April 2 to 8

This week was very interesting since I really got to try and make some recipes that I have never made. I wanted to find a healthier version of Ginger Beef and I did, it was so good, not overly saucy, and it was fried in a pan instead in grease. I also attempted Mac and Cheese again, and again failed since there was zero flavour again, sad face. I made this amazing Lemon Chicken that was so good, love it. Then I got a chance to try and make Flank Steak, it was very expensive so I really didn’t want to mess is up, and in turn it tasted amazing but didn’t stay as hot as I would have liked. 

 

April 2 - Bacon Cheddar Hot Dogs

This was a great concept, but poor execution. Wrapping bacon around hot dogs and baking them in the oven was a great idea until I realized that the bacon was not cooking all the way through so in the end we had to take the bacon off the hot dogs. I don’t know if I would ever make this again since it was such a fail. 

  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 thick slices cheddar, cut into 1/2" strips
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 4 buns
  • 1 green onion, sliced (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
  • Ketchup, for serving
  • Mustard, for serving
  1. Slice hot dogs in half lengthwise. Place strips of cheddar inside the dogs and wrap with bacon.
  2. Heat a large skillet on high heat and cook the hot dogs, turning frequently so that all sides become crispy.
  3. Serve in a bun with toppings of your choice.

 

April 3 - Ginger Beef

I used a sirloin roast and sliced it thin, I marinated over night since I believed that it would soak into the meat. I believe it did help. Then I also cooked the meat on the stovetop with the additional sauce, then I made even more sauce so that it resembled more of a ginger beef. The flavour really soaked into the meat and it was so good. I also made fried rice to go with the meat since I didn’t really have a plan for additions with this meal. Everyone really enjoyed this meal, and I love that I was able to find a healthier version. 

Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes (I didn't use this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Beef & Stir Fry

  • 1 1/2 lb top sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
  • 3-4 green onions, cut
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 hot chilis, sliced (I didn't use this)
  • 1-inch nob of ginger, peeled, cut
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro (I didn't use this)
  1. Chill the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes before you slice it, this will make it easier to cut in thin slices. Slice the steak first crosswise in 1/2-inch thick slices. The cut each slice lengthwise into strips.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients; the soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, honey, red chile flakes, and cumin. Mix the beef in with the marinade to coat and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours, in the fridge.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok (vegetable oil plus dark sesame oil if using), or a large sauté pan, over high heat until it is nearly smoking. As the oil is heating up, pat the beef dry and separate it into small batches no larger than what can fit into the palm of your hand. Working in batches, sauté beef until just brown outside but rare inside, no more than 1 minute. Transfer beef to a bowl.
  5. When all of the beef is cooked, put the chiles and garlic into the pan and stir-fry 30-45 seconds. Add the julienned ginger and cook for 30-45 seconds more.
  6. Add the beef back to the pan. Add the cornstarch slurry. Add the scallions and mix everything together. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Turn the heat off and mix in the cilantro. Serve at once with steamed white rice.

 

April 4 - Vanilla Donuts

Since I succeeded in making the Lemon Donuts, I thought I would try and make Vanilla Donuts with Coconut glaze. I put coconut flakes into the batter which made it taste really good. Making the Coconut glaze I used coconut extract that didn’t really work, then I was going to try and make it with a coconut alcohol and it didn’t work. So I made a normal vanilla glaze with it. These were a much denser donut and I found it heavy. Still tasted really good. I will continue to try and make some other kinds of donuts. 

Donuts

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces Greek yogurt (sour cream may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or to taste 
  • a few drops of food coloring, optional and as needed for desired shade
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk, or as necessary for consistency

Donuts – 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 6-count non-stick donut pan and one mini muffin pan with cooking spray, or grease the pans; set aside. Alternatively, use the pans you have available including mini donuts, full-size muffins, etc. and adjusting baking times accordingly.
  2. To a large bowl, add the the egg, sugar, Greek yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, optional food coloring, and whisk to combine. 
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and fold with spatula or stir gently with a spoon until just combined; don’t overmix.
  4. Turn batter out into prepared pans, filling each cavity about 3/4 full. I dollop the batter into the donut pan with a spoon but you can transfer to a large ziptop back, seal, cut one of the corners with a scissors, and pipe into the pans if that’s easier. For the donut holes, I use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop filled with about 1 heaping tablespoon batter.
  5. Bake for about 13 to 16 minutes, or until donuts and donut holes are cooked through, set, and springy to the touch. The donuts baked for 15 minutes and donut holes for 14 minutes in my oven but all pans, climates, ovens, how full the pans are filled, etc. vary so bake until done. Allow donuts and donut holes to cool in the pans while you make the glaze.

Glaze – 

  1. To a small bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar and slowly drizzle in the milk while whisking until smooth and combined. You may need to play with the sugar and milk amounts slightly as necessary for desired consistency and flavor.
  2. Dip the top of each donut and donut hole in glaze and allow to cool momentarily before enjoying. Donuts and donut holes are best warm and fresh but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days.

 

April 5 - Stovetop Mac and Cheese

I didn’t want to bake the Mac and Cheese so I made it stovetop, I used two-three times the amount of spices that they said to place into the mix and it didn’t seem to work and I was really sad that there was no flavour yet again. Next time I really don’t know how to make it taste that much better. I feel like I am just allowed to make Kraft Dinner and never try and make y own kind of Mac and Cheese. 

  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni shells
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (not skim)
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a generous sprinkling of salt the pasta. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a skillet or pot large enough to hold the pasta when it's done.
  2. Add the flour and stir over medium heat until the mixture is lightly browned; 1-2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk to remove any lumps and add the salt and pepper.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. About 6 minutes. Stir in the cheese and whisk until smooth and melted. Turn off the heat.
  4. When the pasta is almost done but still firm, drain it and add to the sauce.
  5. Stir the pasta into the sauce and bake in a greased 2 quart dish (or an 8x8 pan works pretty well) 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbly. You can also skip baking it if you want it super creamy and just put it under the broiler to brown the top (keep an eye on it) and then serve.

 

April 6 - One Pan Lemon Chicken

These kind of meals are always amazing since you literally make everything on the one sheet and then place it in the oven. I got to make the chicken on slices of lemon which I feel like it made the chicken a little bitter because when you bake lemon slices it actually turns a little bitter. Overall though I seasoned everything with Lemon Pepper and some Dill and I think I almost had to much lemon and it was over powering. I was excited about the flavours of this meal. 

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 pound trimmed green beans 
  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 chicken breasts
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
  3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

 

April 7 - Coconut Pudding

This lovely recipe was recommended by a friend of mine so I decided to make it. So delicious. I never thought of making pudding with whipped cream blended in, it really makes the pudding light and fluffy. I used Nilla cookies to make the crust layer in between the layers of pudding and coconut. This was such a great summer dessert even though we have had so much snow. I will make this again with toasted coconut just to see how it would be. 

  • 1 bag shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 instant coconut pudding (I used Vanilla Pudding)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box of vanilla wafers
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together powdered pudding mix, milk, and condensed milk until smooth. Let sit for 3 minutes. In a large bowl, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into pudding mix, until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl (or 8 individual mason jars) assemble the pudding. First, lay 1/3 of vanilla wafers across bottom of bowl. Top with 1/3 of coconut. Cover with 1/3 of pudding mixture. Continue with 2 more layers, reserving a little coconut to use as garnish.
  3. In a large bowl (or 8 individual mason jars) assemble the pudding. First, lay 1/3 of vanilla wafers across bottom of bowl. Top with 1/3 of coconut. Cover with 1/3 of pudding mixture. Continue with 2 more layers, reserving a little toasted coconut to use as garnish.

 

April 8 - Garlic-Ginger Flank Steak

I was so nervous about making this meal since I had never made flank steak before and I have never used my Cast Iron Skillet. I was so excited and nervous. I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper with some oil and then you literally place the steak into the very hot skillet, it is terrifying, there is spitting oil and lots of smoke. The recipe said to cook it for 3 minutes on either side, but I left in on longer. As soon as it was done, I took it off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes like it said, but it cooled right off, so the meat was not as hot as I would have wished it to be. I also made wilted spinach to add additional flavour to the steak. The meal itself was delicious, just wish it would have stayed hotter. 

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (I didn't use this)
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2–2 lb. flank steak
  • kosher salt 1 tbsp. plus
  • 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. fresh spinach
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, divided (I didn't use this)
  1. In the bowl of a mini food processor, add chopped garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, white vinegar and pepper. Pulse until well blended. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat bring sauce to a boil and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse and pat steak dry with a paper towel. Season generously with salt and pepper; rub with olive oil. When cast-iron pan is very hot and smoking add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Cook steak on high heat, 3 minutes per side. Remove and transfer to plate, cover loosely with foil to rest.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat add remaining tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic. Add spinach and stir until leaves are wilted, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reheat sauce and stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Slice steak across the grain into 1/2" slices and serve with garlic-ginger sauce over spinach. Garnish with remaining cilantro.