Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Hot Chili Pepper Chicken

A spicy recipe to warm up to

Pineapple juice and hot chili pepper flakes serve as the secret flavor base for this version of roasted chicken. Spicy and sweet come together with a kick that’s yummy and worth a second helping. The trick is to let the chicken marinate overnight. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large bowl
Plastic wrap
8-10 chicken thighs
1 baking pan with wire rack
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, chopped small
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1 large chili pepper, minced
1 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Juice of half a lime
½ tablespoon annatto powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon salt

Cooking and Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Make sure that chicken gets thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or 6 to 8 hours. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Coat baking pan and wire rack with nonstick cooking spray. Position chicken thighs on rack with skin side up and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until skin is cooked to desired crispiness. Let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

A high-tide of veggies

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

We’re in the mood for some vegetarian friendly fare. Red Chillies offers fun vegan recipes, such as Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies and several recipes for different eggless muffins.

If you wanna veggie break from traditional burgers, I Heart Veggie Food features a spicy black bean alternative and other yummy selections.

We don’t have a lot to say about Sexy Tofu but they have some really daring vegan recipes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Pineapple Salsa

A spicy and tart dipping delight

Pineapple has all the necessary flavor qualities to make a yummy salsa. This fruit is sweet, tangy, and juicy. We’ve added cilantro and cherry tomatoes to add color and more traditional salsa flavors. All the ingredients combine in a colorful salsa with a tropical twist. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
plastic wrap
1 medium-sized bowl
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon green onion, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
Salt to taste

Directions and Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Apple Crisp

A clever topper for treats and sides
There a sweet treat inside this little red box. The Mixed Stew crew suggests keeping an 8.5 oz box or two of Concord Foods Apple Crisp ($2.99) on hand to dress the top any sweet or fruit laden baked dish. It’s an easier way to get that pie crust-like taste and texture in every bite. The makers recommend adding apples and butter to the mix for serving with ice cream but the possibilities are unlimited. Also, try topping baked sweet potatoes or baked butternut squash with this convenient food item.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: White Sweet Potatoes

Nothing bland about this beauty
Have you seen or tasted a white sweet potato? We recommend slicing and frying these sweet potatoes to give your kids a healthier batch of “normal colored” French fries. They’ll notice the sweeter taste only after they bite into one. All sweet potatoes originated in Central and South America. The orange sweet potato was introduced in the U.S. in the mid 1900s as a “yam.” Christopher Columbus and other explorers are credited with spreading sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. If you’re looking for white sweet potatoes, look for light brown or light yellow skin with flesh that’s pale yellow to off-white. Also, look for tapered edges and oblong shaped body that’s common to all sweet potatoes. Generally, white sweet potatoes tend to be lower in sweetness compared to orange or deep yellow varieties. They’re in season from November through December; however, supermarkets carry sweet potatoes all year long. Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: White Sweet Potato Bake

A sweet surprise that’s easy to sink your teeth into

The Mixed Stew crew recently tried to improvise on traditional recipes for sweet potato casserole for something different. Sweet potatoes are a healthy and flavorful alternative to rice or regular potatoes. We think you’ll enjoy this comfort food dish that we’ve made with white sweet potatoes. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 (9 inch x 13 inch) baking dish
foil wrap
4 – 5 large white sweet potatoes, precooked (See below.)
vegetable oil
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded
1 pack apple crisp

Cooking and Directions:

Bake the potatoes whole, coated with vegetable oil, and wrapped in foil for about an hour or until tender inside. This can be done days ahead. Cut potatoes into pieces when ready to make this dish. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Coat baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Position and spread sweet potato pieces and pineapple chunks in baking dish. Sprinkle on shredded cheese on top. Next, pour on apple crisp. Place baking dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Gourmet Shish Kebab: Laurel, Md.
We’ve enjoyed the spicy and yummy dishes for years. Gourmet Shish Kebab is a neat “mom and pop” restaurant that offers grilled lamb, beef, or chicken shish kebabs ($9.45). The kebabs come in spicy or regular seasoned varieties. There’s also Tandoori chicken ($10.95) and lamb chops ($14.95). If you’re not in the mood for something grilled, patrons can also order spicy curries made of lamb or beef ($9.95). Platters come with seasoned rice and any combination of two side dishes, such as curried eggplant or spinach. Other menu items include gyros ($7.00), samosa ($2.00), stuffed grape leaves ($3.50), and baklava ($3.00). The Mixed Stew crew recommends Gourmet Shish Kebab if you want to sample some Middle Eastern and East Indian fare.

Gourmet Shish Kebab
3495 Fort Meade Road
Laurel, Maryland 20724

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Creamed Spinach

A delightful stand-in for starch

This is a sure fire recipe for creamed spinach. Cream cheese and ricotta cheese make a smooth dish. A little bit of shredded cheddar enhances the flavor and taste of every serving that may substitute for carbs on your plate. Here’s our rendition:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 stock pot with lid
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cream cheese
3 cups ricotta cheese
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 (16 oz) packages frozen spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pot at medium high heat. Add butter, pepper, salt, onion, and garlic. Stir well and let onion cook until translucent. Next, pour in frozen spinach. Lower stove to medium-low and cover with lid. Let ingredients cook for 30 minutes. Mix well. Stir in ricotta, cheddar, and cream cheese. Let cheese melt into spinach and cover. Finally, cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternative Greens

Unexpected options for the old stand-bys

If you like making greens, you’re probably familiar with spinach, kale, mustard greens, and collard greens. Did you know that there are other leafy greens that you may find at Asian food supermarkets? Sweet potato tips and snow pea tips are just two lesser-known food items (sold by the bunch) that may be used to make traditional greens. The Mixed Stew crew suggests looking for these greens to try something new. Combine them with your more familiar varieties of leafy veggies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Slow Cooker Greens

A hot hit that is not fast-food
Why does The Mixed Stew crew choose to cook greens in a slow cooker? Well, it allows us to simultaneously prepare more elaborate dishes. Cooks can focus attention on properly glazing the ham or basting the roasting turkey while the appliance ensures a yummy end product. Don’t hesitate to use a slow cooker to prepare dishes for any large feast. Another tip is using nonstick cooking spray to prevent clingy messes and also help in the clean up. Again, you can really “set it and forget it” with a slow cooker. Also, try preparing other dishes, such as macaroni and cheese or pumpkin pudding, in a slow cooker instead of your conventional oven.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Mediterranean Greens

A healthy batch of veggie flavor

A local Iraqi restaurant was the inspiration for this dish that’s a twist on stewed greens. Just a few spices make this a tasty and satisfying veggie treat. We also suggest using a slow cooker to cook this dish ahead of a family meal. Here’s our rendition:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (6 or 7 quart) slow cooker with lid
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 (16 oz) packages of frozen spinach
1lb fresh turnip leaf tips or sweet potato leaf tips
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 (14 oz) can chicken stock (The frozen spinach has water that will melt)
1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes, diced (drained)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking and Preparation:

Coat inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Combine spinach, onion, garlic, chicken stock, turmeric, salt, pepper, and curry powder in pot. Stir well. Cover with lid and set crock pot on low. Let greens cook for 5 to six hours. Halfway through cooking time, mix well. Two hours before cooking process ends, add tomatoes and fresh greens. Mix well and serve hot.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Last call for New Year’s Resolutions

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

We’re two weeks into a new year. Have you already broken your new year’s resolutions concerning your food choices? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently featured an article about keeping your New Year’s resolutions.

ENDLESS SIMMER also offered fun and quirky ideas for better eating in 2011.

If you still want to indulge this year without really dieting, the daily green has some suggestions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Béchamel Sauce

Nothing plain about this gravy
We've been chugging along without a post discussing béchamel sauce, aka white sauce, for more than a year, which surprises the Mixed Stew crew. This type of sauce is common in French and Italian Cuisines. The main ingredients are milk, flour, and butter. Cooks may add other ingredients to the basic recipe to make different sauces. For example, a béchamel with cheese mixed in (like the one we’ve used in our lasagna) is called a Mornay sauce. Chefs must whisk together the heated milk, butter, and flour to make a rich base sauce that can be used in many dishes. The amount of flour and milk dictates the thickness and viscosity of the béchamel sauce.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: No Boil Lasagne

A shortcut for you to noodle on
Cooks preparing lasagna with this type of lasagne can skip a step if they use this food item. Forget preparing a large pot of boiling water to cook these noodles. Just pile on the sauces, cheese, and other recipe ingredients and then toss the whole lasagna pie in the oven. These “no boil” lasagne will cook until soft and al dente. The Mixed Stew crew suggests that you generously cover or submerge the entire surface area (including noodle sides and edges) with meat sauce and other ingredients. Any exposed pasta edges or areas that are not thoroughly submerged in cheese or sauces may end up dried out, chewy, or crunchy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: History of Lasagna

A cheesy pieful of warmth and flavor
The Mixed Stew crew admits that we’ve made tons of spaghetti in our day compared to lasagna. The name is derived from lasanon, which is the Greek word for “chamber pot.” Eventually, the Ancient Romans borrowed the word to refer to similar cooking pots. A lasanum is known as a Roman lasagna dish. The noodle dish itself came to be called lasagna and the flat and wide noodles are referred to as lasagne. Traditional Italian lasagne is completely flat while American lasagne has ridges and ruffles to trap sauces and other ingredients between layers. Modern pasta makers have developed no boil lasagne that many cooks may find convenient. Lasagna lovers may like a meaty lasagna or vegetable lasagna that’s piled high with spinach or slices of eggplant. Our recipe calls for a white cheese sauce while other popular recipes call instead for ricotta cheese. The list of possible ingredients is endless.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Lasagna

An Italian casserole delight

We love this multi-layered dish that an Italian favorite. A casserole of baked Lasagna can impress and please a crowd at your dinner table. The warm combination of melted cheeses, pasta, and meaty tomato sauce is rich and satisfying. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 wire whisk
1 sauce pan (or deep skillet)
1 stock pot with lid
1 (9 inch X 13 inch) baking dish
Non-stick cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced small
¼ cup butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (8 oz) package no-cook lasagna noodles
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup parmesan, grated
1 ½ cheddar, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb Italian sausage (loose meat consistency)
1-2 lbs ground beef
3 (16 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
½ teaspoon ground oregano
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat stock pot on medium-high heat and pour in olive oil. Add garlic and onion and let them cook until onion turns translucent. Stir well. Next, throw in ground beef and Italian sausage. Let the meat cook for 7-10 minutes until brown. Mix well while crumbling the meat during the browning process. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cover with lid. Lower heat to medium and let ingredients simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Remove tomato and meat sauce from stove and set aside. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Heat saucepan on medium heat and throw in butter. Add all-purpose flour and whisk well. Let flour cook for 3 to 4 minutes before pouring in milk. Mix milk mixture with whisk while bringing to a slow boil. Gradually add and stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar into thickening sauce. Whisk cheese sauce to prevent lumps from forming. Once consistency is like a custard pudding, remove from heat and set aside. Now, spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Create the first lasagna layer with a thin layer of meat sauce. Next, place a layer of no-cook lasagna noodles on top of meat sauce. We had room for three side by side. Spoon and spread cheesey sauce on top of the first layer of pasta. Sprinkle a mixture of shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar. Place another layer of three pasta sheets on top of cheese layer. Repeat this process over and over until near the top of the baking dish. Finish off with a cheese layer. Pour heavy cream over final layer and along the side edges of the newly constructed lasagna. It is important that the no-boil noodles are covered with a wet layer. Place the casserole pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Finally, remove cooked lasagna from oven. Let lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Tokyo Sushi: Glen Burnie, Md.

The Mixed Stew crew sat down for lunch at Tokyo Sushi in Glen Burnie, Md. Expect a jam-packed menu of sushi rolls and Japanese dishes, such as katsudon, chicken-don, and yakisoba. The restaurant has a charming dining room with a neat sushi bar. The reasonably priced lunch specials include a miso soup, salad, and a rather large side serving of vegetable and shrimp tempura. We enjoyed the salmon, chicken, and beef teriyaki that ranged between $6.95 and $7.95. Drop by Tokyo Sushi in Glen Burnie for a yummy trip to the Far East.

Tokyo Sushi
60 Mountain Rd
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21060-7974
(410) 768-9336

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Corn Custard Puddding

A sweet accompaniment to any meal
Here’s an oven-baked pudding that makes the most of the natural taste of corn. A can of evaporated milk and just one beaten egg are the ingredients that blend everything together. Who knew canned whole corn could be turned into such a rich and satisfying side dish? Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large bowl
1 oven-safe baking dish (9 x 13 inch)
Non-stick cooking spray
2 (15.25 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 beaten egg
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Combine corn, sugar, milk, vanilla extract, egg, baking powder, sugar and salt in bowl. Mix well. Next, coat the sides and bottom of baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into baking dish and place in the hot oven. Let pudding bake for 45 minutes until batter mixture firms up and a golden crust forms at the edges of the pudding. Finally, remove cooked pudding from oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday's Helping: Coconut Milk vs. Dairy Milk

A worthy sub for a tropical twist

We suggest substituting coconut milk for regular cow’s milk or heavy cream in different recipes. Generally, substitute the same amount of coconut milk in recipes calling for evaporated milk, heavy cream, or whole milk. Cooks can make coconut milk seasoned versions of tasty creamed spinach, pumpkin pudding, or baked custards. Coconuts contain a lot of fat and oil, which creates a rich, hearty, and satisfying nondairy alternative to cow’s milk. Coconut milk also contains lauric acid. Health studies have shown that lauric acid can help boost the immune system. We suggest adding a bit (½ cup) of coconut milk to any spicy Asian stir-fry.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Cream-Style Corn

Gushing about a mushy canned delight

We previously combined this food item with bacon as a breakfast treat. The Mixed Stew crew adds a can of cream-style corn to our coconut milk corn soup as a thickening agent with strong corn flavors. The major ingredients are corn, sugar, and water. The added sugar in cream-style corn enhances this grain’s natural taste. We suggest keeping two or more cans of this ingredient in your pantry for thickening soups and stews in a pinch.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Coconut Milk Corn Soup

A dish that is like a warm, island hug

We’ve been making this style of corn soup for years in our family. Rich coconut milk and sweet corn really do complement each other in this hearty soup. You can use regular chicken, like we’ve done here, or give it more oomph with shrimp, crab, or clams. We also suggest using a combination of canned cream-style corn and frozen corn to give each spoonful a chunkier bite of corn flavor. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large stock pot with lid
1 yellow onion, chopped small
2 potatoes, diced into cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped small
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3-5 medium to large chicken thighs, deboned and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 (16 oz) package frozen petite sweet corn
1 (15.25 oz) can of golden sweet corn (Add whole can to soup and do not drain.)
1 (14.75 oz) can of cream-style corn
1 (13.5 oz) can of coconut milk
1 whole egg, beaten
5 cups water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pot on medium-high heat and pour in cooking oil. Add garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Let onion turn translucent. Next, add in chicken and let meat brown for 5 to 7 minutes. Add frozen corn, potatoes, canned corn and mix well. Lower heat and let corn and chicken braise for 20 minutes. Pour in water and coconut milk. Cover with lid, and return heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Lower heat again to medium-low, cover with lid, and let soup simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally stir well while adding beaten egg liquid. Serve immediately.