Tilapia with Sesame Noodles

Tilapia with Sweet & Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe

When I try to think of a quick meal to make everyone in the family happy, I usually end up with something Asian inspired. This recipe follows that trend. When cooking each element of the recipe separately it still comes together pretty quickly.

Within minutes of the sauce starting to bubble, your kitchen will fill with a wonderful aroma. It got everyone in our family excited for dinner as soon as it hit their noses. Then when we were sitting down to eat the flavors made our taste buds dance with delight. The noodles are sweet, spicy and full of flavor. I hope you enjoy.

Tilapia with Sesame Noodles Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8oz Package Udon Noodles (You could also use lo mein or spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon Lime Juice (Fresh squeezed is preferred )

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Mirin (You could also use white wine or chicken stock)
  • 4 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 4 dashes Sesame Oil
  • 4 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

Fish

  • 4 Tilapia Filets
  • Kosher Salt (To taste)
  • Black Pepper (To taste)
  • Garlic Powder (To taste)

Directions

Making the Sauce
Step 1
Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. If you don't want it spicy make sure to reduce the amount of Sweet Chili Sauce. Four Tablespoons gives it a pretty good kick.
Sauce Ingredients
Step 2
Heat in a sauce pan on medium high, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently. The plan is to get this sauce to reduce and thicken, giving it a nice texture. Once it begins to bubble do not leave it alone. Keep moving the spatula along the bottom of the pan even if your arm starts to get tired.

You'll know your sauce is ready when you drag the spatula and can see the pan trailing behind it. The sauce will be so thick that it is slow to come back together.
Bubbling Sauce
Step 3
Remove from heat and set aside
Finished Sauce
Cooking the Noodles
Step 4
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your noodles according to the package directions.
Cooking Udon Noodles
Step 5
Drain and rinse them with cool water.
Drained Noodles
Step 6
Pour the noodles into the sauce pan. Stir to coat the noodles.
Adding Noodles to the Sauce
Step 7
Add the sesame seeds. We had black sesame seeds in the pantry, but you can use any kind.
Add Sesame Seeds
Step 8
Finish with the lime juice. These can be served hot or cold. I prefer them warm, but I know Kerry loves some cold noodles.
Add Lime Juice
Cooking the Fish
Step 9
Pat your Tilapia filets dry with a towel. Then season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Just so you know, this will also work great with chicken or pork,
Seasoned Tilapia
Step 10
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium low. Once the pan is hot add a little olive oil to where you plan on laying down the fish.
Step 11
Add 2 of the Tilapia filets, flat side down and cover with a lid. The lid will help it steam through so you don't have to flip such a delicate piece of fish. The tilapia will be completely white when it is done and have just a little bit of give when mushing the top with your thumb. Approximately 6-8 minutes.
Cooking Tilapia
Serve it Up
Step 12
Serve the finished Tilapia with the Sesame Noodles. There should be enough sauce under the noodlesto drizzle the fish.
Tilapia with Sesame Noodles
Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I’m gonna keep this simple and to the point.

These chicken nuggets are insanely good!

These taste just as good to me as Chic-fil-A. A bold statement I know, but these are seriously delicious. The differences are that you’ll know exactly where this chicken meat came from, and these are baked not deep fried. So all in all we feel pretty good about these awesome little nugs.

If you are ever feeling ambitious, double the recipe. These freeze beautifully. If I ever write a cookbook, these will be number one in my “Freezes Beautifully” section. Anyway, you just lay another pan next to the one for your breaded nuggets, and fill it up at the same time. When your first pan goes into the oven, the second one goes into your freezer. Give em a couple hours to freeze, and then transfer them to ziploc bags. Then whenever your family craves these wonderful nuggets, you can just preheat the oven, brush them with oil, and go to town!

We’ve never had leftover nuggets if that tells you anything!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into nugget sized pieces )

flour mix

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika

egg mix

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

breading mix

  • 1/2 cup poultry coating or breading mix
  • 10 ritz crackers

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2
Find three shallow containers to mix your three breading mixtures. I always like to use pie pans. For one they're nice and shallow, and for another we have plenty of them laying around. This family loves pie!
Step 3
In the first pie pan add the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika for the "flour mix".
Step 4
Give it all a good stir with a whisk or a fork until it is all combined. It should look something like this.
Step 5
In the second pie pan add the buttermilk and egg.
Step 6
One good stir later (with your same whisk or fork from earlier) it will look like a lovely yellow milkshake.
Step 7
Now onto the third pie pan!
I found this "chicken coating mix" that is just wonderful. If you have trouble finding this (I work at Whole Foods, so there's no telling how hard this is to find) I'm sure any coating or breading mix would work great. It almost looks like seasoned flour when you dump it out, so look for something like that.
Step 8
Next, drop 10 ritz crackers into a food processor. My mini prep works great for this amount.
Step 9
Now blitz the ritz until they're nice and crumby!
Step 10
The cracker crumbs and the coating mix get tossed together in the last pie pan until the mixture looks like this.
Step 11
Dump your chicken pieces onto a towel or paper towel lined pan. Pat all of them until they are nice and dry.
Step 12
Lay them in a single layer and season their top side with kosher salt and black pepper. Only season this top side! Apart from saving you the tedium of individually flipping all these little guys over to season their other side, you really just don't need the extra seasoning. The flour mix and the breading mix are both seasoned already, so only sprinkling one side of the nuggets helps insure you won't have over salted nugs.
Step 13
Here is what your assembly line should look like. I put the pans in order. So they should go from raw chicken to flour mix to egg mix to breading mix to your pan for baking.
Step 14
One at a time, everyone gets a good dredge in the flour mix.
Step 15
That's followed by a dunk into the egg mix.
Step 16
Lastly, they all get a good coating of the breading mix.
Step 17
I am a little OCD, so I always use my right hand for the flour mix and breading mix phases. My left hand works the wet egg mix. I like having a "wet hand" and a "dry hand" not only to satisfy my neurotic tendencies, but I also feel like you really use less breading this way. Otherwise you will end up with two very breaded hands that look ready to be dropped into a deep fryer.
Step 18
Once all of your nuggets are on the ungreased pan, brush everyone generously with olive oil. This will help them develop a nice color as they bake.
My mother also makes some delicious baked nuggets. She uses an olive oil spray, and just sprays the heck out of all of them.
Step 19
Either way you decide to go make sure you put enough to really coat them, but not so much that they're drowning in the oil. Too much oil will definitely create some soggy nugs.
Step 20
Pop them into the preheated oven and leave them alone for 15 minutes.
When they come out they should be perfectly cooked without being dry.
Step 21
These nuggets are so good you'll want to make them all the time.
Step 22
And I think you should!
Shrimp Fried Rice

Sticky Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

Kerry and I love rice dishes. Wyatt loves them too, but for the wrong reason. The texture of the individual rice grains make him want to sprinkle them everywhere except his plate.

Something about this shrimp fried rice recipe keeps Wyatt so focused on eating. He has absolutely no interest in doing anything other than shoveling it in his mouth.

Sticky Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cooked Rice (This can be cooked a few days ahead of time)
  • 2 cups Frozen Shrimp (19 -21 Count)
  • 1 cup Chopped Carrots
  • 1 cup Shelled Edemame
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil (Divided)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (Plus more for pinches)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Eggs

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce (Divided)
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Fish Sauce

Directions

Step 1
Heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and 1/2 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil in a wok over medium high heat.
Step 2
Once hot, add your shrimp, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir regularly to heat evenly. If you are using frozen shrimp this will create a fair amount of liquid. Don't worry, the rice will soak it up later.
Cooking Shrimp
Step 3
Shrimp should be pink on both sides when cooked. Do not overcook these little guys. They will cook a bit more once tossed with the fried rice. Remove from the wok to a plate.

Add carrots, edamame, peas and two pinches of salt. If you used thawed shrimp add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan to help the veggies steam.

Cook for about 5 minutes. In this dish I like my carrots having a bit of tooth to them. If you want yours softer, just cook them for a few more minutes testing with a fork.
Carrots, Peas, Edamame
Step 4
We usually plan fried rice later in the week after another dinner that has rice. That way, we can cook more rice than we need with the first meal, making this dish easy to throw together.

Add the rice to the wok and stir around.
Step 5
Most fried rice dishes have some scrambled eggs mixed into them. I prefer to stir the uncooked eggs directly in with the rice. This allows the egg to coat the rice making it extra sticky and fluffy.

Whisk eggs. Then pour evenly over rice. Toss rice to coat.
Adding Egg
Step 6
Time to make the sauce.

Combine the Oyster Sauce, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the Soy, the Sweet Chili Sauce, and the Fish Sauce. Then add the sauce to the rice, tossing evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes. Basically until it doesn't look wet, but is sticky.
Fried Rice with Sauce
Step 7
Chop up the basil and add it to the rice.
Step 8
Remove from heat. Add the shrimp and toss.
Adding Shrimp to Fried Rice
Step 9
Finish it with another 1 Tablespoon of Soy and 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil.
Step 10
Serve it up.
Shrimp Fried Rice

Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan Pasta

My sister Mandy introduced me to Carrabba’s years ago. Actually, it had to be over fifteen years ago…ouch! Our entire family took to Carrabba’s spin on traditional italian favorites and of course the warm bread with herb dip. It has become a standard for Mandy’s birthday dinners. As much as she likes to peruse the menu and talk about ordering something new, she always ends up ordering the Chicken Bryan.

It’s her prevailing order for good reason. Chicken that has been seasoned simply is grilled and then topped with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. But the thing that really puts this dish over the top is the basil butter sauce that’s poured all over it!

Mandy always orders it with pasta, so I tried to meld the entire plateful together. It’s a much lighter version than the original, but I still tried to stay true to all of the major flavor components. Mandy came over for dinner the other week, and Brian and I made this in her honor. She loved it!

It felt wonderful to have the reigning Queen of Chicken Bryan approve my efforts! I hope you enjoy the new and improved chicken”Brian” as much as we did!

 

Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan Pasta Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 small to medium sized onion (minced)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh garlic (minced)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for a finishing drizzle)
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons fresh basil (thinly sliced)
  • lemon zest

Directions

Step 1
Here are the main players in tonight's dish. Of course it wouldn't be me unless I forgot one or two items in the photo. Let's see if you can guess.
Step 2
*No Onion!*

I like to go ahead and zest my lemon. This way I've already gotten that tasty outside set aside before I'm hurrying around trying to juice it for the sauce later.
Step 3
Now get a skillet heating up over medium heat, and get a big pot of water heating up over high heat.
Then I generously season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Step 4
Once your skillet is nice and hot, add about a Tbs. of olive oil. Now drop in your chicken pieces so that they form a single layer. Leave them alone for 5 minutes.
Step 5
Once your pot of water is at a rolling boil, dump in the pasta with lots of salt. Cook according to the package directions.
After the chicken pieces have been searing for about 5 minutes, flip them all over. Cover the pan with a lid, and forget about them again for about 3-5 minutes.
Step 6
When you're happy with the doneness of your chicken bits, pull them from the pan. Set the chicken aside, and leave the pan over the heat.
Step 7
Add 1 Tbs. olive oil. Now dump in the onion along with 1/4 tsp. salt.
Step 8
Stir the onion around, scrapping the bottom of the pan, for about a minute. They will get nice and brown quite quickly because of the lovely flavor already in the pan. Now add in a heaping Tbs. of minced garlic, and cook another minute.
Step 9
Pour in the wine and the lemon juice. Enjoy the steam while you scrape the bottom of the pan!
Step 10
Throw in about half of the butter, and kick the heat up to medium high. Let it bubble away for about 2 minutes.
Step 11
Add in the sundried tomatoes, chopped basil, and the rest of the butter. I also add in some seasonings at this point: 1 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper.
Step 12
Give it a nice stir. Enjoy the aroma. And let it simmer just another minute or two.
Step 13
Now this is just a matter of putting all of the goodness together!
Dump the reserved lemon zest into your yummy sauce.
Step 14
Pour your sauce over the drained pasta.
Step 15
Now add in the cooked chicken along with its' juices. And crumble your goat cheese over the top!
Step 16
Because we are all nuts about black pepper, I sprinkled over a bit more.
Step 17
Then toss it all together; add in some more fresh basil; toss it all again.
Step 18
Serve in bowls with a big drizzle of olive oil over the top to finish it off. Don't forget the olive oil when you serve it, or the pasta will be a bit too dry.
Step 19
This dish is a wonderfully light twist on the delicious "Chicken Bryan"! We hope you enjoy it!
Crispy Fish Tacos

Crispy Fish Tacos

When Kerry and I first met, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t stuff into a tortilla and call it dinner. Flour tortillas are by far one of my favorite vehicles to get food into my mouth. Years have gone by, and now my tastes are a little more refined. The contents of that little flat bread should be unique, discernible, and packed with flavor.

I love fish tacos, but they are not all created equally. There are so many different ways to prepare the fish: grilled, deep fried, baked, even ground. Yeah, I had ground fish tacos once and they were horrible. Take my advice and don’t try them! For this recipe I used cornstarch to coat the fish. That allowed the nuggets to get crisp and golden, without feeling completely battered and fried. This fish taco recipe is my favorite way to serve it up in a tortilla.

I’ve also come up with a technique for making the tortilla stretchy and pliable, similar to our local burrito chains. Check it out in the “Tip Time” section below.

Crispy Fish Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Orange Roughy Fillets (Any white fish will do)
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Package Flour Tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Cilantro

Beans

  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Slaw

  • 5 leaves Nappa Cabbage (Regular Cabbage will work too)
  • 1/3 cup Mayonaise
  • 1/2 Juice of Lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

Beans
Step 1
Drain the black beans (to get rid of some of that fart juice) and combine with the diced tomatoes in a medium-sized pot.
Beans and Diced Tomatoes
Step 2
Stir in cumin, salt, onion powder, and granulated garlic. Heat to a boil. Reduce to medium-low to simmer while you do everything else.
Simmering Beans
Step 3
Pat the fillets dry with a towel.
Fish Fillets
Step 4
Cut fillets into nugget-sized chunks. Season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.
Fish Chunks
Step 5
Dump the cornstarch in a pie pan. Shake it back and forth to coat the entire surface.
Corn Starch
Step 6
Add half of the fish. Toss to coat. Repeat this step once the first batch is in the skillet.
Coated Fish
Step 7
Heat a skillet to medium-high. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan.
Step 8
Once the oil is hot add a layer of fish to the pan. Cook for about three minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.
Fish Cooking
Step 9
Flip each piece individually with tongs. Cook this side until brown, about two minutes, then set on a plate to cool. Cook the remaining fish the same way.
cooking fish
Now for the Slaw
Step 10
Finely chop the Nappa Cabbage.
Chopped Cabbage
Step 11
In a bowl combine mayonaise, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and lime juice. Whisk to a creamy sauce.
Sauce Ingredients
Step 12
Right before serving the tacos toss the cabbage in the sauce.
Slaw
Tip Time
Step 13
One of the things I love about the local burrito chains is their elastic tortillas. They accomplish this with steam that heats & moistens them up a bit. You can achieve a similar result at home. Put 2 tablespoons of water into the fish pan once the fish is done and put an oven-safe plate on top.
Plate in Pan
Step 14
Add your stack of tortillas, then cover with a lid. In just a few minutes your tortillas will be nice, stretchy, and ready to serve. If you add too much water it will bubble over and the bottom tortillas will be wet and slimy.
Steaming Tortillas
It
Step 15
This is the order we put our tacos together: beans, fish, slaw, cilantro. Feel free to add the items in any order you want. I went a little light on this taco, but my second one was stuffed to the gills!
Taco Assembly
Step 16
Any way you want to throw these components together they are going to taste great!

Juicy Asian Turkey Burgers

Everyone that I’ve told about this turkey burger has given me the same reaction. The nose turns up, and they say “Turkey burger?”. Let us try to move past the skepticism, and instead delight in the juiciness!

Ok. I realize that the idea of a turkey burger isn’t as enticing as the idea of a Five Guys burger, but please give this one a chance. I couldn’t stop devouring it long enough to rave about it. I did anyway of course; it just wasn’t as ladylike as my normal dinner chat.

This will look like a very involved recipe upon first glance. That’s because we made three separate tasty toppings. If you’re ambitious, please try them with the burger. It was a wonderful combination, and they don’t really take much time to make. I also completely understand not always feeling like making pickles on the fly. So please don’t be scared off by all the ingredients. This burger would be wonderful with lettuce, jarred pickles and plain old mayo.

So now repeat after me, “I will try this turkey burger, and it will be awesome!”

Juicy Asian Turkey Burgers Recipe

Ingredients

burger

  • 1 1/4lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup peanut sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
  • 4 of your favorite buns (we used onion buns)

peanut sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

spicy mayo

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

slaw

  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
  • 2-4 tablespoons peanut sauce

quick asian pickles

  • 1 large english cucumber (cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions

Step 1
To make the sauce, simply put all of the sauce ingredients into a bowl. I usually just put my microplane right over the bowl, and grate the ginger on top of everything else.
Step 2
Give it all a good whisk until the peanut butter is completely incorporated. It should look something like this.
Step 3
Now dump your ground turkey into a large bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Add in the cilantro and green onion. Measure out 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce, and toss that in as well.
Step 4
Mush it all together with your hands until it looks like this.
Step 5
This is a very sticky ball of meat! I wash my hands thoroughly, so I'm starting without gunk all over me. Then I rub several drops of sesame oil into my hands to help prevent sticking, as I form four equal patties. Although, as I was making these, I thought about how cute these would be as sliders on Hawaiian rolls.
Step 6
I use a nonstick skillet for these; it helps with the sticky factor. I set the temperature at just below medium, and while it's heating up I lay my buns down to toast.
Step 7
Once your buns are nice and toasty, add about a tablespoon of sesame oil into the hot skillet. Place all four burgers in the pan, and cook them about 7 minutes on each side. For delicate burgers like these, we always use a fish spatula.
Step 8
Now on to all the burger extras! The spicy mayo is 1/4 c. mayo whisked together with 1 Tbs. sweet chili sauce. We use veganaise because it's lower in cholesterol, but of course the real deal would be even tastier I'm sure. I slather this on both sides of my bun, whereas Brian prefers one half with the mayo and the other half with extra peanut sauce. There are no wrong answers here.
Step 9
The slaw is very fast to throw together, but make sure to wait to dress it with the sauce until right when the burgers are being assembled. Cabbage tends to wilt. In a large bowl toss together the cabbage, cilantro, green onion, and a couple pinches of salt. When it's time to dress, drizzle over 2-4 Tbs. of the peanut sauce, and toss again.
Step 10
The pickles are a matter of slicing and simmering. Easy stuff, but if you're not in the mood to make homemade pickles simply dress your burger with your favorite jarred variety.
Step 11
I always love the seedless (english) cucumbers, but regular cucumbers would work just fine. I cut off the ends, then slice them in half lengthwise. Next I line them up side by side, and slice them at the same time.
Step 12
Toss in a shallow dish with the onions. Pour over the cooled vinegar solution. Then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Forget about it for as long as you can.
Step 13
I made my pickles while I made Wyatt's and my lunch that day. So around six hours later, they looked like this.
Step 14
Now it's just a matter of making your burger to suit your tastes.
Step 15
Wyatt's burger had the spicy mayo without the slaw and his pickles on the side. He enjoyed it so much that it received the coveted "food hat" award!
Step 16
We topped our buns with the mayo, slaw, burger, and the pickles!
Step 17
Were they juicy?
Ridiculously so.
Do I regret it?
Not a single bite!

 

 

Onion Gravy Cubed Steak

Here in the south, cubed steak is just one of those dishes that everyone worships. It’s like fried chicken… I mean how can you not love it? Also like fried chicken, there are as many ways to make cubed steak as there are people ready to eat it. This is my go-to method that our whole family loves!

This couldn’t be easier to prepare. There are only like five ingredients in the whole dish, and they come together in a snap. Once your steaks are seasoned and browned, you make a simple gravy. Then everything gets put together, and you forget about it for an hour and a half. The hardest part of making this is remembering not to burn your hand off on the hot pan handle when it comes out of the oven (believe me I’ve done it more times than I care to admit). You will be ready to get into this dish after smelling it for over an hour!

If you’re not an onion fan, then those could be left out entirely. I’ve just always loved the way onions cooked down in a brown gravy makes anything feel like salisbury steak. We can’t get enough!

Onion Gravy Cubed Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4lb cubed steaks
  • 2 medium yellow onions (quartered then thinly sliced)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups broth (I always have chicken broth on hand, but any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350. Pat your cubed steaks dry with some paper towels, then season generously with black pepper and kosher salt on both sides.
Step 2
Heat a large oven safe sauce pan over medium heat. Mix together the flour with 1 Tbs. each: black pepper, kosher salt, and paprika in a shallow dish. I always use a pie pan.
Step 3
Drop 1Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil into the pan to melt together and get nice and bubbly while you dredge the steaks.
Step 4
I like to lay each steak in the seasoned flour, then pile flour on top and press it down into the meat. Then I flip it and do the same thing at least two or three times on each side. You want to make sure that the flour goes all into the nooks and crannies that the cuber has created in the steaks.
Step 5
Brown the steaks in rounds so you don't overcrowd the pan. If too many are in there, they will steam instead of getting a nice brown crust. I had two big and three small tonight, so i did the big daddies in the first round followed by the little guys.
Step 6
I give them about 3 minutes. Flip them. Give them another 2-3 minutes, then pull them to a plate to await their companions. Between the two rounds of steaks, I add another Tbs. each of oil and butter. This is how they should look before you start the gravy.
Step 7
Once everybody's out of the pan, I add another 2 Tbs. each of oil and butter (I'm guessing you figured out this is not a diet plate). Let it get all nice and bubbly.
Step 8
Add 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour from dredging the steaks into the hot drippings, and stir until well incorporated.
Step 9
Now slowly add the broth in several intervals; stirring in between additions. This is a very bubbly hot phase. It's actually very exciting to watch because as you add the liquid, the pan hisses and bubbles at you. While you stir, the broth gets absorbed almost immediately and it becomes a hot paste. This happens over and over again, until finally towards the end of the broth it starts to slowly come together into gravy. Then the 1/2 cup milk gets stirred in, along with 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 1 tsp. salt. Once it's all said and done, it should look like this.
Step 10
Now nestle the steaks into the gravy.
Step 11
And sprinkle over the onions.
Step 12
Cover with a lid, and put into the hot oven. Leave it alone for 1 1/2 hours. Then pull out this.
Step 13
We always serve this with mashed potatoes and green peas. It's what my mom always makes with cubed steak, and so do I.

I don't even try to recreate her biscuits though.
Step 14
I hope you enjoy this as much as we always do!
Creamy Cheese Pasta with Asparagus and Corn

Cream-y Cheese Pasta Recipe with Asparagus & Corn

Kerry recently started working one night a week, leaving Wyatt and I to fend for ourselves at dinner. When it’s just Wyatt and I, we spend a lot of time out of the house. Coming up with quick and easy dishes is the difference between a home cooked meal and the two of us grabbing a burrito.

The flavors of this pasta are light and creamy, accented with bursts of asparagus and corn. If you don’t eat all of it in one sitting, served cold it makes a great pasta salad.

This dish can be prepped, cooked in 45 minutes. During two of the steps, when things are boiling, you have time to wash what you’ve already dirtied. Something else that’s great about this dish, it can all get cooked in one pot!

It took Wyatt a few minutes to realize the sauce on the outside of the asparagus was a cheese sauce, but once he did he tore through his entire serving.

Cream(y) Cheese Pasta with Asparagus & Corn

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1/2 box Pasta
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons Cream Cheese
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for finishing)

Directions

Step 1
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
Step 2
Snap the ends of the asparagus off. You should be able to get a sense of where they will break without a lot of resistance. Discard the ends.
Asparagus Ends
Step 3
Chop the remaining asparagus into pieces about an inch long. Then drop them into the boiling water for 4 1/2 minutes.
Chopped Asparagus
Step 4
Fill a bowl with ice water. Once the asparagus is done, use a slotted spoon to move them from the boiling water to the ice bath.
Ice Bath
Step 5
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as directed on the package.
Step 6
When there is two minutes left on the pasta, add the corn.
Corn in Pasta Water
Step 7
While the pasta cooks, mince up the rosemary.
Rosemary
Step 8
Drain pasta and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water. The starchy water helps bind the sauce and the heat helps melt the cheese.
Drain Pasta
Step 9
While the pot is off the heat add cream cheese, rosemary, granulated garlic, pepper, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, pasta, corn, asparagus, and reserved water. Stir well.
Combine Ingredients
Step 10
Plate and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Creamy Cheese Pasta with Asparagus and Corn

Turkey Chili

In Georgia, fall lasts about a month; sandwiched right between winter and a summer that lasts about five months. So as soon as there is the slightest nip in the air, we are ready for chilies, stews, and the like. Here is a healthy chili that is perfect for a quick fall dinner. It’s faster than your grandmother’s chili, without sacrificing that traditional hearty flavor.

The thing that really lightens up this particular dish is the use of turkey sausage in lieu of pork or beef, and of course packing it full of veggies. We also use a couple of non-traditional spices, like cocoa and cinnamon, to add some warmth and depth of flavor, without having to simmer it for hours.

Like always, this was prepared for our whole family, so this is definitely a milder chili. Some easy ways to add some heat would be: adding an extra poblano, hot sauce, cayenne, any other hot pepper or chili that you like, or a combination of these. Wyatt is still getting the hang of eating chili, and souplike dishes in general, so we didn’t want the added challenge of trying to eat something super spicy.

We served him a small bowlfull that was heavier on the meat and beans. In every other way, however, all of our bowls were plated exactly the same. We all had a nice dollop of sour cream on top, and plenty of mini corn bread muffins!

We all loved it!

Even if one of us was bribed with a scoop of ice cream in order to finish their bowl.

Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • lb spicy italian turkey sausage
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 bell peppers (diced)
  • 1 poblano pepper (diced)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
  • sour cream

Directions

Step 1
Here are the main players in tonight's dish.
Step 2
It might seem like a lot of seasonings, but it is chili after all.
Step 3
Add the olive oil to a nice sized pan over medium heat.
Step 4
While the oil heats up, remove the sausage casings. I find it's easiest to use a sharp paring knife to draw a line right down the length of the sausage and then just pull that sticky little stocking right off.
Step 5
Add the loose sausage to the hot pan, and brown for about 3-4 minutes. Then add 1 tsp. each of: cinnamon, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
Step 6
Use a slotted spoon to remove the browned sausage to a bowl.
Step 7
Next add the diced onion plus 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to the hot turkey drippings. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 8
Add the heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, and give it a stir and about 30 seconds to cook before moving on.
Step 9
Stir in all of the diced peppers. We had an orange and yellow bell pepper on hand, but any color or combo would work. And remember to feel free to add more poblanos, or some hotter peppers or chiles if you're feeling more adventurous!
Step 10
Mix it all in together until it looks like veggie confetti, then let it cook down and sweat for about 5 minutes.
Step 11
Now add in the whole can of tomato paste, along with a heaping tablespoon each of cocoa powder and flour.
Step 12
Smear everything together until it's all bound in a thick rusty paste. Let it cook for about a minute, to help both the flour and tomato paste not taste so raw.
Step 13
Kick the heat up to medium high and add the wine. You could add red wine or beer at this point, or to keep it alcohol free you could skip right to the broth and just add a little extra. I, however, seem to find myself in the kitchen holding a glass of white wine on most nights, so that ends up being my deglazer of choice.
Step 14
The wine's job is it help pick up all the tasty flavor bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. So just bubble and scrap away for about a minute.
Step 15
Next add the broth, rinsed beans, and the can of tomatoes. Give it a good stir.
Step 16
Next come the rest of the spices. It's the cumin, oregano and black pepper. Plus the other 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
Step 17
Now it's just a matter of letting it simmer for around 20 minutes. Of course, it is chili... so simmering a bit longer, or playing with the spices to suit your tastes won't hurt in the slightest.

Step 18
Like almost every other chili I've tried, I love this with soda crackers (saltines if you're from the north), but with plenty of sour cream and corn bread muffins it's wonderful too!

 

 

 

 

Homemade Perogies inspired by my Grandmother

My birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and when Kerry asked what I wanted for dinner than night, I had my heart set on homemade perogies.

As a child this dish was a delicacy that only graced my taste buds on the annual family adventure to my grandparents’ house in Ohio. There was something about it that I just didn’t experience the entire rest of the year… and I think it may have been my first food that I ate in excess. My grandmother Annie could not fry them up fast enough to keep up with the pace I would guzzle them down.

There is a unique flavor to the filling of this perogi that you won’t find on the frozen food aisle… and certainly nothing I could experience in my parents kitchen. When I first asked my grandmother for this recipe she said to use farmers cheese… now that was a number of years ago and I wasn’t nearly as understanding of food as I am now, or the great places to purchase ingredients. As a back up plan she told me to pick up large curd cottage cheese. There is something to the flavor of the curds when they melt, wrapped in pasta and fry it up that is just unstoppable.

When making the individual perogi keep in mind they don’t have to be beautiful. They just have to taste amazing! Kerry and I tend to cook up some kielbasa & onions to go along with the perogi and also try to incorporate something green as well.

Home Made Perogies

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 cups Flour (All purpose works well)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Water (Plus More if needed)

Filling

  • 2lb Large curd cottage cheese
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion powder

Frying

  • 8 tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 8 tablespoons Crisco

Directions

Dough
Step 1
Combine flour, 4 eggs, and water in a mixer with a dough hook. You can also do this by hand on a clean counter or in a large mixing bowl.
Mixer with Perogi Dough
Step 2
Mix until it starts to have a doughy texture and becomes slightly elasticy.
Perogi Dough Coming Together
Step 3
Powder your hands with some flour, sprinkle some on your counter top and remove the dough from the bowl.
Step 4
Separate the dough into 4 equal parts; Roll into balls of dough
Balls of Dough
Step 5
Use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll this dough out. You want the dough to be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Not too thin that the insides break out in the boiling, and not too thick that it over-powers the flavor of the filling.
Step 6
Once the dough is rolled out cut out large circles that will be used as the shell. If you don't have a pasta cutter, use a bowl or plate and trace around its edges with a paring knife.
Cutting Dough
Filling
Step 7
Take the large curd cottage cheese, place it in a strainer; rinse and and strain. This will wash away all of the liquid leaving just curds. (You can also use farmers cheese in place of the cottage cheese. If you use farmers cheese there is no need to strain it)
Large Curd Cottage Cheese
Step 8
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Perogi Filling
Assembly
Step 9
Bring a large pot of water to a boil while assembling the perogi.
Step 10
Spoon enough of the filling mixture to cover half of a circle of dough with some room around the edges to fold and seal the perogi. To help the edges stick brush with a little water. You can use a fork to push the edges down as well. It will look like a half circle when done.
Step 11
Heavily salt the boiling water; dropping perogi in the pot do not overcrowd. Cook for about 5 minutes. If they start popping open from overcooking remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue boiling the rest of the perogi.
Boiling Water
Step 12
Heat a skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of butter and crisco. Once melted add a single layer of perogi. Cook until brown (about 5 min) then flip. Cook the other side. Continue adding butter & crisco as you continue to cook off the rest of the perogi.
Pan Seared Perogi
Step 13
We ate it this time with Asparagus, Sausage & Onions
Perogi Dinner