Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easy Asian Peanut Sauce

I don't know about you but our house LOVES peanut sauce with any kind of Asian food.  This paring of peanut sauce with Asian food  is comparable to our love for butter with bread or cream with coffee. (  I hope you're following me there)  I had peanut sauce in the past but had not started to appreciated it until I started to frequent our local Pho restaurant about 5 years ago.  This is where the love of peanut sauce was born into something shy of an addiction.  Every time we went to Pho my sister and I got a side of peanut sauce. Not just one side - each of us had our own side and we would devour it.  The peanut sauce was the highlight of our meal ( sad but true).  I had always thought of peanut sauce as "restaurant food"  and far too complicated to make.  Until we were became regulars at the Pho restaurant only for the peanut sauce - I'm talking weekly we would go get peanut sauce.  At that point  I decided I needed to learn how to make my own peanut sauce.  

This recipe has been modified over the past two years and you can play around with it too to get the consistency you want along with the flavor you want.

Easy Asian Peanut Sauce:
Yields 3/4 Cup 
Prep Time 15 mins 


1/2 cup peanut butter ( creamy or chunky)
1/4 cup hot water
2 Tbls rice vinegar
3 Tbls soy sauce
1 Tbls sweet soy sauce ( can substitute molasses here)
1 Tbls sesame oil
3 Tbls honey  ( more if you want sweeter)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Sriracha ( more if desired more spice)
Optional add ins:
1/2 fresh squeezed lime
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 Tbls red pepper flakes

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.
2. If you want more heat add red pepper flakes or more Sriracha or more sweetness add more honey. If its too runny add more peanut butter, if its too thick add more water.

Enjoy!  Stores in your fridge for up to 10 days - but i my house it only lasts one!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pumpkin Surprise

Alright friends- I have to confess I have been holding something back on the cooking front and not sharing one of my most coveted cookbooks.  I own 2 of these 5 cookbooks by Michelle Huxtable - Michelle's website and I love them.  To put my love in perspective on these cookbooks I don't loan them out to family or friends and I would loan all my other cookbooks.   Ill make you a copy or send you the link on how order them because don't want to risk them not returning.   I have cooked the majority of recipes, used the tablescapes, planned wedding/baby showers and  used party planning shopping lists.  Now that my most coveted cooking books are reveled I need to start sharing the recipes.

Last night my sister and brother-in-law came over for a dinner of fish tacos and a movie. I had been planning to make dessert too but we didn't end up eating dinner until 8:30  ( that's what happens when you eat lunch at 3:30) and dessert didn't happen.  I should rephrase that...dessert did happen it was just dessert from the freezer with Ice Cream Snickers and Ice Cream Twix that jumped into my cart last week at the store.

I had mentioned to Bill I was going to make Pumpkin Surprise for dessert last night.  And I know better that this man's sweet tooth would not forget that we have ingredients for dessert.   The first thing Bill said when he woke up this morning - "Lyd, I wish we had some of that pumpkin dessert".  So when we got home from church I made it.

Pumpkin Surprise 

serves 12 large portions or 20 small dessert portions
preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake Time 40-50 mins

Ingredient List 

1 - 13-15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1- can sweetened condensed milk
1- cup sugar
3-eggs beaten
1 -Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1-tsp salt
1-box yellow cake mix\
3/4 cup butter- cold
pam/cooking spray for baking dishes

pick one of the 2 options for baking
2- glass pie dishes
1 - 9x13 glass baking dish

1.  Mix first 6 ingredients together until well blended.  (pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice)

2. Decide what size baking dishes you're using - pie dishes or a 9x13 baking dish. I used pie dishes. Spray with Pam.

3.  Divide your pie mixture into the two even dishes. 

4. Now the fun part - divide your yellow cake mix between the 2 dishes. Keep the mix on top and cover all the visible pumpkin mixture.

5.  Cut butter into small chunks and spread on top of the cake mix. Keep the butter in the fridge until you're ready to use - when its cold it's easy to cut and portion.   Then put into the oven. Check at 40 mins until golden brown on top.

6. Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipping cream.

7. Enjoy

**Recipe Source** Cookbook - A Gathering Of Friends - Michelle Huxtable 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Amazing Mac and Cheese with Sausage

I first discovered Mac and Cheese in all its glory in college, you might be shocked but it is true.  I'll admit I was a late bloomer. Our mom never had it as a staple in our house growing up. She cooked a rotation of 10-12 meals but Kraft ( or homemade ) never made her cut.  As I began teaching myself to cook I played around with making homemade mac and cheese and have perfected it over the past six years.  I would say even BIG KIDS love Mac and Cheese.  This has been is my go to meal for a long time and it's easy to modify to your taste of what you have in the fridge. It's even a good meal if your expecting big eaters. I also use this recipe to bring to friends houses for parties or potlucks and we often enjoy it as a side. Enjoy!

I serve this with a LARGE green salad I say (large) to hopefully counterbalance the calories with the healthy salad.   

Amazing Mac and Cheese with Sausage 

Serves 10 ( trust me it does) 
leftovers keep well for 2 days
prep time - 30 mins
cook time: 40 mins 

Ingredient list: 
1 stick butter
1/2 loaf french bread cubed with crust on
1 tsp garlic powder
6 cups warm milk ( I use 2% but whole works well too )
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 - 2 tsps salt depending on preference
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper ( less or optional for less spice)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 cups white cheddar cheese - I use the large black package Tillamook Aged White Cheddar
1 cups Gruyere ( Trader Joe's is where i go) I have left this out if the store does not have Gruyere or its too expensive
1 package grated Pecorino Romano cheese - or Parmesan cheese works too
1 package/box elbow macaroni or spiral pasta
1 lb package pork sausage- cooked and drained ( spice or mild both work )
1 chopped yellow onion

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Set large pasta pot with water and cook pasta to package directions.

2. Pam  your baking dishes, I usually do the following to make smaller dinners for 2-4 people vs 10 as the recipe makes.
Option 1 - 3 - 8x8 or 9x9 dishes
Option 2 - 1 9x13 baking dish and 1 ( 8x8 or 9x9)

3. Melt 2 tbls butter in a microwaveable bowl,  add cubed bread and toss with butter and the 1 tsp of garlic powder .
toss and set aside.

3. Melt the remaining butter in a large dutch oven. When the butter starts to bubble and is fully melted wisk the flour, cook and stir 2-5 mins until the flour forms a thick paste.  In the mean time put your milk ( I use a 4 cup glass mixing cup) and warm in the microwave.

4. While whisking start adding the warm milk about 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until smooth. The mixture should be thick and creamy after about 10 mins of cooking.  After it is thick add in your salt, pepper, nutmeg , cayenne and keep on warm.

 4.  As your sauce rests start cooking your pork sausage - cook and drain off all fat and allow to set on a paper towel to drain.

5. Keeping your pan dirty from the sausage add your chopped yellow onion and cook until translucent

6. By this time your  pasta should be finished, drain and distribute the cooked pasta to buttered pans allowing about 1/4- 1/3 in from the top of the pan.  

7.  Turn your cream sauce off and remove from heat, add in sausage and onion mix. Then add all 4 cups of your grated cheddar cheese and about the Gruyere cheese. Pour cheese/sausage mixture evenly over the prepared dishes with the cooked pasta in them. allow to rest and lightly tap on the country to get the bubbles out and allow mixture to distribute into pasta.

8. You're almost done!!! Revisit your bread topping and place on top of your pasta then finish with your Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.  Put your finished dish into the preheated oven or freeze depending on what  you're doing with each dish.

Cook for 40 mins

Here your finished cooked product is:

**Modified from Martha Stewart: Mac and Cheese ** 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spicy Thai Beef with Lime Coconut Rice

I hope everyone had a good Thursday.  We are only 4 days out from the big Christmas Day.....I can hardly wait.  What is on your list?  Anything great for the kitchen I should ask Santa Bill for?

Today I have one of Bill's top 10 favorite dinners for you.  This recipe is requested about once a month since i discover it 2 years ago in Martha Stewart's Every Day Food magazine.  This magazine was a great little guide for me in my early years of cooking - it gave me great meal ideas with minimal ingredients and great flavors.  I recommend it to any new cook!

Spicy Thai Beef with Coconut Rice
Modified from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food
This recipe is easy and impressive you will feel like you just ordered take out in your kitchen.

Prep time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings - 4

Ingredient List: 

  • 1 1/2 cup dry jasmine rice
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk ( light or regular)
  • Coarse salt
  • Beef-
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 dry chili peppers or serrano peppers 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks  ( you can use red bell peppers if you want low spice) 
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • Lime wedges, for serving
1. In a rice cooker or sauce pan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cookuntil rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Please enjoy the picture of Bill playing with the cat and giant bag of jasmine rice - 

2.  When rice is almost done, combine
fish sauce, soy sauce,hot peppers, 2 cloves of garlic and sugar in a
small bowl; set aside. 

3. Heat a cast-iron
skillet or wok over high. Add oil and
heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook,
stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add
beef and cook, breaking up meat with
a wooden spoon, until completely
browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy
mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add
basil and remaining chiles and stir to

Serve beef over coconut
rice with lime wedges.

p.s. I used dried basil because I forgot fresh.  Still amazing! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you're rested and ready for a short work week.  I am also looking forward to Thanksgiving and seeing our family.  I'm making appetizers for this Thanksgiving and have been creating some great appetizer boards on Pinterest. Here is what Bill and I had for dinner tonight..I didn't feel like going to the store and had a lot of things on hand so here is what I came up with.  I had bought the pasta shells awhile back to make an Italian dish but I had more of the ingredients for a Mexican theme. We loved them and you will too with the countless variations you can create. They are a repeat meal! (And a freezer meal)

Mexican Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells 

Mexican Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells

preheat oven to 375
boil 1 large pot of water
Serves 8 

1 Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
1 lb cooked lean ground beef or turkey
1 package taco seasoning
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups red salsa
1 cup taco sauce (or enchilada sauce works too)
1 chopped chipotle pepper in sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
9X13 greased baking dish

Woodall's Secret Sauce ( 1/2 c salsa, 1/2 c mayo, 1/2 sour cream)
Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Avocado

1.  Boil a large pot of water and cook jumbo shells according to package directions.

2. Drain pasta and place on a non-stick surface so shells wont stick together. 

3. While pasta is cooking start cooking your ground meat, drain fat, add taco seasoning and cook according 
to instructions on package, then add cream cheese and blend into meat. Add chipotle pepper if using at this time too.   

4. Pam your baking dish, Dump 1-2 cups of salsa into the bottom of the dish and begin to stuff 1-2 tablespoons mixture into each shell arranging standing up in the dish.

**Total 30 pasta shells  20 fit in the baking dish. I used an extra baking dish 8X8 for the extra 10 shells and froze them**

5. Finally add cheese:

6. Bake for 30-40 mins until cheese is melted and browning

7. Garnish on individual plate and enjoy!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mu Shu Pork - King Wha Copycat Recipe

For those of you who live by me, King Wha Restaurant has been the iconic Chinese food restaurant  in the little land we live and love call Burien.  When I would tell people I lived in Burien they only know the name because King Wha, the best Chinese food restaurant was there.  I have been going to King Wha since I was in grade school and I have always stayed true to my order, Hot and Sour soup, Mu Shu Pork and Mandarin Chicken.  All of these items I had also deemed in my head "restaurant food" and had never tried at home until today....I made Mu Shu Pork!! And in my option it turned out better than King Wha, and it was easy!

Mu Shu Pork - King Wha Copycat Recipe 

Serves 6 -1 large pancake or 10 -1 small pancakes  
pre-time : 20 mins, cook time 30 mins 


1 lb pork loin -trimmed, pounded and cut into small bit size piece
2 Tbls dark soy sauce
2 Tbls rice wine or dry sherry ( I only had dry sherry cooking wine)
2 Tbls sugar
2 tsp cornstarch 
1/2 cup chicken broth 
2 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls rice wine or dry sherry 
1 tsp salt
2 tsps sesame oil 
2 tsps corn starch 
1 cup - 1 1/2 cups any kind of mushrooms cut into bit sized pieces
1 small can bamboo shoots- rinse din water 2-3 times.
1 bunch green onions
3tbls chopped fresh ginger
2 - 3 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bag bean spouts
Plum sauce - Prepared
Tortillas or Mandarin pancakes ( Tortilla Land is what I used in the refrigerator section with a yellow package) 


1.  Take Pork; trim off fat, cut into bite sized pieces and pound then. 

(this is what I used, it's a end piece of a pork loin) 

2.  Make marinade, combine soy sauce, rice wine/sherry, sugar and corn starch in a bowl and mix until blended. Add pork and allow to sit for at least 15 mins.  

3. Make Sauce in a separate bowl and set aside - broth, soy sauce, salt, oil, sherry/rice wine, corn starch

4. Heat up your frying pan be sure to use a non-stick or a Wok. I used a 10 in cast iron non-stick on Med-High heat.  When pan is hot add 1 tablespoon oil.  Add your 2-3 scrambled eggs to the pan and scramble eggs until no longer runny.  Remove egg and wipe pan clean with a paper towel.

4.  After pan has been cleaned out heat 1-2 tablespoon oil  on Med-High heat and add in the chopped ginger until fragrant then add in the pork and the marinade and cook pork until no longer pink. Some of the pieces will stick to the bottom but that's okay, just done let it burn. 

Once pork is done, remove from pan and set aside.  Wipe down pan as best as you can and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. 

5.Add mushrooms to hot oil and allow to reduce 2 minutes until they begin to wilt.  Add bamboo shoots and 1/2 of your bunch of onion then add the pork and eggs back into hot pan and turn heat to high and add your reserved sauce. Allow all flavors to blend and sauce to thicken ( about 5 mins) .

vegetables cooking 

                                                         final assembled Mu Shu Pork  

6. Pancake assembly: 
Warm your pancakes - I used these Tortilla Land tortillas and my crepe pan: 

7.  Spread plum sauce, bean sprouts, green onions and pork mixture on your pancakes and enjoy!