M&M Cookies

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Desserts | Posted on November 8, 2012

I really love holiday colored food, and I always have to pick up a package of colored M&Ms just for funzies. And yes, I know it’s still the beginning of November and I have Christmas colored candy. Hey, at least I don’t have my Christmas tree up just yet (that’ll happen next week hehe).

Richard had a dentist appointment and what better way to celebrate a good check up than with cookies, right?! Bahaha!

Cookies

Here’s the recipe-

M&M Cookies

  • 1 cup (7.5 oz) packed brown sugar
  • ½  cup (3.5 oz) white sugar
  • 1 cup (6.5 oz) shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (10.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups M&Ms
  1. In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Add 3/4 cup of M&M candies.
  2. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes, to your liking.
Recipe from allrecipes.com

Chicken with Honey Mustard Cream Sauce

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on November 7, 2012

You guys, I didn’t realize I haven’t posted since May. I am SO sorry, but we have had such a cray summer- Richard and I are officially homeowners! We moved in at the end of May, and we are pretty much settled in now. We have house projects every weekend (like hello, we can put holes in walls now) and I’ve heard that homeowners practically live at Lowe’s. I should know, we have a reserved spot.

An example of a project this past weekend was to exterminate some ants. Earlier this week I started noticing a trail of red ants accessing my house through the back door. Richard was not home yet, so I figured I needed to do something about it. I was all like, “HELLLLUUUURR, do you pay rent here? I don’t think so! You besta get up on outta here or I’ll call my friend Raid!”

Okay, it didn’t really go down like that. I don’t talk to ants, and I do not have a friend named Raid. I busted out the double sided tape (yeah, kinda ghetto) and I Googled ways to get rid of ants. I still had a lot of eucalyptus essential oil left from making shower disks so I shook that shiz all over the door and crevices. IT WORKED!

Anyway, I’m rambling. I have to tell you about what I made while the husband was outside in the yard spraying ant killa all over the place. I made this super easy chicken with a creamy mustard sauce. Check it out!

I wanted to keep the chicken breasts whole so I didn’t cut them in half. It took about twice as long to cook and I used a meat thermometer to make sure it hit 165 degrees internally. And that weird looking liquid on the sides is just juice from the cooked chicken. It looks odd. Like me. I also used mostly thyme since I was very low on oregano and I didn’t have any tarragon. Woe is me.

I promise I’ll try to update more often- come after me if I don’t kay?

Chicken

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or oregano
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to skillet and saute until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  3. Pour chicken broth into hot skillet.  Whisk in the cream, mustard and tarragon or oregano.  Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Adapted from Let’s Dish

Walnut Granola

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Snacks | Posted on May 6, 2012

I have been searching for a granola recipe that doesn’t resemble cereal and isn’t overly sweet. I wanted the granola to be like those expensive granola bars- large pieces that you can eat with your hand, not your spoon. Something that you can snack on that you can stick in a little baggie to have on hand when hunger strikes. Something that would create world peace.

Well, maybe not world peace, but it almost came close to it.

Granola

I do not have a metal spatula in my arsenal just yet, so I just used my silicone one and smushed it down. It worked out quite well, so no need to go out and buy a metal spatula…unless you really really want one. By the way, my birthday is coming up. Hint, hint. Oh, and I could use an ice cream maker so I can make this.

Walnut Granola

  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 oz) light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups (10 oz) raw walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped (optional)
  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and walnuts until thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into a thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2012

Chicken Spaghetti (But w/Penne)

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on April 20, 2012

Oh, it’s one of those days when I planned on eating leftovers from last night for dinner tonight. BUT oh no, Richard decides to come home for lunch to eat my dinner! Geez Louise. I was really looking forward to those chicken wings, oh well.

Chicken Spaghetti

Last minute dinners are not my forte. I am a serial planner. I don’t know how people get home at 6 and decide what to cook for dinner. It’s amazing. It’s a talent that I will never learn. Please, someone show me the way!

I was planning on making this chicken spaghetti tomorrow, but I guess it has to be moved up in the queue. He will have to starve one day this week (I kid, I kid. He will have to take me to a fancy dinner at Chickfila :P ). This recipe is pretty simple to make- I usually have everything on hand since I roast chicken breasts beforehand. I then shred it and freeze it in 2 cup increments for easy dinners like this one. Did I tell you that I work part time and have time to do junk like this? I am very blessed and lucky :)

Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
  • 16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup white wine, divided
  • Kosher salt, pepper, seasonings (crushed red pepper flakes, Tony Chachere’s)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk (I used a combination of skim milk and half and half since I didn’t have any whole)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped black olives , optional (yuck)
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 cups or so frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti (I only had penne on hand so I used that)
  • Sun dried tomatoes (I used the julienne cut in oil), optional
  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss in the mushrooms, and pour ¼ cup white wine, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 12 to 14 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and has made the mushrooms full of amazing.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds and cook to al dente. Drain.
  3. To the skillet containing the mushrooms, add 6 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Pour in 2 cups of broth and stir to combine. Add milk, another ¼ cup of white wine, salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your liking. When it thickens, turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and stir.
  5. Stir in the cooked chicken and thawed broccoli. Taste the mixture and see if it’s edible. Add cooked pasta and stir it up.
  6. Pour everything into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with optional sun dried tomatoes and sprinkle extra Parmesan if desired (yes, prease). Bake at 350 until it is bubbly and pretty looking. This might take about 25 minutes or so.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Me and Ree

Oh, guess what? I got to meet The Pioneer Woman this past weekend at her book signing!!!! It was so surreal- I see her on TV every Saturday and seeing her in real life was crazy. I was so nervous and excited and my face hurt so much from smiling after meeting her! She complimented my shirt too- I was so ready to let her have it (I had a tank top underneath, I’m not that crazy people). Oh golly whiz, it was one of my favoritest moments in my life. Her blog has changed my life :)

Pesto Alfredo Sauce

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on April 11, 2012

Oh my, has it been a crazy month. So crazy that I’ve been ignoring this blog- SO SORRY BLOG!

Pesto Alfredo

I will make it up to you with this crazy easy recipe for an alfredo sauce. So many people purchase the scary stuff in the jars when it is so simple to make at home. It only requires 4 ingredients to make a plain white alfredo- butter, garlic, cream, and parmesan cheese. Look at the ingredient list on the jar; there are probably 20 listed on the label that you can’t even pronounce! This recipe has pesto added into it to make it even more fragrant and delish and amazing. Please forgive me as I just made this recipe up as I cooked. Here we go-

Pesto Alfredo Sauce

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, Tony Chachere’s seasoning- optional
  • Pasta of your choice (I used a pound of readymade ravioli; this might be yummy with tortellini as well)
  1. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium low heat. Add garlic and allow to brown for about a minute or so. Add cream and milk.
  2. Stir constantly so that the liquid won’t burn. You’ll do this for about 15 or so minutes. When it thickens slightly, add parmesan cheese.
  3. Stir constantly still until the sauce thickens more, another 3-4 minutes. Add the pesto and stir together. Now you can season to your liking! I didn’t add any salt; I sprinkled quite a bit of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, and a couple dashes of Tony C’s.
  4. Pour over your choice of carbs. DELISH!

I got the readymade ravioli from Sam’s Club. It is one of my most favoritest places in the world (because I’m a weirdo and I like table sized cheese). I also purchased my pesto from Sam’s; it’s so much cheaper there than at the regular grocery store. I am NOT advertising for SC, I just love it there so much *<3*

I also served this with brussels sprouts. And yes, I squirt lots of Sriracha on the sprouts with I eat them. I like table sized cheese and sprouts with chili hot sauce. I need therapy.

Crawfish and Shrimp Etoufee

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on March 25, 2012

The season of Lent is here, which means no meat on Fridays. I am a Catholic, and while Richard is a Baptist, he observes no meat during the meals we eat together. He has nothing to complain about for Friday dinners though- I make some pretty badass seafood dishes (especially since my mom hooks me up with a ton of shrimp). During the latest delivery of food from me mum, I got a pack of rib eyes, 3 packs of crawfish tails, several pounds of shrimp, a sack of rice, and so on. I’m pretty spoiled :P .

Etoufee

*THANKS FOR SUPPLYING OUR DINNER MOMMY!*

Crawfish and Shrimp Etoufee

Serves about 6; this took about 1 ½ hours total to prep/cook

  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoons seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • Rice for serving
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Cook shrimp until it turns into an orangey color. Set aside with crawfish.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns ‘peanut butter’ brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I used a silicone whisk because the sound of metal against metal makes me want to rip my hair out of my head. This is your roux. It is very important to stir this constantly. If you don’t stir it the whole time, it will burn and you’ll have to start over. (I played Words with Friends while I was stirring)
  3. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the diced tomatoes and chicken stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and turn to lowest setting. Add the crawfish and shrimp and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving with rice.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

This dish is soooooo good. It was a bit spicy, so cut down the hot sauce if you can’t handle the caliente-ness.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on February 29, 2012

Okay, so after all of that chopping and what not for the chicken stew, I told myself to something that was actually easy. Like, set it and forget it easy. What better set it and forget it appliance to use than my crock pot!

I have a love hate relationship with my crock pot. Sometimes Ruby (she’s red) is nice to me, sometimes she’s ornery. This time, she was very accommodating. If she wasn’t, I’d do something bad to her. Like use an ugly dish scrubber to wash her.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
(Yes, those are peas. I feel much better about myself when I eat something green on my plate. Then I ate a gallon of custard…)

My sister is coming to visit me soon, which means my freezer will be stocked with goodies that my mother will be sending with her! Shrimp, crawfish, and rice – just a plethora of staples will be delivered right to my kitchen. I am so excited. This means that I need to use some stuff up in my tiny freezer to make room for my new stuff :)

I had 2 pork tenderloins wrapped up in the freezer, so I asked Richard if he wanted pulled pork sandwiches or roasted pork tenderloins for dinner the night before. His choice? Pulled pork sammiches of course. I was hoping that the tenderloin wouldn’t be too dry because of the lack of fat, but in our opinion, we liked it much more! I kind of made this recipe up on the fly, and it was a success.

Pulled Pork Sammiches

Serves 6-8

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about a pound each)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounce beer (I used Shiner Bock)
  • 16 oz barbeque sauce of your choice (I used Salt Lick, YUM!)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Buns (tee hee)
  1. Place onions on the bottom on a slow cooker. Rub tenderloins with salt and pepper and place on top of onions. Put the minced garlic on top of tenderloins, and then pour beer around the meat.
  2. Set on LOW for 6 hours.
  3. After the initial 6 hours (my slow cooker will set to the keep warm option after the cook time), spoon out the liquid. Shred the pork with 2 forks, and then pour in the barbeque sauce. Season to your liking. I like it kind of spicy, so I shook a ton of crushed pepper in it.
  4. Stir set to low again for another hour if you have time. If time is limited, spoon some in a bowl and microwave that sucker. Place spoonfuls on your buns (tee hee).
  5. Eat.
Ruby did such a good job this time that I may use her again pretty soon! Richard loved this meal. Anything with meat and bread and he’s there.

Chicken Stew

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Main Dishes | Posted on February 27, 2012

Oh Mondays. Mondays are especially hard after a 3 day weekend, don’t you think? Richard and I ate out several times this weekend, so it is now time to get back in the groove (and into washing dishes- ohhhhh no!).

I wanted to make something that could be eaten out of a bowl, and what better than a stew! When I was browsing allrecipes.com for a chicken stew recipe, I came upon one that had basically everything I had on hand. The good news- curry and cumin powder. The bad news? The cooking directions call for dumping everything in a bowl and MICROWAVING it for 30-40 minutes! What the crap…

Anywho, I did my own thang and here it is!

Chicken Stew

P.S. The prep time kind of blows when you’re feeling lazy. Or maybe I just suck at chopping veggies haha.

Chicken Stew

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I kind of go overboard on garlic; use less if you want)
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used low-fat; that’s probably why my curry wasn’t thick…)
  • 1 can low sodium chicken broth
  • ½  (16 oz) bag of frozen vegetables
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breasts*
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water for thickening if needed
  • Seasonings (I put a dash of paprika, cayenne, and Cajun spice)

*Short cut- store bought rotisserie chicken. I had chicken breasts in the freezer, so after thawing, I cut them up and sprinkled some Cajun seasoning, pepper, and paprika and mixed. Then in the same pot I would be making the stew in, I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil and heated it up over medium heat. I tossed in the chicken and cooked it for a few minutes to brown it. It can cook the rest of the way in the stew. Remove the chicken with a spoon and set aside until ready to use.

  1. Over medium heat, drizzle EEVO into a dutch oven or pot (I used a 4 ½ quart). Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and carrots and stir.
  2. Sprinkle the cumin and curry powder into the pot; stir until everything is coated. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to just simmering and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and add the frozen veggies and chicken. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture to the stew if needed . My stew was kind of liquidy, probably because I used low fat coconut milk. That’s what I get for trying to be good :/
  5. Season to your taste and enjoy!
Source: adapted from allrecipes.com

Richard thoroughly enjoyed this stew! It is quite different with the curry and cumin powder though. If you aren’t a huge curry fan, I still suggest you try this out and maybe you’ll like it. If you don’t, then you are CRAZY. Haha, jay kay.

Brownies!

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Desserts | Posted on February 25, 2012

It is the season of Lent, so of course I was clamoring  for an idea of what to give up. In the past, I have given up meat, fried foods, sodas, and Facebook (which was crazy hard!). This year, I wanted to do something different so the idea of giving up all caffeine popped in my head. Who needs coffee, tea, and Coke…?

Brownies

It is now Day 4 and I have caffeine withdrawals. But I can do this! I found a way to get rid of the head aches and tiredness and junkyness- and the way is CHOCOLATE. But come on people, it’s not like I’m inhaling more than usual or anything. Just a bit here and there…

These are the best brownies I have ever tasted (Richard agrees)- they are in between gooey and cakey. I am a cakey person (haha that sounds weird) while my younger sister is a gooey person (grosses me out) so these brownies will totally be a truce with us.

Brownies

Makes about 2 dozen 2 inch brownies

  • 6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks, 6 oz) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups (17 ½ oz) sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup (optional)*
  • 1 1/3 (5 ¾ oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Optional add ins, such as walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, marshmallows, caramel (I did 1 cup of walnuts and 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips)
  1. In a medium- sized saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla extract, salt, sugar, and corn syrup together until the mixture is light and fluffy. It might take about 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Crank the oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray or grease a 9 x 13 pan.
  4. Stir the flour into the chocolate and butter mixture in the saucepan. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir. You can add your optional add ins now.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. If you want an extra glossy and pretty-ful top, brush it with about a tablespoon of milk. Bake for about 35 minutes- the top should be crisp, and if you insert a toothpick in the center it will still be coated with chocolate. Let the brownies cool for a few hours before enjoying.

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

I think the best way to cut brownies is with a plastic knife, or just digging out a piece with your hand. Any other suggestions?

Beer Bread

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Posted by Lan | Posted in Side Dishes | Posted on February 9, 2012

I have to admit that I’m a HUGE scaredy cat. When Lady Gaga wore that scary red outfit that covered her entire head and body, I had nightmares. My sister had to sit outside of my bathroom door while I took a shower that night because I was so freaked out.

I also feel that moment of fear when I start ripping open a can of crescent rolls. Will it pop right when the wrapper is near the end of the roll, or would I need to use the back of the spoon to pop it open? THE ANXIETY!!!

Beer Bread

And okay, so I feel the same way when popping open a bottle of beer. Don’t ask.

This bread is unbelievably easy to make, and takes literally a few minutes to put together. Here it is!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (if using self-rising, omit baking powder and salt; I also used unbleached flour)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces beer (I used Shiner Bock)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add the sugar and whisk until all dry ingredients are well combined.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour beer into the well; stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and brush the top of loaf with butter; return to oven and bake 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove bread from pan and allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Source: by Jill at www.dulcedough.com, adapted from Food Network

This stuff is so delicious, and can you imagine it with a little pat of butter in the morning? I made a sandwich for lunch today with a couple slices of this magnificent bread- I slathered on low fat mayo, some leftover bacon from last night’s pizza (more on that in another post), about 5 cups of argula (just kidding, but I did put about a cup or so since I loves it), a quick shake of red wine vinegar, and some freshly cracked pepper.  OMG!! Best sandwich ever. I would’ve taken a photo of it, but then you guys would have harassed me for a FedEx-ed package of this stuffs.

I will make this with whole wheat soon!