Recipe of the Month: Spicy Mongolian Beef

This is a super simple but delicious recipe.

You can add other veggies to the stir-fry as desired or you could even serve the beef over lettuce. We tried it as a salad but it would also be good with rice.

We will definitely have this again.

Ingredients:

1 T. soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t. sugar

1-2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

1 t. sesame oil

1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 T. olive oil

Directions:

Mix the first 5 ingredients; toss with beef strips. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef mixture until browned, 2-3 minutes.

Recipe of the Month – Snowball Cookies

With the colder weather of winter, I originally was looking for a nice, hot soup recipe, but then decided that we rarely make soup. So I thought I would do a cookie recipe as baking cookies can be a great activity to do when it is cold outside. These cookies are called Snowball cookies but they go by many other names – Italian wedding cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, and Pecan balls to name a few. I remember making these every Christmas as a kid. Yummy!!!

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Ingredients

1 cup butter softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In stand mixer cream butter and powdered sugar. Turn to low and mix in salt, vanilla, flour and pecans. Roll into one inch balls. Place on parchment covered baking sheets a few inches part. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until very lightly browned. Do not over bake
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool just enough to handle them. Pour 1 cup powdered sugar in large Ziploc bag or in a wide bowl. Gently add 3-4 cookies at a time and roll them gently in the bottom of the bag. Use fork to scoop under each cookie and gently shake to remove excess powdered sugar. Place on cooling racks. Once completely cooled roll in powdered sugar bag again.

Yield: 30-36 cookies

Recipe of the Month – Chicken Tortilla Soup

We had a brief cold snap this past weekend. Time for something nice and warm. It was time for soup. This is definitely one of my husband’s favorites. This recipe comes from the website Spend with Pennies but many of other recipes I found out there were very similar. Definitely try it with the avocado on top. So yummy.

Ingredients

1 T. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 t. ground cumin

1 t. chili powder

14 1/2 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes with chilies

3 cups chicken broth

14 1/2 oz can of black bean, rinsed and drained

1 cup of corn

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 avocado, sliced (for garnish)

Crispy tortilla strips

Directions

  • Heat olive oil In a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook until onion is softened.
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken and shred. Add back to the pot and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Spoon soup into bowls and and top with tortilla strips and sliced avocado.

This serves 8.

Looking for other great soup recipes? Try Zuppa Toscano, Loaded Baked Potato Soup or Walkabout Onion Soup.

Recipe of the Month: Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Oh, my. I love Snickerdoodle cookies so when I saw this recipe on Facebook, I knew I would have to try it. I still haven’t gotten the chance. (Maybe I’ll make it at Thanksgiving.) But, it is Snickerdoodles – what could be bad about that? This recipe comes from http://www.iambaker.net where they too love their Snickerdoodles. She even suggests her Snickerdoodle cookie recipe for the crust. She suggests 1/2 the recipe as you only need 12 cookies for the crust.

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups crushed Snickerdoodle Cookies (about 12)

2 T. melted butter

Cheesecake

2 – 8 o.z packages of cream cheese, softened

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 T. flour

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Topping

1 T. sugar

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter well. (If using store-bought cookies instead of using the recipe above, you may need a little more butter to get the cookie crumbs to stick together.) Pour mixture into 9-inch springform pan. Pat them flat with your hand and then the bottom of a glass. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in eggs. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly.

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of cheesecake. Bake 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake is dark brown. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cover cheesecake and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.

Recipe of the Month – BLT Pasta Salad

Up close side shot of easy BLT Pasta Salad recipe in a white bowl with one fork spearing pasta

I saw this recipe on Facebook. Oh, my, it looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I’m not sure about the lemon chive dressing as lemon isn’t my favorite, but I’m willing to give it a try. This recipe comes from the Carlsbad Cravings website. They say it is great for a potluck. With Spring here and the nice weather outside, we will be getting out soon with friends and family. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

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Ingredients

PASTA SALAD

  • 12 oz. mini Farfalle pasta (or other small pasta like medium shells)
  • 1/2 pound (½ bunch) asparagus tough ends removed then cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas thawed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 4 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce*
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. thick cut bacon cooked and chopped

LEMON CHIVE DRESSING

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 tsp EACH sugar, dried oregano, dried parsley, pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives may sub 1 tablespoon dried

Directions

  • Whisk together all of the Lemon Chive Dressing ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.**
  • Cook pasta in generously salted water just short of al dente, then add the asparagus to the pot and cook with the pasta for 1 more minute. Drain the pasta and asparagus, rinse with cold water then toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking.

SERVING IMMEDIATELY:

  • Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Once pasta has cooled, add Lemon Chive Dressing and toss until evenly coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I like more pepper). Serve immediately.

MAKING AHEAD:

  • Add pasta, asparagus, peas, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing once the pasta has cooled. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Refrigerate the lettuce, bacon and Parmesan separately.
  • When ready to serve, add the lettuce, bacon and Parmesan and the remaining dressing and toss until evenly combined. Taste and add a splash more lemon if desired and salt and pepper to taste (I like more pepper).