Sweet Stephee T's

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I’ve been using another site that lets me edit my page a bit better.  I may change from this site to that one, I am not sure yet.  I can’t get things to edit to my OCD posting style here and it’s driving me mad!  So, here is a link to my other page for today’s recipe.

Sweet Stephee T’s @ Blogspot

 

I recently became addicted to a show called Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives on Food Network.  Guy went to a little place serving up some of the most delicious looking food one day.  It was all Venezuelan food.  The next show had a similar restaurant and focused on a dish called pupusas.  For some reason I have not been able to get what I imagine these things taste like out of my mouth or my head.  I’ve looked up recipes, including the one on Guy’s website.  Unfortunately, getting any kind of “special” ingredients is hard where I live.  I’m looking at a one hour commute for some of these items.  For a girl on a tight budget, it’s not plausible.  Sticking to the my-palate-craves-all-things-spicy frame of mind last night, I wandered into the kitchen and stared at my pack of chicken tenderloins.  After about 20 minutes (not counting the half hour spent uselessly searching Google for “easy chicken recipes”) I just started pulling things out of the pantry.  I warned my husband I was going to experiment, and he was free to have 911 on standby or to come watch.  He didn’t watch.  Things turned out well.  My kids ate their vegetables and “pancakes” as they called them.  I might have had a bit more of a response had they actually been covered in syrup.  But they cleared their plates, eating things they normally don’t eat.  So here goes the thrown together recipe.


Corncakes


 

  • 1 packet cornbread mix
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp cilantro flakes
Prepare cornbread mixture according to packet.  I used white cornbread mix.  Stir in seasonings.  Heat skillet on medium high heat with and spray with nonstick spray.  Pour in 1/4 of the batter.  Heat until the edged begin to bubble, just like a pancake.  Flip.  Heat for 2-3 minutes.  Continue with the remaining batter.


Toppings

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 packet fajita seasoning
  • shredded Colby jack cheese
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • parsley flakes
  • cilantro flakes
Dice chicken breast and prepare according to direction on fajita seasoning packet.  Once chicken is prepared, heat beans and corn.  Build corncakes with toppings as follows: cheese, beans, chicken, corn, tomatoes, sour cream, parsley, cilantro.

 

Of course this recipe can be vastly improved upon with fresh vegetable and herbs, but this is what I had in my kitchen last night.  It was a knockout!  I will make it again.  I’ll make changes as I go to make it better, but considering it was a spur of the moment recipe, I think I did good.  Yeah, I’m patting myself on the back a little.

 

Stephee

 


 

I’ve received a recipe suggestion from a friend.  I’m going to try it in the next couple of days.  As soon as I do I will post it.  I have to admit, I’ve always avoided recipes with this name.  It’s a Shepherd’s Pie recipe.  I think I was scared away from one once when I saw lamb on the ingredient list.  I must confess, I do not use lamb.  Or veal.  My family doesn’t eat seafood either, so I can’t cook it.  I personally enjoy some types of seafood, but have no idea how to cook anything since my mother refused to prepare it because she didn’t like it, and my husband refuses to eat it, so I have no reason to cook it.

Ahh, I miss out on so much I think I would enjoy if I could.  My husband isn’t much of a veggie eater either.  I’m working on my kids.  I make them try at least a bite of a new food and make sure they haven’t discovered a new taste bud or something.  Two weeks ago after about 15 minutes of fussing, I managed to get the both to eat one diced piece each of a yellow squash and zucchini that had been steamed in foil packets on the grill.  Yesterday they asked me when they were going to get to eat the buttery green vegetable again.  (I didn’t butter it, they’re just learning to TASTE.)  I’m trying to unteach them bad habits my family has bestowed upon them.  When they were tots, my mother would let them dip their fingers into sugar packets at restaurants while waiting for our food.  Thankfully, I was able to nip that in the bud.  They picked up a bad habit of salting everything from her though.  I’ve even seen her salt salads.  BEFORE she even tastes them.  Bad, bad, bad.

My bad habit is A-1 steak sauce.  I like to pour it over potato chips.  And grilled cheese.  And steak.  And burgers.  I’m in a 12 step program.  My husband swears I’ve drunk it from the bottle, but I think he’s exaggerating.  But then again, anything was possibly with my pregnancies.  I once ate a sauerkraut sandwich with hot sauce and jalapeno potato chips.  I like spicy and salty stuff, what can I say?

Anyway, this is a rambly type of post today.  Some of my recipe are going to be detailed as I try to expand my cooking skills.  These will be the ones where I get to have fun and try to do something that makes ME happy.  Some of my recipes are going to be quick and easy and plain.  These are the ones that make my kids and husband happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the stuff I make for them.  I’m just really, really bored with fried chicken fingers and macaroni.  Plain tacos aren’t doing it for me.  I want to step it up and try to make things more personable and homemade, and maybe teach the girls a little along the way.  Just ripping open a box of Velveeta or a Taco Bell taco kit just doesn’t scream “Mom loves you” to me.  It’s easier, and less expensive of course, but when I can I’d like to do some things from scratch.  Just making that salsa with the 2 of them was so much fun.  They loved it!  Not only making it, but eating it.  It was a good time, a learning experience, and it just tasted better than the stuff in the jar.  Who wouldn’t want all of that?

 

Stephee

 

 

  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced
  • 3/4 c butter or margarine
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine butter, garlic, onion, and parsley flakes in microwaves safe container.  Heat for 1 minute, or until butter is completely melted.  Spoon mixture over slices of bread and spread across tops evenly once.  Once all slices have been topped, pour remaining butter mixture all around.  Bake until the outside crust browns and is crisp to touch, or about 20 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle on a bit of cheese the last 5 minutes of baking.



 

 

 

 

  • 6-8 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic


This was a learn-as-you-go recipe, so you see more peppers in my photo than I include in the ingredients.  Serrano peppers are very spicy so you should wear gloves and be very careful with them.  If you like very spicy salsa, add more.  I took out the seeds of my peppers prior to roasting.


Preheat oven to 375*.  Line baking sheets with foil.  Half tomatoes and onion.  Cap peppers, and remove seeds if desired.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until onions are translucent and peppers begin to blacken.


 

 

Before Roasting

 

After Roasting

Mince cilantro and garlic together, and allow to rest.  See, even my daughter likes to help!  She loves using that Chop ‘N Prep!

Lauren Choppin’ and Preppin’

Combine all of your ingredients in your food processor or Quick Chef and blend to your desired consistency.  I prefer chunky salsa, so mine has lots of lumps.  But this will whip up into a very nice saucy salsa like you see at your favorite restaurant.

 

 

 

The flavor…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!  So make it!  NOW!!!  And don’t worry, if you can’t find Serrano peppers, just plain old jalapenos will be fine.  This salsa is not going to last long.  Even my little one in the picture there, who doesn’t eat salsa ever…she’s eating this stuff.

 

 

Stephee

This is a modified Tupperware recipe.  I LOVE TUPPERWARE!  A Quick Chef makes this recipe so fun and so easy.  Plus you don’t have to drag out that heavy food processor and all of its blades and pieces.  If you want to know more about the product, ask me.  I sell this stuff on the side just because it’s great stuff.  Not only do you make the salsa with it, you pull out the blade, pop on the airtight seal, and it’s ready to refrigerate.  They also have a seasoning blend I use in this recipe, but you can pick up your preferred blend at any grocery chain.

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 Tbsp Southwest Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice
Peel and chop onion.  (If using QC, just quarter the onion and toss it in and spin a few times.)  Drain tomatoes.  Dump all ingredients into food processor and blend.  (If using QC just give it a few whirls.)  Do a taste test and see how you like the flavor.  You can dabble from here.  I know a few people who like to add sugar or other peppers or even hotter onions.  But this is just a basic starter recipe to get you going.  My kids like it because it’s simple and doesn’t seem too healthy.  Plus they get to use the Quick Chef.

Later this week I am going to give a roasted salsa recipe a shot.  I will take pictures along the way and share my journey.  I have all the fancy fruits in there (yes, peppers are fruits) as well as the fresh herbs.  I’ve always been one to use the dried herbs in a bottle.  I actually have living herbs I am about to transplant and hope to have sprouting in my kitchen for years to come.  I’m starting slow, I only have cilantro and mint.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Stephee

 

—NOTE: If you don’t have a food processor or a Quick Chef, you can put a small amount of everything into a blender.  After blending everything, transfer to a large container and mix very well.  If you can do it with your hands, that would be the best approach to ensure everything spreads out evenly.—

 

 

Cupcakes seem to be all the rage these days.  I haven’t caught on to why exactly that is.  Maybe because they are small and cute, like a puppy.  I’m not sure.  I know my family had a brief affair with the insanity.  Even making special trips with a car load of children to run in and buy a high priced confection just to drive all the way back home to eat it.  By special trip I mean a good 45 minute to one hour drive, one way.  We even attempted to mix a makeup party and cupcake party.  Get pretty, eat pretty.

 

Unfortunately, an illness prevented the party from taking place after all of our researching, shopping, and baking.  And let me tell you, there are MANY different cupcake recipes floating around out there.  It’s no longer mixing up your favorite cake mix and dumping it into muffin cups.  NO WAY!

 

I’ve admitted my new found obsession with Pinterest in a previous post.  While wasting a few hours researching ideas for a new post today, I saw a cupcake photo.  I wanted to dismiss it because I am just plain sick of the hype.  But I realized they were kind of ugly.  So I clicked.  I’m intrigued.  It takes me to a place where Ming Makes Cupcakes.  Not only does Ming make them, Ming doesn’t bother to give them fancy names.  They have numbers.  You have 33 unique cupcake recipes to look through and possibly try.  What’s even better is they look like anyone can make them.  They don’t have an ingredient list longer than your femur.  Most cupcake recipes online come with a photo that makes you already feel defeated.  Not Ming’s.  I’m going to pick a few and try them.  With the holidays approaching, I may be taking cupcakes to gatherings as a treat.

 

I cannot decorate a cake, a cupcake, or a pancake.  My mother and my sister can.  I used to skip anything that was pretty thinking I couldn’t make it pretty, so why try.  But don’t feel that way.  Appearance and taste are two different things.  In most cases.  My desserts are usually ugly, but they are delicious.  If my dessert is attractive, I either paid for it, or forgot a key ingredient.  With one exception.  The cupcakes I made for our party that went bust.  I mixed and matched cupcake and frosting recipes, and had some very cute liners.  I’ll share photos and the recipes a below.  I used what I had at home, which was Nutella and basic pantry ingredients.  I don’t keep decorating tools, and I used a freezer bag to ice the cupcakes.  See, we can all be creative and pop out something tasty and pretty!

 

 

Stephee’s Nutella Cupcakes


Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 3/4 c Nutella
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk
Beat Nutella and butter for 5 minutes.  Add vanilla, then alternate between adding powdered sugar and milk.  You may need to refrigerate the buttercream before piping for best results.  Milk can be substituted with heavy whipping cream.
Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1  3/4 c flour (I use self rising with no trouble on this recipe)
  • 1  1/4 sticks, or 10 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1 jar Nutella
Preheat oven to 325* and line muffin pan with liners.  Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together for about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla, then flour.  Mix everything EXCEPT NUTELLA until well blended.  The mixture will be thick.
Use an ice cream scoop and fill the liners with the batter, about 3/4 full.  Top each cupcake batter with a dollop of Nutella.  I used about 2 Tbsp, though the recipe called for 1/2 tsp.  Trust my dollop.  Use a toothpick and try to swirl the Nutella into the batter.  Nutella is thick and it’s not going to give much, so it’s okay.  Just spread what you can.
Bake for 20 minutes.
You can serve these without the buttercream, as a self frosting cupcake.  I like them that way.  But I was shooting for fancy so let’s keep going.
Allow cupcakes to cool.  Prepare buttercream (or take out of fridge).  If you have all the fancy tools, go crazy and pipe away.  Me.  I don’t.  I pulled out my Ziploc freezer bag, filled it with the frosting, cut off a corner, then I piped on the frosting.  I also had some pretty sugar crystals leftover from a birthday party and some Hazelnut Lindor truffles in my pantry.  I said I was trying to be fancy.  So I topped my buttercream with some sprinkles and a truffle.
No one got to eat my fancy, pretty cupcakes except my 8 and 10 year old daughters.  They enjoyed them immensely.  I shared the photos on my Facebook page because they were pretty for me.  I’m not into the cupcakes myself.  I don’t care for the frosting.  But I tasted  the cake and it was very, very good.  So TRY IT!
Before Frosting
After Frosting

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