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Monday, December 8, 2014

eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI Magazine Article

I am overjoyed and completely honored to be featured in the December/January 2015 issue of  the eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI magazine!  Of course, I would encourage you all to rush out and pick one up, but I realize that only a portion of you are here in my fair state... so I am bringing Mississippi to you. After all, this IS the "Hospitality State."  :)

I do realize the text is small, but it's the best I can do for you, my friends.  Thank you so much for your continued support and for sharing Menu Musings with your friends.  It is because of you that I am able to reach people.  When people send me private messages of their kids helping out in the kitchen, making recipes, spending time learning kitchen skills and sharing that time together... it truly makes me so happy!

Of course you can find this recipe for Prosciutto and Gruyere Stuffed Chicken Breasts here on the blog with step-by-step photos.

You can also watch a short video tutorial on the recipe from the list of my YouTube Videos.

Order a copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook!

Why don't you pop on over to my Recipe Index for more great recipe ideas that you can cook with YOUR family!

Here are some bonus recipes for you:






Saturday, November 29, 2014

Easy Beef Lo Mein

My son woke up one day last week with the flu.  Ughh!  Y'all have all been there, I'm sure.  You instantly have to switch modes, change the game plan, call the doc, get them on meds, the whole deal. Towards the end of the day, I asked him what he would like for dinner.  I thought the answer may be something like "soup."  Much to my surprise, the answer was "something Asian."  Okayyyyy...  "Surprise me," he said.  I sat there with a blank face for a good five minutes, I'm sure.  HaHa!!

This beef lo mein was very simple to make.  Basically, I marinated the beef for a while, cut up all my veggies, then stir fried everything in the wok before adding my noodles.  Okay - so this is quite an Americanized version.  I didn't run by the Asian market for fresh lo mein egg noodles, I'll admit.  But I figure you guys will probably have more access to linguine, too, right?  Remember... this is the fast and easy version.  I'm sure if you use the real noodles, they would be phenomenal.  :) 

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:  (serves about 6-8)
  • 1 3/4 pound top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp (divided)
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil, plus more for cooking
  • 16 oz linguine noodles (or fresh lo mein egg noodles)
  • 3 - 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 oz bean sprouts
  • 2 medium carrots thinly julienned 
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas
  • 4 green onions/scallions, cut into 2 - 3" pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp + 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
Step-by-Step:
The first thing I did was to get my meat "marinating."  I got the butcher to cut the steak for me into thin 2-3 inch strips.  *Just ask them!  It's a big time saver for you.  I added 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp canola oil, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.

*I read that adding a little baking soda to the beef helps to tenderize it, so I decided to give this method a try.  For my 1 3/4 pounds of beef, I went with 1/4 tsp baking soda.  I was pleased with the outcome and texture of the beef.

Now we can just sit this aside for a while while we get all the other stuff cut up, etc.
I will have my linguini noodles cooked, thoroughly rinsed, drained, and ready to add later.
 
Before you begin cooking, have ALL of your vegetables cut up and ready to go!  From here, everything goes really quickly. 

The first thing we are going to get cooking is the beef, then we will set it aside.  Get your wok or skillet really hot (like almost smoking).  Add a couple tablespoons of oil and quickly sear the strips of beef.  It shouldn't take long at all.  Just a few minutes.  Then take the beef out and set it aside.  
canola oil
marinated beef strips
Except for my green onions, I added all of the veggies to the wok.  It will look like an enormous amount at first... but something weird happens, and it just wilts down to hardly anything.  Stir fry on medium-high'ish for a minute or so. 
2 med carrots. 1 red bell pepper. 4 cups Napa cabbage.
2 cloves garlic. 8 oz sugar snap peas.
stir fry a couple of minutes
Then start adding in the seasonings....  the rice vinegar....
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
the chili garlic sauce... *Control your heat here!
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
toasted sesame oil...
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
 Do you wonder, at this point.... What happened to all of my wonderful Napa cabbage?
brown sugar...
1 Tbsp brown sugar
bean sprouts...
4 oz bean sprouts
Now just let all that cook for a few minutes until the firmer vegetables (like the carrots) begin to get tender.

Now add in the drained linguine (or lo mein noodles if you are using them), as well as the beef.
16 oz cooked, rinsed, drained linguine noodles
Stir fry another few minutes and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce, salt, etc.  Mine tasted a bit "flat" without the addition of a bit more salt.  Hard to believe, right?  But we just added a lot of pasta to this.  
seared beef
Give everything a good stir.  Add in the green onion tops.  
4 green onions/scallions cut into 2-3 inch pieces
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Plate and serve.
Are you are still wondering about the patient?  Turns out, this was just what the doctor ordered!  Well, not really.  The doctor prescribed some pretty expensive medicine.  But the patient really enjoyed his dinner.  So that made for one happy mama... and one satisfied patient!  :)  This dinner had a little something for everyone.  Those of us who loved veggies had plenty.  The pickier ones had enough noodles and beef to definitely have their fill.  All-in-all, definitely a winner.  And for me - a great lunch for the office the next day!  WooHoo!!

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  They are over 350 pages of full color recipes!  For more information, here is a link!

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one example - High Class Shepherd's Pie.  Yum!  

Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Muffin Tin Drop Biscuits - only 4 ingredients!

Easy Meatball Sub Casserole

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Black Iron Skillet Deep Dish Pizza

Cranberry Orange Muffins with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble Topping

Creamy Chicken Piccata

Written Method:
The first thing I did was to get my meat "marinating."  I got the butcher to cut the steak for me into thin 2-3 inch strips.  *Just ask them!  It's a big time saver for you.  I added 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp canola oil, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.  Now we can just sit this aside for a while while we get all the other stuff cut up, etc.  *I read that adding a little baking soda to the beef helps to tenderize it, so I decided to give this method a try.  For my 1 3/4 pounds of beef, I went with 1/4 tsp baking soda.  I was pleased with the outcome and texture of the beef.

I will have my linguini noodles cooked, thoroughly rinsed, drained, and ready to add later.

Before you begin cooking, have ALL of your vegetables cut up and ready to go!  From here, everything goes really quickly. 

The first thing we are going to get cooking is the beef, then we will set it aside.  Get your wok or skillet really hot (like almost smoking).  Add a couple tablespoons of oil and quickly sear the strips of beef.  It shouldn't take long at all.  Just a few minutes.  Then take the beef out and set it aside.  

Except for my green onions, I added all of the veggies to the wok.  It will look like an enormous amount at first... but something weird happens, and it just wilts down to hardly anything.  Stir fry on medium-high'ish for a minute or so, then start adding in the seasonings:  The rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce (Control your heat here!), toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, bean sprouts.   Now just let all that cook for a few minutes until the firmer vegetables (like the carrots) begin to get tender.

Now add in the drained linguine (or lo mein noodles if you are using them), as well as the beef.  Stir fry another few minutes and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce, salt, etc.  Mine tasted a bit "flat" without the addition of a bit more salt.  Hard to believe, right?  But we just added a lot of pasta to this.  Give everything a good stir.  Add in the green onion tops.  Plate and serve.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pan Seared Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce

Last week I was flipping through some channels and I saw the most beautiful French-style, pan seared chicken breasts that were bathed in a gorgeous tarragon cream sauce... and I thought "Yep, I have to have that!"  Then I went through the normal litany of thoughts that the rest of you probably go through when you consider a recipe, "Hmmmm.... will my kids eat that?" and "How long will it take to make?" and "How difficult will it be?"

Well, my dear friends, I am SO excited to tell you that my kids LOVED this recipe!  The one I saw used gargantuan chicken breasts, which I imagine took quite a while, but I don't have quite that amount of time after work for my busy family, so I took care of the time factor by choosing thin cut chicken breasts and the rest was a snap for a work week meal (although it was SUPER elegant and could easily have been a date night or supper club meal! ... and it was so simple that I wish I had discovered it before!  But now the secret is out, and it is definitely one of those things that needs to be added to the dinner rotation.  Oh - MY -  GOSH!!!


Ingredients: 
  • Thin cut chicken breasts (I was making 8)
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp shallots
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped 
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms
    • cleaned with stems removed, sliced
  • 6 -8 large garlic cloves
    • just cut in half
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    •  I used Sauvignon blanc
  • 2 Tbsp butter


Note:  You could go with regular chicken breasts here if you need to, but I am going to save quite a bit of time by using the thin cut ones.  If you are using a regular breast, you will need to either slice them thin by butterflying them (like a book) and pounding them out to a uniform thickness, OR... cooking them quite a bit longer so that they will be completely cooked through.  If you would prefer chicken thighs or similar dark meat pieces, go for it, but please cook them longer than I am cooking these thin-cut breast pieces.

Step-by-Step:  
Season your chicken simply with kosher salt and black pepper.
kosher salt
black pepper
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy pan and let it get really hot.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Add the chicken to the pan.  The chicken should start to sizzle immediately.  If it doesn't, that means your oil is not hot enough.  You may need to add the chicken in batches depending on how much you are cooking.  Don't overcrowd the pan, as it will drop the oil temperature too much. 
FYI - I am using a 14" pan this time.
After a few minutes, flip the chicken over.  The chicken should release easily if it's ready.  If it sticks, it's not ready.
Remove the chicken to a plate and cover lightly if you wish to keep warm.
To that same pan, without cleaning it out, add your shallots.  I have my fire on about medium heat.  You can add an extra tablespoon of oil if you feel like you need.  If you do, add it along one wall of the pan, so that by the time it gets to the bottom, it's hot.

Sauté them around for a minute or so to allow them to wilt.
3 Tbsp Shallots
Add in the garlic cloves.  I am not cutting them small.  They will really mellow out and get sort of roasted and sweet when they are like this in the sauce.  You can always pick out the large cloves later, but I betcha you will love them!
6 - 8 large garlic cloves, cut in half
Go ahead and add in the crimini mushrooms now.  We will welcome the liquid that they are going to give off.
1 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms
Let's get this all sautéed together.  Can you see how lovely this is going to be?
Well we are going to really make it delicious now!  Add in the butter next for some silkiness....
2 Tbsp butter
Followed by that dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc in this case) to deglaze the pan. 

Note - Always use a wine that you are actually going to drink if you are a wine drinker.  If you are not a wine drinker, I recommend that you purchase the small little individual wines that are available in a 4 pack.  They are usually just the right amount for a recipe without having to purchase and open a whole bottle.
1/4 cup dry white wine
I am now bringing this all up to a boil, and adding in the fresh chopped tarragon.  Mmmm.
3 Tbsp fresh tarragon
After it reduces a bit, I added the heavy cream.  We are in business now! 
3/4 cup heavy cream
When I get the sauce pretty much the consistency that I'd like it (which didn't take long at ALL), I added back the cooked chicken. 
I'm added the juice of half a lemon, just to add some brightness to the sauce.
juice of half a lemon
Looking good, huh?
Before serving, I added just a smidge more fresh tarragon.  Fresh herbs have a way of losing some of their pungency during the cooking process, so I wanted to make it just a little more assertive.
I served this gorgeous, silky sauce over some garlic mashed potatoes, with a side of roasted asparagus.  Oh - MY - GOSH, y'all!!!  I know I started the post with this, but I just had to say it again.  This was so good! 

The sauce was so silky.  The delicate flavor of the tarragon played so nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms.  And of course the mashed potatoes were there to catch every bit of that sauce!  
Oh!  And let's not forget about those whole quasi-roasted garlic cloves that have not only perfumed the sauce, but that have been sweetened and transformed into something....ahhh... magical!

I hope you enjoyed this simple, elegant, and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  They are over 350 pages of full color recipes!  For more information, here is a link!

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one example - Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne! YUM!
Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Garlic Aioli

Korean Beef Shish Kabobs

Cajun Crawfish Bread

BLT Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Ham, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyere Quiche

Turkey and Brie Panini with Cranberry Chutney


Written Method:   
Note:  You could go with regular chicken breasts here if you need to, but I am going to save quite a bit of time by using the thin cut ones.  If you are using a regular breast, you will need to either slice them thin by butterflying them (like a book) and pounding them out to a uniform thickness, OR... cooking them quite a bit longer so that they will be completely cooked through.  If you would prefer chicken thighs or similar dark meat pieces, go for it, but please cook them longer than I am cooking these thin-cut breast pieces.

Season your chicken simply with kosher salt and black pepper.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy pan and let it get really hot.  Add the chicken to the pan.  The chicken should start to sizzle immediately.  If it doesn't, that means your oil is not hot enough.  You may need to add the chicken in batches depending on how much you are cooking.  Don't overcrowd the pan, as it will drop the oil temperature too much.  After a few minutes, flip the chicken over.  The chicken should release easily if it's ready.  If it sticks, it's not ready.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover lightly if you wish to keep warm.

To that same pan, without cleaning it out, add your shallots.  I have my fire on about medium heat.  You can add an extra tablespoon of oil if you feel like you need.  If you do, add it along one wall of the pan, so that by the time it gets to the bottom, it's hot.  Sauté them around for a minute or so to allow them to wilt. Add in the garlic cloves.  I am not cutting them small.  They will really mellow out and get sort of roasted and sweet when they are like this in the sauce.  You can always pick out the large cloves later, but I betcha you will love them!  Go ahead and add in the crimini mushrooms now.  We will welcome the liquid that they are going to give off.  Let's get this all sautéed together.  
Add in the butter next for some silkiness.... Followed by that dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc in this case) to deglaze the pan. 

Note - Always use a wine that you are actually going to drink if you are a wine drinker.  If you are not a wine drinker, I recommend that you purchase the small little individual wines that are available in a 4 pack.  They are usually just the right amount for a recipe without having to purchase and open a whole bottle.

I am now bringing this all up to a boil, and adding in the fresh chopped tarragon.  Mmmm.  After it reduces a bit, I added the heavy cream.  We are in business now! When I get the sauce pretty much the consistency that I'd like it (which didn't take long at ALL), I added back the cooked chicken. I'm added the juice of half a lemon, just to add some brightness to the sauce.  Before serving, I added just a smidge more fresh tarragon.  Fresh herbs have a way of losing some of their pungency during the cooking process, so I wanted to make it just a little more assertive.

I served this gorgeous, silky sauce over some garlic mashed potatoes, with a side of roasted asparagus.  

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Follow Me on Pinterest