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Thursday, October 8, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Chop Suey


It’s Thursday again, so here is the latest CEiMB offering! This week we made Chicken Chop Suey, and this recipe was hosted by Ali of The Healthy Hostess. I think one of my favorite parts of participating in this group is exploring the other members’ blogs as they host. Check out Ali’s blog – she has a lot of great recipes and tips for entertaining and green cleaning!

As for the Chicken Chop Suey, I have to admit that I didn’t think chop suey was a real dish. I had heard the term before, but had never had it. Maybe I didn’t think it was real because I had only heard of it on TV? Who knows.

This recipe included another of Ellie’s extremely long ingredient lists, but that didn’t bother me as I had most of the ingredients on hand…or so I thought. As I was making the dish, I almost felt like it was a comedy of errors – so many things went wrong!

As you can see in the picture, my chop suey included broccoli instead of cabbage. When I cut open the cabbage to prep it for the recipe, I discovered it had succumbed to dry rot. It was mottled all throughout the cabbage, not just on a few leaves, so into the trash can it went.

You may also notice white rice on my platter instead of brown. I was SO sure I had a big bag of brown rice in my pantry, but when I went to get it I couldn’t find it anywhere! I was thinking “Where is my brown rice? I KNOW I have some!” Oh wait, I used it a few weeks ago to try to soak water out of my cell phone after it took a trip through the washing machine. Silly me.

Finally, my wonton skins almost burned while I was distracted with the above problems and my desperate search to find a substitute for cooking sherry (guess what – water works just fine).

Even with all of the problems, this recipe was a winner. I did not use the amount of oil called for in the recipe because it seemed excessive, so I used cooking spray on the wontons, only two teaspoons of vegetable oil and only one tablespoon of sesame oil instead of two. I did really enjoy the combination of chicken broth, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch to make a stir fry sauce, though, and I’ll probably use it again in the future and just mix and match the other ingredients according to what I have in the refrigerator and pantry. The sesame seeds and wonton skins added a nice crunch, and I also sliced a few extra green onions to garnish as well.

Thanks Ali, it was fun cooking with you this week!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

White Bean Burgers

This recipe was an experiment, one of those where you throw things in a bowl and hope that it all comes out. Fortunately, I think this recipe for bean burgers was fantastic!

According to my weekly meal plan, we were scheduled to have hamburgers on Wednesday night. When it came time to cook dinner, though, the idea of eating beef did not appeal to me at all. I decided to go ahead and make the burgers for Scott and find something else for myself. Unfortunately, I could not find any thing that could be prepared as quickly as the burgers and I wanted to eat dinner at the same time as Scott.

Finally, I dug around to the back of my cabinet and found a can of butter beans that I had planned to marinate and use in salads. I decided to try my hand at a bean burger. How hard could it be? I thought it should be pretty simple, as long as I stuck to the formula for regular burgers or meatloaf: protein, seasonings, and a binder. This is what I came up with:

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 T. olive oil
3 T. panko breadcrumbs
seasoning salt
hot sauce

I mashed the beans slightly with a potato masher, then threw in the rest of the ingredients and stirred it all together. Finally, I formed the mixture into two patties and cooked them in a skillet with cooking spray for approximately 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Then I topped them with cheddar cheese slices and placed them in the oven (which was on to bake fries) just long enough for the cheese to melt.

I think this was a nice combination of flavors – the oil kept the mixture moist, and the Worcestershire lended a slight meaty flavor. I tasted the mixture before forming the patties and ended up adding more hot sauce for a total of approximately 1 teaspoon for the whole mixture.

I am also proud to say that I convinced Scott, a.k.a. Hater of Beans, to try burger. His official review? “Not for me.” At least he tried!

If you are looking for an alternative to regular beef or turkey burgers, I suggest you give this recipe a try!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CEiMB: New York Breakfast


Two CEiMB posts in one day? I’m finally getting caught up! This week’s recipe was New York Breakfast, chosen by Sara of imafoodblog. Sara is a native New Yorker and also the person who makes CEiMB possible.

I couldn’t decide how I felt about this recipe after reading it, since 1) I have never tried real smoked salmon, and 2) my only experience with bagels and lox was an unfortunate one involving the salmon cream cheese at Bruegger’s Bagels. Enough said about that.

I wanted to try this New York Breakfast, however, since the rest of the sandwich reminded me of a wrap I used to get at my favorite coffee shop back home (which contained cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, onion, almonds, and sprouts).

While I was at the grocery store, I debated for a long time over which smoked salmon to purchase. Hot or cold smoked? Lox? Nova lox? AHHH! I ended up with the cold smoked salmon, mainly due to the price and the fact that the recipe calls exactly for “smoked salmon,” but the vibrant color of it also attracted me over the other items.

One interesting thing I learned upon opening the salmon package is that is was one solid filet rather than slices. It wasn’t a problem – I just took out my sharpest knife and easily cut a thin slice. I guess it just wasn’t what I expected. I also sampled a small piece before assembling the sandwich, and it was very good. I think I now have a project for the next time my father breaks out his smoker. :)

I noticed that most of the other CEiMB bloggers served their sandwiches open-faced as pictured on the Food Network site, but I decided to make a regular sandwich. I wanted something a little more filling but I also didn’t want two whole open-faced sandwiches.

I think this is one of my favorite Ellie Krieger recipes so far, and I actually plan on making it again over the weekend. I made this for my lunch today while Scott was at work and I want him to have an opportunity to try it, plus I want another one!

Thanks to Sara for another fun choice!

CEiMB: Sweet & Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


This one is only one week late – that’s not so bad, right?

Sorry for my lack of posting lately. You would think that six weeks at my new job and two weeks with the new puppy would be enough time to get settled, yet I come home every afternoon completely exhausted. I have regularly been taking pictures of my recipes and editing them; I just haven’t set aside time for actual blogging.

Anyway, last Thursday Leslie of Lethally Delicious was the host for CEiMB, and her choice was Sweet & Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I was so excited because Rachel ♥s grilled cheese!

This recipe is actually very similar to my regular grilled cheese sandwich – I always use two types of cheese, add tomato, and use cooking spray instead of butter. The only real difference this time was the addition of sautéed red onion, which I found gave the sandwiches a really nice flavor. I also enjoyed the spicy kick from the pepper jack cheese.

I served this for dinner with tomato soup for myself and salad for Scott. We both enjoyed this meal, however Scott requested that next time we have these sandwiches for lunch instead of dinner.

Thanks to Leslie for choosing a great twist on a classic. Also, congratulations to her for her recent one year blogiversary!