Saturday, November 6, 2010

Arroz Caldo

Whew! I'm finally caught up with all the meals and I'm now up to date.  October has been a really busy month and I didn't even make a meal plan for that month either.  The first week of November has already passed and I haven't started one for this month either so I'm kind of behind already.  I'll try to get on it with a meal plan for this month in the next few days. 

In any case I have a recipe that isn't on the meal plan at all.  With the fall weather already starting it's soup season for us.  One of my favorites to make is something called Arroz Caldo which is pretty much like a chicken gruel soup made with rice.  This is something that I make with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or from stripping a Costco rotisserie chicken.  When it's all done, this fills you up with warm goodness and it's a major plus since my toddler loves it.  I just made a big pot of that today since we hosted UH Warrior football game at our home and the pot's all empty.  This is so simple to make that I'm sure one of you will enjoy.  Here is my modified recipe and picture to share.

1 Costco rotisserie chicken stripped and meat shredded
4 cups cooked rice
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 medium piece ginger, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cans chicken broth
1 bunch green onion, chopped
4 tbsp. patis

Cook onion, garlic, and ginger in some oil til onions are tender.  Add shredded chicken and patis and mix.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add rice and green onion and mix well.  Season with pepper and simmer until broth has thickened.  Add more broth if needed if you want it to be more soupy.

September 2010 Meal #26: Taco Crescent Bake

I skipped over to Meal #26 which was as Taco Crescent Bake since it was too soon from when we ate chicken for dinner.  I also eventually decided to scrap the whole Beef Wellington idea since I didn't realize how much a beef tenderloin cost.  Anyway I chose this recipe from my casserole cookbook that I've been experimenting with and this was too was really easy to make.  Here's the recipe and picture to share.

1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 cups crushed corn chips, divided
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 envelop taco seasoning
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Unroll crescent dough into a rectangle; press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 13"x9"x2" baking dish.  Seal seams and perforations.  Sprinkle with 1 cup chips; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Spoon over chips.  Top with sour cream, cheese, and remaining chips.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

September 2010 Meal #23: Baked Salmon w/Crab Replaced w/Baked Salmon w/Mushrooms

For Meal #23 I had planned to make Baked Salmon with Crab topping but the only "crab" I had was imitation crab.  This reminded me of the Baked Crab Casserole I made a little while ago and wasn't really feeling on making something like that as a topping.  So I just went to my go to Baked Salmon recipe with mushrooms and onions.  I forgot to take a picture but it's really yummy and I'll try to remember to take a picture next time I make this.

2 lbs. salmon fillet, skin off and without bones
1/2 cup onions, chopped
3 cups white mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
garlic salt
lemon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place salmon fillet into a 13"x9"x2" baking dish.  Season with garlic salt and lemon pepper.  Spread mayonnaise evenly all over salmon.  Sprinkle with onions and mushrooms.  Drizzle shoyu all over.  Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

September 2010 Meal #22: Pinakbet

I guess I've been getting in touch with my inner Filipino self and been making a lot of Filipino dishes recently.  For Meal #22 I decided to make Pinakbet for dinner since this as well I haven't made in a while either.  I think the reason why I don't make it often is because I have to trek to the Asian/Filipino grocer that isn't close to my home.  But since I had to go to that part of town I figure I make this for dinner.  My toddler actually liked eating it and didn't really notice of all the veggies he was eating.  It doesn't quite taste the same as home cooked pinakbet from back home in Hawaii but it was close enough.  Oh one funny thing happened while I was preparing this, the tomatoes that I thought I had had rotted and I really didn't want to run to the store for fresh tomatoes.  So I searched my pantry and actually found a can of diced tomatoes and it worked just as fine as fresh ones.  No taste difference at all :o).  So here's the recipe and picture to share.

2 lbs. pork chuck steak, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 bunch long beans, ends cut off and thrown away, break bean into about 3-4 inch pieces
2 medium sized Japanese eggplant, sliced into bite sized pieces
2 cups okra, cut in halves
2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced
2-4 tbsp. patis (fish sauce) depending on taste
1/2 cup dried shrimp
2 cups chicharon, broken into pieces
salt and pepper

Brown pork in oil with garlic.  Add onions and cook til tender.  Add about 1 1/2 cup water bring to boil.  Add patis and all veggies. Mix and let simmer.  Add dried shrimp and chicharon  and mix.  Add more patis and/or water to taste if needed.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Cook til veggies are tender.

September 2010 Meal #21: Chicken Long Rice

This is also one of my favorites to eat and make especially during our cold fall and winter months.  Meal #21 which is called Chicken Long Rice is a local Hawaii favorite and is pretty much like a "Hawaiian Chicken Noodle Soup".  This is really easy to make and I'm sure that your family will enjoy it.  The "long rice" are bean thread noodles that are clear and can be found at at Asian grocer or in the Asian foods aisle at your local grocer.  Here is a recipe that I've modified over the years and I'm certain there are other variations of this recipe as well.

3 lbs. chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 medium piece ginger, cut into chunks
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water & sliced when soft or 2 cups fresh white mushrooms, sliced
2 cans chicken broth (more maybe needed since noodles soak up liquid)
2 pkgs. long rice (bean thread noodles)

Brown chicken and garlic in some oil.  Add onions and cook until slightly tender. Add chicken broth and ginger and bring to boil.  Add long rice and let it soak in broth to get soft.  Add more cans of broth if needed.  Add mushrooms and green onions stirring to mix.  Add pepper and shoyu to taste.

September 2010 Meal #20: Shrimp Scampi

I got Meal #20 which was Shrimp Scampi from one of my favorite Hawaii local cookbook "What Hawaii Likes to Eat".  Another easy and quick meal to prepare and my little one liked it alot.  Here's the recipe and a picture to share too.

1/4 cup butter
1 clove butter, crushed
7 shrimp, shelled and deveined leaving tails on
3 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can (14.5 oz.) whole tomatoes
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
garlic salt to taste
1/2 tbsp. white wine
2 oz. dried fettuccine, cooked according to package directions

Heat butter in pan with garlic.  Add shrimp and cook until shrimp curls.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic slat to taste; simmer 2 minutes.  Add wine and reduce.  Serve Scampi over cooked pasta.

September 2010 Meal #19: Pork & Balatong (Mung Beans)

I rarely make this Filipino dish and is one of my faves to eat when we visit a Filipino restaurant back home in Hawaii.  For Meal #19 I made something called Pork & Balatong (Mung Beans) that tastes good with some hot rice.  I've seen three different kind of packaged mung beans which are available whole, split, or split and peeled.  In this dish I ended up using the split and peeled beans since this is what available at the nearest Asian grocer near me.   Here is the recipe to share with you.

1-2 lbs. pork chuck steak, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup split & peeled mung bean
1 cup chicharon (pork rinds), broken into pieces
1/2 cup dried shrimp

Brown pork and garlic with some oil.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Add 4 cups water and mung beans.  Add patis and pepper to your liking.  Add  chicharon and dried shrimp.  Let simmer until beans are cooked through adding more water if needed.  Enjoy!

September 2010 Meal #18: Pot Roast & Veggies Replaced By Beef Curry Stew

Meal #18 was supposed to be Pot Roast and Veggies that I wanted to cook in  the crockpot.  When I gathered my ingredients I realized I was missing some Lipton Onion Soup seasoning.  So at the last minute I decided to make a Beef Curry Stew.  This is actually something that my hubby admittedly makes better than me but after 10 years of watching him make it I figure I can make it just the same.  It actually turned out just as good as he makes it and it's super yummy and easy to make. Sorry again no picture to share.

2-3 lbs. chuck roast, cut into cubes
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 cup carrot, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups potato, cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 large or 2 small pkgs. S&B curry sauce

Brown meat with flour, some shoyu, pepper, and some oil.  Add all veggies and cook til semi tender.  Add enough water according to the curry packaging. Break apart curry blocks and add to pot.  Stir until curry has been dissolved.  Let simmer till soup base has thickened and veggies are tender.  Serve over hot rice and enjoy!

September 2010 Meal #17: Miki

Meal #17 which was a Filipino dish called Miki is one of my favorites that I've only learned how to make in the recent years.  I loved eating the Miki that my BFF's mom would make at family gatherings and she would never divulge her recipe.  For some reason I never thought of searching for a recipe online or elsewhere until I happen to stumble upon it on the HECO (Hawaiian Electric Company) website while looking for another recipe.  The recipe I found is really simple and tried it for the first time a few years ago.  I've since then modified it a little to my liking and have become a favorite to make at home. Sorry I forgot to take a pic but will try to remember the next time I make it again.

1 pkg (9 oz) dry udon (wide Japanese noodles)

1/2 lb thinly sliced lean pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb shrimp, cleaned, shelled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
1 lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tablespoon patis (clear fish sauce)
1 teaspoon achuete (lipstick plant) powder
2 cups hot water
3 cans (14.5 oz size) chicken broth
2 pkg (2 oz size) long rice, soaked in water and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped chives

Cook udon noodles according to package directions; drain. In a large wok or sauce pot, brown pork and garlic. Add shrimp, chicken, and patis; stir-fry until shrimp turn pink. Dissolve achuete powder in the hot water; add to wok. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. To wok, add chicken broth and bring to a boil; add cooked noodles, long rice, salt, and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add chives just before serving. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
If desired, slivered shiitake mushrooms can be substituted for the shrimp.

September 2010 Meal #16: Shoyu/Sesame Ahi

I haven't eaten or made this particular meal in about 10 years, which means since I've moved away from home in Hawaii.  For Meal #16 I made Seared Ahi w/a Shoyu & Sesame Oil sauce and it turned out as good as it could get.  The only reason I say that is because since we live in Oregon we don't get fresh ahi like we would in Hawaii.  I have to settle for frozen ahi which can be a little pricey.  I found some decent ones at the grocery store that I frequent and it looked really pink for being frozen.  So I decided to experiment with that and made this dish.

2-4 lbs. ahi steaks
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
garlic salt
sesame oil
oil for frying

Heat oil in pan.  Season fish with pepper and garlic salt.  Sear on each side for 30 seconds.  Drain on paper towel.  Drizzle with shoyu and sesame oil.  Garnish with green onions.

September 2010 Meal #15: Roast Pork w/Gravy

For Meal #15 I decided to make Roast Pork with Gravy since I hadn't made it in a while.  Really easy to make and doesn't take much effort either.  Here's my easy version that I learned from my dad and mom.

5-6 lbs. boneless pork shoulder or butt
2 tbsp. garlic, ,minced
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Massage garlic entirely onto pork. Season with pepper and garlic salt.  Place into 13x9x2 baking pan.  Add about 3/4 water.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 2 hours.  Cool when done and slice into serving pieces.  Serve with pork gravy (I just used packaged gravy).

September 2010 Meal #14: Beef Broccoli

Meal #14 which was Beef Broccoli is really easy to make and in fact I don't know why I don't make this often.  Depending on my mood I make different variations of this with different kinds of sauces.  I sometimes use a packaged beef broccoli sauce or use some Yoshida sauce or make it from scratch.  This particular night though I ended up using a packaged sauce and I unfortunately can't remember what brand I used.  All I remember is that it required to be mixed with some water and shoyu in addition with adding the meat and veggies.  I don't have a picture to share this yummy creation but here is the recipe for what I made.

2-3 lbs. steak, sliced
2-3 cups broccoli, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, sliced
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
2-3 cups white mushrooms, sliced
2 pkgs. beef broccoli sauce, prepare as directed

Brown steak with garlic in oil until meat is cooked.  Add onions and cook til soft.  Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook til semi soft.  Add sauce, stir and let simmer til veggies are tender.

September 2010 Meal #13: Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

This was my first time making gumbo ever and it turned out pretty good.  For Meal #13 I made Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.  I strayed away from making gumbo before since I figured it took too long to make but with this particular recipe it didn't take much time. I found this recipe in the cookbook "Garden of Flowers" which was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Playmate School on Oahu.  I found this cookbook of all places at a Powell's Used Bookstore here in Oregon and never used it til now.  Here's the recipe to share.

1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1" slices
4-6 lbs. chicken, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp. oil
1 stick butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 box frozen okra , thawed
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. green onion, chopped
3-4 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
salt, black pepper, & cayenne pepper to taste

Make a roux by melting butter in a heavy pot; add olive oil and flour, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture turns golden brown.  (Will take 10-15 minutes)  Stir in onion, celery, bell pepper, and cook on low heat unit onions are soft.  Stir in garlic and green onions to mixture and cook until soft.  Add water, chicken broth and season to taste.  Bring to boil.  Mix in chicken, sausage, and okra and simmer 1-2 hours.  Serve in soup bowls over rice or by itself.  Some like it thick as stew and others prefer it thin as soup.  To thicken, add more flour and to to thin, add more water.

Here is how it turned out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

September 2010 Meal #12: Shrimp Carbonara

One of my favorite things to eat is SEAFOOD!  I would rather eat seafood than a nice juicy steak.  So it was only fitting that I prepare a meal consisting of shrimp for Meal #12 which was Shrimp Carbonara.  I didn't exactly follow the recipe since it instructed you to blend of of the ingredients into a blender.  I didn't want to bust out the blender only to take it apart to clean it, yeah I know lazy me ;p

I forgot to take a picture of this since it was so YUMMY!  Maybe I'll remember next time as I want to add more seafood to it  like scallops, crab, and such.  Here is the recipe for you to try out.

2 lbs. 41/60 ct. shrimp, peeled and deveined
9 slices bacon, diced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil.
2 onion, diced
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup peas
10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
1-8 oz. pkg. linguine, cooked

Cook bacon and drain, reserving three tbsp. bacon fat in pan,  Saute onions and garlic until cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add heavy cream and simmer until reduced in half.  Add Parmesan cheese, salt and white pepper.  Blend together in a blender for 2 minutes or until pureed.  Cook linguine according to package directions.  In a hot saute pan, cook shrimp in vegetable oil for three minutes.  Add peas, blended carbonara sauce and basil.  Add linguine and toss until coated with sauce.  Serve immediately.

September 2010 Meal #11: Quickie Salisbury Steak

For Meal #11 which was Quickie Salisbury Steak I got it from my local Hawaii cookbooks called "Ohana Style Cookbook".  It's a really easy dish to make and it turned out pretty good.  The only negative thing about it was that I put too much chopped onions (I have a weird love/hate relationship with onions).  Otherwise, I'd use this recipe again using less onions ;p.  Here's the recipe to share.

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 dry bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup water

Mix 1/4 cup of cream of mushroom soup and remaining ingredients (except water); mix thoroughly.  Shape into patties and place in a shallow baking dish.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Spoon off fat.

Mix remaining soup and water, pour over meat.  Bake 10 minutes longer.

September 2010 Meal 10: Eggplant Sausage Casserole

Out of my casserole cookbook I found another recipe to try for Meal #10 that was Eggplant Sausage Casserole.  This turned out really good and might make it again sometime.  Here's the recipe for you to try out.

1 pkg. (1 lb.) penne pasta
2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp paprika
1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded part-skin mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Set sausage aside.

In the same skillet, saute the eggplant onion and garlic in oil.  Stire in the tomatoes tomato paste, salt, basil and paprika; simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.  remove from the heat drain pasta; stir into eggplant mixture.  Add sausage.

Spread half of the sausage mixture in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.  Spread with ricotta cheese.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese and remaining sausage mixture.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Baker 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

September 2010 Meal #9: Chinese Roast Chicken

For Meal #9 that was Chinese Roast Chicken I never got to eat. I defrosted the chicken and nearly forgot about it.  I already had the marinade and decided to prepare it for the baby shower that was being held at our home.  The marinade I used was the NOH Chinese Roast Chicken that looks like this below.

I used chicken thighs and marinaded it for several hours until it was time to BBQ it for the baby shower.  There was an abundance of other good food that I forgot to grab a bite of this chicken.  According to the package directions you can roast or BBQ it.  My husband said that it didn't have much flavor but then again the person in charge of BBQ'g kind of burnt it anyway.  So the next time I use this particular seasoning I'll try the baking method.  Hope it turns out better for someone else. ;o)

I Want Candy!

For the baby shower I mentioned just a bit ago I made some candy favors to giveaway.  I made White Chocolate Pretzels that have a good balance of sweet and salty.  I used to make these back home in Hawaii once in a great while and before I became a SAHM here in Oregon I used to make these as Christmas treats for my co-workers.  Since I hadn't made these in a while I figure what better time than now.  They are really easy to make and inexpensive too.  I used to eyeball the amount of ingredients but found a much better recipe from one of my local Hawaii cookbooks "Local Style: Cooking With A Mainland Flair" that was a Project Graduation 2006 for Moanalua High School.  Here's the recipe and a few pictures of the making process. Enjoy!

1 lb. white chocolate (I use 2-12 oz. packages of chocolate since 1 lb. seems a little dry)
10-ounce low salt, buttered pretzel sticks
2 cups Rice Krispies

Melt chocolate in microwave bowl 6-8 minutes on defrost setting (be careful not to burn; chocolate will still look solid).

Break apart pretzels and mix with Rice Krispies.  Pour melted chocolate over pretzel-cereal mixture.  Mix well, making sure treats are covered well.  Scoop mixture, while chocolate is still hot, into baking (cupcake) cups.  Treats will harden in 10-15 minutes.

Recipe says it makes 2 dozen cups.  This last batch I made was 30 cups, it all depends how much you put into the cupcake cups.  After putting them into the cups I like to add colored sprinkles, it's all up to you what kind you put depending on the occasion that you are giving them for.

2 pkgs. white chocolate

2 cups Rice Krispies

10-ounce Pretzels broken up

White chocolate already heated in the micro...see how it still keeps it shape? Don't worry it's fine, the chips underneath are the ones that were really melted in the process.  When adding them to the cereal and pretzel mixture the rest will melt.

Everything all mixed up.

Ready for consumption.

It's A Baby Shower!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of throwing a friend's baby shower.  They already have two adorable boys and baby #3 was going to be a SURPRISE!  I've been used to knowing what gender I'm working with when I create baby shower gifts so it makes the process simpler with the specific pink for girls and blue for boys.  Not this time since I had to work with gender neutral colors and I found it to be a little more challenging to keep the color and print selection in the middle.  Nonetheless I like the challenge since it allows me to think more openly and I got to peruse more of the fabric section at Joann's, which by the way made my eyes go O_O in delight LOL.

Since I've been making alot of the onesie cupcakes and washcloth lollipops for recent gifts, I wanted to make another diaper wreath in addition try my hand in making fabric panelled burp cloths, a diaper pouch, and a blanket.  I can't remember where exactly I found the site where I learned how to construct a diaper wreath, all I did was Google "How to make a diaper wreath?" and a plethora of information came up.  I learned how to create the simple to do diaper burp cloths from the blog Chickpea Sewing Studio and she has other great tutorials as well.  Here's the tutorial link.

I also tried my hand in making a diaper clutch and I found a great tutorial on the blog site Diary of a Quilter.  I followed her tutorial exactly with the exception that I added a small handle on the side to attach a clip if wanted.  Here's the tutorial link.

As for the blanket, all I did was get 1-yard of printed flannel, 1-yard of super plush material, and enough satin binding and sewed the two 1-yard pieces with the binding on the edges.  Here are the results of my baby gifts to Baby Boy or Girl that we can't wait to meet.  Oh, also mommy was very happy to receive these very special gifts and the color of the material was perfect since she likes the color brown ^_^

Diaper Clutch

Diaper Burp Cloths

Baby Blanket

Diaper Wreath

Thursday, October 14, 2010

September 2010 Meal #8: Crab Supreme

Meal #8: Crab Supreme was also from my casserole cookbook.  I ended up making double the recipe and it turned out too rich because of the mayonnaise it called for.  I would suggest that you stick to the actual measurements or else it becomes more like a dip rather than an actual dinner meal.

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced green pepper
3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb. fresh or canned crab meat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed or 1 cup imitation crab meat, flaked
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Dash hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
Dask paprika

In a small saucepan saute onion and green pepper in 2 tbsp. butter.  Stir in flour until blended; gradually stir in the milk.  Add chili powder and salt.  Bring to boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Remove from the hear; stir in the crab, mayonnaise, and hot pepper sauce.

Transfer to a greased shallow 1-qt. baking dish.  Melt the remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs.  Sprinkle over crab mixture.  Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with paprika.

September 2010 Meal #7: Spaghetti Goulash

Meal #7: Spaghetti Goulash was found in my supermarket checkout stand cookbook of casseroles.  This turned out alright except that it was a little dry.  I believe I just made too much noodles and not enough sauce.  Hopefully if one of you try it out it will turn out better for you.

1 pkg. (16 oz.) thin spaghetti, broken in half
3/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cane (14-1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes
1 bottle (12 oz.) chili sauce
1 can (8 oz.) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.  In a large skillet, cook the beef, sausage, green pepper, and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add the tomatoes; cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in the chili sauce, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and spaghetti.

Transfer to a greases 4-qt. baking dish or two greased 2-qt. baking dishes.  Sprinkle wit cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.

September 2010 Meal #6: Baby Back Ribs

I didn't prepare Meal #6: Baby Back Ribs, my husband did.  In the early part of summer we went to our local Saturday farmer's market at the Hillsboro Saturday Market and found a vendor that sold BBQ sauce.  This vendor was called Bette Jo's and they had several of their sauces out for sample.  The one in particular that we enjoyed was the Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce and that just enough heat for me to tolerate since I'm a wimp in hot spices.  It was $6.00 for a 12 fl. oz. bottle and we were willing to try it out for the upcoming summer bbq season. 

So that had to be early or mid May I am assuming when we purchased the BBQ sauce.  Fast forward to the beginning of September when we finally ended up using that bottle of sauce and slathering it on a rack of pork ribs.  I really don't know what took so long for us to bust open that bottle but when we finally did that rack of ribs was sure yummy.

My husband doesn't do anything special  to prepare pork ribs.  He just simply seasons the rack and bakes it in the oven and the sauce is slathered all over it and adds more if needed.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture to prove how yummy this turned out, but just imagine a nice rack of yummy bbq sauced pork goodness ;p.  Also, I won't provide a recipe for this either since it was basically sauce slathered over meat and baked at 400 degrees for one hour.

However, please do check them out at the farmer's market and on their site!

September 2010 Meal #5: Chicken Masala & Roti Chapati

Wow it's been a LONG time since I've actually updated since I'm still on Meal #5: Chicken Masala & Roti Chapati.  I'll make this quick and simple and just post the recipe without too much extra commentary since there's lots to catch up on.

The Masala sauce I found at our local Costco so I really don't know if it's available at other locations as well.  It's pretty much a Indian curry sauce and they come in different kinds of varieties flavors and spices.  I bought I think a 32 oz. container and basically added chicken and vegetables and served over hot basmati rice.  I also got the Roti Chapati bread from Costco, it was the closest thing to naan bread that I found.  They were uncooked flattened dough that looked like tortillas, all I had to do was warm them up in a frying pan until it was cooked on both sides.  Used them to dip into the Masala sauce and it's slightly sweet taste accompanied the curry well.

3 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken thigh, cut up into pieces
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
32 oz. Masala sauce
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
1 small bag of frozen peas and diced carrots
salt & pepper

Brown chicken and garlic with some oil till cooked through.  Add onions and cook til soft.  Add Masala sauce, mushrooms, and frozen peas and carrots.  Mix thoroughly and let simmer.  Cook until frozen veggies are heated through and tender.  Serve over hot basmati rice or rice of your preference.

It's Been Nearly A Month...

It's been nearly a month since I've last blogged and that was just for a giveaway I tried to win for.  Lots has happened since then and I have lots to blog about.  Been caught up with planning a baby shower for some dear friends and I got to create a few new things for their baby, which I'll get to post eventually.  I have been keeping up with the most recent meal plan but haven't had the chance to post the recipes/meals.  There aren't much pics of them since my hubbys DSLR is gone on the blink and is in the shop as we speak.  I tried to take some pics with my regular p/s camera and phone camera when I could remember, but of course the quality isn't as great.  I don't even remember where I last left off on the menu, but eh I'll do what I can do in updating it.  As for October's Menu Plan, I'll just continue to work through September's Menu Plan until I run out of meals and create one for November.

During my little hiatus me and my lil booger got to go to Denver, CO for the very first time.  My brother accepted a transfer position from Maui to Denver, so I went there to help him settle in.  There are a few pics that I took of places we went but I missed out taking pics of the Bronco's Stadium and where The Rockie's play at.  I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time we'll be going to Denver to visit my brother, so there's always going to be more picture opportunities.

So enough of me blabbing on, I'll get to work on updating some posts with some recipes and I'm sure some of you have been jonesing for ;o)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Posh Pixels Design Studio Giveaway

Posh Pixels Design Studio having a giveaway of Bakerella's Cake Pops book and a cake pop kit. Go to Posh Pixels site and enter to win.  There are seven different ways to enter, the more you enter the more chances you have to win. 

Click the link above to go directly to the giveaway! You have until Thursday, September 23, 2010 before 11:00pm (EST) to enter. Good luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Little Rascal...

I'm talking about my two year old toddler who sometimes thinks he's five.  Today on my Facebook status I wrote:

"Micah's highlights today: "stealing" those round size tag things from hangers while at Ross (found a bunch in his carseat cup holder), walking in the grocery parking lot & he decides to stomp his foot into a puddle splashing really dirty water all over my foot (I was wearing slippahs), & lastly his nightly fart in my face while I get him changed after his bath. The end!"

While browsing through Ross he picked up all the size tags on the floor and hit them in his jeans pockets.  When we left to go to another destination and I took him out of his carseat, I found his little handful of tags in his carseat cup holder.

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs and Micah stepped in puddles which I didn't really mind too much since I wore boots.  Today it was a little sunnier so I wore slippahs when we ran errands but Micah wore some sneakers.  We were walking towards the entrance to the grocery store and a puddle was in our path.  I steered him away from the puddle but he stuck his foot out and stomped right into it.  Dark dirty water all over my foot!

Living in a house with all males and that also includes our Maltese dog, I am surrounded with male bodily function humor.  It was only fitting that Micah would soon pick up that male humor.  He thinks its hilarious to fart and especially after I bath him.  He will tell me, "Mama I futt in yo hand mama! Ha ha!"  If it doesn't come out naturally, this kid will force it out.  His favorite time to surprise me with one is when I remove his bath towel and he blasts one straight at me.

With all the little rascal boy things he does I can't help but smile and laugh.  He's my one and only "Lil Booger" as I call him, his smile and dimples just melt me to pieces.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Think I'm In Love w/Anastacia...

The Hollywood eyebrow guru that is...LOL!  A few months ago I went to Sephora on the hunt for the Anastacia Eyebrow Kit but I wasn't about to buy it for $100+ with all the extra goodies in it.  All I wanted and needed were the eyebrow stencils and for $20 it was a dun deal.  I had read somewhere that these stencils worked really well in shaping your eyebrows and Lord knows I needed that help.  Since I no longer go to a professional waxer to cut costs in this darn economy I've succumbed to waxing and tweezing my own eyebrows again. 

I admit I can go weeks without maintaining them and I end up losing the shape so I end up over plucking or not plucking in the right spots.  Weird as it may sound I tend to check out people's eyebrows so see how they're shaped and I really envy those who have perfectly groomed and shaped eyebrows.  I've even considered tattooing my eyebrows but I'm too chicken and afraid of it looking so fake, even worse it's permanent. 

So anyway I bought the Anastacia Eyebrow Stencils a few months back and tried them.  Guess I didn't try hard enough since I couldn't figure out to get the shape correctly so I gave up.  Now fast foward about seven months later and I gave it another try.  By golly I think it finally worked!  Granted I may have again over plucked a little and the ends my of eyebrows are a little sparse to begin with, but with some eyebrow filler (I use the Laura Mercier Brow Definer) everything looks nice and tidy.  I just did this tonight without putting on my full blown makeup battle gear on so things could be a little different when I try to recreate the shape at a later time. 

So as of right now I am saying I think I'm on love with Anastacia for helping me re-shape my eyebrows.  If there's another post about this then you'll know something went wrong.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

These Boots Were Made For Walking....

I finally found a pair of slouch style boots that actually fit the contours of my FLAT FEET!  Last fall I saw a pair of Steve Madden flat heeled knee high slouch boots but never got them.  I should have since they were on sale and the store still had a pair in my size.  I would normally see it as sign that something was meant just for me if it was the last one in my size, but I passed them up.  So since then I've been dwelling over that loss and with fall and winter approaching I was on a hunt for a pair of boots.

Last week I went to Ross just to get what I needed and I decided to stop into Famous Footwear next door just to "browse".  Yeah, that didn't happen since I found a pair of Madden Girl boots.  It was something I was looking for but this pair was a little different.  It actually had a 3-inch heel and buckles, something I wasn't really going for but I tried in on anyway.  What do you know, they fit really great!  I wanted a flat heel since my flat feet can no longer handle heels much anymore but this pair fit just right and didn't hug around my calves tightly.  I fell in LOVE! 

The store had a buy one, get one half off sale so I decided to get a pair of kicks my little one since there wasn't anything else that I liked.  The final damage was $85, pretty steep but I was super happy that I found boots.  I was so excited that I found the pair of boots that I was ready to blog about them until I searched them online to only find them CHEAPER elsewhere!  UGH!!!

I ended up finding the same exact pair the Madden Girl Partial online at DSW for $20 cheaper!  They had a Labor Day weekend sale and if I signed up for their free rewards program I'd get free shipping.  So what did I do?  I returned BOTH pairs of shoes back to Famous Footwear and I did ask if they did price matching and they said no, humph.  Then I ordered the cheaper pair online from DSW and waited just a week for them and now I'm happy as a clam. 

I wore them out today even it was a short trip to the grocery store ha ha, but they are so comfy and I really love them.  Here are what they look like alone, I have yet to take a pic with them on.

Becoming a Bridal Shower "Cake"...

I've only made one bridal shower "cake" before and that was three years ago for my friend Suelynne.  It was simply decorated with ribbon and fake flower hydrangeas.  The cake which was made out of two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths turned out really pretty, so pretty that till this day Suelynne has never taken it apart.  In fact it's still on the poster board with the crinkled stuffing at the bottom tier same as the day I presented it to her.  Here is what that towel cake looked like.

Fast forward nearly three years later and I have another opportunity to make a bridal shower towel cake.  Only this time I wanted to do something a little different and try my hand in making homemade fabric flowers.  Our friends Jenna and Wilson are getting married in Oahu next February so it only made sense for me to decorate the towel cake with plumeria flours. 

My friend MJ and I had a conversation one day about fabric flowers and asked if I knew how to make them.  I told her I didn't so I went to the world of Google and found an easy tutorial that can be found on the blog Polka Dot Pineapple. With the bridal shower coming up I bought all the supplies I needed to create these flowers especially in Jenna and Wilson's wedding color scheme which are espresso, coral, and ivory (which was hard to find but I totally lucked out). 

I had to individually make each petal and five petals made one plumeria.  I ended up making about 30 plumerias total so you do the math on how many petals I created.  It was time consuming but really easy to make.  This is a great way to use up scraps of material that you may have been hoarding.  Here are a few pictures of the flower making (sorry I don't have pics of each step) and the end result of Jenna and Wilson's shower cake.

The beginning of 150 petals...

Full concentration to get glue and a very thin piece of wire.

I have a yard of material to make a really BIG field of plumerias.

Completed plumerias.

Added some bling to girlyfy them.

 The complete bridal shower towel cake.

My favorite pic of the top tier and I was only playing around with the camera.

Just For Sarah...

As my onesie cupcake gifts are getting better with improvements they have become my go to gift for baby showers if they're being sent out of state.  This particular gift was sent to my husband's aunt on Oahu for baby Sarah.  Sarah is part Japanese so it was only fitting that I made special onesies with Asian printed material cut from my Cricut Expression.  I had gotten the "Pagoda" cartridge last Christmas and it has cherry blossom designs which were perfect for Sarah since it is her room decor theme.  Here are the appliques on the onesies and how they looked after being turned into a "basketful of treats."

"Pagoda & Accent Essentials" Cricut Cartridges

Basketful of Treats

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 2010 Meal #4: Baked Rataouille

For Meal #4 I also referred to the cookbook "Taste of Home: Best Loved Casseroles" and chose to make Baked Ratatouille.  Just seeing the word "ratatouille" reminds me of the children's cartoon movie of the same name.  If you have seen the movie you would recall it's a layered dish consisting of eggplant and some other vegetables.  This recipe called for layering of the veggies however my meal didn't quite turn out exactly how its supposed too. 

The night I made this for dinner is the same night my husband plays for his flag football league.  I had to cook this before I had to pick him up from work to head out to the game.  I ended up just cubing and mixing all the ingredients together in a pot instead of it being a casserole and I neglected to read the ingredients correctly since I was missing cheese for the topping.  So unfortunately I don't have a picture to share although it turned out really good over a bed of hot rice anyway ;p

4 bacon strips, cut into 2-inch pieces (I omitted the bacon and used ground Italian sausage, cook til no longer pink)
1 cup onion, sliced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 lbs.), peeled and cubed
4 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
8-12 ounces sliced Monterey Jack cheese

In a large skillet, cook the bacon (or ground Italian sausage) and onion over medium heat until bacon is crisp (or until sausage is brown); drain oil.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oil, garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning. 

Spread half into a greased 13-in x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.  Layer with half of eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, and cheese.  Repeat layers.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

September 2010 Meal #3: Enchilada Casserole

I mentioned before that I used to have a habit of buying those little cookbooks that you see at the checkout counter at the grocery store.  I have begun to utilize them and there are pretty good recipes in there.  Out of the recipe book "Taste of Home: Best Loved Casseroles" for Meal #3 I chose the Enchilada Casserole.  It was really easy to make and didn't take much time.  The outcome was really tasty however I would make more filling since the edges were kind of dry after I baked it.  I'll have to remember to make a few revisions to his dish the next time I decide to make it.  Here's a picture sample and recipe to share.  I only wished I had some sour cream to complete my dinner.

1 lb. hamburger or ground turkey
1-1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups water
12 corn tortillas (7 inches)
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cup salsa

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook meat, onions, and garlic in 1 tbsp. oil until no longer pink; drain.  Sprinkle with the flour, chili powder, seasoned salt, and pepper.  Add water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until reduced.

In another skillet, fry tortillas in remaining oil for about 15 seconds turning once.  Drain well.  Cut nine tortillas in half.  Place cut edge of one tortilla against each short end of a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish.  Place cut edge of two tortillas against long sides of dish, overlapping to fit.  Place a whole tortilla in center.

Spoon 2 cups of meat mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.  Repeat layers.  Top with remaining tortillas and meat sauce.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 2010 Meal #2: Mushroom Risotto w/Sweet Italian Sausage

I have been looking forward to making this meal for the past two months and I finally  have done so.  Meal #2 was Mushroom Risotto w/Sweet Italian Sausage.  The sausage I got from a vendor Jacobsmuhlens at our local Saturday Farmer's Market and they have several different varieties of sausages and meats including buffalo.

Ever since our honeymoon three years ago to Italy, I fell in love with eating risotto.  I always feared in making it myself since I heard it was "complicated" to make, the rice will turn into mush or it will be undercooked.  So anytime I'd see risotto on the menu when eating out I'd always choose that for my meal.  Upon starting this blog about my menu planning I finally decided to try my hand in making homemade risotto.  I asked around a bunch of my friends on a mommy site to recommend a recipe and Andrea referred me to and gave me a recipe for Gourmet Mushroom Risotto.  It looked simple enough and since it had mushrooms (my faves) there could be no wrong.  I could even change up the measurements since the six servings listed wasn't enough for my "normal" cooking amounts. 

I followed the recipe to the "T' and it was actually really easy.  I heated up sliced sweet Italian sausage in a frying pan and added it to the risotto.  The outcome turned out really yummy, so much that I want to make it again later this week and a regular side dish to our meals.  Here's the recipe and a picture to share.

6 cups chicken broth, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

2.Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

3.Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.

4.Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 2010 Meal #1: Baked Chicken w/Gravy

I'm finally posting about September Meal #1 and I finally got to make it for dinner last night.  Last night's dinner was Baked Chicken w/Gravy and it was pretty much prepared the same way I made Baked Chicken w/Cream of Mushroom Gravy the other month.  The only difference is that I made packaged chicken gravy instead of condensed cream of mushroom soup.  It pretty much tastes the same and my lil one liked it a lot since he ate a bowlful of it.  So to refer to the recipe just click the link above to see how I prepared it and here's a picture on what last night's dinner looked like.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Momma Say Fool's Ball For the Debbo....

I jokingly use that phrase from the movie "Waterboy" when I'm talking football with my husband and friends  ha ha.  My husband knows that I am only kidding everytime I say that and also another movie line from "Remember the Titans" when the head coach's daughter says to the other coach's daughter "Cheryl, I don't care?" anytime he's talking football gibberish to me.  All in all I do enjoy the sport even though I may not understand it fully.

My husband has been involved with football all year whether it was coaching or playing football.  For the past year he has been coaching youth football for Westview Youth and for a semi-pro team called the "Portland Monarchs."  In between that he also played for a winter flag football team called "Back That Pass Up" and now for the City of Hillsboro flag football league "Sudden Rush".  It's year round football in this house and I'm just happy my husband has a passion for the sport and does a good job playing and coaching.  Here's a picture of his current team Sudden Rush.

Kim Chee Fried Rice

It's been a busy week full of get togethers and I haven't been able to start on September's menu plan yet.  We hosted the UH vs. USC football game there was a lot of FOOD.  There was enough for us to eat at leftovers the next day and I also had a rotisserie chicken that I got from Costco still in the fridge since we never made it to a friend's get together.  During this time I had thought I had defrosted some pork steaks and was going to cook it tonight before it spoiled, but I mistook the tray of meat in the fridge for ours when it actually was my BIL's.  So with no meat defrosted we had no dinner tonight until I realized that I had some kim chee that I've been hoarding to make Kim Chee Fried Rice. 

For some reason I've been craving it and I've actually never ate it before.  So tonight was the perfect time to make it and something to whip up easily.  After it was all made, this turned out super yummy and I don't know I've never made this before either.  I just used Spam, onions, garlic, eggs, and cut up kim chee, I think I'll add different kinds of meats now that I've developed a craving for lup cheong now.  Here's how it turned out and the recipe to boot too.

1 can Spam, cubed
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 jar kim chee, chopped up (reserve liquid)
8 eggs, scrambled
4 cup rice, cooked

Fry Spam, garlic, and onions in oil till Spam is lightly brown and onions are tender.  Add eggs and scramble into mixture (add more oil if pan isn't coated enough).  Add kim chee and mix.  Add rice and kim chee liquid and thoroughly mix. 


Hubby Shot Some People....

An engagement photoshoot that is.  He shot the engagement pictures of one of his co-workers who is getting married in my hometown Maui next month.  He hasn't done any photoshoots as of lates and he did really well.  Here are some of the ones that I like.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Think I Got It....

My second try at making those onesie cupcakes turned out cute but I thought they still needed improvement.  I wasn't particularly happy with the shape of the cupcake after I covered it with the baby washcloth.  Then I had an idea when I had another baby gift to send home to Hawaii, I figured that I should use quilt batting to help give it some shape.  Voila, below is the result of what quilt batting did to improve it for the better.  Think I got perfected now.

Iron On Appliques

Don't they look much better?

Off to Oahu, Hawaii they went.

Second Attempt...

This was my second time making onesie cupcakes and since I was going to attempt to make baby washcloth lolliops, I had the bright idea of using some of the washcloths to cover the tops of the onesies.  For the onesies though, instead of embellishing them with the store bought iron on appliques I made my own fabric appliques from my Cricut Expression. 

Making the washcloth lollipops was my first time, I found a pack of 12 baby girl themed washcloth at a retail department store.  I actually used lollipop sticks since I had a bunch on hand leftover from my previous failed attempt to make cookie lollipops but that's for another story.  Here are the creations that went to our good friends in Las Vegas.

Onesie's w/fabric appliques cut from the Cricut Expression

Washcloth Lollipops

Basketful of "Treats"