Friday, August 30, 2013

Kit Kat Cookies

These are yummy, soft cookies with a fun crunch that are from Life with the Crust Cut Off. I tried them this week and they are a hit. We only put 1 cup of chocolate chips in them because my daughter Elisa wanted more dough to the cookie and there was plenty of chocolate.

Kit Kat Cookies
3/4 c.  sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (room temperature)
2 eggs
3 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 c. chocolate chips
1 (8-oz.) bag Kit Kat Minis
Cream the 2 sugars with the butter till smooth. Gently beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda and salt.
Chop Kit Kat Minis in half. Gently stir in Kit Kat Minis and chocolate chips. Chill dough in fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Form into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, removing from oven before they are brown.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Roasted Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Thyme

Just found this recipe at Melangery last week when I was looking for a beef recipe. For some reason, I don't have as many beef recipes as I do chicken. This one looked good and easy and it turned out great, so it'll be in my recipe rotation from now on. I used balsamic vinegar (slightly less than 1/4 cup) in place of the red wine and served it with blindingly white rice.
Roasted Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Thyme
1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 lb. trimmed
1 t. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. dry red wine
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
Salt and ground pepper
2 T. olive oil for marinade plus 1 Tbsp for a cooking pan
1 onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
2 T. unsalted butter
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Place the steak in a large glass dish. Combine fresh thyme, garlic, salt, ground pepper, oil and red wine, pour over the meat. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Let the meat stand in the mixture for several hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 40 minutes before cooking. Bringing the meat to room temperature helps it to cook more evenly.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Heat a heavy nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of the oil. Remove the steak from the marinade. Put the steak in the pan and sear it, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned. Spread the marinade over steak and add onions; place pan in oven. Roast at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
Cut the steak into thin slices on the diagonal, using a sharp knife. Serve with roasted onions and mushrooms.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Well, this summer is over. I thought that I would have more time to blog during the summer since I was not taking classes, only doing an internship (working for free). But I decided to spend my time with my kids so I didn't blog much at all. And now that the new semester begins again, I will be taking classes and more hours at the lab for my internship. My little blog will become even more abandoned. So sad! But I will barely have time to see my children and study, so I know I won't get to post much.

But I do have a few recipes that I hope to share in the next few days. Today's is a quick one that I found at Emily Bites. I don't especially like filling and rolling up enchiladas so this seemed like a nice alternative to that. I did make it a little different though. Instead of putting the tortillas in the skillet, I served them on the side so they'd stay more crispy. We just put one tortilla wedge on the plate, topped it with chicken mixture and then another tortilla and a bit more mixture, along with cheese and sour cream . Also I put less cheese on ours, but Emily's cheesy ones looked good.

Chicken Enchilada Skillet
1 t. canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. chili powder
½ t. salt
2 t. cumin
2 t. sugar
1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
½ c. water
3 c. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 ¼ c. canned black beans, drained
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles
6 oz (about 1 ½ cups shredded) 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 scallions, diced

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin and sugar and stir together for another minute. Add the tomato sauce and water, stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.

Add the shredded chicken and black beans to the sauce and stir together. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.

Once you put the chicken in, mist a second skillet with cooking spray and bring over medium-low heat. Add the tortilla pieces and spray again with cooking spray. Stir/flip occasionally to heat the tortillas for about 4 minutes until the chicken and beans are heated through in the sauce.

Turn the heat on the sauce mixture to low. Add the tortilla pieces, the green chiles and about 2/3 of the cheese to the chicken mixture and stir together until well combined and coated. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place the lid onto the pan. Leave the lid on for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle the diced scallions over top for garnish.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Glazed Beef Kababs

I know that grilling is often a "guy thing" and that when a group of people get together and barbecue, usually the guys hang out around the grill and the ladies are taking care of everything else. But I was surprised to find out recently that a lot of women don't know how to grill, even the some of the ones who cook inside.

It was when I was grilling while my daughter's friend was over and she was amazed that I was grilling. "Your mom grills?" She grew up with me grilling, so it is normal for her. My answer is, "Yep. I grill and I even grill in heels sometimes." No one else grills or cooks or bakes in my home, so I gotta do it. She was amazed. It isn't difficult, but I have a gas grill so it's less prep work than with charcoal. I'm no expert. I probably do things wrong, but I get it done.

I was surprised that her friend was so surprised, so I posted about it on my status on Facebook. Then some ladies said they didn't know how to grill. Most of my grilling recipes are simple and I just throw ingredients together, but I'll start to post the recipes to show how easy it can be.

I grilled several times last week and wanted to make some shishkabobs today. I had some leftover  Homemade J Dawgs Sauce from last week and decided to use it in the marinade, but didn't want to just use that so I mixed it with a dressing that I had on hand, balsamic vinaigrette. I wasn't sure how it would turn out until after the beef was marinated, skewered, and grilled. The beef had lots of flavor and was tender and so delicious that I got rave reviews over and over tonight. I thought I made too much, but it disappeared quickly.

I was going to use grape tomatoes and green peppers, but I didn't have enough green peppers so it was just the tomatoes with the beef on the skewers. I loved how the grilled tomatoes just burst in my mouth. I will always make it with tomatoes. It was almost the best part for me.

Glazed Beef Kababs
1/2 c. Homemade J Dawgs Sauce
1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette
1 1/2 lb. beef sirloin tip steak, cut in strips
1 (10.5-oz.) pkg. cherry tomatoes

Mix J Dawgs Sauce and balsamic vinaigrette together. Coat beef in half of the sauce and marinate for at least 2 hours. Reserve the other half of sauce for later.

While beef is marinating, soak bamboo skewers in water. Turn grill on high and close lid to preheat.  Skewer tomatoes and beef alternately on skewers. Turn grill down to medium and place skewers on grill and close the lid. Wait a few minutes just until grill marks are on beef. Flip skewers and close lid again. Grill until cooked on second side. If the steak is sliced fairly thin, cooking will only take a few minutes on each side. Remove skewers from grill.

Brush both sides of beef and the tomatoes with the reserved glaze and serve.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

He'll Tell You You're Beautiful

This morning while getting ready for church, I was watching the “Come Follow Me” Youth Videos on the Mormon Channel. I have two youth and one child and need all the help I can get trying to teach them and raise them because I don’t seem to know what to do or say lately. But as I was watching this video, entitled “True Confidence – Standards: Sexual Purity and Modesty”, a message screamed out to me for me. It has a strong, beautiful message about sexual purity, but the message I needed was a bit different.

I admire people who have confidence in themselves and feel pretty even in sweat pants and no makeup. While a few different things have contributed to my lack of confidence, I know I am ultimately responsible for how I feel. I think it is a human longing to be loved and to feel pretty. Some people are blessed to have someone tell them they are beautiful just as they are and to make them feel pretty by how they treat them. Some of us do not. Wouldn't it be great if we all had songs written about us like "That's What Makes You Beautiful" or "You're Beautiful" or maybe a different song, but a song.

A quote that combines words from the two different girls in the video says:

                “The only person who needs to tell you you’re beautiful, the only person that needs to tell you that you have so many wonderful talents is the Lord. And because that’s what he’s blessed you with and He will tell you that if you ask him. And then that confidence will come in time, not at first maybe, but it will come eventually.”

It made me realize that I need to ask my Heavenly Father to feel beautiful.  Not vain or better than anyone else, but okay with who I am. This is not a call for anyone to compliment me at all. It is just something I need to work on and blogging about my thoughts and things that uplift me spiritually helps me. Hopefully the messages in the video will help others in the ways that they individually need it too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Homemade J Dawgs Sauce

I am one of those crazy Utah residents who didn't try J Dawgs. That is, until November. We aren't a big hot dog family at all, but everybody talked about how good it was, so we decided to give it a try. They serve really big dogs with criss-cross cuts in them that are great to capture their original J Dawgs sauce or any other condiment you put on it. I tried the sauce, and was pleasantly surprised. I liked it.

Recently I saw a homemade recipe of the yummy sauce on The Sisters Cafe and tried it out tonight. Thumbs up from us! 

Homemade J Dawgs Sauce

3/4 c. ketchup
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
1 t. cider vinegar
1 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. onion powder
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat, cool, and serve on grilled hot dogs.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


A few years ago, I tried samosas at an Indian restaurant for the first time and liked them. The recipes I've seen for them are usually fried and take some time to make the pastries. When I came across this recipe at Eggless Cooking, I noticed how fast they were to make and that they are baked, not fried. I thought it was fun to serve as a side dish, but they can also be appetizers since they are mini.

Mini fillo shells
3 medium potatoes
1 finely chopped medium onion
Handful Green peas (Fresh OR Frozen)
2 t. oil
1/2 t. cumin Seed
1 t. coriander powder
A pinch turmeric powder
Red chili powder to taste
Salt to taste
Little lemon juice
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves to garnish

Peel the skin, cut each potato into 4 pieces and cook it.Heat oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the onions and fry it until its soft. Then add the green peas, salt, turmeric powder, chili powder and coriander powder and fry another 5 minutes.

Add the cooked potatoes and mix well, coarsely mashing the potatoes. Cook it for 2-3 minutes and switch off the stove. Add the lemon juice and cilantro leaves and mix it well. The potato filling is ready.
Preheat the oven for 15 minutes at 350°. Place the fillo shells in a cookie sheet and bake it for 7-8 minutes. Take the shells out of the oven and let it cool for at least 2 minutes. Then spoon in the prepared potato filling in the shells and serve it. Crispy samosas are ready to be eaten.

Japanese Cheesecake

My son Alex, who was in Japan for 2 years, has asked me a couple of times to make Japanese cheesecake. I've never had it before, so I di...