Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cookies and things

C is for cookies, it's good enough for me!

I used to bake alot, but not anymore. Lately I have been making various desserts for Lil P to compliment his dinner so I decided to bake some shortbread cookies to share with his cousins.

Shortbread chocolate chunk cookies

1/2 c of butter, soften
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate (I used Baker's), chopped

1) In a big bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy
2) Combin flour with cornstarch, then toss into the butter mixture
3) Add in chopped chocolates
4) Use your hand (with glove) and mix dough evenly
5) Use a spoon, (or a cookie scooper) and place cookies on a cookie sheet about 1.5 inch apart
6) bake on 325 degrees for about 25-30 mins

They're not too sweet, just the way I like 'em. Lil P also confirms that he likes them. His cousins, however, had mixed reviews. Couple of them did not like cookies that are crunchy. I guess I can't please *everyone*...

On another note, Lil P needs extra fiber to get him going, aside from his normal consumption of fruits and veggies. So I always have to add some extra boost each day. I give him an extra 9 grams of fiber each day, such as Pop-tarts Extra Fiber, Double Fiber bread or english muffins, Fiber One bar or cereal, and Target brand fiber bar. I don't give Lil P the same thing everyday. He actually enjoyed the fiber bars (chocolate chips, peanut butter, or caramel) in the beginning, but he's showing signs of getting tired of them because he always end up bringing the bars back home, most of the time it's smashed or flattened. I was quite disappointed because I need him to eat it when given to him and would ask him to "EAT IT!" But sigh, I can't always win. So instead of throwing away the flattened bars, I just recreate them into something he would eat. All I did was add some mini M&Ms on top and reshape them. Lil P is a sucker at M&Ms so whenever he sees them, he'd dive into them.

Sure enough, he gobbled them all up!! So I guess it does the trick...for now. Does anyone have any other ways to load kids up on fiber?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicken and Dried Scallop Jook

Lil P has been sniffling and coughing started on Sunday. In an effort to get a speedy recovery, I have been giving him EmergenC twice a day, load up on orange juice, and acai blueberry juice. Couple times previously, I was able to catch him with the first symptoms of watery eyes, stuffy nose and gave him the same drinks and he was able to not get sick, but this time it was too late. :(

I wanted to make him chicken noodle soup last night, but he insisted that he doesn't want to eat all of the veggies that comes with it. So instead, I made him saimin (from S&S saimin packets). What he didn't realize is I used chicken stock instead of the soup base it came with and that I have pureed broccoli, carrots, and cabbage in the broth so that he is getting enough veggies needed to get him recovered faster. I have topped it off with slices of spam and grilled chicken. I didn't take a pic of it because it didn't look appetizing to be captured. :p

I decided to make jook (chinese rice soup) last night to get ready for tomorrow. Lil P noticed what I was doing and pleaded to me that he doesn't want that for breakfast. He's a rice lover but some odd reason he doesn't like jook! So I told him I'll pack it for lunch the next day for myself.

My jook recipe is not what you normally see in a chinese cookbook. To make jook taste good, authentically, you have to cook them for a long period of time. My mom use to leave the big pot of jook simmer for HOURS! I don't have that kind of time, so I have been making mine using cooked rice and chicken stock for years now. Coincidentally, Susan and I had the same idea. You can check out Susan's recipe here, or read below for mine:

Chicken and Dried Scallop Jook

1 cup of cooked rice
2.5 cups of chicken stock
1.5 cup of water
Chicken pieces
2 dried scallops

Place cooked rice, chicken stock, and water into a pot and let boil. Meanwhile, shred chicken and scallops and throw in pot (you may want to add a couple slices of ginger at this point, if desire). Lower heat and let it simmer until thicken. Add more water if it gets too thick. You can serve this with white pepper and a drizzle of soy sauce, then garnish with chopped green onions, and peanuts.

Leftover chicken is BEST. Like leftover Costco rotisserie chicken (you can even throw in the bones for extra flavors!) I actually take the rotisserie chicken apart and then freeze them for jook. Another good leftover to throw in Jook is roast duck. It makes it sooo yummy!

I am using my Fuel bento box for my lunch today. top tier I have nectarine and mangoes, bottom tier is my jook. The bottom tier is microwavable so I'm going to heat it up at lunch. I had totally forgotten to bring a soup spoon...looks like I'll be eating my jook with a regular spoon...small sips!! Am putting this on "What's for Lunch Wednesday" as I'm finally able to post one that is my real Wednesday lunch! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hamburger Steak

I've been cooking alot more frequent lately, thanks to lil P's sports break. Last night I made spaghetti, but it's nothing out of the ordinary so I didn't post anything. This morning I knew exactly what I'm going to make-Hamburger Steak. But I didn't have any onions and needed to pick up at my nearest grocery store, Safeway.

I was very proud of myself for not spending any money at work this week, I have been bringing home lunch. So I was quite disappointed I needed to go to the store. And you know how it goes, once you go to the store, you'll *always* pick up something else. They had these Fuel containers right in the front by the produce section, how can I not look? It's a two-tier bowl container where you can put soup on the bottom and dry snacks on the it says. It also says that the bottom tier is microwave safe. That means I can put whatever else I want in it. Yup, i got it. I guess it can go into my container collection (I am a fan of Fit N Fresh products). So...I guess they're consider bento collection too, right?

Top tier I have soy beans, carrots, and mangoes (my favorite!!). The bottom tier is hapa rice (half brown and half white rice) topped with hamburger steak, gravy with mushrooms and onions. Below you can take a better look at the hamburger steak.

I kinda winged the hamburger patty, but here is a jist of what I have in it.

1 lb ground beef
1 piece of bread end (since you don't eat that part anyway)
1 egg
2 garlic (diced)
half an onion (diced)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
3 tbsp of puree broccoli (optional, but great for kids)

1) Mix them all together with your hand (I used a disposable glove)
2) Divide them up into 4 equal parts
3) Shaped each into a ball
4) flatten with hand
5) Slightly indent the center of the patt (about the size of half dollar coin, or using the back of a tablespoon). Doing this will help keep the patty from forming a dome.
6) Put it on a skillet/grill and LEAVE IT ALONE until it's cooked halfway. (don't press it down to make the sizzling sound, this will push out all the juice from the patty)
7) Flip it and cook through
8) Serve it over rice, top with sauteed onions and mushrooms, drizzle brown gravy on top.

Of course, you can't end a good meal without a nice dessert. A quick cookie sandwich ice cream (chips-a-hoy cookies with chocolate moose track ice cream) made lil P VERY HAPPY!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chicken, Olives, Bacon, and Broccoli Quesadillas

I didn't plan ahead on what I planned to make for dinner last night, so I didn't have a chance to defroze anything the night before. I also wanted to stop by the grocery store before heading home after picking lil P up from school, but lil P didn't want to go, so it was just another quesadillas night! And by lil P's request, I also made the dessert wrap he liked last week. The plate was *empty*!! :)
BTW, Sonoma Bento is doing a giveway on her 50th Bento post! I've entered in alot of bento-related giveaways in the past, but I never win any. :( Maybe you'll have a better chance? Go here to enter and good luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

furikake fried salmon and tofu cubes

I don't normally cook on the weekends because we're always so busy running to and from sports. This weekend we had a fantastic weekend spent with the family without ANY SPORTS so I got to cook both lunch and dinner. I picked up some costco's Popcorn chicken from the frozen section the weekend prior so I made some "twister" wrap (popcorn chicken, lettuce, ranch dressing wrapped in my "flat Out" bread) for a quick lunch before we went for a surf session with lil P. No pic, they devoured it before I could grab my camera....

After surfing. we were all tired. We were planning on going out to eat, but decided against it. so I got to cook again! I couldn't figure out what to make, all i know is lil P wants saimin (dried ramen packets) and when I make that I need something else to make it healthy so I decided on salmon. Put my thinking cap on, and came up with fried furikake cubes of salmon and tofu, and went right on to my creation. I tasted the salmon, and it was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the tofu on the other hand, wasn't as tastey on the inside, but I know it would go really well with the soup of the saimin...kinda like agedashi tofu. Lil P and Mr. P both had the saimin and I got thumbs up!

I didn't want saimin (plus I didn't have enough), so I made myself a salad with the cubes on top. Don't they look like croutons?

Fried Furikake Cubes
1/4 cup shoyu
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar
1 garlic, diced
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Furikake
1 skinless salmon filet (cubed)
1/2 container of tofu (cubed)
oil for frying

1) Marinated salmon and tofu cubes (separately) with shoyu, mirin, sugar, and garlic for 20-30 min.
2) combine cornstarch and furikake, mix well.
3) dip cubes in cornstarch furikake mixture, then fry in oil until crispy.
4) Serve!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What to do with leftover Steak

Leftover steak...isn't everyone's favorite. It is especially true if it's already cooked to its doneness. I try to cook my steak on medium rare, in case we have leftovers and it won't taste so bad after reheating. There are, however, many other dishes you can reuse for leftover steak besides eating it the same way again. I have made myself a steak salad the very next day at work (unfortunately no pictures).

Contiue on my Flat Out bread. I made myself a Steak Wrap the next night with leftover steak, lettuce, avocadoes, and sundried tomaotes. I didn't want to add any more calories but typically you would want to put light ranch dressing.

Alternatively, you can make yourself a phillycheese steak using leftover steak as well. I've made this previously so I'm going to post a pic here.

Cut a hoagie roll in half, place thinly sliced leftover steak, top with sauteed onions & mushrooms and swiss cheese. It's really fast and simple!

My last leftover steak, per Mr. P's request, was made into steak and eggs last night for his "late night" dinner at 10pm. He has recently gotten a gift of a bottle of BBQ sauce of his favorite Budweiser beer so I drizzle the sauce over the steak. That bottle of BBQ sauce sure smells like beer! He said it's good....but then again, anything with BBQ sauce is good with him. so...who knows!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nutella cookie crumbs and coconut flakes roll

I'm a sucker at Costco. Always makes me buy more than I need! I actually manage to put down the bagel thins, but then passed by this "flat out" tortilla looking thing and told myself I've got to have them. This "Flat Out" bread has good fiber and it also has flaxseed. So I know this is good for me and it is also good for lil P. He NEEDS extra fiber to get him *going*.

Last night I made steak, rice and broccoli for lil P but thought i could make a dessert and decided to make some cookies (craisin walnut cookies) I thought. I guess maybe I left the cookie dough mixture out for too long before baking that the butter had melted causing the cookes to go *pfff* flat and melted. I was quite disappointed, it looks alot more like...poop. I didn't even want to take a pic of it because it looked really disgusting, yet, I didn't want to throw it out. I took a bit of it and it actually tasted pretty good. Just gotta find a way to put it together. So I took as much of it out of the foil (they looked like crumbles of cookies) and placed them into a container.

Flat Out bread came to the rescue. So I took a slice out, spread Nutella on top, then sprinkle those cookie crumbs on top, then sprinkled shredded coconut on top. Then I put it in the oven to toast for a few minutes. Then I took it out and rolled it up, cut it into two pieces and served it to lil P after his dinner.

I was really scared lil P won't like it. But he took one bit and said "this is good!" and ate the whole thing! The package of the Flat Out bread also says it's great for I will definitely try that next time!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken Cutlet Curry with Chicken Tsukune (Chicken Meatballs)

I wanted to make curry last night for dinner. Lil P loves curry. Normally I would dice up chicken breast and put into the curry but this time, I decided to use chicken cutlet.

Chicken cutlet is the frozen ones I bought from Costco. It's breaded but chicken is still raw inside. All I gotta do is pop it in the oven and let it bake til crispy. While waiting for the cutlet to cook, I cooked some chopped onions in a small pot, then add in frozen peas and carrots (I realized I didn't have any potatoes, but it's okay, lil P doesn't like them anyway). Then followed the instruction on the package of the curry block to finish the veggie curry sauce.

put rice in a bowl, then top with chicken cutlet, then top with curry.

Chicken Tsukune is something new. I've read a few chicken meatball recipes, some asks for cabbage, some asks for flour, eggs, bread crumbs, or potatoe starch. I didn't have any of them, so I just decided to make my own.

1 lb ground chicken
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 chopped shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup of chopped onions
salt & pepper

mix all the ingredients together, grab some of the mixture in your hand, and squeeze it so that the meat mixture comes out of your thumb and index finger to a ball size. Put the meatball in a skillet with olive oil and cook until golden brown.

I did a handfull of the meatballs and realized it's too messy. So I end up making small patties in the end.

I tasted the first meatball to see if it is tasty enough before frying the rest of them. It was sooooo juicy and delicious! I can't believe I have never made this before! It was simple, yet delicious! (and a bit messy)

I also asked Lil P what he thought of his dinner last night (first picture), he had two thumbs up and finished the entire bowl!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Flat Bread Creations

Flat Breads are everywhere! So I thought maybe i should try incorporate different sandwich options for my diet.

Guacamole Tuna Sandwich with Sundried tomatoes

I wanted to make a tuna sandwich, but didn't want the mayo. I thought about making tuna with slices of avocado but instead, thought of something abit more extreme. Guacamole. I heard it somewhere, about 10 years ago, that guacamole is pronounced "wa-ka-mole-e" because "GUA" is pronounced "WA". But the first time I share my guacamole with my coworkers several years ago, they stopped me and said "how do you pronounce it? Wakamole? HAHAHAHA" I got laughed at and they think I have a problem pronouncing it. I told them I heard it someplace but they didn't believe me!!

Anyway, that's why I called it "Whack-a-Tuna" because i mixed guacamole with tuna and I pronounce "gua" as "wa". It might seem odd, don't believe I have seen anyone mixing tuna with guac before, but it tastes pretty good. I figured, tuna is fish, goes well with lemon juice which is in the guac, and tuna goes well with onions, and we eat tuna sandwich with tomatoes. So....why not use guac? so i did. and topped it with sundried tomatoes. End result was that I didn't taste the guac, because the tuna's flavor was too strong. I dunno if it's because I was hungry, or the sundried tomatoes made it taste good, but it was good.

"Avocado Sundried Tomatoes Pesto Sandwich"

This was actually really really good. I spread the bottom of the flat bread with pesto then top with fresh slices of avocados and chopped sundried tomatoes. It was REALLY GOOD! better than the Whack-a-Tuna. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Miso Yaki Onigiri

I LOVE crunchy rice. My fist time trying it was when I was in HS and my friend's dad made us crunchy rice balls from the bottom of an old rice cooker. He'd put oil, then layered rice, then sprinkle salt. you could even hear it cracking inside the rice cooker. Then he scrapes it up, put it in a ball, wrapped it in foil. It was the yummiest thing since chips!

Since then, whenever I see crunchy rice on the menu (ie: stone pot rice, yaki onigiri), I just need to order it, even if it's $6 per onigiri at a japanese restaurant!

After reading a whole bunch of japanese cookbooks, I realized it isn't every difficult to make this. In fact, i could save myself couple bucks by doing this at home!

teriyaki sauce
miso sauce
nori strip (optional)

I used leftover rice to make mine, since I made extra couple days ago.

1)microwave rice til hot.
2)place 1/3 cup of rice on a sheet of siran wrap
3)drizzle some teriyaki sauce on top and mix into rice
4)wrap rice with siran wrap into a ball, then shape it into a triangle (you don't need to use siran wrap, it's just easier to manage. you can use a pair of wet hands to shape it into a triangle)
5)unwrap rice then wrap nori on the bottom of the triangle (or however you want to wrap it)
6)place shaped rice on a greased cookie sheet and broil in toaaster oven until the top is slightly crispy
7)turn over and broil the other side
8)take out onigiri then spread miso sauce on top of rice, place it back and broil it until golden brown
9)turn over and do the same with the other side.

Voila! I took a bite and see how it tastes...was soooo good I ate the whole thing in seconds! Note to self: do not make just one onigiri to try. should always make more!!