Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the Menu: Fajitas, Spring Onion Pie, Pork and Egg Lo Mein, Corn Dogs, Sausage Burgers

It's pretty daggone hot around here, but it's GLORIOUS because that means another school year is over and it's summertime.  I had the chance to say goodbye to my schoolbabies and start spending a whole lotta time with my home babies.  Life is good!

My dad is cranking out radiation and chemo treatments up in Baltimore with my mom during the week and home on the weekends.  It's crazy and we hate it, but if this is what it takes to heal him, then so be it.  I am so proud to call these two wonderful people my parents!!! 

Now onto cooking...I have cooked up some amazing meals these past couple weeks and am so mad I didn't have the chance to share them.  Hopefully, this will not happen again!  Here's what's on the menu this week:  Pizza (duh), Fajitas, Spring Onion Pie, Pork and Egg Lo Mein, Corn Dogs, and Sausage Burgers.

***I am always looking for new and creative meals to do for Mexican night at our house, so Fajitas sounded awesome.  I hadn't made these in a while, so it will be a nice change-up!

Fajitas adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

12 ounces beef skirt or flank steak, cut into thin bite-size strips
1 recipe Homemade Fajita Seasoning (recipe follows)
1 cup thin strips red or green sweet pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 to six 8 inch flour tortillas, warmed

1.  Sprinkle beef with 2 teasoppns of the Homemade Fajita Seasoning, toss to coat.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
2.  In a very large skillet cook pepper, onion, and remaining seasoning in 1 tablespoon oil until tender.  Remove from skillet.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and meat to skillet.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until desired doneness.  Return pepper mixture to skillet.  Stir in tomato.  Cook until heated through.  Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.  To serve fill warmed tortillas with beef mixture.  If desired, top with guacamole, salsa, and dairy sour cream.  Roll up tortillas.

Homemade Fajita Seasoning:  Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder; and 1/8 teaspoon onion powder.

Nutrition Info:  Per tortilla and 3/4 cup beef mixture:  356 cal., 21 g total fat, 51 mg chol., 326 mg sodium, 21 g carb, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein.

***I got myself a cast iron skillet not too long ago and was so excited when I came across this recipe which suggests baking this next recipe in a cast iron skillet.  Now, a cast iron skillet should be a staple in every kitchen.  It's a piece of equipment that lasts for years and should NOT be washed with soap.  Cast iron holds onto the flavors of every meal you cook and actually comes pre-seasoned when you buy it.  All you have to do is rinse it out and wipe it down with a paper towel when you are finished cooking.  Now that's my kind of clean up!

Spring Onion Pie
10 thin spring onions (green onions)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp butter
5 oz Gruyere cheese, cubed (you can substitute Swiss or sharp cheddar)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet in oven.  Trim roots from onions; discard roots.  Chop half of onions. 
2.  Whisk together eggs and milk.  Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients.  Gradually add flour mixtrue to egg mixture, whisking rapidly 20 to 30 seconds or just until blended and smooth.  (There should be no lumps.)  Stir in chopped onions.  Let stand 5 minutes.
3.  Carefully remove hot skillet from oven.  Add butter, and let stand until butter is mielted.  Place skillet over medium-high heat, and pour batter into skillet.  Arrange cheese and remaining whole onions over top of batter, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until edges begin to set.
4.  Transfer skillet to top oven rack, and bake at 400 dgrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until goden brown and puffy.  (Outside edges should be crispy.  Pie will deflate quickly.)  Serve immediately.

***I absolutely love to make my own Chinese food at home.  If you can find the right ingredients in your grocery store, there is no need to head out to an expensive restaurant.

Pork and Egg Lo Mein

Kosher salt
6 ounces dried lo mein noodles, spaghetti, or linguine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (even my grocery store has this!)
2 1-inch-thick boneless pork chops (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced
2 12 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger (ginger freezes well, so keep it in your freezer!)
4 cups broccoli slaw mix
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1.  Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook as the label directs.  Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking water, then drain the noodles and rinse under cold water.  Meanwhile mixe the soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl.  Put the pork in anoutehr bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce mixture.
2.  Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the eggs; cook, without stirring, until set, 1 minute.  Flip and cook 30 seconds, then transfer to a cutting board and cut into strips.
3.  Heat the remaining 2 tbsps vegetable oil in the skillet.  Add the pork and stir fry until golden but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the scallions, ginger and garlic to teh skillet and stir fry 30 seconds.  Add the broccoli slaw and bell pepper and stir fry 4 more minutes.  Return the pork to the skillet and add the noodles, the reserved cooking water and the remaining soy sauce mixture.  Stir-fry until the pork is cooked through, about 2 more minutes.  Stir in the egg.

Nutrition info:  454 calories, 20 g fat, 153 mg chol, 630 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 28 g protein

***Yes, I am always trying to find meals I can make at home rather than go out and pay way too much for meals made by someone else.  This way I know exactly what's going into the food.  So, why not try to have a kid-friendly dinner and whip up some corn dogs???

Corn Dogs

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
10 to 12 wooden skewers
10 to 12 hot dogs
Vegetable oil for frying (about 8 cups)
Ketchup and/ or yellow mustard 

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  For batter, in a large bolw stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, dry mustard, and salt.  Using a pastry blender (or 2 knives), cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  In a small bowl combine egg and milk.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture; mix well.
2.  Insert the wooden skewers into ends of hot dogs.  Pour vegetable oil in a ver large skillet to a depth of 1 inch, heat oil over medium-high heat to 365 degrees.
3.  Coat hot dogs with batter (I would dredge the hot dogs in flour first to help the batter stick)  You could also pour the batter into a drinking glass and dip the hot dogs into the batter to ensure an even coat.  If the batter is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons milk.
4.  Arrange the batter-coated hot dogs, three at a time, in hot oil.  Turn franks with tongs after 10 seconds of cooking to prevent batter from sliding off.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning again halfway through cooking.  Drain corn dogs on paper towles; transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven while frying remaining franks.  Serve hot and with ketchup and mustard!

Nutrition info:  315 cal, 22 g fat, 45 mg chol, 632 mg sodium, 21 g carb, 1 g fiber, 8 g pro

***In the winter, I tried making a different soup every week, now that it's summertime, I want to try making a different burger every week.  Italian sausage is almost always in our freezer and we usually use it in sandwiches.  I wanted to change it up a bit and of course found an awesome burger recipe from Rachael Ray.

Sausage Burgers courtesy of Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
2 Cubanelle peppers, seeded and halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (hot or mild)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
2 large cloves garlic, grated
Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
8 deli slices provolone cheese
4 sandwich rolls

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms, onions and peppers until tender, 7 to 8 minutes then season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with stock.
2.  Combine the sausage and sirloin with grill seasoning, garlic and parsley. Mix and form 4 patties thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking and to keep burgers from bulging.
3.  Heat cast iron or nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat, cook patties 12 minutes turning once and top with mushrooms, onions and peppers and 2 slices of cheese. Turn heat off and cover pan with foil to melt cheese, 2 minutes. Pile on buns and serve.

Happy Eating, y'all!