Miss Heidi’s Beautiful Noodles

My LO attends the most nurturing and loving preschool led by a an earth fairy. Ok, she’s human but an extraordinary one. Her name is Miss Heidi and her school is called, Rainbow’s End.

My LO tells me the reason it’s called Rainbow’s End is because her school is where the rainbow ends and the gold is the children. Really! Can I stay there all day too? It smells like freshly peeled oranges.

LO loves her “pasta” so here’s the recipe.

Miss Heidi’s Beautiful Noodles

  • 1 bundle of soba noodles
  • 10-12 shakes of Braggs Amino Acid
  • 1 TBSP raw cashew butter
  • A splash of water

Cook noodles for 5-6 mins. Drain. Add braggs and cashew butter and water. Mix and eat.

Butter Mochi Muffins

The cutest/sassiest names website, snixykitchen posted this recipe and I love it. It reminds me of Hawaii and makes me so happy to eat (looking at you gluten-free)! They smell crazy good coming out of the oven. They’re crunchy on the outside and mochi chewy on the inside. I’m addicted. Thanks snixy!!

Butter Mochi Muffins

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pans
  • 2 cups (320 grams) mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) organic dark brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 13.5-13.66-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (optional, added for flavor) – I didn’t use it
  • 1½ tablespoons each, black and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Generously grease the sides and top of a 12-cup muffin tin** with soft butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup all the way to the top. Note: the thickness of your batter will vary depending on the brand and thickness of your coconut milk and temperature of your butter. If your batter is thicker than mine pictured, that’s okay and it will still bake up delicious!
  7. Sprinkle the tops with black and white sesame seeds.
  8. Bake 55-65 minutes*** until the top is brown and crispy and the muffin springs back when poked with a finger.
  9. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.****

NOTES

*Organic dark brown sugar is richer and more caramel-y than conventional, but you an use conventional in a pinch!

**Any muffin tin will do, but for ultimate crispy exterior, I recommend a dark non-stick muffin tin.

***If using a light muffin tin, you may have to bake the muffins a little bit longer.

****If keeping them for longer, they’ll lose their crispiness after a day or two in storage, but you can pop them in the oven for a few minutes to get them crispy again before eating.

Filippino Beef Stew

I love beef stew. It’s easy and when cooked well, the beef is tender and it is oh so comforting.

This beef stew recipe reminds me of the holidays because my SO’s family makes a similar stew every nocha buena.

I had stew meat so I thought, let’s make xmas in March. Enjoy!

Filippino Beef Stew

  • 1.5 lb stew meat, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 12 baby red and Yukon potatoes, size of large marbles (fewer cut into smalle pieces is fine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 cup tomato purée
  • 2 cup beef stock (extra if needed)
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • Cracked pepper
  • Canola oil

Marinate beef with soy sauce and lemon juice for 30 mins.

Heat 1-2 TBSP canola oil and brown garlic. Set aside.

Brown meat in batches. Reserve marinade.

Cook onion with all the beef until onion is wilted. Add fish sauce and cook for 2 mins. Add in the tomato purée, 1 cup of broth, reserved marinade, red bell pepper, garlic and oil and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 45 mins. Checking to stir 2-3 times adding broth if it gets too thick.

Test meat at 45 min mark. It most likely needs to cook for another 30-45 mins to easily pull apart with a fork. Add in broth when necessary.

Once the meat is tender, add in the potatoes and carrots and cook until tender, 20 mins.

Serve over rice with cracked pepper.

Enjoy!!

Holy QUESO, Batman!!

Stop what you’re doing and make this NOW! Make it as a weekend snack. Serve it with margaritas. Bring it to your friends’ house in a fondue pot and be forever more, the most invited person to every eating event ever.

I love you, homesicktexan.com for this recipe – like love love!

Best Queso Ever (Bob Armstrong Dip)

Ingredients for the taco meat:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper. seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne

Ingredients for the chile con queso:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound American cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • Salt
  • Sour cream and guacamole for garnishing
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the taco meat, in a large skillet heat the oil on medium-low heat and add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and onion. While stirring occasionally, cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet, along with the cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir until everything is well combined and then cook the ground beef for 15 more minutes, or until browned. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and drain any excess grease.
  3. To make the queso, in a saucepot heat the oil on medium-low heat and add the jalapeño and onion. While stirring occasionally, cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  4. Leaving on the heat, stir in the cumin, black pepper, and cornstarch until the dry ingredients are well combined with the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth and while stirring cook until the sauce has thickened, which should happen in a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and working in batches, slowly stir in a handful of the cheese. After it’s melted into the sauce, repeat the process until all the cheese is added. Stir in the tomatoes, adjust seasonings, and add salt to taste.
  6. This makes a lot of queso. To keep it hot and reduce the “skin” from forming, serve in a fondue pot. To assemble, layer along the bottom of the dish the taco meat, then pour in the queso and then top with the guacamole and sour cream. Serve warm with chips

Kinda Curry Curry

This is the simplest recipe that results in the kind of curry non-spicy lovers love. It’s full of veggies and protein of your choice.

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves or garlic, diced
  • 3″ piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 10 whole cardamom pods, smashed and seeds removed
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, chopped and roasted
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped and roasted
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 small purple cabbage, chopped
  • Handful of spinach
  • Handful of green beans
  • Extra firm tofu, chopped
  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 and roast sweet potato and eggplant with a drizzle of oil and salt for 30 mins while you’re busy chopping and sautéing.

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger and cardamom seeds for 5 mins on medium in avocado oil or oil of your choice. Add carrots, cauliflower and spices. Cook for 1 min until fragrant. Add coconut milk and tomato purée. Cook for 10 mins. Add remaining veggies (except spinach) and protein (tofu in this case) and cook until veggies are just tender and protein is cooked. Add roasted veggies and spinach.

Serve over rice.

Baked Chicken Alfredo Ziti

The husband loved this dish. I think mostly because it was made of leftovers but totally remade. We had some ziti that was cooked for meat sauce and we had the beer can chicken leftovers. Luckily, we had milk, Parmesan, chicken broth, garlic and some mozzarella too.

I cooked 2 cloves of minced garlic with 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter. Then I added 1 Tbsp of flour and cooked it a bit. Then, I added 1/4 cup of chicken broth and about a cup of milk, a good pinch of salt and a couple shakes of dried oregano. I let it cook until it thickened a bit. I then added freshly grated Parmesan.

In a pie dish, I layered cooked pasta then cooked cubed chicken, then a sprinkling of mozzarella, finished with more cooked pasta and dumped the sauce over all of it. I added a bit more Parmesan and then popped it uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 17 mins.

I let it sit for 10 mins before serving.

You can add other stuff to. I think some red pepper flakes would be good or cooked mushrooms. My kiddos don’t like either so, it was made just as I said above.

Enjoy!

Spicy Basil Chicken and Yellow Curry

I could eat this everyday. It’s fun to mix it up too by plopping an over easy egg on top. After the first day, the gai gra prow gets spicier and the richness of the fried egg perfectly balances the spice. I think I’ll make this tonight.

I do have two little humans at home. So, I pull half the sauce from the pan of the gai gra prow before adding the chilies and they devour it.

Gai Gra Prow (Spicy Basil Chicken)

  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (I used Hoisin sauce because I didn’t have oyster and it was delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced Thai chilies, Serrano, or other hot pepper (I used jalapeños and it was fine)
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended.

Heat large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in oil. Add chicken and stir fry until it loses its raw color, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic, and sliced chilies.

Continue cooking on high heat until some of the juices start to caramelize in the bottom of the pan, about 2 or 3 more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to the skillet; cook and stir until sauce begins to caramelize, about 1 minute.

Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes onto the meat, 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil is wilted, about 20 seconds. Serve with rice.

Yellow Curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Half a yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 carton of firm tofu cubed
  • 1/3 cup yellow curry paste
  • 10 baby golden yukon potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Handful of mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • Half red bell peppers, cubed
  • Handful of green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut cream (it’s like coconut milk, but even more luscious)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
  • cilantro and rice for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions are fragrant and softened. Add the chicken and curry paste; saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to coat with the curry paste.

Add the coconut cream and 1/2 cup water to the pot – simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies are fully cooked, adding more water depending on the consistency you want for the sauce. Stir in the tofu toward the end so it doesn’t break up.

Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar to really take it up a notch. Seriously – so good. Serve over rice.

Lamb Stew

Do you like lamb? I’ve found that lots of people I know don’t like lamb. Although, I would definitely choose a fish dish over lamb chops at a restaurant, I actually crave this stew at least once a month in the winter and spring. The tang from the olives and the sweet, roastyness from the red bells perfectly compliment the slightly gamey shredded lamb.  Mmmmm. Before I was glutenless, I would serve this with Israeli couscous and a side salad. Now, the gluten free Barilla penne will have to do. 

  
Lamb Stew

  • 2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBS corn starch slurry (2TBS corn starch and 2TBS water mixed)
  • 1/2 cup pimento green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1 TBS parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 TBS oil until shimmering. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to pan in batches. Do not over crowd. You want to wear all sides to a pretty golden brown. Remove to a plate and continue until all the lamb is browned. 

Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and turn down a bit. Cook until tender. Add tomato paste and cook until paste is slightly browned. Add wine and deglaze, scraping up brown bits. Stir constantly until wine is evaporated. Add water and bring to boil. Add lamb and any juices from the plate. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until lamb is fork tender. (Be sure to check the pot after about 2 hours and every half hour after. Add more water if it’s starting to get too dry)

Shred the lamb. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil on the stovetop to thicken (stir, stir, stir). Add olives, pepper and any addition salt and/or pepper to taste. 

Serve over favorite noodles or Israeli couscous. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Enjoy!!

Braised Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

It is so chilly on the West coast (I know, 49 degrees is not cold but I have never had “snow days” so I can complain about needing to wear a scarf and gloves). Nothing warms me better than comfort food – mmm, mashed potatoes, potpies, biscuits and gravy, stews. I’m already starting to feel my toes warm up just thinking about publishing this post.

Papa was in the mood for mushroom risotto for his birthday so…I took on the challenge. I’ve made risotto once before so I knew there was going to be a lot of stirring. Nana helped though and we paired it with a very easy braised chicken.

Braised chicken

Braised chicken

Braised Chicken and olives (adapted from Fifteen Spatulas)

  • 4 chicken legs, skin-on and bone-in
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 handful of kalmata olives, pitted
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • zest of 1 lemon, julienned
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken legs. Heat up an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the chicken legs skin side down. Cook for a couple minutes until the skin has browned. Turn over and sear on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the fennel and onion to the pan. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add the white wine to the pan and bump the heat up to medium high. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, olives, lemon zest strips, bay leaf, thyme, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan skin side up and place in the oven to cook for ~ 40 minutes depending on the size of your legs (or until the juices run clear when you knife prick the joint between the drumstick and thigh). (While the chicken is in the oven, start the risotto)
  5. Turn the broiler on high, and cook the chicken for 2 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin (watch carefully).
creamy mushroom risotto

creamy mushroom risotto

Creamy Mushroom Risotto (adapted from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock (the recipe says duck stock but I couldn’t find any. I bet it’s amazing with it though)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup shallot, leek or onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups risotto rice
  • 1/2 pound fresh crimini, sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  1. Pour the stock and wine into a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
  2. In another medium pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat and add the minced shallot or onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until it softens and turns translucent. Add the garlic, mushrooms and rice and coat with the butter. Stir often.
  3. When the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir well (I like to use a wooden spoon).  The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir. Think of it as stirring the bottom of the pot. As each ladle of stock is absorbed, add another, then another. At some point, you’ll see that the rice isn’t absorbing the stock as quickly. Keep adding a ladle of hot stock until the rice is cooked through, but still firm.
  4. When you reach that point, add the grated cheese and a little more stock. Stir to incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Add the chopped parsley and serve at once with your braised chicken.
Together, braised chicken and risotto - comfort in a bowl

Together, braised chicken and risotto – comfort in a bowl

PS if you have leftover risotto, check out my next post on Arancini (or risotto balls)

Pot Pie (aka Leftover Haven)

Ever since I was a kid, pot pies have graced our dinner table. In the early 80s, they came piping hot out of the oven dressed in silver – doughy bowls wrapped in aluminum tins filled with turkey, carrots, peas and possibly a cube of potato or two swimming in milky gravy and topped with a crusty cap. They were delicious. Especially if we got to eat on our collapsible dinner trays (again aluminum) in front of the TV – probably watching “Gilligan’s Island”. I still remember the twang of the trays when they popped into the legs. I think I need to get us some vintage TV trays…hmmm.

Pot pies now mean something different to me. They are refuge for leftovers. The other night we had roast chicken and saute yellow squash and green beans. We had leftover bacon from breakfast and I had some premade biscuits in the fridge as well. So, the next night when I was looking for something to cook, a family pot pie seemed to be the quickest and most comforting option – sans TV and TV trays unfortunately.

Although, it doesn’t have that uniform cap that we’ve come to associate with pot pies, nor the doughy bowl, this recipe captures all the comfort of TV trays and aluminum trays designed for single serving noshing.

Biscuit Topped Pot Pie

  • 1/4 cup Leftover poultry, shredded into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup Leftover sauted veggies (squashes, beans, roots, etc)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 large leek, onion or shallot, sliced or diced
  • 4 slices of precooked bacon, sausage or other cured/seasoned pork (leftover from breakfast)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 wine glass of milk
  • 1 wine glass of white wine
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven per the biscuit package instructions.

Saute allium (onion, leek, etc), celery, carrots and garlic in melted butter and olive oil until fragrant over med-low heat. Add thyme and a pinch of salt. Add wine and cook down until nearly evaporated. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add leftover meats and veggies and saute over med-low heat for 5 mins. Letting the flavors mingle. (If you didn’t have leftover meats and veggies, add them raw to the mixture now and add 1 more wine glass of water. Cook covered for 20 mins).

Pour the mixture into a pie pan.

Pop the biscuit can.

Place the biscuits on the top of the mixture. Pop into the oven and bake per the biscuit package instructions. But keep an eye on it. Don’t let those biscuits burn!

Let it rest for a couple minutes before diving into it. The sauce will thicken a bit and it’ll all cool down so you can properly enjoy it.

Happy comfort food and a little bit of indulgent TV watching.