Friday, October 28, 2011

Noodle Stir-Fry

Sometimes I just get tired of the same-old recipes. We love stir-fry, but haven't had it for a long time because I used to buy a stir-fry sauce that is no longer available. And I've looked. It was Thai flavoured. The company still makes sauces...they're pretty well known. I even contacted the company to find out about the sauce and they told me it just wasn't that popular so they discontinued it. So we discontinued stir-fry for a while.

I've tried a few recipes, but nothing ever tastes as good. Thai always has a bit of a peanut undertone, and anytime I found a recipes for thai sauce, it always tasted more like peanut butter, than a lick-your-lips, crave some stir-fry, kind of sauce. Until now! (Drama!)

This one is amazing. I'll just say that. The recipe is vegetarian, but I've served it with cooked chicken one time, and salmon another time. Totally good. Easy-peasy. And it has the proper peanut - to - spice ratio. No thoughts of PB&J here...only thoughts like, "I wish my mouth was bigger!"


Quick & Easy Noodle Stir-Fry
Recipe by Our Best Bites


1 12-oz. package linguine (whole wheat or regular)
1-2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian sweet red chili sauce (Thai Kitchen makes one that’s great and easy to find; this is not the chili sauce you find near the ketchup)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 small red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or pressed
1 large or 2 small orange, red, and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen green sugar snap peas, snow peas, edamame, or green beans
1 medium zucchini, julienned or chopped
Optional: Grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak, black sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When it is boiling, add the noodles and cook al dente. When the noodles are done, drain them and toss in 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil.

Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, sweet chili sauce, and dark sesame oil. Set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, but the garlic isn’t burning. Add the peas (or beans or edamame) and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and peppers and stir fry for another 30 seconds or until the veggies are crisp-tender. Add the noodles and stir fry until the noodles are well-combined with the vegetables. Give the sauce a quick whisk and then drizzle it evenly over the noodles and stir fry the entire mixture for about 30-60 seconds or until everything is well-coated in the sauce. Serve immediately–if you want, you can garnish individual servings with chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and black sesame seeds. Serves 6-8.

Tips: I skipped the onion and it was still fantastic. Have all your stuff ready to go before you start to stir-fry, because this recipe moves quick.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raise your hands for Chicken!

I've had a revelation. An apostrophe. Lightening has just struck my brain. (I think you mean an epiphany).

Please don't mock me if this revelation seems like old news to you. I'm standing in the grocery store deli department looking at meat. I had already determined before I came to the grocery store what meals we were having that week and so I knew exactly what I wanted to get. Ground beef for spaghetti and chili - check. Burger patties for burgers - check. Chicken breast, for our weekly chicken dinner - it seriously going to cost me $13 for 2 chicken breasts? And that's not enough to feed my family of 5, so I'll have to buy TWO packages? Umm..hello chicken people, what's with the raise in prices? How am I supposed to feed my family? Do I need to get food stamps? No seriously. $26 for the meat portion of my meal is not in my budget. My eyes dart back and forth as I try to decide what else we could possibly have when I notice a whole chicken sitting there, nicely packaged and ready for me to take home.


Wait a minute. It's going to cost me $13 for two pieces of a chicken, but I can buy the whole thing for $7.50? Is it just me, or does this seem a little silly to you. I mean, I understand that I'm paying to have them cut it for me...but really? Whole chicken it is. Decision made. I put it in my cart and off I go.

So today is chicken day. I was going to go with my usual - chicken, rice and veggies. But if I'm going to go to the effort of cooking a whole chicken, I might as well make a feast of it. So we go with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and veggies. And juice instead of water.

Wowza! What a mom!

The chicken turned out so beautiful moist and flavourful...not to toot my own horn, but: TOOT! TOOT! It was awesome! And my children gobbled it up!

Critic # 1 said, "MOM! I can't wait to eat!" And she wasn't kidding. Normally the chicken is the last thing she eats and it takes some convincing. She ate it up first and fast!

Critic #2 said, "I get to eat meat off the bone! Awesome!" That's his inner cave-man talking.

Critic #3 said, "Bun!"

I will definitely be doing the whole roast chicken again. It wasn't hard. It makes me look like an awesome cook. And they ate it up. Plates clean in less than half an hour is a win in my house.

Chicken Recipe:
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 onion, quartered
1 whole chicken (3 pounds)

Mix together spices and rub entire chicken. I didn't have the onion, so I used 3 cloves of garlic and 1/4 of a lemon. Put the onion (or garlic and lemon in my case) inside the chicken. Put the entire chicken in a food storage bag and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.
Place in roasting pan. Roast at 375 degrees, basting every half hour or so. Cover with foil if the chicken is browning too quickly. (Roast for 20 minutes per pound). Raise temperature to 425 degrees for the last 15 minutes. Let chicken stand 10 minutes before carving.

Raising the temperature for the last 15 minutes worked perfectly for me to make some yorkshires at the same time.

Juicy, Juicy, Juicy.

Potato Recipe
1 package, Little Gems potatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ranch dressing
paprika and cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain.
Mince garlic. Mix Garlic, oil, ranch dressing and spices in a bowl. Add potatoes and stir until coated. Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees until golden and crispy. My kids don't like it too spicy, so I hold off a bit on the paprika and cayenne.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Alison Has The Best Buns!

That title gets your attention!

What is it with Kingston, or this new house that gives me the incredible desire to bake constantly? Seriously, I make cookies, or buns, or something similar multiple times a week. I'm going to be one chunky-monkey if I don't slow down.

Maybe it's the excitement of an organized kitchen with plenty of room in it that has me wanting to pull out my kitchen-aide every day. Or maybe it's because no one here knows me, so I can get to know them over a batch of cookies. Or maybe I'm trying to fill this void with sugar. (Probably not a good plan).

Well, it is a good plan if I don't do a good job. Because then I don't feel much like eating it. I made homemade buns yesterday (my sister's recipe which are so incredibly awesome that you eat WAY more than you should) and they did not turn out. Didn't rise. Were really thick and dense. Not appetizing. Usually they're devoured. Not this time. I also made cookies on Saturday, but something went wrong there too and they ended up like cookie pancakes on the cookie sheet. Maybe that's what you get when you rush baking.

So with that track record, I decided to attempt a recipe that I have NEVER done on my own and one that carries with it A LOT of hype and tradition. Smart idea, hey? Grandma Maurine's Potato Donuts. I've heard rumour around the Branch that Tyler has been bragging that I make awesome donuts...The Relief Society has decided to have a Potato Donut cook-off in September for our Cooking Class. Me vs. Corliss. Nice. I've never ACTUALLY made them. I've eaten them...OH I've eaten them. And Tyler's Grandma gave us the recipe and a tutorial the week before we left in case we were ever craving donuts and were too far away to have hers. So today was the test run.

Seriously, donuts take a long time! I called Grandma one time to double-check something, and then I was flying. Started at 11am and was finally icing the last donut at 3:00pm. Of course, I was being a mom too, so that may have slowed me down.

Now I have 75 delicious donuts waiting to be consumed. Good thing the missionaries are coming for dinner tonight...and we're going to a friend's house for dinner tomorrow...75 donuts is WAY too much for this little family.

I'll share pictures, but I haven't asked permission to share the you'll just have to drool. (Don't count the donuts, there are already a few missing!)

I was thinking these would be good dusted with icing sugar right after they come out of the hot oil. More like a beignet. Maybe next time. I have to recover for a few weeks.

I'm also making Bean Dip, Chimichungas and Spicy Rice today. I guess I feel like hanging out in the kitchen. I'll post those recipes (with pictures) tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Cookbook, New Lease

I won a cookbook in a blog giveaway and today was the first day to try a new recipe. The book is called, "Our Best Bites" and so far I love it. I love a cookbook with lots of pictures because they entice me to make the food. I've already got Beef Dip and Baby Back Ribs on the menu for this week.

For today, I was smart and went straight for the cookies! We're moving in a few weeks and we're having our home teachers and missionaries come over tomorrow evening to help us load our piano into the truck. So cookies seemed like good payment.

Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies! (I know, quite the handle, but they taste as good as they sound)

1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture to combine and then mix in the chips.
4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, drop onto an ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Seriously yummy! Will they all last until the missionaries come for dinner tomorrow? I also set half a dozen aside for each of the ladies I visit teach, since this will probably be the last time I visit them before I move! Wow, these cookies are downers!

A new cookbook always gives me a new lease on cooking. I can't wait to try new things. My family are die-hard RIBS fans, so I found a recipe in the book that promises to be the best you've ever tasted. We'll see, come Wednesday night!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summertime Eats

Now that the weather is finally turning warmer, my eating habits change, and my desire to turn on my oven drastically reduces. We live in a mobile home (only 2 more months!!) and it gets ridiculously hot in here. So turning on the oven when it's already 27 degrees in your house is just not an option. May hits and I start looking for awesome barbeque, grill, crock-pot or no-bake recipes to get us through the summer.

If anyone's got some fantastic ideas that they can share with this tapped out mama...and that kids under 6 will enjoy...please send them my way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lasagna Awakenings

I have always had a love-hate relationship with Lasagna. Most of my life has leaned towards the hate. I will tell you a story:

Once upon a time, there was a mom of two, who was VERY pregnant with her third baby. Her two little ones were small, and busy. She knew this baby could come any time, but her due-date was still a week away. She set out one October morning to make lasagna for dinner for her family. By late afternoon, most of the prep-work was done, and as she leaned over the oven to put the lasagna in, she felt a twinge in her back. ouch! Then another. And another. It was apparent that this baby was not going to wait the week, and she had better get moving (since her labours tend to progress quite quickly). So she packed up the kids and the lasagna and took them down the street to her sister-in-laws. A few hours later, her most beautiful and glorious baby arrived. (Ok, I added that part). It was ME! I guess somewhere in my life I must have attributed lasagna to a lot of pain, so I have not really enjoyed the experience of eating it.

I would spend most times picking out the ingredients and savoring cheese and noodles...spreading the rest across my plate, hoping my parents wouldn't notice how little I had actually eaten. I had a disdain for little bits of cooked onion. Blech!

The story continues. That little beautiful and glorious baby started to grow up. One day, as a pre-teen, she headed to a friend's house for a sleepover. That sleepover included dinner. Her friend's mom served lasagna. Individual servings. But this little girl had been told to mind her manners, so instead of telling her hostess she didn't really like lasagna, she decided to just eat it. (I had a similar experience with a plate full of peas, but it did not make a difference for my dislike of peas). Wait a minute! Lasagna is delicious! I love it!

And thus ended the terrible tragedy that is a hate for lasagna. Now, to give my mom credit, she makes awesome lasagna, and from that day forward, I finally recognized it. It is not that the friend's mom made it better...I just forced myself to actually eat it. So much more polite for other people's moms then our own. Shame on me.

But this was not the end of the love-hate relationship...because now I wanted it...but couldn't always get it. In my adult life, I have tried to make it a handful of times, thinking I had watched my mother make it enough times that surely I could replicate. Nope. Always dry...or flavorless. So we resorted to store-bought lasagnas. They're good, (especially Costco's) and much quicker...but I SO wanted to make a homemade lasagna that would bring me back to that day at 12-years-old.

Que the Sous-chef's birthday. 30. That's a big deal, but we are currently short on money, so his order was no big presents. But surely cooking him dinner was allowed. So I said to him, 'What do you want me to make you for your birthday dinner?' and gave him a list of options. He chose lasagna. Now, initially, I thought...'nice, this is the one thing we eat that really requires NO cooking on my part. What does that say?' But he was not to get away so easy. I emailed my good friend and asked her for the lasagna recipe that changed my life. She was happy to oblige and even laughed, saying, 'It's funny how much people like this lasagna, because it's just the recipe I got off the box of lasagna noodles years ago...with a few tweaks of my own.' Doesn't matter, I thought. It has to be this recipe.

So the planning and prep-work started days in advance. And then Sunday came. Birth-day. Remember, lasagna and 'birth' days have a sad history in my life, so there was a lot of pressure! I followed the recipe maticulously. Chopped onions and garlic. Cooked ground beef. Sauted sauce. Layered with love...and baked. I made two lasagnas, which ended up being WAY too much...but better too much than too little.

The final verdict? The pan was emptied. My little critics ate, sort of. The female critic picked at her plate for about an hour, and it seemed so familiar to me. Like I had done that sometime before...I will attribute it to their getting sick, right? That must be it.

And the Birthday Man? (now this is justice for you):

"It was a little onion-y"


Well, I loved it. And I attribute the 'onion-yness' to the fact that it calls for half a medium onion, but I had about a quarter of an onion leftover from the day before that I wanted to use up, so I just threw it in there too. Next time I will be more maticulous!

Thanks to the lovely moms in my life who have cultivated my now 'love-love' relationship with lasagna! I'm just sorry my own mom wasn't there to try it. She would have been proud! And I cleaned my whole plate!

Savoury Lasagna Recipe:
1 tbsp oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground beef.

3 - 14 oz cans Hunts Tomato Sauce
3/4 of one can of water
1 can mushrooms (including liquid)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

1/2 250g carton cottage cheese
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tsp oil
1 tsp salt

Grated mozzarella cheese
Grated Cheddar cheese
No Boil Lasagna noodles

Brown beef and add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender. Remove excess fat. Stir in tomato sauce, mushrooms with their liquid, water, and spices. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Do not cook any longer.

Combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, oil and salt and set aside.

Spoon 1/3 of tomato sauce into 9x13 pan to cover bottom (using mostly the liquid) and save the meat for another layer. Layer with lasagna noodles. Spread another 1/3 sauce. Another layer of noodles. Add layer of cottage cheese mixture plus sauce. Cover with remaining lasagna noodles and sauce. Top with grated cheeses. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow lasagna to set.


My variations:
I did not use mushrooms. Instead I added about 6oz of tomato juice to the sauce. Obviously I added too much onion, which I will remedy next time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Wow, it has been a while since I added a new recipe. I am inspired to start afresh since I found out I actually have a SIL. So tonight, we are going Mexican in her honor. She spent a semester in Mexico last year and loves truely Mexican flavors. Not sure how well I can recreate it here in the frozen north, but we will try.

Chicken Tacos:
Shredded, or diced cooked chicken (I either use leftover chicken, buy a fully roasted chicken from the grocery story, or in a pinch, we use canned chicken from Costco - because it is the only good canned chicken I have found).
Taco seasoning
Diced red peppers
shredded iceburg lettuce
Pico De Gallo
Grated Cheese
Warm Tortillas
Mexican Rice
Chips and Salsa

one ripe avocado
one clove garlic, minced
one jalapeno, seeded and diced
lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
dice white onion (about half a medium onion)
Mix in a blender until mostly smooth, but a few chunks are always nice

Pico De Gallo:
diced tomato
diced onion
diced jalapeno
Mix together in a bowl and let sit for the day. I like there to be more tomato than onion and jalapeno, but do it to your liking

The magic taco:
warm wrap
spread some guacamole on the wrap
Add chicken seasoned with taco seasoning
red peppers
pico de gallo
a dollop of sour cream or ranch dressing

Wrap it up and enjoy! Serve with chips and salsa and Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups white rice
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup diced peppers
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 green onions, chopped


In a large sauté pan, sauté the onion, garlic and rice in the canola oil until the onion is soft and the rice is opaque. Add in the salt, cayenne pepper, and the vegetable stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the vegetables. Cover the pan and allow rice to sit for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the rice with green onions and parsley.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soup and Cookies

Crazy combination? I think so. Don't worry, we didn't eat them together...they're just two new recipes I tried today.

Curry Carrot Soup:
1 cup chopped onion
2 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
5 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp cilantro
Salt to taste

Combine onion, carrot, potato, broth, curry and garlic in saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.
Blend in quinoa flour. Remove from heat and purée.
Add back to saucepan and add coconut milk, cilantro and salt.
Reheat for 5 minutes.

Double Chocolate Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups quinoa flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture and blend well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll into 1 inch balls.
Place on ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly
Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow to set 1 minute.

Ok, so I only did 1/2 of the quinoa flour, and replaced the rest with white flour. The dough is quite thick, but rolls into balls easily. And yummy! Critics loved it too.

The soup was just ok. Kind of too thick and had too much curry flavor without a nice balance of the others. Anyway, we ate it, but I probably won't do it again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tilapia Tacos

So while I was at Costco the other day with the Sous-chef to buy diapers and other such bulk items, we decided to pick up some Salmon. Something we all enjoy and feel good about eating. Right beside the Salmon was a package of Tilapia fillets. I mentioned, "I heard tilapia is good" and he said, "Get it then." So we did. We told the kids it was 'white salmon' so they would at least try it. And tonight, it was Tilapia night. The critics had also been bugging me that it had been a while since we have had Tacos, and since I'm off the red-meat thing right now, I decided Tilapia Tacos was in order.

2 Tilapia filets
1 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix together salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper; sprinkle over tilapia, both sides. Brush with oil. Grill, covered with tin foil, for 5-8 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

Pico de Gallo:
chop up onion, jalapeno and tomato. Mix together and let sit together in the fridge for a few hours. Serve on top of tacos

Spicy Ranch:
2 tbsp ranch
few shakes of hot sauce or Tabasco to your liking

Fill up your tortilla with all the fixins. Top with grated cheese. Yum!
We had it with some spicy roast potatoes.

The critics ate it up. One said: "I taste the veggies first, and then the White Salmon just slaps you in the face with yummy taste." She's a bit dramatic.

I'm glad tilapia was a hit. Because we have a lot more.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Tonight's recipe is a taste of honor of the in-laws visiting our Latino neighbours.

Southwest Quinoa Salad:
2 c. water
1 c. quinoa
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. lime juice (about 2 or 3 limes)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced jalapeno
1 1/4 c. corn
1 c. red pepper
1 can black beans
1/3 c. cilantro
1/4 tsp salt

Bring water and quinoa to boil. Cover, reduce and simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for 4 minutes. Fluff with fork and cool.
Place quinoa in large bowl.
Whisk oil, lime juice, vinegar, cumin and jalapeno in small bowl. Stir dressing into quinoa. Toss with corn, pepper, beans, cilantro and salt.

Yummy. I'm not a huge cilantro and lime fan. I prefer the heat of Mexican cooking, like jalapenos, chili powder, and hot sauce. But my sous-chef loved this, and so did my family, whom I shared the left-overs with the next day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Morrocan Chicken and Quinoa

In an effort to eat more healthy, I read my mom's new Quinoa recipe book from cover to cover the other day. I wrote down a bunch of recipes to get started, with the plan to buy some Quinoa, test if my family will actually eat it, and then go out and buy the recipe book for myself...because everything sounded SO delicious. So our first attempt was Moroccan Chicken.

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 turmeric
1/4 tsp coriander
2 tbsp butter or veg oil
4 chicken breasts
1 c. diced onion
1 c. water
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp orange juice
salt to taste

2/3 c. quinoa
1 1/3 c. water
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c. pistachios

Combine cinnamon, ginger, turmeric & coriander in a small bowl and set aside. Melt butter in large saucepan. Brown chicken breasts on one side (5 minutes), turn and add onion, water, garlic, orange juice and salt. Toss in spices. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
Cook quinoa according to package directions using the quinoa and water.
Toss with butter, honey and salt. Stir in cinnamon and pistachios.
Serve chicken over quinoa.

I didn't have pistachios, so I used cashews, which were good too. I'd probably use less water in the chicken to make more of a sauce. It was delicious. And even the critics loved it. Score!