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! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

7 Layer Greek Dip with Pita Chips

I found this 7 Layer Greek Dip recipe in a QFC coupon mailer back in April.  It floated around my house for a month before I got all the ingredients I needed.  I knew it would be an instant hit and relatively simple to make.  It was everything I had hoped for and more..... pairing Greek Salad and 7 Layer Taco Dip two of our favorites into one wonderful creation.

7 Layer Greek Dip 

7 Layer Greek Dip 

Prep time: 20 mins
Serves 8 - 10 people 

1  - 8-12oz container hummus
1 lemon juiced
1  cup chopped peeled cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup green onion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
Basil - optional
Pam cooking spray

1. select your presentation container - I used a 10 in glass pie dish.  Spay baking dish with Pam, mix hummus and lemon together, spread mixture on bottom of pie dish.  

2.  Follow hummus layer with fine chopped cucumbers:

3. Solicit help to chop onion so you don't cry, use swimming goggles.  Bill posed for this.  

4. Chop remaining ingredients and layer on top dip.

5. Add chips and serve - can be made a few hours in advance, does not save well over 12 hrs.  

Enjoy! You can modify however you want - maybe even add some tomatoes.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

Today I wanted to share with you a new discovery of working with rice paper wrappers and my fascination with Vietnamese cooking.  I have always thought of Fresh Spring Roll as restaurant food.  When I say "restaurant food" I need to define that in my words,  it's food I never imagined being able to make at home.  Something too that I would not consider attempting or know where to begin to shop for the ingredients.  About 5 years go I had my first fresh spring roll at Pho Thai Burien  and could not believe how delicious it was.  It was packed full of vegetables fresh mint, basil, rice noodle and shrimp all rolled into a wrapper.  And then dip in a creamy peanut butter sauce or a hot chili sauce.  I loved these rolls so much that it justified going to Pho Thai Burien at least once a week for dinner.

When Bill asked today what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I told him I wanted to try to make Pho Thai's Spring Rolls.  So he sent me flowers and we went and shopped for the ingredients.  

Birthday Flowers:

And now the how to make spring rolls:

Prep time:  25-30 mins
8  large rice wrappers
1 large bowl of hot tap water
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cucumber (peeled and julienne)
20 leaves of Thai basil or fresh mint
2 cups mixed baby greens salad mix
1/2 lb cooked and peeled shrimp butterfly cut (51/60)  *any protein you can use; chicken, pork tofu*
1/2 lb cooked rice noodles  (optional)
(your choice)
Peanut Sauce
Any Asian style dressing
Thai Chili Sauce

** Most restaurants will use noodles as fillers to add density, if you're going to use rice noodles cook to package instruction and let cool. I didn't use in my rolls and they were not missed**

1. Prepare all vegetables and butterfly your shrimp for easy rolling.

2.  One all roll ingredients are prepared put hot tap water in a dish.  Each wrapper will need 3-8 seconds in the hot water depending on how hot your water is.

**I got these wrappers at Wayne's in Burien, they were $1.60 for 20** There are lots of options, I have not a clue if one is better than the other, I got the one with the cutest picture on the front.  

3. Start your rolling:

I am still a little rusty at the roll part but you get the hang of it after about 4. I rolled them like a burrito and the rice paper was really stretchy.  

4. Cut them at an angle and serve!  You can also wrap them individually in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for a day.  Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce, I used home made peanut sauce.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm Back to Blogging!

After a long blogging sabbatical I'm back. In these past three months a lot has happened. I am going to be back on track with posting at least 3 times a week with all the great treats I have been making.  While I was on a the blog break here are few big events!

1. I got engaged!  ( sorry that picture is kind of blurry)
Here is a better one! 

2. I started a new job at "Global Giant" Amazon.....

3. We picked a date - and a venue and started a wedding website..... Here are some pictures.  

Date 6-29-12

Laurel Creek Manor 

 and if you want more details this is the website we started....