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 **