We have made A LOT of waffles this year. Right now, one of our favorite kinds is a spiced waffle of my invention (more or less). It’s the perfect warm treat for a cool fall day!
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. hawaij (if you can’t find this spice blend, you can mix and measure from 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon…this blend is also great in coffee!)
2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, and then slowly incorporate into dry ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.
I’m no expert on Chinese food, but I do know what kind of fried rice I like, and I’ve been trying to replicate my favorite fried rice for almost two decades now. I’m not claiming it’s authentic, but it is tasty, and it reminds me of the restaurant I used to like to eat at before it closed!
3-4 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
5 cloves minced garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup julienne carrots
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the diced onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant Add the garlic, ginger, white part of green onions, and carrots and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs until almost set, then add to vegetables in bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil, adding an additional Tbsp. of oil if necessary. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps. Add the remaining green onions, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Transfer to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.
I’m always on the lookout for a new soup recipe, and when I saw one for a potato-parsnip variety, I was intrigued, because I both really like potato soup and the flavor of parsnips. I made a few changes so it would suit us a little better, and in the end, it was a huge hit (and also a very pretty meal!)!
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
32 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Crème fraîche or Mexican crema, bacon bits, and chopped chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425.
Toss potatoes, parsnips, onion, and garlic with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 40 minutes.
Combine vegetables with broth in large stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.
Return to pot and combine with milk and cream and add salt and pepper to taste; heat though without boiling.
I think I have the school/cooking routine down pretty well at this point, although some days, it seems like I go straight from the school room to the kitchen. That’s weird, because I usually cook all of our dinners, even in pre-COVID-19 days. But for the last seven (?!?) months, I’ve certainly been putting more effort in, because it’s really the only thing I can do for my family, so it’s still kind of a learning curve, even though it doesn’t seem like it should be. We’ve had some favorite recipes in the last month (both chicken and steak shawarma, plus our favorite chicken with grapes and couscous, not to mention breakfast-for-dinner several times), and tried a few new things (a stir-fry of my invention, creamy chicken noodle soup, and a new kind of chicken for tacos):
There has also been baking (and some frying), including apple cider donuts, pretzels, my award-winning apple and pumpkin bread, and our every-Sunday cookies:
I guess I’ll keep this up through the end of the year, because it’s always fun to keep track of what we’re eating during the holidays, and they’re getting awfully close!
This recipe is so simple, it really doesn’t even need to be written down, but it was a huge hit with my whole family, and took very little effort, so I thought I’d share. It’s not only great in tacos, but also an excellent quesadilla filling!
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup taco seasoning
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
Place chicken in slow cooker and cover with taco seasoning and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until cooked through. In last hour of cooking, shred chicken and return to slow cooker, mixing with sauce.
This has been the year of the small kitchen appliance. There was the Soda Stream. And the waffle maker. Plus the omelette maker. But I’m not sure any small appliance has gotten more use than our new Ninja blender, which I was very excited to get, because I pretty much burned out the motor on our old, faithful Osterizer.
Our favorite thing to make in the blender is smoothies (although it has gotten plenty of use making soups and sauces, too!). And while we may not be into healthy green smoothies, our favorite recipe is easy to make and delicious, and there are so many options…we love trying new combinations of yogurt, fruit, and juice!
16 oz. yogurt
4 cups frozen fruit
2 1/2 cups juice
Place all items in blender and mix on high until smooth.
Who doesn’t love chicken wings, am I right? I was intrigued when Beast Butcher and Block announced a new sub-restaurant providing delivery and carryout wings running out of their St. Louis location, and I was ecstatic when I found out that it was also going to be offered right here in Belleville!
Wing Runner currently offers 10 different flavors of wings (plus a cauliflower “wing” for the non meat-eaters who darken the doorstep of a BBQ joint). Sides are very limited, and because it’s a separate business, you can’t just tack items from Beast onto your order. We went with a bulk pack of 50 wings (there are seven of us, after all, but we didn’t finish quite all of them in one sitting!)…you can get up to five flavors, but for our first visit, we chose the four we were most interested in.
First up, my choice, the roasted garlic butter wings:
Of course we had to try the traditional mild buffalo (they also have hot buffalo, but not all of our children are open to that level of spice):
The spicy BBQ mustard was another popular request:
And the char siu, featuring sesame seeds, was our “wild” choice:
Well, not as wild at the habanero jerk…we got a 5-piece order of those to try alongside the other flavors.
Have you ever seen a better-looking plate of wings?!?
OK, on to the flavors. The habanero jerk was HOT. Like, scary hot. Even Ryan, who is the biggest fan of heat in the house, couldn’t eat more than two wings. So, if you order those, just be aware that your face may melt off. They’re excellent…I know that on a culinary level. But my taste buds would not thank me if I ate them again!
The other four flavors were all a huge hit. I don’t think I could pick a favorite if I tried…they were all delicious in their own way. The char siu was especially amazing…it was such an unexpected flavor on wings, and that just made it taste better. The spicy mustard had a great kick, and I loved the actual mustard seeds on the wings. The garlic butter had just the flavor I was hoping for, with the pleasant addition of cotija cheese crumbled over them. And the mild buffalo was exactly what you want out of a traditional buffalo wing.
I’m hoping it won’t be too long before our next order. I really want to try the shishito lime wings, and the fish sauce caramel sounds just unusual enough to be delicious. I’m also pretty sure I need to try the dry rub wings, too, and any seasonal varieties they offer in the future! It’s always exciting to see what new ideas David Sandusky and Beast come up with, and they never fail to disappoint!
Time for the sixth installment of cooking through a pandemic…can you believe it’s been a half a year?!?
Cooking for the last month or so has been a little more challenging for me now that we’re back to school. I did have a little help though…the night before school started, we had Portillo’s via mail order, the first day of school was frozen pizzas for the first in I don’t know how long, we ordered Pizza Hut one night when I just couldn’t anymore, and just yesterday, we tried out the newest concept by Beast Craft BBQ, Wing Runner STL. We also tried quite a few new recipes in the last month, some of which were huge hits!
We’ve kept up with baking cookies every Sunday after church, and we even added a new chocolate twist. We also baked brownies, a few cakes, and made baklava over Labor Day weekend since we couldn’t go to the St. Louis Greek Festival.
Maybe I’ll do this again next month, maybe I won’t…only time will tell!