Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Until about a month ago, Stu and I were being really careful about what we ate. We've both lost a lot of weight since we moved here and we''d been trying to be good. Unfortunately for the past, I don't know, two weeks or more, I've been picking out recipes that aren't the healthiest. We're going to now get back on track and last night was the beginning.

Do you love chicken nuggets, like me, but feel guilty about the deep-fried-ness? Here's my answer!

Sydney's Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dip:

For the dip:
1/4 cup mayo
3 Tablespoons mustard (I use spicy brown for a better kick)
2 Tablespoons honey

Stir them well, and tada! Dip!

For the nuggets:
1 lb. chicken breats, cut into "nugget" sized pieces, about 1-2 inches. (You can also cut them into strips if you prefer)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes (optional, but it does make them prettier)
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, finely crushed (I use a rolling pin)
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk (I use fat free)

1) Preheat oven to 425 (f). Put flour, salt, pepper, and parsley in a large Ziplock bag and shake so ingredients combine. Add the chicken pieces and shake to coat them evenly.
2) Place the cracker crumbs in a bowl and wisk the egg and milk together in another bowl (start an assembly line).
3) Remove the chicken one pieces at a time and dip it into the egg mixture, then roll in the cracker crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all of the chicken pieces.
4) Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve with honey mustard dip. Yum!

This is a huge favorite of Stu's. So much so that he'll ask for it so often I actually get sick of eating it. Kaden LOVES chicken this way too. Enjoy!

Tips for this recipe:
- Try to keep an eye on the chicken so they don't overcook or they tend to get dry.
- Serve with homemade fries for a "Happy Meal" with half the calories!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Basics Series: Poached Eggs

Since I started this blog I've had a lot of good reception from friends and family, which is so great to me. BUT, the more I talk to my culinarily-challenged friends, the more I realize how few people of my generation are taught the basics in the kitchen. So instead of posting only my creations, I figured I might as well also post my "basics" recipes too.

This morning I had poached eggs for breakfast, so for those of you who'd like the yumminess of poached eggs, but don't want to sift through the overly complicated recipes on the internet, here you go!

Poached Eggs: (this is for one person)

2 large eggs
2 pieces of your favorite bread

1) Begin by filling a skillet about half-way with water, bring to a slow boil.
2) In the meantime, toast your bread. Spread it lightly with butter as soon as it comes out and is still piping hot.
3) When water is boiling, crack eggs into a bowl and carefully pour them into the water, letting them slide out gently into the water. (Feel free to crack them right into the water, but I've talked to people worried about dropping part of the shell in, or splashing the water on themselves. Fear not, this is the pain-free way!)
4) Turn the heat down to a slow simmer. The higher the heat, the more it will break up your eggs. Cooking them slowly and they come out perfectly round and pretty. After about 2-3 minutes of cooking (don't let the yolk harden), remove them with a slotted spoon. You know they are done when the white are white and no longer clear.
5) Place each egg on top of a butter slice of bread and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Smash them and enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuna Melts

Sometimes simplistic is the way to go. Last night I didn't want to do anything too complicated so I make some tuna melt sandwiches, veggies, and mac and cheese (right out of a box!). They were fab!

Tuna Melts, Sydney Style:

4 slices of your favorite bread (this is for two people)
1 can of white tuna in water
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices Gruyere Swiss cheese
2 tablespoon butter

1) Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, put two of them butter side down in a skillet, add one slice of cheese to each piece of bread.
2) In a bowl, flake tuna and combine with mayo, relish, and salt and pepper, mix well. Spread on top of cheese slices in the skillet.
3) Top with the remaining slice of cheese and finish with the last slice of bread, butter side out.
4) Heat skillet over medium heat, about 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown and crispy, turning each sandwich once.

Tips for this recipe:
- serve with tomato or chicken soup to dip it in. This is so good and is the perfect comfort food as the days get cooler (for all you lucky folk where you actually HAVE cooler weather)
- Swiss and tuna are a great combination together, but you can substitute the cheese for cheddar or whatever your family prefers.
- Use a large flat spatula to turn the sandwiches to the insides don't fall out on the turn.


Friday, October 24, 2008

S'getti and Meatballs

Last night we had spaghetti and meatballs. Usually I just make sauce with the meat in it, browned first, but I though I should try my hand at meatballs!

My Meat Balls:

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 pound of pork sausage
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I can't get those here so I pulled the croutons out of the cabinets and rolling-pinned them into breadcrumbs. Worked just fine)
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
If you want, add some fresh chopped basil and/or parsley for color and freshness in the flavor.

Preheat oven to 375 (f). In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with your hands and shape into 1-2 inch balls. Place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (this helps with clean up!). Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning them once during cooking to keep them from sticking.

Place balls in a saucepan and add your favorite spaghetti sauce (homemade or not, whatever), let them simmer together for about ten minutes.

In the meantime, you can make some awesome garlic bread!

Yummy Garlic Bread:
Melt half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat, add about 3 cloves of garlic that have been chopped roughly. Stir together and let the flavors combine for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and Dip your favorite crusty bread into the butter (sooo bad for you, I am sure, but you can also brush it on with a pastry brush if it makes you feel any better). Bake in the oven for a few minutes to toast the bread nicely. These were a huge hit!

Serve together with some boiled spaghetti noodles and a side salad. Yum!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Potato Cakes

Last night we had Baked Pepper Chicken, which I've already posted the recipe for here. I also made potato cakes and just some frozen mixed veggies on the side. The Potato Cakes are always a big hit, here is the recipe:

Potato Cakes:

2 cups grated potatoes, the water squeezed out (I literally just pick up a small handful of them and squeeze as much of the water out as I can)
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
oil for frying

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 Tablespoons of oil to the pan, let it heat up. Drop spoonfuls of the batter to the oil, cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, flip, fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels. Kaden and I eat them as they are, Stu likes them with ketchup.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Creation: California Rice Balls

This is another one of my thrifty knock-off meals. I’m a sushi fan of the California variety. There is something heavenly about the flavor combination of crab, avocado, and the nuttiness of sesame. Since I don’t have a bamboo mat, and my husband doesn’t like seaweed, I decided to create a new take on the California roll. These were so easy to make and were a big hit with Crab Rangoon for dinner last night!

California Rice Balls:
1 cup Jasmine rice, uncooked
1 ½ cups water
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 avocado, peeled and cut into small chunks
5 crab sticks, sliced into small pieces

1) Put the rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
2) Let rice cool enough to handle then transfer into a large bowl. Add the vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce and stir hard (you want the rice to come apart a little bit so it is sticky enough to stay together). Have a small bowl of water nearby to moisten your fingers to handle the rice.
3) Take a small amount in your hand and flatten it out to about 2 inches in diameter. Place a piece of the avocado and a piece of the crab in the center and fold the sides up around it. Put as much rice as is needed to enclose the filling on the top and form rice into a ball, using a little more water on your hands as needed.
4) Place balls on a tray and refrigerate for at least an hour to cool completely.
Serve with soy sauce if desired. (Or even pickled ginger and wasabi if you’re really craving sushi!)

These really were great and totally hit the spot for sushi… If you like cucumber like is traditional in typical California rolls, add that too. I’m just not fond of cucumber and this was my recipe! Haha.

Here is my Crab Rangoon Recipe from last night:

¾ cup crab meat, flaked
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon each, Worcestershire and soy sauce (optional)
Wonton wrappers (I actually used sambosa wrappers this time because it was all I could find [I live in the Middle East] so experiment!)
Oil for frying
Sweet and Sour sauce, for dipping

1) In a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients.
2) Lay out the wonton wrappers and put a small amount of the filling in the center of each, fold over and seal with water, pressing firmly so the filling doesn’t fall out.
3) Heat a skillet over medium heat and add about a quarter inch of oil to the pan. Add the wontons a few at a time, making sure they are not touching each other. Fry about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with your favorite sweet and sour sauce.


Full Disclosure: I had the leftover rice balls for breakfast!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crab Tacos

With the economy doing just FABULOUS, these are the days when being creatively frugal really count. If you're like me, there are only so many days per month when boring old tacos are a viable option. Sooooo, I adapted a recipe for crab tacos! The only "fresh" crab I can get here comes straight out of the polluted Gulf, so I opt for imitation crab. It's almost as good when it is used in dishes, and is very cheap, comparatively. So here is the recipe that I loved, the hubby still prefers his BEEF, but he liked them well enough.

Crab Tacos:
1 package imitation crab (or 8 oz. fresh crab), flaked
½ cup chopped onion
Dash of chili powder
2 limes, sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
8 hard taco shells
1 cup iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (I used the Mexican blend)
1 avocado, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped green onion

1) Preheat oven to 350 (F). In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the crab and a dash of the chili powder, according to your own preference. Cook until crab is warmed, about 2 minutes.
2) Put taco shells on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for about 3 minutes.
3) To assemble tacos: put a little of the crab mixture in a shell, top with cheese, lettuce, avocado, and green onions and then drizzle with lime juice (this MAKES the taco, don’t miss this step!) Enjoy!

If you have leftover crab mixture, use it to fill an omelet the next morning (like I did!).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Egg Drop Soup and Pot Stickers

I am beginning to wonder if I wasn't born the wrong race. I discovered the fabulousness that is Asian food right before we moved to Abu Dhabi. I tried my hand at Pot Stickers and Sweet and Sour Pork and realized Asian food wasn't nearly as daunting as the strange and plentiful ingredients lists suggested.

I realized I don't have to fear Asian food, I can embrace it, change it, and make it better! Which is what I did with both my Egg Drop Soup and my Pot Stickers recipes. I have yet to find a perfect single recipe for either dish and it has been frustrating to me.

Well folks, this is our dinner tonight (along with some Fried Rice from last week leftover) and here are the perfected Sydney-style recipes!

Egg Drop Soup (so easy it's sinful):

3 Cups Chicken Stock (I make my own stock every so often and freeze it in portions for later use… this was one of those occasions)
½ teaspoon ground ginger (add more or less, depending on your taste)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 green onions, chopped (use both the green and white parts)
¼ teaspoon each, garlic powder and onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Here are a few key tips for this recipe before we even begin:
- do not overbeat the eggs, just wisk them enough to be combined, not enough that they start to bubble, this screws up the stringy texture of the eggs in the soup.
- This one is IMPORTANT: Don’t add the eggs while the heat is still on. Again, you can make perfect soup easily, just follow the directions! :)

1) In a medium saucepan, boil the stock, onions, and soy sauce.
2) Add the remaining ingredients except the eggs and let this all simmer together for about ten minutes, covered, so the flavors can combine.
3) Turn off the heat and remove the lid. In one direction begin stirring the soup. SLOWLY drizzle the egg into the pot as you keep stirring. Stir about 30 seconds, slowly, and always only in one direction. This helps create the wonderful stringy texture we all love in egg drop soup. If you stir randomly or pour too fast, you’ll get large clumps, and who wants clumpy soup? :)

Sydney's Chicken Pot Stickers:

As I mentioned, I have adapted this recipe over about 8 months now. Other recipes just never seem to get it right.

Ingredients (Pot Stickers):

1 large chicken breast, uncooked
2 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
salt and pepper
wonton wrappers
canola oil

1) Slice chicken breast into strips, place in bottom of a pan. Season with salt and pepper and add enough water to cover. Put on lid and bring to a boil. Cook until chicken is no longer pink (only about 5-10 minutes).
2) While chicken is cooking, slice vegetables and add to a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, and ginger.
3) Let chicken rest until it is cool enough to handle. Chop very finely, add to mixture. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. This is your filling.
(I make my own wontons, but if you don't, there are plenty of good ones available at the store.)
4) Place a scant teaspoon in the center of each wrapper and wet edges to seal. Mine are never perfect looking, don't worry if they are lop-sided or weird looking, they'll still taste just as good!
5) Place prepared pot stickers on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth to keep from drying out while you prepare the rest.
6) Heat about 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat, arrange 8-10 pot stickers in the oil at a time, don't let them touch each other. Cook them for 2 minutes without touching them.
7) Add 1/4 cup of water (or a little more, depending on the size of the pan you are using... the water should come up no more than half-way on the pot stickers, but should be touching all of them.
8) Turn the heat down to low and immediately cover. Cook additional 2 minutes. Remove them to a plate placed in the oven to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining wontons.
9) Easily clean the pan between batches by adding water and letting the pan deglaze. Pour out and wipe clean. Serve with fabulous dipping sauce.

Sydney's Fabulous Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped
dash of sesame oil

combine all ingredients, stir well. Can be served warm or cold.

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions about any of my dishes. I'll be happy to answer any!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hamburgers and Salad

We made some GREAT hamburgers and salad for dinner on Thursday (our Friday) night. Here are the recipes. I didn't take a pic of the hamburgers, but here is the salad!

Stu's Perfect Hamburgers:

1 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup chopped green onions
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion salt
½ tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl with your fingers until well mixed. Shape into patties. Makes 4-6 patties, depending on the size. Grill until no longer pink inside.
We served them on fresh buns with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mayo, and avocado. Sooo good!

Sydney’s Favorite Salad:

½ head Iceburg lettuce, torn
½ cup sliced green onions
1 apple, cored and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1 small carrot, grated (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Put first 6 ingredients into a large bowl and toss together. Drizzle with desired amount of olive oil and vinegar and toss. Spoon into serving bowls and grate cheese over top.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly Menus

I don’t know how many families out there prepare a weekly menu and shop with it in mind, but we sure do! To a bizarre degree actually. I keep watching these people on TV talk shows come on as guests with sure-fire ways to “cut spending” and “reduce your grocery bill by half”. Bull crap. I already DO all of their tips! So what are WE supposed to do?

First we plan out what we are going to eat for the week. This includes me opening up Food Network’s site and scrolling through my list of recipes saved on the computer. Inevitably I will choose MAYBE one recipe from these lists and we’ll settle on easier meals like “grilled chicken” instead of something from a recipe.

After the meals list is made we figure out what we have and what needs to go on the grocery list (you’ll notice I am using the “we” term here… Stu’s job is to watch TV on the couch while I make these lists and occasionally say “sure that sounds good”). We’re easy eaters for breakfast… cereal. Lunch for Kaden is either leftovers or a sandwich and grapes or watermelon. Stu takes leftovers and I eat soup or whatever I can create (this usually means either garlic paste with Arabic bread or a French baguette sliced and topped with some Gruyere cheese). But for dinner I try to cook something every week night. Our grocery list contains EXACTLY what we need. But, because of the inflated prices of food here, we still spend over a hundred bucks a week for two and a half people. We buy NO pre-made meals (mostly because they don’t sell them) and most of our cart is produce and baby stuff. Since we spend almost $20 on a pack of 70 diapers, and $16 for a can of formula, usually the bulk of our spending is on baby stuff. Even wipes run pretty expensive here. But every time one of the “experts” comes on TV I get all excited, hoping for new tips, usually to no avail (and I’m not freaking making my own bread when it’s less than 50 cents here).

Anyway, so here is our menu for the week, feel free to steal ideas. We don’t pick what day it will be on, we usually decide during the day which one we feel like having that evening.

Day 1: Grilled Steak, mashed potatoes, and frozen mixed vegetables.
Day 2: Three-Cheese chicken pasta bake (recipe follows), mini garlic toasts, and frozen corn.
Day 3: Hamburgers with cheese, tomato and lettuce, French fries.
Day 4: Rice, peas, and hamburger skillet meal.
Day 5: Chinese food meal (fried rice, steamed chicken wontons, sweet-and-sour chicken)

So, this I invented last night and it was pretty good. I call it 3-Cheese Chicken Pasta bake!

3-Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake:

1 lb. uncooked chicken, cut up into bite-sized cubes
3 cups uncooked spiral pasta noodles
½ cup chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
½ Jar of pasta sauce (I used traditional Ragu)
Basil seasoning
½ cup Sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1) Boil water for noodles, add noodles, cook until tender. Drain, set aside.
2) In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add onions and garlic and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add to drained pasta. In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil and add chicken. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook until no longer pink, add to pasta mixture. Add a little sauce at a time to the pasta mixture until desired amount is achieved. Sprinkle with basil seasoning and mozzarella cheese, stir. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and top with parmesan cheese.
3) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whatever-We-Have Pizza

Stu and I LOVE to make homemade pizza, but sometimes you don't have the traditional "pizza" fixin's. So we started doing "pizza night" on Fridays and we would watch a movie while we ate. (Good date night idea too, for those who are searching) The problem with this set-up is that you will inevitably NOT have one or SEVERAL of the typical ingredients. So here is our version of pizza night!

S&S Homemade Pizza:

1 pizza crust (we head to Winco, Papa John's, or just buy frozen... but if you can get one pre-made from a pizza shop, it's going to be the best)

Assorted Veggies from your fridge, we use any combination of the following :
button mushrooms
white, red, or green onions (or all three!)
roasted garlic
bell peppers or any variety
spinach (use fresh baby spinach and but it into strips for best results)
tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
yellow squash

Meat: This is where it gets fun, you can either use just veggies, or any leftover meat you have. My personal favorite is the pull the leftovers from a deli roasted chicken and use that. Make sure that any meat you use has already been cooked. We love the little ham slices you can get pre-packaged at the store. Try using seafood too!

Cheese: We usually stick with mozzarella, but we've also tried adding cheddar, feta, parmesan, and Swiss.

For the sauce: (either use a canned sauce, or try my variation of a "white sauce")
1/2 package of cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I use the stuff in the jar, OR mince it myself, whatever you have time for)
Ranch dressing


1) Preheat oven to 425 (F).
2) Spread the pizza dough out on a floured pizza stone or a baking sheet; stab it all over with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming when it is baking.
3) For the sauce, combine the cream cheese and garlic in a bowl and stir. Add a few teaspoons of Ranch at a time, stir and taste. Add more until you get your own desired taste.
4) Spread the sauce all over the pizza dough.
5) Sprinkle cheese over the dough, not to thick, you don't need as much as you'd think.
6) Top with any or all of the above veggies and add your choice of meat.
7) Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pizza. Watch it carefully. Pizza is done when the edges are lightly browned and cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Tips for this recipe:
- make sure you slice all of your veggies very thinly so they do not hold in too much water and make your pizza runny on top
- Do not use too many ingredients. Try to pick four or five ingredients to top the pizza with so it is not too thick and the flavors complement each other.
- Let pizza stand for a few minutes before cutting it. It will hold together better this way.
- For families with picky eaters, separate the dough into smaller rounds for personal pizzas and let each member top their pizza with their favorites.
- Try doing a half-and-half pizza with different toppings on each side of the pizza. (Or for ML and Jeff, BIG pieces of food on one side, and smaller chopped pieces on the other!)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pepper Chicken

This dish is so easy and actually leaves your baked chicken moist! I am one of those people who can never bake chicken breasts without them turning out dry, so this is the perfect recipe if you're like me!

Pepper Chicken:

4 uncooked chicken breasts
1/2 one white onion, thinly sliced
2 cups bell peppers, sliced (we use red, green, and yellow, but use what you have!)
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. basil seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 350 (F). Line a baking pan with foil (minimizes clean-up). Drizzle the foil with olive oil.
2) Sprinkle baking pan with some of the black pepper and basil. Lay the chicken breasts on the foil.
3) Drizzle the chicken with oil, using a spoon or brush to evenly coat.
4) Sprinkle with remaining seasoning. Spreaf the onions and peppers over the chicken.
5) Cover the pan with another layer of foil and seal the sides. Bake 30-45 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear.

Tips for this recipe:

- Make sure to use plenty of oil, (don't drown the chicken) it will be more juicier this way.
- We eat this with rice and a side of veggies and it is a huge hit in our family.

Crab Cakes (for Shelly :))

Ok, like Shelly I have had a REALLY hard time finding a recipe for Crab Cakes that are really good. This one is a start, though I still don’t think it is perfect:

Crab Cakes:

1 lb. of crabmeat, picked free of shells (you can also use imitation, as I had to last time, the flavor isn’t quite as good, but they still turn out pretty good)
1/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers
3 green onions, finely chopped (both the green and white parts)
1 egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise (you may need a little more)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash of chili or cayenne powder (to taste)
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup of vegetable oil, for frying.

1) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except flour and oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.

2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully place cakes into pan and fry until browned (about 4 minutes) then flip and fry for 3-4 more minutes until brown.

3) Remove from pan to paper towels. Serve warm with Avocado Sauce (recipe to follow).

Spicy Avocado Crab Cake Sauce:

1/2 medium California avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each, salt and sugar
dash of chili powder, to taste
1/4 cup milk

Stir ingredients together slowly, leaving some chunks of avocado if you like. Add more chili powder for extra kick. Serve with crab cakes.


Broccoli Soup

All of my recipes that I post will be adaptations from other recipes. I almost never like how recipes turn out when I follow them to the letter, so I have changed, simplified, and perfected my recipes so you don't have to!

Broccoli Soup:

1 Pound of fresh broccoli florets
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 large garlic cloves, chopped or minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and cook over moderate heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.

2) Add the broccoli and water and bring to a boil. Simmer of moderate heat until the broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes.

3) Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper, blend again and taste. Add more as needed.

Tips for this recipe:
- Serve with canned Grands biscuits for a complete, filling meal.
- Stu likes this soup to be a little more chunky so try pulsing the ingredients in the blender to get a nice chop, without pureeing. It is good too.
- Kaden Approved and Tested: Serve to young children on a split open biscuit, spread on like a jam. Cut up for the younger ones. Mine loved it!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sydney's Sweet and Sour Chicken:

1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/4 cup flour, and a little salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup sliced white or yellow onion

1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper

1/2 cup slices red bell pepper (throw in yellow pepper if you like it as well... I usually use any combination of bell peppers that I have on-hand)

one medium carrot cut into small pieces (or grated... I tried this last time and it was really good too)

2 garlic cloves, minced (or chopped, whatever)

1 cup pineapple chunks (I use fresh since it's so easy to come by here, but canned are fine too)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar (I use balsamic because I love it so much)

1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger root (either fresh or powdered... I tried powdered last time and it was still just as good)


1) put the cut up chicken into a large ziplock bag with the flour (can add some salt and pepper to taste, I'd say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each), shake it up well to coat.

2) In about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute the chicken until slightly brown (it will cook a little longer in the sauce so don't worry if it is still slightly pink inside.

3) remove the chicken and set it aside, rinse pan, add about one more tablespoon of olive oil and sauce the vegetables (onion, peppers, carrot, garlic)

4) add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, add the chicken back to the mixture and bring to a boil until chicken is cooked through and flavors have had a chance to blend well... about ten minutes.

5) I add about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of ketchup to give it that red color you typically see at Chinese restaurants. It is purely cosmetic, but you can also use it to balance the flavors if you are having a hard time making it taste right... be sure to test the flavor before you serve. Add a little more soy, brown sugar, or even ketchup to balance.

Tips for this recipe:

- Remember that brown sugar is your best friend here... it is perfect at making too much soy more mild tasting.

-Serve over brown rice.

Chicken Chimichangas

Sydney's Chicken Chimichangas:

1 -2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/2 white onion, chopped

1 small can of chopped green chiles (or cut up the whole ones if that is what you have)

1/4 cup cooked white or brown rice

1/2 cup chredded fat free cheddar cheese, divided

salt and pepper to taste

1 package flour tortillas

oil for frying

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) In a large bowl, combine onion, chiles, cooled rice, 1/4 cup of the cheese, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3) Season cubed chicken with salt and pepper and cook in small amount of olive oil until lightly browned, remove from heat and add to other ingredients in bowl. Stir well.

4) Place a heaping spoonful of the mixture into the center of each tortillas and fold corners in and roll into a pouch.

5) In a small frying pan, add about 1/4 inch of oil for frying, heat over medium heat. Test the oil with a tiny piece of a tortilla. When it lightly bubbles and floats to the top, the oil is hot enough.

6) One roll at a time, place the fold side down in the oil, turning once. Fry about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels. Finish remaining rolls.

7) Place all fried chimichangas on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Put in oven 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

Sydney's Fried Rice and Egg Foo Yung

These were posted on the other blog but I decided they should go here too in case you wanted to try them!

Sydney’s Fried Rice:

2 cups cooked white rice
½ small white onion, or two medium scallions, chopped
¾ cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 TBSP olive oil
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
Soy sauce
Salt and pepper

1) 1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and rice. Stir and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2) Reduce heat to medium and add vegetables to rice mixture. Cook 2-4 minutes until veggies are warmed through.

3) Spread the mixture out to the sides of the pan, leaving space in the middle for the eggs.

4) Add the eggs, and scramble until cooked firm.

5) Mix the eggs with the rice and vegetables, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir.

6) Sprinkle very lightly with soy sauce and stir well, taste to see if it needs more. Do not add too much, it really needs very little.

Sydney’s Egg Foo Yung:
6 Eggs
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
¼ cups chopped mushrooms
½ cup already cooked frozen shrimp, thawed
1 TBSP soy sauce
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Egg Foo Yung Sauce:

½ cup water
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 chicken bouillon cube

1) For the sauce, heat the water and soy until hot, crumble the bouillon cube into the water, stir. Keep warm over low heat.

2) Wisk the eggs in a large bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, soy sauce, stir.

3) Add onions, mushrooms, and shrimp (or any other meat you have on hand) to the mixture and stir to combine.

4) Heat a small pan over medium heat, add about 1 TBSP olive oil and then add half of the mixture to the pan, allowing eggs to set.

5) Cook about 4 minutes until the eggs are slightly brown. Flip with a spatula. Cook until eggs are fully cooked. Repeat process with the remaining mixture. Makes two large servings.

Serve with or over the fried rice, spooning the sauce over the dish, as desired.