Sunday, May 01, 2016

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c choc chips
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed. Add flour, baking soda (dissolved in hot water) and salt. Mix just until flour is moistened. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by tablespoon full onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until edges and bottoms are light brown.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Jello with Mandarin Oranges (Mikan Jelly)

2 cans of mandarin oranges in light syrup (15 oz each)
1/2 c boiling water
1 pkg unflavored gelatin

Place gelatin in a bowl and add a small amount of water (just enough to cover the gelatin). Let gelatin sit for 5 minutes. Add boiling water to the gelatin and stir well to dissolve gelatin completely. Add the two cans of mandarin oranges in light syrup (do not drain the syrup from the oranges), and stir until mixed. Refrigerate until set (about 2 hours).

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Ketchup Spaghetti (inspired by Japanese Neapolitan Spaghetti)

2 TBSP butter
8 oz of white mushrooms, sliced
~1/4 pound of ham, cubed (or 2 hot dogs or sausages, sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
5-6 TBSP ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
~3 TBSP of pasta cooking water
8 oz of spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping

Boil 8 oz of spaghetti as directed on package. While spaghetti is boiling, saute mushrooms in butter. Once mushrooms are softened, add ham and garlic and saute for 1-2 more minutes. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce. Once spaghetti is cooked, add it to the frying pan with the sauce and toss to coat. Add pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

TIP: Can add onion and bell pepper to make it healthier.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cornbread Muffins

1 c milk
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/4 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat together milk, vinegar, butter and eggs. Gradually stir in the remaining ingredients, just until moistened. Pour into muffin tin lined with liners (or lightly greased muffin tin). Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

TIP: Can substitute buttermilk for the milk and vinegar.
TIP: Can bake in 9" pie plate for about 25 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

12-14 chicken wings
garlic powder and onion powder

1/4 c butter
1/4 c hot sauce (Frank's)
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse wings and pat dry. Place wings on a wire rack which is seated over a cookie sheet. Season wings with garlic and onion powder. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Combine butter, hot sauce, and garlic powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and sauce is combined. Toss wings with sauce and return wings to the wire rack and return to oven. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss wings in sauce again.

TIP: Try the sauce from Asian Chicken Wings if you don't like hot wings

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter, softened
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 c oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c canned pumpkin
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually alternate adding flour mixture and pumpkin into butter/sugar mixture. Mix until flour is just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto lightly grease cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes until bottom is lightly browned and top is no longer wet and springs back when touched lightly.

Basic Potato Salad (Hawaiian inspired)

4 large potatoes
2-3 pickles, chopped
3-4 TBSP pickle juice
3-4 TBSP zesty Italian dressing
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 TBSP prepared mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
Dash curry powder
Ground black pepper to taste

Optional add-ins:
3-4 slices of ham, chopped
2-3 hard boiled eggs
1 c. frozen peas
2 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
2-3 thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Bake and then peel & chop the potatoes (or peel, chop, and then boil the potatoes). Once cooked, and cut into cubes, top the potatoes with pickle juice and Italian dressing while still warm - stir to coat. Allow potatoes to cool and then mix in the remaining ingredients.

TIP: I like the basic version without add-ins (as does my daughter) - the add-ins require more time and more ingredients, but it also tastes great with some or all of the add-ins.
TIP: Add 1 c. of cooked macaroni (measured dry) to make a potato mac salad. You will need to increase the amount of mayo, pickle juice, and dressing accordingly (perhaps even doubling the.amounts of each).

Pumpkin Scones

2 c flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 stick (1/2 c) cold unsalted butter
1/2 c canned pumpkin
1 large egg
3 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1 tbsp molasses (or honey)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sugar or cinnamon/sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Cut in butter (or use food processor) until butter is in pea-sized clumps. Combine pumpkin, egg, cream, molasses, and vanilla. Gradually mix pumpkin mixture into flour mixture, mix just until combined. Dump onto floured surface and knead gently until dough comes together into a ball. Break into two even pieces and pat each into a 5-6" diameter circle (about 3/4 inch thick). Cut each circle into 6 equal pieces. Place onto lightly greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar (or cinnamon sugar). Bake 12-15 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool a couple of minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

TIP: Try lining cookie sheet with parchment paper for easier clean-up.
TIP: Can omit the sprinkling sugar and top with glaze after the scones are cooled (Plain glaze: 1 c powdered sugar plus 2 TBSP milk; Spiced glaze: 1 c powdered sugar, pinch nutmeg; 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, 2 tbsp milk). Can spread with plain glaze and then drizzle with spiced glaze over top.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Chicken Strips

1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 egg
1/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c flour
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees (or heat oil in frying pan). Whisk egg and buttermilk in one bowl. In another bowl, mix flour and remaining ingredients. Dip chicken tenders into egg, then coat with flour. Fry in deep fryer for 6-7 minutes (or in frying pan for 2-3 minutes on each side).

TIP: If desired, can dip each piece of chicken twice to make the chicken strips more crunchy.
TIP: You can substitute regular milk for buttermilk (or add a little vinegar to the milk to make it more like buttermilk).

Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots

12-15 small carrots (or 24-36 baby carrots)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and peel carrots. If carrots are thin, roast them whole, if they are thick, slice in half lengthwise. Toss carrots with olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Place in sheet pan and roast in preheated oven for about 25 minutes until carrots are just tender.

Wild Rice and Arugula Salad

1 c wild rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c toasted sliced almonds
4 c arugula
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1/2 c dried sour cherries, chopped
1/2 c crumbled feta

3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper, or to taste

Cook wild rice according to directions on package, adding 1/2 tsp salt to water when cooking the rice (or boil rice in about 2 cups of water for 35-45 minutes until tender, drain any excess water). Let rice cool. Combine all ingredients of dressing. Mix rice, almonds, arugula, basil, sour cherries, feta, and dressing.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mochiko Chicken

2 TBSP mochiko flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 TBSP thinly sliced green onions
1 egg, beaten
1 lb boneless chicken thighs
oil for frying

Combine all ingredients except chicken thighs and oil for frying. Mix until smooth (should be the consistency of pancake batter). Cut chicken thighs into 1-2 inch cubes/pieces. Allow chicken to marinate in batter for 4 hours (or overnight). Heat oil (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep) in frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry chicken in small batches until deep golden brown on both sides.

Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage)

1 lb boneless chicken thighs
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP sake
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
about 1/2 c potato starch
oil for frying
couple drops of sesame oil, optional

Cut chicken thighs into 1-2 inch cubes/pieces. Mix chicken, soy sauce, sake and ginger, and marinate for about 30 minutes. Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat (or heat in deep fryer to 350 degrees) - add a couple of drops of sesame oil to add extra flavor, if desired. Toss potato starch with the chicken (use enough potato starch to coat the chicken). Fry in small batches until deep golden brown.

TIP: Can substitute corn starch for the potato starch.
TIP: If marinating more than 30 minutes, use less soy sauce (about 2 TBSP).

Friday, February 19, 2016

Roasted Broccoli

2 heads of broccoli, cut into small/medium florets
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over broccoli and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Mix until broccoli is well coated. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring 1-2 times. If using garlic, add it in for the last 5 minutes of baking.

TIP: This is also good with 1/2 lemon squeezed over top after it is roasted, and then 1/4 c shredded parmesan mixed in at the end. Could add 1/4 c roasted pine nuts as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Banana Muffins

1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c oil
2 eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown sugar, oil, eggs until well mixed. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, and baking soda, just until moistened (do not overmix). Gently stir in chocolate chips. Pour into 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

TIP: I use a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup to divide the mixture into the muffin cups.
TIP: Can be used to make mini muffins - reduce baking time to 20 minutes or so.
TIP: Can be used to make banana bread - increase baking time to about 1 hour. Can also later slice the bread and make sticks, then bake sticks in oven at 150 deg for 1 hour to make teething biscuits (similar to biscotti).

Japanese Braised Pork Belly (Buta no kakuni)

1 lb pork belly (or boneless country-style ribs)
2 TBSP sugar
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 star anise (optional)
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP sake
2 c water

Heat heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Cut pork belly into 1-2 inch cubes. Brown pork belly cubes on all sides (no need for oil). Once all sides are brown, add sugar and stir to coat meat with sugar and allow the sugar to caramelize. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 3 hours, turning occasionally, until pork is very tender.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Easy Eggplant Pizza

1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
1 TBSP olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1/3 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 c tomato sauce (or pizza sauce)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 1-2 baking sheets. Lightly coat eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices over and top with parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Spread a small spoonful of tomato sauce on each eggplant slice and then top with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

TIP: Slice the eggplant about 1/8-1/4 inch thick
TIP: If you want to get the cheese golden brown, you can broil on high for 1-2 minutes at the end.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Asian Crispy Dry-Fried Chicken Wings (San Tung attempt)

For the wings:
Oil for deep frying
2 c corn starch
1 1/2 c water
3 lbs chicken wings (about 24)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil to 350 degrees in deep fryer or dutch oven. Rinse wings and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 c cornstarch in a bowl. In another bowl mix together remaining 1 1/2 c cornstarch with 1 1/2 c water.  Dredge 6-8 wings at a time into the cornstarch and then into the water/cornstarch mixture (be sure to stir the water/cornstarch mixture before dipping because the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the bowl). Fry the first batch of 6-8 wings for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove wings and let sit on wire rack (put paper towels under the rack) for 5 minutes. While the first batch rests, prepare and fry the second batch of 6-8 wings. After the second batch has been fried, return the first batch to the fryer for 5 more minutes. Drain on wire rack and then place pan in the oven to stay warm.  Return the second batch to the fryer for 5 more minutes. Repeat until all wings have been cooked. Each batch will be fried for a total of 10 minutes with a 5 minute rest period in the middle.

For the sauce:
3 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c water
3 cloves garlic
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp siracha (or more if you like it spicy)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Dash black or white pepper
Cilantro and green onions to garnish

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients (except cilantro and green onions) and cook over medium heat until thickened. Toss the wings in sauce and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Homemade Fruit Gummies

2/3 c. fruit puree (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
1/3 c. orange juice 1 TBSP lemon juice
2-3 TBSP honey
3 TBSP unflavored gelatin

If fruit is not already pureed, puree the fruit in a blender or using an immersion blender (you may want to strain through a fine mesh strainer). Heat fruit, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey in a small sauce pan until boiling. Very gradually stir in gelatin, whisking constantly. Cook until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into silicone molds and freeze 20-30 minutes. Remove from molds and store in air-tight container in refrigerator.

TIP:  You can use any combination of fruit and juice, as long as the total is 1 cup (can use all juice, or 1/2 juice and 1/2 fruit puree, etc)
TIP: If you use raspberries, you will probably want to strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds, otherwise, I usually don't strain the puree.
TIP:  If you sprinkle the gelatin in very slowly and whisk constantly, you shouldn't get any lumps, but if you get lumps that you are unable to whisk out, you can blend the mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender to get rid of the lumps.
TIP:  The mixture will look clear and glassy when the gelatin is dissolved (it may be cloudy if the gelatin is not completely dissolved.
TIP:  If you do not have silicone molds (I use chocolate molds), you can pour the mixture into a 9x9 inch glass baking dish and cut into squares after the gelatin has set.
TIP: Gummies can be stored for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. You can store them for a couple of days at room temperature, but they will be softer.

Mini Cheesecakes (with Strawberry Topping)

2/3 c graham cracker crumbs (about 4 long crackers)
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin lined with 12 paper liners. Crush or use food processor to create 2/3 c graham cracker crumbs. Mix with sugar and melted butter. Press about on tablespoon of mixture into bottom of each muffin liner. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.

2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Pour over graham cracker crusts. Bake an additional 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool completely and serve. If you are not serving them immediately, but sure to store in refrigerator. Once cooled, top with fresh fruit and/or whipped cream; or top with strawberry topping (below); or fruit gel topping from this site.

Strawberry topping:
1 to 1.5 c sliced strawberries (fresh, or thawed if frozen)
2 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 TBSP lemon juice

Pour 2 TBSP lemon juice over 2 tsp gelatin and let sit 3-5 minutes. Heat 1-1.5 cups of strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until strawberries begin to break down. Stir in gelatin mixture and mix until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature and then spoon or pour over mini cheesecakes. Return to refrigerator for 2-3 hours until topping is set.

TIP: can use 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with tsp of water to thicken the strawberry topping (it will be less firm than the gelatin version listed above)
TIP: can use other fruits (blueberries, raspberries, etc) to make the fruit topping as well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Almond Butter Cake

1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 1/2 c flour
2 TBSP sliced almonds
2 tsp sugar (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, butter, eggs, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt, and flour. Pour into greased 9-inch cake pan (or spring-form pan). Sprinkle top of batter with sliced almonds and 2 tsp of sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Caramel Custard

For caramel:
1/2 c. sugar

Heat sugar in heavy saucepan, stirring often, over medium heat until sugar melts and becomes golden brown. Divide syrup among six 6-oz custard cups. Tilt to cover bottom of cups, let cool/harden while you prepare the custard. Place custard cups in a 9"x13" inch pan.

For custard:
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
2 1/2 c very warm milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in milk. Pour into six 6-oz custard cups (cups should be in a 9"x13" pan). Pour very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of top of custard cups. Bake 45 minutes until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Can serve warm, or chilled. Immediately refrigerate any leftover custard.

TIP: begin boiling water in a kettle as you heat the sugar to make the caramel, so you will have very hot water to use in the pan when baking.
TIP: use a 4 cup measuring cup to mix up the custard ingredients - this makes it easy to pour into the custard cups.
TIP: I heat the milk for 2 minutes in our microwave and it ends up very warm - times in microwave may vary depending on your individual microwave


1 large egg
3/4 c milk
1 c flour
1 TBSP sugar (white or brown)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Oil or shortening for the griddle

Beat egg until fluffy. Stir in remaining ingredients (except oil or shortening for the griddle) until smooth. Cook on griddle over medium heat (375 degrees) until puffed and dry around the edges. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 9-inch unbaked pie crusts
1 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1 lb rhubarb (about 3 large stalks)
2 pints of strawberries
2 TBSP butter
1 egg yolk
Sugar for sprinkling on top

Combine sugar, flour, rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Dot with 2 TBSP of butter cut into small pieces. Top with second pie crust. Cut several slits in the top crust. Brush crust with egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 and bake for 45 more minutes.

Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

Apple pie:
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
6-8 medium apples (I prefer Granny Smith)
1/2 c. sugar
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix apples, sugar cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and vanilla. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Top with crumble topping (below). Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

Crumble topping:
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. flour

Mix flour and brown sugar. Cut butter into flour/sugar mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over pie. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

TIP: place pie plate on a cookie sheet when baking to prevent apple filling from running over the sides and ending up on the bottom of the oven.

Pie Crust

For Two 9-inch pie crusts:
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 c shortening (or unsalted butter)
4 TBSP water
3 tsp vinegar
1 egg, beaten
optional - a little cinnamon

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening/butter until pea-sized lumps are formed. Gradually stir in water, vinegar, and egg and stir just until dough forms a ball. Roll out on floured cutting board.
For pre-baked pie crust, bake at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes until light golden brown.

Fruit Mousse with Fruit Gel Topping

Fruit mousse:
2 c fresh or frozen (defrosted) fruit
1 packet (1/4 oz) plain gelatin
3 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
2 c cold heavy whipping cream
2 TBSP sugar

Put lemon juice in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit at least 3 minutes. Blend fruit in blender until smooth. Strain through fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan (use spatula to push through strainer to get all of the liquid out). You should end up with about 1 cup of liquid. Heat fruit liquid and 1/2 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add gelatin/lemon juice mixture and mix about 1 minute until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (at least 20 min). Once fruit mixture is cooled. Whip the whipping cream and 2 TBSP sugar until firm peaks are formed. Gently fold the cooled fruit mixture into the whipped cream. Place in pie pan or small custard cups and chill in refrigerator until set (about 2 hours).

Fruit gel topping:
2 c fresh or frozen (defrosted) fruit
1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp gelatin
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice (or water, or brandy)

Put lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit at least 3 minutes. Blend fruit in blender until smooth. Strain through fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan (use spatula to push through strainer to get all of the liquid out). You should end up with about 1 cup of liquid. Heat fruit liquid and 1/4 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add gelatin/lemon juice mixture and mix about 1 minute until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (15-20 min). Pour over the prepared mousse and chill in refrigerator until set (about 2 more hours). Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.