Healthier Alternative


I love this dish because it takes a normal, easy to cook meal, and turns it into something completely new.  I was a little late in the “lettuce wrap” game, and let me say that I’m very disappointed that I did not discover these sooner.  I guess my mind wasn’t creative enough to think to use a piece of lettuce instead of a tortilla.  I can tell you, using lettuce in place of a tortilla is one of the greatest inventions ever.  Give it a try, you won’t regret it.  This dish is also really good on a bed of rice.

Chicken Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps

(adapted from Food Everyday:  Great Food Fast)

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds of chicken, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 scallions, cut into one inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
crushed red pepper
lettuce

Directions

  1.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add minced garlic, and then add in the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir frequently, until the insides are no longer pink.  Then add in your scallion and bell pepper.  Cook for about another five minutes.
  2. Add the ginger and crushed red pepper to the skillet with the chicken and vegetables.
  3. Prepare the sauce.  Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch and mix well.
  4. Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and allow the sauce to thicken for about a minute.  Take off heat.
  5. Add chicken mixture into lettuce wraps.

Why do you put salt in cookies?


I found this question in my search terms for my blog, and it sparked my brain to do a little research!  I know how frustrating it is to try to find the answer to a question, and the search engine leads you to the wrong website and you have to filter through a bunch of information to a get an answer that isn’t there!  I decided that I would find the information to this answer myself, and make it straight to the point.  Maybe next time, I’ll save someone the brain ache of sorting through Google information.

Many would like to say that salt is needed for scientific reasons, but unfortunately the salt in your cookie isn’t going to make it last longer and it isn’t going to make or break the cookie.

Salt helps add to the flavor of anything, not just cookies.  When using the right amount of salt (and not too much), the salt acts as an enhancer and brings out the flavors of what ever it is being used on.  Just imagine eating some french fries; they have an alright flavor, but they are missing something…you add some salt and BAM! they are delicious.  Now, I don’t think you’ll have quite the same BAM! moment when adding salt to a cookie, but it is the same type of idea.

The salt that is added into the cookie won’t make the cookie taste salty, and it won’t take away from the sweetness of a cookie (unless the lid falls off the salt shaker when you are shaking it).  In a lot of cases, salt isn’t creating a flavor of its own; it is just simply adding to the other flavors.

There is also some evidence to suggest that salt kills bacteria.  The bacteria in your cookie dough would result from the raw eggs.  There is not really enough salt in cookie dough to kill all of the eggs though, so this last claim might not exactly be the most important in terms of the reasons why salt is found in cookies.

And there you have it, salt is added into your cookie (or other baked good) to ENHANCE the flavor, not to create its own flavor.

A big thanks goes out to this wonderful article, for providing me with some great information.  I had to weed through quite a few pages on Google before finding the correct information.

Asian Chicken Wings


Yesterday me and my boyfriend made a trip to my mom’s to cook her a yummy dinner.  I was kind of stumped on what to cook her, but I finally decided that some Asian Chicken Wings would definitely hit the spot.  Sometimes I get these weird wings cravings (maybe I’m the only one?), and I don’t know of many good places around here that sell them, so I resort to cooking some yummy ones.

Asian Chicken Wings

Courtesy of Better Home’s “Anyone Can Cook” cookbook!
Ingredients

12 chicken wings
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
6 slices ginger
2/3 cup of soy sauce
1 ½ cup of water
3 leeks, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, small pieces (leave in seeds if you want heat)

Directions

  1. In a large pan, add in the leek, ginger, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and water and bring to boiling.
  2. Once it is boiling, add in the chicken wings (I cooked these in two separate pots and used double the ingredients, but I’ve cooked this in one large pot before with the suggested ingredients and it worked fine) and bring back up to boiling.
  3. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover the wings.  Occasionally, rearrange the chicken wings so they will all evenly cook in the sauce.
  4. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

I paired this delicious dish with some Creamy Four Cheese Rice-a-Roni (I’m a Rice-a-Roni-holic) and some roasted vegetables.  It was definitely a successful dinner!

Super Sweet Brownies


My boyfriend definitely has a sweet teeth, and he loves everything super sweet.  These brownies are a tad bit too sweet for me, and I can honestly say that I can’t even eat much of them!  But, if you’ve got a sweet-tooth, or know someone who does, these brownies are perfect for them!

Sweet Tooth Brownies

Ingredients

½ cup of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Miniature marshmallows
White chocolate pieces
¼ cup of chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Place butter in large microwave safe bowl and melt.  Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter together in a mixer and mix until well blended.
  3. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and blend well.
  4. Spread in prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 25 to 30 minutes).
  6. Spread marshmallows, white chocolate, and nuts (if you choose) on top of brownies and cook for about three more minutes so the white chocolate can melt (I broiled mine to get the roasted marshmallow flavor).

 

Pacific Stir Fry


When my dad first approached me with this recipe (thanks to Wal-mart’s Family Cookbook), I thought he was completely ridiculous.  I’m not quite the fruit person (some reason I can’t handle the acid) and I couldn’t imagine FRUIT for dinner, but once he made it…I couldn’t get enough of it.  This recipe is sweet and delicious!  I hope all of you give this a try without judging it first!

Pacific Island Stir Fry

Ingredients

1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange sections
½ cup of water
1/3 tropical passion fruit juice concentrate (found in frozen section)
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 lb. polska kielbasa
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

  1.  Cook the rice as directed.
  2. Drain pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges and reserve ½ cup of the liquid.  Stir the fruit liquid, water, tropical passion (allow to defrost), and corn starch and set aside.
  3. Heat up oil in a pan and add in vegetables.  Cook until tender.  Then add in the polska kielbasa.
  4. Add in ½ the juice mixture and allow to boil.  Lower the heat.
  5. Add in the rest of the juice mixture and the orange sections (if you’d prefer your oranges to stay whole then don’t add them until the last step).
  6. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and then remove from heat.
  7. Add in the pineapple.
  8. Cook on top of cooked rice.

 

Potatoes in the Microwave


Potatoes in the microwave?  When reading this, I’m sure that all you first thought “instant potatoes.”  I didn’t believe that anything other than instant potatoes (and I’m not sure if you can consider that a potato) could be made in the microwave with potatoes.  But, I’ve proven myself wrong.  These potatoes are so delicious, and I cannot wait to make them again.  I could probably eat a whole batch all on my own.  They are simple to make, and not many ingredients are involved.  You can use what ever potatoes you have on hand, but red potatoes are the best to use when making this.

Potatoes in the Microwave

Ingredients

Potatoes, washed and cut into small bite sizes
1/2 cup of butter
Greek seasoning

Directions

1.  After cutting potatoes, add them in a microwavable container and add the butter and greek seasoning.
2.  Place in microwave for 10 minutes.  Once the 10 minutes is up, use a spoon and toss the potatoes.  Make sure to coat them with the melted butter.  At this time, you might want to add a little bit more seasoning.
3.  Heat in microwave for 10 more minutes, and perform a taste test.  Decide if they are soft enough to eat.  If not, add more heat to the potatoes in increments of 5 minutes.

——What do you cook that is strictly made in the microwave?——