Friday, May 31, 2013

Paprika Beef Stew

I'm trying to empty out my freezer of meat! I tend to go on this kind of purge every once in a while. It's good for the freezer, I think. It also means that I'm going to go to Costco pretty soon to restock. Oh how I love that. I don't really care for all the prep work that goes into it, but it saves money and I can just defrost whatever I want to cook later that night in the morning. Yeah, it's bad to leave meat out in the sink to defrost so I don't recommend it. Even if that's how everyone I know does it. But as per safety guidelines, just defrost in the fridge please? >_>

This time it's another sort of beef stew. Yay. It's super easy and it's an Instant Pot recipe! :D

I probably should've added some cornstarch or flour towards the end to thicken up the sauce but I was too hungry to bother. That being said, don't mind the red liquid sloshing all over the mashed potatoes. :)

You can use any beef cut honestly. I just used sirloin tip roast cuz that's what was on sale when I got it at the store. But I like to go for the fattier cuts. They're WAY more flavourful. Yup, I'm that kind of cook - fat = flavour! :O

Paprika Beef Stew
(serves 6)

  • 3 lbs sirloin tip roast, cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsps paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsps garlic salt
  • 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water

  1. Throw everything into the Instant Pot. Mix well. Cover and press the Meat/Stew button. Press the "+" button until the screen says 50. Wait for machine to start. 
  2. Read a book or watch some TV while dinner cooks. It should be done in about an hour and half. 
  3. Serve with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ground Beef Japanese Curry

Ground Beef Japanese Curry with RiceHonestly, it's too bad K doesn't like curry. I don't know what's wrong with him. He'll have a couple of bites. MAYBE 5 tiny tiny little pea size bites so it's really 2 bites anyway.Even when it's butter chicken, he won't eat it. Weirdo. It might have something to do with that crazy spicy curry I had a month before he left the womb. Yeah, let's blame that, shall we? :)

Hubby loves Japanese curry though. Same with soon-to-be-bro-in-law, so it's definitely one of the things I'll have as backup on those nights when I have no clue what to make for dinner. And now that my sis and her other half live so close, I typically make dinner for them too (for now anyway until they settle down).

Ground Beef Japanese Curry
(serves 6-8)

  • 4 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 package of Japanese curry cubes
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsps canola oil (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

  1. (Optional) Heat oil in a large pot on medium high heat. If using a large Dutch oven, skip oil.
  2. Brown ground beef until cooked in a large pot/Dutch oven. 
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 
  4. (Optional) Turn off heat and stir in peas.
  5. Serve over rice and maybe some condiments (eg., pickled ginger, oshinko, etc.). 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chicken Stirfry with Cashews

Chicken Stirfry with CashewsI love stirfries. Literally you just dump whatever you want into the wok and you quickly stirfry it. Add some toasted cashews, and it'll look all fancy schmancy. And of course some colourful veggies. But seriously, just find whatever leftover veggies and throw it into the wok with some sauce and you're good to go.

The really time consuming part is all that slicing and dicing. So I typically will do all that the night before and then put it all in the fridge for the day after. Dinner is served practically in 15 minutes. Well.....if you make the rice, then 30 minutes. But if you have a timed rice cooker, you can just set it to have the rice cook/finish cooking by the time you start dinner so that there's time for the rice to "rest" and fluff up. If you're not rice obsessed enough to have something that does that, it just means you can do all the prep work while the rice cooks. :P

Chicken Stirfry with Cashews
(serves 4-5)

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 3 Tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, julienned
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 2 any coloured bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 small onion, julienned
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 - 1 cup toasted cashews
  • 2 Tbsps canola oil
  • 2 Tbsps Hoisin sauce
  • 2 sprigs of green onions, chopped

  1. Combine soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil, garlic chili sauce, cornstarch, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl. Mix well. Add chicken and toss until well coated. Transfer into a Ziploc bag and marinate 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Heat oil in a wok on medium high heat. Brown chicken. When all browned, toss in remaining ingredients, except cashews and green onions. 
  3. Mix well and stirfry until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender crisp. If the sauce starts sticking, just add a little water and scrape up the brown buts.
  4. Turn off heat and mix in green onions and cashews. Serve with a side of rice.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Apple Pie Toddler Cereal

Apple Pie Toddler CerealI just got my Instant Pot! I couldn't wait to use it. I've always wanted a pressure cooker and I needed a new rice cooker but was a little hesitant on getting the one I've been eyeing. Hesitant cuz I've been considering lowering my carbs intake. I swear it's the only way I can lose weight. Without doing any exercise anyway lol. However, after three weeks, I always lose the battle and go crazy on carbs again. Sigh.

Anyway.......after some research and an awesome Mother's Day sale, I decided to get the Instant Pot! So excited!!! As soon as K went to bed, I unpacked my new toy and got to work making some "cereal" for the kiddo. I tried unpacking it when he was still awake, but he just kept throwing his Mega Bloks into the box and trying to eat the Styrofoam packaging. /facepalm

Apple Pie Toddler Cereal
(makes 6 cups)

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 4 peeled and cored gala apples, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsps cinnamon

  1. Wash rice in cold water a couple of times until the water runs clearish. 
  2. Combine everything in the instant pot's pot. Mix well. 
  3. Turn on machine and press "congee" button. Press the "adjust" button until "more" is selected. Wait 10 seconds for the machine to start. 
  4. Go read a magazine or watch tv while the cereal cooks. The machine will beep when the cereal is done cooking. Wait 10 minutes or so before opening the lid. 
  5. Stir before serving. 

K ate a full cup of this stuff for breakfast the next day, so it must be good. I tasted it. So bland and icky, but he loves it and it's good for him so why not, right? I think I'll add more apples next time though. I used to make apple sauce and put that in there in place of the apples. And ground up the brown rice but now that he's older, he can handle the little chunks. Makes my life so much easier. :D

Monday, May 20, 2013

Quick Soy Pork Loin Chop

Quick Soy Pork Loin Chop with RiceDon't you hate it when you write everything up and then it gets deleted? I have no clue how but I already wrote this one down and it suddenly got deleted. Doh. I wonder if it had anything to do with my forgetfulness in closing the edit window on multiple devices. Probably, eh? :(

Oh well. So I made this the other night when I saw some "flash fry boneless chops" on sale. They're basically just tenderloin sliced into thin chops. They're cut only about half an inch thick so they cook really quick. Love them!

Quick Soy Pork Loin Chop
(serves 3)

  • 6 1/4 - 1/3 inch thick pork tenderloin chops
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps mirin
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsps canola oil

  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, garlic and ginger. Marinade pork tenderloin chops in soy mixture for half hour in room temperature or 4 hours to overnight in the fridge.
  2. Remove pork chops from marinade. Set aside and reserve marinade.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir it into the reserved marinade. Set aside. 
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium high. Pan fry pork chops until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cook in batches if pan isn't big enough. Set aside on a serving plate and let the chops rest for a few minutes.
  5. Add reserved marinade and slurry mixture in the pan. Heat until sauce is bubbly and has thickened. Pour over the chops.
  6. Serve with a side of rice and steamed veggies or salad. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ground Pork & Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk

Ground Beef & Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk

This is a slow cooker meal, but I decided to use the stove top for this one. It was pretty yummy, I gotta say. K ate almost half an adult portion, so I'm pretty impressed. Hubby thought it was too sweet so he (as usual) doused it with some hot sauce. No worries. I had a feeling it'd be hard to get him to eat anything with sweet potatoes in it anyway.

Ground Pork & Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk
(serves 6-8 divided into 2 bags)

  • 1 - 1 1/4 lbs lean ground pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsps packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tsps minced ginger
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1 400ml (13.5oz) can of coconut milk

  1. Divide all ingredients, EXCEPT the coconut milk, into two separate freezer bags. Lay flat to freeze. Defrost in the fridge overnight the day before cooking.
  2. Dump everything from one bag into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Break up the meat using a spatula. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Stir in 1/2 can of coconut milk. Simmer for another 10 minutes with the lid off.
  4. Serve with hot rice.

Slow cooker method: Just dump everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until potatoes are done. Stir in the coconut milk and cook on low for another 30 minutes before serving on rice.

September 27 Update: better when simmered with the coconut milk afterwards for only 10 minutes is enough.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chicken Tacos

Chicken TacoThere's chicken under there somewhere. I just wanted more veggies and sauce than meat so it got buried lol

Normally you'd use two corn tortillas for proper tacos, but I couldn't find them at the grocery store and I didn't want to go somewhere special just to get them, so flour tortillas it is! As long as they taste good, right?

You can purée the guacamole if you want it to be smoother. Or leave it chunky. I definitely will be grilling my own corn instead of using the canned niblets if I can find some corn on the cob at the grocery store. It just tastes better.

Chicken Tacos
(serves 4)

  • 12 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 cup Chunky Guacamole
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 311g (11oz) can of corn niblets
  • 3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Heat up oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. 
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Pan fry chicken breasts about 6-7 minutes per side until cooked. 
  3. While chicken is cooking, heat up tortillas by putting over an open flame on a gas stove, about 10 seconds per side. If you don't have a gas stove or don't want to do it, just nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high.
  4. Once chicken is cooked, set aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into strips.
  5. Place all ingredients in their own separate bowls with serving spoons/tongs/forks. Let everyone assemble their own tacos with whatever they want.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pico de Gallo

Pico de GalloWe love pico de gallo. We have it every summer with tortilla chips. It's healthy and one of the few ways I can get Hubby to eat a buttload of veggies. It's the easiest way, actually, so why not, right? The fact that tomatoes are going on sale now means that summer's just around the corner. I can't wait! I get to eat watermelon soon. I'm drooling just at the thought of it. In any case, for now it's all about the pico de gallo. And maybe some chunky guacamole thrown in there. :)

Pico de Gallo
(makes 4 cups)

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1 large bell pepper (any colour), finely diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onion stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt, to taste

  1. (Optional) Soak onions in cold water for 10 minutes or so to take some of the spice out of it. If you like spice, skip this step.
  2. Combine everything in a large bowl. Mix well and season with salt. Add more lemon juice if you like more acidity. Chill for at least 15 minutes before serving to let flavours marry.
  3. Serve with tortillas as a dip or spoon over fajitas, tacos, burritos, grilled chicken, etc.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Haupia on a plateI'm in love with a new dessert! I was introduced to this in Maui. It was awesome. I couldn't get enough of it when I first tried it at Aloha Mixed Plate. Now that I'm home, I had to try to make one. So I made some adapting from this recipe. Yum! It was super creamy but not as coconuty as the one I had at the restaurant. Maybe if I use coconut extract instead of the rum. But then, I'd have to go get some coconut extract and what else would I use it on??? :\

Careful when you heat everything though. Once it starts thickening, it'll thicken super fast even after you turn off the heat. So keep an eye on it!

(serves 8)

  • 1 400ml (13.5oz) can of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut rum
  • Toasted shredded coconut (optional)

    Haupia about to be chilled
  1. Dissolve cornstarch in coconut milk in a medium pot. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat everything on low heat until mixture has thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. When thicken, pour mixture into a loaf pan.
  4. Cover and chill for overnight or until firm.
  5. Cut into 1x2 inch pieces and serve with toasted shredded coconut (optional).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blueberry Oatmeal

Blueberry OatmealWe just came home from vacation. It's good to be home. While we were away, blueberries were crazy expensive. So Hubby got strawberries for K's oatmeal instead of his favourite blueberries. Now that we're home, I gotta make him a batch for the next few days. Boy was he happy to have his oatmeal again.

I like to put ginger in his oatmeal. It doesn't really give it much taste but it's better for his immune system. Don't ask me why. It's a Chinese ying and yang kind of thing. His chi is too "cold"/he has too much "air" I guess? I'm not sure how to explain it in English, but that basically was the direct translation...ish. :\

Blueberry Oatmeal
(makes 5 cups)

  • 1 cup Coach's Oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups frozen blueberries, divided
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 inch knob ginger (optional)

  1. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup blueberries, brown sugar, ginger, water, cinnamon and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in oats. Turn heat low to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When cooked, turn off heat and stir in remaining frozen blueberries.
  4. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Roast Veg & Sausage Casserole

Roast Veg & Sausage CasseroleI'm always scared of trying out new veggies. Hubby doesn't eat many veggies, so if I try something new and he doesn't like it, I'm forced to eat it all. Hence there's this enormous pressure to make sure it tastes delicious. I finally tried fennel! After passing it by so many times during my many grocery shopping trips, I finally took the plunge and bought one. It had lots of the fronds on it so I used it as garnish. I figure if I roast the veg, it should be fine right? Roasting veg is the best way to have any veg!

So here's what I did with the fennel bulb I bought...after chopping everything into bite sized pieces anyway. The sausage is pretty salty so I didn't give it to K. But he ate up all the veggies and potatoes. He even had the roasted garlic! I do hope that boy will continue loving onions and garlic as he gets older. :)

Roast Veg & Sausage Casserole
(serves 3-4)

  • 1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb garlic sausage, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Handful of fennel fronds (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chicken stock, olive oil, herbs, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Add in veggies, potatoes and garlic sausage and toss/stir until well coated.
  4. Pour everything into a large (2L) casserole dish. Cover with a lid (or wrap tightly with aluminum foil). Bake for 45 minutes, or until veggies are fork tender.
  5. Take out of the oven and add the balsamic vinegar. Mix everything and then bake for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Set on the counter to rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with the fennel bulb fronds (optional) and serve in a bowl.