Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Asian Style Cabbage & Chicken Slaw

So lately in our Bountiful Baskets we've been getting a lot of cabbage. I am usually not a big fan of cabbage (I'll eat it but usually only certain ways, and not all that often).  In order to not waste what we had (we'd accumulated 2 heads over a couple of weeks and hadn't used any of it), I decided to make an Asian style slaw with cabbage, carrots, onions, peppers, chicken, and a sesame ginger dressing. It turned out pretty well, and we ate it along side some grilled pineapple and some watermelon spears.

The great thing about this salad is that it keeps pretty well, and actually makes good leftovers. You can kind of mix and match ingredients as you please, so it's versatile, and it's a great option for those hot summer nights when you don't want to use the stove because it's just too dang hot... which was my issue tonight. You can make it ahead of time and stick it in the fridge to eat later.

Anyway, I hope you like it like I did, and maybe find some variations that you might like better. Enjoy!

Asian Style Cabbage & Chicken Slaw

1 small head of cabbage cored, and either shredded or sliced thin with a knife)
3-4 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 white or yellow onion, sliced very thin (I used my salad shooter)
cold water, and 1 tbsp sugar
1 green or red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, minced
a few shakes of ground ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
Sesame Ginger salad dressing (we used the Newman's Own Lite version)

Optional add-ons I didn't have in the kitchen tonight: sliced almonds, crunched dry ramen noodles, those crispy "chow mein" noodle things, peanuts, edamame, snow peas, green onions, celery, radishes...the list goes on.

In a small bowl, put onions in cold water and sprinkle in sugar, let stand for 5-10 minutes.  This takes the bitterness and strong flavor out of the onion and makes it milder and a bit sweeter...learned this trick from my mom.  Also works for radishes and green onions.

In a large bowl (the one you plan to serve in), combine cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and onions (drain them first of course).  Set aside.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, and then stir fry in a skillet or wok.  When the chicken is about halfway cooked, add minced garlic, ground ginger, and soy sauce.  Continue to cook until completely cooked through.  

This part is up to you....Because we used a wok, we just tossed the salad ingredients in with the chicken (in the still hot wok) and tossed it around a bit to combine everything and make sure the slaw got all of the good flavor of the chicken and its juices.  If you don't have a wok, you can just put the hot chicken and its juices into your bowl and quickly stir it so everything coats well and mixes together.  Then add your dressing to taste, toss and serve (or chill in fridge to eat later).

Copy Cat Recipe for Subway Honey Oat Bread

Alright, folks....this is one my husband found online because he wanted me to make him bread to make his sandwiches on for lunches....This was in order to reduce the amount of times he made Subway runs in the middle of his workday, and therefore reduce his lunch spending budget to less than $30 instead of $60 per month.   I of course asked if he would be okay with me buying sub rolls or hoagie rolls from the grocery store, and apparently they aren't good enough and don't work very well.   So we went on a hunt to find a recipe to make this bread which hopefully will solve our problem. (Remember, this is mostly to save money, and I personally happen to have the time, and don't mind baking bread once a week for our family. If you don't have the time or desire, feel free to just buy the hoagie rolls at the store.)

I found the original recipe here, but it was missing some very important details in the directions that you would only notice and know how to do if you were a bread baker to begin with.  I want to tweak it enough that even the most novice bread makers can make this, so it is more fool proof.  Whoever wrote the recipe is possibly great at making bread, but not good at writing recipes.  So I am going to re-write the recipe with a couple of changes in directions (ingredients remain the same) so anyone can make this bread. That is, if you have a desire to make your own subway sandwich rolls. :)

Copy Cat Subway Honey Oat Bread

1 1/2 c bread flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c buttermilk
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar (not enough to sweeten, it's just there to feed the yeast)
1 tsp salt

Topping (if desired)

2 tbsp warmed honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp rolled oats
(Directions: mix together honey and oil. Brush on loaves, sprinkle oats on top when ready to bake)

In a medium bowl, combine flours and salt; set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat buttermilk just until warm. You may need to whisk it as it heats up because it may separate (mine did).  Remember, you don't want it to boil or even bubble, just until it's warm.  Remove from heat and whisk in egg, and then add sugar and yeast.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

In your stand mixer (I have a Kitchen Aid, but a Bosch would work fine.  You can do this by hand but it gets to be a pretty stiff dough so when you add the last half of the flour, you'll need to get rid of your spatula or spoon and knead by hand), slowly add flour mix to the buttermilk mix.  Knead in mixer for 5 minutes, then remove from mixer and hand knead for another 5 minutes.

Spray the inside of your mixer bowl with cooking spray, and then replace dough and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for about an hour to an hour and a half.  It should be double in size when done.

Shape dough into 10 inch loaves/logs (like french bread...don't use a loaf pan), and let rise again. Brush with honey mixture and sprinkle oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

**I'm in the process of figuring out if bread flour is really necessary or if all purpose would do just fine.  The difference between the two flours is the percentage of gluten, which makes the dough more elastic and helps it to rise and be softer.  Bread flour has more gluten.  I plan to make a batch with all purpose flour after making the one with bread flour and seeing if there is a marked difference.  Bread flour does cost more and it's harder to get in large quantities.**

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lion House Rolls

These rolls are a big hit in my husband's family for just about any occasion. They have them every Thanksgiving and Christmas without fail and sometimes they manage to prevail on my husband's mom to make them just randomly throughout the year.  I made them last year for Thanksgiving for my husband since it was our turn to spend it with my family (my family does not have a tradition of rolls, we figure stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, etc. is enough carbs for the day...why add one more?) and ever since making them the first time I have realized how quick and easy they are to make. They are really delicious, and very versatile for pretty much any occasion.

The recipe actually comes from a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City called The Lion House, and is very famous through all of Utah, and the LDS/Mormon community. You'd think that means it's a special secret recipe, but it's actually a pretty standard white roll recipe. It turns out very soft, and it's just a very good go-to roll recipe.

Tonight it served as the pulled pork sandwich roll. I made them slightly over sized this time (Partly on purpose, partly accidentally. They turned out bigger than I had planned.) and they worked very well for our dinner.

So however you decide to serve them, I hope you love them as much as our family does.

Lion House Rolls

2 c warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk
1 egg
2 tsp salt
1/3 c melted butter
1/4 sugar
5 1/2 c all purpose flour

In your stand mixer, combine water and dry milk.  Add yeast and sugar and let stand 3-5 minutes. Blend together using dough hook. Add egg, melted butter, and 2 c of the flour.  Mix the flour in til every thing is wet and then raise the setting to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes.  Add 2 more cups and repeat process. Keep going until all flour is added.

Spray the top of the dough with some cooking spray and then cover with plastic wrap and let raise to double size (takes about 45 minutes).  When risen, spray hands with cooking spray and then make small balls from the dough and place on a baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Should make about 20 rolls, or 12 over sized ones. Let raise again, 20-30 minutes, and then bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

When done baking, brush with butter to keep them from getting hard.  These are delicious warm but also great the next day. Enjoy!

Watermelon Lemonade

This one was something my husband wanted to try since the last few times we've ordered our Bountiful Basket we have gotten those small (dulcinea brand) watermelons, and we had some lemons lying around, so why not try one of the billions of recipes available on Pinterest? It was kind of a "fly by the seat of our pants" recipe, but it turned out fairly well. Accompanied our pulled pork sandwiches and corn very well.

Watermelon Lemonade

1 small watermelon, cut into chunks (Dulcinea sweet I think they're called, they are only a pound or 2 each)
3-4 lemons, juiced
1/2 c sugar or Splenda
1-2 cups water

Blend watermelon chunks in your blender til liquid, and then strain through a sieve to catch the seeds and pulp.  Pour this into a half gallon pitcher.  Add juice from lemons, sugar/Splenda, and water and stir well.  (we added a bit more lemon than the recipe we found suggested, the watermelon we had was pretty sweet and we wanted a bit more tartness to balance it.) Serve chilled or over ice.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I have to admit here, this recipe is not fully homemade because I did use a bottled BBQ sauce.  It wasn't a fancy brand or anything specific, just a honey BBQ flavored sauce.  It's super simple, and the end result was really pretty tasty. It's not the most healthy thing on the planet, but it is actually healthier than some other things out there.   It was a fun little Southern style dinner at our house tonight. (I really should have taken a picture, but there are leftovers, so I might get one up tomorrow.)

My husband came home in the middle of the day today for lunch, and looked inside my crock pot with the thought of "what the heck is my wife thinking? This pork looks weird!" and by the time he came home for dinner about 5 hours later he was pleasantly surprised with the end result. So even though this may sound strange in the beginning, hold out and see what it turns into, you won't be disappointed.

Without further ado, here's the recipe, and I hope you like it as much as we did.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 1/2 lb pork loin roast (you could use shoulder, but those tend to be huge)
1/2 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 c water
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp cajun seasoning (if your sauce is already a bit spicy I would cut this in half, mine was very mild)

In the morning of the day you want to make this, place fully thawed pork roast in your crock pot along with the BBQ sauce and water. Set your crock pot to the low setting for 7.5-8 hours.

About 6 hours into the cooking, add your brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and cajun seasoning.  The pork should fall apart when you poke it with a fork.  Use the fork to break "pull" it into smaller pieces and stir everything around so the sauce coats all of the pork shreds. Continue to let it cook (covered) so it absorbs all of the flavor of the sauce, until your timer ends (total cooking time should be roughly 8 hours).

If not fully shredded  by the time it's done, make sure the bigger pieces are pulled to smaller pieces.  Serve hot on a hamburger bun or a roll of some kind, or just bread. I made some homemade rolls for it and it turned out fabulous.

Some people like to also serve with pickles, mayo, even cheese. Up to you if you do that, we liked it just fine on it's own. I've also heard of some people putting coleslaw on top of the pork in the sandwich. At this point it's kind of whatever you prefer.  Enjoy!