Monday, January 30, 2012

Hush puppy batter mix

I used to think that Hush Puppies were just really ugly shoes, until I talked to a friend in Memphis. She told me that hush puppies were the standard side dish for fish where she lives and are savory fried balls made of corn meal batter and spices. Sort of like a spicy Timbit! When I got her to send me some recipes I couldn't help but notice... they would make a great mix!

Hush Puppy Mix (single batch)

1 cup corn meal
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon dried green onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes

What else you'll need

1 cup of water
oil for frying

Combine mix with water and stir until smooth. In a deep fryer or frying pan drop in teaspoon sized balls of batter and fry until golden brown. I was mistaken when I made this recipe and instead of making them Timbit sized I made them into the size of cookies. They still tasted amazing but they really should be bite sized balls, not hockey pucks.

Lift them out with a slotted spoon and place the hush puppies on a plate with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

I served mine with broiled sole and steamed broccoli. The extremely healthy main course was a good pair for this delicious fried side dish!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pot Roast Seasoning Mix

I am very much ready for winter to be over, but it's not happening any time soon. In the meantime I've decided to take advantage of the cold weather by making comfort foods in my crock pot while I still have the chance. Like pot roast (or 'roast beast' as my husband calls it.)

Pot roast is the ultimate lazy food. A few minutes of preparation in the morning and my husband comes home from work thinking I'm a gourmet cook. All it takes is a tasty seasoning mix....

Pot Roast Seasoning Mix

2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

You will notice thyme in the photo but I chose to omit it from the final recipe because it was too overpowering.

What else you'll need

3-5 pounds of roast (I used sirloin.. mmmm)

Spoon mix onto the roast and rub it on all sides using your fingers.

Place roast in a regular sized round crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. It looks kind of gross but it smells and tastes delicious!

I served mine with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was a perfect meal for a January night! Stay tuned to see what I'm going to do with the leftovers....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guacamole seasoning mix

It's been a rough week for morning sickness and a busy week for me. It involved throwing a surprise party for my husband's birthday, which included teaching myself to make sushi rolls (which after 3 hours of painstaking work were dumped over by my daughter because I turned my back for 3 minutes) and a secret ultrasound appointment. When my husband opened his birthday gift in front of everyone he found a pair of pink booties inside!

Things are back to normal finally and that means mixing it up!

I've been on a HUGE avocado kick this week. I love to spread them on toast with salt and pepper or put them in my wraps. But the problem with avocados is the window of ripeness is ridiculously short. It seems like they are rock hard for days, good to eat for about half an hour and then all brown and rotting right after that! It's hard to time them, especially when you don't feel like going shopping every day, or if you want to buy one of those bags of them to save money. Which is why a lot of people use them to make... guacamole! It keeps nicely for a few days in the fridge, which greatly extends your window of avocado ripeness.

Guacamole seasoning mix

2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

2 ripe avocados
1 diced tomato (I didn't use it simply because I didn't have one and there was no way I was running out in this weather to get one! But it tastes amazing with tomato in it!)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Mash the avocado with a fork and stir in lemon juice and seasoning and mix well. Add tomato and stir.

Enjoy as a dip with veggies or pitas or as a spread on sandwiches and wraps. I also love to put mine on toast!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Instant hummus mix

Sorry for only one post this week but I've had another horrible blast of the morning sickness that just won't die. It's making my food aversions out of control, which makes it hard to cook and eat!

One thing I've been craving the past 2 weeks though is anything inside a pita. Shawarma , falafel and souvlaki have been big hits lately, but it's been getting expensive to eat out so much. To save money but not get put off by the preparation I've just been buying my own stuff and making pitas with lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickles, hummus and Italian dressing.

Homemade hummus is cheap and good, but it's a lot of work. I really dislike cleaning my blender. The store bought kind is often too garlicky these days for my poor nauseous tummy to handle. I wanted a way to customize my own hummus without all of the work and when I saw little boxes of hummus mix I knew I had to mix it up!

Instant hummus mix

1 cup chick pea flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Chick pea flour is available at any Indian grocery store as well as bulk food and health food stores. It's also used in my falafel mix which is one of my favorites!

What else you'll need

1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup seed or nut butter (tahini, almond, peanut)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine mix with boiling water, stir and cover for 5 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and stir. Eat as is or cool in the fridge first.

The boiling water is to 'cook' the chick pea flour to make it more palatable. Otherwise your hummus will have a chalky sort of flour taste and give you incredible gas.

This hummus isn't quite as good as the totally homemade kind but it's a lot faster and there are no blenders to wash after! I even had a little tub left to send in my husband's lunch tomorrow!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Korean BBQ Marinade Mix

I have a friend staying in China right now and the day Kim Jong Il died he told me that they all went out for Korean BBQ to celebrate. My first 3 thoughts in this order were:

1. I'm so ronery.
2. Oooh what's Korean BBQ? It sounds really tasty.
3. I wonder if I can make a mix of that...

Turns out I could....

Korean BBQ Marinade Mix

2 tablespoon dried green onions
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

2-4 pounds of lean steak (sirloin or flank steak works well)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup of shredded kiwi, apple or pear (applesauce works too)

Combine mix with soy sauce, vinegar, oil and fruit and mix well, then marinade the meat in it for 24-48 hours depending on the thickness of the cut. I tried this recipe once using whole sirloin steaks and cut them up once they were grilled and then again using flank steak that I sliced thinly in advance before marinading. I preferred the flank steak but both were good. The whole steaks are a good option if you hate cutting up raw meat.

Once well marinaded grill or stir fry the meat. I used my handy grill pan both times, because I really don't enjoy grilling outdoors when it's -30 degrees with the wind chill, but I think next time I use flank steak I'll just flash fry it in my wok.

The first time I made it I used shredded kiwi, the second time I used apple sauce, mainly because I had all the other ingredients and realized I had forgotten to buy more kiwi. I did not notice a significant difference in flavor, although I think the kiwi might be a better tenderizer overall.

Both times I served it over a bed of rice noodles and steamed stir fry veggies, although next time I plan to try it with regular rice.

It was very delicious, and today I used the leftover meat to make myself a wrap for lunch (just like the other day I used the leftover fried chicken to make one as well). My latest pregnancy craving has been pitas stuffed with lettuce, tomato, pickles and leftover meat and doing it this way is much cheaper than running out for Shawarma every day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fried Chicken Coating Mix

I've still got morning sickness, and my smell aversions to chemical smells are still going strong (I gag every time the neighbors fire up their dryer... even when our windows are shut!), but I can tell I am turning the corner because the smell of cooking food is appealing to me again.

We live down the street from KFC and while we're too afraid to actually eat it, the smell wafts its way to us now and then. Both pregnancies I remember noticing at some point that I was suddenly drooling from the sweet greasy smell of fried chicken instead of holding my nose and gasping.

This time I decided to satisfy the craving but still keep it healthy and home made. So...

Fried Chicken Coating Mix

1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon thyme
pinch marjoram
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

1 cup flour
Up to 16 chicken pieces
1 eat beaten for coating

Combine mix with flour and stir or shake well. I divided mine in half to make it twice because I never cook more than 4 full size (or 8 fillet sized) chicken pieces at once.

Coat chicken pieces in egg and then dip in the flour mixture until it's evenly coated. I can't eat eggs so I have to omit the egg and as a result not as much batter ever sticks to my food. I used boneless, skinless chicken fillets, but you can use anything you want.

Fry the chicken pieces in oil on medium heat in a frying pan.

I served mine like chicken fingers with plum sauce! They weren't as greasy as KFC as they were lacking the skin and they had less batter, but they sure were tasty!