kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I had a guest over last night, and decided to delve into a new cookbook I'd just bought -- Giada de Laurentiis' Everyday Italian. A bit of poring through said cookbook later, we decided on an appetizer and a main dish -- prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks (p. 45) and penne pasta with the sun-dried tomato pesto sauce (p. 73). One quick stop by the market for the various ingredients (the total cost of which -- for two packages of fresh basil, the sun-dried tomatoes, the bread dough, the freshly-cut prosciutto, and the pasta -- came to just over $20), and we got to work.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks )

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce )

After boiling some penne pasta and prepping these two surprisingly easy dishes, we had a feast with what felt like hardly any effort at all! Although the pesto sauce seemed less like sauce and more like a spread to me, it was surprisingly delicious and served as a perfect counter to the pasta and the prosciutto wrapping the bread. Overall, a very easy and straightforward cooking session, which yielded plenty of leftovers and was well worth the effort. I would absolutely make it again.
kitchenklutz: (pad thai stirfry)
Yesterday for the Superbowl, I wanted something out of the ordinary... so I went back to my old favorite, homemade Chinese. I considered homemade dumplings for a while, but in the end passed on that to make something old, and something new.

Something old: Kung Pao Chicken )

... and something new: Szechuan Braised Meatballs )

Both were extremely tasty, and went perfectly with the white rice I had steamed up earlier.

Kung pao chicken is an old favorite of mine, something I grew to love back when I lived in California and couldn't find a satisfactory take-out version of on the East Coast -- which was, among other things, what prompted me to start experimenting with cooking my own Chinese food. Too often in the East, what seems to pass for "kung pao chicken" is just diced chicken with peanuts drenched in hot oil -- yuck! My recipe has a great deal more going for it, though it's still spicy enough to raise sweat on your brow.

Szechuan braised meatballs was a new recipe for me, and I didn't quite have an image in mind when I began making it. Regardless, it turned out delicious -- the five-spice powder and Szechuan sauce combined with the beef broth to make a tasty, well-spiced side dish. The only complaint I have about it was that it seems like there aren't enough meatballs! Next time I might up the amount of ground beef to 1.5 lbs., because the broth (and my skillet) are definitely enough to contain another 6 - 8 meatballs.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I'm aiming for a lower-carb diet as part of the exercise regimen I'm on. A diabetic co-worker of mine recommended a particular brand of pasta (Dreamfields) as much lower carb than the usual stuff, but still better tasting than the generally bland whole-wheat pasta which is more widely out there.

I checked out the brand the next time I was in the market, and there was quite an interesting recipe on the box. I adapted it and changed a few things (not a big fan of the recipe-recommended shrimp), and the result turned out to be extremely tasty.

Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken, Tomatoes, and Basil )

Sweet, spicy, and delicious sauce over angel hair pasta -- fantastic! A little tricky to make, at some part (multiple pans going at one time), but all in all a very tasty dish. I'd definitely make it again.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
A while back I made me some chocolate mint brownies, which turned out reasonably well. However, after making them I still had quite a bit in the way of creme-du-menthe liqueur left over. Ever since, I've been looking for minty recipes to use it up on. I decided, what the heck, why not try cupcakes? And as it happens, they turned out pretty damn well!

Vanilla Cupcaks with Minty-Green Cream Cheese Frosting )

Tasty cupcakes, with just enough mint flavoring to add some zing. Alternatively, substitute in 2 teaspoons Triple Sec (or other orange-flavored liqueur), 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, and 1/8 teaspoon each of red and yellow food coloring to swap it from minty-green to orange-flavored frosting.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
With the overblown failure of an overspicy glazed ham on Christmas, I found myself with an overabundance of leftover and somewhat too spicy ham. I put out a request for soup suggestions to use it in, and got more than a few suggestions for ham and potato soup. A little bit of Google-fu later, I had a printed out recipe. I tweaked it, added a few spices, and came up with the following very tasty recipe.

Savory Ham and Potato Soup )

Savory, thick, and tasty soup -- perfect comfort food for a cold winter's night. I am definitely making it again.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
With the chilly weather coming on, I find myself more and more in favor of comfoting, savory soups. This weekend is no exception -- and with a Penzey's Spices quarterly/recipe book in hand, I decided to try a variant on chicken and dumplings.

Spicy Baked Chicken & Dumplings Soup )

Thick, savory stew with plenty of chicken and tasty dumplings to top it off -- an absolute winner in my book! For me, adding the lemon pepper spicing to season the chicken breasts made it particularly delicious, but for others that may be a touch too spicy.

The original recipe calls for double the amount of dumpling mix, which was way too much for me. I made the full amount and dropped the dumplings into the broth, but rapidly found myself out of space in the pot for more dumplings. Thus, I've halved the amounts for that part of the recipe. Honestly, I feel as though the recipe could even use a bit more broth -- with that much chicken and veggies as a base, the soup pot was crowded even before the dumplings went in.

Overall, though, I will absolutely be making this recipe again. Simple, straightforward, not too long to cook, and incredibly tasty -- four things that make it a winner in my book.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Finally back home from Thanksgiving, and all the feasting got me once again inspired to try out some various types of cuisine. So I pulled out a Chinese cookbook that I haven't drawn heavily from -- one of my first, actually -- and started glancing at bookmarked pages to see if anything caught my eye. One did, I made a few adjustments in mid-stride, and this is what I ended up with.

Stir-Fry Pork with Oyster Sauce )

Not quite as spicy as I'm used to, but I'm fairly content with it. The original recipe didn't include the chili garlic sauce or the celery (among other things); I threw both in to give a little extra texture and bite. Overall, not bad -- I'll certainly try making it again in the future.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
First time attempting this recipe, so it'll be interesting to see just how it turns out in the end. Nonetheless, it certainly looks promising, and although the dough's cooling now the filling smells enticing.

Poppyseed Spiral Rum Cookies )
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
This morning I woke up with a tenacious headache, and with the weather outside grey and gloomy I decided to crack open my old soups cookbook (Maryana Vollstedt's Big Book of Soups & Stews) and find something tasty I hadn't made before. In the end, I settled on

Reuben Soup )

Overall, it was amazingly tasty, and absolutely hit the spot for me. The toasted rye bread that I floated on the soup rapidly grew soggy, but using the other toasted slices for dipping turned out to be ideal.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
After the fun of the Ramble Bake-Off, I decided to start experimenting more with cookie recipes. I spotted one recipe on a Livejournal site that included Heath Toffee chips, and immediately thought about adapting it for use in one of my own baking projects. The result was better than I expected, and the cookies themselves turned out both subtle and savory.

Toffee Chip Cinnamon Molasses Cookies )
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Last week, I made some of my cinnamon carrot raisin muffins for co-workers, and they were such a hit that I've gotten requests for other types of muffins since. One request in particular was for chocolate chip muffins, so I went to a number of sources, looked at muffin recipes I'd baked before, and tinkered about to end up with this:

One Dozen Chocolate Chip Muffins )

All in all, these turned out much better than I was expecting for a first attempt. Light and somewhat airy, with just enough sweetness and an excellent aroma of cinnamon.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Originally gotten from here, on the Good Morning America recipes page.

Continuing my desire to try out a new recipe about every week, I spotted some interesting possibilities that Emeril had put up and decided to give this one a try. Without further ado, Emeril's Spicy Pork Stir-Fry with Green Beans. )

Overall, I have to say I was underwhelmed by this recipe. It's not bad, mind you; it's perfectly edible and somewhat tasty. However, it's not really all that spicy, and my suspicion is that the relatively large amount of chicken broth in the sauce dilutes it somewhat. Easy enough to make (and for the green beans, I just used 3/4 of a package of them, frozen), but probably not a recipe I'm going to go back to again and again. It just doesn't feel up to Emeril's usual quality, and I know I've got better Chinese/Asian recipes already under my belt.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Adapted from another one of the discovered trove of Chinese recipes, I kind of threw this one together from a couple of different sources. I tinkered with some of the quantities on the ingredients, because parts of it seemed far out of proportion to what else was up there. Nonetheless, I ended up with a surprisingly tasty result -- pleasantly comparable, I must argue, to the kinds of Chinese dumplings (potstickers, specifically) I've eaten in restaurants or bought in frozen packs at the market.

Juicy Fried Dumplings )

Hoisin Dipping Sauce )

Overall, I was very pleased with the way these came out. For cooking the potstickers, I do recommend edging towards a 7-minute cook time rather than 6 minutes -- it makes them a bit crisper without being overcooked. Your mileage may vary, of course.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
A few months back, I had stumbled into a trove of Chinese recipes online while searching for a recipe for, if I remember right, Hunan beef. The homepage for the site itself seemed to be under password protection, but because I'd come in via Google directly to a recipe page (and managed to figure out the form of the directories on the site for various types of recipes) I grabbed as many of them as caught my interest. I've been meaning to try some of them out ever since, but lacked either time or ingredients.

Today, I'm home sick with a cough and congestion, so I decided to try my hand at making...

Peddler's Hot and Spicy Noodles (Dandan Noodles) )

Overall, very simple and quick to make -- perfect for a late dinner or when you don't have much time to cook. With the listed amount of chili oil, though, it was very spicy-hot -- even for my heat-loving palate. Good, filling fare, but be cautious if your body doesn't agree with spicy food.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Late last week, I came across an Emeril recipe for roast chicken. Up until then, I'd never actually gotten a whole chicken at the market and prepared it for a meal. This, clearly, needed to change! I adapted the recipe slightly for what ingredients I had, once I'd purchased the chicken -- mostly in quantities of added ingredients, since the smallest roaster I could find at the local market was somewhat larger than the recommended size on the original recipe. (That, and I neglected to buy a lemon.)

Perfect Roast Chicken (My Version) )

Now, I had my savory main dish -- and it smelled and tasted terrific. However, at the same time I wanted to serve it over something. The easiest thing to do was rice -- but I was rather bored with regular plain white or brown rice. Something inside me asked hey, what about sweet rice? Now, as far as I know, I've never even had sweet rice, so I didn't know what I was getting into, but I flexed my Google-fu and found an intriguing recipe for Lebanese sweet rice. I adapted it into the following:

Sweet Rice (My Version) )

Tonight I had the roast chicken as the main dish, with the sweet rice as a side -- and overall, the tastes were surprisingly complimentary. The chicken and vegetables are rich and savory, and mixed with the sweet rice (which was sweet, but not too sweet), it made a memorable and quite enjoyable dish. I definitely plan to make both again in the future.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Following my decision to make at least one new recipe every week, I looked over this week's recipe email from Good Morning America and settled on a variation of their healthy, relatively Low-Cal Chicken Linguine Alfredo. )

This turned out extremely tasty, though as the original recipe called for 3/4 cup of yogurt (and I could taste that in the sauce) I decided to tone it down to 1/2 cup. A quick, relatively easy meal for a few people, but I suspect the leftover sauce won't refrigerate tremendously well.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Back in the latter part of last year, I found myself craving macaroni and cheese -- or at least, something kind of like macaroni and cheese. I tinkered around some with various recipes I'd found out on the web, took what I wanted from them, and ended up producing Four-Cheese Cheddarwurst Noodles. )

Now, last night I didn't quite have all the ingredients I needed, but I did have most of them. (My fridge gather strange and arcane ingredients, and often seems to lack in the basics. *grin* ) I ended up adding half a pound of diced-up breakfast sausage to the onion to saute, substituted 6 ounces of cream cheese for the cottage cheese, used jalapeno cheddar cheese instead of pepperjack, and so forth. Overall, though it ended up quite tasty all the same. Not quite the same flavor, but definitely worth trying out for variation.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Following through on my resolution to try at least one new recipe every week, I stumbled over an old printed recipe for garlic naan. That inspired me to pull out my copy of Bay Books' The Essential Asian Cookbook, looking for Indian recipes. Thus, being not too immediately hungry, I decided to try out both the naan and a recipe for Madras curry.

Madras Curry )

Naan )

This is finishing up cooking as we speak, although the naan still has a while to go -- I haven't even divided up the dough yet. The curry smells great, though, and I'm anticipating it'll be very tasty given all the spices that went into it.

ETA: The curry turned out quite good, though nowhere near as spicy as I was expecting. I had it with rice, and with the naan on the side. The naan was surprisingly tasty, considering it was my first time trying to cook it. It's very straightforward to fry up. I actually realized only after I'd mixed up the dough that it indicates "Portions: 14" -- so I made three pieces of naan and kept the rest on the tray to refrigerate. I can quickly fry up more naan each morning or night, given a little melted butter.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
The other day, I came across this recipe on the Livejournal cooking comm, and decided to try it out in the not-too-distant future. It turned out really well.

Taco Stuffed Crescent Rolls )

Overall, impressively tasty for how little effort it took to make it. I definitely plan to make this again in the future.

Moreover, I feel pretty sure that the technique could be adapted easily to make a kind of pepperoni-pizza crescent roll snack as well, using my spicy red pizza sauce as a base. I'll probably be trying that out soon.
kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
For the last month and a half -- call it work busy-ness, call it Thanksgiving burnout, call it flu season -- I've been singularly unmotivated to try out or post new recipes. Thankfully, I think that period of culinary blah has finally begun to move on.

So, I'll begin anew with Emeril's Spicy Meatloaf )

Overall, I was very favorably impressed by this recipe. The meatloaf is solid and flavorful, and the varied hot spices and veggies in it were enough to make my brow break out in sweat. Incredibly tasty, and with quite a few reasonably-sized servings -- I'll definitely be making this again. Overall prep time was about 30 - 45 minutes, and then the additional cook time of nearly an hour, means one needs a decent span of time to get everything together... but it's certainly worth it, in my opinion.

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March 2015

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