Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lamb Pilaf

Lamb Pilaf

Tired of turkey and leftovers but don't have the energy to cook up a feast well....I love one dish meals and here's one that's easy and got some ethnic flavors that will not disappoint! If you don't like lamb, you can substitute ground beef or turkey but like I always say...if you don't like the taste of lamb there's two reasons:

1) Whoever made it doesn't know how to cook lamb.
2) You didn't get good quality lamb meat.

So I urge you to give lamb a try. This recipe is especially good to ease into eating lamb because it calls for ground lamb so it's a lot harder to mess up the meat!

Lamb Pilaf
1 pound ground lamb
1 onion (diced)
2 tomatoes (diced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (red hot) pepper
1/2 teaspoon all spice
2 teaspoons salt
sprinkle of black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cups cooked white rice (should be warm)
2 pieces flatbread, lavash or tortillas (baked in the oven till crisp and cut into triangular pieces)

Make sure to get good ground lamb.

Dice the tomatoes and onions about the same size.

Saute the onions in the olive oil until soft then add the tomatoes, garlic, ground lamb and all the spices.

Saute on medium heat until the tomatoes break down and the meat is cooked.

Your mixture should be a bit "saucy." If it is dry, add 1/2 cup water to your mixture.

Add cooked rice to your meat mixture and fold together. Turn heat down to low and continue to fold mixture together. Once fully together, leave the pan on the burner but turn the heat off and cover to heat through. Leave covered on stove for 10-15 minutes.

I love serving this rice with crispy pita, lavash or tortilla chips.

The rice soaks up all that moisture and flavor from your meat mixture.

If you like your food a little spicier (like I do) sprinkle the top of your rice with more ground cayenne (red hot) pepper before serving.

Make sure to scoop up the rice with the chips!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Southern Comfort with an Asian Twist

Not your typical fried chicken and mashed potatoes!

I was in the mood for some fried chicken but this wasn't Southern was Asian flavors that inspired my meal! I'm gonna show you how I made some real good comfort food into a modern meal by adding Asian flavors. This is such a great way to switch things up a bit when you're tired of the same old fried chicken and mashed potatoes!

For the flour mixture, combine 1 teaspoon black pepper with 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1-2 tablespoons seasoned salt with 2 cups flour.
Panko crumbs are a light, buttery bread crumb mixture used in many Asian recipes! If you haven't cooked with these before, you must try them! Season the Panko crumbs (about 2 cups) with 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice. If you don't have Chinese five spice you can add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1 teaspoon salt.
Perfectly seasoned flour and Panko crumbs will make your chicken flavorful and delicious!

Have your flour mixture followed by your egg wash then finally your Panko crumbs all in a row for your fried chicken assembly line.

1st dredge chicken in flour mixture.
Then dip in egg wash. Egg wash is 2 eggs whisked with a couple tablespoons of water.
And finally coat in Panko crumbs.
Make sure to press Panko crumbs down to stick to chicken.
Then shake off any excess crumbs.

Place chicken in a oil sprayed pan and top each piece of chicken with a small pat of butter.
Here's your Asian Baked Fried Chicken! Nice, golden skin and crunchy Panko crumbs. It takes about 45-55 minutes at 375 degrees in the oven to get this chicken to perfection.
Don't serve this Asian inspired fried chicken with just plain old mashed potatoes...make some wasabi mash potatoes! These are so good with this chicken! You can buy wasabi powder in almost any grocery store these days.

Mix a little of the wasabi powder (about 1 tablespoon) with 3-4 tablespoons water...making a paste. Mix well and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb and as the mixture sits, it will get stronger.

Mix the wasabi paste into your favorite garlic mash potato recipe. Your potatoes will have a slight green tint to them and just a slight wasabi bite. freakin' good!

I also added some Asian flavors to the broccolini I served with my potatoes and chicken.

I grilled the broccolini on my grill pan drizzled with a little olive oil then added a couple tablespoons of my sweet and spicy Asian sauce to them right before they were done grilling.

For my sweet n spicy Asian sauce recipe go to:

The final product is some good old comfort food with a little kick! Talk about good stuff!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crazy Busy

This is where I've been.......

Ok so I've sucked this week when it comes to my blog but I have a good excuse! I have had at least one event...some days two with my catering company. It's so weird because it always happens like this. I guess I shouldn't be complaining....and believe me I'm not...I'm just explaining why I've been MIA when it comes to my blog. I've been working my butt off trying to round up more business and I guess I've succeeded! We are BUSY!!!! :)

I'm going to put up some good recipes for the next few days but for now....I need some rest. I'm exhausted and need to just lounge with a glass if champagne in hand. I really have worked hard in making it efficient. These pictures are of the event space that I have in my building...isn't it just beautiful?!? I catered a 50th birthday party there today and it was so amazing! I love where I have my catering company. It's in the Old Market area of downtown Omaha and it's seriously the coolest place! I feel so lucky to be able to have my business there!

The whole ceiling in the event space is a huge skylight!!!!

How cool is this?

And this is my new oven/stove/broiler/griddle combo I just got! It's sweet!

If you want to check out my catering business go to

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jalapeno Butter Shrimp

Jalapeno Butter Shrimp

As you can tell....I have a slight obsession with shrimp. I could seriously eat it everyday or at least every other day and if I could throw scallops in there, too...well then I'd be in true bliss! So if you see that I post a lot of shrimp recipes....well it's because of this slight hopefully you, too have a slight obsession with shrimp, too but if you don't...most of these shrimp recipes can be substituted with chicken. You will just have to adjust your cooking time of course! This recipe is similar to a recipe I made a few months ago with a few if you like this recipe also try this recipe:

Tonight...I made Jalapeno Butter Shrimp. You get the jalapeno butter by pan frying the chopped jalapeno (and I added a little habanero to mine, too because I like really spicy food) in butter until the pepper almost gets crispy. It was so good that after all the shrimp was gone...I ate the rest of the jalapeno butter by dipping crusty bread in it. Oh my....let's just say it was quite "gasmic!"

Start off by dicing and removing the seeds from 2 jalapenos. I also added 1 habanero to mine.

Saute the peppers in 3 tablespoons butter.

I was lucky enough to get these huge U12s at a decent price at the market. You can use any size shrimp you'd like but a bigger shrimp is better. I've used 26/30s and it turns out great. Again...that number simply means how many shrimp come in a pound. The smaller the number...the larger the shrimp. I use between 1lb and 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp for this recipe.

Make sure your shrimp are peeled (I leave the tail on for looks and it makes it easier to grab them by the tail) and deveined. I like to butterfly them so the sauce gets deep into the shrimp. To butterfly a shrimp it simply means to almost slice open the shrimp so that it opens up like a butterfly or fan but is not completely split open.

Let your peppers fry in the butter. Make sure you turn your heat down once the butter is melted or you will burn your butter. Keep an eye on your pan and stir often. Once you add the shrimp to the pan, they are done when they turn pink.
Sprinkle the shrimp with some salt and pepper as they cook. You can also add a splash of white wine if you'd like. I was also serving these to my son so I left out the wine this time.

Arrange the shrimp on a platter and pour the jalapeno butter on top. Squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice on top and you've got yourself one heck of a dish!
And don't forget to serve some bread with the shrimp so you can sop up the jalapeno butter. It's too good to waste!!! So sop it up baby...sop it up!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curried Veggies

Curried Veggies

I get so tired of steamed veggies and so does my tonight....we had curried veggies! I didn't want the veggies to be in a sauce but wanted them to have a nice flavor with a spice other than garlic! A lot of people are afraid of curry but you can use this spice in small portions so that the flavor is not overwhelming but instead adds just enough wow to your dish. This seriously is a simple way to make your veggies stand out and as a side dish it goes really well with just about anything and if you wanted to you could just add some chicken or shrimp or even steak to the dish to make it a main dish with no carbs! I used whatever veggies I had in the fridge. I love broccolini and it was on sale at the grocery store so I bought several packages because usually it is kinda pricey. You can use whatever veggies you have or prefer.

Curried Veggies:

8 oz baby carrots (or you can cut up your own carrots)

1 pound broccolini

1/2 cauliflower head (cut up into florets)

1-2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup water

My son always loved broccolini because he thinks they look like little trees. He's 10 now but since he was introduced to them early and thought they were a fun shape, he still loves them! Don't be afraid to introduce your kids to different veggies...they WILL eat what you teach them to eat! I promise! :)
Don't be afraid of curry powder. It doesn't have to be used in large quantities like some typical curries you've tasted or smelled. Start out by using just a little sprinkle and I promise you'll fall in love with this wonderful spice!
Once you're done cutting up your veggies, turn the burner on medium-high heat and start heating up your pan.

I use a grill pan but you can use any non-stick pan that you have. Once your pan is hot add the oil and butter until the butter starts melting.

Then add your veggies to the pan. Keep your heat on medium-high.

Sprinkle the veggies with all the seasonings.

After you saute your veggies for a few minutes, add the water and let the veggies steam for a few minutes to get tender.
Once your veggies are tender, you're done! If you have any liquid left in the pan, just pour it right over your plated veggies!
I ate at least 3 stalks of broccolini while I plated up these veggies....seriously good stuff! And of course....soooo good for you!

Broccolini has the same health benefits as broccoli but is more tender and has a sweeter taste!