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Panda Express Copy-Cat Chow Mein

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Who doesn’t love recreating their favorite restaurant recipes at home. This recipe is absolutely delicious and is practically fool-proof. It requires very few ingredients and has delicious flavor that your family will think you slaved all day to get this much flavor. This recipe can also be made in less then 30 minutes, who doesn’t LOVE that?!!

I had some left over rice noodles, from PHO that I made last night, and I knew I wanted to make some chow mein. This recipe didn’t disappoint and I know it will make heavy rotation.

My husband and 2 little ladies LOVED it. Anything with “slurp noodles” is their favorite. This recipe is a great way to add some veggies in your families diet, or sneak in some kids case. This is great paired with some egg rolls or wontons. Yum! Enjoy!!

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Panda Express Copy-Cat Chow Mein 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 ounces rice noodles, cooked (Taste of Thai brand)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • Shredded Chicken (or your favorite meat) optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, stir often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in noodles and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

NOTE: You can substitute yakisoba or even spaghetti noodles if that is all you have on hand.


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Macaroni and Cheese Grown-up Style

I always want to find a good Macaroni and cheese recipe and I think this one was a definite winner. The trio of cheeses paired so well together. I am a huge fan of blue cheese so I think next time I would add even more of that since I could taste it enough but other then that it was excellent.

What are your favorite add ins to macaroni and cheese?!!

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Macaroni and Cheese Grown-up Style


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Ingredients

Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
4 ounces Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white french bread
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gouda, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into buttered dishe.
  4. Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top

 

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Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Kielbasa Sausage Peppers and Potato Bake

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I have been knee deep in potty training and tonight I needed an easy prep meal. This fit the bill. Easy prep and then you let the oven do the rest, while you get to smell the delicious spices baking to perfection. You can always substitute veggies or ingredients you have on hand, just make sure you have some sort of sausage and potato and you’ll be good to go. I hope this quick meal makes it to your table soon, Enjoy!

Kielbasa Sausage, Pepper and Potato Bake

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Website Hillshire Farms
This sausage recipe is baked to perfection with peppers, onions, red potatoes and a delicious blend of seasonings.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Turkey Sausage
  • 6 cups red potatoes (cut into 1" chunks)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (cut into 1" chunks)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (cut into 1" chunks)
  • 1 Small onion (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (optional, I left out)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Note

For crispier potatoes, bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut sausage in 1/4” slices; set aside.
Step 2
Place potatoes in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain potatoes.
Step 3
Combine sausage, potatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, chicken broth, olive oil and seasonings in a 12x8-inch baking dish; mix lightly.
Step 4
Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned and vegetables are tender.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Slider Sandwiches

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My husband chose to have spicy chicken sandwiches for dinner, and when he says something he wants I go with it because he doesn’t give ideas often :) These turned out delicious and I will make again. I made one for my daughter that was not spicy, before I coated the chicken if Franks hot sauce. So this recipe is very adaptable to the whole family.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Slider Sandwiches

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
These sandwiches are great all year long, perfect for an outdoor feast or during the winter when you want to be outside. FrenchToasty.com has lots of sandwich recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 6-8 slider rolls (We used Hawaiian sweet rolls)
  • 2 cups coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw dressing
  • 8 thin slices cheese (we did half cheddar and half pepper jack)
  • 8 tablespoons hot sauce (we used Franks hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour (to coat the chicken, optional)
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Step 1
Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Coat chicken breasts in flour, salt and pepper. Place in skillet for 4-5 minutes on each side, until cook thoroughly. I used thin breasts so it probably cooked faster than most.
Step 2
Pre-heat oven to 350. Toast buns slightly for 2 minutes, then add cheese to one side of each split roll and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Step 3
Mix coleslaw with coleslaw dressing and set aside.
Step 4
Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking. Then shred with 2 forks or your hands.
Step 5
Then add as much hot sauce as desired, the chicken soaks it up and we like it HOT so we added a lot. Pull some out before adding sauce for kids.
Step 6
Pile on the shredded chicken and then coleslaw and top with the top half of the slider.
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I paired it with roasted asparagus and it was a delicious meal.

Fried Chicken

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I am really into birthdays and I like them to be celebrated on more then just the day. So this year my husbands landed on a Sunday which in my mind meant BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!! So on Friday when he said he wanted fried chicken I thought it was the perfect time to try a new recipe and I really love when we cook in the kitchen together. My daughter even put her apron on to help ;) which she loves to help, so it was a win win for everyone. Especially me, family time is my favorite time.

We found a recipe that took advice from all the pros- Emeril, Paula Deen, Ina Garten and Cook’s Illustrated. We also learned that if you soak your raw chicken in a buttermilk brine for hours you will be well rewarded with moist juicy chicken, not dry at all. I also listed the optional ingredients to spice this up. So enough talking here is the delicious recipe, Enjoy!

Fried Chicken Recipe with option of Spicy

Serves 4
Prep time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 3 hours
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Website Smitten Kitchen
This recipe provides amazing fried chicken in your own home. FrenchToasty.com brings you your favorite recipes to prepare for your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lb chicken tenders (Or 1 chicken cut into about 10 pieces, breast cut in half)
  • peanut oil (I just bought one bottle, and used only half)

Brine

  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup kosher salt (you can adjust between 1/4-1/2 cup, we were just under 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Medium garlic heads (mashed)
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar

Batter

  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Batter (Optional)

  • 3-5 tablespoons Hot Sauce (we prefer Franks but use your favorite, to make it spicy)

Coating

  • 3 cups flour

Coating (Optional)

  • 1-2 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder (To make it spicy)

Note

We chose to use chicken tenders, but this recipe is easily adapted to a whole bird, cut each bird into 10 pieces, breast in half and increase fry time to 7 minutes on each side.

Directions

Step 1
Mix brine ingredients in a large bowl. Place the chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate for minimum two hours, we did ours for four. Remove and place on rack to air-dry.
Step 2
Mix batter ingredients and place in a large bowl or pan. Large enough to coat chicken in.
Step 3
Coat chicken with flour, then place in batter. Drain excess batter off chicken and place in flour again and cover. Use tongs to transfer.
Step 4
To fry, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees in a cast-iron skillet. Do not fill the pot more than half full with oil. Place five to six pieces of chicken, skin side down first, in the skillet and cook, covered for four minutes. Turn chicken and cook, uncovered, for another four minutes. Allow the oil to return to 375 degrees F before frying the next batch.
Step 5
Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan, keeping warm in the oven until ready to serve.
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I just had too many pictures that showed the deliciousness so figured what the heck share them all! I served it with my Mayo-Less Dill Potato Salad Recipe

Thanksgiving Herb Crusted Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s by far the best eating holiday. I love everything turkey, dressing, yams and mashed potatoes with gravy. My mouth is literally watering thinking about all this yummy food. I also love all the family getting together, I am very lucky my mother in law has always invited my parents over to her house so I never have to choose where to go, I get all them in one place, minus a few but for the most part everyone. One day I hope to start hosting at my house because I love preparing food for family and decorating my house.

I was so nervous to make my first turkey because you hear horror stories of them being too dry or not cooked enough. I watched lots of videos online and finally came up with one that I liked and I knew that I could do. Alton Brown does an excellent job of explaining the steps, here is the video I watched to help me with my first turkey. I did not brine my turkey like he did but I roasted it for 30 minutes before covering with foil and it turned the most beautiful brown color. You can follow my steps or make your own revisions as you go, but cook it with love and you family will be very thankful for this lovely bird at dinner.

This turkey I made for Christmas 2011 before I started my blog, so I barely have any pictures but I really wanted to get this recipe and method on here for any other first timers this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Herb Crusted Roasted Turkey Recipe

Serves 12
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Thanksgiving
Website Food Network
This roasted herb crust turkey is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas. FrenchToasty.com has lots of Holiday recipes.

Ingredients

  • 14-16lb young turkey (fresh or frozen)

Aromatics

  • 1 red apple (sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 sage leaves
  • canola oil

Herb Crust

  • 1 bunch rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch sage (finely chopped)
  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)
  • kosher salt

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Step 2
Remove insides (discard unless you have another recipe that calls for those) Rinse and pat dry the thawed bird. Place the bird on roasting rack breast side up.
Step 3
Cut your piece of foil before cooking it. Then it's pre-measured for when you need it.
Step 4
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in microwave in a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 5 minutes. Add the steeped aromatics to the turkeys cavity along with the roasemary and sage. Tuck the wings under the bird.
Step 5
Combine the butter, rosemary and sage. Season with salt to taste. Rub under the skin and massage on top of the skin. You can add a little canola oil on the outside if you want. Tie the legs with butchers twine.
Step 6
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes at 500 degrees F. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. (I did not have one so I checked with my meat thermometer at the 2 hour mark and let it cook a little bit longer) A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Step 7
I prefer to cut the whole breast off in one big piece then slice that. Then every slice will get the herbed crust.
Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey

Baked Salmon with Browned Butter Sauce

Salmon with Brown Butter Sauce

Something about salmon reminds me of summer and I love BBQ’ing it but baked salmon is good year round. And since we have salmon at least once a week, we always want to try new recipes, When I came across this one the picture sold me, it looked absolutely delicious. I  altered it a tiny bit but followed it almost to a t.

It is hit and miss whether or not my daughter feels like eating salmon but lately it’s been a major hit. She loved this recipe and liked the sauce to dip her bread in. Kids come up with great ways to eat food, so I of course dipped my pretzel roll in the sauce also and it was great. I hope you enjoy this great new recipe.

Baked Salmon with Browned Butter Sauce

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Fish
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Website Food of Our Lives
This salmon is cooked to perfection and then a browned butter sauce is poured over top. FrenchToasty.com has lots of seafood recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2lb wild salmon filet (skin on)
  • coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Step 1
Lay your piece of salmon skin side down on a baking sheet covered with foil.
Step 2
Drizzle salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Step 3
Put salmon in a cold oven and turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Step 4
While salmon cooks prepare sauce. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook butter until melted and slightly brown, watch closely as to not burn. This only takes a couple minutes.
Step 5
Once the butter is light brown, whisk in flour and then quickly add heavy cream and wine.
Step 6
Stir until slightly thickened and then remove from heat. Add some salt and pepper to taste. It will thicken as it sits, but don't let it sit too long as to not get cold.
Step 7
Remove salmon from oven when moist but flaky, leave skin on foil.
Step 8
Place salmon on serving dish and top with sauce and then sliced onions.
Salmon with Brown Butter Sauce
Salmon with Brown Butter Sauce
Salmon with Brown Butter Sauce
Salmon with Brown Butter Sauce

Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Broccoli

Pesto Pasta

This is a quick and super easy meal and I needed to make a quick dinner tonight so I came up with this delicious dish. I always keep a big batch of pesto in the fridge so I always have some on hand, glad I did because it came in handy tonight.

This pasta is packed with veggies and even better because it’s made with homemade cilantro pesto. I love sun dried tomatoes and I put them in most pastas that I make. I also had left over salmon so I added some and it was a delicious addition. You could also add chicken if you would like, that would be yummy also or leave just as pictured above.

Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Broccoli

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
This Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Broccoli is a quick and easy meal for a week night dinner. FrenchToasty.com has lots of quick recipes for you and your busy family.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 box rotini noodles
  • 1/2lb broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro pesto
  • fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

Optional

  • 1/4lb cooked salmon

Directions

Step 1
Cook pasta according to box.
Step 2
Add broccoli for last two minutes.
Step 3
Drain noodles and then add noodles back to pan. Add sun dried tomatoes and pesto sauce and stir until all piece are covered.
Step 4
Add optional cooked salmon or cooked chicken if you want it.
Step 5
Add fresh shredded Parmesan cheese right before serving.
Pesto Pasta
Pesto Pasta
Pesto Pasta with Salmon

Optional cooked salmon

Homemade Marinara Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Parmesan

When I make spaghetti I usually use a jar of sauce and add spices and vegetables to make it tastier. But this time it was hours until dinner so I thought I’d try to make my own sauce, figured it can’t be that hard. To my surprise it wasn’t hard at all. You just need a few ingredients and a couple hours to let the sauce simmer to get more flavorful. Why not try to make your own sauce, you will know that your family is only getting wholesome ingredients and no preservatives like some jarred sauces can have.

This recipe is very popular with the kids, I mean what kid or adult doesn’t love sucking a spaghetti noodle until it reaches their mouth. This recipe will bring out the kid in you and will bring back memories of being a kid and getting so excited when mom said it was spaghetti night.  It’s always fun to create family traditions so how about once a month dinner/movie night. If you have little ones that enjoy Disney movies you could enjoy this meal with Lady and the Tramp!

I hope your family enjoys this homemade recipe and hope you enjoy creating it.

Homemade Marinara Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Region Italian
Website Skinny Taste
This homemade marinara is better then jarred sauce. FrenchToasty.com has lots of homemade favorites.

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or parsley (or a mixture of both)

Marinara Sauce (Optional)

  • 1 can black olives (sliced in half)
  • 4 mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 Small zucchini (chopped)

Pasta

  • 1 box spaghetti noodles

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1lb ground turkey breast (93% lean or more)
  • 6 saltine crackers (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup Reggiano Parmigiano cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Topping

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Reggiano Parmigiano cheese (fresh grates)

Directions

Marinara Sauce
Step 1
Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat, add garlic and saute for a few minutes until golden brown, watch close to not burn.
Step 2
Add crushed tomatoes to pan and add the bay leaf.
Step 3
Simmer on low for 2 hours. Sauce will thicken a bit. Add optional olives, mushrooms, pepper or zucchini and cook for 5 additional minutes.
Turkey Meatballs
Step 4
In large bowl combine ground turkey, saltines, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients and form small meatballs, about 1/8 cup each in size.
Step 5
Heat large pan on medium heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Cook meatballs on all sides for about 4 minutes on each side until all sides are golden brown and meatballs are cooked all the way through. Drain on paper towel if needed.
Pasta
Step 6
Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside.
Step 7
Serve noodles on plate and top them with marinara and meatballs. Garnish with chopped basil and freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano.
Turkey Meatball
Turkey Meatball Fillings
Turkey Meatball
Turkey meatballs cooking in olive oil
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Spaghetti & Meatballs with Parmesan
Spaghetti & Meatballs with Parmesan and Basil

 

Serving Size 4 meatballs with sauce
Calories 200.4 ~ Fat 8.1 g ~ Carbs 12.6 ~ Fiber 0.6 ~ Protein 17.3 g ~ Sugar 4.4 ~ Sodium 427.5 mg
Caloric Information from recipe source SkinnyTaste

Cilantro and Red Onion Pesto Quesadilla

Mexican is so popular in my area, my city has 4 Mexican restaurants in a 1/2 mile radius. I know that seems crazy, but they are all a little different so they all do great. As much as I love going out to eat, I’ve learned to cook a lot of my favorite dishes at home. With a little one it’s so much easier to eat at home, she can play and be as loud as she wants!  So here is my newest Mexican creation, Enjoy!

Quesadilla

Cilantro and Red Onion Pesto Quesadilla

Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
1 cup Cilantro and Red Onion Pesto
4 flour tortillas
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups cheddar or pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 T olive oil
Toppings:
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup guacamole
1 cup pico de gao
1/2 cup sour cream
hot sauce

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a big pan.
  2. Put tortilla down, lay cheese on half of it and the pesto on the other half.
  3. Add chopped pepper and onions to the side with cheese.
  4. Continue to cook on med-high for a few minutes. Put a few splashes of hot sauce on cheese and pesto. Keep a close eye to make sure to not burn.
  5. Fold quesadilla in half, cut in half or quarters and then add your toppings. Serve immediately if toppings are on other wise place finished quesadilla in oven to keep warm, until ready to serve.
Cilantro Red Onion Pesto Quesadilla
Completed Quesadilla with all the toppings

 

Cilantro Red Onion Pesto
Cilantro Red Onion Pesto