Friday, December 31, 2010

Thai Ramen with Vegetables

I know, I know, Ramen is for college kids. But really, you can make some pretty tasty meals with it! Or substitute regular pasta if you want, but I like the budget friendly Ramen. The dish is full of vegetables, chicken and lots of flavor. I used the Creamy Chicken Ramen because I wanted to add a little extra body to the sauce. I think a regular Ramen might taste OK, but the sauce would probably be too thin.

Here is the cost breakdown:

1 Chicken breast - 50 cents2 packs of ramen - 25 cents
1/4 onion - 20 cents
2 green onions - 20 cents
1/2 red pepper - 75 cents
1 carrot - 20 cents
2 Tablespoons peanut butter - 50 cents
1 Tablespoon cilantro - 5 cents?
Total cost - Approximately $2.65 for a 2-person meal

  • 1 chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 2 packages Creamy Chicken flavored Ramen
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1. In a large nonstick skillet, add 1 Tablespoon oil and heat over medium high. Add chicken and cook thoroughly. Add onion, red pepper and carrot to pan and cook 3-5 minutes until tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to rapid boil. Add Ramen noodles with seasoning packet and cook 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the noodles or they become soggy.

3. Drain noodles, reserving about 3/4 cup liquid. Add peanut butter, soy sauce and brown sugar to noodles, mixing well to combine. Add noodles to pan with chicken and vegetables and stir. If too much liquid rema
ins, bring saute pan to a boil and simmer 3 minutes until liquid evaporates.

4. Remove pan from heat and add green onions. Stir to warm the onions. Top with chopped cilantro and hot sauce, if desired.

- Pastry Princess

Lazy Day Waffles

I love waffles. Who doesn't?! But sometimes it can get time consuming with separating the eggs, whipping the whites, blah blah blah. So these are what I call lazy waffles! It's basically french toast, made in a waffle iron. They are insanely easy and use ingredients that you probably already ha
ve on hand. You'd never know these were made with traditional white bread; they taste just like the real deal!

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can use cinnamon/nutmeg)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 slices of white bread
  1. Heat and oil a standard size waffle iron. While preheating, mix egg, milk, spice, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Dip one slice of bread in the egg mixture, flip, and let soak for 2-3 minutes.
  2. When iron is ready, place bread in center of iron and cook approximately 4 minutes, until brown and crispy. Continue with remaining slices of bread.
  3. Serve with warm syrup & enjoy!

- Pastry Princess

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Easy Mole Sauce!

What is mole sauce? Well, according to the website I originally got this recipe from (MomsWhoThink), it's a, " Mexican mole sauce; a type of gravy with chiles, chocolate and seasonings."  Oh, but it is so much more then that.  It is an amazing concoction of flavors that ends up pairing perfectly with just about anything; steak, chicken, and of course my family's favorite, enchiladas.  For Christmas, DH's family did a mexican food theme for dinner, and that is exactly what I made; enchiladas con mole.  Mmmmm.   It's super easy to make.  I've adapted and doubled the original mole recipe as follows:

  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tbs chipotle sauce
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2oz (2 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate

    1. Combine salt, pepper, water, chipotle sauce and onions in a saucepan.  Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. 
    2. Add garlic, tomato sauce, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate.  Stir until heated through and chocolate is melted.  
    3. Serve over your choice of main entree...although I highly recommend a nice flank steak or enchiladas.   
    It took me three attempts at making this to get it just right (at last for my family).  If you are unsure of how spicy you might want this, start out with only 3 tbs of the chipotle sauce.  Once you've completed step 2, add more of the chipotle sauce to your liking.  


    -Chef Val

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Cheesy Meatloaf

    Why is my name Vino Vixen? Don't ask me!!! I always seem to have the WRONG wine to pair with what I'm cooking?!?! Grrr. 

    Tonight, I was craving a good old' comfort food meatloaf! And since my husband would totally DIE if our dinner didn't include massive amounts of cheese, I hope you will enjoy our Cheesy Venison Meatloaf!

    • 2 lbs Venison (beef or turkey can be substituted as well)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup ketchup - plus enough to drizzle on top to taste
    • 1/2 cup Velveeta, cubed
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp of your favorite seasoning salt (we use Squirrely Beaver Seasoning  - not sure if you can get that everywhere though - Johnny's works great too) 
    • salt and pepper to taste
    All prepared and ready to cook!
    1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
    2. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl except ketchup & brown sugar
    3. Grease pan and push 1/2 mixture into bottom of pan
    4. Spread ketchup down the middle of meat mixture
    5. Push remaining meat mixture down into pan
    6. Spread brown sugar over top and drizzle ketchup on top to taste
    7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
    So yummy and right out of the oven!
     Depending on how you like your meatloaf, you can do this meal a few different ways. You can eat it straight out of the pan, OR how I like mine - slice a few pieces out of the loaf and fry them on medium heat in a lightly greased fry pan until the sides are slightly browned. From there you can either eat them between two pieces of toast (GREAT the next day for leftover meatloaf sammy's!) or just plain with garlic bread and a salad... or just wine! :)

    I imagine this should probably be paired with a hearty Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon but alas... I had Chardonnay - so it works for tonight! :) 

    Until next time... Cheers!!!

    ~Vino Vixen~

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Cranberry-Orange Oatmeal Cookies

    I made these cookies for a Nestie cookie swap that I attended in November and they were delicious!

    Recipe is courtesy of Kristen Ferguson and was on's website.

    1 1/2 cups white flour
    1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    1/8 tsp ground cloves
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
    2 eggs, room temparature
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    zest of one orange
    2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
    1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped- I omitted this as I'm not a fan of nuts in cookies

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and dark-brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs. Then add maple syrup, vanilla, and orange zest.

    3. Add flour mixture into butter mixture. When almost incorporated, stir in the oats, cranberries, and pecans.

    4. Place tablespoon-size dollops on a buttered baking sheet; bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. I baked my cookies on a cookie sheet with parchment paper coated with cooking spray.

    Yankee Doodle

    Sherried Gravy Pork

    This recipe is very delicious and the meat is very tender. It is also a husband approved recipe. :) I believe I got this from a Crock-pot recipe book, but I can't find the name and issue number.

    1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
    1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
    6 ounces sliced mushrooms
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Mushroom Soup
    1/2 cup chopped green onions (white & green parts)
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 packet (1 ounce) dry onion soup mix
    2-3 tablespoons dry sherry
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)

    1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot. Add pork roast and brown on all sides.

    2. Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker. Add mushrooms, salt, and black pepper to skillet; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients except whipping cream and parsley to skillet; mix thoroughly. Pour mushroom mixture over pork in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on HIGH 5 hours or until pork is falling off the bone.

    3. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes before pulling meat off the bone. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces. (This may not be necessary if meat is already falling apart.) Place in a shallow serving bowl. Add whipping cream to remaining ingredients in slow cooker; stir until well blended. Pour over pork. Sprinkle with parsley.

    Makes 8-10 servings.

    Yankee Doodle

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Baking Beauty: Holiday Baking!

    I've spent the last few hours baking up a storm!
    Here is a platter of cookies I'm putting out for my girl's night tonight! I think chocolate seems to be this year's theme! :)

    From left to right: Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, and Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses.

    Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
    from the Pioneer Woman

    Chocolate Chip Cookies:
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. combine, in small bowl, flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Gradually add flour mixture and stir in morsels. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
    Bake 9-11 minutes until lightly browned. coll 1 minute on baking sheet before moving them to cooling racks to cool completely.
    (makes about 5 dozen)

    Chocolate Sandwich Cookies:

    Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses:
    Pilsbury Peanut Butter refrigerated dough (I know, I cheated!). Prepare as directed on package. While they are baking unwrap the Kisses. HINT: use a small bowl to put the trash in so you don't have wrappers all over the floor! Man, do those things fly! Remove from oven and immediately add a Kiss to each cookie. Let cool a minute or 2 on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks.

    ~Baking Beauty

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Sooo good yet sooo bad!

    I love baking, much more so than cooking! 

    Today I decided to do some baking, since ya know Christmas is a week away and what better time to bake! 

    I started out making Saltine Brittle!  This is so good and so easy!  Not so good for the waist line though!

    To make this you will need:
    2 sticks of butter
    1 cup of brown sugar
    1 bag of chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate chips grabbed semi-sweet this time but just not the same)

    Preheat oven to 400 deg. In a small pot melt butter add brown sugar, bring to a boil.  While the butter is melting lay saltines on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  Pour the butter/sugar mixture over the crackers, put in the oven for about 7 minutes.  Pour chocolate chips on top and leave in oven for about 3-4 mins.  Take out of oven and spread the melted chocolate all over.  Let cool then freeze.  Once froze, take it out and break into pieces!  Enjoy!

    The next thing I made were amazing Super Easy Cookies!  I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman.  I just really started following her blog and love her!  Here is the link!

    Here is a picture of mine!

    *Countess Cupcake*

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Apple Dumplings!

    This is a crosspost from my Meal Planning Mayhem blog, but had to share directly with everyone here, too!

    Continue at your own risk!  You are about to be temped by something so sweet and yummy that once you try it, there is no turning back!  Compliments for a colleague of mine, enjoy some Apple Dumplings!

    2 whole Granny Smith Apples
    2 cans of crescent rolls
    2 sticks of butter
    1 1/2 cups of sugar
    1 tsp of vanilla
    Cinnamon, to taste
    1 can of Mountain Dew

    Peel and core apples.  Cut each apple into 8 slices.  Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll.  Place in a 9x13 buttered pan.  Set aside. 

    Melt butter in a small pot, add sugar and barely stir.  Stir in vanilla, then pour over apples.  Pout Mountain Dew around edges of pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Serve with ice cream and spoon some of that sweet sauce over the top!

    Some pictures! 


    -Chef Val

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

    This is actually thanks to my awesome NSA! I received a package from her today that included this:

    An adorable dish towel set, oven mitt and pot holder, and a cookie cookbook!

    In the book I saw a recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies and decided to try them out tonight. They are like a brownie in a cookie. They definitely make the cut for my Christmas cookie tins!

    Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

    1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 cups white sugar
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    4 eggs
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup confectioners sugar

    Mix together cocoa, white sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, stir in vanilla. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into cocoa mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least 4 hours or until firm enough to form into balls.

    Preheat oven to 350, line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place confectioners sugar in shallow bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll dough balls in confectioners sugar until completely coated. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 8-12 minutes, just until edges are firm. Do not over bake. Let stand on cookie sheet for a minute, transfer to wire rack to cool.

    Recipe is from The Great Cookie Book by Nordic Ware

    ~Kiss The Cook

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Dry Rubbed London Broil

    London Broil was on sale this week, 1/2 off, so I bought one. Normally I prefer flank steak because it's much more tender, but for the price, this couldn't be beat! I got the original recipe from Food Network, it's actually a Dave Lieberman recipe. Super easy, quick, and very tasty. The meat came out very tender, and only took about 15min to cook. We served it with some cheesy broccoli and caramelized onions and leaks.

    • 1 2lb london broil
    • about 1T olive oil
    • about 2T Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 T chili powder
    • 1T dried oregano
    • 1T sweet paprika
    • 1 T garlic powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 15 grinds black pepper
    1. Combine chili powder, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in small bowl. Mix well to combine.
    2. Drizzle 1/2T olive oil over 1 side of the meat. Rub in. Drizzle 1 T Worcestershire sauce over same side, and rub in. Repeat on other side of meat.
    3. Sprinkle about 1/2 the dry rub on side 1 of the meat, and rub to coat generously. Repeat on side 2.
    4. Refrigerate about 4 hours.
    5. Remove meat about 30min prior to cooking to let it warm up a bit. Heat a grill pan on the stove over medium-high. Cook about 6min per side, for medium rare. Let it rest for 10min before slicing at an angle, against the grain.

    P.S. I totally stole this picture from the Food Network website because I forgot to take my own. Oops!

    ~ Pastry Princess

    Sunday, December 5, 2010


    This recipe comes from The Way The Cookie Crumbles. Possibly one of the easiest cookie recipes ever. It took me maybe 10 minutes of prep. They are delicious!

    Original Recipe

    Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey

    This glaze is delicious and worked well as a gravy in addition to a glaze for the turkey. Everyone raved about how juicy the turkey was and how the glaze gave just a hint of sweetness. Enjoy!

    1 12-14 pound turkey (thawed if frozen)
    2 navel oranges
    3 lemons
    1/2 Tbsp sage
    1/2 Tbsp thyme
    1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
    1/2 Tbsp Salt
    1/2 Tbsp Pepper
    1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
    2 Tbsp honey

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 and move oven rack to lowest position.
    2. Mix the sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
    3. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and rinse the turkey under cold water inside and out. Drain all water from the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
    4. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Cut one lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice all over the turkey inside and out allowing the excess lemon juice to drip into the bottom of the roasting pan. Then rub the spices all over the turkey inside and out and under the skin where you can.
    5. Quarter the remaining lemons and oranges and place the quarters inside the turkey until full. Don't forget to put some in the neck cavity.
    6. If the turkey doesn't come with a pop-up timer, insert meat thermometer into the breast meat and roast turkey 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat thermometer reads between 165-170. To keep the skin from over browning, cover with aluminum foil the last half hour of cooking.
    7. Transfer the turkey to a plate. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a skillet; add the pomegranate juice and honey. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly syrupy and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Season glaze with salt and pepper to taste. Brush the turkey with some of the glaze and serve remaining glaze with the turkey.

    Pomegranate glaze portion of recipe adapted from Cat Cora's Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey with Wild Rice recipe. Food Network magazine November 2010.

    Happy cooking!
    Yankee Doodle

    Crockpot: Chicken & Sausage Paella

    I was skeptical that the rice would cook through in the slow cooker, but this recipe was DELICIOUS and easy to make. It makes 8 servings and needs to cook for 6-7 hours. Prep time is 15 minutes.
    1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into cubes
    1 lb chorizo sausage or Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
    2 cups uncooked regular long-grain white rice
    1 large red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
    3 cups Campbell's Condensed chicken broth
    1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    1/2 cup chopped Manzanella olives
    2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    1. Stir the chicken, sausage, rice, onion, broth and soup in a 6-quart slow cooker.
    2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (or high 4-5 hours) or until the chicken is cooked through.
    3. Stir the peas and olives into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the mixture is hot. Sprinkle with the parsley. (I actually skipped this step by putting everything in the crockpot all at once and cooking the peas and olives for the full 6-7 hours and it worked.)
    Recipe courtesy of Campbell's.
    Happy Cooking!
    Yankee Doodle