Summer Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

 Summer is one of my favorite seasons for cooking, mainly because my parent’s garden begins to sprout a variety of vegetables and usually in mass quantities.  Every visit home usually ends with my dad sneaking out to the garden and returning with a baseball bat sized zucchini that barely fits in my refrigerator.  For my boyfriend Peter’s sake I try to be creative in finding new purposes for these veggie monsters.

Once the sauce is prepared, which can be done days in advance, this is a very easy dish to pull together.  I managed to prepare this whole dish in a little under an hour for a few friends who were in town.  It fed 4 very hungry vegetarians with a little leftover but this tasty peanut sauce coated creation would appeal to meat lovers as well.  The leftover peanut sauce is also a great snack with carrot and celery sticks.

 Ingredients

Noodles

  • 1 16oz package Kluski style egg noodles (can replace with rice noodle, spaghetti, or rice)

Sauce

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (I use ½ cup peanut butter and ½ cup almond butter)
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Siracha (optional, I replaced with Sweet chili sauce for a friend a little frightened of spice)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons tahini or sesame seed oil (I use tahini)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 6 tablespoons warm water

Veggies

  • 1 large red, orange or yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips (veggies mimic the shape of the egg noodle)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into long thin strips
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil or cilantro (optional)
  • Scallions sliced for garnish (optional)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, sliced into fine strips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup roughly crushed roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions

Prepare sauce by combining, peanut butter, soy sauce, Siracha, lime juice, tahini, garlic, honey and water.  Set aside.

Prepare noodles according to package.  If using Kluski noodles, rinse noodles in cold water. Set aside.

While noodles are boiling sauté vegetables in a large wok with olive oil to your desired crunchiness (I like my zucchini to have a little crunch, not too squishy).  And when I say large wok, I mean it.  You will be adding the noodles and sauce to the veggies.

Once veggies are done, slowly mix in sauce and noodles.  Serve with fresh basil or cilantro and scallions.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Packer Party….Dessert Stat!

I took the standard carrot cake box mix. Followed the directions but substituted a 4 oz. jar of carrot baby food for the oil. I then added about 3/4 cup brandy soaked raisins, 1 finely chopped carrot and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple. This made 2 dozen cupcakes.

I then took a can of store bought cream cheese frosting mix and whipped in a cup of heavy whipping cream (beaten separately and added) and juice of 1/2 a lime. Use a pastry bag to apply the frosting.

For garnish, I made some caramel and poured onto a pan lined with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Broke off small pieces and topped each cupcake. I really need to stop watching Cupcake Wars!

 

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Greek Orzo Salad

Ingredients                                                                            

  • 1 LB. orzo pasta
  • 6 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 5 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 2 TBS. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
  • ¼ cup minced Parsley
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pint red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 6oz can Black Olives pitted and sliced

 

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo, stirring it so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook, uncovered, at a high boil until al dente, cooked through but still a bit firm. Drain the pasta (it helps to use a fine mesh sieve for this as the small orzo might pass through holes in a colander), and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further. Place in a large bowl. Toss with 1 TBS. of olive oil.

Whisk together the remaining 5 TBS. of olive oil, vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Pour over orzo. At this point you can make ahead and chill until you are ready to serve (or transport to a party). Toss with the rest of the ingredients, the tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, onion.

Serves 8-10 as a side.

 

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Summer Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 7 slices of Bacon
  • 3 TBS. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 5 TBS. Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • ½ cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dry Mustard or Yellow Mustard
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 5 LBS. Red Salad Potatoes
  • 6 Green Onions
  • 1 large Cucumber
  • 6 Hard Boiled Eggs

Directions

Boil eggs. The best way to do this is to place eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain and place eggs in the fridge for at least an hour. Perfect boiled eggs…easy to peel and lovely yellow yolks…no grey ring. Dice and set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp; crumble. Set aside. Drain ½ the fat from the pan of bacon. Let remaing fat cool and set aside in the pan. Dice the cucumber and slice green onion. Set aside.

Boil the red potatoes until tender. Remove the skin and dice the potatoes. Place warm potatoes in a large bowl.

Heat the bacon fat that you cooled. Add flour. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Whisk salt, pepper, sugar, water vinegar and mustard until incorporated. Remove from heat. Whisk in mayonnaise. Pour over warm potatoes. Fold in cucumber, green onion and hard boiled eggs.

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Bourbon Weiner’s

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. bottle of Catsup
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • 2 packages of Little Smokie’s or Weiner’s

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients. Slow cook for 8 hours.

This is in honor of my nephew Dan….this is a favorite Christmas Eve side!

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Creamy Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • ¾ Cup finely chopped Shallots or Onion
  • 2 LBS. Mushrooms (I use a combination of white, Portobello and or Shiitake)
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/3 cup White Wine
  • 3 TBS. Flour
  • 3 ½ cups Chicken Broth, reserve ½ cup
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

In a large sauce pan melt butter with olive oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. With an emersion or regular blender puree until smooth. Return soup to sauce pan and whisk in milk. Add reserved chicken broth to desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream. Serve immediately.

I found this on the Food Network Website but made changes to the recipe for my acquired taste.

 

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Summer Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 7 slices of Bacon
  • 3 TBS. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 5 TBS. Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • ½ cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dry Mustard or Yellow Mustard
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 5 LBS. Red Salad Potatoes
  • 6 Green Onions
  • 1 large Cucumber
  • 6 Hard Boiled Eggs

Directions

Boil eggs. The best way to do this is to place eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain and place eggs in the fridge for at least an hour. Perfect boiled eggs…easy to peel and lovely yellow yolks…no grey ring. Dice and set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp; crumble. Set aside. Drain ½ the fat from the pan of bacon. Let remaing fat cool and set aside in the pan. Dice the cucumber and slice green onion. Set aside.

Boil the red potatoes until tender. Remove the skin and dice the potatoes. Place warm potatoes in a large bowl.

Heat the bacon fat that you cooled. Add flour. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Whisk salt, pepper, sugar, water, vinegar and mustard until thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in mayonnaise. Pour over warm potatoes. Fold in cucumber, green onion and hard boiled eggs.

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Ham & Bean Soup

Ham & Bean Soup

Ingredients- Stock

  • Ham Bone (with some meat left on)
  • 1 large carrot in large diced pieces
  • 1 stalk of celery in large diced pieces
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBS whole dried cloves
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 6 peppercorns or fresh ground pepper

Directions

Create stock by adding all ingredients in large pot and cover with water.  Simmer for 1-2 hours.  Remove carcass and pick off meat. Strain the rest of ingredients through cheese cloth, discarding veggies and bone (save any remaining meat).  Refrigerate meat and stock separately for 24 hours covered.  Remove fat that moves to the top of the stock after 24 hours. Store in freezer bags and remember to date each bag.

Ingredients-Bean Soup

  • 1 large onion-diced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 2 potatoes-peeled and diced
  • 1 celery-diced
  • Leek (rinsed and sliced)
  • 1 Package of dried Beans (I use the mixture of 10 beans for this soup)
  • Leftover ham from bone (additional ham can be added to taste)
  • Any other veggies you would like
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg (I prefer fresh)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Follow the instructions on the bean packaging. This will show you how to properly soak and prepare the beans for cooking.

Add stock to a large pot and the beans that have been soaking. Simmer until beans are tender. Add onion, carrots, potatoes, celery leek and ham.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  Additional veggie stock or water can be added is more stock is needed. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is great for a cold Sunday evening dinner. Serve with warm crusty bread.

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Pulled Piggy

                 

Ingredients         

  • 3 LB Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Small Onion –Large Dice
  • 1 Rib of Celery-Large Dice
  • 1 Carrot-Large Dice
  • 1 Garlic Clove-Large Dice
  • Favorite Spice Rub or Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 ½ cups Chicken Stock or Homemade Stock
  • 1 18 oz. Bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce or your own homemade sauce

Directions       

Place Pork Shoulder in Roasting Pan. Sprinkle with Spice Rub or Cayenne Pepper. Add veggies around the roast. Pour ½ of the chicken stock around the roast; not over the roast. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at °225 for 7 hours.

Remove roast from pan. Let cool. Place pan on stove and pour remaining stock over veggies in the pan. Simmer all the “good bits” from the bottom of the pan and reduce by ½. Stain this liquid through cheesecloth.

Now with a fork or your fingers, pull apart “shred” the roast. Pour on your favorite BBQ Sauce. I like Sweet Baby Rays. Use the strained liquid from above for added flavor and desired consistency of the pulled piggy sauce. I like my sauce to be so thick so adding the liquid seems to do the trick and gives the pork that little “something something” extra.

Serve on a fresh roll/bun. I like to serve this on Rhodes Texas Rolls; found in the freezer section at your local store. It is also fun to top with your “fav” coleslaw.

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Calico Bean Bake

Ingredients          

  • 1 pound sliced bacon, diced
  • 1pound ground beef
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 cans (16 ounces) pork and beans (Home Style Bushes)
  • 2 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (15ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 TSB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoon ground mustard

Directions

  • In a medium skillet, cook beef until beef is no longer pink; drain. In the same skillet cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain. Discard all drippings but save about 1TBS in skillet. Sauté onion in skillet for about 2 minutes. Combine bacon, beef and remaining ingredients. Place into a 9×13 baking dish. Bake at °350 for 30-35 minutes. You can also place in slow cooker; cook on low until hot and bubbly.
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