This weekend was a fabulous weekend! We spent basically all weekend with the Wells’ an the Grays. The boys studied for like 5-6 hours a day and us girls hit the beach and the port for a little shopping! More on that in a bit. As far as today…today has not been so fun. The start of lobster season was a week or so ago around here, and people have been pulling them out of the ocean left and right. Jonathan and Matt did a little snorkeling here at Taino beach yesterday and claim to have seen a whole brood of them. They couldn’t catch any, but I’m sure they’re going to eventually! So what does that have to do with today?? I mentioned before that I have a slight allergy to iodine and that prevents me from eating lobster. However lobster seems to be on everyone’s menu in lots of different preps, and in some of the restaurants it’s really reasonably priced. I shouldn’t eat lobster, but I do love it. Usually if I eat a bite or two of it and make sure I’m drinking a lot of water and eat a few other things, it’s not bad. Well…I’ve learned my lesson! I don’t know if it’s more “potent” here or if I just ate too much, or what. But I woke up this morning with a hugely swollen lip. Very uncomfortable. I’ve taken Benadryl, but that doesn’t seem to be helping too well. I’ve been on the couch for most of the morning because that stupid medicine makes me feel really crumby. I’m feeling like a really crappy housewife today because I haven’t gotten anything done! So, I apologize now, but the pictures for this post will have to come later. Maybe tomorrow. And no, I WILL NOT be putting up pictures of my swollen lip! I look a little like a cartoon character…
So today I’ll just post a few of my recipes because I know there are a lot of you out there who’ve been waiting for them! There are some other stories from this weekend which I’ll share later, but for now…on to the recipes!
Easy Pad Thai
This recipe is SUPER easy and turns out tasting really authentic. Surprisingly I was able to find everything I needed to make it here in Freeport, so that should tell you something!
What You’ll Need:
8 oz. (think like a quarter’s diameter bundle) of either rice noodles or linguini noodles (I used linguini because I had it around…)
2 tbs. brown sugar
3 tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. veggie oil (whatever you have on hand…I think this would also be awesome with sesame oil…)
1 bunch of green onions
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 chicken breast
How You Make It:
1) Make sure you do all the prep work first before you start “cooking” anything because once it all goes in the pan, everything goes really fast. You won’t have time to chop or prep once everything starts moving!
2) Soak the noodles in a warm water bath. This goes for rice noodles (the primo choice) or the linguini noodles. It’s imperative that the water be warm and that all the noodles are submerged. I used a casserole dish to do this in. Put it in the water bath and leave it alone while you do the other prep work.
3) Squeeze one of the limes into a small bowl. It should equal out to be about 3 tbs. of juice, so if you need to put another lime in there do. 1 should be enough usually though…
4) Add the 2 tbs. of brown sugar to the bowl and whisk together until the sugar is all incorporated.
5) Add the 3 tbs. of soy sauce and whisk together. If you’re a fan of spicy food and you happen to have this, you can add a squirt of Siracha sauce. We didn’t have any and didn’t use it, but if you do, go for it! Set the sauce aside.
6) Now cut up your green onions. Cut the “root” part off first and toss that. Now slice the “white” parts into 1/4 inch slices. Set the white parts aside (very important!). Now slice the green parts into 2-3 inch strips. Set them aside too…
7) Take your clove of garlic and peel it and mince it or chop it. I used my trusty Pampered Chef peeler, but I didn’t have my mincer. So I just chopped it and it was fine. If all you have is jarred minced garlic, go for about 1 tbs. of that. Again, set aside…
8) Crack two eggs into a small bowl and whisk until they are well beaten. Set aside…
9) Slice up your chicken breast into 1/4 inch thick slices. If you want a little more flavor, you can put a little lime juice and soy sauce into a bowl and do a quick marinade on your chicken. It’s fine plain too. Set aside…
10) Chop up your peanuts and cilantro. Don’t chop your peanuts too fine! You can also just tear off the leaves of the cilantro if you like a little more of that flavor. I chopped mine (it ends up being about 1/3 of the bunch I bought). Set aside…
11) Now you’re ready to cook! Check your noodles in the water bath. They might seem a little “leathery” and that’s fine. If you’re using linguini, you might want to just pop your dish into the microwave for a minute so they soften up a little more. If you’re using rice noodles, leathery is fine. They will soften up the skillet for sure.
12) Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the white parts of the green onion and the garlic to the hot oil. Saute until you can smell them (about 30 seconds).
13) Add the beaten eggs to what’s already in the pan and cook scraping them along the pan (like you cook scrambled eggs) until the eggs are just barely set (they’ll seem “sticky” but not runny). Transfer this egg/garlic/onion mix to a plate and set aside.
14) Add a little more oil to the pan (just a little!) to make sure that oil is covering the bottom of the pan. Now add your noodles to the pan and toss around a little until they’ve been coated in the oil. The pan needs to be pretty hot at this point, so if you’re not hearing that sizzle, turn up the heat!
15) Add your chicken to the pan now. If you marinaded it, DO NOT pour the juice into the pan. It will make the sauce to watery. Just toss the chicken around until the outsides are white and the middles are still a little pink.
15) After about a minute or 2, add the green part of the onions and the brown sugar sauce to the pan. Continue to toss to coat and cook the onions. The sauce will sort of thicken up on it’s own.
16) Lastly, add in your cooked eggs and break them up the mixture. Toss around until it is all incorporated.
17) Serve it up! After each plate is served, add the chopped cilantro and the chopped peanuts to each dish. I like to serve each plate with a lime wedge too. Enjoy!
Dog Food (for the spoiled puppy in your life)
This is SUPER easy and versatile. When I cook this for Matilda, I freeze the stock that’s left over and use it for chicken stock. It’s way better than the stuff you buy at the store! Also, you may want to watch where you step while you’re cooking this, because if your pooch is anything like Matilda, they’ll know you’re cooking for them and will be right behind you the whole time!
What You’ll Need:
1 whole chicken
4 large carrots or 3 cups of baby carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 package of frozen peas
2 cups brown or white rice (this is 2 cups of it dried…not cooked)
2 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of wheat germ (you can find this at any grocery store probably in the baking aisle…it comes in a jar usually)
How You Make It:
1) Start by cooking your rice. In a medium sauce pan, add your rice and your water. It’s ALWAYS a 2 to 1 water to rice ratio. So 2 cups of dry rice needs 4 cups of water. Put it all in the pot and watch it until it reaches a rolling boil (don’t stir it!). Once you see a rolling boil, turn the heat down to a simmer (low!) and cover it. Once the timer goes off, remove it from the heat and just let it stand. Again, don’t stir!
2) While the rice is cooking, tend to your chicken. Rinse off the chicken and put it in a large stock pot. Put about a tbs of salt and rub that bad boy down. Then cover the chicken in water. It doesn’t need more water than that! Put it on the stove on medium high heat, cover it, and leave it alone. Set the timer for 1 hour.
3) While the chicken is cooking chop your veggies. This is not exacting because it’s all gonna get mashed anyway. Just cut them up into “bite sized” pieces so they will cook quickly enough. Set them aside.
4) When your chicken is done, take it out of the water, but DON’T DRAIN THE WATER! Set the chicken in a large bowl and pop it in the fridge. You’re gonna want him to cool quickly so you can “de-meat” him soon.
5) Too the water that the chicken just came out of, add your chopped veggies and the package of frozen peas. Cover and put over medium high heat for 30-40 minutes. The carrots should be tender enough to be mashed with a fork. Cover it and let it be.
6) Once your veggies are done transfer them with a slotted spoon to a LARGE mixing bowl. Leave the water if you’re wanting to use the stock later. Let it cool and then transfer it later to a freezer bag to put in the freezer to use later as chicken stock. It’s delish!
7) Put the rice in the bowl with the veggies. Now add the rolled oats (yes, they’re dry). Now add the wheat germ (again…yes it’s dry…kind of looks like fish food).
8) Now take the whole chicken and tear off ALL the meat from the chicken. White and dark. Be very careful to remove any bones because DOGS CANNOT EAT POULTRY BONES! They splinter easily. So run your hands through the shredded chicken to make sure there aren’t any bones. Yes, the skin is fine to keep in. It’s good dogs’ coats to have that fat in there.
9) Add your chicken to the bowl with the veggies, rice, oats, and germ. Now you have two options. You can either squish it together with your hands or use a potato masher (or a Pampered Chef Mix and Masher!). It will look like mush when you’re done.
10) If you’re VERY ambitious you can portion it out into servings for your dog. I just put it all in a freezer bag and put it in the fridge and serve it out of there. Serving size should be about 1/2 cup per 10 pounds. So Matilda gets about 3 cups. When you feed it to them, you can heat it up or serve it cold. It’s up to you! Matilda only gets fed in the evenings, but if you prefer to feed your dog twice a day, just split up the total serving in half for each feeding.
(Side Note: The more vitamins you can add to this, the better. This recipe is a great base, but you can add just about anything to it. I have added chicken livers to it for a little iron [just brown them in a sauce pan]. You can also add apples or boiled eggs or cottage cheese to this, not to mention you could put a doggy vitamin in there too. You can also serve it with a pat of butter to help your pet’s coat shine! Go nuts! Just make sure you don’t add a bunch of “seasonings” to it or garlic. Your dog doesn’t need it and it will only upset their stomach! If you’re transferring to this from a different food, do a half and half blend for the first 3-4 servings to acclimate them…)
Versatile Bread That Even I Can Master!
This was Round #2 of the bread adventure and it was PERFECT. I used a Pinterest recipe and sort of tweaked it to my taste. It turned out beautifully and I’ve used it in 2 different preps so far. Very easy and idiot proof (which is a must when it comes to me and baking…we don’t always get along…). Make sure you have all your stuff out and ready to go. Especially the flour. Measure it out and have it ready because you don’t use it all at once. Also remember that all your ingredients should start at room temperature…
What You’ll Need:
2 tsp of instant dry yeast (it is VERY important that it be instant dry yeast…this recipe won’t work if you’ve got something else…)
4 tsp of warm water
1 cup milk (I used whole milk, but I’m sure anything other than skim would be fine…)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. white granulated sugar
3 tbs. margarine (NOT butter…it won’t set right…)
5 cups all-purpose flour (NOT self-rising or bread flour…)
How You Make It:
1) Yeast is first. Be very careful…this part is the make or break (no pressure). You have to sort of wake up the yeast without killing it! Put the yeast in the bottom of a large mixing bowl and put the warm water on top of it. From your measured out flour, add about 2 cups of the flour to the mixture. Mix it together. At this point you should be smelling the yeast at least a little. The mixture will be dry.
2) Add the margarine to the mixture. Make sure you break up the margarine so as not to have “chunks” in your dough. Again, this mixture will be dry.
3) Take your 1 cup of milk and pop it in the microwave for like 40 seconds (if you’re anti-microwave you can do it on the stove top for a second…). The milk should be warm, but not so hat that you can’t put your finger in it without getting burned. It should be like “bath water” temperature. Add this milk to the flour mixture. The “batter” will be VERY sticky and thin at this point. It may even look like pancake batter. That’s okay!
4) Now add your salt and sugar to the mixture.
5) Take off your rings! Yep…the best advice I can give you is to mix all this up with your bare hands. Put in about another cup of flour and mix it around. At this point, you’re going to add flour and “squish” to combine until there’s no more “dry” parts. At first it will stick to your hands, but you’ll know its “done” when you can pull it off your hands without leaving dough on them. I added almost all of the flour, but you may not. It’s a feel thing. Your dough should be able to be molded into a large ball. Don’t let the dough get too dry, though, because then it will bake into REALLY hard, dense bread (learned that the hard way).
6) Sprinkle flour on your counter top (no more than about 4-5 tbs of flour). Knead the dough (all the while picking up the flour on the counter as you go) until the dough feels silky and only slightly moist on the outside.
7) Ball up your dough and place it in a large clean mixing bowl that has a TEENY bit of oil in it. Place a moist dish towel over the bowl and place the bowl in a warm dry place. LEAVE IT ALONE! Come back and check about 90 minutes later and it should be doubled in size (cool!).
8) From here, you’ve got options. You can use all the dough if you want, or just some. You can refrigerate it and use it later. It will keep for about 3-4 days wrapped in saran wrap (be careful to not wrap it too tightly before putting it in the fridge…it’ll bust through the wrapping!).
9) To prep for baking, mold the dough into the shape that you want. Preheat the oven to 400F. Put it in whatever baking thing you’re using (this makes great rolls or loaves and even kolaches! I’ll share that later…) and let it sit. It’s gonna have to rise again. Cover it loosely in plastic wrap and let it sit for about 45 minutes. It should basically double.
10) Put in the oven for 20 minutes and then let it cool. If you flick it, it should sound hollow. If you want softer crusts, brush it with butter after it comes out of the oven. Enjoy!
Ultimate Breakfast Kolaches
I use my bread dough to make these, but you can also use Grands biscuits or crescent rolls. These are super easy, super quick, and super tasty. They’re Tyrone Approved!
What You’ll Need:
1 can of Grands biscuits, crescent rolls, or HALF THE DOUGH FROM MY BREAD RECIPE ABOVE
1 small block of your favorite cheese (I use cheddar)
4 slices of bacon (you can also use ham)
1 Tbs melted butter
Here’s How You Make It: (Preheat your oven to the specifications on the package OR if you’re using the bread dough from above, preheat to 375F)
1) Scramble your eggs, cook them, and put them aside.
2) Cook your bacon, cut it into 2 inch pieces, and put them aside.
3) Slice your cheese into 2 inch long slices that are about 1/4 inch thick.
4) Separate your dough pieces. Roll them out flat with a rolling pin into round-ish shapes. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect.
5) Place a piece of cheese in the middle, top that with the egg, then top the egg with the bacon.
6) Bring the edges of the dough up around the insides and pinch it together. There shouldn’t be any holes in the dough or the cheese will melt through. Again, they may not me be perfect, but that’s fine.
7) Place them on a baking sheet with the “cheese side” up. If you’re a salt lover, you can sprinkle a little bit on the tops before you pop them in the oven.
8) Place them in the oven and set the timer for either the specifications on the package OR 18 minutes for the homemade bread dough.
9) They will be slightly golden brown when they’re done. Take them out of the oven and brush them with the melted butter while they’re still hot. Let cool, and enjoy!
(Side Note: This is versatile! Put different cheese in there, or ham, or fruit even! That would probably be awesome with a little slice of cream cheese instead of cheddar. Experiment with different meats and fillings! We’ve even done pepperoni for a quick and easy lunch or afternoon snack…)
So there ya have it! If you have a question, feel free to ask. Again, if you try any of these and love them, let me know! Hopefully you’re a success! I will post the Nutella No Bakes soon!