This is one of our favorite dinners actually. It is a recipe that both Drew and I really love (which is pretty rare, since usually we both have very different favorite foods). I really love that is is both delicious and also a relatively well balanced meal. It is a good way to get a lot of veggies into one dish. I posted a picture of this on Instagram & Facebook and several people asked for the recipe, so here it is:
Chicken & Vegetable Fried Rice
serves about 4 people as an entree
-1 cup uncooked white rice (makes about 2 cups cooked)
-Water, for cooking rice
-2 Chicken Breasts, cut into small cubes
-6 cups uncooked fresh vegetables, cut into small pieces (they cook down quite a bit) I usually use onion, green bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery, and whatever else I already have in the fridge.
-6 Tablespoons butter* (see note below)
-ground powdered ginger
*The butter really adds a wonderful flavor to this recipe, so don’t substitute it with olive or other cooking oil. I use stainless steel pans that have a tendency to stick more than nonstick-coated pans would. This is the amount I usually have to use for this recipe to keep things from sticking. If you have nonstick pans, you might try using a little less butter and add more if needed.
1. Cook rice. I use a rice maker, that way it can cook all on its own while I’m preparing everything else. If you don’t have one, just cook rice on stove according to package directions.
2. In wok (or other large skillet), melt 3 Tablespoons butter. Once melted, add chicken and cook until done.
3. Once chicken is done, transfer it to bowl.
4. Place remaining 3 Tablespoons butter into wok/skillet and add veggies. Cook until soft. I usually put the lid on my wok and let them steam for a little bit.
5. Once veggies are done, scoot them over to the side, making a space on the bottom of your wok/skillet. Crack in 2 eggs, scramble, and cook until done.
6. Once eggs are done, mix eggs and veggies together, add chicken and cooked white rice. Stir.
7. In a liquid measuring cup, add soy sauce until just under the 1/3 cup line. Add in teriyaki sauce until just over 1/3 cup line. Add a pinch of ground powdered ginger and stir together.
8. Add sauce to rest of ingredients in wok/skillet and stir until all combined.
This is my favorite potato soup recipe — one my mom used to make all the time when I was a kid. It has an excellent buttery, creamy flavor, lots of big potato chunks, and the consistency is nice — not as thick and gravy-like as some other recipes I’ve tried. It is really easy to make and it is really great leftover!
Creamy Potato Soup
-6-8 large potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold, but any kind will work)
-1 stick of butter
-1 small can of evaporated milk
-salt & pepper to taste
1. Cut up potatoes into small chunks and place in large saucepan/soup pot.
2. Cut up onion and add to pot with potatoes.
3. Fill pot with water until water line is an inch or so above potatoes/onion.
4. Cut half a stick of butter into chunks and place in pot. Add salt and pepper.
5. Place the lid on the pot and cook on the stove until potatoes are tender.
6. Add other half a stick of butter and small can of evaporated milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve with grated cheddar cheese (and bacon), if you wish!
P.S. If you would like your soup to be a little thicker and have smaller bits of potato, you can take a potato masher and mash down into the soup a couple times, breaking down some of the potatoes to thicken the broth. Just be careful that you don’t turn the soup into mashed potatoes!
My husband’s mom and dad have been in New Orleans visiting us for the past week. We’ve been busy doing all kinds of things around the city and traveling to other places close-by (we took a day trip to Grand Isle and spent the 4th of July on the beach in Gulf Shores). Today was my mother-in-law’s birthday and also their last day here before they head home in the morning, so Drew and I decided that we would make them dinner and bake his mom a birthday cake.
I actually had never baked a cake from scratch before. I’ve always wanted to, but just never really had the chance. I’m not a huge cake baker (I’m more of a cookie and other dessert person– cake isn’t my dessert of choice). It is usually just Drew and I here, so baking an entire cake on any normal day would mean that the two of us have an entire cake to eat. I don’t like wasting food, so I usually stick to baking cookies, that way we can only cook how many we will eat then, and then freeze the rest to bake later. (I have helped my mom bake many cakes before though!)
So, I did some searching online to find the best cake recipe that sounded like something Susie would like. As soon as I stumbled across this cake with “praline” in the title, I knew I had found the right one. How perfect to make a chocolate praline cake for her birthday being celebrated in New Orleans?! (Which is famous for its pralines, in case you didn’t know.)
This cake turned out amazing. It was delicious! So very rich and the praline topping was fantastic! Susie said it tasted like a candy bar! I will definitely be making this cake again. New birthday cake tradition, perhaps?
Chocolate Praline Cake
original recipe from here.
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Chopped Pecans
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 large Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 cup hot Water
1/2 cup Fudge Topping
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips, melted
To make the cake:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans and fit a circle of parchment paper large enough to cover 1 inch up the side of each cake pan.
2. Heat the butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
3. Divide the sugar mixture between the prepared pans. Sprinkle 3/4 cup pecans over sugar mixture and set aside to cool.
4. In a large bowl, combine together the flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and hot water.
6. Mix wet ingredients into dry with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth.
7. Pour the batter into the cake pans — over sugar mixture — and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake center comes out clean — 35 to 40 minutes.
8. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn cakes out onto a cooling rack. Remove the paper and cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
1. Place bottom cake layer on plate or cake stand with the praline sugar mixture side facing up.
2. Spread the fudge topping over the praline sugar mixture side of bottom cake layer.
3. Place the second layer over the first and drizzle the top with the melted chocolate and the remaining 1/4 cup pecans.
4. Frost the cake sides with your favorite chocolate icing.
P.S. — The chocolate cake this recipe makes is really excellent. I’ll definitely be using this recipe as my go-to chocolate cake recipe for when I’m making just a plain chocolate cake as well! :)
When I was 14, I moved to St. Louis, MO for the summer to live with my older sister and be a nanny to my baby niece, Evie. Often on Saturday mornings, we would get up and go walk around and get fresh produce from the Soulard farmers market. I have many fond memories of that summer, farmers market included.
Just a couple weekends ago, Drew and I tried out the Saturday farmers market in New Orleans. I had wanted to go for a while, we just hadn’t because it is downtown, not close to our house, and only open for a couple hours on Saturday morning. Saturday morning is Drew’s day to sleep in and then get fresh croissants from the Patisserie upon waking at 2 in the afternoon. ;) It was much smaller than I expected (not anything like I remember from St. Louis), but it was definitely worth waking up earlier for.
We ended up with a bouquet of fresh cut zinnias, creole tomatoes, fresh peaches, blueberries and several pots of fresh herbs to plant in our windowbox. Everything we bought was delicious. It so makes me miss living in the country and having a garden! For the city, it’s the next best thing.
With all the fresh blueberries we have, I’ve made blueberry walnut muffins with fresh lemon zest several times the last two weeks! So delicious! This muffin recipe is really great. My mom always uses this recipe too and it can easily be adapted for whatever kind of muffins you want to make.
blueberry walnut muffins with fresh lemon zest (or whatever kind you want to make)
-1 3/4 cup flour
-1/3 cup sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup oil
-1 beaten egg
-3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I like nuts, so I usually use closer to 1 cup)
-fresh zest from 1 lemon (or less, according to taste)
-reduce milk above to 1/2 cup
-3/4 cup mashed bananas
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts (again I use more like 1 cup)
-3/4 cup diced peaches
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups.
2. Mix dry ingredients together.
3. Mix wet ingredients together in separate bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients into dry and add in fruit/nut mix-ins. Stir just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy.
**Important–do not overmix your muffin dough or your muffins won’t be as fluffy and will have a tougher texture.
5. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
P.S. Don’t those peaches look fabulous in that yellow bowl? I love that bright sunny pop of yellow in the kitchen! That bowl, along with the rest of its set in different colors, was a wedding gift from my friend, Jessica. Love them! :)
I never really ate tortillas much as a kid. I never really liked the taste of the store-bought ones. When we had taco nights, I would just mix up all my taco toppings and pick them up with tortilla chips and skip the flour tortilla.
Last summer when I was shopping at our local grocery store in New Orleans, I noticed that our grocery store sold homemade tortillas in the bakery section. I bought some and after trying those, I changed my opinion on flour tortillas. They were really tasty! Then of course, it occurred to me that I could make them at home myself and they would be even better! So I tried that. Now, I am officially addicted to homemade flour tortillas. Seriously. We’ve made them three times in the last few weeks. (and this recipe makes 12 and there are just 2 of us!)
You should definitely try this recipe! These are amazing!
homemade flour tortillas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or you can use part whole wheat if you want to make them slightly healthier)
3/4 cup shortening (i used vegetable shortening)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup lukewarm water
In a large bowl, blend the flour and shortening until the mixture resembles fine meal.
In a small bowl, mix the salt and the water until the salt has dissolved. Using the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer, add water/salt mixture to the flour mixture, mixing until the liquid is incorporated. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth. If you don’t have a stand mixer, stir the liquid into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, then knead by hand.
Divide the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces and roll each into a ball. Coat each ball with a thin coat of flour.
Roll each ball into a thin 8 inch round, as thin as you can get ‘em — this keeps them soft and pliable once they’re cooked. After you roll them out, you can take an 8” salad plate, turn it upside down on top of the circles, and cut off any excess around the edges. Voila! Perfect circles. Or if you don’t care if they are perfect or not, just leave them as is.
Cook each round in a heavy non-stick pan over medium-high heat, flipping once, until puffed and golden on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per tortilla. Or if you have a flat electric griddle, that works perfectly and you can cook 2 at a time.
Careful not to cook them too long or they will get crunchy and will break when you try to stuff them. (Although they will still taste delicious)
Here are step-by-step photos of the process as well:
Flour and shortening,
plus salt water equals dough.
Tear dough into 12 mounds,
then roll those into balls.
Coat dough balls and rolling pin in flour,
then roll into circles.
Set up the kitchen, assembly- line style, with plates for raw and cooked dough.
Let dough cook several minutes per side,
then flip to the other side. Dough will bubble up. It seems that in our case, ones made with part whole wheat flour bubbled up more.
Then before you know it, you have a kitchen full of delicious tortillas!
Great for breakfast burritos, normal burritos, quesadillas, covered in honey and cinnamon, or even just to snack on. (all of which I have made with these, by the way. I told you I was addicted!)
Drew and I made homemade chicken and dumplings for the first time tonight. I don’t know why we hadn’t ever before. They always sound so good. I always thought for some reason that dumplings would be hard or time-consuming to make, but they weren’t hard at all! Actually they were really easy and dinner was done pretty quick.
Here is how I made them:
-1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded (or around 3 cups cooked chicken)
-10 cups chicken/vegetable broth
-3 cups flour (and more for rolling surface)
-2 Tablespoons butter
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-salt to taste (I just shook some in)
-1 cup milk
In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. I didn’t have homemade chicken stock, so I used 4 cups vegetable broth, 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water mixed with two teaspoons chicken soup base. The flavor was really good with the combination of chicken and vegetable broth. I also added a little salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a mixer (or bowl) mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter, mix, and then add the milk. Form the dough into a ball.
Heavily flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out thin, or until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dip a pizza cutter (or other cutter) into the flour and then cut dough into roughly 2×2 inch squares. Once your broth is boiling, take the dough squares one at a time, dip each side in flour and drop into the broth, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on the dumplings helps to thicken the broth.
Cook for about 20 minutes or until they aren’t doughy tasting when you bite into one. Once the dumplings are cooked, add in the shredded chicken and enjoy!
They were so tasty! The best dumplings I’ve ever had actually. I will definitely be making these again!
Goodness, it has been a long time since I’ve shared cooking and food related things on here! I’ve still been cooking just as much, if not more, but just haven’t gotten around to sharing those tasty things.
One night this week for dinner I made stuffed green bell peppers. There are many ways you can make them. My mom always made them with rice, I’ve had them with oatmeal before, and when I was visiting in France several years ago, my friend Anne-Nelly’s mom made them for dinner one night with Quinoa (she also made stuffed tomatoes, which are equally delicious!). If you’ve never used or heard of Quinoa before, it is a grain-like substance of little seeds, but when cooked is similar in consistency to rice or couscous. It is known for its nutritional value–high protein content, fiber, lysine and essential amino acid content, high in magnesium and iron and is gluten-free. It is great and easy in this recipe and is much healthier than using rice or oatmeal.
1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup dry quinoa and 1 jar (mine was a pint, because that is what I had, but a quart jar would work as well–if I had it I would have preferred the extra tomatoes of the quart size) of home canned tomatoes. You need at least two cups of liquid in with the quinoa, so depending on how much liquid was in your tomatoes, you might have to add extra water. With a pint jar of tomatoes, I ended up adding an extra cup of water. If you don’t have canned tomatoes, you can also use a jar of crushed tomatoes that you buy from the store or you could just cook the quinoa in water and add fresh tomatoes into the rest of the inside mixture (I’ve also used tomato sauce or paste before and my mom uses ketchup). Cook according to directions on quinoa, but most likely you will bring them to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, brown 1 lb. hamburger (could also use ground turkey, sausage or whatever you prefer or leave out for a vegetarian option). Drain meat and add 1 onion, several cloves of garlic, and any chopped vegetables you would like (I added carrots to mine and the bits of green pepper around the tops I cut off) and cook until done. Also add salt, pepper, or other spices to taste.
3. Once quinoa is done, mix it in with meat and vegetable mixture.
4. Cut the tops off of your green peppers (this recipe should make 4-5 peppers, but I only had 3, so as you can see I had filling left over), place in baking or loaf pan and stuff peppers with filling mixture. You can also steam the peppers before baking if you want, but I’ve never done so. If you have extra filling, stuff it around outside of peppers in baking pan.
5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so, until bell peppers are tender. You can also add cheese to the tops in the last few minutes of baking.
All due credit given to my wonderful older sister, Blair, for her yummy home grown and home canned tomatoes. Oh and also to Drew, who put the peppers in the oven and monitored them while I went to my Pilates class. That is also why they are a little burned on top! ;)