Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wonton Wrappers: Homemade Recipe, Asian Wonton Salad Toppers and Dessert Wontons

Wonton Wrappers Recipe
Special Ingredient: Wonton Wrappers, chosen by Jasmine

So, I actually was an overachiever with this one by a lot! First, I made my own wonton wrappers. This was NOT by choice. I simply could not find them in my grocery store. As I was making them the recipe stated they needed to be rolled out very thinly. I was not looking forward to this prospect, but Jasmine had the bright idea of using a pasta machine. Brilliant!

With my wonton dough I made two recipes. Since the salad topper recipe wouldn't use much of the dough, I decided to also make dessert wontons. Here they are side by side. I used the the linguine side of my pasta machine to cut the salad topper wontons perfectly. The dessert ones are a little wonky.  

Salad topper wontons. 

Dessert wontons finished! They were delicious. The biggest problem was they were SO hot and I wanted to eat them so badly, I may have burned myself several times. But it was worth it! 

And the salad toppers;

Great crunch and fun addition to a salad. In the future, I'll probably just buy them though. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Wonton Wrappers: Giant Ravioli!

One of my favorite cooking tips from How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart comes from the weeknight Italian section. She suggests using wonton wrappers to make freeform lasagna and giant ravioli! While it's a little labor intensive, it's worth it!

My filling this time was spinach and ricotta, but I've done all cheese and wild mushroom as well. I kind of winged it (and it was kind of four months ago) (holy cow), so I don't really have a recipe, but once you make your filling, you plop about a tablespoon onto the middle of one wonton wrapper. Dip a finger into a bowl of water (my kids loved helping with this part!) and wet the sides of the wonton wrapper. Place another wonton wrapper on top, pushing out extra air and sealing the edges of the wonton wrappers together. Boil in a shallow pan of water for 3-5 minutes.

Pam Anderson suggests serving them topped with a little bit of the starchy pasta water, olive oil, Parmesan and pepper, which is a tasty sauce; my husband tends to prefer marinara. Both are good!

I have to add a suggestion: if you make a huge batch like I did, don't stack them into multiple layers. Even with oil between the layers, they'll get stuck. But hey, then it's basically lasagna, right?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Agave: refreshing fruit slush bowls

This recipe comes from my good friend Queen Emily. She served this to me once as a dessert while we were visiting her house, and I loved it!

1 pint of strawberries (I think?)
4 medium pink grapefruit
3 bananas
Agave to taste

Slice strawberries and banana into a bowl. Cut peel off grapefruit and section into supremes over the bowl, allowing the juice to collect in the bowl along with the sections. Squeeze the juice out of the leftover pulp into the bowl and discard the pulp. Add agave liberally to taste and toss. Divide into four Tupperware containers and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until mostly frozen. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Agave: BBQ Sauce

I had no idea what to do with agave nectar since you can do so much with it. Sounds backward but that was the predicament I was in. I looked on Dominosugar.com endlessly since they had a ton of agave recipes. And I found one that worked! Of course I had to tweek it to my liking though.

1/4 c Agave nectar
2 c Ketchup
1 c Water
1 tbsp Hot sauce (my husband prefers Tabasco)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp White vinegar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Soy sauce
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 tbsp Flour
1/4 c Butter (cubed)

Combine flour with 2 tbsp of water to create a sort of flour roux. I didn't try it but a butter and flour roux probably would've worked just as well, maybe even better. Set this aside.

In a saucepan (I used a pot, I thought it worked well for the quantity made) over low-medium heat combine everything EXCEPT the flour roux and butter. Stir and allow that to simmer for 10 minutes. Next, whisk flour mixture into the sauce. Allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Simmer for 10 more minutes! Then it's ready to serve.

(I forgot to take a picture of the actual sauce so you'll just have to enjoy it on these ribs!)

 Agave BBQ Sauce on Baby Back Ribs:

Place ribs in slow cooker around the bowl so they curve around slightly, bone side facing in. Slather that with BBQ sauce. I mean slather those puppies up! Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Using a large spoon, ladle the sauce back onto the ribs every couple of hours. Serve hot!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Agave: Creamy Avocado Citrus Salad Dressing

Creamy Avocado Citrus Salad dressing--Special Ingredient: Agave, chosen by Brooke

The original recipe calls for honey, but I substituted agave instead. It was a yummy, zippy and thick dressing. I probably wouldn't make it again just for myself (since my husband has a bit of an aversion to avocado after food poisoning) but I enjoyed it.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tomatillo cucumber salad with agave sweetened dressing

I like getting lots of bang for my buck. I made one meal with 3 out of the 5 ingredients in it and another with the other 2.
For the salad portion of the meal, I made a salad Ben and I really liked! I removed the seeds from one peeled cucumber and diced it into small cubes. I diced 2-3 tomatillos to a similar size. I chopped some baby spinach leaves and tossed it together. I made a dressing out of red wine vinegar for the acidic taste, olive oil for the consistency, and agave for sweetness. It just took a little dressing, maybe a few tablespoons of each ingredient.

The salad tasted very fresh and crunchy. I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tomatillo: Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch

If you've ever visited the Mountain West you may have seen Cafe Rio. If you were wise you stopped in for their amazing Mexican food. If not, I'm sorry. I've never done anything with tomatillos before so I decided to give Cafe Rio's ranch a try.

2 Tomatillos
1/2 bunch Cilantro
1 medium Jalapeno (remove seeds for less heat)
1 Ranch packet
1 c Milk
1 clove Garlic minced
1 tsp Lime juice
1 c Mayonaisse
1/4 c Sour cream (optional)

Cut up tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeno. Mince garlic. Since I'm a wimp in the spicy department (see my Butter Chicken post!), I removed all the seeds from the jalapeno. I used my handy dandy food processor (cut the cutting and mincing down significantly) and I'm sure a good blender would work as well. First combine all produce. Turn on food processor for 30-60 seconds. Repeat until everything is chopped nicely. Add milk and lime juice. Pulse a few times. Add mayo and ranch packet. Blend until smooth and mixed well. It will be thick!

The only picture I took of the dressing on its own. It doesn't look super appetizing in the picture but it was so good!

Substitutions: I didn't have a full cup of mayo so I just added in some sour cream and it worked well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tomatillos: "Cafe Rio" style sweet chicken/pork

This is the one ingredient from the challenge that I did get a chance to make! This was a big hit in our family. I got the recipe from my husband's side who eat this regularly, especially when the family is all together. It is really simple!

"Cafe Rio" style chicken/pork
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salsa verde (that has tomatillos)
1 1/2-2 lbs chicken or pork

This recipe is so easy and it can be made a variety of ways. You can cook the sauce with the raw chicken/pork or pour it over the cooked meat and let it simmer for a bit. I usually shred the meat in my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment.

I serve it with shredded cheese, lettuce, cilantro rice (similar), and cilantro ranch (similar) on warm tortillas.  


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tomatillos: Roasted Salsa Verde and Salsa Verde Chicken Quinoa (or rice)

Salsa Verde Chicken Quinoa
Roasted Salsa Verde
Special Ingredient: Tomatillos, chosen by Me!

I chose tomatillos for my special ingredient. I have made several things with tomatillos but wanted to stretch myself and branch out. I found a recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken with Quinoa. I don't love quinoa and so I just used rice. The recipe calls for homemade roasted salsa verde, which was pretty fun to make. Then you just bake it all together. The original recipe didn't call for cheese on top, but I thought it needed it.

I also served it with blue corn chips, fresh grape tomatoes and a sprinkle of cilantro. It was a good, easy dinner. However, I think I like my other tomatillo recipes better. (Our Best Bites' chili verde pork--only in their cookbook but AMAZING).

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tomatillos: Charred Tomatillo, Chicken & Broccoli Salad

I've only ever used tomatillos in salad dressing, but I was excited to give them a chance to star. I adapted a recipe from EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners Cookbook when I read that tomatillos are great charred. The cookbook had a charred tomato salad, so I made it into a charred tomatillo salad.

4 c broccoli florets
1 lb tomatillos (smaller is better, I'm told)
2 tsp + 3 Tbps extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder (I omitted this)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 14-oz cans chunk chicken

1. Bring about 1" of water to boil in a large pot. Add broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

2. Peel off leaves and rinse them. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil. Cook in a heavy pan over high heat until charred. Remove from heat and quarter. Do not clean the pan.

3. Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar (watch out for spatter when adding liquid). Stir, scraping up any brown bits.

4. Break up chicken, and combine tomatillos, broccoli, and chicken. Pour pan sauce over. Serve warm or cold.

This was kind of acidic for me. If you like tomatillo flavor, you might like this, but we . . . didn't.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tomatillos Food Challenge!

So when Jasmine gave the us the cooking challenge, I wanted to pick an item that was fresh and in season for summer, but not something we were all familiar with. Fresh summer produce makes me think of corn on the cob, tomatoes, and watermelon but those were so familiar! I finally settled on

Wayward Challenge logo with product photo by Craig Cloutier on Flickr via CC


My sisters and mom told me this was a little more challenging for them. I'm pretty familiar with tomatillos but not everyone is, so here is a little about them:

Tomatillos look like a green tomato in a wrapper, that's called the husk. Husks should be removed before cooking or eating. The tomatillo's skin is sometimes a little sticky under the husk so I usually rinse them. Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking, roasting, or blanching helps to enhance its flavor. Most salsas verde (green salsas) contain tomatillos. When selecting tomatillos at the grocery store, look for them to be about the same size, and green. A yellow hue means they are overripe. Can't wait to see how everyone used tomatillos!

The mama tries Indian food

I am not a fan of curry. To me Indian food = curry, so I wasn't anxious to try it out. I also was feeling less than adventurous, so I decided to just look in the small international food section of Food Lion and see what was there. I was definitely looking for something without curry. I thought I hit on it when I saw this:
I didn't see curry listed in the ingredients and it said "Just add meat or chicken."

I tried it, (with a side of orzo risotto, I might add!)
I would give it a 2 on a 1-10 scale. I just didn't like it. I tried it, but it wasn't to my taste. Ben didn't like it much either, but Kevan did! He ate the leftovers and took the rest of the sauce home, too.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Indian: Butter Chicken

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Uh, Jaime already did butter chicken!" Well, I did a much lazier edition of butter chicken! I didn't have half the spices the recipe called for and the bulk spice section in our small grocery store didn't help either. Luckily, the Asian aisle did!

1 Chicken Breast
1 Packet Butter Chicken Paste
4 tbsp Butter

2 c Rice optional

 See? Lazy.

   So, really all I did was combine the paste with butter, let that cook for 15 minutes then added the chicken. It was pretty easy so I tried making Naan bread. Well, that didn't turn out very well so we'll just leave that wayward moment out of the post!

   I served the butter chicken on top of rice and served it with bread and salad. It was very spicy for me! Like so spicy I could barely finish. My husband served an LDS mission in Australia and was able to meet a lot of Indian immigrants. He was served a lot of spicy Indian dishes so he was used to both the strong flavor and spices and enjoyed it quite a bit! This is something I think I'd have to make from scratch next time to tone down the spicy level!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Indian: Naan Pizza

So I'm embarrassed to say that I barely participated in this challenge! I had huge plans and I guess the impending birth of my newest baby girl (Oh yeah! Guess what I had another baby girl and she is amazing!) and tons of other stresses, I just fell short! So here are some pins of what I wanted to make. 

My husband and I don't especially care for Indian food so I thought of a way that we could tweak a traditional Indian food to be something a little more our speed. The last time we went to an Indian food restaurant we had some delicious naan bread. I thought I could make naan into pizza and I wasn't the first one with this idea!

Here are some of the recipes I found that look delicious!

Pizza #1
Pizza #2 I love barbecue chicken pizza!
Pizza #3 The chunks of mozzerella look amazing on this one. It reminds me of the prosciutto pizza I posted a while back.

Indian Food: Best Butter Chicken

Best Butter Chicken  Special Type of Food: Indian, chosen by Jordan

My husband loves Indian food. I suspect that was a strong factor in his choosing to go to India on an MBA school trip a few years ago. He has made some amazing Indian food at home so it's a little intimidating for me. I found this recipe for Butter Chicken aka Tikka Masala. It turned out delicious. This was one of the best things I made and opened me up to making more Indian food.

When I told my husband I made the recipe for the challenge he said, "Oh. I thought you made it for me because you know I love Indian food," HA! Well since then I've made a lot more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Indian: Chicken Korma

I wanted to recreate my Indian restaurant experience at home, so I found a recipe for the dish I had: Chicken Korma. This particular recipe requires a bit of work and ingredient coordination—and salt, since the recipe doesn't call for any—but it's very tasty. (You may want to increase the spices or heat; we omitted all heat from ours.)

I wish you had smell-o-vision right now. The wok has the spices below (1 tsp each) plus an onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 2 bay leaves in oil. (The blender has 1/2 c half and half, 1/2 c plain yogurt and 1/3 c cashews soaked in 1/3 c boiling water.)

Add three chicken breasts, cubed, to the wok and cook for five minutes. Add 1 c chicken broth and 1/4 c tomato sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Add blender mixture and simmer 15 minutes more.

Add a slurry of 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp water and cook to desired thickness.

Serve over rice!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Indian cuisine challenge!

Jordan picked . . . .
Indian cuisine!

We recently tried a new Indian restaurant near our house, and it was fantastic! I wanted to try more Indian cuisine at home, so I knew right away what I wanted to do when Jasmine suggested this idea! So keep your eyes out for yummy Indian recipes this week!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cooking Challenge Introduction

Hey, all! Jasmine here! I watch a lot of Netflix. Let me repeat, I watch A LOT of Netflix. But I run out of shows and search endlessly for new ones. A couple months ago I found "The Next Food Network Star" and LOVED it. On one of the episodes each contestant was given an uncommon ingredient and they had to make something with it. This gave me an idea. What if us (wayward) girls did something similar? I thought about this for a while before sharing the idea with my sisters and mom. I pitched them my idea and all were in.

Here's the challenge:

Each of us choose one ingredient or cuisine. We share this with each other. Everyone can choose to make something out of the challenge foods chosen within the given month. At the end of the month we all share with each other what we made!

This is a fun challenge to participate in. I don't know about everyone else, but for me I was getting tired of cooking the same old meals over and over. This, in theory, was a way to challenge our culinary skills, broaden our experiences, and try new things.
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