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Starred Recipes

3 Stars - A Family Favorite
2 Stars - Really Good, Will Make Again
1 Star - Good Recipe, Probably Won't Make Again

March 11, 2012

Soba with Cabbage

Soba with Cabbage

This is one of those dishes I thought I'd try, but didn't have high hopes for. 
It was just a side dish, so if we didn't like it, then no big deal.

It turned out really well, and David especially liked it.
I'll certainly make soba again (perhaps without the cabbage for Brennan since he isn't a vinegar fan).

Soba are buckwheat noodles, commonly found at Japanese restaurants.

For this recipe I used 4 packs of noodles (a pack is wrapped together in the purple paper).
You cook them in boiling water just like you do spaghetti, and drain once it's good and tender - about 4 minutes.

At the same time I sauteed packaged shredded cabbage with green onions in rice wine vinegar, then set it aside.

Then I added the drained noodles, soy sauce, more vinegar, chili powder, and sesame seeds and tossed together with the pickled cabbage.

Surprisingly good!

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(douzo meshiagare)
Bon Appetit in Japanese 

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice

This dish is what David calls "basic food", and is his favorite kind of homemade dish.
It is simple, filling, healthy, and we all liked it - and it made enough for the next day's lunch leftovers.

I checked out several recipes online before I created my own. 
This recipe is very forgiving.  You can customize it to your taste very easily.

I made these in the Crock Pot because I was going to be out for several hours, but they can be made on the stove just as easily.

Start by soaking a bag of black beans in water for 4 hours or overnight.

They'll double or triple in size.
Rinse and drain.

Place black beans and 4 c vegetable or chicken broth in the crockpot and set for 6 hours on medium.

Because my boys don't like "chunks" of tomatoes, onion, and peppers in their food, I then blended the remaining ingredients before adding it to the crockpot.

I blended a 14 oz can of tomatoes, 1/2 onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, salt, spices, and herbs.

And done.

I made up a big pot of rice (and brown for myself) and served the dish with Tony Cacheres and Tobasco on the table so everyone could add their own heat.


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Bon Appetit!

March 7, 2012

Stuffed Portobellos

Stuffed Portobellos

A couple of weeks ago I went through all the recipes I'd ripped out of magazines/newspapers in the last few years, discarding quite a few.  To my surprise, I had SIX stuffed portobello recipes to try.

My youngest son, Brennan, is a huge mushroom fan.  When we were at the grocery earlier this week and I asked him to get two packages of portobellos, he was thrilled.

We removed the stems and spritzed a little olive oil on both sides.

I read through the 6 recipes and created my own Stuffed Portobello recipe that used ingredients we liked and I had on hand.

Leftover whole wheat couscous, corn, broccoli, almond slivers, lemon juice, seasonings, and a little olive oil to hold it all together.

Then I stuffed the portobellos and cooked them at 450* for 15 minutes.

They were fork-tender and delicious!

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March 6, 2012

Thai Cucumber Salad

Mississippi Magazine
Thai Cucumber Salad

The November/December 2011 Mississippi Magazine had a number of great party recipes.
This salad was served at a buffet with Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce.
I served it last night with tilapia, couscous, and broccoli.

It's a simple recipe that can be done ahead of time.

You peel and slice two halved cucumbers, shallots, and a small jalapeño.

In a small saucepan you heat vinegar and sugar (I used Splenda) over high heat then simmer until the sugar dissolves, and let cool.

Once the vinegar mixture is cool, you toss it with the cucumber mixture, season with a little salt, and let sit.

I refrigerated mine for a couple of hours and drained it before serving.
It can also be served at room temperature.

David and I really liked it.
This is a dish that is so easy, I'll make it again and again.

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kŏr hâi jà-rern aa-hăan!
Bon Appetit in Thai!

March 5, 2012

Mayocoba Beans

Mayocoba Beans

When Mary and I were in Jungle Jim's International Market last month I saw a bag of Mayocoba beans in one of the Latin American sections. 
I had never heard of them but thought they would be great to try, since my family loves Mexican food.

Mayocoba Beans are also known as Canary Beans.  They are similar to a pinto bean, and are frequently used to make refried beans.

Mayo Cobas need to be soaked before cooking them. There are two ways to do this step.

Long Way: Soak 2 cups of beans in water overnight or 6-8 hours
Short Way: Boil beans in water for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let stand an hour.

I went the Long Way because it actually involved less work!  I just soaked them in the morning and they were ready at night when I started fixing dinner. 

They swell up during that time.
2 c dried beans will make 6 c cooked beans.

Then you cook them in a large pot with plenty of water - I'd recommend a good inch or two above the beans.  You can season them in any way and let them cook on medium heat for 1 hour.

I chose to use two packets of Goya's Sazon, which you can find in Wal-Mart or other regular grocery store in the Mexican food aisle.  It has great flavors for beans.

When the beans were done I served them with tortillas and lots of other toppings for tacos and burritos that night. 

I had plenty leftover so I mashed some to use for refried beans the next day, and I froze the rest. 
They are great for soups, stews, and salads as well. 
You can spice them up any way you like.

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Buen Provecho!

March 4, 2012

Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread

Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread

We all love a simple dinner. 
I decided to make black eyed peas from scratch (a bag of dried peas) and knew a batch of iron skillet cornbread would be the perfect complement.

I made the peas in the crockpot and it couldn't be simpler.
I didn't have any ham to season them with, but I did have some leftover shredded rotisserie chicken so I used that instead, along with chicken broth.  It was really, really delicious!

It doesn't look like much, but you basically add everything to the crockpot, then cook on medium for 6 hours.

And that's really all there is too it!
It was really, really good.

I made up a skillet of cornbread following the instructions on the package and dinner!

To reheat the next day, I put it in a pot on the stove and added a cup of broth.
This recipe is basically from what I had on hand, and what I thought sounded like it would work well.
You can change up the ingredients easily for this recipe.

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Y'all Enjoy!

March 1, 2012

Roasted Kabocha Squash

Roasted Kabocha Squash

I recently heard about Kabocha Squash for the first time and picked one up when we were at Jungle Jim's International Market in Cincinnati last month.

I decided to roast it in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.
We all thought it was really, really good.

I'm not a huge squash fan but like roasted butternut, acorn, and other winter squashes, so thought I'd give this a try. 
Besides my Butternut Soup, I don't know that the boys have eaten a lot of squash in their lives (because if Mama doesn't like it, then...)

I'll certainly make it more often and try new recipes. 
The Kabocha Squash is really mild, buttery, and sweet.
It's chock full of Vitamins A and C.
David suggested I try it with brown sugar sometime (to counteract all those vitamins, I guess!)

Winter squashes like the Kabocha are hard to cut.
I read online though that if you put it in the microwave for 4 minutes, it softens it up and makes it easier to cut.

Worked great!

Following some directions online, I just sliced it up, drizzled a tiny bit of olive oil on top, adding a little bit of salt, and baked at 400* for 20 minutes.

You don't have to peel the squash.  The skin is edible.

*I don't know that oil was necessary.  I might try it oil-less next time.
*This is the same process if you are going to make Kabocha soup.

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