Baked Egg Rolls

7 Feb

Last night for dinner I was craving something light and fresh. I think the beautiful, sunny weather yesterday got my taste buds in the mood for summer. I’ve almost had my fill of the warm, heavy, comforting winter-food (I think my jeans are sick of it too!)

What to make, what to make, what to make. Open fridge door. Open pantry door. Look in two cookbooks. Browse Pinterest. Go back to fridge. And suddenly an ah-ha moment! The left-over homemade sweet and sour sauce sparked an idea! Baked Egg Rolls it is!

The yummy filling! Cabbage, carrots, green onion, garlic, and shredded chicken! Somewhat light, right?

Now for the part I’ve always been intimidated by, the wrapping! For some stupid reason, I’ve never made egg rolls because I was afraid they would unroll when I picked it up to take a bite. The dang perfectionist in me held me back.

Well guess what, not a single one fell apart! A little drop of water does the trick to seal ‘em up!

Baked Egg Rolls

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 green onions, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 cup shredded carrots, coarsely chopped

2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon ginger

10 ounce can of chicken, shredded

2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage

10-12 egg roll wrappers

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized skillet. Add the green onions, garlic, and carrots. Saute for two to three minutes. Mix in the soy sauce and ginger. Stir in the chicken and cabbage. Cook an additional two to three minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay one egg roll wrapper on work surface with one corner pointing towards you (so it looks like a diamond.) Spoon two to three tablespoons of mixture into the center of the wrapper. Fold the bottom corner over the mixture. Then fold in the two sides and roll jelly-style. Rub a small amount of water on the top corner to seal the wrapper. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Continue with remaining wrappers. Bake for 15-20 minutes- flipping the egg rolls half way through.

Teriyaki Marinade

1 Feb

I do the majority of my grocery shopping on Sundays and stock up on tons of vegetables. I always have good intentions (don’t we all!), but by Thursday at least half of them are usually still in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator and starting to get a little soft and wrinkly. I hate, hate, hate throwing away vegetables. So I usually turn to one of two things to use ‘em all up fast, either soup or stir-fry.

Stir-fry could potentially be the easiest meal out there. A little chopping of veggies, add in some protein, pour in some sauce, and saute. A meal that comes together in no time flat!

A friend gave me this recipe a few years ago and it has been our go-to stir fry marinade/sauce ever since! Both sweet and savory!

This marinade comes together in minutes with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard! Throw ‘em all in a bowl and whisk away!

Pour the marinade into a zip-lock bag full of meat and veggies! Toss it in the refrigerator and let it does its magic!

I love meals with lots of color! So much more appealing to the eye! I wish I could insert a scratch and sniff to this picture. The soy sauce and sesame oil fill the kitchen with an amazing aroma!

Teriyaki Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

Whisk all of the ingredients together. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pour over vegetables or meat and allow to marinade at least thirty minutes in the refrigerator.

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 Jan

I just had to see for myself what the hype was all about. Several bloggers have raved about this recipe. And many of them claim these cookies are their favorite!

The only down-side to this recipe is that it requires a little planning ahead. You will need bread and cake flour- two kinds of flour I don’t normally have. And the dough has to chill 24 to 36 hours before baking. But it is so worth the wait! I’m lucky there was any dough left to be baked! I couldn’t seem to keep my fingers out of the bowl while it was “chilling.” Which probably explains why I didn’t get as many cookies out of the recipe as it said I would! :)

This is one recipe that I don’t recommend messing with the first time you try them. You’ll love them just the way they are!

Yes, the scale reads 3.25 ounces! Slightly larger than a golf ball. It’s one heck of a ball of dough! I so wanted to sink my teeth into one of ‘em!

Look how freaking huge they are! But trust me, after you take your first bite, you’ll be glad they aren’t any smaller! Crispy edge with a soft, chewy middle! They really are thee BEST chocolate chip cookies!

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus two tablespoons cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate

 

Sift flours, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate pieces. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Roll dough into 3 1/2 ounce balls of dough (slightly larger than a golf ball.) Bake until golden brown but still soft, about 17-20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to finish cooling. Make sure to try one while it is still slightly warm!

 

Source: Recipe from The New York Times

Back to being a student!

12 Jan

Another two week hiatus. Yes, yes, I know, I said I was going to be better about blogging more consistently. But ya see, if I’m going to share recipes, that means I have to actually cook. Which I have have done very little of in the past two weeks. The poor hubby has been living off of pizza, chips, and ice cream for dinner.

So since I have no recipes to share, I figured I’d ramble on about something else that I’m starting to take a little more interest in as well. And that “something else” is photography! Which also plays a part in this here blog! I’m trying to improve my skills so that I don’t blind you with the horrible pictures I post.

I bought my baby, a Canon Rebel t2i, last April before we went on our trip to Italy. While in Italy, I shot almost every picture on auto mode. Mainly because I didn’t know how to use the beast and didn’t want to miss out on any photo opportunities. But when we got home I forced myself to start using the manual mode. So far I’ve deleted way more pictures than I’ve kept. And it still takes me at least ten attempts before I get a some what decent photo.

So after owning this beast of a camera for nine months and still not knowing a lick about working it, I decided it was finally time to enroll in a class. Being that the self-teaching method obviously wasn’t getting me too far. Apparently I need someone to hold my hand and show me how to use it.

Last night was class number one! I took the Digital SLR1 class at National Camera Exchange. And I learned a TON! I thought for sure I would get bored with a two and half hour camera class, but it was actually the exact opposite! I already can’t wait for the next three classes! Now I just have to practice all of the information they taught us!!

A few of the key points for me were:

It helps me to have general guidelines for ISO! I need to commit these values to memory so I don’t have to adjust it a million times!

Oh, shutter speeds! Determines how much light is transmitted into the camera. Very important when working with moving objects!

(And p.s. these two pictures were taken with my phone, not my SLR. Don’t be judging my picture-taking abilities quit yet!)

And the final thing I learned in class, I am missing a few vital accessories! Oh shoot! Gotta do a little shopping! I need to buy a lens hood and circular polarizer! Both have the potential to drastically improve outdoor pictures!

Now if only it wasn’t ten degrees outside so I could go out and practice!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

29 Dec

Today was the third time my friend and I have had a “soup making day.” It actually works out pretty slick. Four kinds of soup made in four hours (and four hours of girl talk!) And then divided into single-serving tupperware bowls for weeks worth of frozen meals! So easy to grab one as I walk out the door (also means I can hit the snooze button one more time in the morning!)

We have the process down to a science. Three pots of simmering soup on the stove and one doing its thang in the crock-pot!

Soup galore!

Today’s soups were chicken tortilla, spinach and tortellini, lasagna, and red lentil stew. All of them were mighty tasty!

The hubby and I sampled the chicken tortilla soup for supper tonight. And dang was it good!

Start by sauteing onion, green pepper, red pepper, and garlic.

Add in the black beans and shredded chicken (we took the easy route and used rotisserie chicken that we seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.)

In goes one can of rotel tomatoes and green chilies!

And our impromptu addition, a can of corn! Seemed fitting for tortilla soup. And the yellow added lots of eye-appeal!

Chicken broth and water were added. And then left to simmer for 45 minutes!

And now for the fun part, the garnishes. There are about a million different things that can be added to this soup! Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro. Okay so maybe not a million, but take your pick! Each bowl can taste a little different than the one before.

I chose cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

1 can corn

32 ounces low sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups hot water

3 tablespoons cornmeal

5 whole corn tortillas, cut into 2-3 inch strips (We didn’t add these since we were both freezing the soup. Instead we plan to crush tortilla chips and add them right before eating.)

 

Shred rotisserie chicken into a medium sized bowl. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Mix until all of the chicken is evenly coated with the seasonings. Set  bowl aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Stir in chicken, black beans, rotel tomatoes, corn, tomato paste. Pour in chicken broth and hot water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into soup and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving add tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired!

 

Source: Pioneer Woman

Swedish Nuts–best christmas present ever!

27 Dec

After an eleven day hiatus, iii’mmm bbbaaaccckkk!!! Hopefully I can get back into the blogging swing now that the holiday chaos is over!! Love the holidays, but this year I was ready for them to be over. So nice to finally sit my butt on the couch again! And not have a shopping and to-do list ten feet long!

At Christmas a couple of years ago, my grandma had brought a bowl full of sugar-coated pecans. And I sat perched next to that bowl the entire night. Apparently I raved enough about how good they were because now I get a zip-lock baggie full every year for Christmas! Best present ever!! And yes, I did snack on them while I opened the rest of my presents!

They are delicious by the hand-full, but also amazing on salads. Love the extra little sugary-crunch!

Notice the bowl is a little sparse. Oops! Actually had a hard time finding a small enough bowl for the photo-op. But all I have to say, is you’re lucky I got a picture before I ate ‘em all!

Swedish Nuts

1 pound pecans

2 egg whites, beaten stiff

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the sugar and salt. Fold in the pecans.

Melt 1/2 cup butter on a jelly roll pan. Add the nut mixture. Roast at 325 degrees for thirty minutes, tossing every ten minutes. Bake until they are light brown. Remove from the oven and immediately separate the nuts as needed.

 

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

16 Dec

I’ve seen these cookies on cookie platters for years, but have always passed them up. Instead I grab for the sugar cookies that have been frosted so pretty and the soft and chewy peanut butter blossoms (notice I said “and” not “or.” That’s because I eat both. And then some.)

 A few days ago a patient brought a heaping plate of Christmas cookies into the clinic and everyone was going absolutely crazy over the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Out of the many, many cookies, the chocolate crinkle was the cookie of choice for many of the nurses! When there was only one left I decided to grab it to find out what all of the craze was about!

And now I totally understand. Pretty much taste like a dense fudgey brownie rolled in a ball! Why, oh why, did I wait so long to try these!

Weirdly enough, that evening as I was doing my nightly blog reading, Iowa Girl Eats had just written a post about these being her favorite Christmas cookies! When I read that the cookie dough had to chill over night, I flipped back my warm, cozy blankets and went straight to the kitchen. I had to stir ‘em up that evening so I could bake ‘em the next morning! Which meant, cookies for breakfast! YUM!

Love how each cookie looks a little different! Little pieces of artwork! Almost too pretty to eat!

Sometimes they don’t crack and crinkle the prettiest. But thankfully they still taste just as good!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar

In a medium sized bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into wet ingredients in 3 batches, mixing until just combined in between each batch. Cover the dough and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out 1 tablespoon dough and roll it into a ball. Roll in powdered sugar. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

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