Friday, November 30, 2012

Crock Pot Mongolian Beef or Chicken


1.5 pounds beef, cubed.  I used sirloin, but you can use stew meat, round steak or whatever you have or is on sale.
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 onion chopped
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce, optional

Into your crock pot add the oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chopped onion and sriracha sauce, stir to combine.  Coat your meat cubes in the cornstarch and add to the pot.  Cook on HI 2 to 3 hours or on LOW 4 to 5 hours till done.  Serve over rice.  Garnish with green onion, peanuts or whatever you like.  This recipe was super simple and was good.  I thought it tasted pretty close to what I've had at an Oriental Restaurant.
You could also use chicken, but the cook time may be shorter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Make ahead Manicotti - Super Easy

What you need:

1 box Manicotti noodles
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, I used Prego
1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes, I used home canned crushed
1/2 carton of cottage cheese
1 carton ricotta cheese
1 egg
shredded cheese to taste any kind
1 teaspoon Parsley flakes - optional
Chili Powder to taste - optional

In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, parsley flakes, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and egg.  Mix well.  In a bowl or pitcher combine spaghetti sauce, canned of diced tomatoes with liquid and chili powder to taste (I probably used 1 to 2 teaspoons) and stir.

Spray pans with a non-stick spray and pour about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce mixture into the bottom and spread around.  With a spoon, fill the manicotti noodles UNCOOKED.  Line up in pans.  Spoon remaining filling around if there is any.  Pour the remaining sauce over top, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.  If you are freezing cover with plastic wrap and then foil and place in freezer.

To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with shredded cheese and put back in oven to melt.  Remove, let it set uncovered for 10 minutes and serve.  For this recipe to work it must sit at least 8 hours before baking.  To cook right away, you would need to cook the noodles before filling.

 I forgot to add the egg...I just noticed!  Still tasted great though :)
 Make sure to cover as much of the noodles as you can.  You should have plenty of sauce.  And of course you can use a homemade sauce.
I put two trays of 5 in the freezer for later and baked one tray with 4 the next evening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Baked Flounder stuffed with Boudain

Hi everyone!  I just got back from a vacation to the Texas Gulf was beautiful weather!  My Dad and nephew, Geoff, went fishing every day we where there and brought back mouth watering flounder, red fish and trout.  Here is some of their haul...

Okay, so on the recipe.  First let tell you that there are NO photos of this recipe.  Why? you ask?  Well, we were just too hungry and totally forgot to take any.

After you scale and clean the flounder use a knife to cut down the middle of the fish to make an opening.  Take some good ole' DJ's Boudain ( ) and stuff it inside.  Place on a pan lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until done.  This will depend on the size of your fish.
We demolished it pretty was so good!

Great food and a wonderful vacation in Gilchrist, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula.  You may not know, but Gilchrist and the Bolivar Peninsula was hit hard by Hurricane Ike in 2008.  After Ike there were only five or six cabins left standing in Gilchrist and the other communities on the Peninsula were devastated as well.  People are rebuilding and moving forward there.  I would love to live there someday....

Now for my review of the cabin we stayed in.  It is called the "Seagull House" and is located in Gilchrist, Texas.  We rented it through Swedes Real Estate in Crystal Beach. Here is a link to them  This house has some pros and cons.
The pros: location, view, outside space, lots of decks, pretty well stocked kitchen utensils etc., good shower, nice washer/dryer, tap water was good, beds were comfortable, gate on the mid deck to keep dogs contained, they allowed pets, cost.

The cons: Was dirty when we arrived, not filthy, but we did have to clean some.  The stairs lead straight into the door, there is no landing (see photo below), no sofa in this house!; only chairs which was weird, no good TV channels...most of them were Spanish or Chinese, the loft has a ladder instead of stairs, burned out light bulbs in several lamps, fire detectors in bedrooms were clearly missing a battery, some of the outdoor furniture needs to be replaced as it is broken beyond use, NO linens are provided...NONE!  You can "rent" them for $100 extra but we opted to bring our own.  Our own sheets, pillows, towels, wash cloths, hand towels, dish towels..., NO toilet paper or paper towels are provided, NO soap of any kind.  The kicker for us was we had to put a $200 security deposit down that is refundable IF the cabin is left clean and, in their words, "ready to be sanitized." They have a long list on the fridge that tells you what you are expected to clean and it includes everything but moping the floor.  We wanted our deposit back so we cleaned before we left, not exactly a great ending to a vacation.
The reason I point this out is because my mother manages some rental cabins here were we live.  Here the guest is not required to clean the entire cabin before they leave.  We provide sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, toilet paper, paper towels, soap and shampoo and it is included in the price.  I guess the idea of all of that not being provided for the guest is just a foreign concept to us.

We still had a great time and would even rent this cabin again, at least we would know what to expect.  It was a nice place, despite the cons.  See photos below:

 Those two white chairs were very comfortable.  We were surprised!

 Small but adequate kitchen.
 No landing right out the door, which was hard to handle at times and the handrails aren't far enough out to use in some areas.
Upper side deck.  The dogs liked to sun there.