Thursday, March 29, 2012

Serving Up {Beef}: Bolgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)

I had a completely different post ready to go until I realized that of the eleven posts done in the month of March, seven of them were breakfast recipes.  The other four were treats.  Time to post at least one real meal recipe for the month.  And what a terrific recipe this is!

To think that as recently as January, I had never eaten Bolgogi Beef!  My sister-in-law lived in Korea for 18 months and during her most recent visit to Portland she introduced me to Bolgogi - first in the form of her leftovers from Korean take-out and the next day we had it wrapped up in a Koi-Fusion burrito.  Yum!  Since that weekend of enlightenment I have ordered it at a crepery served in a savory crepe, I have made a homemade version and I have returned to Koi-Fusion for another bolgogi burrito.  I guess I realized that I have been missing out and have just been making up for lost time!  

Bolgogi is a marinated Korean BBQ Beef.  Don't let it's ethnic origin intimidate you - it's really easy to make at home and my kids love it.  Serve it over sticky rice, with a side of kimchi (purchase at an asian market), and you are set!

BULGOGI (Korean BBQ Beef)     
(recipe from Leesh & Lu’s Recipe Box)
printable version

1 - 1 ½ lbs rib-eye or round steak, thinly sliced
1/4 of a medium yellow onion, halved and sliced into medium moon shaped slivers
1/3 cup of soy sauce
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, finely sliced
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced

Combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, green onions, sesame seed, red pepper, black pepper and ginger; whisk until most of the sugar has dissolved. Add beef and onion slices and massage the marinade with your hands into each slice of beef. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, although 4-6 hours is preferred.

To pan fry, place a few slices of beef in single layers and in a hot oiled frying pan and fry each side until cooked. Some people prefer to cook the bulgogi until some of the edges have turned dark brown and crispy.

Serve with a bowl of hot sticky rice, and kimchi.
Another great way to eat bulgogi is to wrap bulgogi, rice, and kimchi in a leaf of lettuce. Ssam-jang (find at Korean store) mixed with just a little bit of honey is also a great sauce to dip bulgogi in.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: French Toast Casserole

This upcoming weekend is General Conference for the LDS church, which means that we don't attend our normal church meetings and we are able to view messages from our church leaders that are broadcast over the television or internet (here).  We have conference two times a year and they are my very favorite Sundays.  To hear wonderful spiritual messages while wearing my pajamas - it just doesn't get any better than that :)  With a Sunday morning session of conference and another Sunday afternoon session, many people have a yummy brunch between sessions.  I know that is the plan at our home.

If you are looking to plan a brunch menu for Conference Sunday or for Easter Sunday the following week, or you are just looking for an unbelievably delicious French Toast recipe...look no further!  I was introduced to this recipe recently at a baby shower and I totally went back for seconds!  Oh my!  This recipe involves cubing bread, sprinkling it with a cinnamon mixture and then soaking it in an egg mixture.  But to take it to the next level there is an added layer of cream cheese and when it is all done baking you pour a delicious buttermilk syrup over the entire thing and allow it to soak in before serving.  It is so crazy good!

(recipe from Mallorie H.)
printable version

12 cups cubed bread (about one loaf of French or Italian bread)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix eggs, milk and melted butter in a bowl and set aside.
In a another bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Layer half of the cubed bread in a greased 13x9 baking dish.
Evenly distribute the cream cheese over the bread cubes.
Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the bread.
Layer the remaining bread and top with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over all - allow the bread to soak in the egg mixture for a minimum of 20-30 minutes (can prepare the night before and allow to soak overnight).
Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking soda

While the french toast is baking, make the syrup.
In a large saucepan combine the butter, sugar and buttermilk until the mixture boils and the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. It will expand and get very foamy.

When the french toast is done baking, remove from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top of the casserole. Let it sit for about ½ hour before serving.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Gorgonzola

I have been enjoying egg sandwiches quite regularly as of late - some for breakfast, others for dinner, last night it was eggs and avocado at 9:45 p.m. in hopes of getting the tummy to stop grumbling.  I get the most beautiful free range eggs from a local farmer and the yolks are literally ORANGE.  Gorgeous!  With eggs kind of on my mind, I saw this recipe posted at Smitten Kitchen and I knew that I had to make it!  And I did make it - the very next night (and again the next day)!  I mean, you use the bacon fat to make a dressing for the greens!  Are you kidding me?  All salads would benefit from a couple of tablespoons of good ole' bacon grease, but that is just my personal opinion...

I wrote the recipe as I made it which included a couple of tweaks - not necessarily because it needed tweaks, but because I made it with what I had on hand.  So the frisee became spinach and the blue cheese became gorgonzola.  While I can't speak for the sandwich with the original ingredient list, I can speak of the sandwich made with the substitutions and I can't imagine anything better.  Yum!

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
printable version

2 ciabatta rolls

1 ½ cups favorite mixed greens
2 slices bacon, thick cut
1 Tbs. minced shallot
1 ½ Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

2 Tbs. butter
2 eggs
Salt and Pepper

Place mixed greens in a small bowl. Cut bacon crosswise into ½ inch pieces. Heat skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside, reserving half of the bacon grease. Add shallot to bacon fat and cook for one minute, stirring. Add red wine vinegar, stirring for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and whisk in Dijon mustard. Pour hot dressing over mixed greens, add cooked bacon and toss with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Split rolls in half and toast. Divide salad between each roll. Top each salad with 2 Tbs. crumbled gorgonzola.

Reheat skillet over medium heat. Add butter and coat the pan. Crack each egg ino the pan, season with salt and pepper and cover the skillet with a small lid. Cook for one minute for a perfect sunny-side-up egg, although flipping the egg for 30 seconds more will keep the yolk from comepletely running off your sandwich. Remove the eggs from the pan and place on top of the gorgonzola. Replace top bun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Spinach Artichoke Egg Croissant

I try really hard to always site my source for recipes, whether it be a friend, another blog or the back of the chocolate chip package!  While I would like to properly site this recipe, I can't recall the exact source but I will tell you how it evolved.  I was reading a book and the character created an egg sandwich by spreading spinach artichoke dip over a toasted croissant, topped it with a poached egg and drizzled the entire thing with Hollandaise sauce.  So I guess my true source of this recipe was a character in a book, or more accurately, the author of the book, but I can't recall what book it was.  Regardless, you can bet that I jumped at the chance to recreat it and am really glad that I did.  I have served this as a quick breakfast for the hubby, as a dinner for the family and as the main dish for a holiday luncheon with twelve church ladies in attendance.  It just works!

Served beside some yummy breakfast potatoes (may I suggest these), this is a really satisfying meal.
Warning: make sure you have a fork and an extra napkin or two because as delicious as it is, it is equally messy.


1 large croissant
3-4 Tbs. Spinach Artichoke Dip (Costco sells a yummy version)
3-4 Tbs. Hollandaise Sauce
1-2 large eggs
salt & pepper

Cover the bottom of a small skillet with water about 1-2 inches and bring to a simmer (you don't want the water to be boiling).  Add 1 Tbs. vinegar to the water.  Crack the egg into a small dish and, from the dish, pour the egg into the simmering water.  Cover and allow to simmer for approximately 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water.  If you want two eggs on your croissant, then repeat the process with another egg.

While egg is cooking, slice the croissant in half.  Place in toaster oven to toast lightly.
Heat spinach artichoke dip until the cheese is melted.  Remove croissant from the toaster and spread the dip on the bottom half.  Place poached egg on top of the artichoke dip and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the Hollandaise sauce over the egg and replace the top half of the croissant.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: (easy) Eclair Cake

If you have as many helpers in your kitchen as I do, this is the recipe for you!  It is a "cheater" cake that tastes really yummy but is ridiculously easy.  Easy enough that I can pass it off to my kiddos and I can walk away completely, only to return to a delicious, tempting treat.  The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for it to refrigerate (it get's better after a day in the fridge).

I have tweaked this recipe since making it years ago for the first time, thus the somewhat vague recipe proportions.  The original recipe calls for one box of pudding to one 8-ounce container of cool whip and it was made in an 8x8 pan.  I always prefer more of a good thing, so I make it in a 13x9 and double the pudding but I keep the cool whip where it was and add cream cheese.  Totally good move on my part, if I do say so myself.  I admit that I was inspired by this pudding as I made my tweaks, and will even admit that I am not opposed to adding a can of sweetened condensed milk while I am at it.  Yum!

(recipe adapted from Kraft Food & Family)

1 box graham crackers 
2 small boxes (4-serving size) French vanilla instant pudding (plain vanilla works too)
3 1/2 cups milk
8-12 ounce cool whip
4-8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 can chocolate frosting (or use homemade chocolate fudge frosting)

Line the bottom of a 13x9 baking pan with whole graham crackers.

In a large bowl, combine the milk and pudding and beat with beaters for 1-2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until softened.  Add pudding to cream cheese until well combined.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pour half of pudding mixture over the graham crackers.  Place another layer of whole graham crackers of top of the pudding.  Pour remaining pudding mixture over the top of those graham crackers.  Top the pudding layer with one more layer of graham crackers.

Prepare chocolate fudge frosting, or if using canned frosting warm it slightly in the microwave and stir.
Pour frosting over the top of the last layer of graham crackers.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours prior to serving.  

***For a taller "cake" you can use a 9x9 pan and use four layers of grahams, dividing your pudding into thirds...Grahams - 1/3 pudding - Grahams - 1/3 pudding - Grahams - 1/3 pudding - Grahams - frosting!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Chocolate Gravy for biscuits

This is a recipe from my teenage years.  I grew up with two brothers with awesome metabolisms that could eat ANYTHING and that is pretty much what they did.  I on the other hand...

Breakfast is one of those funny meals when you really stop to think about it.  We serve cinnamon rolls and coffee cake and donuts and crepes and then top it all off with juice.  It's like a morning dessert bar!  This recipe falls right in line with that train of thought.  Bake up some buttery, flaky biscuits and then drench them in chocolate gravy.  Delicious?  Yes!  Power meal?  No!  That is why I make sure to serve it with a side of eggs - oh, and of course some fruit that we use to wipe up any remaining gravy that may have been left on the plate once the biscuits were gone.

CHOCOLATE GRAVY (for biscuits)     Pin It
(recipe from Linda W.)
printable version

2 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
pinch salt
1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk
1 1/2  cup water (I fill the milk can with water)
3 cups milk
1-2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together until well smooth and well combined.

Combine evaporated milk, water and milk and pour over the dry ingredients. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally with a spoon (do not use a whisk as it adds too much air), ensuring the mixture doesn’t burn on the bottom. Heat until mixture boils.
Once mixture boils, remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and stir well.

Serve over fresh, warm biscuits.
Also delicious to as a for dip strawberries or bananas.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Serving Up {Salad}: Cranberry Avocado Salad

I love avocados!  When I stumbled across this recipe it was titled "Cranberry Avocado Salad" and I truthfully assumed that it was an avocado salad.  I was super excited.  When I prepared the salad, and realized that it was a green salad topped with avocado's I was a little disappointed but got over it by doubling the avocado's called for to increase my avocado to green salad ratio.  (The original recipe calls for two avocados, I used four when I made it the first time, I listed three for the recipe below - and I increased the craisens a bit).  Since then I have made this salad a number of times and one time I made it without salad greens completely - just avocado, craisens and nuts topped with the delicious white balsamic poppy seed dressing.  Greens or not, I promise that this salad (and dressing) will have you licking your lips.

(recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine)
printable version

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
1 1/2 Tbs. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried mustard
1 Tbs. onion, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

12 ounces salad greens (baby spinach, arugula, field greens)
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems
2-3 medium avocados, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4  cup preferred nut (candied almonds or pecans)

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

For the salad, place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Serving Up {Muffins}: Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Our family has muffins nearly every Sunday.  Couple our muffin frequency with my love of anything cinnamon and frosted and it should come as no surprise that we have tried Cinnamon Roll Muffins.  In fact, we have tried a number of Cinnamon Roll Muffin recipes.  There is one recipe in particular that seems to pop up frequently on blogs and/or pinterest (like here) that we tried, and while it did taste like cinnamon rolls, it requires the process of rolling out the dough, spreading a topping over the dough and then rolling the dough into a log.....etc.  Well, if I wanted to go through all of that I would just make the real deal cinnamon rolls and skip muffins altogether.

This recipe is not as pretty and it doesn't look like cute little miniature cinnamon rolls, but it has got the taste down!  It helps that the recipe calls for yeast, which I think adds a sweetness that makes the finished product taste more authentic.  But there is no kneading, no rolling pins, no floury mess to clean up.  You fill the muffin tins (I used paper lines, but would suggest just greasing the muffin tins and skipping the paper lines for this recipe), you sprinkle the topping mixture, you swirl the topping mixture and you bake.  Then you enjoy the smell of cinnamon goodness and giggle an evil laugh knowing your cinnamon roll fix only took 10 minutes from start to oven!  It doesn't get any better than that!

(recipe from Amandeleine)
printable version

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. yeast
2/3 cup warm milk
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

2 Tbs. butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp.cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 oz. softened cream cheese
1-2 Tbs. milk or cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Let rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.

Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle the topping over the dough mixture and press the  swirl slightly with a knife.

Place the muffin pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar, milk and cream cheese together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Serving Up {Cookies}: Cinnamon Roll Cookies

If I could eat cinnamon rolls every single day, I would.  Really.  I LOVE them that much!  There, I admit it.
I guess the proof is that I find myself drawn to all kinds of cinnamon roll variations - muffins and cakes and now cookies!  I was hopeful, yet skeptical, when I first saw this recipe.  I really wanted them to taste like cinnamon rolls but I was prepared to be disappointed.  There was no need for such preparation on my part.  I was not disappointed at all!  These cookies really are delicious and if you like cinnamon treats anywhere close to as much as I do, I promise that you will fall in love with this recipe, just like I have.

I am posting the recipe doubled from the original recipe I used.  The original recipe only made 24 cookies and I just wholeheartedly believe that if you are going to bake, you have got to have something left to show for it :)  24 cookies wouldn't last an hour at our house, so I have only made the recipe doubled.  If you are scared of having 48 delicious, miniature cinnamon rolls, feel free to cut the recipe in half or call me and I will take the excess off your hands.

(recipe from Stephanie's Kitchen)
printable version

Cookie Dough:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (reserve the egg white for the center filling)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

2 egg whites
2 Tbs. water
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

3 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour and salt until the dough begins to come together - it may take a minute.  Divide the dough in half and place each half between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll out into approximately a 9x12 inch rectangle.  Refrigerate.

Prepare the filling by whisking together the egg whites and water.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.  Set both aside.

Remove the two rectangles of dough from the fridge.  Remove the top

Take out the dough and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another piece on top and roll out into an approximately 9X12 inch rectangle. Take off the parchment paper on top and brush on the egg white wash. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Carefully roll the dough length wise into a log. Make sure you press the edges together so they do not come undone. Roll back into the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. (Or refrigerate overnight) Cut into 1/2 inch circles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, or until just lightly golden on the bottom. The longer you bake them the crispier they will be.
For the icing, mix the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Drizzle over the cookies. Eat for breakfast.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: Cinnabon Cake

This recipe for Cinnabon Cake has been making the rounds on a number of blogs as of late.  I first saw this recipe on The Sister's Cafe blog almost four years ago and made it for Father's Day that year.  It was a hit then and we still enjoy it every chance we have to make it now.  If you find yourself craving cinnamon rolls, this is a great option for enjoying the delicious cinnamon goodness in about half the time.

(recipe from The Sister’s Cafe)
printable version

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbs. butter, melted

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. cinnamon
2/3 cups nuts, optional

2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan.

In another bowl, mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter in cake pan and then use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center.

Place the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Without realizing it, we have been on a bit of a Cinnamon Roll kick at our house, all without actually ever making cinnamon rolls!  I will be posting all of our yummy Cinnamon Roll variations over the course of the upcoming week - hopefully something will strike your fancy.

These waffles are transformed from regular old waffles to cinnamon roll waffles thanks to a yummy cinnamon topping drizzle and a cream cheese frosting drizzle.  Delicious!  I am thinking that I want to have a waffle party soon - with a variety of different toppings to choose from.  If so, I know that at least one of my waffles would look like this...

(recipe from Chef in Training)
printable version

You can use your preferred recipe for homemade waffles.
My favorite recipe is found here.

Cinnamon Topping:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside.

Cream Cheese Topping:
4 Tbs. butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, place butter and cream cheese and microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until nearly melted. Stir together until smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla.

To prepare the waffles to serve, place prepared waffle on a plate, drizzle with cinnamon topping and then drizzle with the cream cheese topping.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Serving Up {Muffins}: Banana Crunch Muffins

I really ought to turn this post over to my 11 year-old daughter to write because this is her recipe.  That's right.  I have officially handed off the Sunday morning muffins to her and we are both a bit giddy with the arrangement.

I think it is pretty great because...

  • I get to take a hot shower while she is slaving over the muffins.
  • I don't have to mediate the disagreement over the flavor of muffins.
  • She is just so stinkin' cute!

She thinks it is pretty great because...

  • she gets to choose what flavor of muffins to make, which means we are eating cupcake-like muffins every week :)  
  • she gets to choose what flavor of muffins to make, which means extra "media time" because she has to search for muffin recipes on the internet.
  • she gets to choose what flavor of muffins to make, which means she has control that her brothers do not.

This recipe has been our favorite that she has made so far.  I love all things banana (which I know I have said more than once on this blog) but it has a crunchy cinnamon topping that really makes the end product.  So pull out some ripe bananas and find yourself your own 11 year-old to do some yummy baking for you today!

printable version

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 bananas, mashed
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup butter, melted
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. flour
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 ½ cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 Tbs. flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 Tbs. butter until crumbly. Sprinkle cinnamon topping over the top of the muffin batter in the muffin tin.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick.