Friday, July 3, 2015

Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry

I've never eaten at PF Chang's but my son is especially fond of their green beans, apparently they're worth the hour drive to get them... Since my planter gave me a bunch of beans a quick Google was in order, it told me I had all the ingredients on hand.  My only change, I saw this as an opportunity to use some of the sweet red chili sauce in the fridge instead of dry flakes and sugar. While my Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry might not be authentic, it sure is tasty:@)

Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry-adapted from food.com
1 lb green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 C water
2 Tblsp grated ginger
2 Tblsp garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp cooking oil-I used vegetable

Sauce:
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tblsp sweet red chili sauce
  1. Mix sauce, set aside.
  2. Boil water in wok, add beans, cook for 3-5 minutes, drain.
  3. Heat wok over high heat, add oil, ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add beans, stir constantly until beans are soft, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add sauce, stir until it thickens and glazes beans.
  6. Serve with rice if desired.
Have a happy day:@)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Beef Kabobs -Outdoors or on the George Foreman Grill

These Sweet and Spicy Beef Kabobs are another good example of how nicely the George Foreman Grill can cook things and they were done in about 5 minutes! The recipe is from the Food Network Magazine, Sept 2014 issue and I did let the meat marinate for hours, it had lots of big flavor, garlic and soy being the most dominant (I used a garlic press). And in case you're wondering, while I noticed the sweet... The heat? Not so much. This is a nice robust marinade that's sure to bring compliments, I can see it becoming a summertime favorite!
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I'm not a fan of sriracha ~if you've been around Pig In Mud for a while, go ahead, insert hot sauce joke here:@) and used a Garlic Tabasco sauce, simply use whatever hot sauce you have. Also subbed red wine vinegar. This made a great dinner and the leftover meat was very nice thinly sliced on a salad.

Tip for the George Foreman Grill: It's best to try to keep everything cut to about the same size, around 1" square-ish. While I don't worry about that too much on outdoor grills, I do like for everything to be in contact with the plates on the George. And I do move things from the back to the front and turn them a few times.


Fire up the grill of your choice and have a happy day:@)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The magicOpener really works! -got a new kitchen toy

Sometimes it's the little things that really do make life easier... Have you seen The magicOpener advertised? It honestly makes opening bottles and cans a snap! I don't know about your brand, but the lids on my water bottles are too small. There's only around 1/4" to grab onto and twist and it can be very hard to get them open with my fingers, but The magicOpener works great. It's also perfect for pop tops, whether beverage or pet food (broken fingernails are a bummer!) and it works on traditional glass soda and beer bottles. It's comfortable to hold and has to be amazingly helpful for folks with limited dexterity or limited hand/wrist strength too.
The sturdy magnet keeps mine handy on the fridge... 
Tip: If you need to remove it more easily simply store it closer to the edge of the refrigerator door and slide it off.

magicOpener is currently offering a 20% off promotion, use code MymagicOpener at checkout. So feel free to stop by their site HERE and order one for yourself at a discount (or maybe get a few, they're great Christmas gifts-yes folks, it will be here before we know it:@) This offer expires July 31, 2015.

The magicOpener has quickly proven to be a very useful kitchen tool and I'd like to sincerely thank them for the opportunity to do this review. I think you'll like this product if you get it folks.

Tops will be popping this 4th of July weekend! Have a happy day:@)

Full disclosure: I was sent The magicOpener for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

As American As Apple Pie -Patriotic Pie Decorating Ideas

My son is a good sport, even though this was his birthday pie he didn't mind sharing the theme with the 4th of July! Truthfully, my whole family has been very supportive of my bloggy shenanigans and I do sincerely thank them:@) I wanted to do a round up of easy ~and some more involved~ ideas to help make a festively decorated Patriotic Pie for this holiday weekend. This flag pie came together fairly quickly.

One of the easiest decorations, yet has a big impact. Use a pizza cutter on the dough. Rhu-Berry Pie HERE.
This would look amazing with a cherry pie!

Much more work: Forever May She Wave Pie HERE.

Using cookie cutters is one of the easiest ways to decorate the top of a pie or cobbler HERE.

While I wasn't happy with the filling in this pie, I do still love the idea of decorating a graham cracker crust HERE.

My first attempt at piping meringue, stars and stripes (or a starfish throwing water balls???) A true bloggy blooper... 
But the pie is great! I will be revisiting this decorating idea HERE.

And I see Williams-Sonoma has a fun cutter out this year HERE...
I'd be glad to take it for a test drive if they'd like to send me one for a review-she said shamelessly:@)

Bake up something special and have a happy day:@)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Basil Salt-Preserving the Harvest

My son's basil plants are very happy this year and we have a long way to go before there are garden tomatoes here in Philly. I was gifted a gorgeous bouquet and had to get creative... If you have an abundance of basil this Basil Salt was a cinch to make, turned out great and made the house smell amazing! It's fantastic on popcorn and I look forward to sprinkling it on tomatoes in the near future. 
Quick product review: While I was thrilled with the Fresh Herb Keeper from Ball and feel it's worth every penny...
Unfortunately these Dry Herb Jars with locking shaker lids are disappointing. My immediate thought was, they're only plastic, they can't keep humidity out. When I turn it upside down while closed, some of the salt dust shakes out-proving that they're not completely sealed. And as you can see from the pic, you shake from the center of the top and the lid gets covered in salt/spice/cheese-whatever's in the jar. While it pains me to post a negative review, my honest opinion is, these lids might be good for storing grated cheese in the fridge, but that's about it.

Basil Salt-from Food Network
Ratio: half basil (pack the leaves into the measuring cup) and half kosher salt-I used 1/2 C of each
  1. Add both and chop finely in food processor or food chopper.
  2. Spread out on baking sheet and dry in 225 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until dry. Stir half way through. Note: I lined my baking sheet with tin foil, it did stick a bit but was easy enough to get a little spatula under it to stir it. I figured that was better than basil flavored chocolate chip cookies:@) 
  3. Cool and run through food processor again to make a fine salt. I did dry my food chopper with a paper towel after the first processing.
  4. Store in an air tight container.
Preserve a little bit of summer and have a happy day:@)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

When it comes to dinner there are times I use a little help from the store, and there are times I use a lot of help from the store:@) The only thing I really "cooked" for these Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells were the shells themselves... Frozen chicken nuggets, canned pasta sauce and shredded cheese had this meal come together in no time! I do suggest using the best chicken nuggets you can find. This was a great meal for me with plenty leftover for lunch.
I have done something similar using meatballs and think cooked sausage in the shells would work too.
Not super model pretty, but pretty darn good!

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells-adapted from Plain Chicken
Large shells, cooked, cooled and drained
Chicken Nuggets
Spaghetti sauce-your favorite brand
Mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan for sprinkling on top
  1. Place chicken on counter to begin to thaw while cooking pasta.
  2. Cook shells to desired firmness, drain and rinse well with cold water, drain again.
  3. Pour some spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, swirl around to cover bottom and sides of dish. 
  4. Place a chicken nugget in the shell, add some mozzarella and place (open end up) in the dish. Do this for all of the shells.
  5. Add a spoonful of sauce to each shell-as much as you'd like. 
  6. Sprinkle top with extra mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30  minutes or until bubbly and hot. Finish under broiler to brown up the cheese on top if desired.
  8. Serve with extra spaghetti sauce, optional.
  9. Head over to Plain Chicken HERE to see how she made hers, she used Popcorn Chicken and different cheeses.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mini S'mores Pies with Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Every once in a while the kids kick around the idea of building a little fire pit and when it comes up Rachel mentions S'mores. I thought I'd surprise her with these Mini S'mores Pies (which couldn't be easier to make). As the weather gets warmer shortcuts like store bought mini graham cracker crusts and a mini marshmallow topping are welcome. I made a homemade chocolate pudding but in a pinch a box of Jello instant pudding would work fine, I see Hershey's has pudding now too. I did have to turn on the broiler, but that heats up quickly and it only takes a couple minutes to toast the top of the marshmallows. They were a big hit with my crew, I think you'll like this easy summertime treat if you try it folks!
 Why mini crusts? 1) I wanted a larger graham cracker ratio. 2) Have you ever tried to cut through a marshmallow topping??? 
And 3) they're, well... cute:@) 

Mini S'mores Pies
Mini graham cracker crusts-I used six
Chocolate pudding-homemade recipe below or use instant
mini marshmallows
  1. Set individual crusts on a baking sheet.
  2. Mix pudding, pour into crusts. Cover with plastic wrap touching top of the pudding and place in fridge for four hours or until cold and set.
  3. Completely cover top with marshmallows, and broil 4-6" from broiler until golden brown.
Homemade Chocolate Pudding-enough for six crusts, amount for full size pies HERE
1/3 C sugar
2 3/4 Tblsp flour
1 Tblsp cocoa powder
1 egg yolk
1 C milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
  1. Cook everything over medium heat until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)