Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quick Dinner challenge

So I have set a new challenge for myself; the 15 days quick dinner challenge. The decision came after guilt feelings towards my older children since I have been busy with the new baby and out of trying to return to my comfort zone gradually. The challenge started yesterday...my quick and at a snap dinner was "Grilled open faced mozzarella toast ". It was so quick and the best part, my kids devoured it.... So am a happy mama.

Grilled open faced mozzarella toast




Ingredients:
6 toast bread (try to use big toast)
6 thick sliced mozzarella cheese
1 large ripe tomato cut into slices
1 big green onion sliced

Instructions:
Turn your oven to 180 degrees ( use the grill part if you don't have a convection oven)
Line your baking tray with parchment paper for easy clean up. Line the bread slices, top with cheese and in the oven. Once the cheese has melted and became golden on the edges, take tray out. Top with a slice of tomato seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with a green onion.

 

More homemade mixes

After a year pause of not giving cooking classes, I hosted this Saturday a group of ladies from LG to give my first of a series of cooking classes till the end of 2012. We had a blast today and made Dill bread stuffed with olives and cream cheese, 7-up fruit salad, apple crumble with vanilla ice cream, chicken spedinies, and stuffed mushrooms. All ladies went home with a share of what we made today...it was lovely to be back in my comfort zone again and to share what I love most with others. One of the ladies asked me "what makes my classes different." A good question, I thought, and the answer was ready " it's the tips and little tricks that I teach and not the recipes themselves". I am glad to say that they agreed with this by the end of class.

To stand by my word and list, here are some recipes of mixes I made which will save you money and time instead of buying them at the store and not to mention a granted freshness. But first let me share with you how to make waffles from the homemade bisquick mix (if you have the machine and it is fairly a great investment if you like waffles)

Waffles from homemade mix

Ingredients

2  cups of homemade mix
11/3 cups milk                                                                                                                                            1 egg                                                                                               
2 tablespoons vegetable oil        
 
Directions
Heat your waffle maker according to directions.
Mix all wet ingredients and add the two cups of homemade mix. Mix till its combined and don't over mix it otherwise you will end up with a tough waffle.
I use 1/3 cup of batter for each waffle. I made some plain then added some chocolate chips to the remaining batter for the kiddos. You can add cinnamon, blueberries, strawberries...etc to make a new flavor everytime.
 

Homemade taco seasoning mix


Ingredients:

  • 1 table spoon chili powder
  • 1 table spoon ground cumin
  • 1 table spoon garlic powder
  • 1 table sppon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 table spoon crushed red pepper (optional, I don't use it as my children don't like hot stuff)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container or a well sealed spice jar. I use mine as directed by the recipe. You can always double and triple the recipe.                                 


Homemade Chili Powder mix

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Directions:
Mix and save in a well closed container.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More prep work...more recipes to follow...

What a day in the kitchen! I had a blast working and talking to baby through it all...I can swear that if this continues, baby will be obsessed with food..lol! So here is what I prepared from my list....

Steak marinade
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic minced 
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper




Method:
Mix all ingredients in a jar or bottle and shake. Marinate your steaks over night and cook in the oven or on the grill...yummy stuff. 
P.s. I didn't take a photo of the cooked steaks but they were delicious...





Monday, October 15, 2012

Prep work frenzy

Saving money and cooking great meals for your family is not mission impossible. It is only about substitutions, planning ahead, and dedicating sometime in the kitchen. I had some thoughts on my mind for the longest time; one of them is the need to do some preparations that will help me to whip up a meal in less time. The other is to be able to continue my experimenting saga in the kitchen. So yesterday I came to a decision to dedicate one day a week to prepare some mixes and sauces to serve my meals for the next week/month. The third thought is to go back to meal planning and money saving when preparing my meals. I know that executing the first thought will serve the third one for sure. So now it was only a matter of getting off the couch, grabbing baby in his seat so he can join me in the kitchen while I do some magic.

So first, I needed to figure out what in general do I need to prepare (some staples) which will serve me well while cooking. Here is what I came up with and did in one hour and a half.
1. Bisquick mix (it is used in making pancakes, muffins, biscuits and some casseroles)
2. Chili powder mix ( used in making many Mexican dishes)
3. Taco spice mix
4. Pizza sauce
5. Mexican salsa
6. Cream of anything soup mix( this is great for any casseroles that need a can of creamed soup and a lot cheaper)
7. Home made sour cream (for cooking savory and sweets)
8. Bread crotons
9. All purpose stir fry sauce
10. Dry ranch dressing mix (great for salads and marinating)

I got my recipe cards and I was set to go...it was intense but felt great to be back in the kitchen again. I made all of these and cooked 3 new dishes for lunch in addition to a new dessert. I will start posting the recipes now and keep checking the blog out for new ones.

Bisquick mix

Ingredients:
10 cups of all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 tea spoons salt
2 cups shortening

Method:
Mix all ingredients well until it resembles coarse meal. Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Now when I want to make pancakes all I have to do is to mix one cup of my mix+ an egg+ 3/4 cup of milk. I know that I can add cinnamon, chocolate chip, or berries to get a variation.

This mix can be used in any recipe calling for bisquick mix.








My home made mix