice the Twinkies down the middle long ways and squish half of them cream side up in a 7 by 11-inch pan, covering the bottom.
  2. Add a layer of about half the coffee
  3. Whip the cream to soft peaks then add sugar.
  4. Whip the heck out of the cream cheese and fold in the whipped cream.
  5. Pour half of the mixture over the Twinkies and spread.
  6. Make another layer of Twinkies and add the rest of the coffee.
  7. Combine 10 drops of food coloring to the rest of the cream, you want it to be Twinkie colored.
  8. Spread the rest of the cream over the top of the Twinkies.
  9. Crumble the vanilla wafers and add them to the top. 
  10. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Calories 482   Calories from Fat 301
Total Fat 33.4g
Saturated Fat 20.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 116mg
Sodium 419mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.5g
Sugars 28.6g
Protein 6.1g

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Remake of Fried Chicken Dinner

I realized I hit the husband lottery the first night I came home from work to find dinner making its way on to the table.  Tonight I opened the door and knew that something tasty was just about ready.  Score one for perfect timing!  
Tonight, we give you THREE recipes for the price of one, together they make a happy dinner for four (or in our case, a happy dinner for two plus tomorrow’s lunch!) 
The Colonel has nothing on this fried chicken dinner!
The chicken was a perfect balance of moist and crispy.  I’m a big fan of the potatoes, I’ve been pretty happy about all the paprika lately and I love a non-fried fry.  And the green beans are an old stand-by that Lee makes a lot- let’s face it, everything is better with bacon and we’ve had quite a bacon shortage lately- it’s been a week since our last post containing Lee’s mistress food.  

So here’s everything you need for tonight’s super easy dinner. 

Crispy Butter Garlic Chicken
4 Chicken breast 
½ cup flour
2 cups milk
3 cups crushed cornflakes
3 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic (Minced)
Oil for frying 

  1. In a shallow pan, heat about an inch or two of oil to 325.
  2. Take chicken breast and cut in half to butterfly and make thinner.  Dredge in flour and shake off, then dredge in milk and place in cornflakes until coated. 
  3. Once oil is hot fry chicken until crisp and cooked through, about 8 minutes on each side.
  4. Drain and let cool while you put your butter and garlic in another saucepan to melt on medium heat.  Once melted, spoon the butter garlic sauce over plated chicken.

Nutrition Facts for Chicken
Calories 557   Calories from Fat 157
Total Fat 17.4g
Saturated Fat 7.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 172mg
Sodium 392mg
Total Carbohydrates 36.8g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 8.5g
Protein 60.7g
Vitamin A 19% Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 19% Iron 48%

Spiced Oven Fries
4 potatoes (cut into wedges)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoon oil 

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a Ziploc bag, combine all ingredients and shake to coat potatoes.
  3. Pour into an ovenproof dish and bake for about 40 minutes turning halfway through cooking.

Nutrition Facts for Potatoes
Calories 338  Calories from Fat 29
Total Fat 3.2g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1192mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.1g
Dietary Fiber 12.2g
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 8.1g
Vitamin A 37% Vitamin C 145%
Calcium 6% Iron 21%

Green Beans with Bacon
1 lb of fresh green beans (Trimmed)
2 slices of bacon (Diced) 
1 teaspoon minced onion
Salt and pepper

  1. In a large sauté pan fry bacon until slightly crisp but still pliable.
  2. Remove bacon and sauté green beans in bacon fat for 10 minutes on medium high heat.  
  3. Add minced onions, salt, pepper, and a splash of water.  Cover to steam for about 12 minutes.  

Nutrition Facts for Green Beans
Calories 174  Calories from Fat 74
Total Fat 8.2g
Saturated Fat 2.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 453mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.6g
Dietary Fiber 7.7g
Sugars 3.2g
Protein 11.2g
Vitamin A 31% Vitamin C 62%
Calcium 9% Iron 15%

What's your go to weeknight dinner? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crispy Potato Ring

A couple of years ago, we bought a soufflé dish to make a chocolate soufflé.  It was amazing.  We should make that again.  After the chocolate soufflé was devoured, the dish went back in the cabinet for year, waiting for the perfect dish to carry.  
We found it with today’s dish. 
You’ll probably recognize these potatoes from the picture of yesterday’s post, they were the amazing side dish. 
First, a disclaimer: I love undercooked potatoes.  If you don’t, you probably don’t want to attempt this recipe.
The potato crust is just chewy enough and hides the soft center that waits for you inside the dish. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Miso Ginger Glazed Chicken Thighs

Tonight’s dinner had us seeking out an ingredient we never had before- Miso Paste.  While we have a pretty awesome Mexican selection at our local Shop N Save, the Asian section leaves us with just the basics. 
So we headed over to Olive to China Town Market.  Olive Boulevard in University City is full of a lot of ethnic food grocery stores and restaurants.  Just about all of them fall in that, “are you sure we’re supposed to be HERE?” category. 
We walked into China Town Market and I was totally feeling that way. First, almost all of the packaging for all the items was written in Chinese characters.  There were some things that were pretty obvious what they were (hey, there’s some rice!) but just about everything else looked a little out of our league.  After wandering through a few of the aisles we realized we were going to need some help.  We asked about the miso paste and were directed to it, only to find out a.) miso means soybean (ohhhhh) and b.) there’s a red kind and a white kind.  According to Wikipedia, the red kind is a little stronger tasting.  We picked the red kind.  The recipe actually called for shiso miso paste, and I’m still not sure if we got the right stuff. 
After finding some miso paste, we found ourselves in the candy/ chip aisle and it took all of my might to get us out of there without buying cod jerky (just let that sink in a minute…) and wintermelon candy.
It turned out pretty good.  It had the taste of one of those tasty chicken dishes on the Chinese buffet, but a lot healthier.  I felt pretty good about eating it. 
Little red chili flakes give the chicken some flavor but don't go overboard. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Caramelious Monkeybread

Lee gets his recipes from all over the place… magazines, websites, old family recipes, and of course, from our friends.  One of our friends, Leena, put on Facebook that she had some awesome and easy Monkeybread, and we wanted in.  Leena shared the surprisingly easy recipe with us.  It was originally published in the December 2009 Southern Living magazine.

It ended up being delicious.  The cinnamon and smooth caramel cut through the rolls and becomes the scrumptious and juicy ball of dough that makes up for every dry and under seasoned cinnamon roll you’ve ever had.  

Check out that caramel dripping down the bread- have a napkin ready!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Goulash and Csipetke

Goulash.  It sounds like some sort of torture food, doesn’t it?  I had my first experience with goulash when I was 5.  I was at my best friend’s house and her mom served it up for dinner.  I was a picky kid and wouldn’t eat it, but her mom forced me to have just one spoonful, which quickly turned into two bowlfuls.  It was delicious. 

Then later, I discovered something even better, Grandpa’s Goulash.  What I remember most about my Grandpa was his garden, he had this huge garden filled with corn and beans and all kinds of great vegetables, but most importantly, it was overrun with strawberry and raspberry bushes.  We would spend hours picking (and eating) the berries.  I thought that was the best thing about his house, until the day he made goulash.  It was nothing like what was served up at my friend’s house, but it was even better.  Grandpa’s been gone over 15 years now, but whenever goulash comes up, I think of him.  

So when I was reading Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog the other day and came across a recipe for not just goulash, but venison goulash, I knew I had to make Lee make it for me.  He swapped out venison for chuck roast because oddly, we don’t have venison in the freezer right now. And we didn't have lard or sunflower oil, or caraway seed, or two kinds of paprika.  So go to their blog for the original recipe, Lee's adapted recipe is below.
Goulash and homemade noodles- WOW

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

I gave fish tacos the stink eye for about a year before I broke down and tried them.  It took seeing them on menu after menu and on the Food Network and then hearing about them from countless friends before I could make fish and taco go together in my head.  It’s the Midwesterner in me, I guess.  My mom still cringes when I say fish taco.  I think we have an irrational fear that the chef is going to feed us ground fish- which would be pretty gross, I think.  

Once I gave in and had my first fish taco (at Square One Brewery in Lafayette Square) I was hooked.  There was no ground fish, just fillets of delicious fish fillets. 

Tonight, Lee set out to make fish tacos.  You’ll remember he loves him some tacos.  He’s been talking up these fish tacos since Monday.  It’s almost embarrassing how excited he was to make them. 
Nope, not tartar sauce, that's coleslaw!!!

It was worth the wait!   

These fish tacos are fried in a batter that’s not too heavy and just crunchy enough, then your mouth hits the creamy cool cilantro lime coleslaw that was seriously meant to be served with fish and finishes up with a sharp crunch of radishes… all wrapped together in a tasty flour tortilla. 

Lime and Cilantro Coleslaw
Inspired by a recipe by Tyler Florence/ Food Network
1 bag of coleslaw mix
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, torn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Toss the cabbage, green onions and cilantro in a large salad bowl.
  2. Make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and the zest of the limes in a medium bowl.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. 
  4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
  5. Store in refrigerator overnight so all the flavors meld.
Calories 131      Calories from Fat 79
Total Fat 8.8g
Saturated Fat 2.7g
Cholesterol 13mg
Sodium 122mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 3.9g
Protein 1.3g
Vitamin A 8%   Vitamin C 30%
Calcium 5%       Iron 3%

Fish Tacos

6 tacos
3 tilapia fillets
1 cup flour
1 cup very cold water
1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup oil
½ cup sliced radishes
6 8-inch flour tortillas
1 cup lime and cilantro coleslaw

  1. Mix flour, water and baking soda and dredge tilapia in mixture.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan and fry fish.
  3. Heat up tortillas in dry frying pan or microwave.
  4. Slice fish fillets into chucks and place on tortilla. 
  5. Top with a scoop of coleslaw and slices of radishes.

Amount Per Taco
Calories 420   Calories from Fat 121
Total Fat 13.5 g
Saturated Fat 3.8g
Cholesterol 96 mg
Sodium 827 mg
Total Carbohydrates 40g
Dietary Fiber 3.5g
Protein 36.4g

What food did you have trouble wrapping your head around, but you’re glad you gave it a chance?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Almost Famous Bacon Tuna Melts

I’m often asked how I afford Lee.  He’s expensive and likes to make fancy food.  The simple answer is that we keep an eye on the sales and the coupons.  This week, we matched up a sale and coupons and stocked up on packs of tuna.  It can be kind of a rush to get tuna for fifty cents.  We probably will never fall in the Extreme Couponer category, but we could be categorized as Reasonably Moderate Couponers. 
But this is not a coupon blog. This is a food blog. 
Lee put those packs of tuna to work in his almost famous tuna sandwiches.  Now, this tuna salad is super good without the bacon and cheese, but really, if you can add bacon and cheese to anything, why won’t you?  The bacon here makes a meat bite before the softness of the tuna and the onion roll.
Bacon and cheese make everything more delicious!

Tuna Melts 
makes 2 giant sandwiches
2 cans Tuna (drained)
Half of onion (diced)
6 slices of bacon
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
2 onion rolls
½ cup real mayo
2 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoon pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles
1 tablespoon chopped capers (optional)
  1. Drain tuna and place in a bowl, mix in onion, mayo, mustard, relish, and capers.
  2. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Preheat Broiler to High and place rack on the very top level.
  4. Fry bacon and set aside.
  5. Slice rolls and butter each half and place in a hot skillet to toast.
  6. Take the bottom roll and cover with your tuna mixture. Next top with bacon, then the cheese.
  7. Place on a sheet pan and broil for about 3 -4 minutes keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. 
  8. Once done place the top part of the bun on and enjoy. 
Nutrition Facts
Calories 500   Calories from Fat 243
Total Fat 27.0g
Saturated Fat 9.8g
Cholesterol 70mg
Sodium 787mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.6g
Dietary Fiber 1.7g
Sugars 6.5g
Protein 38.8g
Vitamin A 10%  Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 32%      Iron 13%

What do you do to afford your fancy food obsession?