Catching Katy

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Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl

This is a delicious recipe that my sister-in-law made for us and shared with me. Plus it’s quick and healthy! We love asian food and this is a great way to make some at home. Add some rice and some frozen wontons from Costco and it’s a perfect meal! We made one recipe and it fed 2 of us for 2 nights (so 4 servings). We’ll double it next time so we can stretch it a little longer and for some lunches. See some steps here and get the full recipe below. Enjoy!

Gather your ingredients and do some prep (chopping onion) because none of the steps take long. Please excuse the haphazard ingredient pics!

First sauté the onions and garlic. My husband doesn’t like the white part of green onions, so we left those out but I love them. Just a personal preference!

Add the pork, ginger, salt, pepper, and Sriracha. We used the full tablespoon of Sriracha and it definitely had a kick to it. If you’re afraid of spice, you may want to cut back the first time you make it until you figure out how much you want (if any). Sauté until pork is cooked.

Add the coleslaw mix, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Sauté until coleslaw is tender.

Serve topped with green onion and sesame seeds if you have it. We didn’t have sesame seeds and I don’t think we lost anything.


Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C onion, diced
  • 5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha
  • 14 oz. bag coleslaw mix
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, onions, and white part of the green onions. Sauté until onions are translucent and tender.
  3. Add ground pork, ground ginger, sea salt, black pepper, and Sriracha. Sauté until pork is cooked.
  4. Add coleslaw mix, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Sauté until coleslaw is tender.
  5. Serve, topping with green onion and sesame seeds.

Find the original recipe here: Peace, Love, & Low Carb


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Fig Jam

In the process of buying our house a few months ago, we were at the house a number of times for various walk-throughs and inspections. But it wasn’t until after we moved in that we noticed the large tree on the side of the house with something growing on it. After some picture sharing and investigating, we determined that it is a fig tree! And it is a beautiful fig tree.

Over the next couple of weeks, I would mention this to people and so many would reply that they love figs and/or volunteered to make fig jam. Well I immediately started doing some research. When are figs ripe? How do you know they’re ripe? What do you do after you pick them? I learned more about figs in a week than I had known my entire life!

Well, fast forward a few weeks. We got back into town from a long weekend in DC and discovered that the figs were ripe (a good month before everything I read said they would be). We proceeded to fill a large basket with figs on that one day. And the next day. And the next day. We picked that entire week and luckily read that you could freeze them before making jam. Just rinse, cut off them stems, and freeze in a freezer bag! We ended up with about 4 gallon-size bags of figs. Just make sure you thaw them before canning.

My mother-in-law and brother-in-law were two of the first to volunteer to make jam, so that weekend they came over and we got to work. It was not difficult, just a little time-consuming. We decided to make 2 different recipes since we had so many figs: regular fig preserves and strawberry fig jam.

Next you may ask what the different between preserves and jam is. It’s pretty much the consistency. Preserves have the whole fruit or chunks of the fruit, while jam is more mashed. In our first full batch, where we made both, the jam also “set” more than the preserves, which were more runny and in more of a sauce. They are delicious either way, I think it’s just personal preference!

The first and last steps will be the same no matter what you are canning. First you have to sterilize the jars. lids, and rings. Simply place the jars, lids, and rings in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. You can let them sit in the water until you’re ready to fill them.

Now for what you put in the jars! Recipes vary slightly, as you’ll see below, but most involve the fruit, sugar, and water. We did the strawberry fig first. For that one we combined the figs and sugar in a pot. Let that cool for a while then add a box of strawberry Jell-O®. Boil for about 7 minutes. Figs are really juicy, so you don’t even need the water that a lot of recipes call for. It also, again, depends on what consistency you like. Lastly, if you want a more jam-like consistency, simply mash it all up with a potato masher. (recipe from allrecipes)

The regular fig preserve recipe did use water and we did preserves (didn’t mash it all up), so the final consistency was not as congealed, but you can use less water than the recipe calls for if you want it thicker. You toss the figs and sugar together (not over any heat) and stir occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Then add water and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. (recipe from Food and Wine)

Now is where your typical canning steps pick up again. When you’re ready to fill them, use a jar lifter (this is a handy one on Amazon – you can pick it up and dump it without burning your hands!) to remove from the water, and fill with your jam. I used a measuring cup to fill my jars.

After you fill them, you will wipe the jar to remove any drips and put on the lid and ring. I used a towel to hold the jar while doing this since they are still warm (glass stays hot for a while).

After all your jars are filled, you’ll fill a large stockpot half with water and bring it a boil. Use your hand jar holder and put in your sealed jars. Make sure there’s about an inch of water over the jars – add more water if needed. Let them boil for about 10 minutes then remove (jar lifter!) them to cool on a towel.

The recipes calls for 1/2 pint jars but we used pint jars. And we still got 12 jars out of it – and didn’t even use all the figs. Again, this is pretty simple, just a little time consuming, but definitely worth having homegrown and homemade jam!

Here are the recipes for both and you can download them and/or print. Enjoy!


Strawberry Fig Preserves

Ingredients

  • 4 C fresh figs, stems removed
  • 3 C white sugar
  • 1 3oz. package strawberry Jello-O
  • 5 1/2 pint canning jars with lids and rings

Instructions

  1. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Mix figs and sugar together in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Mix in strawberry gelatin. Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes.
  4. Mash preserves with a potato masher (if you want jam) or don’t (if you want preserves)
  5. Pack jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1⁄4 inch of the top.
  6. Run a knife or thin spatula around the insides of jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
  7. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any drips. Top with lids and screw on rings.
  8. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Lower filled jars into boiling water using a jar holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more water, if necessary, so that water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
  9. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and leave for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from pot and let cool on a dishcloth. Once cool, press on the lids to confirm that they have “popped” – lid does not move up or down.

Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 C water

Instructions

  1. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  2. In large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and figs are juicy.
  3. Add lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved
  4. Simmer jam over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops – about 20 minutes.
  5. Optional – mash fruit with a potato masher.
  6. Pack jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1⁄4 inch of the top.
  7. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any drips. Top with lids and screw on rings.
  8. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Lower filled jars into boiling water using a jar holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more water, if necessary, so that water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
  9. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and leave for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from pot and let cool on a dishcloth. Once cool, press on the lids to confirm that they have “popped” – lid does not move up or down.


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French Boneless Chicken

I have a wonderful cookbook called Entertaining with Friends and it was made by the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where I was a patient through college. It was a wonderful place that does great things for kids and families. I think a friend gave me the cookbook but honestly I can’t remember.

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I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t do a great job of using my cookbooks. I usually have a couple of recipes from it that I make and then it gets put to the side and forgotten about. This is one my go-to recipes from this cookbook that I wanted to share.

It’s a pretty easy recipe and we actually had everything we needed when I thought to make it recently. I remembered to take pictures a little late so they’re not quite as detailed as I usually like for recipe posts but you’ll get the idea!

Start with your ingredients and some prep. Pound and season the chicken. I also cut the breasts in half. Chop the onion and quarter the mushrooms. We accidentally chopped the mushrooms because the recipe right next to this one requires chopped mushrooms. But it’s still mushrooms all the same!

Briefly sauté the chicken then place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the chicken. Then make the sauce in the same pan, adding each ingredient and letting it cook. First the onion, then mushrooms, then the wine and simmer.

Pour the onion mixture over the chicken and bake!

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We also baked some delicious brussel sprouts with our go to recipe – salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Add a salad, bread, rice, whatever other sides you want!

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French Boneless Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • ⅓ to ½ C white wine
  • 1 C (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰
  2. Pound the chicken to a uniform thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Heat 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the chicken and sauté briefly. Remove to a baking dish.
  4. Melt the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender. Stir in the wine. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken. Top with mushroom mixture.
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and the chicken is cooked through.

Yields 4-6 servings

Happy cooking! Print the recipe here: French Boneless Chicken

 


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Saltine Cracker Toffee

I love sweet and salty. One thing I have always remembered my grandmama making was saltine cracker toffee. It’s like a faux toffee or brittle. And it’s super easy. Recently, I ate something that had the same flavor so I made a mental note to find the recipe and make it, especially after learning that my husband’s family had never had this incredible concoction before. Then, like a mind reader, my mom made some for our family Christmas get-together, except she made hers with graham crackers instead of saltines.

My memory is not always the best, but I know I remember grandmama making this with saltines. And luckily my cousin remembered the same. So I got the recipe from my mom (which did use graham crackers), found something similar online to compare that used saltines, and kind of combined and tweaked the two to make a delicious Saltine Cracker Toffee.

None of the measurements have to be exact and there are a lot of ways to modify this recipe. Apparently a lot of people add chocolate too. I love chocolate but there are SO many chocolate treats that I prefer this one without. You can also use different kinds of nuts or no nuts at all! That is the beauty of this recipe.

Try it out and let me know (a) how you like it and (b) how you modify it! Individual steps/tips and pictures are next or see the recipe below.

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The recipe requires a simple 3 ingredients. Yes, that’s right – only 3. Saltines, butter, and brown sugar. Oh and some cooking spray and aluminum if you want to count those.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet (one that has sides and is not completely flat) with aluminum foil then spray with cooking spray. Line up saltine crackers to fill the cookie sheet. If you are using nuts and need to chop them, go ahead and do that.

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In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. I cut the sticks into smaller pieces just to help it melt quicker. Once it’s about halfway melted, add the brown sugar. Once butter is completely melted, bring to boil over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until it thickens and the sugar has dissolved. Stir constantly during this part. You want the butter and sugar to be completely combined and be the color of caramel.

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Once that is done, pour it evenly over the saltine crackers and spread with a knife or spoon or spatula. It does not have to be perfect and it will spread out more in the oven, but try to cover all cracker with sauce as best you can.

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Sprinkle nuts on top. You can use and much or as little as you like and again – perfection is not a thing. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You want it to be golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool. It will cool faster if you take the foil (with the toffee) off the cookie sheet. I also let it cool about 10 minutes on the counter then put it in the refrigerator to finish cooling. After it cools, break into pieces and enjoy! These were a HUGE hit at my office holiday party and it’s super easy to make.

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Saltine Cracker Toffee

Ingredients

  • 40-50 saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
  3. Place saltine crackers in single layer covering cookie sheet
  4. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until butter is about halfway melted then add brown sugar.
  5. Once butter is melted, bring to a boil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir constantly. The goal is for the sugar to be dissolved and combined with butter, the mixture to be thickened, and to be a caramel color.
  6. Pour butter-sugar mixture evenly over saltines. Spread out with a utensil (knife, spoon, spatula, etc.).
  7. Sprinkle pecans on top.
  8. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove pan from oven and take foil & toffee off of the pan. Let cool then break into pieces. Can also place in refrigerator to cool.

Notes

You can use whatever nuts you want or no nuts at all. Print the recipe here: Saltine Cracker Toffee



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Pasta Primavera

This was a Home Chef delivery I got recently. It was a simple recipe that seemed to be easily modified, so I gave it a shot. It’s easy to make, very little prep, and has a pretty easy shopping list. All the amounts are estimates, so you can easily add more or less of something. Or you can completely change items (pasta type, specific vegetables, type of cheese). Home Chef recipes are for 2 servings, but pasta recipes usually make more than 2 for me. And my recreation fed me 4 meals.

Full recipe below after an overview of steps and pictures. Enjoy!

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Pretty simple and easy to find ingredients. The original recipe called for cavatappi pasta, which my grocery store did not have. Easy to substitute your favorite pasta though! I used whole grain penne.

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Start water boiling for the pasta and prep your ingredients. Halve the tomatoes, cut zucchini into quarter-slices, trim asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces, and drain the artichokes. Roughly crush a handful of croutons.

 

 

Sear the vegetables. Start with asparagus and zucchini, then add tomatoes and artichokes.

 

When pasta is cooked, drain, return to pot and toss with some olive oil.

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To make the sauce, heat evaporated milk until slightly thickened. Add Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and add butter. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Add everything to pan with sauce and toss! I added some chicken to mine.

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Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and crumbled goat cheese (I totally forgot the goat cheese before I took pictures and dug in – sorry)!

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Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. (half a carton) grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz. (8-10 stalks) asparagus
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 oz. jar artichoke hearts
  • Handful of seasoned croutons
  • 8 oz. (half a box) pasta (whatever kind you want – I used penne)
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 12 oz. canned evaporated whole milk
  • ½ C grated Parmesan cheese (+ extra for serving)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 oz. (half a container) crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • optional addition: cooked protein (chicken, shrimp, sausage)

Directions:

Start water to boil in a medium pot for pasta. Cook according to directions on box.

Prep ingredients: halve grapes tomatoes; trim bottoms off asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces; cut zucchini into half moons; drain artichokes; put croutons in a ziploc bag and crush into coarse breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add asparagus and zucchini and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grape tomatoes and artichokes and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain in colander, return to pot, and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil. Set aside.

Return same large pan to medium heat. Add evaporated milk to hot pan and bring to a simmer. Cook 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Stir in Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, Remove pan from burner and swirl in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta and vegetables (and cooked protein if you have it) to pan with the sauce. Toss to coat everything in sauce.

Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and goat cheese crumbles.

[modified from Home Chef recipe]


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Spinach Orzotto

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law a long time ago and just rediscovered it in my recipe box. It is very easy and delicious – a great side to go with anything. You do want to make sure to prep everything before starting because it goes pretty quick once you start. And you kind of need to watch it closely, so I recommend making it when you have your main meat/dish cooking in the oven or someone around to help. This is a very basic recipe and would be easy to modify – add some different veggies, add some Parmesan, add some meat to make it a meal on it’s own – go crazy!

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Gather all your ingredients – pretty easy stuff, too – nothing strange. And yes, that is white wine. Make sure you have a glass ready because you only use 1/3 cup for the recipe…

ingredients

ingredients

You’ll want to go ahead and prep everything, including measuring out everything. Trust me, you will be glad you did. Chop your green onions and spinach.

Measure out your liquids – use a glass measuring cup for the chicken broth as you will heat it up a little in the microwave before adding it.

prep, prep, prep

prep, prep, prep

Time to cook! Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add green onion, garlic, and orzo. Toast, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until orzo has started to toast. Watch carefully or the orzo will burn.

toast it up

toast it up

Add the white wine and stir until absorbed. While the white wine absorbs, stick the chicken broth in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to warm it up a bit.

add white wine

add white wine

Add ½ a cup of chicken broth and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Repeat 2 more times with ½ a cup of broth at a time until all is absorbed.

add chicken broth

add chicken broth

Turn off heat and add chopped spinach until well incorporated and wilted.

add spinach

add spinach

Season with salt and pepper and serve it up!

serve it

serve it

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Spinach Orzotto

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 C white wine
  • ½ C orzo
  • 1 ½ C chicken broth
  • 2 C spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prep all ingredients (chop and measure).

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onion, garlic, and orzo and cook for about 3 minutes or until orzo is slightly toasted, stirring frequently.

Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. While wine cooks down, heat chicken broth in microwave for 1-2 minutes (want it at least warm).

Add ½ cup of chicken broth and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. Repeat 2 more times with ½ cup of chicken broth each time until all broth is absorbed.

Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach until wilted and incorporated into the pasta.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes about 2 servings


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Beef & Cheese Enchiladas

Apparently I had a one track mind last week to re-make Home Chef meals. My next recipe to tackle was Beef & Cheese Enchiladas. I remembered these being VERY good and I was not mistaken. In fact, these may be the best homemade mexican dish I’ve made. And that’s saying a lot considering how much I love my crock pot taco chicken that you can do a million things with. Obviously this takes a little more work, but it is totally worth it. And you can easily modify it for different amounts, likes, and dislikes!

Full recipe is below – enjoy!

Pretty basic ingredients – modify as you wish! I used wheat tortillas instead of corn, taco seasoning instead of enchilada seasoning (I don’t think this exists – even Penzeys doesn’t have one), and a generic Mexican cooking sauce instead of enchilada sauce (I got Herdez traditional chipotle sauce and highly recommend it – it is delicious. A fajita sauce or taco sauce would be fine as well). And I used a Mexican blend cheese instead of cheddar-jack because I had it already.

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Prep ingredients first, which is pretty much just chopping a jalapeno. I remove the seeds and always use gloves when chopping these – if you’d had jalapeno in your eye you would do the same. Or better yet, don’t risk that and just do it because I would not wish not on my worst enemy.

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Cook your meat next and drain the fat. Add the seasoning and stir until coated.

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Remove seasoned cooked meat to a bowl, then add jalapeno, corn, green chiles, and about half of cheese. Mix together (this is your filling).

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Soften your tortillas. You can do this on the stove (wipe out the meat pan and heat each side over low heat), or place tortillas on a plate between two damp paper towels and stick in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. You just want them slightly warm so they break when you fill and roll them up.

Then assemble! Fill each tortilla with beef mixture, roll and place, seam down, in greased baking dish.

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Finally, pour sauce on top and top with cheese!

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Bake then serve with some rice, sour cream, and cilantro (fresh is ideal). Or whatever other sides and condiments you want!

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Beef & Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • ¾ C frozen (or fresh) corn
  • 2 oz. (½ a can) diced green chiles
  • ¾ to 1 C Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 6-8 tortillas
  • 1 C Chipotle cooking sauce (or enchilada sauce, fajita sauce, taco sauce, etc.)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. water
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Mexican or Spanish rice for side

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop jalapeno.

In a medium pan over medium heat, brown ground beef, breaking up with spoon as it cooks. Cook 8-10 minutes or until browned. Drain fat. Add taco seasoning and stir until coated. Remove to a medium mixing bowl.

To mixing bowl with beef, add diced jalapeno, corn, canned green chiles, and about half of the shredded cheese. Mix well.

Soften tortillas in microwave between 2 damp paper towels, about 20 seconds on high.

Spray a baking dish or baking sheet.

Fill tortilla with some of beef mixture. Roll closed and place seam-down in baking dish. Place enchiladas against each other snugly.

In a small bowl, mix the sauce with the water. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining (or desired amount of) cheese.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

If making rice, make while enchiladas bake.

Serve with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

[modified from Home Chef recipe]