Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 2010 Meal #14: Turkey Patties

Meal # 14 which was turkey patties is one of my lazy meals.  Yesterday I went grocery shopping for our next seven meals and after running around doing errands with a toddler, dinner will have to be something already prepared or something really easy to make.  Coincidently I had planned turkey patties for dinner on the day that I grocery shopped. 

This only took me 5-7 minutes to prepare and cooking was real easy since I have a George Foreman grill.  So all I had to do was use my ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture, plop onto the grill, and close the lid. How simpler could it get?  To those that don't have a George Foreman grill, I really suggest you get one for cooking/grilling not only for burgers but for any other kinds of meats and even veggies too.  I thank our old roommate for getting this contraption for us a few Christmases ago.  Also, by using the ground turkey there was no fat that dripped from cooking it on the Foreman grill. So that's a real plus for those of you looking into trying to control your cholesterol.

The recipe I used for the turkey patties is the same one I used for the meatloaf I made a few meals ago.  The only things I did different was doubling up the ingredients and omitting the ketchup.  I bought a 3 lb. tray of ground turkey so this particular meal is going to last us until at least lunch tomorrow.

2 envelopes Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix
3 lbs. ground turkey
1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients.  Form into patties and fry or grill til cooked through.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 2010 Meal #13: Shoyu Chicken

Meal #13 was Shoyu Chicken and it is a really easy meal to make.  It only takes about 5-10 minutes to prepare and about 30-45 minutes cooking time.  You can use a cut up whole chicken but I prefer to use drumettes or thighs for the juicy and tender meat. There are different variations on making shoyu chicken but all it really takes is shoyu, ginger, and sugar as part of the main components.  Here is a recipe I used from the Moanalua High School Project Graduation 2006 fundraising cookbook since this one in particular I already had laying out to plan next months menu plan.

2-3 lbs. chicken wings or thighs
1 cup water
1 cup shoyu (Aloha brand preferred)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 to 4 cloves grated ginger, to taste
minced garlic, to taste
sesame seeds, optional
chopped green onions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, except green onions.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 30-45 minutes (until chicken is soft).  Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

Nice and tender shoyu chicken below.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 2010 Meal #12: Pork Guisantes

Meal #12 Pork Guisantes or Pork and Peas is a really easy Filipino dish, even easier the way I make it.  When I learned how to make it I'd use canned tomato sauce but after moving in with my boyfriend now husband he taught me an easier way to make this dish.  Who would have ever thought of using spaghetti sauce as the base sauce for this? Not me that's who!  This is how he learned it from his mom and it's actually easier and cheaper to use than cans and cans of tomato sauce.  It still turns out great and I make this every so often.

2 lbs. chopped pork ie. pork belly, pork butt, or leaner meat if you prefer
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 cup pimientos, sliced or diced
3 cups frozen peas (I just use a small bag of frozen peas)
1 large can spaghetti sauce (I buy the cheapest brand w/garlic and herb seasoning)
salt and pepper

Brown pork and garlic in some oil.  Add onions till soft.  Add in pimientos, spaghetti sauce, and frozen peas.  Mix well and let simmer until peas are tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

This only takes about 15-20 minutes to make, real simple.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 2010 Meal #11: Hamburger Curry

This hamburger curry meal is my "lazy curry" when I don't want to make an actual beef curry stew.  It's really simple to make and only takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare.  For the curry base I used the instant S&B brand in the large size shown in the picture below, which can usually be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.

2 lbs lean hamburger
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 pkg. frozen mixed veggies
Half of an onion, chopped
S & B curry sauce, large size
6 cups water

Brown meat with chopped garlic til brown. drain fat.  Add onions till soft. add the 6 cups of water and break curry blocks into pieces.  Stir until curry is dissolved, add frozen veggies.  Simmer until veggies are heated through and when curry has thickened.

This meal is alot for my little family but makes for good leftovers that lasts us at least 2-3 days.  Tastes great for a bed of hot rice.

June 2010 Meal #10: Salmon/Tuna Tofu Patties

It's been awhile since I've made this dish and don't know why I don't do it more often since it's really easy to make.  The recipe I used for this meal is one similar to what my mom had used before, the only difference was adding panko (Japanese bread crumbs) to the mixture.  Don't know why I have never thought of adding panko before because when I used to make make these patties using my mother's recipe it would fall apart when frying.  I have to give a BIG thank you to "Big C' for sharing her recipe on a certain online community, I'll be using your recipe from now on ;o).

2 cans salmon or tuna (I ended up using 3 cans of tuna)
2 blocks tofu, mashed
1/2 diced onion
some shredded carrots
some diced green onions
2 eggs
some Panko flakes (to hold everything together)
Salt and pepper

Mix it all up, form into patties and pan fry in olive oil. 

The easiest way to form the patties which I learned from my brother is to use an ice cream scooper with the release thing.  Perfect amount for a patty, just scoop, drop into pan, and flatten patty with a spatula.  As a side note in the picture you will notice there are no green onions, I have a complex about onions being cooked a certain way so I omitted them from the mixture.  Nonetheless, these turned out great.

Making Gnocchi

I have never made gnocchi before and didn't get to watch my brother make it while he was visiting us.  So for the last meal it was my very first time making it and in the end it was pretty simple.  The part of mashing the still tender potatoes was the hardest task.  I had to use a lot of muscle to mash it all up and that took the longest to do.  My brother told me it's easiest to mash the potatoes with a food mill but I don't have one, so I had to use the good ol' potato masher.

I don't have pictures of the actual adding of the ingredients, just only the steps of kneading of the dough through the final outcome.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day Meal 2010: Ragout w/Sweet Italian Sausage & Homemade Gnocchi

Wishing a belated Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and any mommy's doing double time too!

On Sunday night I was originally supposed to make tuna tofu patties but decided to postpone that for the next meal.  I wanted to make something special for my husband so I made homemade gnocchi and a ragout with sweet Italian sausage.  I had to use the sausage soon since we got it at the farmer's market a week ago from a vendor that's there every week called Jacobsmuhlen's http://jacobsmuhlens.com/index.htm. They have great tasting sausages in about a dozen different flavors and this vendor is at every Hillsboro Saturday Farmer's Market during the season. 

A while back my brother had been visiting and he bought some fresh chorizo from Jacobsmuhlen's and he made a fresh gnocchi and fennel dish.  My husband liked the chorizo and gnocchi but not fond of the fennel.  He wanted me to make a dish similar to it with the sweet Italian sausage and gnocchi so I had to ask my brother who is a professional cook for some advice.  He then told me to make a ragout, add the sausage, and make some gnocchi.  My brother gave me directions on how to make the gnocchi but I also googled a recipe which I found on Allrecipes.com.  I decided to follow the recipe from the website as a test trial which I'll create another post about my experience making gnocchi for the first time.

When I made the ragout it wasn't from a specific recipe, my brother just told me what it was made of and I just ran with the idea. Overall this was a fairly easy meal to prepare, it was the gnocchi that took the most time.  This meal turned out really well and flavorful that my hubby gave this a go ahead for meal next time around.

2 potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Peel potatoes and add to pot.  Cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.  Drain, cool and mash with a fork or potato masher.  Combine 1 cup mashed potato, flour and egg in a large bowl.  Knead until dough forms a ball.  Shape small portions of the dough into long "snakes".  On a floured surface, cut snakes into half-inch pieces.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.

3 green bell peppers, diced
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
8 links Sweet Italian Sausage, sliced and cooked
salt (optional)

Saute garlic and onions in oil until onions are almost translucent.  Add tomatoes, mix and let simmer till nearly soft.  Add bell peppers and sausage,mix and let simmer 5 minutes.  Add prepared gnocchi, mix and add pepper to taste. You may add salt if your sausage doesn't have much flavor, I didn't have to since the sausage I got was really flavorful.  Let simmer 5-7 minutes.

Here's the very yummy outcome.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 2010 Meal #9: Mochiko Chicken

Meal #9 is one of my favorites that I make time to time which is Mochiko Chicken.  It is chicken coated in mochiko flour (sweet rice flour) that helps give this dish a slightly sweet flavor.  There are different variations on how to prepare this dish ranging on the different measurement amounts or wrapping a strip of nori (dried seaweed) around each cut up piece of chicken.

The recipe I used was from a cookbook I bought a few years ago while visiting home in Hawaii.  It is called "Local Style Cooking with a Mainland Flair" that Moanalua High School created for their 2006 Project Graduation fundraising.  I really like this cookbook, but funny that I've only used a few of the recipes.  Think I'll be on a mission to try everything in there now :o).

5 lbs. chicken thighs with skin (I always use the frozen boneless/skinless & cut up into bite size pieces)
1/2 cup mochiko flour (after marinading i found it to be a little thin so I added 1/4 cup more flour)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar (sugar substitute OK for diabetes)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. shoyu
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients except chicken into a large bowl and thoroughly blend.  Add chicken, coating well. Refrigerate overnight.  Fry in oil on low heat until cooked through. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 2010 Meal #8: Pork Tofu

Meal #8 was an experimentation of trying something a little new which was a Pork Tofu Stir Fry.  Few of the veggies I got from the farmer's market we went to a few days ago and instead of using soft tofu I used aburage (fried tofu).  This turned out really good and I didn't need my usual hot rice with it, plus got the two thumbs up from my hubby to make it again.

2 lbs. ground pork
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups julienned carrots
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 cups aburage (fried tofu), cut into pieces
oyster sauce

Brown pork with garlic breaking apart meat.  Add onions, carrots, peas, shiitake mushrooms, and aburage. Add as much oyster sauce to your liking and toss mixture. Cook until peas are tender, adding in bean sprouts.  Continue to cook until bean sprouts are tender.  Sprinkle some pepper and mix well. 

Below is the wonderful outcome.

June 2010 Meal #7: Meatloaf w/Gravy

Meal #7 is a usual staple in our household which is good ol' meatloaf and gravy.  I used to just make my own mix but I couldn't ever get the right moistness for it until my visiting brother made it one night.  He actually just used the recipe on the back of the box of Lipton Onion Soup mix for the Souperior Meatloaf.  This came out really good and at the right moistness that I had been looking for.  For the gravy I just use the packaged just add water mix, I've never had luck making my own gravy from pan drippings. 

1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix

2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Shape into loaf in 13 x 9-inch baking or roasting pan.  Bake uncovered 1 hour or until done.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sorry I didn't take picture for this either.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 2010 Meal #6: Tandoori Style Chicken & Couscous w/Cilantro & Tomatoes

Meal #6 was found by searching on the Internet for meal ideas and I came upon Bettycrocker.com.  I have the modern version of the infamous Betty Crocker cookbook and just had to have it since my mom has one from the 70's.  Funny thing is I haven't used my version of the cookbook in a long time and would rather just checkout the website.  Guess technology takes over actual book reading.

Anyway, I came upon a recipe for Tandoori Style Chicken and the recipe looked easy enough to prepare and cook.  The great thing about Bettycrocker.com is that it provides suggestions for an accompaniment to your dish.  The side dish suggested to go along with the Tandoori chicken was a Mediterranean Couscous.  That as well looked easy enough to prepare, mind you I have never made Tandoori chicken or any couscous dish before.

The story behind wanting to try to make this dish was that a few weeks ago I had finally tried the Indian counter at the mall food court.  I always bypassed it for Panda Express or some stir fry at Sarku.  So with the budging of my husband I gave in to try it and I liked it ALOT.  Thus the start of my new favorite cuisine and now trying my hand in making Indian food.

The Mediterranean couscous I modified and omitted the yellow squash it called for and just kept it as a tomato and cilantro couscous.

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (2 pounds)

1/2 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. each red and yellow food color, if desired
1/4 tsp.n ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed

Place chicken in glass or plastic bowl.  Mix water and mustard; stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken; turn to coat well with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.  Heat oven to 375ºF.  Remove chicken from marinade; place chicken in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches.  Bake uncovered about 45 minutes or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.  Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. vegetable or chicken bouillon granules
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)

Melt butter in 2-quart nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter, stirring frequently.  Stir in water and bouillon granules. Heat to boiling; remove from heat.  Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff lightly with fork. Add chopped cilantro and tomatoes and toss.

I bought some Roti Chapati bread from Costco to also serve as a side and cooked some basmati rice.  Picture below of the complete meal and it tasted great.

June 2010 Meal #5: Pork Abobo

Meal #5 is a dish we make often and it's usually my husband who cooks it. Admittedly he does cook this dish better than I can which is Pork Adobo. It's a Filipino dish consisting of pork or chicken soaked in vinegar, shoyu, garlic, and oil.  My husband never goes by a recipe to cook the pork adobo, just by taste, smell, and eyeballs the amount of ingredients used. So I apologize I don't have his "recipe".  However, I do have one that's great for chicken that I use.

3 lbs. belly pork or chicken pieces
3/4 cup shoyu
2 cups water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
1/2 tbsp. peppercorn
2 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients and cook on medium heat until meat is tender.

We usually have leftover pork adobo after dinner and what we like to do for the next morning is to turn that leftover pork adobo and turn it into fried rice.  I don't have a picture of night's dinner but a picture of what it was turned into the next morning.  To make the fried rice all I did was scoop out the meat separating the fat and whatever peppercorns and bay leaves I could gather.  Discard the fat, peppercorns, and bay leaves and wash out the pot.  I then scramble about 4-6 eggs and add in the pork adobo to help warm it up and flavor the eggs.  Then add in cooked rice and mix thoroughly.  Great way to turn last nights leftover into breakfast and lunch the next day.  Again I apologize for the quality of the picture below, this also was taken with my phone camera.

June 2010 Meal #4: Bok Choy & Shrimp Stir Fry w/Noodles

Meal #4 is something I haven't made before which is Bok choy & shrimp stir fry w/fresh won ton noodles.  I have cooked with bok choy before but it was a pork stir fry.  I got the recipe idea from an online mommy community that I frequented where one of the moms asked what to cook with bok choy.  One of the suggestions was to make a shrimp stir fry, now why didn't I ever think of that? So simple and I DO love shrimp.  Going off that shared suggestion I decided to mix it up with some fresh yakisoba noodles but the Asian grocery store ran out and won ton noodles were the only option. 

After making this dish it came out really tasty and I got the two thumbs up from my hubby to make this dish another time.

1 pkg. noodles, cooked (you can either use dry or fresh noodles)
1 bunch of bok choy, cleaned and chopped
1 lb. shrimp, shelled & deveined (i just used the smaller shrimp, but you can use any size and add as much as you want)
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
oyster sauce

Saute onions and garlic in oil.  Add shrimp and cook until no longer pink.  Add bok choy, tomatoes, oyster sauce (you may add as much oyster sauce to your taste), and stir until bok choy has rendered.  Add noodles and toss with mixture. Add pepper to taste.

I do have a picture of this dish but the quality isn't the greatest since it was taken with my phone camera. But you get the idea on how it should look like.

June 2010 Meal #3: Bulgogi

Meal #3 is something I've made numerous times from the time I was in high school and I learned it from my mom.  It's a Korean dish called Bulgogi that usually consists of marinated barbecued beef, although chicken or pork may also be used.  Typically it's served as a grilled meat but with this recipe it's more of a stir-fry dish.

1 1/2 lbs. beef steak
3 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup shoyu
4 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. oil
1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup chopped green onions
sesame seed to garnish

Cut meat into strips.  Lightly tenderize meat and sprinkle sugar on both sides.  Let marinate for one hour.  Squeeze excess liquid from meat.  Combine shoyu, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic into bowl.  Stir in meat and let marinate for 2 hours longer, stirring meat occasionally.  Heat oil in large frying pan.  Add meat and marinade and stir fry over medium heat.  Do not overcook.  Garnish with sliced tomatoes, green onions, and sprinkle sesame seeds.

June 2010 Meal #2: Baked Macaroni w/Meatballs

Meal #2 is something a little different from having the normal spaghetti meal, so I made a Baked Macaroni w/garden veggie spaghetti sauce, frozen Italian meatballs, and topped with cheddar cheese. It was my way to make it a little yummier for my two year old toddler and to hide the veggies. 

I had originally planned on making homemade mac n' cheese but my husband isn't too fond of it and after going grocery shopping I had found that the mozzarella cheese that I already had molded over. It's a good thing I had the jar of spaghetti sauce on hand.

3 cups cooked macaroni
1 jar spaghetti sauce (you may use one of your choice, I chose the garden veggies to sneak it into my toddler's meal)
1 pkg. Italian frozen meatballs (I used the Armour brand & it's a small bag, can't remember how many ounces)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat spaghetti sauce in large pot and add frozen meatballs, cover for 5 minutes.  Add the macaroni to sauce mixture and stir completely.  Transfer macaroni mixture into a 13x9 baking dish.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and melted through.

Sorry no picture available.

June 2010 Meal #1: Baked Beans w/Bacon & Hot Dogs

Now that I have some time I'll start posting the recipes for each meal along with a picture if I have it available.  I should let you all know that some of the meals that I prepare aren't by the book measurement wise.  I sometimes just add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  So flavoring can be entirely up to you and how much of something you want to add extra of.

Meal #1 is one of my go to lazy meals which is baked beans w/bacon and hot dogs.  It's real simple to make and tastes great with some hot rice. 

1 large can baked beans
1 pkg bacon, sliced
1 pkg hot dogs, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
brown sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon until browned. Drain fat.  Add diced onions cook until semi soft.  Add can baked beans and sliced hot dogs.  Stir completely.  You may add some brown sugar and the amount is entirely up to you.  Add salt and pepper to your taste. Let simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Sorry for this meal I don't have a picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 2010 Meal Plan

Here's my first meal plan that I have created which took me about 30 minutes to draft up. Most are meals that I cook often and some are things I cook once in a great while. While creating this menu I made a goal with myself to try something new once a week or prepare something that I haven't made in years.  After pouring through the many cookbooks that I have and browsing through numerous online recipes this is what I came up with.

  1. Baked beans w/bacon  & hot sliced hot dogs
  2. Baked macaroni w/garden veggie spaghetti sauce, frozen Italian meatballs, & topped w/cheddar cheese.
  3. Bulgogi
  4. Bok choy & shrimp stir fry w/fresh won ton noodles
  5. Pork adobo
  6. Tandoori chicken w/couscous salad
  7. Meatloaf
  8. Pork tofu
  9. Mochiko chicken
  10. Tuna tofu patties
  11. Hamburger curry
  12. Pork guisantes
  13. Shoyu chicken
  14. Turkey patties
  15. Crockpot pot roast
  16. Pork & squash
  17. Chicken katsu
  18. Beef stroganoff w/noodles
  19. Pork & eggplant w/black bean garlic sauce
  20. Chicken adobo
  21. Teriyaki hamburger patties
  22. Pork chop w/cream of mushroom gravy
  23. Garlic chicken
  24. Lasagna
  25. Miso salmon
  26. Pork stir fry w/won ton noodles
  27. Chicken papaya
  28. Corned beef brisket w/cabbage
  29. Kalua pig
  30. Chicken, mushroom, & zucchini stir fry
So that's the menu for the month of June, give or take with leftovers lasting a day or two or times when eating out for dinner.  With it already being the middle of the month already I'll still go ahead and post the recipes for the meals from the week before.  As far as pictures go, I have a few that I have taken from my Blackberry that I posted onto my Facebook page.  The quality isn't the greatest, but you'll get the idea. 

How's my menu plan so far? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Menu Planning 101

So for the month of June I've created a meal plan for the entire month just to make it easier on myself each week for grocery shopping.  I got tired each week trying to rack my brain thinking about what the heck am I going to cook and the weekly menu got a little boring.  Following the example from a few mommy friends from an online community I frequented I decided to create a menu plan with the usual things that I cook and to add one new dish to try out for the week.

To start creating my menu plan I did a spreadsheet and first listed all the foods I normally make in each different types of proteins ie. poultry, pork, beef, and fish/seafood. Then I numbered my spreadsheet 1-30 and began plugging each type of dish spreading out the days of the different type of proteins ie. one day would be chicken, next day would be beef, etc. 

Since I grew up learning how to cook large batches of meals, dinners usually last at least 2-3 days, 2 days if we end up eating the leftovers for lunch the next day.  With the menu plan I just filled up each day with a meal just to cover all bases even if we end up eating out one night.  Since the plan started a week ago, so far so good and it did make for easier shopping. 

I will post the menu plan for the month in another post some other time just to provide an example of what I've done.  Also, I'll post the recipes for the meals I have prepared and any pictures I would have remembered to take.  This is my first time creating a menu like this so let's see how it goes.