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Ami’s Shotgun StirFry

This is a really foolproof, cheap, not very fancy recipe that Chris and I use a lot. It’s just your typical stir fry but I’ve adapted it to where it costs next to nothing to cook, and takes about 10 minutes from start to finish (without the meat). Plus it’s super yummy and not bad for you. For all my readers who are in college, or newlyweds, this is a quick and dirty go-to stirfry.

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Ami’s Shotgun StirFry (serves 2)

2 packets ramen noodles (without the flavoring)

1 packet frozen veggies (I use the fajita mix which costs just a few dollars at the grocery store, but there are some other mixes specifically for stir fry. My mix has onions and peppers in it and I occasionally add some frozen sweetcorn. I have added fresh pineapple a couple times and that has gone down really well too.)

Soy Sauce

Honey

Meat of choice (Chris and I often skip on the meat if we don’t have any in the freezer or if we are running low on time but we have used beef strips and chicken in the past)

Directions: In a wok (or large skillet) heat a little bit of olive oil. You don’t need much as when the veggies are cooking, they’ll release the water they were frozen in and therefore not stick. When your oil is hot either add your meat and cook until just done, or if you’re doing the vegetarian version just go ahead and add the veggies (once the meat is just cooked, add the veggies). I spray soy sauce over the stir fry at this point so that they have a little bit of time to soak in the flavor. Very important to note: soy sauce is naturally very salty, so no need to add extra salt. Also, be careful not to add too much soy sauce for the same reason. I also add some honey to thicken it all up and add some sweet to offset the salty. While the veggies/meat are cooking in those flavors, boil some water in a different pan and cook your ramen noodles. Be sure not to cook them for too long otherwise they just get mushy. Drain those and add them to your wok/skillet, squirting more soy sauce over the top. Toss with some tongs and serve! Easy as anything.

 

Cannellini Bean ‘Meat’balls

Excuse the quick break from my usual musings but I wanted to share this unique and delicious recipe that I tried out. My aunt and two cousins came to town for a few days from Virginia after Christmas. It was so lovely to see them and also a great opportunity to try out some vegetarian cooking, since they do not eat meat or anything cooked with meat products. I’m just thanking God they aren’t vegan – that would be ten times more difficult! Chris was very apprehensive about this recipe as he is most definitely a meat lover but he ended up loving every bite!

Cannellini Bean ‘Meat’balls:

2 x 15oz cans of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

1 red pepper (chopped into squares, not too small as they will go in the food processor)

1/2 medium onion (also chopped, not too small)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)

Some dried herbs (I just eyeballed this and used Italian seasoning)

1 egg (for vegans use a flaxseed egg)

1/2 cup dried regular breadcrumbs

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Salt & Pepper

9be174f8507711e281cb22000a1f9a0a_7Throw the beans, red pepper and onion into a food processor and process until just chopped. If you process them too much they’ll be too mushy and won’t form properly into balls. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the garlic, parsley, dried herbs, regular breadcrumbs and salt&pepper. Form into balls, if the mixture is not staying together add some more breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in Panko breadcrumbs to coat and place on a baking sheet (I greased mine with a bit of butter and not one of them stuck!). Bake in oven (350degrees F) until firm and somewhat golden (about 20-25mins). I made thin spaghetti noodles and a marinara sauce with mine and everybody loved this meal!

Morning Glory Muffins – a new favorite!

Morning Glory Muffins!

I am so excited about this recipe I could burst! I found this on Pinterest and couldn’t wait to try them. They are healthy, filling, loaded with fiber and so delish! One thing that I love the most about these muffins (other than the fabulous taste) is that they freeze very well so I literally bagged them in separate ZipLock bags and popped them in the freezer and every morning since then when I get out of bed I take one out and leave it to thaw for a few minutes while I’m getting dressed, stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds and have a wholesome, healthy and delicious breakfast all ready for me! Here is the recipe, I promise you will love it:

Morning Glory Muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

3/4 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)

1 large apple, peeled and grated

1 cup (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained

2 cups carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Prep!

Directions: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well. Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake wrappers/muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Muffins in the freezer!

Granny’s Peach Cobbler

This was a nerve-wracking dessert! Not because it’s difficult (it’s actually super easy), but because it has been my husband’s favorite dessert his whole life and I wanted to do it just like his Granny! Needless to say I had nothing to fear – it turned out great and the best part was that he didn’t have to share it with the other grandkids!

Granny Milner’s Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

One big tin of peaches (not drained)

Half a stick of butter

3/4 cup of self-rising flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

Directions: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the peaches (with the juice) into an ovenproof baking dish – I used the one I sometimes use for lasagne. Melt the butter and pour that over the peaches. In a separate bowl, beat together the flour, sugar and milk. Pour this mixture over the peaches – do not mix! Put the cobbler in the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

What we ate….

Yesterday I was overcome with what I like to call “Foodie Fever”. I could not stop thinking about what to cook and how to make it interesting. Due to having most of the ingredients in my cupboards already, I went with a bolognese sauce (with a twist of course). To my usual meat sauce (ground beef, onion, tomatoes, garlic, spaghetti sauce etc) I added a little heavy cream and some Italian sausage. It made all the difference, I will definitely do that again! The Italian sausage meant that I had to season it a lot less than normal. To make it even more interesting I used lasagne noodles instead of the usual spaghetti or penne etc. I cooked them as usual and then after I drained the excess water I chopped them up into fairly large, rough chunks. It was good! I also had some leftover “Tuscan herb” bread that I smothered with melted butter, garlic and a mix of Italian cheese and grilled in the oven.

Homemade Lasagne Rolls

Lasagne Rolls

This is a recipe I concocted inspired by something I saw on a commercial featuring Giada de Laurentiis – so scrummy and so easy for a mid-week meal!

Ingredients:

Lasagne sheets (the ‘curly’ kind is fun)

Whatever ingredients you use in your normal meat (spaghetti/lasagne) sauce (for me that is ground beef, a tin of italian diced tomatoes, garlic, half an onion, salt/pepper, some parmesan cheese, italian seasoning and a hint of cinnamon)

Some  marinara/plain tomato sauce

Lots of cheese!

Directions: Cook your lasagne sheets to just al dente (we don’t want them to be too cooked as they will not roll). This takes about 10/12 minutes so while they are cooking make your meat sauce (unless you are like me and like to make the sauce beforehand and let it simmer for a couple of hours on low to absorb those amazing flavors!). Spread a little bit of marinara sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof cooking dish (I used the one that I normally use for lasagne) and season to taste. Sauce straight from the jar really does need some sprucing up –  it is usually underseasoned and very acidic. When your pasta is just about al dente, drain it and rinse very gently with a little bit of cold water. Then on a clean cutting board, lay out a lasagne sheet (I actually halved mine) and spoon a little of your meat mixture on one end. Very gently, roll it from one end to the other. This is very much a trial and error thing, my first one was not nearly as pretty as the others but you have to find a way that works for you. Then place the roll in the dish on top of the marinara. Continue this step until there is one layer of nicely packed in lasagne rolls on the bottom of your dish. Then top with some leftover meat sauce (if you have any) and some more marinara sauce. It is important not to ‘drown’ the rolls in sauce, be moderate! Then I sprinkled my favorite mix of grated italian cheeses on top and stuck it all in the oven til it was heated through and the cheese was nicely melted. Serve with a bed of greens and enjoy!

 

 

Homemade Chocolat Chaud

Last night I tried a new recipe that I found on Pinterest for hot drinking chocolate. Let’s talk about rich and indulgent! It turned out so well and I even added a dollop freshly hand-whipped cream to top it off! Here is the recipe:

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

1/4 cup hot water

2 tbsp unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Hershey’s is what I used)

1 and 2/3 cup whole milk

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Directions: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium to low heat. I thought we had a little stainless steel bowl to put over the pan but my sweet husband (ahem) decided to give it to the dogs a little while ago so I ended up just using a microwave-safe cereal bowl over the saucepan and it worked! Remove the bowl from the pan and stir the melted chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the hot water to blend. In another bowl, stir the cocoa powder to break up any lumps, then mix in a few tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth paste. Add the rest of the liquids and the salt, mix thoroughly. Next, whisk the milk and cocoa mixture into the melted chocolate and pour back into your saucepan (pour out the excess water first though!). Stir on low until heated through. I hand-whisked some of the leftover heavy cream and placed a generous dollop on top of each serving.

This is such a rich, indulgent late night comfort – Chris and I loved it. If I was going to make this again I would definitely half the recipe for just two people. It was so rich that this could easily have served 4. Maybe one to make when we have guests as an easy dessert?

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