Monday, March 19, 2012

Ramen Slaw

This one's for Arlene, who asked me to post this recipe 2 weeks ago or so.  Sorry it took so long!

For this recipe you will need:

5 packages of Ramen Noodles *make sure to have 2 that are ORIENTAL flavor.  I'm going to use 4 the next time I make this...I thought it was a little noodle heavy this time.
2 Carrots, grated.  3 would also be good
1 bag Broccoli Slaw. I'm probably also going to use 2 of these next time. I purchased the Organic version, which was very nice but might have a slightly lower package weight. 
1 bunch scallions aka green onions
6 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar, seasoned
5 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional:  Cashews, Broccoli florets

Break "bricks" of Ramen noodles before opening the packages into 4 or 6 pieces (this saves having to cut the noodles later).  Open packages and set aside seasoning packet. Boil Ramen Noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.  

I grated my carrot directly into my large bowl to save washing extra dishes later.  Slice the green onions & add them into the bowl as well.  I added my bag of broccoli slaw and then tossed in the ramen noodles after they cooled off a little.

While the ramen was cooking I mixed the dressing.  I used 2 of the Oriental Flavor packets that came in with the ramen noodles.  Add the vinegar & oil and whisk to combine.  Taste it & see if you think this needs a little sweetness.  I *think* I added a little light brown sugar to the dressing, but can't remember. 

Toss the dressing onto the mixture, add the sunflower seeds & you are ready to go!  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  After I made the initial batch of this I found some cashews & those fit in really well with this.  I also think some blanched broccoli would also add some more color & a nice crunch to this salad.  As you can tell, I want it to have more vegetables and less noodles next time.

Hope you all enjoy it.  We had this with the baked beans I posted a couple weeks ago & some pulled pork sandwiches. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Come & See Me Cook in May

For any of you that might be in Olympia, Wa. this coming May, I will be teaching an English Tea Class at the Bayview School of Cooking May 9.  I'm currently working on several recipes for the class & it would be wonderful to see some friendly faces there.  Call the school directly at 360-754-1448.  It costs $45 to attend the class, but if you bring a friend it's $80 for both of you. It sounds like it's starting to fill up, so if you want to come, sign up sooner rather than later.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baked Beans from Dried Beans

I made baked beans from scratch for the first time this week & they turned out great!

For this recipe you will need:

1 LB dried navy beans
1/2 of a med size onion (I will probably use a whole onion in my next batch)
Approx. 1/2 LB of Black Pepper Bacon Ends, you can also use a nice lean bacon with the excess fat trimmed off of it.  See your local butcher to find out if they sell the ends. They usually are priced less per pound.
3/4 C. Packed Light Brown Sugar (or Dark Brown, see below)
1 C. Ketchup
1 C. BBQ Sauce (I used a darker, Kansas City style)
2 Tbsp. Whole Seed Mustard, basically I used a nicer mustard, not the yellow kind
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, I like a little extra tang, if you don't then you won't need this.
1/2 C. Cooking Liquid from the beans

I cooked a 1 LB bag of navy beans in salted water over low heat for a couple of hours and then allowed it to cool slightly and refrigerated them overnight in the pan.  I used enough water to cover the beans & kept adding water if the level got too low.  When I started the beans on the heat, I did bring the pan to a boil first, and then reduced the heat to low.  The picture above is what they looked like in the morning when I put them back on the stove to warm up while I got the other parts of the beans ready to bake.

I really didn't want raw or super crunchy onion with my beans, so I put them in a saute pan with a little olive oil on the stove first over a medium to medium high temperature.

Here are my Black Pepper Bacon Ends that I've diced up & removed the fattiest parts from.  It looks almost like ham, doesn't it?  It was GOOD!  Like I said above, check with your local butcher to see if they sell these in your area.  Ours sells them for a price that is more than half off per pound than the regular bacon & I found this batch to be very meaty, which was really nice.

Drain your beans (reserving some of the liquid to cook with), and then place them in an oven safe container.  Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Here are my onions after about 10 minutes or so.  I didn't intentionally try to brown them, I just got busy with the bacon ends.  So, at this point I'm adding in the bacon ends.

 I wanted to go ahead & get out some of the excess liquid from the meat & brown it up a little.

Another perk of cooking the onions/meat on the stove ahead of time was that I could go ahead & melt my sugar before putting it in the oven.  This just gives it a smoother texture.  Once the sugar melted, everything went in with the beans.

I added all of the other ingredients listed above, along with some salt & pepper, gave it a stir & then let it bake for 2 & 1/2 hours or so.  I did stir it a couple of times at the beginning.  The above picture is what it looked like after about a half hour of cooking, and the bottom picture is what they looked like when they finished.

Did I mention that they turned out really good?  The beans were so nice and tender, and all of the flavors did come together nicely.  I did taste them again about a half hour before taking them out of the oven just to see if I needed to add anything else, and I did add a touch more salt & vinegar & an extra squirt of ketchup.  If you like them sweeter, go ahead & add a little more brown sugar, or use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar for more of a molasses sweetness.  Hmmm.  I may have to try that next time. 

Hope you all enjoy these as much as we did. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Working on the blog/ Test Post

I've been working to add a Pinterest Pin to my posts, so wanted to test it out to see if I was able to get the code inserted properly.  I do now have a "Pin It" button on the right side of my blog.  So if you have liked some of my previous posts and want to pin them go ahead.  They are ready to be pinned.

The other code I was working with was supposed to put a pin it button on each post so you don't even have to go to the side of the blog.  Let's see if it worked.

Nope.  Didn't work, so I'll try to get it fixed tomorrow.  I did get a button inserted on the bottom of each post so if you want to post to twitter, facebook or google plus.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemade Oatmeal Waffles

One of my friends asked me the other day if I had a waffle recipe that I liked.  I told her that I had an oatmeal pancake recipe that we really liked, but I had never thought to try it in the waffle maker.  Well, today I corrected that, and the mix worked out really well.  So well, in fact that we had no leftovers.  It could also be that it's been a long time since I've made waffles, but either way I was happy with them.

For the Oatmeal dry mix of this recipe you will need:

5 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour (Bleached will work the same, I just don't think it's necessary)
1 cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the fast cooking stuff should work fine here as well, just not my preference)
1 cup Cornmeal (I used yellow, white is fine as well)
1 cup Ground Flax (I use this brand found on Amazon) I'll talk a little about flax later in this post.
1/2 cup Sugar  ( I use cane sugar)
3 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Salt
For the batter of this recipe you will need: 

2 Tbsp. Butter, melted (I put this in the bowl first & then melt it in the microwave before adding the other ingredients)
2 Cups Oatmeal Dry Mix from above
1 Cup Milk (I use 2%, you can use what you regularly buy for your house)
2 Eggs

Put all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together until well combined.

 I used a whisk, but a spoon would work fine as well.

 This is what the dry mix looks like when I finished mixing it.  If you want the oatmeal broken up more, you can run your mix through a food processor, but my family likes it the way it's done above.  I store the extra dry mix in a plastic container in a cool, dark place (one of my kitchen cabinets), but you could also use a zipper bag or canning jar.  Another friend of mine also recently told me that some of the creamer bottles are clear under the label, so take off the label & you can store you pancake mix in one of those, too.  If you have enough jars, you could even measure out 2 cup portions that you could add the eggs, milk & butter to later & just shake to combine.

Here is my batter with the melted butter at the bottom so it's not as visible.

Here it is after mixing.  I would give it about a few minutes to rest before making the first waffles (or pancakes).  This will help the cornmeal & oatmeal not to be quite as crunchy/chewy.

I put a couple of large scoops into my waffle maker.  I did spray it first with some non-stick spray.

The light has gone off telling me it's done now.  

Here is the finished waffle on my cooling rack.  It was only there long enough for the picture.  One of the kids came & ate it shortly after this pic was taken.  In the past, I have frozen leftover waffles & then just popped them into the toaster in the mornings when we've wanted to have them.  This would be a great recipe to do that with.

I want to let you all know I tend to go lighter on the sugar in the mix because my family tends to put cinnamon sugar or maple syrup on their pancakes/waffles.  If you find the mix not sweet enough for your family, increase the sugar a bit.  If you find it too sweet, reduce it.  This is part of that recipes are guides I told you all about before.  Also, if you tend to like thinner pancakes, add some more milk to the mix.  I like my pancakes think & fluffy, so I tend to add just the cup of milk.

I told you above in the ingredient listing I would talk a little about flax.  Flax is one of those really good for you whole grains and it's one of the highest plant based source of omega - 3s.  The reason I use it ground is because it's the best way for your body to absorb the nutrients.  It's really hard for your teeth to crack into those whole flax seeds. They look pretty, but they are hard for your body to get the nutrition out of.  I had a hard time finding a reasonably priced package of the ground flax at the stores in my area, so that's why I wound up using the Subscribe & Save option at Amazon.  You may be fortunate enough to have a better selection in your area.  Besides this recipe, I use the ground flax in pizza and bread doughs, and I have been known to slip a little bit into cookie batter from time to time.  It's just an easy way to add some extra protein and fiber to your baking without changing the flavor.

Hope you all enjoy the waffles as much as we did!  Let me know if you have any questions/comments about it.

This post contains an Affiliate link.  When you use it, you help to support this blog.  You can find my Disclosure Policy here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monster Cookies

For this recipe you will need:
5 C. All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Salt
2 sticks Butter
2 sticks Margarine
1 & 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
1 & 1/2 C. Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 18 oz. Jar Crunchy Peanut Butter (a 16 oz jar is ok, too)
4 Eggs
1 & 1/2 C. Oatmeal
1 C. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 8 oz. pkg. Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits, or 1Multi-pack of Heath Bars (see Note)
1 14 oz. Package M & M's

Preheat oven to 375 F Degrees.


Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl & set aside.

   Beat butter, margarine, sugar, brown sugar & vanilla in a large mixer bowl. 

Add peanut butter and mix well. 

  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. 

  Gradually beat in flour mixture, add oatmeal, chips, bits (or Heath Bar pieces), and M&M's.

 Add the M&M's last and mix minimally so you don't break the shells.  This can be done by hand, but it is a BIG batch of dough, so takes some muscle to get it mixed in.

 Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  I really like the baking mats because they are washable & reusable.  They are also non-stick.  These can be purchased from Amazon,  as well as from other retailers. Bake for 12 - 16 minutes or until golden brown in your 375 F oven.  I like to rotate the pans half way through cooking moving the one on the top rack to the bottom & turning it at the same time.  It just gets that nice crispy on the outside, soft on the inside cookie going.  Let stand for 2 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes approx. 7 dozen cookies.

 **Note: If you can afford it, I really like using the whole Heath bars broken into pieces in these cookies.  The overall flavor is just so much better & richer.

 Now, if you don't want to bake all of these cookies the day you make the dough, don't.  I usually make a big batch of this dough and then freeze off portions in freezer bags to take out when we want some cookies around.  I also will make them for Christmas cookie exchanges, potlucks, or other things that seem to pop up from time to time.  It's nice to be able to pull of homemade cookies in less than a half hour when you need to.  The dough can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator the day before baking.  I have been known to cut off chunks of mostly frozen dough from time to time and bake those off as well.  If you're really organized, you can scoop the dough out onto a cookie sheet, freeze the dough balls, and then store them in the freezer bags.  Then you'll have your frozen dough pucks ready to go when you want cookies. 

Hope you all enjoy these cookies as much as my friends and family have when they eat them!

This post contains an Affiliate link.  When you use it, you help to support this blog.  You can find my Disclosure Policy here.

My Disclosure Policy

So, the disclosure policy thing is something that has come up since the first time I blogged, and now that I am blogging again it's time I go ahead and address it.  I will start talking about where I have gotten some of my kitchen items from, and as a result, will probably post a link to a store where you can get the same item or something similar.
I am an associate with Amazon, and will earn a small percent of anything you purchase on there.  It is less than the sales tax in the state that I live in, but it's nice to know that by clicking the link and making a purchase you are supporting my site as well.  I appreciate the support for my blog, and your making a purchase of something I have posted about tells me that you like what I am blogging about.
I also am affiliated with a couple of other companies besides Amazon, and will post a link to this disclosure policy once I make sure the links still work.  I am not doing this blog to earn money, but to share my cooking style and recipes with you all.  To earn a few bucks doing something I enjoy is a nice perk, but I won't post something that earns me money but doesn't make sense for the blog.  I know I've seen other bloggers do this and it's a bit annoying when they are promoting something that you know really isn't worth the money. 
I hope that all of you are enjoying trying out some new foods & recipes, and that I am helping to make cooking fun and enjoyable for you.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to e-mail me through the blog (chefcatnky (at) gmail (dot) com).
Thanks again for reading, and I'll be posting some more recipes soon!

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Last updated 2/14/2012