Saturday, December 31, 2011

tom ka gai (coconut lemongrass chicken soup)

I had this soup recently and for my first time at our local Thai restaurant, and I loved it! It was such a pleasant and unexpected combination of flavors, and it was beautiful. Mmm... I thought maybe I could duplicate it {I mean, how hard could it be? I'm cocky.} and decided to give it a try. I had planned on following a recipe but was unable to find some of the ingredients, so I tried another recipe... and again, couldn't find some of the ingredients. So I combined a few ideas and made my own {dangerous when attempting a meal you hardly know}. Luckily, it turned out super duper delicious!! I was so happy with it, and I fully intend to make it again. With that being said, here it is. So I remember.

If you try it as well, let me know how it went! Enjoy.

RECIPE: Tom Ka Gai

1 deli-roasted (rotisserie) chicken, de-boned, skin removed and shredded {we only used about 3/4 of it... or about 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken}
2 c. water
3 med carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 package Shiitake mushrooms {I would probably do regular button mushrooms next time; I didn't love the texture of these}, halved
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 c.)
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dried lemongrass
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1-2 in. fresh ginger-root, grated/minced

2 cans (15 oz.-ish) unsweetened coconut milk
2 stalks green onion, sliced thinly
cilantro (opt)

Put the (already-cooked) chicken in a hot pot and let it sizzle for a minute. Add the remaining ingredients (all but the coconut milk, green onions, and cilantro) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until carrots are crisp-tender and all is heated through. Add the coconut milk, stir well. At this point, do NOT boil; just warm. Toss in the green onion pieces. Stir. Heat on low heat until ready to serve. Top with cilantro if desired, and serve warm.

Serves: 8
Calories: 203

Friday, October 14, 2011

Garlic Naan

Please disregard the crappy photo. I took it with my phone, and it's blurry to boot. Oh, well. Still makes my mouth water. Yum! :)

The original recipe is from; I only varied it slightly. I searched for a good while to find a highly-rated, easy naan recipe, and this was it! This was my first time making naan, and I think it turned out really well! I'm generally intimidated by breads (the rising and kneading scares me), but this recipe was fairly strait forward and not too bad! The naan turned out really well. When I did it, I brushed it with butter as per recipe instructions, but if I were to do it again, I would do EVOO instead. The butter flavor just didn't seem right; I think EVOO would do much better (and result in much fewer calories). Very tasty. Try it and let me know what you think!

RECIPE: Garlic Naan


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 c warm water
1/4 c white sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. salt

3-4 c bread flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda
garlic powder or fresh garlic


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, or until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, baking soda, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes, or until smooth. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hr, or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down dough, and pinch off pieces (about golf-ball sized) for individual naans. Roll into balls and place on a tray. Spray tops with Pam and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Warm up outside grill or stove-top griddle (medium heat). Roll one ball of dough out into a thin oval. Brush top side with EVOO and add garlic (minced) or garlic powder as well as cilantro leaves. Press leaves and garlic into the dough. Then place dough (service side down) onto grill and cook for 1-2ish minutes (this happens fast; grill marks will be dark brown but bread will be white). Brush uncooked side with EVOO and flip over. Cook another minute, remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Serve warm with Indian food and enjoy! Mm..!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

slow-cooker curried chicken

My friend Missy referred me to the original recipe (found here). It sounded delicious. As I was making it, I improvised a bit: turning it into a slow-cooker recipe and changing up the ingredients a bit. I came up with this. It turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself. I will definitely be making this again!

RECIPE: Slow-Cooker Curried Chicken

Serves: 6
Calories: 315*


2 lbs chicken breast
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 bell pepper, diced
5 baby carrots, thinly sliced
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. dijon mustard
5 tsp. curry powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
(opt) fresh cilantro


Place a couple of thin slices of the butter down in the slow-cooker first. Arrange the chicken breasts on top. Grind some salt and pepper to season the breasts. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and carrots. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour this mixture over the chicken/veggies. Add a bit of water around the edges if you think it needs it (I did- about 1/4 c is all).

Set slow cooker to high and cook for 4-5 hrs or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro. Mmm! ;)

*Basmati rice adds another 170 calories (ish) per 1/2 c. of rice.

ranch chicken mac-n-cheese

This is seriously the easiest thing ever. I got the original recipe from the back of a Western Family Mac-n-Cheese box. It's super easy, super scrumptious, and something even my sometimes-ridiculously-picky kids will consistently eat it! How much better can you get, really? Ready in 10 minutes flat, it's a fantastic go-to meal. Try it out... and let me know what you think!

RECIPE: Ranch Chicken Mac-n-Cheese

Serves: 4
Calories: 365


1 box Kraft mac-n-cheese
1 can chicken
2 tbsp ranch dressing
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tbsp fresh chives*


Cook mac-n-cheese according to package directions (adding milk/butter, etc). Once the mac is ready, add all other ingredients. Toss together well. Serve warm, and enjoy!

*Green onions are also delicious, but I had chives in my herb garden, so I subbed those in instead. Choose what is available and/or appealing to you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

mango chutney

This can hardly be called my recipe. I snagged it off the internet by a faster-than-lightning Google search, ran to the store, bought the ingredients, whipped it up - and loved it! I changed a few things {and will post the thus-altered recipe I used}, but really credit goes to Elise via Simply Recipes {go here}. Way to go, Elise! The salsa, which for some reason we continuously called chutney, was fantastic! We served it over grilled salmon and grilled chicken breasts. Mmm... delightful.

This recipe is really versatile, so change it up however you'd like. Add more of this and less of that, whatever. It should still work. We used less jalapeño because we wanted the flavor of the chili but not the heat {this recipe is kid-friendly}. Change that up if you want it to pack more of a punch. Serve over grilled salmon or chicken, or just with your favorite tortilla chips! Relish in the ease of it all... and enjoy!

RECIPE: Mango Chutney

2 ripe mangoes
1 red onion
3/4 of a jalapeño
1 cucumber
1 big handful of fresh cilantro
2 limes

Peel, pit and dice the mangoes. Finely chop the red onion. Remove the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño, then mince it finely. Peel and dice the cucumber. Chop the cilantro. Combine all ingredients in a small-medium bowl, mixing gently. Juice the limes over the mixture. Give it another quick stir, and serve!

*Photo courtesy of

Saturday, July 30, 2011

homemade vanilla ice cream topped with sugar-glazed strawberries... and sprinkles

I'm not a very festive person. I suppose I am with Christmas, but anything else seems not worth my while. Perhaps it's that I'm too lazy {we'll say "likely"}. Perhaps it's just that I get overwhelmed by the pomp of it all. Or perhaps it's the fact that I feel crafts, etc, must be practical to be worth their weight. Either way, we don't do much for holidays.

But this Independence Day we went all out.... and made the above treat. :) I know. Somebody contain the festivities. Homemade vanilla ice cream topped with sugar-glazed strawberries topped with {at my 4-yr-old's request and in attempt to be a bit more festive} pretty blue sprinkles. It was pretty tasty, although I think I prefer the dish sprinkle-less. Pretty, though, no?

A few pre-prep instructions:
1) This recipe uses an automatic ice cream maker {ours is Cuisinart, and we love it- thanks K&B!!}. You'll need one to do it our way.
2) Make sure your freezer bowl {part of the ice cream maker} is totally frozen; I believe the manufacturer suggests freezing it for 24 hrs ahead of time {just checked; it's 6-22hrs... how's that for vague?}. Your creamy mix won't freeze otherwise. Though ice cream soup doesn't sound entirely bad...
And 3) Prepare the strawberries before you start on the ice cream. They need the full time to sit in the sugar if they're to be syrupy and delicious. They'd be fine otherwise, but trust me; they're better this way.
Okay, that's it! Now get crackin! Your taste buds will thank you!

RECIPE: Sugar-glazed Strawberries


Slice/dice the strawberries. Sprinkle liberally (some might say "dump") with sugar (maybe 1/4 c. sugar for a reg-sized carton of strawberries?). Mix well. Refrigerate for a while (20 min-ish minimum). The sugar draws out the juices, and together it makes for some fantastic, sweet, syrupy strawberries to go on top!

RECIPE: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c. milk (2% or whole)
2 c. whipping cream
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract (the good stuff, if you've got it)

Put all above ingredients in the blender. Blend well until sugar is dissolved. (This can also be done with a whisk and in a medium bowl, but the blender produces slightly better results.) Turn on the ice cream maker, making sure the stirring part is in already and the lid is on. Pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let the machine work its magic! You'll know it's done when the ice cream resembles ... well, ice cream ... and is nice and thick (about 25-30 min).

Dish up the delicious ice cream immediately (it is super soft-serve and will melt quickly) and top with the pre-prepared strawberries! Then add some blue sprinkles if you're feeling particularly American that day. :) Enjoy. It's yum.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

chicken nuggets... with yogurt and strawberries

No, not together. :) Separate, preferably in their own little compartments in an adorable little kiddie dish. No recipe needed. Just bake chicken nuggets according to package instructions, add a dollop of yogurt and a few fresh strawberries, and BAM! Dinner is served! Happy children, happy mom. :) Can't argue with that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

mom's award-winning country white potato bread

My mom always made excellent bread. (I call it "Award-Winning" because it won blue ribbon in the county fair!) She also made it often. Many a Sunday afternoon, we would be welcomed home from church with a savory bowl of beans and some delicious homemade bread. Mmm! I won't say we took this homemade bliss for granted, as I remember quite enjoying it every single time. But being a mother, I now realize just how much effort my mom put into feeding us, among other things. There's nothing quite as effective as parenting to make you appreciate your parents! :) Anyway, my mom recently moved up here, and I got her to teach me how to bake bread (the simplest thing, but among the most intimidating for me). Her recipe is pretty easy. Really. And the bread really is fantastic! It holds together really well, is the perfect density (you know what I mean), and tastes divine! I plan to make it again soon. And again. And again. And again...

RECIPE: Mom's Award-Winning Country White Potato Bread

*Note: This recipe times THREE made two large loaves and four mini-loaves. I believe once over it should just make one loaf. Not super sure. I'll ask. The above photo is of the mini-loaves. And yes, my photography skills are severely lacking...

3 c. flour
2. Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (or more) instant mashed potato flakes
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter-flavored Crisco (eyeball it)
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm milk (can also use dry milk, just reconstitute it to make this much), less on a rainy day

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, adding milk a little at a time (you may need more/less). Beat/knead (beat with bread hook) until well mixed and dough is slightly sticky but still pulls away from you. Put the dough in a pretty ball and place in a new, butter-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled in size (1 hr ish). Then punch it down, re-knead, shape, and place in butter-greased bread pans. Cover again with towel. Let rise (again- until good lookin' - another hr?). Bake @ 350F for 30 min. or until desired color is reached.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

egg, ham and cheese bagel-wich

Last week should be dubbed The Week of the Bagel-wich. My kids and I dined one night at my friend Li's, and she served... bagel-wich. The following day, my next-door-neighbor and friend Aubrey brought us dinner... bagel-wich. The coincidences were undeniable. The stars aligned. We NEVER made these at our house, but how could we deny fate? :) We've now made them ourselves- a couple of times {since last week - lol}. The idea is certainly not my own, but here is our rendition.

RECIPE: Egg, Ham and Cheese Bagel-wich

plain bagels {Sara Lee's are scrumptious}
ham, thickly sliced
sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
salt/pepper to taste

On a hot griddle, sear the ham slices. Place the ham on your bagel bottom. Place a layer of cheddar on top of these. Nuke the stack for about a minute, or until the cheese melts. Meanwhile, fry up the egg like you like it- also on a hot griddle, seasoning with salt/pepper. Place the egg on top of the bagel-ham-cheese stack, then top with the corresponding bagel piece. Serve warm. Devour. And Mmm... love it!

bananas foster

I first had Bananas Foster at a Relief Society activity. The recipe was my friend Belinda's. I swear I wrote the recipe down somewhere, but when I searched for it this morning, it was nowhere to be found. I searched online, but none of the recipes sounded right. So I improvised. And it. Was. Delish.

If you've never tried Bananas Foster on waffles, you're in for a treat! Seriously, who knew waffles could be so rich and amazing? Give it a try. You'll be glad you did.

RECIPE: Bananas Foster

1/2 c. butter, cubed
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 bananas, sliced
vanilla extract
rum extract

In a frying pan over med-high heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring mixture to a bubble. Add a sprinkling of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Continue to bubble for 2ish minutes. Add sliced bananas, stirring to coat. Add a tiny splash of vanilla, followed by 4ish drops of rum extract. Stir to combine. Continue to bubble and stir for a minute then remove from heat.

Serve warm over waffles, ice cream, or whatever suites your fancy. Top with whipped cream or Cool Whip if desired, adding nuts for crunch and/or sprinkling with more cinnamon for aesthetics. Eat up and enjoy!