Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BBQ Meatballs

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

I was craving something hearty without much effort on my part, and when I saw these meatballs I knew it was meant to be. Pioneer Woman has never let me down. Good BBQ sauce is a rare find in this part of the world, so it was fun to try to make my own (and I did tweak the recipe a bit) although I think I would double it next time so as to have extra.

1 1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 cup oats
1 egg
3 Tbsp finely minced onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium/small sized balls and brown in a frying pan over medium heat and place in a baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Pour BBQ sauce over meatballs and bake for 45 minutes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Roasted Lemon Chicken

adapted from Gluten Free Day

2 lbs of chicken breasts or legs

1 lemon, zest and juice
7 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp ground turmeric
6 Tbsp olive oil.

Mix the marinade ingredients together and combine with the chicken.
Sprinkle some salt on the chicken before cooking.
Either cook the chicken with the marinade for approximately 1 hour at 300, or leave it to sit in the marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours and cook it without the marinade for 25 minutes at 500.
Serve with rice or potatoes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teriyaki Chicken

adapted from Blog Chef

Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique where food is served in a sweet soy marinade. Soaking the meat over night really brought out an intense flavor, and it turned out wonderfully.

3-4 chicken breasts (or thighs)
2/3 cup rice wine (or apple juice)
1 cup soy sauce
4 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup white sugar
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper (to taste)

In a sauce pan over high heat, add rice wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Season with garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Allow sauce to cool completely.

Place the chicken in a bowl or ziplock bag and add marinade. Leave in marinade for 2-24 hours. The longer the chicken is in the marinade, the more time the meat has to soak up the flavor.

Remove chicken from marinade (reserve the liquid if you want to use it for sauce). Cook chicken by grilling, baking or cut into pieces and stir fry.

If you are using the marinade as a sauce, pour the reserved liquid into a sauce pan and boil for at least 1 minute. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 additional minutes. Taste before using, the water lost during boiling may make the sauce too salty, so you may need to add water to dilute.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chocolate Crinkles

from Bread and Honey

I got into a baking mood and thought I would try a new cookie recipe. These were great and turned out so pretty.

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch balls and coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let stand on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool .

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rice Krispy Treats

I finally found a bag of marshmallows out here in Finland (yay!) so I decided to make me some old fashioned Rice Krispy Treats.
Each square was like taking a little bite of America.
This recipe can be found on the back of every Rice Krispy box in the US. Even though there are a million variations, I always come back to the classic.

3 Tbsp butter (42 grams)
10 oz regular marshmallows (284 grams)
6 cups of rice krispies

In a pot, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
Remove from heat. Add rice krispies, stir until well coated.
Press mixture into a 13x9'' pan and let cool.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Filipino Adobo Chicken

adapted from Big, Bold, Beautiful Food

This is the national food of the Philippines! And it was so mouth wateringly good that I can't wait to make it again. The sauce is sweet and tangy and has more flavor than I knew what to do with. As I looked for more detail on how to prepare it, I found that there were many variations on recipes, so feel free to experiment.

4-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice or white vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
Chili sauce (optional for dipping and to add heat)

Marinate meat in soy sauce, vinegar and spices for 30 minutes to overnight. Put meat and marinade in a soup pot. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk and try to cover the meat as best you can (you can add a little water if the liquid is too shallow). Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 40 minutes on low heat. You don't really want it to be at a rolling boil, more of a slower cooking method on low heat.

Take out the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Skim the fat, bay leaves and peppercorns, then boil the remaining liquid and reduce by half. As the sauce reduces, the taste will also change so make adjustments as necessary (taste it every so often to make sure it isn't becoming too salty)

While the sauce is reducing, brush the sides of chicken with a little ketchup. Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken on a baking sheet until the skin is browning and crispy. Once it is brown, turn the chicken over the brown on the other side.

Pour reduced sauce over chicken and serve on rice with a side of veggies and pineapple.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Irish Stew

adapted from Allrecipes

The secret ingredient in this stew is the Irish beer. Otherwise, it's just regular beef stew...

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean stew beef
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms
2 cups beef broth
1 can Guinness beer
5 sliced carrots, sliced
2 large potatoes, chopped
2-3 tomatoes
1 parsnip, sliced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp rosemary
bay leaves
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Cook beef chunks until brown on all sides. Add garlic, mushrooms and onions, and saute until cooked through. Then stir in broth and beer, add potatoes, parsnip, tomatoes, carrots and spices and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour. Spoon off fat. If you want a thicker sauce, add 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


adapted from allrecipes

This is a traditional Japanese dish that is usually served skewered and sold at stands in the cities. Mmmm, the sweet and tangy sauce is so good I could eat it on anything. We made ours this time with salmon chunks, but it is usually prepared for chicken

1 pound chicken (or fish), cut into chunks
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp white sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin, Japanese sweet wine (I substituted apple juice)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a bowl, stir together ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar and mirin. Place chicken and 1/2 of the mixture into a ziplock bag to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or over night.
Once ready, heat oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Place meat into the pan and cook one side thoroughly before turning it over. Serve hot with rice or noodles.

The unused portion of the marinade can be used as a dipping sauce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ginger Steak Salad

adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ben LOVES steak, but I resist making it because it feels too heavy. Adding it to a salad is a great compromise. This salad is delicious and has great flavor.

My baby likes his meat pink!

Steak Marinade:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp brown sugar

1 rib-eye, strip, or sirloin steak

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salad Dressing:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 generous Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced

8 oz salad greens
cherry tomatoes
1 white onion
1/2 Tbsp butter
salt to taste

Combine steak marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag. Mix and place steak into a bag. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Chop onion and dice mushroom, saute in butter until soft, and salt. Set aside.
Combine salad dressing ingredients. Set aside.

When steak is finished marinating, add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a hot skillet. Cook steak about 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Let meat sit for 5 minutes.

Toss salad greens in 3/4 of the salad dressing. Slice the steak thinly and place steak on top of the salad. Pour remaining dressing over the top. Add tomatoes, and top with onion and mushroom mix. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salmon Soup

from Ben

This is my favorite meal that Ben makes.
It is truly great.

1 lb salmon, cubed
4 medium potatoes, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3-4 tomatoes, cut into chunks
5 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 Tbsp dill
salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot, boil potatoes and carrots in broth until soft. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute onion, garlic and add tomatoes. Add softened onion mixture to the soup as well as spices. Turn off heat and drop in salmon. The hot water should cook the fish through in a few minutes. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chickpeas with Sausage and Peppers

adapted from Perfect Pantry

This dish is a type of tapas, or appetizer, from Spain. It has tons of flavor and was totally easy.

4-5 links of sausage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 head of greens
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the sausage into small pieces. Saute sausage, onions, garlic until the onion is softened but not browned. Add chickpeas, peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes (until heated through), then add the greens and stir them in until just wilted. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


adapted from John Chandler at Allrecipes

For some reason making Lasagna has always looked too complicated and time consuming but I love the taste, so I decided it was time to buck up and try it. This recipe has a hearty sauce and is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Feel free to use substitutions.

Um, now looking at this ingredient list, it looks a bit daunting... but don't be afraid!

Tomato Sauce:
3-4 links sweet Italian sausage
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp basil
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tsp marjoram
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Other layers:
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 egg
24 oz ricotta cheese (can substitute with cottage cheese)
1 zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp parsley
3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

sliced mushrooms
bell peppers

In a large pot, cook sausage, beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomato paste, sauce and crushed tomatoes, as well as the water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, and all other spices. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt and parsley. Thinly slice zucchini, squash, and any other vegetables so you are ready for layering.

About 1/2 hour before sauce is done, soak the lasagna noodles in hot water for about 1/2 hour to loosen them up. Preheat the oven to 375.

To assemble, ladle a cup or so of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x 13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles over sauce. Then spread a layer of ricotta cheese and spinach and then lay down another layer of noodles. Then spoon a layer of meat sauce with slices of zucchini and a layer of mozzarella cheese and add another layer of noodles. Another layer of ricotta cheese with mushrooms (or another vegetable) and add another layer of noodles. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan and cover with foil (careful not to let the foil touch the cheese because it will stick) Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

You can use leftover sauce on the side or save it for another meal later in the week. There really isn't a wrong way to do this. You can layer however you want depending on your preferences. I happen to like a lot of ricotta and vegetables.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches

This is my favorite fare to make with Thanksgiving leftovers, but sometimes you just have a hankering for it in March, so here we are.

quality bread
turkey slices
plain cream cheese
cranberry sauce (or in a pinch, lingon berry jam)

Toast the bread and spread the cream cheese on real thick. Then add the turkey and a generous ooze of berry sauce. Eat immediately and repeat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cheese Soup

from Anja Jensen

Ooooh, you can't go wrong with this creamy hot soup on a cold winter night. Easily changed to a vegetarian meal by leaving out the meat, next time I would try adding some chopped tomatoes for more color.

5 large potatoes
5 large carrots
2 Tbsp oil
8 cups stock
1 tub cream cheese (8 oz, or 225 grams)
1 lb hamburger *although this is easily omitted
1 Tbsp curry
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the hamburger and drain the grease. Chop carrots and potatoes into chunks and boil until easily mashed (or pureed). Then combine the stock with the mashed vegetables, boil for 15 minutes then add cream cheese, hamburger and spices. Stir until melted and smooth.

Serves 6

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maailman paras pannukakku (World's Best Pancake)

Finnish Pancakes

from Mandi

Although these pancakes could be eaten for breakfast in America, they are sweet enough for dessert. They come out very soft and taste great with jam!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups milk
3 eggs
4 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 375. Begin by combining all dry ingredients. Then slowly add the milk, being sure to mix it well. Then add the eggs. On a stove, heat up the butter until it is melted and pour it on top. The mixture will be VERY runny, but that is ok.
To bake, lay baking paper on the bottom of a broiler pan until it is completely covered and pour the batter in. The liquid should be 1/2 inch or less thick. Carefully put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top will turn a dark brown, the pancake should be removed just before burning. Serve warm.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shepards Pie

from mom

This is a cheap and easy dish, and very filling.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c beef broth
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp wine vinegar
carrots (sliced)
salt and pepper to taste

Topping: (mashed potatoes)
6-8 large potatoes
1/3 c butter
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 packet of ranch (optional)
cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)

First, boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash. Also, boil all vegetables until just softened. Saute onion, garlic and brown meat, then drain the grease. Add broth and flour until thickened. Add vegetables, seasonings and vinegar to the meat mixture. Pour meat mix into a baking dish and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Mash the potatoes until soft, add butter, milk and seasonings until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Plop the mashed potatoes on top and spread out until meat mixture is covered completely. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until mashed potatoes are golden brown.

Serves 8

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yogurt Marmalade Cake

This dessert is delicious, adding the yogurt in the bread makes it very moist and soft. In doing this again, I would probably experiment with the glaze a little bit, mine came out rather thick.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping cup of plain yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside

In a different bowl, mix yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and oil until combined. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir until just combined; do not over beat (may be a bit lumpy)

Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan. While cake is cooling, pour marmalade into a sauce pan and heat on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Add yogurt to pan and turn off heat. Stir to combine, then slowly pour over the top of the cake, allowing icing to pool around the sides.