Easy Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Every once in a while a recipe comes along that is so delicious and so easy to make that I know that I must blog about it the moment the meal is done.  Recipes that made it onto this blog the night of their consumption include my Mexican Pizza, Trader Joe’s style Eggplant Parm, and our Las Vegas-inspired Guacamole-Chiptole Burgers…  I just couldn’t wait until the next day to share them!  Well, after tonight’s dinner a new recipe is joining that elite list: Ina Garten’s 25-minute Shrimp Scampi with Linguine.  Doesn’t it look fantastic??

700 Shrimp Scampi

The concept is simple:  Sauté garlic in melted butter and stir in a pound of shrimp until just cooked through.  Then mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh chopped parsley.  Toss with a generous portion of linguine, serve with crusty garlic bread and Voila! the perfect simple-yet-sophisticated weeknight meal is born.

683 Shrimp Scampi in the Pan

The Food Network advertises this Shrimp Scampi as the perfect “Make-It-Together” meal for Valentine’s Day, but it’s totally possible to throw it together on any old weeknight like we did.    Oh, and you’ll even have time to blog about it afterwards if you want!  🙂

705 Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine (from the Food Network’s Ina Garten; serves 3)

You will need…678 The Good Stuff... Garlic, Parsley & Lemon
Olive Oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 pound Linguine
3 tablespoons Butter
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb. Shrimp (we used ‘large’ shrimp, about 31/lb.), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup chopped Parsley
Zest from 1/2 large Lemon
1/4 cup Lemon Juice (approx. 1/2 large Lemon)
1/2 Lemon, sliced into 1/8″ half-rounds
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Crusty Garlic Bread Crisps, Optional (drizzle olive oil on garlic bread slices and broil for 5 minutes)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add in about a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the salt and the linguine.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, melt the butter and 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat.  Add the minced garlic and saute for one minute or until the smallest garlic bits are just starting to brown.  Add the shrimp, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper and saute for about 5 minutes until the shrimp have just turned pink.  Remove the pan from heat and stir in the parsley, zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and crushed red pepper.

Drain the cooked pasta, then return to the pasta pot and gently stir in the shrimp mixture.  (I’d recommend using a spatula to scoop every last bit of flavorful garlic and parsley out of the shrimp pan!).  We served our shrimp scampi with crusty, crispy garlic bread.  Enjoy!

693 Shrimp Scampi686 Shrimp Scampi

White Bean Chili with Sausage and Chicken

It has been bitterly cold here in southeastern PA.  We haven’t seen above-freezing temperatures in a week and the 14 inches of snow that fell last Tuesday still look fresh and powdery… no melting whatsoever!  I’m not complaining, though.  I’ll take extreme winter weather with lots of snow and cold over a mediocre, unexciting winter any year!

The cold weather means that Matt and I have been making soups, stews, and chilis almost every week.  Right now we have a beef chili simmering on the stove that’s made with “real” dried beans that we had to soak overnight… first time I’ve ever done that!  Tonight’s chili still has another hour or so to cook before it will be ready so I thought I’d use that time to post about another stew that we made a few weeks ago… white bean chili with hot sausage, chicken, bacon, and five types of peppers… yum!!

White Bean Chili with Sausage, Bacon and Chicken

This white bean chili comes together really quickly… just under an hour from start to finish.  That’s much faster than tonight’s beef chili which has been simmering for nearly 7 hours! (Can you tell that I am impatiently waiting for it to be done?  I’m starving!!)  Getting back to the white bean chili, I found that the “white” cannellini beans and navy beans were a nice change from the basic kidney beans and black beans that my chilis usually include and I definitely liked the combination of bell peppers, jalapeño, green chiles, and chipotles en adobo.  Oh, and of course I thoroughly enjoyed the bacon and hot sausage… how could you not like that winning combination?  🙂

White Bean Chili with Sausage and Chicken (adapted from this recipe at Food52)

Chili Ingredients:
Olive Oil
5 slices Bacon, chopped
1 lb. Chicken Breast, cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage, ground (or removed from casing)
2 Yellow Onions, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, minced
2 – 4 oz. cans Diced Green Chiles
2 Chipotles en Adobo, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
3 tablespoons Cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons Chili Powder
3 tablespoons Mexican Oregano
3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 – 15 oz. can Cannellinni Beans, partially drained
1 – 15 oz. can Navy Beans, partially drained

Garnishes:
Your choice of Sour Cream, Grated Cheddar Cheese, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, Avocado, and/or Tortilla Strips

White Bean Chili In Process

Directions:
Heat a large (7-8 qt) stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chopped bacon until it is just starting to get crispy.  Add in the chicken and sausage.  Brown the meat, stirring frequently, for approx. 12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is well crumbled.

Stir in the next seven ingredients (onion thru garlic) and saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the spices (black pepper thru Mexican oregano), stir well, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir, and cook for 3 more minutes.  Next, add the chicken stock 1 cup at a time, stirring and scraping the browned bits off of bottom of the pot between each cup.  Bring the chili to a boil then add the beans and stir well to combine.  Reduce the heat and simmer the chili for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the white bean chili in large bowls and top with your choice of garnish.  We enjoyed our chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and cilantro and it was delicious!

White Bean Chili 4

Here are some of the other Chilis and Stews that we’ve been making lately.  Enjoy and stay warm!
•  Pozole Verde
•  Pork and Green Chile Stew
•  Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Hello there, blog world!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted but that’s because Matt and I have been in Las Vegas!  We were there all of last week and just got home late last night.  Being home after a long work trip is definitely nice but I do have to admit that I’m already missing Nevada’s weather.  Every afternoon the temps climbed into the mid-sixties and the sky was always perfectly clear and sunny.  Here in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, we’re about to get hit with another “Polar Vortex.”  Once that icy blast of cold air arrives tomorrow it’s going to stay below freezing for four days straight.  Brrr!

Pennsylvania’s winter weather does have its benefits, however.  Take for instance winter comfort food.  I’ll bet a hearty slow-cooked stew tastes WAY better in 20° Pennsylvania than it would in 60° Las Vegas, right? 😉  I could actually really go for a nice stew tonight for dinner.  We don’t have the ingredients on hand though so I’ll satisfy my craving by posting about this Pork and Green Chile Stew that I made last month.  Doesn’t it look yummy?

Pork and Green Chile Stew close up

I found this Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile Stew recipe at Skinny Taste.  It was extremely easy to make – just cube and brown the pork and simmer all of the ingredients together in a crock pot for 4-5 hours – and the cooked pork was tender and moist.  Matt and I garnished our plates with cilantro, avocado and sour cream and these Mexican flavors added a really nice, bright finishing touch to the stew.  For anyone looking for a good Polar Vortex meal, I highly recommend this!

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Slow-Cooked Pork and Green Chile Stew (Recipe from Skinny Taste)

Stew Ingredients…
2 lbs. Pork Loin roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2″ cubes
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour (or use a gluten-free flour for G-Free preparation)
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 – 4 oz. cans Diced Green Chiles, drained
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers, diced with seeds and stems removed
1 – 10 oz. can Ro*Tel Tomatoes & Diced Green Chiles (not drained)
1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Other Ingredients/Garnishes…
Cooked White or Brown Rice
Sour Cream (omit for Lactose-Free)
Sliced Avocado
Chopped Cilantro

Directions:
Season the cubed pork liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the cubed pork.  Cook the pork for approximately 4 minutes or until browned on all sides.  Gradually stir in the flour and allow the pork to continue browning for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the browned pork to a crock pot.  Add in the remaining stew ingredients (onion thru garlic powder) and stir gently to combine.  Cover and cook on high power for 4-5 hours or on low power for 8 hours.  When done, stir the mixture and, if needed, add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the stew over rice and garnish with sour cream, avocado and cilantro.

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Candied Walnuts and Pecans

Merry Christmas!  Matt and I started off the holiday with a lunch party for work last Friday and then kept the fun going with dinner at my family’s house on Sunday, Christmas Eve dinner at our house, and Christmas Day dinner with Matt’s family.  At some point in the future I will post about the dinner that Matt and I made on Christmas Eve (standing rib roast with yorkshire puddings… YUM!) but for now I want to focus on some sweeter holiday treats that make great gifts for friends and family.  Here they are…

Candied Pecans

Oh yes, those are candied nuts!  Sugary, salty pecans with just a hint of cayenne, to be precise.  Don’t they look delicious?!? I found the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen and after a quick trip to Target for some walnuts and pecans we were ready to start cooking.  These candied nuts are really easy to make, by the way.  We simply coated the nuts with egg white, stirred in the sugars and spices, and baked them in the oven for 30 minutes.  After the nuts cooled completely I packaged them in jelly jars with a red bow and they were ready for gifting!

Candied Nuts

Candied Walnuts and Pecans (from Smitten Kitchen)

You will need…
2/3 cup White Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (or hot smoked paprika)
1 Egg White
1 tablespoon Water
1 lb. Walnuts or Pecans (or any other type of nut you want to candy)

Directions:
Combine the sugars, salt, cinnamon and cayenne in a bowl and stir well.  Place the egg white and water in a separate large bowl and beat with a fork for approximately 30 seconds until the mixture is frothy.  Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and stir to coat evenly, then sprinkle on the sugar mixture and stir well until combined.

Candied Pecans before baking

Spread the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake the nuts in a preheated 300°F oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the nuts are done baking separate them (we transferred them to another piece of parchment paper on the counter) and allow them to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container until you are ready to eat them (or gift them!).  I found that one pound of nuts filled approximately 4 1/2 ten-ounce Ball quilted jelly jars.

Candied Pecans

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

It’s snowing out!  We were supposed to get a mere inch of snow today but it appears that the weather guys were WAY off… there’s already over 4 inches of snow out there!!  Here’s the view outside and the radar map… the snow doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon!

December 8th Snow

Cold and snowy weather is the perfect time to enjoy a batch of warm, hearty stew.  I have this pork and green chile stew from Skinny Taste cooking in my crock pot right now and I want to share another yummy concoction that I made a few weeks ago: Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili.  The original, vegetarian version of this recipe came from Pami over at Omnomalicious.  I would have been happy with a meatless stew but Matt likes his meat so I took some liberties with the recipe and added in some ground turkey just for him. 🙂

281 Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

This chili was seriously awesome.  The butternut squash was soft and just the tiniest bit sweet, and it blended really nicely with the black beans, peppers, and onions in a tex-mex-style broth that had just the right amount of kick.  YUM!  I will definitely be making this again soon!!

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili (adapted from Omnomalicious)

You will need…
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 Onion, diced
2 Red Bell Peppers, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, minced
1 can Diced Tomatoes
2 cans Black Beans, drained
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
1 lb. ground Turkey, browned
Salt and Pepper, to taste

272 Butternut Turkey Chili before and after

Directions:
Oh yeah, did I mention that this stew is amazingly easy to make?  Simply combine all of the ingredients in a crock pot then cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until the squash has reached your desired consistency.  Season to taste and serve with a slice of freshly baked cornbread!

284 Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Quick and Easy Hummus

Did you know that it’s incredibly easy to make your own hummus?  I never realized this until we received a Vitamix blender as a wedding present.  Now smooth and creamy home made hummus is just a few basic ingredients and a minute of blending away!

Quick and Easy Hummus Recipe

I like to think of this as a basic “building block” hummus recipe.  After you familiarize yourself with the standard ingredients you can play around with the flavors to come up with your own variation.  We haven’t tried tweaking the recipe yet but I have a feeling that next time we make a batch we’ll attempt to duplicate our favorite Trader Joe’s hummus flavors.  My favorite is Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus and Matt’s go-to is TJ’s smooth and creamy Mediterranean Hummus with pine nuts.  Of course, you could also try adding roasted red peppers, chipotle en adobo, pesto, sun dried tomatoes… the possibilities are endless!

Quick and Easy Hummus (from the Vitamix ‘Create’ Recipe Book)

You will need…
2 – 15 oz. cans Chickpeas – one can drained, the other with liquid
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon Cumin (plus more for garnish)
Salt, to taste

Directions:
Place the first six ingredients in the jar of a Vitamix* blender in the order shown above.  Set the Vitamix to variable 1 then increase speed to variable 10 and switch to high.  Use the tamper to push the mixture down into the blades and blend for 1 minute.  Stir in salt to taste and transfer to a bowl.  Garnish the hummus with cumin and serve with pita chips or your choice of veggie.  Enjoy!

Hummus and Pita Chips

* This recipe came from our Vitamix ‘Create’ Recipe Book, meaning that it’s designed to be made in a Vitamix.  When I used our Vitamix to blend the ingredients together the hummus turned out creamy, smooth, and perfectly blended in just one minute.  If you have a different type of blender the consistency might turn out a little less smooth (those sesame seeds could be hard to blend) so you may want to opt for a recipe that uses tahini (sesame seed paste) instead.

Caramel Corn with Honey-Roasted Peanuts

Last weekend our neighborhood had its annual Fall bonfire party.  The food was potluck-style so we initially decided to celebrate the season by making Thai Pumpkin Soup.  Then the weather took a crazy turn and it ended up being 85 degrees and humid (very unusual for October in Pennsylvania!) and we quickly realized that no one was going to be in the mood to eat soup.  So, at the last minute we changed course and made a nice summery Mediterranean Quinoa Salad instead.  We didn’t want to be too healthy though, so we supplemented our potluck offering with some delicious homemade caramel corn!

721 Caramel Corn

This was our first time making caramel corn and I was amazed by how simple it was.  Granted, it was a bit labor intensive (we had to stir the popcorn every 15 minutes for an hour and a half) but there were no fancy candy thermometers or gadgets required.  Just a wok, some popcorn kernels, butter, sugar, corn syrup and honey roasted peanuts… easy!

We referred to our go-to Asian cookbook, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, for instructions on how to pop the popcorn in our wok (it’s a great way to season a wok!) and I used this recipe  Leite’s Culnaria for the caramel recipe and baking instructions.  We threw in some store-bought honey-roasted peanuts to kick the recipe up a notch and I would say that our homemade caramel corn turned out pretty perfect.  I think Matt would agree… he couldn’t stop eating it even as I was trying to take this photo!  🙂

738 Matt steals some caramel corn

Caramel Corn with Honey-Roasted Peanuts (adapted slightly from Leite’s Culinaria)

You will need…
1 cup uncooked Popcorn Kernels, divided
Peanut Oil
1 1/2 sticks Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/3 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup Honey Roasted Peanuts

Directions:
Pop the popcorn kernels.  To do this in a wok, heat approx. 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in your wok over medium heat.  Put 3-4 kernels in the wok and cover.  (For easier clean up, wrap the inside of your wok lid with aluminum foil!)  When the test kernels in the wok pop, add in approx. 1/3-1/2 cup of kernels and re-cover.  (If test kernels don’t pop, slowly increase the heat until they do, then add in the other kernels.)  Shake the wok over the burner to keep it moving as the kernels heat up.  In a few minutes the kernels will start to pop.  Keep shaking until popping slows down, then carefully tilt the cover open and transfer the popped corn to a large baking dish.

Repeat this process with the remaining kernels until all of your popcorn is popped.  You may need to use multiple baking dishes to hold your popcorn… you’ll be stirring it later so it’s better to leave some extra space!  Add the honey-roasted peanuts to the popcorn and place in a 200°F oven to keep warm.

How to pop popcorn in a wok

Prepare your caramel by heating the butter and sugar over medium heat.  Add in the corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil.  Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 5 minutes, remove the mixture from heat and carefully stir in the baking soda.  Remove the popcorn from the oven and pour the caramel mixture evenly over the popcorn.  Mix well with tongs (don’t worry if every kernel isn’t coated at this point, though) and return the popcorn to the 200° oven.

Bake the popcorn for 1 1/2 hours at 200°F, stirring and tossing thoroughly every 15 minutes.  Allow the popcorn to cool before eating (if you have the willpower to wait!).  Enjoy it immediately or store it in an airtight container for as long as it lasts (which won’t be long… it’s delicious!).

Stirring the caramel corn

Above: Caramel Corn during a stirring break.  Below: The finished product!

Caramel Corn

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Happy Autumn!  Last Sunday Matt and I celebrated the arrival of Fall by making pumpkin soup.  And this wasn’t just any pumpkin soup… it was THAI pumpkin soup with fresh ginger, coconut cream and jalapeños in it… yum!  We topped it off with a dash of hot Sriracha sauce, a few salty peanuts and some sprigs of fresh cilantro and it was delicious!!

Thai Pumpkin Soup

I discovered this recipe in the cook book that came with our glorious Vitamix blender.  The Vitamix (predictably) made quick work of pureeing the soft ingredients for this soup but you certainly don’t need a Vitamix to make this… I’m pretty sure that an immersion blender would allow you to whip up a pretty tasty Autumn soup as well.  🙂  Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Thai Pumpkin Soup (adapted from the Vitamix ‘Create’ Recipe Book)

You will need…
Olive Oil
1 Onion, choppedThai Pumpkin Soup
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
2  1/2 cups Canned Pumpkin
2 tablespoons fresh Ginger, chopped
1 clove Garlic, chopped
3 cups Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth, for vegetarian soup)
1 teaspoon Green Chiles, chopped (we used Jalapeños)
1 cup Lite Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Cream of Coconut
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Optional Garnishes:
Chopped Peanuts
Cilantro
Sriracha
Sour Cream

Directions:
In a large pot, saute the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent.  Add the tomato paste, pumpkin, ginger, garlic and broth and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a slow simmer then remove from heat.

If using a VItamix or other high-powered blender, pour the pumpkin mixture into the blender and add in the green chiles, coconut milk, cream of coconut and lemon juice.  Blend on high power for 25-30 seconds, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

If using an immersion blender, add the green chiles, coconut milk, cream of coconut, and lemon juice to the warm pumpkin mixture.  Use the immersion blender to puree the mixture into a smooth soup.  (Note:  I did not use an immersion blender so I don’t know how long this will take, but I’m sure it’s doable!)

Transfer the pureed pumpkin soup into bowls and garnish.  Our favorite combination of garnishes was a dash of Sriracha with a sprinkling of peanuts and a few sprigs of cilantro.  The Vitamix book recommended a dollop of sour cream with peanuts and cilantro… choose whatever sounds good to you!

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Above: Our favorite garnish combination of Sriracha, peanuts and cilantro.
Below: Garnished according to the cook book with sour cream, peanuts and cilantro.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

What’s your favorite Fall pumpkin recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments or post a link!

Skirt Steak Tacos

Back in early July Matt and I made some yummy grilled steak tacos with a spicy, red chile pepper marinade. We’re going to make these tasty tacos again this weekend so I thought that now would be the perfect time to post the recipe… mostly so I can remind myself of how to make them! 🙂

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Don’t be intimidated by the red chile sauce. It has a lot of ingredients and took some time to make, but it also keeps well (just freeze any extra in an ice cube tray and bag the frozen cubes for storage) so you can definitely make it ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that the skirt steak needs to marinade overnight so plan accordingly.

~ ~ ~

Skirt Steak Tacos from Zacatecas
(from Tacos by Mark Miller; tweaked slightly for ingredients we had on hand)

Ingredients for the Red Chile Sauce:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
8 Roma Tomatoes, blackened (to blacken remove stems and broil in the oven for 5 minutes until blistered)
8 oz. (25-ish) dried New Mexico Red Chiles, dry roasted and re-hydrated, soaking water reserved
2 cloves Garlic, roasted and finely chopped (to roast place unpeeled cloves in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until soft)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 tablespoon Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil

Ingredients for the Skirt Steak:
1 pound Skirt Steak, excess fat trimmed away
8-10 cloves Garlic, dry-roasted and chopped (see above)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons Red Chile Sauce
1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree (simply puree a can of Chipotles en Adobo in blender; refrigerate any extra for up to a month)

Other Taco Ingredients:
Corn Tortillas
Garnishes, including: shredded Cabbage, thinly sliced Radishes, Chopped Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, and Shredded Cheese

309 Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Directions:

Start by making your Red Chile Sauce in advance. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer the onion, tomatoes, rehydrated chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt to a blender. If the reserved chile water is not bitter, add one cup to the blender mixture. If it is bitter, add a cup of normal water instead.

Blend the mixture thoroughly until a fine paste forms. Then, heat the peanut oil in a (clean) skillet over high heat and refry the blender mixture “at a sizzle” for 3-5 minutes while stirring constantly. The refried sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, stir in more water.

A day before you want to eat your tacos, prepare the Skirt Steak. Use a butcher’s mallet to pound the steak until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (chopped roasted garlic thru chipotle puree) in a large bowl or dish and stir well to create a marinade. Rub the marinade over the meat, cover, and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinating and Grilled Zacatecas Skirt Steak

Marinating steak (left) and grilled steak (right).

When you are ready to make your tacos, season the steak with more salt and pepper and grill it over direct medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Remove the cooked steak from the grill, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice it against the grain into 1/4″ thick strips.

Build your tacos by arranging strips of steak on warm corn tortillas and topping with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, and any other garnishes that you like. Enjoy!

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Chicken Lo Mein

This past weekend was our first free weekend since before our wedding! No DockDogs events, no traveling, no commitments… just time to ourselves! We celebrated by sleeping in both days, going out to lunch together (because we slept through breakfast) and watching hours of the British Open and Tour de France. I also did a lot of running on our brand new treadmill and Matt started a construction project that involved cutting open our bedroom wall in multiple spots… more on those events in a future post!

For dinner on Saturday we made a new recipe from our trusty cookbook, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge. I know I’ve said this before but this cookbook is AWESOME! In addition to savory recipes like Kung Pao Chicken and Hot Pepper Beef, this book is also full of helpful cooking techniques, information about ingredients and a whole tutorial on how to select and care for your wok. We have always been amazed by how great the recipes from this book turn out and Saturday’s dinner of Chicken Lo Mein was no exception. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein with Ginger Mushrooms (from Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young)

You will need…
12 oz. fresh thick Egg Noodles*
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
12 oz. boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1/4″ thick bite-sized slices
1 tablespoon Ginger, finely shredded (cut into tiny matchstick-like pieces)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Rice Wine or Dry Sherry, divided
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce, divided
1 teaspoon Salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
3 cups Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
4 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1/2 cup Scallions, finely shredded (try using a Negi cutter to shred the scallion into even threads)
*We couldn’t find egg noodles so we used a package of Kame Stir-Fry Hokkien Noodles that we simply microwaved to heat up.

Directions:
Cook or heat up your noodles until al dente according to the package instructions. If using fresh noodles that you have to cook in boiling water, drain the cooked noodles and rinse several times with cold water. Place the cooked noodles in a bowl and stir in the sesame oil. Set aside.

Combine the chicken, ginger, 1 teaspoon rice wine, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the white pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Heat a wok over high heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and add the red pepper flakes. Stir fry for 10 seconds then push the flakes to the sides of the wok and add the chicken mixture. Spread the chicken evenly on the bottom of the wok and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, then stir fry the chicken for another 30 seconds or until it starts to brown. Add in the cabbage and mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute or until the cabbage wilts. Transfer the wok contents to a plate.

Pour the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil into the wok then add in the noodles and stir fry for 15 seconds. Stir in the rice wine/soy sauce mixture and add the scallions, chicken mixture, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Lo Mein Close Up

Chicken Lo Mein Dinner