Beef Stroganoff

I have a lot of career-driven, no time to cook and do other household duties friends. Most of the time, we thank the Chinese take-out for saving us from hunger. But some days, we still crave for home-cooked meals. After all, I think we deserve a treat after a long day of hard work and stress. In this fast-paced world, we want something  that is fairly easy to make  but will result in a very tasty meal. This recipe is one that meets the criteria.  I love pasta, and beef stroganoff is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  I love how creamy and filling this dish is. The combination of beef and mushroom makes this dish even tastier. Serve this, together with garlic bread and wine, and I’m sure all the frustrations and stress of the day will melt away.

Beef Stroganoff

adapted from Paula Deen: Paula’s Best Dishes

  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Cooked egg noodles (in this recipe, I used Farfalla instead)
  1. Season the steak strips with House Seasoning, then dust with flour. In a large skillet, quickly brown them on both sides in the olive oil and butter. Remove the steak from the pan.
  2. Add the onion slices and mushrooms to the pan drippings. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour.
  3. Put the steak back into the pan with the onion and mushrooms. Add the mushroom soup and beef broth.
  4. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed.
  5. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve. Serve over cooked noodles.
To make the house seasoning:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Happy new year! Wow, it’s 2012 already… Time flew by so quickly! Let me start by apologizing for not updating my blog the last two months of 2011. In between my stressful job, responsibilities at home, family functions (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebration) and parties left and right, November and December were a blur. Needless to say, I have a lot of updating to do on my blog. In fact, this is one of my new year’s resolutions: to try harder to keep my food blog up to date (well, aside from trying harder to go to the gym, eating healthy, being more productive, yada yada yada). I know 75% (or is it 80%?) of people do not keep their new year’s resolutions, but I’ll try to keep this one. So, to start with, I had leftover canned pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving, and what better way to use it than by incorporating it in breakfast! So easy to make, slightly sweet, and very tasty, this pumpkin pancake recipe is a winner!

Pumpkin Pancakes

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

a pinch of ground cloves

1 cup milk

6 tbsp canned pumpkin puree

2 tbsp butter, melted

1 egg

 

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients (first eight ingredients) in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together milk, pumpkin puree, butter and egg.
  3. Fold the mixture into dry ingredients.
  4. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side, and serve with butter and syrup.

New York Style Cheesecake

My mother-in-law recently hosted her grade school reunion party and she asked if I can prepare a dessert for the event. She said there would be at least 30 guests who will attend. So I immediately thought of making cheesecake because it’s easy, does not need a lot of preparation, and it always satisfies the palate. And who doesn’t want cheesecake for dessert?? So I was excited to do it! I settled on New York Style Cheesecake because it is not too sweet, and it is, for me, still the best cheesecake variety. What’s even more fun with the New York Style Cheesecake is, for the minimalist, you can eat it just the way it is. Or you can put fresh fruits for garnish, or add a little bit of chocolate or berry sauce (just like what I did). Mmmm… yummy!!!

 

New York Style Cheesecake

adapted from Good Housekeeping

Graham Cracker-Crumb Crust

  •  1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (either from 11 rectangular graham crackers, or you can buy a box of cracker crumbs)
  • 4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar

 

Cheesecake:

 

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  •  Fresh berries, for garnish

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare Crumb Crust: In 8 1/2- to 9-inch springform pan, with fork, mix crumbs, melted butter, and sugar until crumbs are evenly moistened. With hand, press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up side of pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool crust in pan on wire rack. Turn oven control to 300 degrees F.
  2. Prepare Cheesecake: In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in flour and vanilla until well combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk just until blended.
  3. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until set but still slightly jiggly and moist in center, and pale gold near edge.
  4. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight before serving. To serve, remove side of pan. Place cake on plate; garnish with fresh fruits.

To make triple berry sauce:

  • 3 cups frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries
  1. Place 3 cups of berries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the frozen berries are soft and sugar is melted (you don’t need to add water).
  2. Puree berry mixture with a blender; replace in saucepan.
  3. Mix together water and cornstarch and stir into berry mixture.
  4. Add 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries and boil over medium heat until thick. Chill to serve

 

 

 

Chicken Buffalo Dip

I have never tried making a chicken buffalo dip, although a few people told me that it is really easy to make. I like easy recipes, especially when you’re entertaining friends. I feel like the past couple of months were a blur, and getting my girl friends together is the only way that will make me stay sane. So I decided to have them over, have some drinks and some appetizers, and just chat and relax. Along with other appetizers, I decided to finally make Chicken Buffalo Dip, and serve it with chips and crackers. I can’t believe I waited this long to make this! It was really good and so tasty. I made mine spicy (by adding extra hot sauce) to really feel the chicken buffalo flavor. I also used blue cheese instead of mozzarella cheese to give that extra sharp and salty flavor. From now on, every time I’m entertaining, chicken buffalo dip will be on the menu. 🙂

Chicken Buffalo Dip

modified from allrecipes.com

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup cayenne pepper sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 (9.75 ounce) cans Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
  • Assorted fresh vegetables or crackers
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it’s smooth. Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

When I decided to try baking, this is the first cupcake I made. My husband requested this for his co-worker’s birthday. I told him I have never baked from scratch before, and we’ll see how it turns out. So crossing my fingers, I went to the kitchen and started measuring and mixing. Since Ina Garten’s recipes are already tried and tested, I used her recipe. It was such a great first time experience! The cupcakes were moist, and that gorgeous red color! The chocolate-y flavor of the cupcakes jives well with the sweet cream cheese frosting. I will surely make this again!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

modified from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 tbsp liquid red food coloring
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • Red Velvet Frosting, recipe follows

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute, until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Stir with a rubber spatula to be sure the batter is mixed.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups with a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop or large spoon. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool completely in the pans and frost the cupcakes with Red Velvet Frosting.
To make the Red Velvet Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (3/4 pound)
  1. Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed just until combined. Don’t whip!
  2. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.