Splurge Meal @ HuHot

My boys are HUGE eaters, they always have been.  I've seen them polish off 3 heaping big plates of food at a buffet and then have dessert.

Recently, we've been trying to teach them portions and smarter choices.  That anything is okay in moderation and you are even permitted to throw all that to the wind...on occasion.  Yesterday's lunch was one of those times.

Rabbit and Horse both like Mongolian BBQ.  We've been to many mom and pop places in California.  Kenosha, unfortunately, is completely lacking in good or even decent Asian restaurants.  We go to a chain place here called HuHot Mongolian BBQ.  If I don't view it as real Asian food then it's a pretty decent place.

The reasons the boys like to go is 1)  It's a buffet.  2) They get to create their own dishes.

Rabbit and Horse putting together their meal

If you've never been to a restaurant of this type, this is how it works.  You grab a bowl and go up to the buffet line.  They have thin sliced meats (chicken, beef, pork at the very least), tofu, plain noodles, and cut up veggies (cabbage, bean sprouts, zukes, mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, bell pepper, pineapple, tomatoes, cilantro and a whole lot more).  You pile up what you want in a bowl (or two bowls)  then you head over to the sauce bar.  Mom and Pop places usually have 4 or 5 including teriyaki and kun pao.  HuHot does out of the ordinary stuff, check out their website.  Ladle in at least 5 ladles of these, you can mix and match.  Then you can add additional seasonings like lemon juice, garlic or ginger water, wine, sesame or chili oil.

My food on the grill

When that's all done you take your bowl up to a counter.  The cooks throw it on a huge round flat grill.  Each to it's own section.  You can watch them cook it.  It's a show for the kids in itself .  On a busy night there might be 8-10 different meals cooking at one time. (the grill looks like a mess but they had just finished a few orders, they clean the grill before starting on the next order)  When it's done they scoop it into a clean plate and hand it back to you.  You can usually add different toppings such as crunchy chop suey noodles, peanuts, hot chili sauce, sesame seeds or coconut.  Then take it back to your table.

My finished plate.  I added coconut, sesame seeds and chili paste.

My boys love to cook and in this way they can experiment to their hearts content.  The boys ate 3 plates each but hey, they are on vacation.

Quickie Miso Salmon

I rarely plan out meals.  Usually it is a couple of hours before dinnertime when I'm looking in the fridge or freezer for inspiration.  This method of menu non-planning means I don't have the time use recipes that call for marinating something overnight.  One of my favorite dishes in the world is butterfish or salmon misoyaki.  If you do a search you'll find recipes online. Most call for at least miso, mirin and/or sugar, and ginger.  All the authentic recipes call for this to stand at least overnight.  The marinade sort of brines the fish, tightening the flesh a bit and drives the taste deep inside.  In some Japanese markets, you can buy this already made, cooked and uncooked.

Years ago, I came up with a quickie recipe that delivers the same taste without having to marinate the fish.  

Fast Miso Salmon
Salmon fillets or steaks
Miso (I use Shiro or white miso, it has a milder taste than the red)
Mayo (Regular or light)
Ginger, grated
Mirin(optional, sweet cooking sake)

To make the topping the ratios are 2 parts Mayo to one part miso and on part sugar.  (For 4 servings I use about 1/4 cup mayo, 1/8 cup each miso and sugar, a tsp of ginger and 1 tsp of mirin).  Mix it all into a smooth paste.

Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment or spray with non stick spray.  Lay the salmon on the baking sheet and spoon the topping on top.  Spread it out so it completely covers the top and sides too, if you like.  It should be spread moderately thick.

Place Salmon under the broiler set at it's highest setting.  Broil until salmon is cooked and topping is browned (or even just a bit black).  Serve with rice or noodles.  I served mine with cold soba and green beans.

Baaaaaa-lated Easter Dinner!

Most of us here eat a pretty wide variety of things.  Even my boys are used to eating a lot of different ethnic cuisines.  As a matter of fact, as long as it's meat and starch, my kids will eat it.  We're working on the fruits and veggie thing with the boys and they are getting better.

I'm finding meat here in Wisconsin can be so expensive.  We LOVE lamb but at $8-$20 per lb, we can't afford it often.  Imagine our delight when at our last Costco trip we found boneless leg of lamb for $5.99 a lb!  It is also one of the only meats The Greek's younger son will eat (he doesn't do any kind of poultry or seafood and even pork is iffy).

Since we went to brunch on Easter, I was too full to think about cooking the rest of the day so we moved the lamb to the middle of the week.  I decided to roast the lamb, and serve it with tzatziki sauce, Greek rice and flat bread.

Roast Lamb
Boneless Leg of Lamb (mine was 6 lbs but any size is ok)
3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
1 T dried oregano, crushed
1 T dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 c red wine (I used Cabernet sauvignon because that's what I had)
Juice of one lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and marinate the lamb for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees then put the lamb on a rack in a pan and put in the oven for 10 min.  Lower temp to 425 and cook until desired doneness.  I like mine rarer so I cook to an internal temp of about 130-135 degrees.  Mine did smoke up the house a bit and I think next time I'll put the marinade in the pan below the roast..  Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 min before slicing. The 6 lb roast took about 90 min.

Bathing in Red Wine

Just out of the oven

Tzatziki Sauce
24 oz of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup cucumber, coarsely grated or chopped
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
2 T Lemon juice
2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp mint extract (optional)

Line a strainer with a drip coffee filter or a couple layers of cheesecloth.  Scoop the yogurt in and let drain over a bowl for at least an hour.   (If you want to use regular plain yogurt, do this step but let it set at least overnight, dumping out the liquid if it gets too high.)  Put the shredded or chopped cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt and mix.  Let that sit over or inside a bowl for an hour.  After an hour squeeze out as much liquid as you can out of the cucumbers.  I just do this with my hands but you can use a towel or cheesecloth.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for another hour to let everything "meld".  You can put chopped fresh mint in too or instead of the dill and the extract.  I love the extra burst of freshness the mint gives this sauce..

Secret to a thick Tzatziki is to let everything drain well

This is what drained off after an hour .  At least 1.5 cups each

Finished Sauce.  Wish you could smell this!

Greek Rice in the rice cooker
1 T butter (or olive oil)
2 c rice (I used half long grain white and half brown basmati)
3-4 c chicken broth*
2 T lemon juice
1/4 c flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat and put the rice in and stir until it's all coated.  Keep stirring for about 3 min.  You don't want the rice to change color much.  I dumped the rice, chicken broth and lemon juice into my rice cooker and turned it on.  When it was done, I stirred in the parsley.

*The amount of chicken broth will depend on the rice.  Brown rice requires more liquid.  Use whatever you would normally or whatever the instructions for your rice says to.

I served everything with flatbread, gyros style.  It was so good.  I can't wait for lunch leftovers today!

This makes for some good eating!

Cream Chicken

There are certain things my boys request me to cook every time they come.  The main one we call Cream Chicken or Cream Porkchops.  The basic recipe is the same, I either use chicken thighs or pork steaks.  I devised this recipe during one of my low carb phases.  It is simple and doesn't use exotic ingredients.

Creamed Chicken
8 chicken thighs (more or less)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A little oil for the pot
1 can of chicken broth (or 1 1/2 cups of water and a bullion cube)
1 1/2 c of heavy cream (whipping cream)
Seasonings of your choice:   Pepper, sage ( I love this one), bay leaf, oregano....(not all at the same time, unless you want to)
Salt, maybe

Heat oil in a big pot or very large skillet and add garlic clove.  Stir for a minute then lay the chicken skin side down and brown, then turn over and lightly brown the other side.  You may need to do this in batches depending on how big your pot is.

Put all the chicken back in the pot and pour the chicken broth over it and add any seasonings you would like.  Don't add any salt yet.  Bring to a boil and turn down the heat.  When you lift the lid, the broth should be bubbling enough to nearly cover the chicken, if not turn it up a bit.  If it wants to boil over, turn it down.  Cover.  After 30 min, move meat around so that any pieces on top are now on the bottom.  Cover and simmer for another 30 min.  Take the lid off and boil the liquid until most of it is evaporated.  There should be between a quarter and a half cup.  Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a boil again.  If it's not as thick as you want (it shouldn't be too thick)  boil for a few more minutes.  Taste, I usually don't need salt but correct the seasonings as you see fit. I serve this with rice or couscous.  If I'm low carbing, mashed cauliflower or even steamed or sauteed shredded cabbage is awesome to pick up the sauce.

Not a pretty plate unless you are the one who gets to eat it!

I tried to make this a little healthier for those not on a low carb diet.  After boiling and reducing the stock, skim off any excess oil.  Add a can of evaporated skim milk and bring to a boil again.  Mix half a cup of cold water and 2 tsp of cornstarch and add to pot.  Stir until thick then turn off.

To my kids, this is Momma's cooking and Momma is always happy to make it for them.

A Different Kind of Noodle Soup

http://flipsideumami.blogspot.com/2011/04/quickie-go-to-meal.htmlA few posts back, I talked about soba in miso soup .   It is my answer to ramen, which I love but it's full of fat.  This dish is fast to put together and satisfies any cravings I may have.  Today for lunch, I did a twist on this dish.

I used half soba noodles and half shirataki noodles.  Instant miso soup packets work for the broth and I added shrimp and kamaboko (fishcake).  I also added won bok (napa cabbage) and a sliced portabella mushroom to mine.  The boys LOVE it!

Today's version, white noodles are shirataki.

For those who are not familiar with shirataki noodles, they are made out of yams.  They have always been part of traditional Japanese cuisine, usually found in sukiyaki and nabe.  The original contains no carbs, no fat, no protein, no calories just pure fiber.  The tofu ones add a tiny amount of carbs and calories (I think 5 cal/serving).  They have recently become more available because of those stats for almost any kind of diet.  You can find them in the store refrigerated section, usually where the tofu is also kept.

Try it sometime and let me know how you like it!

My "normal" version

Watch Out For Momma!

Easter was yesterday and I hope you all had a great day, even if that meant just relaxing at home.  The boys got their Easter Baskets and the Easter bunny managed to put no candy in them.  They did get a few caramel filled and peanut butter filled eggs in the eggs for the hunt.  Peeps we're stuffed in there too.  (Do you know that Peeps make the best microwave s'mores?)

We went to brunch with The Greek's family.  That evening, he took us to eat ice cream at Ben and Jerry's.  I skipped the ice cream since I was still full from brunch.  The Ben and Jerry's here shares a storefront with a Mediterranean place.  So while we were there I picked up a couple of things for a light dinner later.

The boys each chose two flavors, one of which contained peanuts or peanut butter.  I try and stay away from peanuts.  I'm not really allergic but I feel better when I don't eat them.  It's the same with gluten.  The boys were trying to trick me into eating the peanut butter ones and I told them to remember who the cook was and that I'd get them back one day.

For a long time, my kids would eat any cuisine as long as fruits and veggies weren't included.  Made it nice when we would go out to dinner.  We even took them to Disneyworld for 10 days once and they didn't eat a single chicken nugget the whole trip.  They ate lamb and couscous from the Moroccan place, or fish or shrimp from the seafood restaurant.  Just no visible green things and other veggies.  They have gotten better the last two years but only with the mainstream vegetables.

Later last night I sat them down for a light dinner.  I had hummus and pita bread, which they love!  I had also bought some baba ganoush which I included on their plates.  After watching them wolf down one serving each, I asked them what they thought.  I got 2 thumbs up.  Then I said... remember when we were eating ice cream and I told you that I'd get you back?  Well baba ganoush is.....


Their eyes opened wide and Rabbit looked like he wanted to throw up.  After a minute, he said I like the yogurt-y taste but I won't eat eggplant in anything else!  Neither one turned down a second helping!  For those that don't know, baba ganoush is a dip made with roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon juice and tahini.

Nearly all of us hide things in food and don't tell the kids but have you ever made anything and then told them the dreaded ingredient AFTER?  Let me know!

It's Easter! What's For Dinner?

What is your traditional Easter dinner?  Ham?  Lamb?  We're doing it easy this year and going out to brunch.  Maybe I'll post pictures if I remember to take them.

Whatever your main course on this holiday, nearly everyone ends up eating...EGGS!  I mean after you've colored a few dozen, you only have a few days to eat them before they go bad.  I've managed to avoid that this year (check out my other blog here).

Last year's Masterpieces!

Still, I love hardboiled eggs.  The boys love them either dipped into shoyu (soy sauce) or deviled, especially when Di makes them.  She gets all fancy and puts the yolk mixture in a cookie press and pipes them back in then tops them with paprika.  With me, I just kind of blob them back in with a spoon.  Not eye candy but they taste great.

I like hardboiled  eggs warm, sliced on buttered toast and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  They are a must in a spinach salad.  Then there is the simple egg salad sandwich.  My ex liked the eggs diced and chunky in the mixture.  I like mine very fine, grated or mashed fine with a fork, then mixed with just mayo, salt and pepper.  On white bread please with a little Tabasco on top.  Now I'm regretting not doing any this year!

What is your favorite way(s) of getting rid of those Easter eggs?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Vietnamese Roast Chicken

When I lived in California and we'd make a trek to the really big Asian store there, I'd alway make a stop at this little Vietnamese sandwich shop at the end of the strip mall.  I'm not even sure it had a name.  They had great bahn mi (sandwiches) and cheap too.  I think all of them were under $3.  This for fresh baked French rolls with your choice of fillings.  The thing I loved the best though, was their chicken.  I'd buy some to take home for dinner.  I've never had anything like it anywhere else and we eat a lot of Asian food.

There was a great sale on leg quarters recently.  I think they were 39 cents a pound.  So we bought about 10 lbs worth.  The Greek pulled them out of the freezer the other day and left them for me to cook.  I had tried to duplicate the recipe before, unsuccessfully.  I thought I'd give it another shot.  This time was near perfect!

Vietnamese Roast Chicken

4 leg quarters
2 T sugar
1 T salt

3/4 c Sweet chili sauce*
2 T fish sauce**
3T honey
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 inch piece of ginger, pressed, minced or grated

Combine the salt and sugar.  Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the salt-sugar mixture.  Rub it in all over, even under the skin if you can.  Let sit for 30 min.

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together.  Drain the liquid from the chicken, cut slashes in it if you want, then mix well with the marinade.  I let it soak about 90 min but I think overnight would have been better.  Makes sure it is all coated and even put some in the slashes if you have them.  Every once in a while stir it up or flip the bag over if you put it in a bag like I do overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the chicken on a baking sheet skin side up.  Spoon some of the marinade on top.  Bake for about 25 min.  Check for doneness.

You can serve with rice and more chili sauce if you want, for dipping.

You can use thighs, drumsticks or wings.  You can try it with breasts I'm not sure how it would be with white meat.  I can't wait until it warms up and we can throw these on the grill!

*Sweet chili sauce - I use Mae Ploy brand.  I've seen it in well stocked grocery stores and almost always in Asian groceries.

**Fish sauce  - it's called by many names...nuoc mam in Vietnamese... nam pla in Thai...patis in the Phillipines.  It's watery and brown.  You can use them interchangeably.  Adjust to taste as different brands maybe saltier.  don't be put off by the smell, it really mellows out in cooking.  This can also be found in many grocery stores.

Here are some so you can see what I'm talking about

You Eat What?

I'm so tired but can't sleep until I post something, since I promised a post everyday.  So here is a quickie.  There are times in our lives when quickies are a good thing.


I love chocolate and baked goods as much as anyone but I can't eat them with abandon and not feel guilty the next day.  My favorite current no-guilt snack is...


For those of you that don't know, nori are sheets of seaweed.  Most people see them only in sushi but they make an awesome snack.  You can get them plain but my favorite has sesame oil and salt.  I buy them in big sheets and eat them like potato chips.  You can find other flavors too.  The kids adore the teriyaki flavored kind as snacks too.   I currently have some smaller packs of wasabi flavored ones.  Wasabi is the green stuff you get when you order sushi.  You are suppose to mix a bit of it with shoyu (soy sauce).   It is like Japanese horseradish and like regular horseradish will clear your sinuses in a second flat.

My sister owns a Japanese restaurant and we've seen customers pick up the whole ball with their chopsticks and eat it before we can stop them.  Believe me they never do that more than once!

Join me on Facebook too and check out this Facebook Friday Hop!

Tell me your go-to guilt-free snack!

Week 4 of Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop

The weekend is here and it's Blog hop time again.  These are the rules as listed on the hosts page:

1.  Please follow your hostesses My Grocery Game and The Advetures of J-Man and MillerBug.  Leave us a comment and we will follow you back! (If you already follow us on GFC, we'd LOVE it if you would follow us on Facebook.)
2.  Please follow our guest co-host who this week is One Blondes Ramblings.
3.  You don't have to post our button but we sure would like it if you did.  Not only does it help our hop grow so we can all get new followers, but each week we will choose a guest co-host and to be considered you must have our button somewhere on your site!
4.  You can link up blogs, facebook and twitter accounts - just be sure to specify what each link is.
5.  Hop around and find blogs that you enjoy.  Be sure to tell them you are following them from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop so they can follow you back!
6.  Have fun!

Nothing Like Hot Fresh Bread From The Oven

I love bread and have been known to shamelessly devour more than my fair share of a fresh loaf out of the oven. A couple of years ago my mother in-law bought me a bread maker for my birthday (probably so I'd shut up about how much I wanted one!). Since then I've tried recipe after recipe and my dear husband has had to pretend to enjoy hard little pucks that were supposed to be nice fluffy rolls! I used to have a really good recipe for Portuguese Rolls that everyone in the house loved but I've lost it and haven't been able to find it so I had to restart my search for that perfect bread recipe. After trying 3 or 4 duds I ran across one online from a flour company (DUH!) that has turned out beautiful loaf after loaf. The first day I made this I think it lasted all of 3 hours in this house before every last crumb was devoured! This bread was so good that everyone thought I bought it from the store! Making it was super easy and used only flour, water, salt, and yeast. My husband doesn't enjoy most sweet things (or so he says as he eats half of whatever dessert I'm eating) so the fact that there was no sugar was a plus and since I'm counting my points for Weight Watchers I was happy to have no added oil/butter as well.

I followed the recipe exactly as it's posted here the first time and since then I've changed the toppings and cooking times a bit to my liking. Instead of sesame seeds I've put parmesan and oregano, poppyseeds, and my mother in-law has requested jalapeño peppers and cheddar on the next one. This bread comes out nice and crusty outside and soft and chewy inside. I've altered the cooking time for our oven a bit, the first time I did it for the full 25 minutes the bottom was a bit too dark for my tastes so I've lowered the cooking time to 20 minutes total. If I'm adding a cheese on top I wait till there's only 10 minutes left before adding it on top so that it doesn't burn. The only downside to this recipe that I've found is that it calls for a starter that you make the night before so you've got to plan ahead and make it before bed.

Since I've had such success with this recipe I made a Sourdough Starter from the same site today. In 5 days I'll hopefully get to make some nice tangy homemade sourdough bread... I'll let you all know how it goes!

Seafood Couscous Paella

I don't often use recipes and even when I do, if it becomes something I make regularly, then I just eyeball things and do things "to taste".  The exception would be baked goods.  Which is probably why I don't bake very often.   We have an awesome place near here called Ubake.  I cheat and buy my stuff from there.  They even sell holiday cut out cookies for every occasion.  I buy them (and their frosting too) and let the kids decorate them and I'm the best Mommy in the world!

Snowmen and Christmas Tree Cookies

Anyway, what I'm getting to is...I tend to just throw things together.  So my "recipes" aren't hard and fast.  I am more conscious about measurements, but it's ok to tweak them to fit your tastes.  More or less salt or sugar.  A different herb or even veggie, most times is perfectly ok.

Tonight we were thinking about dinner.  Tomorrow The Greek's grandson comes over so we are having chicken, since he really likes chicken.  Our meat choices in the freezer were chicken wings and rib eyes steaks.  I always keep frozen seafood handy to throw into my noodle soups, so I decided to share them tonight and make The Greek something different.  I guess it needs a name so I'll call it:

Seafood Couscous Paella

1 - 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 c dry white wine ( I use dry vermouth)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
2 bay leaves
1T dry oregano, crushed
1t dry basil, crushed
1 heaping tsp sugar
1-2 T sriracha or ketchup
2c of mixed seafood *
2/3 c couscous (not the israeli one the small stuff looks like crushed grain)

Saute the onion and garlic until light brown,, you can use Pam or olive oil or nothing.  Add the can of tomatoes and everything else before the seafood.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 30 min or more.  If you need to add more liquid then wine or water or even chicken or clam broth will work.

After simmering, taste and adjust seasonings. then add the seafood.  Mine was frozen so I covered and let it come back up to a boil.  You can do the same for fresh too.  Check the amount of liquid it should be about the same amount as couscous.  If not add more and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and take off the heat.  Let it sit for 5 min. Stir again.

You can put more couscous in this if you want a more grainy consistency, just make sure the liquid to couscous ratio is about 1 to 1.  I'm watching points so purposely kept the amount of carbs low.

You can garnish with green onion or cilantro.  Even a sprinkling of parmesan would be good.

I was discussing this with The Greek and you could also add sausage, chicken or even bacon might be awesome.

*I used a combination of frozen mixed seafood, frozen shrimp and imitation crab.  The frozen mixed seafood varies. This one has baby mussels, calamari, shrimp and imitation crab.  You can also substitute fish, real crab legs and clams, either in the shell, whole or chopped.  Of course any fresh seafood works too.

This is actually a quickie version of my bouillabaisse recipe.  That one doesn't call for couscous, just serve some good sourdough bread for dunking.

When It Snows

It's nearly the end of April and it's snowing outside.  My boyfriend (from now on referred to as The Greek) has been swearing all day.  We have the house for sale here in Kenosha and will be moving down to Arizona as soon as we can get rid of it.  The Greek likes to torture himself and on his desktop he has a widget that shows the weather here.  He has a second one that shows the weather down in Casa Grande, AZ  where we are looking to move.  It's been in the 80's and 90's all week.  Every time he sees it, he starts swearing again.

"I could be wearing shorts and drinking a cold beer!"  No, he would be wearing shorts and drinking coffee.

The Greek is a coffee drinker, big time.  He is seldom without his travel mug of coffee, even in the car.  His coffee of choice is Gevalia, which gets delivered every 6 weeks.  We have a closet full of coffee.  I'll have to admit it is good.  I especially like their Mocca Java.  I am sensitive to caffeine, it makes my heart race, so I only get to sip at his.

This winter I've been indulging in a cup a day but I have to have decaf.  I tried a few different brands and flavors until I finally found one I like.  It's from a little Wisconsin firm called Berres Bros Coffee.  I've come to love their Decaf Highlander Grogg.  Their website gives this description:

"Indulgently sweet, richly enticing. Our top seller...an explosion of caramel, butterscotch and hazelnut."

Tonight,, I'm drinking it with a bit of sweetener and a good helping of Silk Pure Coconut (I normally use SoDelicious unsweetened but the store was out of it last visit).  I have to confess though, my favorite way of drinking coffee is with cocoa.  I use about a cup of brewed coffee and a packet of cocoa mix.  My favorite is Nestle Dark Cocoa.  It's got a deeper chocolate flavor and much less sugar than all the others.  I add a good helping of the coconut milk or almond milk.  I microwave it for about 2 minutes because it has to be HOT.   I won't drink it once it gets lukewarm.  It's rich, indulgent and surprisingly not that bad for you.

The Greek likes his coffee unadulterated.  No sugar, no cream.  He cringes when he sees what I do to mine but he happily comes home with boxes of cocoa he found on sale.

Are you a coffee drinker too?  If not, tell me about your favorite hot beverage.

Quickie Go To Meal

It's been one of those days.  I had 3 shows today and I try not to eat 3 hours before a show or I'm too full to sing. Also certain foods muck up my throat but I haven't pinpointed which ones they are yet.  Days like today are rough.  I ate lunch at 2:30 pm and then couldn't eat again until after midnight when the last show was over.

Sad to say my usual go to is a Smart Ones Frozen entree.  Fast and doesn't require any thinking.

When I am thinking more clearly though my favorite thing is noodle soup.   Not chicken noodle, but things like ramen.  Well ramen is notoriously bad for you.  Both high in carbs and fat, at least the ones that taste any good.  I've recently come up with a good substitute though.

I use soba noodles.  My favorite brand is Roland because they are fast and easy to make.  I put a pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil.  I add the soba and  turn the heat down to a gentle bubble.  Set the timer for 3 minutes and it's always perfect.  Other brands I've tried so far take over 5 minutes and the texture is not so great.  Soba noodles have no added fat and have a good amount of fiber.

I put them in a deep bowl then bring a small amount of water to bowl in the same pot.  I use about a cup.  If you want any veggies you can add them in now.  I've used broccoli, green beans, bean sprouts and mushrooms.  I've added cubes of tofu or frozen shrimp or mixed seafood in too.  I've even cracked an egg in on occasion.  Bring to a boil and add one packet of instant miso soup.  Pour on top of the noodles in the bowl. You can garnish with green onions, cilantro and thin slices of cooked meat.  I like to add sriracha and sometimes lime juice too.  I get a satisfying bowl of noodles for half the calories of a package of ramen.

I've been wanting this for over a week but since I had to cut out seafood for a while, I haven't been able to indulge.  Soon and then I'll post pics.

I confess!  Sometimes only the real thing will do but between those times this makes me very happy.

These are my favorite dry noodles.

How about you? What are your favorite fast "go to" meals?

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Living in a house with 5 grown adults, two who are unable to currently work (myself, since I am still considered a “visitor” in Canada, and my mother in-law who is currently disabled) means I have to get creative with meals and I am always on the lookout for good deals at the grocery store. The local store here tends to have all the “prettier” cuts of meat and therefore more expensive, however every now and then they’ll have the less common pieces and usually for a steal. My husband and I stopped at the store to grab a couple things for dinner when he suddenly tore off towards the meat department and came running back with the biggest piece of meat I’ve ever seen! As he proudly hefted an 8lb picnic pork shoulder with the hock still on into the cart, he excitedly declared that it was *only* $11.00!! Now, as I said before I had never worked with a piece of meat so large before. My mother had made plenty of picnic roasts when I was younger but I don’t remember there being a whole leg attached, with the skin! Being the adventurous culinary seekers that we are we happily brought home this pork shoulder like it was a prized trophy. And so began my search on how to cook this darn thing!

We spend a lot of time on the food channels so we knew that slow and low was the way to go... but how?! One of my favourite foodie sites is Chowhound. Their message boards are usually filled with quality tips and recipes so that was my first stop. After reading a bunch of recipes I happened upon this post and decided that it sounded tasty yet simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up. What I didn’t realize was I don’t own a slow cooker big enough to fit the whole pork shoulder in! So... back to the drawing board I went. Eventually I came across this post and decided to combine aspects of both recipes together. The results were a success and tasted fantastic!

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

1 7-8lb Pork Shoulder

2 Tbsp Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

A light sprinkling of chilli powder, salt, and pepper.

Lemon Juice (to baste with)

I decided to go simple with the seasoning since it was so much meat that I knew we’d be using it for various things over the course of the week and I didn’t want any conflicting flavour combinations.

First I set the oven to 450 degrees and went about the task of loosening the skin from the meat and spreading a bit of my spices under the skin then I scored the top of the skin being careful not to cut too deeply. I finished covering the rest of the meat with the rest of the spice mixture and placed it on top of a rack inside a deep roasting pan. I brushed it with some lemon juice and placed the roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Pork shoulder before any cooking
After the 30 minutes, I lowered the heat to 250 degrees and let it cook for 7 more hours. I would rotate the pan every hour and baste it with more lemon juice each time.
About 4 hours into the cooking time
After the 7 hours of slow roasting I switched the oven to the broiler and crisped up the skin till it was nice and bubbly on top... it happened so quickly I almost burned it! So keep a careful eye on it during this part.
Crispy skin after being under the broiler! YUM!
I let it rest for about 10 minutes then sliced off chunks of meat for my husband to shred and I removed the crispy pig skin which was happily and furiously devoured by my mother in-law. The meat itself didn’t have much seasoning to it but the juiciness and tenderness made up for it and it tasted great in the tacos we had that night. I think we’re planning on making some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with the leftovers and who knows what else. There’s so much meat left after feeding 5 people already that I might just have to freeze some for another time!

Quick and Easy Portobella Tacos

I got a late start today.  Had to run to the doctor's to get a couple of test run.  While I was there, BF got a call that someone wanted to come see the house in a couple of hours.  He has the house for sale.  We got home and started straightening up.  I tried to grab an orange but there were none in the fridge and I won't eat them warm.  So I had to wait until after the the house tour was done.  By that time it was nearly 6 pm and I was starving.  BF took out a few thin cut sandwich steaks and we decided to do them as bulgogi (Korean bbq meat).  It had to soak for a few hours so we figured it would be for a late dinner after my show.

I had the hankering for some Mexican but didn't want to use a lot of points since I knew I'd be eating rice and kim chee later.  I had some portobellas left over from the meatloaf.   For those that don't know, fruit and most veggies are no points on the new Weight Watchers system.  I made up some portobella tacos.

Portobella Tacos

Portobella Tacos

3 portobella mushrooms ( probably about a cup sliced 1/4 inch thick)
2-3 stalks of green onions cut in 2" lengths all the way down to the white part
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tsp oil (or non stick spray)
2 corn tortillas (I buy ones with only masa and water, no added fat)

Heat oil in a frying pan till hot.  Add garlic and stir for a minute.  Add the white green onion sections.  Saute for another minute, then add the mushrooms.  Keep cooking, occasionally stirring until mushrooms look nearly done.  Add the rest of the green onions, salt and shoyu.  When onions are wilted, take off the stove.

Almost done!

Heat the tortillas either in the microwave or in another frying pan. I put about 1/2 oz. of shredded cheese on each and sprinkled lightly with garlic powder before I microwave them.  Divide mushroom mix evenly between them and garnish with cilantro.  Serve with salsa or sour cream, if you wish.

You almost don't miss the meat in this as the mushrooms have a meatiness all their own.  You can adjust the seasonings to taste or even add others.  I think next time I'll try some yellow onion and sliced jalapeños too.

This is my favorite shoyu:

Mangoes Make A Comeback!

A new look!  Not a bad second try.  I'm sure this page will keep evolving until we get it where we want it.

Today's food topic is...Mangoes!

If you follow my other blog, you know that last week I had an allergic reaction to something.  Doctor told me no fruit, no nuts, no fish or seafood until it was over.  I finished talking the pills a couple days ago.  Rash is gone so I'm ready to start adding that stuff back, slowly.  I figure I'd start with mangoes for 2 reasons.  A lot of people are allergic to them so it's better if I get them ruled in or out right away.  The second reason is that BEFORE I broke out in a rash, I had gone to Costco and bought a case of them.  They are all ripe now and need to be eaten asap.

I spent  part of my growing up years in Hawaii.  No one bought mangoes there.  Mango trees are huge!  When it's mango season, people give brown grocery bags of them away.  Otherwise they would just drop to the ground and rot.  My mother worked in a bank and her customers would drop them off for her.

I guess we always had them so I am surprised when I find out others have never tried them.  My boyfriend's sons are in that category.  Two days ago one of them tried a cube and his eyes lit up.  Mangoes are silky and sweet as sugar when they are really ripe.  I see them cut up in the stores and have bought a few like that in desperation only to be disappointed.  Mangoes sold like that aren't really ripe yet.  A mango should yield to pressure when pressed.  When cut open, it should be soft, almost slimy and the juice should run all over your hand and arm.

You can eat mangoes green, but they should truly be hard and green.  They will be almost crisp when you cut them.  Cut them into matchsticks and make an Asian salad.  I just like to eat them dipped into one of several seasonings.  The simplest is to mix salt, sugar and black pepper together.  I also like shoyu (soy sauce) and either lemon or vinegar.  I even add something spicy to that mix, whether it be japanese dried red pepper (togarashi or shichimi) or sriracha (spicy red pepper sauce).  Makes a wonderful snack.

My current favorite way of eating mangoes is in my nightly oatmeal.  My mouth is watering and I can't wait for tonight's bowl.  Maybe I'll throw just a bit of coconut and vanilla in there too.  Yummmmms!

One of My Newest Finds

It's been hectic in both our lives the past week so we've been bad about posting.  I hope to find a way to fix that soon.  I was flipping through the Costco magazine recently and they had a few new books that were interesting.  One of them was a diet book.  I wasn't looking for a diet, per se, as my daughter and I are trying the new weight watchers points plus, but it was written by a real chef.  I found out he had a cookbook where he took some of America's comfort foods and redid them.

This was my thinking...this guy is a professional chef, so his food has to taste good because he's got a reputation to protect, right?  I decided to splurge and maybe learn some new techniques.  He's got everything from "fried" calamari to chicken cordon bleu to tiramisu.  Oh and meatloaf!  I LOVE good meatloaf but I know how bad it can be for you.  All that fat and breading in most recipes.  I decided to give Rocco DiSpirito's recipe a try.  That's the book at amazon.com on the side there.

His recipe uses portobella mushrooms as part of the filler.  It was an easy recipe to make even without using the food processor.  I chopped everything by hand and had my stronger half press the garlic cloves for me.  I'm still trying to get in the habit of remembering to take pictures, so I forgot until it had already gone in the oven.  I'll get better at this...one would hope.

Here is the finished product as it came out of the oven.

I served it with roasted asparagus and green beans and couscous.  I love couscous because it's fast to make.  Boil the water or whatever liquid you want to use, pour in the couscous, cover and let sit 5 min and it's done.  I added chopped parsley, a few raisins and a touch of olive oil and lemon to ours tonight.

The meatloaf was awesome!  Moist and flavorful.  Simple and fast.  A quarter of the recipe is 5 pts for those using the plus points system, leaving me ample points for my nightly oatmeal. Thank you Rocco! Now I'm eyeing up his recipe for jalapeno poppers!

Sweet & Spicy Ham

I am not one you would call a morning person. The only mornings that I enjoy are ones which I am still awake for from the night before. Anyone who knows me knows that in order for me to wake up while the clock still reads A.M. I need a darn good reason for it. I would love to say that waking up and smelling the roses and listening to birds chirping outside was enough to pull me out of bed excited for the day to come, but alas I would be lying to you. I need something more, something I can truly enjoy and look forward to and for me that’s FOOD! I love everything to do with food. I love to read about it, talk about it, smell it, cook it, and most of all eat it. And now I’m learning to write about it. Since this is my first post I figured what better way to start it off than with a yummy breakfast ham. I take after my mom in so many ways (it’s almost scary) and one thing we both love is the sweet & salty combination in our food. I’m generally not a big ham eater but with this recipe I really just can’t get enough! It’s super simple, fast and trust me, you’ll want it again and again.

Ingredients (for one person):
2 Slices of Ham (I like mine thinly sliced because it gets crispy under the broiler)
1 Tbsp - Brown sugar (packed)
½ Tsp – Chili Powder
¼ Tsp – Cayenne Pepper
Non-stick spray (like PAM)

1. Turn on the broiler in your oven. I set mine to High with the rack at the 2nd closest position.

2. Take a frying pan and toss the slices of ham in to heat them up. It doesn’t take very long.

3. While the ham is frying, mix together the brown sugar, chilli powder, and cayenne pepper on a small plate.

4. Take out a baking sheet and line it with foil and give it a quick once over with the non-stick spray.

5. Once the ham is warmed up take one slice at a time and press into the mixture on the plate. Make sure to get both sides and dust off any caked on sugar; you want a decent coating but not too thick.

6. Place the ham slices on the baking sheet and place it under the broiler for about 1 minute or so then flip the slices over and let it go for another minute. The sugar should be bubbly and
the ham slightly charred at the edges.

I like mine with a couple runny eggs and a small tomato which was put in the broiler with the ham. This is such a simple recipe that anyone can do and tastes so good. It has just the right amount of salty, sweet, & spicy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...Enjoy!!!
Flipside: Umami © 2008 | Créditos: Templates Novo Blogger