Monday, December 6, 2010

Mjadarra w roz (Brown Lentils with Rice)

1 cup brown lentils
3/4 cup white rice
3-4 medium sized onions
1/4 - 1/2 cup oil

1. Rinse lentils a couple times and drain
2. Place in a pot and add 3 1/2 cups of water and 1 tsp salt
3. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 min until lentils are tender
4. Pour lentils into a strainer to drain and set aside on top of a bowl. Water may have evaporated from pot so this step may not be necessary
5. While lentils are cooking, cook rice like you normally would. Make sure to add 1 tsp salt
6. Next step is to cook the onions, you can cook them while lentils and rice are cooking or do it after
7. Slice onions into wing shaped wedges
8. Heat pan on medium heat and add oil
9. Once oil is hot add onions and cook until tender and golden brown. Will take about 10-15 min. Be careful not to burn onions. Add 1 tsp salt to onions while cooking and make sure to stir onions every few minutes.
10. Drain onions from oil and set aside
11. Mix the cooked lentils with the rice. Taste and add salt if needed
12. Add onions onto mixture and mix all together

** best served with a side of salad or plain yogurt **

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Individual Size Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust - can use any flavor graham crackers
20 chocolate graham crackers, broken into pieces
5 tbsp granulated sugar
8 tbsp  butter
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 tsp cinnamon

3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (15oz) canned solid-pack pumpkin

For the crust
1. Crush graham crackers into tiny pieces and place in a bowl
2. Add sugar and rest of spices and mix well
3. Melt butter and drizzled over mixture
4. Mix until well combined. Add more butter if needed

For the filling
1. Using a stand/hand mixer in a large bowl beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it becomes smooth
2. Add granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and beat for 2 minutes
3. In a small bowl wish together eggs, cream and vanilla
4. Add egg mixture to cream cheese bowl and beat until combined
5. Add pumpkin and brown sugar and beat for another 2 minutes until all ingredients are completely mixed

1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. Press crust mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup
3. Pour in the filling half way and bake 25 minutes
4. Cool for about 20 minutes and then freeze for 10-15 min
5. Using a knife cut around the cakes to loosen from the pan and pry out
6. Chill covered until cold about 2-3 hours
7. Top with whip cream when ready to eat and enjoy

** You can place paper muffin cups into muffin pan and press crust/pour filling into them. Once baked, let cool completely on a rack and peel off paper for a ridged effect as above in picture**

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff (not from scratch)

Ingredients: No measurements adjust to preference
Egg noodles
Beef cubes
1 can golden mushroom soup
1/2 package of McCormick Beef Stroganoff mix - use more/less depending on amount of dish

1. Cook egg noodles and drain when finished. Once drained you can add a little bit of butter and swirl around the noodles so they do not dry and stick together
2. While noodles are cooking, brown the beef
3. Once beef is done add the mushrooms and cook covered over medium-low heat for 5 min
4. In a bowl empty out the can of soup and add the beef stroganoff mix and stir until well combined
5. Add a small amount of water if you find it too thick
6. Add mixture into pan of beef and mushrooms and mix well
7. Let simmer for a few minutes until soup mixture thickens to desired consistency
8. Serve over noodles

** The mushroom soup is used to substitute the water that it calls for on the McCormick mix package **

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Well it's that time of year when the cold reminds me of hot soup. I was looking a for new recipe to try when i stumbled upon this one a few weeks ago and saved it to my favorites menu on the laptop in hopes that one day i will eventually get around to making it. Today was the day and I'm so glad I tried it cause it came out super yummy and definitely perfect for a chilly fall day. Original recipe came from Sing For Your Supper but I modified it a bit to my own taste.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4-6 medium-sized carrots, chopped
4-6 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium sized onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 cups frozen veggies (bag of mixed of corn, peas, carrots)
8 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup milk

1. Cook chicken using method of choosing. I chose to boil them and then shred
2. While chicken is cooking cut up all vegetables
3. Place 8 cups water in a stockpot and bring to a boil
4. Add the bouillon cubes and stir until melted
5. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil and stir well
6. Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf in pot and cook 15-20 minutes over medium heat until vegetables are tender
7. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste if necessary. Take out bay leaf
8. Stir in the chicken, potatoes, and frozen vegetables
9. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes
10. Add milk for a little added flavor and cook for another 5 minutes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feta & Olive Stuffed Mediterranean Chicken Breast

This recipe was recommended by Molly from My Happy Meals. Here is the original link to where this recipe was found Feta & Olive Stuffed Mediterranean Chicken. I made a few changes to the recipe and served it with a side of Middle Eastern fattoush salad.

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3.5 oz crumbled feta container
1/2 of a 6 oz can black olives or 1 small can  (whatever you have on hand) - chopped into small pieces
6 garlic cloves - minced/grinded
2 lemons - juiced
Extra virgin olive oil

Fattoush Salad - estimate amounts for how much salad you want to make
Green onions
1-2 cloves garlic
1 lemon - juiced
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375° F
2. Combine chopped olives and feta in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and mix well until a paste is formed. Set aside
3. Take 3 cloves garlic and place into a mortar and pestle. Add about 1/2 tsp salt and grind until it becomes a paste. You can also just finely mince the garlic
4. Clean and trim off excess fat from chicken
5. Cut a pocket in the side of the chicken breast. Make sure not to cut all the way through
6. Stuff as much feta-olive mixture in the pocket of each chicken breast as you can
7. Take the garlic paste and rub the outside of each chicken breast and place in a plate
8. Grind/Mince the other 3 garlic cloves with 1/2 tsp salt. Add the juice of two lemons and a lil drizzle of olive oil (if you can either mix all ingredients in a bowl or add lemon/oil directly into mortar and pestle)
9. Drizzle the mixture into the bottom of a baking dish and place chicken breasts ontop
10. Bake until chicken is done

For the fattoush salad
1. Cut up the lettuce, cucumbers, green onions, tomatoes and place in a bowl
2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic using a lil dash of salt until it forms a paste like consistency
3. Mix with the lemon juice
4. Drizzle mixture all over salad
5. Drizzle some olive oil
6. Mix all together
7. At this point taste the salad and if it needs more lemon juice/salt add to your desired taste
8. Place pita bread into a toasted and toast until golden. Make sure you separate the two halfs of one slice
9. Crumble as much pita bread as you prefer onto the salad and mix

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potato Soup

Ingredients: approx. 6 servings
6-7 medium sized potatoes - diced into small cubes
1 large onion - finely chopped
4 1/2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt - or to taste
black pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk

1 cup cheddar cheese
extra cheddar cheese for garnish

1. Peel and dice up potatoes and chop up onion.
2. Combine the potatoes, onions, and water in a stock pot and bring to a boil.
3. Lower heat to medium-high and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 min.
4. Once ready, take out about 1/2 cup of the water from the stockpot and add the 2 bouillon cubes to it and stir until completely melted.
5. Add the bouillon mixture back into the pot and add your salt and pepper and mix.
6. In a small saucepan, melt the butter medium heat.
7. Whisk in flour with a fork until well blended.
8. Slowly whisk in milk to prevent lumps from forming.
9. Continue stirring until mixture becomes thick, about 5 min.
10. Add the milk mixture into the stockpot and mix.
Next two steps are optional
11. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese and mix until melted.
12. Serve potato soup and top with cheddar cheese if desired.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daring Cooks October Challenge - Stuffed Grape Leaves

Welcome to my first daring cooks challenge post. So after signing up for daring kitchen and waiting another two weeks until I can finally participate in the October challenge I was excited to see that we were making grape leaves. Being Middle Eastern myself this is something I have grown up with and and have been taught to make... so with that said challenge number 1 has been a breeze :)

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of  Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

We were given the option of using two different recipes or even using one of our own as long as the recipe included rice. I went with a traditional middle eastern stuffed grape leaves recipe that i grew up with. Now onto the fun part....

Makes about 60 grape leaves, depending on the size and amount of stuffing used
Fresh grape leaves or 1 jar of grape leaves
1 cup rice - rinsed and drained a few times
4-5 small tomatoes - diced into small cubes
2-3 green onions - chopped
1 cup parsley - finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 potatoes - cut into rings

1. Take grape leaves and dip into boiling water for about 5 seconds and place in colander to drain. If using grape leaves from a jar make sure you wash them first and if you'd like you can also place them in the boiling water as you would with the fresh leaves.
2. Wash, rinse and drain out the rice about 3 times and cut up all your veggies.
3. Mix all ingredients together.

4. At this point you can taste the water in the bowl and add more salt, lemon, etc to your own desired taste.
5. Lay a grape leaf on a flat work surface vein side up and fill with about 1 tsp of filling, again depending on the size of your leaf you may want to add more or less.

6. Fold in each side of the leaf and then roll from bottom up. Traditionally grape leaves are made to look thin and long.

7. Once all your grape leaves are filled and rolled, you can add them to your pot. If you'd like you may add a layer of potatoes or even carrots on the bottom.

8. Pour ontop any left over juice from the bowl that had the filling in it. Place on stove and add about 2 cups water and another 1/2 cup lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and let simmer for about 45 - 60 min until the leaves are tender. Make sure to place a plate ontop of the leaves to prevent them from unfolding during the cooking process.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cajun Chicken Pasta

1/2 lb pasta (any kind you prefer)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - sliced into thin strips or cubes
2 tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 - 1 cup mushrooms (add to desired taste)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (see below for heavy cream recipe using milk)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
optional - add any vegetables you like (green peppers, red peppers, carrots, etc.)

1. Cut chicken breasts into thin strips or cubes and place in a bowl
2. Add cajun seasoning to chicken and marinate for at least one hour in refrigerator. The longer it's marinated the better

3. Once ready to cook, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to pot
4. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat cook chicken until no longer pink, about 6 minutes
5. Add mushrooms (and any other vegetables you chose) and cook for another 2 minutes
6. Reduce heat and stir in heavy cream
7. Season with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, parmesan cheese and heat through
8. Add the chicken mixture to the cooked pasta and mix well
9. You can also just add the chicken mixture onto of the pasta on your plate if you prefer not to mix them together

Milk substitute for heavy cream
If you do not have any heavy cream on hand use the following:
1. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter
2. Add 3 tbsp flour and mix well
3. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups milk while constantly stirring
4. Keep stirring until milk thickens (about 7-15 minutes, depending on amount of milk used)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kousa Mehshi (Stuffed Zucchini)

Suggestive amounts - rice and meat to be adjusted according to number of zucchinis being cooked
7 Zucchini
1/2 cup Rice
Ground Meat (lamb or beef, whatever you prefer) - about 1/2 lb maybe less (sorry do not know exact amount)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Seven spice (found in middle eastern stores)
3-5 tbs Tomato paste
zucchini corer (found in middle eastern stores)

1. Cut the stem off the zucchini and core out the inside using a corer or a small spoon. Be careful when coring the zucchini as to not puncture and break it. My suggestion would be to buy some extra zucchinis to practice on cause my first time doing this i kept poking holes in the zucchini :(.

2. Once all your zucchini is cored, wash the inside and place in a colander to drain.

3. Mix the rice, meat, salt and allspice together. 

4. Stuff the zucchini with the mixture. Do not fill more than half way. To close the top off you can add a piece of tomato/potatoe at the opening to prevent the mixture from spilling out during the cooking process.

5. Get a large enough pot and place your zucchinis. Add enough water to reach top level. Add your tomato paste (i dissolve it in a cup of water and add that to make it easier to blend). Cook on high until it comes to a boil. At this point you can taste your broth and add salt if desired. Lower heat and cook covered for an hour until zucchinis are tender.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hamburger Cupcakes

I love the idea of dessert that looks like some of our favorite food items. I saw these cupcakes about 6 months ago on Bakerella and ever since have been wanting to make them... I finally got around to it. Not only are these lil cupcakes soo cute but sooo yummy as well. My husband and I absolutely loved them.

Yellow cake mix
Brownie mix
Food coloring - green, red, yellow
Coconut (optional)

1. Prepare cake mix and bake in muffin tins. Make sure to only half fill the cup or else they will end up way to big and not "bun" looking and don't forget to grease the tins. Once cooled cut off the top to the create a top and bottom layer to the "burger bun".

2. Prepare the brownie mix in a 9x13 pan and cut into "burgers" using a circle cookie cutter. If brownie burgers end up smaller than your bun just flatten them down. I ended up having to do that and for the next time i would flatten them a little more.

3. Split your frosting into two bowls and add the food coloring for your mustard and ketchup.

4. For the lettuce i used shredded coconut. Take some green gel food coloring and add a couple drops of water to it and mix. Then put the coconut in a ziplock back and add the food coloring to it and shake. If you don't like coconut then use frosting with the green food coloring instead.

5. Assemble your burgers. If you'd like, you can add sesame seeds to the top bun.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Welcome to my first post....  enjoy and hopefully many more to come!

My husband has been suggesting that I try making an Asian dish for a while now however seeing that I am not a huge fan I kept putting it off. One night while trying to decide on what to make for dinner I came across this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken from My Kitchen Cafe and figured I would give it a try.

I'm so glad I did. My husband absolutely loved it and I thought it was pretty good for a person who doesn't like Asian foods. The best part of this recipe is how simple it was to make and didn't require any special ingredients or even a trip to the grocery store.

I made the following changes to the recipe... I used flour instead of cornstarch and I didn't use any eggs and  it came out perfectly browned. I also doubled the sauce and poured all of it into the baking dish so that it reached the top level of the chicken. I topped it off with a side of steamed veggies and white rice.

I would definately make this again in the future and suggest that you guys give it a try as well.

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 325°F
2. Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg.
5. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through.
6. Place in a single layer in a baking dish.
7. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken
8. Bake for one hour turning chicken every 15 minutes.
9. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stove top. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced – about 6-8 minutes.