Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chadian Dinner

My kids are really starting to test my ability to find these foreign foods.  J only chose Chad because he thought it was funny that there was a country named after his uncle.  I searched and searched for recipes from Chad but had hardly any luck.  I finally settled on Baked Fish and a Salad that I found on another blog that is pretty much doing the same thing as me.  I thought my idea was unique and although I'm a little bummed that it's already been done, I was grateful that they had a recipe I could use.

The Baked Fish tasted pretty much the same as any American fish.  It just had a few simple seasonings on it and it was delicious.

The Salad was a very unique combination of rice, cucumbers, bananas, and raisins with lemon, honey coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper.  I was very hesitant to try it but although it's not our favorite, the flavors weren't bad together.  My kids even really liked it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nigerian Night

Oh boy, Nigerian cuisine was a bit difficult.  First, they eat TONS of beans and my kids don't really like beans.  Second, so many of their dishes called for chicken hearts and gizzards.  Again, I really would like a chance at getting my family to enjoy the meal.  And Third, I kept running into ingredients that I couldn't find locally and online they were SO SO expensive.

I finally settled on Suya (Nigerian Chicken Skewers) and Jollof Rice.

As we've found with most of our international meals, this one was also really good; albeit spicy.  My kids all ate without complaining and commented on how delicious it was.  It was very spicy, though, so they didn't eat very much.  The Suya recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper!!!  I love spicy food but this made even me nervous so I only added 1/2 teaspoon.  Even with only using 1/4 of the cayenne it was still pleanty hot.  

The Jollof rice was also really good.  Kindof like Mexican rice but with it's own unque seasoning.  The recipe calls for cooking the rice over medium heat til dry.  Next time I will turn the heat to Med-Low because I ended up burning the rice to the bottom of the pan.  That didn't effect my rice at all; I just had to make sure I didn't scrape the bottom while serving it.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Peruvian Night

Peruvian Night has become one of my favorites.  I hadn't realized that it included a lot of beef and barbecue.  I found so many delicious looking recipes; I'm going to have to add some extra Peruvian dinners.

For this night's dinner we had Lomo Saltado with homemade fries and Aji Sauce and it was do good.

This is one of those rare meals that everyone in the family loved.  It reminded me of a fajita only the seasonings were a little different and it was served on fries instead of in a tortilla ... okay, so maybe not so similar to a fajita.

The only thing I did different from the recipe is that instead of tossing the fries with the meat, I served them seperate and just layered the meat over the fries.  The meat is really juicy and I think if I had tossed them, it would have made the fries really soggy.  

Next time I will also spread the cooked fries out onto a cook sheet rather than toss them in a bowl.  The fries that were in the bottom of the bowl came out of the pan crispy but as they sat while I cooked the rest of the fries, they steamed and became very soggy.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mexican Night

My 7yr old chose Mexican for this weeks dinner.  Honestly, I considered just cooking one of the many Mexican dishes that I already make but I decided to find something new.

I decided to make a new recipe for Beef Enchiladas.  They turned out so delicious and all 3 of my very picky eaters asked me to make this again soon.

My Enchiladas didn't plate nearly as pretty as the ones in this picture but I think these one's had to have been cooked seperate from the main casserole dish full of enchiladas.  

We ate our enchiladas with restaurant style refried beans and mexican rice.  I also made Horchata for the drink.  I have never had Horchata before so I can't compare it to others but I liked this one.  I have heard many people complain that it's too sweet so I used the minimum sugar suggested in the recipe.  I also think next time I will use a little less cinnamon.

For dessert I made Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars.

These bars are so good and would make a great dessert to bring to a family party.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

English Night

I figured that English Night would be easy to find recipes for so I kept putting it off until the night before I went grocery shopping.

So about 8:00 that night, a storm rolls in and boy was it a storm.  I live is a valley surrounded by big, beautiful mountains.  These mountains usually help to break up the wind and we don't get things like tornados.  On this night, though, we had winds hit 125mph.  My full garbage cans spilled into the road and covered my neighborhood in freshly chopped down tree.  The neighbor's trampoline took a trip down the street and into a nearby clubhouse's windows.  Several large trees were uprooted.  My picnic table was blown over and shattered and really the neighborhood was in chaos.  Amongst all this, my fence was being destroyed.  The wind had blown out several panels and had snapped the heavy duty vinyl fence posts.  Our front fence was also starting to bend and was on it's way to snapping also so hubby and I were out in the storm dismantling the fence while trying to dodge the debris blowing around us.

By the time we got inside, we were exhausted and all I wanted to do was climb into bed but I had to do the grocery shopping which included finding some English recipes for that weekend.  As I was searching recipes, everything looked to complicated for didn't look tasty; I believe this was directly related to how tired I was.  So I was thrilled to find that a traditional English Sunday dinner was Pot Roast.

This recipe was very tasty although the garlic wasn't nearly as strong as I thought it would be.  The only alteration I made was that I cooked it in my crock pot rather than in the oven.  

I also made the Yorksire Pudding recipe from the same site.

It tasted good but sunk when I removed them from the oven so they were really flat.

For dessert I made Peach and Blackberry scones.  


These are now a new favorite in our home.  They were delicious straight out of the oven with warm glaze drizzled over top but they also tasted great cold.  You cold even pass them off as a breakfast "muffin".

NOTE: I did find the dough extremely sticky and even after adding an extra 1/2c flour I still couldn't fold it and just gave up.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Beginning of International Night

Over the years, our blog has gone through a few changes, and I'm here to tell you that it's changing again.  I used to use this blog as my personal recipe box and a place where I could direct family and friends to my favorite recipes.  As Pintrest became more popular, I realized that it was a much less time consuming way to store and share recipes; and so, I stopped using this blog.

But now I'm back and I'm excited to share with you the new experiment in our kitchen.

I was sitting at my computer, trying to plan my menu for the week, when I realized I was bored with every recipe I have.  And to make it worse, searching Pintrest for dinner ideas wasn't helping at all.  I started thinking that it might be fun to try different meals from around the world. To include my family in this I told my kids that they would each get a turn to choose which country the meal came from.  J (my 7yr old) piped up "China", M (my 11yr old) "France", C (my 8yr old) "Iowa".  Wait .... what?   Guess we will be teaching geography as well.

We have been trying this for a month now and we are having so much fun.  I have never considered myself a picky eater but as I'm searching for recipes I find myself looking for the ones that look "Americanized" and I am trying to branch out and choose recipes that are more traditional.  That being said, I hope that I'm finding authentic recipes but really this is just dinner so I'm not going to do tons of research on the meal.  If it says it's chinese, I'm going to assume that it is.

One hangup I'm finding, as I search for recipes, is that every country eats food from other countries.  If someone asked me to cook an American meal, I would have to throw out half my recipes because they are Mexican or Italian, etc.  As I searched for Ukrainian dishes, I kept running into Russian and Polish recipes because they are also eaten in the Ukraine.  So again, I'm trying, but hey at least we are trying new and unique meals.

For our first International Night meal, J chose Chinese.  I thought "this is going to be easy" but I wanted to make something I hadn't made before so I chose General Tso's Chicken.  I'm not sure if it was the Hoisin sauce or the recipe or if I just messed it up but it did not taste like the chicken I've ordered at chinese restaurants.  Because I'm not sure if the problem was me, I'm not going to post the recipe.  Let's just say, it wasn't our favorite and I'm sure this won't be the only International Night that isn't a huge hit.

Doesn't this look delicious!  

The following week M chose French!  I was totally excited for all the pastries that I was going to make until I remembered that I shouldn't serve my kids pastries for dinner.  I searched online for hours but wasn't willing to make escargot or ANYTHING with duck liver (I at least want a chance at getting my kids to eat it) and finally settled on Croque Madame.

Croque Madame is more or less a very cheesy grilled ham & cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top but it was oh so delicious.  Everyone in the family loved it!  I also made French Beignets for dessert.  They tasted delicious but the dough didn't rise like it should have (I blame my yeast) so they were pretty flat.  Next time I make them, as long as they puff up, I'll try filling them with custard.

Look at all that cheesy goodness!


For our next International Night, C chose Egypt!  This one had me worried.  What in the world do they eat in Egypt?  Turns out, really delicious and pretty food.

For this one I made Oven Roasted Chicken Schwarma, that I served on thick pita bread, along with hummus and Tabbouleh salad.  The Tumeric made the chicken a beautiful yellow-orange color and my house smelled amazing.  I wasn't sure how the cinnamon would taste with the other spices but it really was delicious.

I did have to alter the Tabbouleh Salad a bit.  Mint is not in season here so I had a really hard time finding it fresh so I just left it out.  I know it's not a "real" Tabbouleh salad without it but it was really good none the less.  I also couldn't find bulger wheat but the recipe said it could be substituted with Couscous.  I didn't have and couscous but I had quinoa which I've substituted for couscous so that's what I used.

For dessert I made a Basbousa Cake.  I used Cream of Wheat enriched farina in place of the semolina.  It was good but very sweet.  I think if I make it again I will only use half of the simple syrup recipe.

Okay, so now we're caught up to last night's International Night.  Being the kind wife that I am I told Trent that he should get to choose a country, too.  Of course, he decided to be difficult and chose Ukraine.

I did struggle with this one a bit because all the recipes I found were actually recipes from the surrounding countries.

I finally settled on Cabbage Rolls and Yabluchnyk (Apple Layer Cake).

I didn't want to do the cabbage rolls because we aren't big cabbage fans but I couldn't find much else and over and over I read that cabbage rolls are served at every big Ukrainian family function so I gave them a try.

They turned out really good.  The cabbage was really mild and the bacon, along with the filling, was tasty.  We did end up adding some salt and pepper but that's because of our American tastes, I'm sure.

The Apple Cake was delicious.  I could just snack on it all day.  The orange juice in the batter was a great contrast to the apples and cinnamon.

So far we are having so much fun with our weekly International Night meals.  I printed up a current list of countries for the kids to choose from and they all immediately chose their countries for the next 4 weeks.  Currently, there are 195 countries so this experiment is going to take us about 4 years to get through.  There are a few countries that I'm a bit worried about but it's going to be fun figuring it out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

I love this recipe.   The roasted red peppers make it taste like I spent the whole day cooking but in reality, I only spent about half an hour.  

Creamy Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

  • 1lb bowtie pasta
  • 1 1/2lbs cooked chicken, sliced or cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 4T butter
  • 1c half and half, room temperature
  • 1c chicken broth
  • 1t seasoned salt
  • 12oz jar roasted red peppers, sliced (these are usually found on the condiment isle)
  • 1c mozzarella, shredded
  • Fresh parsley or basil, chopped
Cook the pasta according to the package.  While it cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic til soft.  Whisk in the half & half and chicken broth.  Stir in the seasoned salt and mozzarella.  Lower the heat to keep the sauce from boiling.

Add the chicken and red pepper slices to the sauce.  Stir frequently and keep an eye on the heat so it doesn't boil.  Drain the cooked pasta and stir it together with the sauce.  Add chopped parsley or basil when serving.

Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff