Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Cook Steak on Day 2

One day this week (per the request of my husband) I cooked a 4-lb Angus Steak for him.  Since I am not a huge fan of steak.. there was definitely a lot of meat leftover.  I don't know about you but, some times leftovers are really boring. 

Here is a fun way to dress up a dull steak or beef leftover!

Teriyaki Ginger Steak Stir-fry
- Half or full head of green cabbage
- 1 or 2 lbs of leftover steak meat (sliced or cubed)
- 1 medium size sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 TBSP of minced ginger
- 1 or 2 TBSP of fresh squeezed orange juice (optional: try adding the zest too)
- 2 or 3 TBSP of Teriyaki sauce (start out with 2, you can always add more)
- 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (or if you have sesame oil, I would suggest using that instead.. it will really enhance the flavors)
- 1 TBSP sesame seeds
- Salt and Pepper to taste

I started by slicing and then cubing the cabbage, onion and steak.  I wanted all the pieces to be of similar size so that it cooks evenly.  In a separate bowl combine the ginger, orange juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and only 1/2 TBSP of the olive oil.  Whisk the sauce until completely combined.  (And then try not to spill half of it onto the floor like I did. Oops!)  If you have a wok or large saute pan, use that - you will need a lot of room.  Add 1/2 TBSP of olive oil to the wok at a medium-high heat.  Add the onions.  Constantly stir the vegetables to avoid burning - especially if you are using a wok.  Add the cabbage after the onions become slightly translucent and soft.  Stir the onions and cabbage for a minute and then add the steak.  Continuing stirring the ingredients and add the teriyaki ginger sauce combination after the cabbage is soft and steak is warm.  Add the sesame seeds right at the end.  Serve and enjoy.

Oh my goodness!  Have you ever put food into your mouth and have one of those moments that requires you to close your eyes and loudly express "Yum"?  Wow.  I guarantee that you will love this.

If you are not a fan of cabbage, that's okay.  Dump some teriyaki on it and I promise that you won't even know that you are eating cabbage.  Delicious!  I almost forgot that I was eating steak.

A great choice of a side dish would be steamed jasmine rice (on the side only).  You can also add other vegetables to this dish.  I would suggest trying snap peas or bok choy.

Altogether this meal cost about $10 to make.  And it's so much healthier and quicker than calling for chinese take-out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stuffed Red Pepper = Fail

My food journey of 2011 has begun!

Over the last 2 weeks, my husband and I have been very busy traveling and have not had the opportunity for quality food time.  But earlier in the week, I wanted to try creating some stuffed peppers.

The first time I ever tried a stuffed pepper was at a Serbian restaurant in Milwaukee when I was 16 years old.  I do not remember the details of each ingredient but, I can remember it being very tender, sweet, and popping with herb flavors.

My stuffed pepper was meant to be time-friendly, delicious and inexpensive.  Due to my lack of a culinary degree.. I did not make the most educated attempt at stuffing these peppers.  After cutting the peppers into halves, I then filled them with ground chicken, sauteed onions, fennel seed, garlic and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Adding stewed tomatoes and rice to the mixture would have made a greater impression on our taste buds.

Trust me... the dish was still very enjoyable.  Plus, it did not require any utensils other than the 2 that God attached to our bodies.  I know that I am capable of creating something that packs more flavor and reflects my abilities more proudly. 

Next time, I will conduct a little culinary research and perhaps find some tips on great ingredients for the typcial stuffed pepper.  Nothing wrong with getting a little direction!

How would I rate it?

Flavor - 5
Originality - 4
Fun Meter - 5

Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Your Average Fish Taco

Alright, if you happen to be the adventurous food type and do not hold a hatred for seafood.. then this blog is for you.  Have you ever tried a fish taco?

I know many people that feel as though food doesn't need to be messed with and certain foods just don't go together.  I disagree with that statement.  German potato salad mixed with taco sauce does not work well together, pickles and ice cream do not work well together (unless you're feeding for 2).  Personally, I think that putting a fish fillet into a tortilla shell is an absolute genius idea.  I've even tried Shrimp Tacos... I recommend that as well.

Well, as promised.. here's my version of a fish taco that I hope you will love.

Chipotle Tilapia Taco's
- 3 to 4 tilapia fillets
- 1/2 cup of rice (I used jasmine rice because prefer the flavor but you can use what ever you have on hand)
- 1 TBSP of Red & Green Bell Pepper - minced
- 1/2 of a medium onion - sliced
- 1 TBSP of Galena Street Rub (or 1/4 tbsp Cayenne pepper and 1/2 tbsp paprika)
- 1 tomato - diced
- Shredded lettuce
- Flour tortillas (amount depending on how many people you are feeding - Fajita size tortillas are best)
- Kraft Chipotle Mayo - desired amount applied to the taco
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Shredded Cheese (use what ever your preference - I recommend an easy melting cheese)

In a baking dish, layer the tilapia fillets over the top of a bed of sliced onions (this will roast the onion, take away the crunch and make it sweet).  Sprinkle the Galena Street Rub to the fish - add salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes.  In a medium sauce pan, steam the rice - half way through the cooking.. add the red and green diced bell pepper (hint: Penzey's Spices has dried bell pepper that plump when cooked.. it's so much easier).  When the tilapia is done baking.. take 2 forks and pull in opposite direction of each other to shred the fish.  Add the rice to the pan or to a separate bowl with the fish.  Combine.

Spread a thin layer of the Kraft Chipotle Mayo to a warmed flour tortilla.  Using the mayo was my quick and easy way of adding a kick of flavor to the tacos.  Over the mayo, add a layer of the fish and rice mixture.  Add what ever toppings you would like... tomato, lettuce, cheese.   Serve and enjoy!  

This is the fish and rice combination.

Ready to eat!

As I said in my previous blog post, if you are not a fan of fish or seafood... then go ahead and skip reading this.  We all have different preferences and I like to eat and create unique dishes.  But I promise you that if you enjoy eating baked fish AND if you like eating regular tacos... then it is very possible that you will enjoy this dish.  Keep an open mind and give it a try.  :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stone Cellar vs. Botanas Fish Tacos

This week, my husband and I went to one of our favorite restaurants and brewery in Appleton.  In fact, my husband is part of the beer club there.  Stone Cellar Brewpub has fantastic food and very delicious home-made beer and wine.  If you don't drink.. you're in luck!  Stone Cellar also makes their own and very unique root beer.  I recommend it.

My choice for an entree that night was the Baja Fish Taco.  It was probably one of the best fish tacos that I ever ate.  The only other memorable fish taco that I've eaten was at Botanas Mexican Cuisine when I lived in Milwaukee.  Both versions of the fish taco were prepared differently and were served with condiments, seasoning and vegetable.

So what does a foodie do?  Inspired by both versions of the fish taco.. I naturally decided to combine them and make my own!

Botanas makes their fish taco in a very authentic Mexican style.  I believe they use a tilapia fillet and it can be breaded or grilled.  They also add red and green bell peppers and onion.  On the side is spanish rice, an absolutely refreshing serving of guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and salsa.

Stone Cellar seemed to take an American approach on the fish taco.  This taco came with a breaded fish fillet, served with a healthy dose of cheddar cheese, lettuce and baja sauce.  YUM!  It was so fresh and the sauce had the perfect kick of spice.  I would definitely order that again.

Tomorrow I will bring you the recipe for my version of fish tacos.  Love it or hate it... this puts a different spin on the typical ground meat taco.  Here is a teaser until the morning..... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Harmony in the Cafe

Downtown Appleton has a variety of places to eat, drink and hang out.  One of my favorite lunch spots is definitely the Harmony Cafe (take a look at the menu).

One of the best things about the Cafe is that they offer sandwich options for everyone - vegan, vegetarian, meat... they got it!  I also enjoy sipping a latte while waiting for my sandwich order to come up.  My only complaint about the Cafe is that they have forgotten my order more than once and I've had to wait a bit longer.  Not the end of the world though.

If you are in the downtown area and looking for a healthy sandwich, I would recommend the Presto Pesto or the Durkee Street Wrap.  Yum!!  The hummus has an excellent flavor in the Street Wrap.  The Pesto sandwich also has a very nice grilled flavor but without any meat.  If you are looking for something with meat, I would suggest trying the Southwest Chicken Wrap.  This sandwich still offers a healthy option of chicken while giving it a kick of spiciness.

Try one of these sandwiches today!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Food Journey of 2011

Although I do not believe in making a "New Years resolution".. I do believe in healthy change or improvement.  I think it's perfectly acceptable to set a reachable goal that becomes a habit and not a chore.  So, I will practice what I preach.

I always strive to make new recipes and attempt to cook something that I have not tried before.  The purpose of my blog is, of course, to do all of this on a limited budget that won't take 5 hours to prepare.  I will maintain the budget and quick-fix meals while also trying new dishes.  So this is my change of 2011... I am stepping out of comfort zone and my readers will be invited to read about this journey.

This means stepping away from one-pot meals, creating deserts (I don't bake, keep this in mind), finding unique sides or meats, and learning from it all.  Through this new food journey I will likely make mistakes and I will share my failures. The point of all of this is not to stray away from the main goal but to also learn something in this process.

So, wish me luck as I set out on this new journey.  New ingredients, new ideas, new dishes.  Are you ready?  :)

As always, your tips and suggestions are welcome.  I invite you to leave a comment below.

Happy New Year, readers.  May God bless you in this new year.