Sunday, March 31, 2013

Asian Meatballs

Happy Easter to those celebrating on this beautiful day :)

All the house windows, blinds, and doors are open letting the breeze and sunshine in.  These are the best Sundays!

*UPDATE:  It's crazy pouring down rain and hail now.  Welcome to Houston, where you can experience every type of weather in the course of one day.

Hubby's Sundays are spent sleeping in as much as possible in different parts of the house.  So while he was doing his thing, I was doing my thing in the kitchen. Normally we grab whatever from whatever restaurant for lunch, but today I actually made lunch!

I wanted something simple and I decided to mimic this recipe that came across my email from Budget Bytes.  These meatballs are gingery and mildly sweetened with a glaze (not in the Budget Bytes recipe) that were eaten on top of basmati rice with a side of pickled carrots, onions, and radish.  You could also eat these meatballs in a warm toasty french or vietnamese baguette and make yourself a banh mi.  It's just good, easy food.

Pickled Veggies:

1/4 onion thinly sliced
2 large radishes thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced or grated
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Place the thinly sliced veggies into a small canister (I had to use a bowl b/c I was out of mason jars).  Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a quick boil and pour over the veggies.   Make sure everything is fully submerged.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.

Asian Meatballs:

1/2 lb ground beef (ground anything is fine here)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1-in knob ginger, minced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 egg
1/2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sriracha
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp honey
couple splashes of soy sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.

Combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, onion, cilantro, minced ginger and garlic, egg, soy sauce, sriracha, a sprinkle of salt, and lots of pepper!  Mix thoroughly using a light hand.

Take about 1 tbs of meat mixture and shape into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  I made about 17 meatballs.

Bake for 20 minutes.  As they bake, combine the brown sugar, honey, and soy sauce.  Mix well.  After 20 minutes of baking, brush the meatballs with some of the glaze and let bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Turn off oven, brush the meatballs with the remaining glaze and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes so they're sticky.

That's all!

We ate the meatballs on top of some plain rice, with a dollop of sriracha mayo (literally sriracha and mayo mixed together), splash of soy sauce, pickled veggies, and some more sriracha.  Absolutely yum.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quickie Stuffed Bell Peppers & Orzo Salad

Just celebrated my big 3-0! Happy birthday to me!! I LOVE birthdays, mine, as well as everyone else's...there's happiness, there's celebrating, there's cake, and there's that special feeling you get on a day that is specially just for you.

My family and friends went above and beyond to make me feel lucky and blessed...there's nothing like being loved by so many good hearted people.  I'm in a very happy place right now!

Whenever there's a birthday, there is a lot of eating, so I really wanted to make a home cooked meal today.  I am still tired from my crazy awesome weekend, so wanted to put together something fairly quick and healthy.  Hubby and I need to get our festival bods ready for Cali!

Stuffed bell peppers are generally quick boiled and stuffed with a raw mixture of meat and some rice and take some time to cook.

Mine still took a bit of time, but were a little quicker since I halved the bell peppers, did not use rice, and browned the meat before stuffing.

The peppers were served with a side of orzo salad to create a well-balanced healthy meal.  Healthy can ALWAYS be delicious!

Stuffed Bell Peppers:

olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbs minced garlic
sea salt
black pepper
red chili powder
1 tbs garlic chili sauce (Sambal is the brand I use)
1/2 small can corn
handful of cilantro, chopped
3 bell peppers (whatever color is your fancy...I used one green, one yellow, and one red)
shredded cheese (whatever you like)
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
worcestershire sauce
hot sauce
sea salt
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  De-seed the peppers and place in a lightly greased casserole dish.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.  Add diced onion and minced garlic.  Cook until onions are transclucent and begin to brown around edges.  Add the ground beef and season with salt, pepper, cumin, red chili powder, and garlic chili sauce.  Brown the beef and then add the corn and cilantro, heat through.

As the meat is cooking, combine tomato sauce with a few dashes of worcestershire and hot sauce, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a separate bowl.

Stuff each bell pepper with the meat mixture, sprinkle just a bit of cheese on each pepper.  Pour tomato mixture over the peppers.  Pop the stuffed peppers in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Take the peppers out and top with a sprinkling of cheese and pop under the broiler on high heat until the cheese is melty (I overcooked mine, so mine was browned, but still so good).  Keep an eye on them!  The broiler works fast...

Orzo Salad:

1 cup cooked orzo
1 small avocado
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small can corn
olive oil
red wine vinegar
red chili flakes
garlic powder

Combine orzo, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and corn.  Drizzle with olive and a few dashes of the red wine vingar.  Season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes, and garlic powder.  Place in fridge to cool.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nutella-Pretzel Browned Butter Brownies

Hubby was watching an episode of The Office while we were on our walk on this beautiful day and Dwight was having thing I know, "babe, can you make me some brownies?"

Normally I would say no, BUT, since I am not taking him as my guest to the rodeo concert, I promised him brownies and dinner.  Welcome to married life my friends!

I immediately thought of the pretzel nutella milkshake from Hopdoddy's in Austin.  It's an amazing milkshake full of nutella goodness and crunchy bits of salty pretzels! I'd make a trip to Austin for this milkshake.  Actually, I'd just make a trip to Austin in general.  I have so much love for that city...

So this milkshake was the inspiration behind these brownies



Best. Brownies. In. Life.

All I heard were sounds of happiness coming from Shazad after he took his first bite :)

Sweet chocolate-y goodness from the nutella, saltiness and crunch from the pretzels, and the nuttiness from the browned butter make these amazing-ly amazing!  Make them right now.  Like right this second.

Nutella-Pretzel Browned Butter Brownies:

1 1/2 sticks butter, 12 tbs.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp sea salt
6 tsp nutella
crushed pretzels

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Melt butter over medium-high heat until the butter begins to brown (about 5 or so min, and you'll see flecks of brown and smell a nutty aroma).  Keep an eye on the butter, it can go from brown to burned in seconds!

Add the sugar and vanilla, stir well. Turn off heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and stir well.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the cocoa mixture and stir well.  Sprinkle in the flour and salt and lightly fold the flour into the cocoa/egg mixture.  Do not beat or over mix.  Use a light hand!

Pour brownie batter into the baking pan and even out with a spatula.  Add the nutella by teaspoons into the batter and swirl into the batter.

At this point, you can sprinkle the crushed pretzels on top of the batter, do half of the batter, or none at all! It's up to you!

Bake the brownies for about 35 min., check with a toothpick.  If it comes out wet, well obviously you must bake them for a few more min.!  Keep checking every 5 min, and insert a toothpick.  If there are just little bits sticking to the toothpick or seems fudge-y, they are ready!

Let cool a bit because WARM brownies are the only way to eat brownies :)

Enjoy, enjoy!

A little over a month until THIS happens:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breakfast For Dinner

I LOVE me some breakfast for dinner sometimes.  I'll just get cravings for a stack of pancakes and some turkey bacon.  My family was a big fan too. Growing up, sometimes we would have pancakes, or eggs, or indian style eggs with leftover keema (mince) and handmade rotis.  Those were some good breakfast for dinner nights!

Unfortunately the hubby is not a fan :(.  He believes in breakfast for breakfast, lunch for lunch, and dinner for dinner.  Nothing irritates him more than going to brunch...while the rest of us are ordering omelets and french toast at 1pm, he orders the grilled chicken sandwich or the hamburger. But this is why I love him, he doesn't give in to peer pressure, unless it involves karaoke. Then he'll sing!

He does have to give in when he's forced to have breakfast for dinner at home though! Otherwise he will have had to scrounge up something on his own.  He was a trooper and gave my dinner a go.

Nothing says breakfast for dinner like the classic southern dish, chicken and waffles.  It is such a popular dish in the south that there is a line, long as can be, at the Breakfast Klub here in Houston and there's a food truck that sells chicken and waffle sandwiches!  Every city has their take on this classic.

So I took the classic and gave it a twist.  Instead of the normal, beautifully sweet cake-y waffle, I made a crispy jalapeno cheddar waffle and accompanied it with cajun fried tenders and a fried egg on top!  A few dashes of hot sauce and we were chowing down on dinner!

In the end we both felt it needed some sort of we finished off the meal with a drizzle of maple syrup on our waffle :), yummy indeed.

Please note, I will no longer post spice measurements.  I don't think spices really need them because everyone likes their food different, from bland to bursting.  Spice at your own risk and level :)

Chicken and Jalapeno Cheddar Waffles: serves 4


2 chicken breasts cut into tenders
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made my own, whole milk + 1 cap of vinegar, stir and let sit for 5 min.)
chili powder
garlic powder
sea salt
black pepper
red chili flakes
2 cups flour
your favorite cajun seasoning
vegetable oil for frying

Throw everything up through the red chili flakes into a ziploc bag and let marinate from an hour to overnight.  I marinated mine a little over an hour and it was great!

When you're ready to fry the tenders, set a deep pot with enough oil to to deep fry and set on medium high.

As the oil heats, toss in some cajun seasoning into the flour, and start coating your chicken tenders with the seasoned flour. Dip a covered tender into the oil and if it begins to sizzle and bubble, your oil is ready for frying!

Don't overcrowd your pot with tenders, fry them in small batches so that they cook evenly throughout.  I fried mine for about 5 minutes on each side.  Drain on paper towels as you take them out.

To keep everything warm, I stuck the tenders in a warm oven (200-250 degrees).

Waffles: you will need a waffle iron to make these, there is no way around it.

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup yellow or white cornmeal
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 jalapeno, seeded to your liking and diced finely
1 cup cheese, I used cheddar and jack and probably more than a cup ;)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat your waffle iron to your desired setting.  I put mine a little over the middle setting to give it that pretty golden color.

Stir dry ingredients (up until salt) and set aside.  Stir wet ingredients until eggs are fully incorporated.  Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients, stir a little and add the jalapenos and cheese.  Stir until just incorporated.  DO NOT OVERBEAT. 

About 3/4 of batter was used for each waffle.  I kept these warm in the oven as well.

Fry up a few eggs and top each waffle with an egg, served with a side of tenders and some hot sauce and maple syrup!  This dinner is a little outside the box, but that's how I roll...

Side note, San Fran and Coachella is 39 days away.  BEYOND EXCITED!

Theophilus London