Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Dessert Lasagna

This little recipe is one I found online and just had to try. I feel like I don’t do enough sweets here at TMMF, but I guess it’s because I’m not really into the sweet taste; I’m more of a savory, sharp, or spicy person. So I wanted to try this, especially since it’s got peanut butter and chocolate in it, and it’s frozen. What a tasty way to cool off in all this summer heat!

So, let’s get cooking, er…baking? Oh my, that’s not right either. Let’s get assembling! ;)

First spread one third of the Cool Whip on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal evenly on top.

Heat up the Nutella in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make it looser, and drizzle over the top of the cereal.

Now for the next layer. Spread another 1/3 of the Cool Whip on top.

Sprinkle the Cocoa Puffs or Reese’s Puffs evenly over the whipped topping.

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds or so and drizzle on top of the cereal.

Use the last 1/3 of the Cool Whip to spread on top.

Put about ¾ c Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in a bag and crush with whatever your little heart desires. I used a huge wrench that was in the kitchen. ;)

Sprinkle over the top, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze.

When completely frozen, serve. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Dessert Lasagna

1 16 oz container Cool Whip
1 1/2 c Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
1 1/2 c Cocoa Puffs or Reese's Puffs cereal
1/2 c Nutella
1/2 c peanut butter
more Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for top

*Just a little note: I saved money by buying the store brand of Nutella, Cool Whip, peanut butter, and the bagged copycat of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I didn't have Cocoa Puffs or Reese's Puffs, but I had the bagged Marshmallow Cocoa Mateys, so I picked the marshmallows out and used the puffs. Or "Mateys." ;)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shrimp and Crab Fettuccine

I love seafood, I adore seafood, I lust after seafood. I also love pasta. Maybe not lust after it like seafood, but I do love it. ;) So when I had half a pound of lump crab meat in the fridge, and some shrimp in the freezer, and the pound of fettuccine was calling to me from the cabinet…I don’t know what happened. It was like some Great Seafood Spirit overcame me and I started cooking, and this is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

So, let’s get cooking!

Start a pot of water boiling on the stove to be ready for the fettuccine when it’s time.

Finely dice the shallots and celery. Peel and mince the garlic.

Prepare the seafood: if there are shells and/or tail shells on the shrimp, remove them. If you use the smaller shrimp, they may have no tail shells on. For the crab, there’s nothing to do. Set both aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the shallots, celery, and minced garlic until tender, about 2-3 minutes.

With a whisk, blend in the flour and cook for a minute until bubbly.

Add the cream or half and half and the chicken stock, whisking almost continuously until mixture thickens.

Now add the salt, pepper, and seafood, stirring gently to thoroughly mix in. Keep on low heat to heat through.

While that is heating through, your water for the pasta should be boiling. Add the fettuccine and cook according to directions, just until al dente.

Serve the shrimp and crab meat mixture over a portion of fettuccine. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Shrimp and Crab Fettuccine

12 oz small shrimp
8 oz. lump crab meat
1 stalk celery
1 shallot
2-4 cloves garlic
1/3 c butter
1/3 c flour
1 c chicken stock
2 c light cream or half and half
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 lb fettuccine

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad

This is a recipe I found on the internet right before Memorial Day, and it seemed perfect for that celebration, so Megan and I went into the kitchen and got to work. It’s very easy and quick, and everyone loved it. Megan really wanted to do the work for this recipe, and since it was easy enough for her to basically do alone, with just my supervision and direction, I let her. When I told her she was going to be the “star” of the show for this recipe, she was so excited!  She had a lot of fun and I did too.

So, let’s get cooking!

Peel and cut the bananas into slices about ¼ inch thick.

Remove the leaves from the strawberries and slice into about ¼ inch thick slices.

Set aside while you work on the rest.

Mix together the yogurt and the cheesecake filling. It’s going to be somewhat thick.

Add the Cool Whip and mix well.

              Stir in the strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows.

Now you’re done! Very quick and easy. This is not something you want to make a day ahead, though, due to the bananas browning.

Serve and watch the smiles all around. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad

3-4 bananas
1 qt strawberries
16 oz vanilla yogurt
1 pkg chesecake pudding mix
1 large tub Cool Whip
1 bag mini marshmallows

*You can see how easy it would be to cut down on the fat and calories by using light non-fat yogurt and light Cool Whip.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chicken Fingers with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Okay, let’s get a few things out of the way here. We must acknowledge that there is a vast difference between certain dishes in the North, and certain dishes in the South. Down here, for this dish, these are usually referred to as Sweet and Sour Chicken. Up North, where I’m from (up until 2 years ago), they are Chicken Fingers; they are long, not little blobs, and we dip them in Duck Sauce. Now, let’s not even get into what real Duck Sauce is; if you’re from the North, you know that when someone says Duck Sauce, it is that pale peach colored somewhat drippy concoction with the most delightful combination of sweet, sour, and texture. It is not sticky, gooey, or a brilliant orange-red. That is called Sweet and Sour Sauce.

I’ll wager you can guess which side I’m biased towards. ;) Unfortunately, coming up with a recipe for northern Duck Sauce is like trying to find Waldo in a misprint Where’s Waldo book that forgot to include Waldo in it. If I could show you the myriad different combinations of ingredients I’ve put together to match that wonderful perfection…but then you’d see me at my most frustrated, snarling worst from all the wasted ingredients, money, and time.

What you have here, for now, is a typical Sweet and Sour Sauce that my taste testers decided was the best out of all my trial recipes. Until I can come up with a recipe for The Blessed Most High Duck Sauce of Perfection From the North, this will have to do.

So, let’s get cooking!

You’ll obviously want to make the Sweet and Sour Sauce first so it’s ready when the Chicken Fingers are done. Place the pineapple juice and pineapple in a blender and blend until smooth. I used the handy dandy hand blender that my dad and his wife gave me.

Pour into a small or medium saucepan and add the vinegar. Remove about 1 Tbl of this mixture and put in a small bowl. Add the sugar and cook, whisking to dissolve the sugar.

Take the small bowl of mixture that you spooned out and add the cornstarch to it, mixing.

Use that to thicken the mixture in the saucepan, using the whisk. Turn off the heat and add the ketchup, mixing well.

Now for the Chicken Fingers. Set a skillet on a little above medium heat with about 3 inches of oil. It can get nice and hot while you’re working on the rest. Get a sheet pan ready with a double layer of paper towels to absorb grease.

Combine the flour, corn starch, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Have the egg beaten and ready, and the water measured out. Set this aside.

Slice the chicken breasts in long strips, about ½” to ¾” thick. You’ll end up with some shorter pieces. Those can be called Sweet and Sour Chicken for the Southerners, if you’d like. ;)

With a whisk, add the beaten egg and water to the dry ingredients for the batter, mixing well enough to make it smooth.

When your oil is hot enough, dip the strips of chicken into the batter, hold above the bowl to let any excess drip off, and carefully place in the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, until a lovely golden brown.

Scoop out with a slotted metal spoon, or use tongs, and place onto the prepared sheet pan.

When all the chicken is done, serve with the Sweet and Sour Sauce. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Chicken Fingers

1-2 lb chicken breast,
   skinless and boneless
1 c flour
2 Tbl corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 c water

Sweet and Sour Sauce

½ c pineapple juice
enough pineapple chunks
   to make juice equal 1 c
1/3 c vinegar
1/3 c sugar
5 tsp corn starch
2 Tbl ketchup

*Note: Ignore the pink color of the sauce in the ramekin on the plate in the photo. Someone grabbed a ramekin with one of the other sauces in it by mistake for the photo. Oh, um…that would be me. Mea culpa. ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef is a dish that has nothing to do with Mongolia or typical dishes from there; what I read once about it is that it was given that name to make it sound exotic. Be that as it may, I love it and wanted to make it at home. There are variations in what vegetables are used in it; I chose celery and onions. This recipe is my adaptation of an adaptation of a recipe found online. I guess you could say it’s an adaptation twice removed. ;)

So, let’s get cooking!

Slice the beef into somewhat thin pieces, about 1/3” thick.

In a bowl, mix the corn starch, soy sauce, water, and rice vinegar. Add the meat and marinate for 30 minutes.

Make the sauce by mixing together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Peel and mince the garlic and ginger root.

Slice the celery diagonally to make long slices, about 1/4" thick.

For the onion, slice in half, lay one half down flat, and slice straight down to make about ¼” thick pieces. To separate, just sort of scrumple them up in your hand. Yes, I made that word up. ;)

Heat 1 ½ Tbl oil in a skillet on high. Sauté the beef until just cooked through, stirring constantly. It takes about two minutes, maybe 3. Set aside in a bowl, along with any liquid.

Heat the remaining 1 ½ Tbl oil and sauté the celery, onion, garlic, and ginger, stirring continuously, about 2 minutes.

Add the sauce that was set aside and the cooked beef with liquid. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes to thicken.

Serve over rice if desired. It’s good without rice too. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Mongolian Beef

1 lb beef
4 tsp corn starch
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbl water
1 Tbl rice vinegar
3 lg stalks celery
1 lg Vidalia onion
4 cloves garlic
1" of ginger root
(For the sauce:)
4 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbl sugar

Monday, June 2, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken

The first time I had Kung Pao Chicken was at my Mom’s house decades ago. At first I thought the idea of peanuts in a Chinese dish, especially spicy, was gross, but when I took the plunge and tried it, I found that it worked, and I was in love with that flavor. So of course I had to make it at home. ;)

This recipe is one from a copycat recipe site, listed as P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao Chicken, and I tweaked it considerably. The original recipe only had scallions and minced garlic, and you know me--I had to add on. Besides, every Kung Pao Chicken I had ever eaten had more than that in it. So, I added celery, carrots, and baby corns, and I used fresh ginger root instead of powdered ginger, and switched the white sugar out for brown. I hope you like how it turned out as much as I do.

So, let’s get cooking!

First off, prepare the vegetables. Slice the scallions, the celery into about ¼” thick slices, dice the carrots, and mince the garlic and ginger. Set all aside.

Now cut the chicken breast into chunks about 1” each.

Place in a bowl and toss with the corn starch to coat.

Heat 2 tsp of the sesame oil in a skillet and sauté the chicken pieces until no longer pink inside, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Add 1 tsp of sesame oil to the skillet and sauté the carrots, celery, scallions, garlic, and ginger for about a minute, stirring.

In a small bowl, mix together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add to the skillet with the veggies.

Drain and rinse the baby corns and add to the skillet, along with the previously cooked chicken and the crushed red pepper. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

Add the roasted peanuts and heat through, maybe a minute or so.

Serve over rice if you’d like. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Kung Pao Chicken

1 to 1 ½ lb skinless boneless chicken breast                    
1 Tbl corn starch                                                              
3 tsp sesame oil                                                                
2 scallions                                                                        
1 large stalk celery                                                            
1 large carrot
4-5 cloves garlic
1” fresh ginger root
1 can baby corns
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
½ c dry roasted peanuts