Archive | July, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry & a Special Summer Treat!

25 Jul

Hey everyone!  This week I’ve got an easy meal for you all that is made all the time in my apartment: STIR-FRY!!!! My one roommate loves it and I swear she makes it once a week (okay, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit but still she makes it A LOT).

My friend from high school, Amber, came to visit me this weekend & we wanted to make a dinner at home since we went out for lunch.  We practically stuffed ourselves yesterday between steaks at Outback, a cupcake adventure at Sugar On Top (located in State College behind Rita’s Water Ice), dinner & our special summery dessert!

Since we had steaks for lunch, we opted to go with a chicken stir fry.  So we headed over to Giant to buy our ingredients for what had to be an overstuffed stir fry.  We both picked out ingredients we liked & threw it all together.  Seriously, we didn’t even use everything and it hardly fit into the pan!

Our Ingredients

Our Shopping List: Chicken tenderloins (easy to cut/cook), teriyaki sauce, water chestnuts, fresh mushrooms, an onion, a green bell pepper, baby corn (Amber was so excited about this one haha), carrots, & broccoli.  We also got stuff to make a special yummy dessert!

Be creative with your stir fry. Use what you like, there’s not really a need to follow any set recipe.  Another thing that’s nice about stir fry is that if someone doesn’t like something in it, it is really easy to eat around. For example, I love bell peppers in stir-fry, but Amber really doesn’t like them, so I she just pushed them to the side of the plate.

Back at my apartment, we started chopping up ingredients, myself working on the stir fry & Amber the dessert.

Vegetables w/Teriyaki Sauce added

Once everything was rinsed & chopped up, I put all of the vegetables (minus the mushrooms — which I added later to keep from getting mushy) into a large skillet with just a little bit (hardly any) water, covered & allowed to cook.  While the vegetables were cooking, I tossed the already diced (into bite-sized pieces) of chicken into a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Once the vegetables (mushrooms added in) & chicken had cooked through, I added a little bit of teriyaki sauce (We used La Choy Teriyaki in the purple bottle.  I also recommend Kikkoman Teryaki — it’s also in a purple bottle) into each pan, mixed it in & let it simmer.  Keep an eye on the chicken pan especially so that the sauce doesn’t burn to the pan!

Once the sauce was good and sticky on the chicken we were ready to mix it w/the vegetables & enjoy our delicious stir-fry dinner!

I bet some of you are wondering if I forgot about the dessert.  No worries, I didn’t.  I couldn’t if I tried because it was delicious & simple and I’m eating a leftover bowl of it right now for a snack!

BERRY BLAST Fruit Salad (named lovingly by Amber 🙂 )

Refreshing Berry Salad

Inspired by some delicious looking strawberries, Amber came up with the idea of a fruit salad for dessert.  So we picked out various berries & found a precut mixture of strawberries & sliced kiwis.  The strawberry/kiwi cup was so convenient & a lot easier than cutting up the strawberries ourselves.  Plus we also got to have kiwis which we would have never thought to buy if we hadn’t seen this pre-sliced cup! Amber cleaned the berries/fruit & tossed in a bowl with some sugar, the salad was sweet, but healthy & satisfying!

My Tips:
  • Instead of chicken, try sliced steaks (or tofu for you vegetarians!) in your stir-fry.
  • Mix up the vegetables. Try different colors of bell peppers in your stir fry for more color!
  • To make the stir-fry go further if you are feeding lots of people, make some white rice & serve mixed with the stir-fry. We almost always do this when we make stir-fry because my roommates and I eat rice a lot. (Think having to buy a 5 lb box from Sam’s Club.)
  • For the fruit salad –> use any variety of fruits that you like! Summer is a great time to enjoy fruits since they are so fresh!
  • Recruit a friend to help you cook. It’s fun to have someone else helping with dinner 🙂
WE ARE…going to have leftover stir-fry for dinner tonight!!!

Marinated Grilled Strip Steak

18 Jul

Sooo while at the store yesterday to pick up some hot dogs and such for a last-minute cook out with a friend, I spotted some yummy looking strip steaks on sale.  Individually packaged, they were just within my budget (I usually only get steaks when my Dad buys them for me!) so I picked out a good looking one to cook for dinner today.

Yesterday, while down by the pool cooking our hot dogs we were sharing a grill with some boys who were cooking some marinated steaks, etc and they offered us some to try. They were delicious and were my inspiration for marinating my strip steak.

My marinade was pretty much a concoction of the few things we had in our fridge and spice shelve:
olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, A1 steak sauce, garlic, Montreal steak seasoning & a little dried oregano.

So I poured a little olive oil into a sauce pan (I’d guess maybe a 2 teaspoons) and browned up a clove of minced garlic. Then I added in some soy sauce (again maybe 2 tsp?), the Worcestershire sauce (slightly more than the soy sauce) and the oregano.  Next I added in some A1 steak sauce.  This is an idea that comes from one of my favorite dishes my mom makes where she cooks down tips of beef in a skillet with A1 sauce. It gets gooey and sticky and just absolutely delicious. Ahh-mazing!

Next I added in some Montreal steak seasoning and allowed the mixture to simmer while I trimmed the fat off of my steak.  I know most people leave it for flavor, but I REALLY hate getting a big bite of nothing but fat when I’m hoping to bite into my nice juicy steak.  I pressed some Montreal steak seasoning into the meat, stuck it in a Ziploc baggie with the marinade and refrigerated for a few hours.

I then headed down to the pool to relax and cook my steak.  I powered up the grill on high heat & then let my steak sizzle.  I cooked directly on the grill as opposed to on aluminum foil because I love a good char on the outside edge and pretty grill marks 🙂  I also hate when the fat on your aluminum foil catches on fire and I wasn’t going to risk that with a lot of people around!

Now, I personally prefer my steaks somewhere within the medium-well to well done range so I just relaxed by the pool for awhile. Yeah, I’m that girl who orders her steaks very well done when I’m at Outback!  So I waited until my steak was nice and firm then headed inside to enjoy it with some buttered garlic egg noodles!

Yummy!

So I encourage you all, look for unexpected finds while you’re at the grocery store! They can really perk up your day & give you a special treat! (Especially if you’ve been trying to live on Cheesesteaks from the Mix & food from the dining commons for the last month and a half — like me!)

If you want to try this: I encourage you to be creative. Use what you have in your fridge.  Leftover Teriyaki sauce from the other nights stir fry? Use it in a marinade.  If you prefer to follow a recipe, check out the Garlic & Hot Pepper marinade of Bobby Flay’s here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-steak-with-garlic-hot-pepper-marinade-roasted-tomatoes-cabrales-blue-cheese-recipe/index.html

The whole recipe sounds fantastic and it’s definitely on my list of things to try!

A simple way to test the doneness of your steak:

  1. Make a  fist and press on the muscle between your thumb and index finger. As you tighten your fist and that area will become more firm.
  2. Press on the center of your steak with your turner/tongs and compare that firmness with the firmness of your fist.
  3. If the steak feels the way your fist does when loosely clenched, it is more rare on the rare side. If you clench your fist, that area between your thumb and index finger will become more firm. This is how the steak will feel when it is more well done.

Please cook your steak to a safe temperature!  Refer to this chart for temperature info.     http://www.tasteoftx.com/recipes/Steak_doneness.html

My Tips:

  • Check to see if your grocery store is featuring a grill section for the summer months! That’s where I found my strip steaks!
  • Be creative with the marinade. Use what you already have if possible.

WE ARE… enjoying juicy steak!

Pizza autentica di Margherita

11 Jul

Today began adventure numero uno in my kitchen.
What started of as a lazy day around the apartment turned into a pizza adventure.  I’ve been craving some yummy pizza for the last few days but I am SO sick of the same old frozen pizzas & even my beloved Pizza Hut.  I was really in the mood for something a little closer to authentic Italian, and thus the Margherita Pizza Adventure began.

I got the basic idea/guideline from a Tyler Florence recipe then headed over to Giant to pick up the necessary items.

Shopping List: Pizza dough or dough mix, fresh mozzarella, 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic and some Roma tomatoes

So I ended up with this generic Betty Crocker pizza dough mix (I was feeling adventurous but not enough to really make my own dough an a lazy Sunday!).  To make it less bland I added some Parm cheese to the dough mix & reduced the water slightly.   At first I thought this was a huge disaster because it was still really goopy. Yuck. But once it rested & I pressed it out with some flour it worked out pretty well.

While the dough rested, I just vaguely followed the Tyler Florence recipe to make some sauce out of the canned tomatoes (which I drained & crushed), thyme, minced garlic, & some oregano.  It smelled amazing and tasted awesome with some nice chunky pieces of tomato and of course garlic (lovvveee garlic!).

So then obviously you just top the pizza with the sauce & slices of the fresh mozzarella, diced Roma tomatoes, basil & a drizzle of olive oil (Secret: I used freeze-dried basil instead of fresh! It stores better & you don’t waste any extra basil leaves! You still get great flavor!)  To get nice brown crust I brushed the edges of the dough with EVOO.

Into the oven it went (and of course I burned myself.. but what’s an adventure without a battle wound anyways?) and waited.

15 minutes later…

It was delicious!!! The crust was perfectly crisp & the sauce was nice and sweet.  I definitely enjoyed this pizza. I downed like half of it in 10 minutes. I definitely recommend this one to anyone needing a little break from typical delivered or frozen pizzas.

If you wanna try this, check out Tyler Florence’s recipe here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/margherita-pizza-recipe/index.html

My Tips:

  • Check out the freeze dried herbs at your grocery store & give them a try
  • Start the crust first so it can rest
  • If you like a lot of sauce maybe try two cans of tomatoes
  • Don’t burn yourself like I did

WE ARE…making delicious pizza!