Easy Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowl

For those of you who know how a traditional ramen bowl is made the title might scare you away from trying or even reading this post but I hope you can bring yourself to keep going and I promise you that the recipe alone is worth the couple of minutes it will take you to listen to my little spiel and be rewarded with not only a delicious broth bowl of noodles, it was so easy I will be making it again very soon!

IMG_4479

So my husband has been on a “we need to find a noodle restaurant” kick of late. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t done any research on the subject, and I know I haven’t but I am not opposed to making a noodle bowl. However making a traditional ramen bowl can take many days to make the perfect broth and while I have done it once, yeah only once. I am kind of a instant gratification kind of person and while I have made my fair share of crazy long tedious recipes. They are usually a one and done kind of thing for me. I can appreciate why there are such recipes out there, and again I might even try them, but I much prefer to eat what I am making sometime that day.

IMG_4483

This is also a great way to use up some of those packages of ramen noodles that have been lying around in the pantry, or at least my pantry; minus the salt packet that is included with them of course. But the noodles are wonderful, easy to use and oh so cheap to buy.

 

Dinner for two

2 chicken breasts boneless skinless or whatever kind you have on hand
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil or 1 Tbs unsalted butter for browning the chicken

2 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs mirin
4 cups chicken stock
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms or ½ cup fresh

2 large eggs
½ cup scallions, sliced
2 – 3 oz packs dried ramen noodles

Chicken – preheat your oven to 375’ F. season generously both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Either melt your butter over medium heat or if you are using oil; once hot place chicken skin (unless using skinless) and leave for 3-4 minutes or until it releases from the pan and is nice and browned. Cook on the other side for the same 3-4 minutes and then transfer to the oven to finish cooking through.

broccoli - garden 037

Broth – heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger cooking till soft; without burning. Add the soy sauce, mirin and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. If using dried mushrooms add them now and gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Check for seasonings and add salt to taste.

IMG_4487

IMG_4488

IMG_4489

Eggs – soft-boiled eggs start with leaving them in the fridge and in a medium sized pot put enough water to cover the eggs; noting that you can reuse the water for the noodles in a bit. Once the water is boiling gently drop the eggs in and boil for 7 minutes, removing to a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once you can touch the eggs gentle peel and slice in half

Noodles – in the same pot you used to cook the eggs drop the noodles a boil just till soft; 2-3 minutes. Drain set aside.

IMG_4485

Assembling the bowls – slice the chicken into thin strips. Slice scallions. Divide the noodles and broth between two bowls, place chicken slices and eggs on top of the noodles and sprinkle with fresh scallions.

IMG_4481

Egg Rolls with Asian dipping sauces

I realize I write a weekly food blog and have hosted food classes in my home so it may seem to some that I know what I am doing in the kitchen. I do know my way around and enjoy making and eating yummy food but there are so many things I have never attempted for fear of intimidating ingredients or the process seems out of my realm.

IMG_4291

 

I pulled some egg roll wrappers and a package of ground pork out of the freezer last week in hopes in trying my hand at making egg rolls. This is one of those times where I have always wanted to try but had a little fear that maybe this is one of those things I leave to my local take out joint. Boy was I wrong they couldn’t have been easier and tastier; plus I knew exactly what went in them. That in itself made me wonder why I took SO long to make them. Sometimes I cut open those tasty little packages and inspect what they put inside. Somethings are undetectable to the naked eye but they must be there for a reason. They add flavor or texture. I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t really look at your food. Not sure who said that but I always look at my food most times so I could potentially recreate the dish at home. 

IMG_4280

 

I added to this week’s groceries list; fresh artichoke; this is another one of those ingredients that is a little intimidating to me but I have wanted to check it out. I do hope if you ever had an interest in making egg rolls with a couple of super simple dipping sauces. This one is easy and delicious!

IMG_4281

IMG_4282

IMG_4285

Egg Roll

1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic powder
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 quart peanut oil for frying
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
8 7 inch square egg roll wrappers

Season pork with ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly. Heat medium skillet with a little bit of oil, fry pork till no longer pink. Taste and adjust before you set aside

In a large skillet heat oil to 375 F degrees or medium high heat.

Combine water and flour in a small bowl to make a paste for closing the the wrappers

In a separate bowl combine the cabbage, carrots and pork mixture till combined.

Lay the wrapper with the corner pointed toward you. Place about ¼ cup of the mixture folding the corner over the pork, the fold left and right corners toward the center and roll to opposite corner. Brush a bit of the paste on the final corner to seal the edge of the egg wrapper.

IMG_4286

IMG_4287

IMG_4288

Fry rolls, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels or a rack.

IMG_4290

 

Honey Sesame Sauce – in a small mixing bowl add first 4 ingredients and top with last two

½ cup honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
Fresh ginger sliced thin
Toasted sesame seeds

IMG_4293

Spicy Soy Sauce – in a small mixing bowl add first 3 ingredients and top with last two

¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Chopped green onions
Toasted sesame seeds

IMG_4294

 

Egg roll adapted from allrecipes.com by Angela Hamilton
Asian dipping sauces Recipe by Culinary Ginger at http://culinaryginger.com/spring-egg-rolls-with-trio-of-asian/

 

Lasagna made easy kind of

Last weekend we went to Montreal with another couple for a dinner reservation; yeah it sounded crazy to me to! When we were there last spring with the same couple; the talk of town of where to eat dinner was that there were three restaurants on Rue Notre Dame right in a row.  One of the guys we were talking to said and I quote “you’re not getting in there!” at that point it became kind of a quest to eat at “the best”  – alas humble pie; we didn’t get in BUT we were able to get into one of the others and it was an excellent Tapas type place called Le Vin Papillon we had an awesome time.

lasagna 103

This past weekend was our dinner reservation at Joe Beef; consensus is out of the 4 appetizers, and the 4 entrees there were some hits and some were misses. Was it worth the 3+ month wait; probably not. Would we go back, definitely! Did we have too high of expectations? Possibly! Did we have a great weekend in Montreal? Always! While there we also visited 2 farmers markets; Atwater is still my favorite! I brought home; across the border some homemade sausage, homemade pasta, and some fresh bread.  All so far have been excellent!

IMG_0881

Drying Peppers at Jean Talon Market in Montreal

IMG_0880

Rainbow of pepper Jean Talon Marche’ Montreal

IMG_0890

Joe Beef Menu – yes all in French

Saturday we had lunch at L’usine De Spahetti in Old Montreal; my husband had their individual lasagna and it was ridiculously delicious. While at the market I picked up some fresh made lasagna noodles with intent of making a similar version at home. He was so on board that when I told him I was making lasagna for dinner he got super excited and asked if I had the right dishes; um yeah I do not own restaurant individual lasagna dishes sorry! He asked if there was any place in town where he could pick some up. Our town is so small I chuckled and gave him the only option in town; of course they didn’t have any. So I made due with what I had and it worked out perfectly.

lasagna 097

He wanted to make sure I made them correctly!

lasagna 098

It’s a process but everyone can help!

lasagna 102

Super cute – only small baking dishes I have on hand

I think this was my best lasagna to date and SO easy!

Lasagna made easy

Fresh lasagna noodles – if you can find them
2 Sausage (sweet or hot Italian) casing removed crumbled and browned
1 Onion diced
3 cloves of Garlic pressed
32 oz Jar sauce – pick your favorite
package Mozzarella cheese
16 oz Ricotta
1 Tsp dried Parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
1 Egg

Brown the sausage, add the onions and garlic. Once softened add the sauce and let it simmer for the time it takes the water to boil for the noodles. Fresh takes less time than the boxed kind so roughly 5 minutes.  Mix the ricotta with the egg, parsley and a cup of grated cheese.

Place a little sauce in the bottom of your dish. Cover with a layer of noodles then ricotta and sprinkle some of the grated cheese then repeat, sauce, noodle cheese till you used up all your ingredients.

lasagna 101

Bake at 350’ for 20-40 minutes. Smaller containers take less time than an entire sheet pan

lasagna 105

Yeah they were that good, fresh bread needed to sop up all the deliciousness!!!

Pork Belly Steamed Buns

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit on a couple of dishes I tried making for the first time. I always try a recipe the way it is written and then if needed I would change it up a bit to better suit our tastes or I would change it based on the ingredients I had on hand or could get my hands on.

Asian 014

I am lucky enough to have an Asian market; not really close to me; but along my route when I make a trip to Sam’s Club. I was planning on making Pho a Vietnamese Noodle Soup and a Chinese Pork Belly Steamed bun. While I liked the Pho, my guys liked it better than I did. I am going to share with you the Pork Belly recipe that didn’t turn out how I envisioned it would, but was incredibly tasty and worth mentioning. I Kept telling my husband they weren’t how I wanted them, he said and I quote, “I don’t care they are delicious and you should cook pork like this all the time”

I was able to pick up the steamed buns in the frozen section and a Pho seasoning packet; which is a good thing since it needed 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves all to be placed in a mesh bag and all of it came in a $1.99 packet. I thought that was awesome!!!

As I mentioned I bought the frozen buns and I was a little less than thrilled as how small they were, the taste was excellent I just wanted them to puff up more, I will try to make my own the next time I make them.

This recipe is best done in two stages. Bake the pork the day before so it has time to cool and sit tight until you need to slice it. If you want to use this today you should let it sit for at least 2 hours. It could sit in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Asian 012

Asian 017 Asian 019 Asian 021

Pork Belly Buns

2 lb slab of pork belly

Wrap in heavy duty tin foil and place on a baking sheet

Preheat oven to 275’ and roast for 2 hours. Let it sit and cool and then put it in the fridge till you need it tomorrow. Do not unwrap as you want it to stay compact in the tinfoil.

Unwrap the pork belly, and slice into 1/2” pieces

1 tbs cooking oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbs grated fresh ginger (I did not have this)

1 fresh chili pepper seeded, deveined and finely chopped (optional)

1 green onion diced

Caramel sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

½ cup water

Heat oil in a large saute pan or wok over high heat; once hot swirl the oil and add the pork, do not overlap, work in batches if you need to. Fry on each side till nicely browned

Put heat on low and add the garlic, onion, chili if you are using it; saute for 30 seconds just until fragrant. Pour caramel sauce into the pan and return the pork belly slices back into the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Asian 023

My make due with what you have steamer

Asian 024

Yes the pork was larger than the buns but they were delicious!!!

I used frozen buns but here is the recipe I am going to make the next time I make this.

2 tbs AP flour for dusting

2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough

20 parchment squares about 4×4 – keeps them from sticking

Dust work surface with flour, open and separate out the biscuits. There should be about 10 in each can. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel so they don’t dry out. Roll each biscuit into an oval and fold in half, place on parchment square, keep covered until ready to steam. Steam in batches and do not overcrowd or they will stick together.

Adapted from a Steamy Kitchen recipe my daughter sent my online

Beef Burgundy

My girlfriend KP made this “her way” a week or so ago and sent me a text “Soooo Yummy!!! U gotta make it” I also can’t help thinking Ron Burgundy every time I say Beef Burgundy 🙂

Beef Burgundy 030

I do have pretty good intentions when I make up my grocery shopping list for the week. Even though I mostly have a plan; sometimes life happens and I just can’t get to what I planned on cooking. This week I bought 5-lb beef chuck roast with the whole intention of prepping my slow-cooker some night during the week and putting it on to cook while at work. Well the week totally got away from me this week and here we are at Friday already and the roast was still sitting in the fridge.

I’m not a huge fan of freezing beef; well except for hamburger; and my guys were leaving Saturday afternoon for a 5-day ski trip out West so I decided to try something new. I prepped the crock-pot when I got home from work Friday night and put it on before I went to bed. I figured we would have it for lunch; it is a little extravagant for our typical Saturday lunch; but I didn’t have to freeze the roast and I sent the guys off with a really nice meal.

My buddy SF was here as he was going skiing with my guys; he has made a few of the meals from this blog and he really liked this one but when I told him “it is a process” I could tell he was a little less thrilled. He tends to take recipes and tweaks them a little to what he has on hand or feels like. I totally respect that – KP did the same thing! I can’t wait for him to try this recipe and tell me how he made it his own.

Beef Burgundy 004

Beef Burgundy

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

Kosher Salt & Fresh cracked Black Pepper

1 tbs olive oil

4-5 pieces of bacon cooked to crisp and minced

2-3 onions, minced

1 carrot, peeled and minced

¼ cup tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup flour

2 ½ cups or 1 bottle Pinot Noir

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1/3 soy sauce

2 bay leaves

2 cups frozen pearl onions

½ cup water

3 tbs unsalted butter

2 tsp sugar

1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

Dry beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place half of beef in the slow cooker. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking; brown remaining beef well on all sides transfer to slow cooker.

Beef Burgundy 006 Beef Burgundy 007

Cook bacon in the skillet until crisp remove and set aside. Stir in chopped onions, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 ¼ cups wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Beef Burgundy 009 Beef Burgundy 016

Stir in broth, soy sauce, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender. 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.

About 20 minutes before serving, bring frozen pearl onions, water, butter, and sugar to boil in 12-inch skillet. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until onions are fully thawed and tender. 5-8 minutes. Uncover, bring to a boil, and cook until all liquid evaporates. Stir in mushrooms and cook until vegetables are browned and glazed. Transfer to slow cooker.

Beef Burgundy 017 Beef Burgundy 020 Beef Burgundy 021

Add remaining 1 ¼ cups wine to skillet and simmer until reduced by half. Let stew settle for 5-10 minutes, then remove the fat from the top. Discard bay leaves, adjust stew consistency with hot broth if needed, mine did not. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sever over mashed potatoes.

Beef Burgundy 023 Beef Burgundy 028

Chicken White Wine, Tarragon and Cream – slow cooker

My mother-in-law mentioned the other day that she was looking for some crock-pot recipes, I noticed a slow cooker magazine at my local grocery store and I figured I would check it out and then give it to her. While looking at it I started marking pages; I can’t tell you how many times I see a recipe that looks awesome and make a note to try it later and never find it again. After marking like 7 pages I quickly came to the conclusion; I am going to have to buy her her own copy.

slow cooker chicken tarragon 015

Like most I don’t always have a ton of time in the morning so I planned on prepping both my dinner for the night and the crock-pot for the next day. If I have several dishes in mind I will always cut enough onions, peppers, garlic and potatoes and carrots or whatever I am going to use in multiple dishes all at the same time and just set aside per dish.  You already have the cutting board and knife out just keep going; you’ll be happy you did.

Though sometimes it doesn’t always work out quite like you planned; both dishes I was making asked for some dry white wine. I opened a bottle made the first dish, poured myself a glass, my husband walking by decided he wanted a glass, by the time I got around to making the meal for the slow cooker, yup I was out of wine and had to open another bottle. It was worth it, the chicken from the crock-pot was amazing. We didn’t save the leftover carrots and mushrooms but we did have a couple of chicken breast (they were large ones) they were so flavorful and moist, so much so my husband sent me a text on his lunch telling me how amazing his sandwich was. He just asked me what I was blogging about and told me to tell you that the chicken has a great flavor and he really likes it. He is so helpful wink wink.

slow cooker chicken tarragon 016 slow cooker chicken tarragon 020 slow cooker chicken tarragon 021

Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream (slow cooker revolution)

Serves 6 – cook on low 4-6 hours

4-6 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed salt and peppered

¼ cup olive oil

16 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

2 onions minced

½ tsp dried minced thyme

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup flour

¾ cup dry white wine – I used chardonnay

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound carrots peeled, halved length wise and sliced about ½ inch thick

2 tbs soy sauce

2 bay leaves

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup minced fresh tarragon – (note) I used less because I am not a fan of black licorice but I would use it again in this dish

  • Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken skin side down, do not crowd the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set aside and let cool. Remove and discard the skin.
  • Add remaining oil, mushrooms, onions, thyme and some salt to the pan. Cover and cook till softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover continue to cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stir in flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, carrots, soy sauce and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Place browned chicken along with the juices into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low. Any longer and you risk drying out the chicken
  • Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle for about 5 minutes; remove any excess fat from the surface. Discard bay leaves. Stir in cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserving 1-2 cups of sauce to serve with chicken pour the remaining over the chicken and veggies.

Crab Rangoon

A few weeks ago I took a cooking class at a local kitchen store. I was intrigued for a few reasons; one was what they were offering Won-ton Soup, Crab Rangoon and Pot stickers; I have made Rangoon’s many times and they are really yummy and very easy, another is my guys love won-ton soup so that would be a win win; lastly I have tried and failed to make pot stickers in the past and I really wanted to know how to make them correctly. There was also a bonus; the class was being taught by Helen Chen. Her mother was the famous chef, restaurant owner and cookbook author Joyce Chen; Joyce was also one of the 5 famous chefs that the US Post office just released a stamp of.

10-2014 photo clean out 041

Crab Rangoon

10-2014 photo clean out 037 10-2014 photo clean out 039

The class was pretty interesting on a few fronts.  It was less hands on than my classes that I teach in my home and we didn’t get to eat what we prepared.  Helen made up all the dumplings that we were served.  She made all the filings and we watched her make all the Rangoon’s. We did make a few won-tons and a few pot stickers so we knew how to make them which is what I wanted so I was very happy I attended.  It was also very enlightening to me that at the end of class Helen asked all of us what we would like for future classes; they had to cancel the noodle class that was supposed to be the night before as only one person signed up.

Potstickers

Potstickers

wonton soup 002 wonton soup 003 wonton soup 004

Won-ton Soup My son brought us the chopsticks from Japan

Won-ton Soup
My son brought us the chopsticks back from Japan

I too struggle with finding things people would like to come to a class for. What I love to cook and would like to share with people may not be something anyone else is interested in making/eating. I am going to shoot for having at least one class a month and just put out there things I am excited about and hope they will come.

She did share with us that Crab Rangoon is not authentically Chinese; she said it originated from Trader Vic’s Restaurant in San Francisco – I had no idea!

I am sharing with you my recipe for the crab Rangoon, my family didn’t love the one I received from Helen and mine has less ingredients.

Crab Rangoon – fried won-ton

Package of won-ton wrappers

8 ounce brick of cream cheese

8 ounce crab meat, remove any cartilage (6 ounce cans can be used as well, drain)

2 scallions green and white chopped finely

2 tsp soy sauce

Small cup or saucer of water

1-2 inches of vegetable oil for frying

Mix last 4 ingredients well, take a nice size teaspoon of cream cheese mixture and place in the center of one won-ton at a time, using your finger dunk in the water and go around the won-ton, fold making a triangle making sure each edge is sealed and as much as the air you can remove. Fry till browned on both sides flipping once in 350’oil – be careful if they split open, it will snap crackle and pop and you will end up getting burned, not that that has ever happened to me…

My far more tech savvy daughter will be home for Christmas, if we can make it work, I will post a video on how to make the pot stickers because that was super cool – just look at the picture. I still have some in the freezer and will be making them sometime this week!!!