Monday, December 26, 2011

Honey Garlic Sauce Mix

Chinese take out= delicious, overpriced and so so bad for you. Especially honey garlic spare ribs. Making them at home doesn't make them all that much healthier, but it does make them a lot cheaper, and without MSG.

I ordered some beef short ribs from the farm recently and wanted to do them in the slow cooker, but I'm not a big fan of BBQ sauce so I thought that honey garlic sauce might be nice. I also thought it was something I might be able to make into a mix.... and boy was I right!

Honey Garlic Sauce Mix

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes

What else you'll need

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water

Combine mix with other incredients and stir well. The mixture will fizz and froth a bit when the baking soda meets the vinegar.

Pour the sauce over what you're cooking (ribs, wings, tofu, chicken breasts, ect) and use the sauce to cook in for full flavor.

I used ribs but am going to try it with wings as well. I used my slow cooker but I'm sure it would work well to bake it in the oven in a pyrex dish as well. I slow cooked my ribs on low in the sauce for 8 hours and they were fall off the bone tender.

I served mine with steamed baby carrots and 'David Hasselhoff potatoes' (they are really called hasselback potatoes but somehow the other name stuck).

The ribs were amazing, they tasted exactly like Chinese take out but at a tiny fraction of the cost. I can't wait to try the sauce on wings next!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Mix

I am so sorry for not posting at all last week, but I had strep throat. To make it even worse it went untreated for quite some time because I was trying to convince myself that it was just the same cold that everyone else had and the reason I was so much sicker was because I was pregnant and already felt terrible to begin with.

Anyway, some penicillin later and I'm feeling much better. A tiny bit of morning sickness lingers but I know it will be gone very soon, just in time for Christmas! I have missed this blog very much, so I'll be posting regularly again very soon!

While I was sick certain things were put off... like preparing for Christmas! So this next few days is going to be an insane rush to shop, cook and mix it up before we're hit with back to back family events and house guests.

Yesterday while finally Christmas shopping I was standing in line in the store when something caught my eye. A gift box with some mugs and a jar of hot chocolate mix... with marshmallows! I have done hot chocolate mixes before with my basic hot chocolate mix and my mint hot chocolate mix. I've also done other beverage mixes like chai tea mix (which I've also been using as a gift this year), and Italian mocha espresso mix. But.... hot chocolate with marshmallows is so.. fun! It's such a great gift.


Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Mix

1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Combine 1/4 cup of mix with 1 cup of boiling water and stir well.

This mix recipe makes enough to fill about one 2 cup (500 ml) Mason jar to give as a gift (or keep for yourself). Each jar will make 8 cups of hot chocolate. I made a double batch knowing I would want a couple to give as gifts.

There was a little bit of mix left over after making up the jars, just enough for a sample... delicious!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mix It Up Christmas Gifts

It's here, that gluttonous time of year that everyone enjoys but regrets come January. It would be fine if it just meant a big Christmas dinner (or even three). But it's not. It's a month of food laden parties, baked goods at work, and the one that keeps on going long after you've had your Christmas fill- token gifts.

Token gifts are the ones you ones you give and receive with people you like but don't know extremely well. Teachers, neighbors, extended family, casual friends. It's a way of saying 'Hi, I think you're nice. Merry Christmas!' And while the feeling is there, the problem is these gifts can't be all that personal. That's why they usually end up being edible. Either boxed chocolates or baked goods.

Everybody loves chocolates and baked goods. But the timing is just so WRONG. Anyone who gets a box of chocolates or a plate of cookies randomly in say... May, would be overjoyed. But in December when you've spent the entire month stuffing your face with high calorie foods and cooped up indoors, sometimes MORE sweets make you feel a little green. It also doesn't help that in reciprocating you're usually baking something yourself- which involves a bit of taste testing- both batter and finished products.

This year I decided to do away with holiday baking. I am going to give something that is impersonal, edible, yet more PRACTICAL than the rice crispee squares of last year and the cookies of the year before. This year I'm mixing it up!!!!

Because the first 'exchange' is in less than a week, I decided to get myself started today. I ventured to the dollar store and stocked up on some pretty glass jars.

I have decided to make salsa mix for people this year because it's one of my favorite mixes and is perfect for holiday entertaining.

This one cup glass jar fit exactly one 'big batch' recipe of salsa mix, which is enough to make a 2 cup batch of fresh salsa six times.

Depending on how 'big' the mix is you can use different sized jars or containers. A seasoning mix might only require a regular sized spice jar, while a baking mix might fill up a bigger plastic container used to store flour or sugar. Pick your mixes depending on personal taste- a diabetic isn't going to want something sugar laden, while someone with an ulcer isn't going to want something spicy. The best thing about mix gifts is you can somewhat personalize the impersonal gifts.

Some mix ideas....

Beverage Mixes

Hot chocolate mix
Chai tea mix
Italian mocha espresso mix
Mint hot chocolate mix

Snacking mixes

Dill pickle popcorn seasoning
BBQ popcorn seasoning
Ranch popcorn seasoning
Nut free trail mix
Falafel Mix
Brushetta mix

Dip Mixes

Lemon dill dip
Pesto bread dipping oil
Herb and garlic bread dipping oil
Herb and garlic cream cheese
Spinach dip
Crab dip
Bacon chili cheese dip

Meal mixes

Fajita seasoning
Teriyaki seasoning
Taco seasoning
Lemon chicken sauce

Later on I'm going to either buy some sticky labels or cardboard tags to attach with ribbons. These will give the name of the mix and any instructions for preparation (for instance you use 3 tablespoons of salsa mix for every 2 cups of chopped tomatoes). The good thing about these mixes is you can also give instructions on refills. Just give them a link to my blog where they can find the mix recipes :)

If you're tired of the calories consumed from eating batter and broken cookies from holiday baking, or the green half smiles from your recipients, try mixing it up instead this Christmas. Be unique, give a tasty mix.

(ps... to the neighbors who bake us cookies- we don't mean yours! WE STILL WANT THEM! YOUR COOKIES ARE LEGENDARY!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Herb and Garlic Biscuit Mix

It's December! Comfort food weather! I'm really into homemade soups at this time of year and I like something hearty to dunk in them. Crackers just won't do, I need... BISCUITS!

Now most biscuit mix recipes and boxed biscuits mixes are made with shortening, which is loaded with enough trans fat to kill you twice. My recipe uses only oil, which is not only healthier, it's also cheaper! Yet my biscuits still have that crispy biscuit taste that makes them so delicious.

Herb and Garlic Biscuit Mix (single use- makes 6 biscuits)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon sage

What else you'll need

1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water

Combine mix in a bowl and stir, then stir in the oil until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Mine is a bit lumpy because I was pressed for time but it still turned out ok.

Add in water and stir until a dough forms. Spoon the dough into 6 portions on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until tops start to look a bit golden in places.

Serve hot or cold. I find they go well with any messy crock pot food- chili, stew, gumbo, ect. They also make a great topping crust for pot pie casseroles. I like to make a big batch of mix and quickly make biscuits right before dinner whenever I want. It's so easy and so fresh!

I ate two right away and although my poor pregnant tummy is now regretting the garlic, it was totally worth it!