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Dash Food Guest Post: Potatoes Served Two Ways

After reviving Dash Food, one of the people who expressed a huge was interest my sister-in-law, Sally who's based in Ohio. I visited Sally, my brother, and my nephew and niece in Cleveland during my last trip to the US.

And, apart from being a mom and nurse extraordinaire, Sally is also an excellent cook and baker. So, today, I'm sharing two of her recipes through Dash Food.

Easy Dinner with Potatoes on the Side by Sally Manuel

It was almost 5 o'clock pm! Hubby was gonna be on his way home and I haven't started making dinner yet. I did thaw some pork chops already even without really knowing what to do with it. I had to think fast!

Being a Filipino, and married to one too, we always eat rice. But, I thought I would make something different (potatoes instead of rice) this time. This is what I came up with -

DINNER MENU:

Grilled Pork Chops with Bacon & Chive Hasselback Potato
Ham & Cheese sandwich with Roasted Potato fries

Grilled Pork Chops

I like to beat my pork chops with my "hammer" meat tenderizer so the meat won't be too chewy, but just perfect with every bite. I seasoned the chops with just a little bit of fresh ground pepper and ranch seasoning mix. Then, I put it on the grill until the temperature was about 160F.

Bacon and Chive Hasselback Potatoes

Baked potatoes are yummy, but I thought making it look really good will be a bonus! So, I picked a good size and nice shaped potatoes for this. Preheat the oven at 425F. Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Slice thinly leaving a little bit of unsliced part at the bottom. I buttered the potatoes by using butter spray and seasoned it with salt and pepper. You may brush it with olive oil or melted butter if you don't have butter spray. Make sure it gets through in between slices. To add some flavor to it, I added ground bacon bits and chives. Bake for about 45 minutes. I topped it with some Grated Parmesan cheese. It should be really good with sour cream too. I just didn't have it at the time. πŸ™‚

And for the kids...

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

I used Deli shaved extra lean ham, American cheese and some mayo in between two lightly toasted slices of white bread. Easy!

Roasted Potato Fries

Wash and pat dry two large potatoes. Cut it into a shape of French fries without peeling the skin. In a bowl, mix a tablespoon of olive oil with about 2 tbsp ground bacon bits & chives (same stuff I used with the Hasselback potatoes). Add a dash of salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes until every piece is coated. Bake at 425F for about 30 minutes. I baked it together with the Hasselbacks. Make sure baking pan was sprayed with cooking oil.

Serve immediately to your loved ones and it will be like eating at a fancy restaurant! Enjoy!

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Learning to Cook from the (Junior) Masterchefs

Not so long ago, I've shared that I live in a home full of Masterchef fans. And, with two young kids in the house, it was inevitable that we got lured in to watching the Junior Masterchef series too.

I never watched the first series of Junior Masterchef Australia, but my two li'l ones (ages 7 & 4) have been really keen to watch this series. Not a bad thing, really, because I love just how the kids are inspiring my boy and girl to learn how to cook and bake.

My seven year old son, for example, has just been trying to make more and more dishes. Just yesterday, he baked us his very own version of cheese puffs (using puff pastry and cheese). Not quite Masterchef standard, of course, but not bad. πŸ˜‰

And, if both my kids carry on with this, I'm hoping that they would just be keen to develop their natural interest in cooking and baking.

In any case, my son's godfather is one of his best mentors in his varied interests. As a keen cook the boy's godfather was only too happy to encourage my son's interest in this area. So, he bought my boy this Junior Masterchef Australia: The Cookbook (Volume 1).

I first started reading this book whenever my son asked to be taught to cook something from the book. But slowly, I decided to give some of the recipes a go myself.

And, bit by bit, it has become my go-to cookbook for basic stuff that I wish to cook and bake. Just the other day, for example, I decided to try making pasta and pizza dough from scratch for the first time. And yes, I used this book to guide me. I kinda experimented on the pasta and pizza sauces from elsewhere, but the recipes I tried from this book worked pretty well. I even ended up making a Grissini for the first time too, using the pizza dough.

Fresh Italian Feast: Pasta, Pizza, & Grissini --- all made from scratch!

In the past, I have also tried other recipes that worked really well, such as the noodles, baked cheesecake, and jam-filled shortbread. Based on these recipes, I have learned to hack and create my own versions of them. I've made raspberry, strawberry, and mango versions of the baked cheesecake, for example.

Mango cheesecake for office family day.

So far, the only recipe I tried that didn't quite work was the brownie recipe. But then, I have yet to find the perfect brownie recipe.

In any case, I thought I'd share my "secret" when it comes to some of the dishes that I've been sharing on my Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts. People keep asking for recipes and I keep pointing them to this book. So, I thought I'd finally blog about it.

Yes, all the food pics you see here are made using recipes from this book. πŸ™‚

Oh my! My 1st jam-filled shortbread biscuits look gigantic! On the plus side: They're yummy! :-)

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Homemade Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the outside. That's what these chocolate chip cookies are like! They are just so yummy-licious.

When I first started baking during home economics class in highschool, one of my first projects included making cookies. And, even though I wasn't quite as pleased with my efforts back then, some of my former classmates still seemed to love my cookie creations. I couldn't quite fathom why! Perhaps, the thing with homemade cookies is that they're almost always better than the packaged variety.

In any case, if you're looking for a simple but effective recipe for homemade classic chocolate chip cookies, do try this one out. I actually found the original recipe at the back of a Cadbury's chocolate chip packaging. Here you go ---

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/1 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Cadbury's Milk --- I found that a 230g packet can make two batches of cookies)

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeHow To Make:

1. Preheat your oven to 160'C

2. Melt butter, the mix it with brown sugar and caster sugar. Cream them using an electric beater until they're light and fluffy.

3. Mix in the vanilla essence and egg.

4. Then, stir in the flour until combined.

5. Add the chocolate chops.

6. On a lightly greased cookie sheet / baking tray, place the dough mixture. You can use a teaspoon to scoop the mixture, then make it in to a small ball, and flatten a little before putting on the baking tray.

7. Bake in moderate over for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. I find that 10 minutes is usually enough, but it might depend on your oven.

Additional Tips:

  • Make sure you only use a small amount of dough mixture AND leave enough space between cookies. The first time I tried this, I made them too big and put them too closely together. The dough started to expand/raise and they began to stick to each other. Yikes.
  • Don't attempt to take the cookies out of the baking try until they're cool enough. Otherwise, they tend to crumble.
  • The original recipe says that this will usually yield about 30 cookies. I found that when I made the perfect size cookie, I ended up with about 40 cookies.

What kind of cookies do you like? Do you have a favourite cookie recipe that you'd like to share? I'd love to give them a go too!

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Strawberry Cupcake Dreams

Strawberry CupcakesMy li'l girl loves pink. So naturally, her favourite food flavouring is strawberry.

One evening, while asleep, the girl says, "I want strawberry cupcakes." We teased her about it the next day. She thought it was funny too.

A couple of nights later, she sleep talks again saying, "Strawberry cupcake. I want strawberry cupcake!"

Seeing as I've never ever made strawberry cupcakes in my life, I kinda felt like those messages were hints for me. Well, sort of. In any case, I knew I just had to oblige.

So, I hunted for the perfect recipe. I looked and looked. And, I couldn't be quite sure about which recipe will be best.

Then, somehow, I came across something called Scout's Cupcakes (I forget where now). People swore they're the best cupcakes ever. That's how I knew I had to give it a go. And so I did. Now, I'm one of those people praising this cupcake recipe. I love it. It's so simple --- and absolutely yummy!

That's why I decided to use this as my basis for my strawberry cupcake recipe. Here's how Scout's Cupcake Recipe gets a twist of strawberry (which was also partly based from another strawberry cupcake recipe I found on Martha Stewart's site, I think)...

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • thickened cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed (I think you can use fresh strawberries too, but I've only ever used the frozen variety because I read somewhere that it works better)

Strawberry CupcakesHow To Bake/Prepare:

Step 1: Preheat over to approximately 160-180 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners - and set aside.

Step 2: Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor. Adding a bit of water might help. This should make about 1/3 cup of puree. Add more strawberries, if necessary. Halve the portion. Set aside the other half for the frosting.

Step 3: Into a 1-cup measuring cup, place two eggs. Then, fill the cup with thickened cream up to the top. Place the mixture in a big mixing bowl.

Step 4: Beat the mixture for one minute using electric mixer or beater.

Step 5: Add vanilla essence and caster sugar. Then, beat for 3 minutes.

Step 6: Sift in the self-raising flour and fold in to the mixture.

Step 7: Place the mixture in to the 12 patty cups.

Step 8: Bake in the over until light golden and cakes spring back when lightly touched in the centre. This may take about 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 9: When ready, leave to cool for a few minutes before frosting.

Strawberry CupcakesIngredients for the Butter Icing/Frosting:

  • 5 oz (150g) unsalted butter - softened
  • 8 oz (250g) confectioners (icing) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp hot water
  • the leftover pureed strawberry

How to Make the Frosting:

Step 1: Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric beater or mixer.

Step 2: Once combined well, add the vanilla and water. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Step 3: Add the pureed strawberry. Mix well.

Step 4: Start frosting when your cupcakes are cool enough!

Hope you enjoy this too! As you can see here, I also made another batch of strawberry cupcakes for my son's birthday party this year. I added a pre-made edible icing topping with the Cars character on it. It was a hit!

And yes, the li'l girl definitely loves her strawberry cupcakes. Nice to be able to make some of her dreams come true when I still can. πŸ™‚

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Chocolate Crinkles Recipe

Chocolate Crinkles

So, after I "served" Chocolate Crinkles during our 8th 52WoC Virtual Party, I received a couple of questions about how I make these yummy goodies. That's why I thought I'd share with you a recipe that's based on something that someone I know once gave to me a few years ago.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4.5 ounces cocoa/chocolate baking powder
  • icing sugar (for coating)

Instructions:

Step 1: Beat eggs lightly in a bowl.

Step 2: Mix sugar, flour, vanilla, baking powder, vegetable oil, and baking powder together. Mix well with wooden spoon.

Step 3: Set aside the mixture for approximately 2 hours.

Step 4: Once the dough is ready, roll them in to ball shapes and flatten them with your hand. Each piece should be approximately the same size as that of a regular-sized cookie.

Step 5: Put some icing sugar on a surface. Cover each piece with the icing sugar.

Step 6: Put the chocolate crinkles on a lightly greased baking tray (and/or use a lightly greased baking paper).

Step 7: Bake in preheated oven (180'C) for 8 minutes. This is a very important last step! Be careful not to overbake as this can make your crinkles really hard.*

My first few attempts at making these chocolate crinkles were disastrous as I did not observe the baking time closely. So, it's really important to time it well.

All the best with it and let me know how it goes if you try this recipe!

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