Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vegetable and Rice Stir fry

Okay people, yes, yes I know... Asian food from the whitest family in America? YES! Let me tell you, this vegetable and rice stir fry is seriously the best! My family makes this for dinner at least every other week, that's how good it is! 

This stir fry reminds me of hot summer nights where we whip up this stir fry and eat it out on the patio. This stir fry is the perfect healthy and delicious dinner for summer when you have fresh vegetables.

This recipe is more like guidelines, feel free to toss in any type of vegetable you have available! Just add them according to cook time (if it takes longer to cook, add at the beginning and vice versa). I love how easy and healthy this one dish dinner is, I'm sure you will too!

Vegetable and Rice Stir Fry
1 Tablespoon olive oil (add more if needed)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs
Around 4 cups of assorted vegetables, diced (we use shredded carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and snow peas or shelled peas and asparagus)
1 Tablespoon lemongrass, fresh or paste (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2-4 cups cooked white or brown rice

1) In a large fry pan (or wok) on high heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir constantly until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
2) Push onions and garlic to the side of the pan and scramble eggs in the same pan. When the eggs are done, remove and keep warm in a separate bowl.
3) Add vegetables, starting with the firmest and ending with the most tender. (We start with carrots, then add zucchini, bell pepper, asparagus and peas). Let all vegetables cook until tender, stirring often. Add lemongrass to mixture and stir to combine. (If vegetables are sticking to the pan add more olive oil).
4) Add soy sauce, white cooking wine, and rice wine vinegar. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.
5) Add cooked rice and eggs and stir all together.
6) Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake

How do you like your vegetables? Mmmmm... How about in a cake?! ;)

Can you believe it?! This cake has 2 cups of grated zucchini! You would never be able to guess by looking at it or even tasting it!

This chocolate zucchini cake has been a favorite in our family for years and years. At the end of every summer we always have a lot of extra zucchini from the garden.  All of those recipes we throw the zucchini in get a little worn out (like our Vegetable and Rice Stir Fry). But this chocolate zucchini cake is always a winner because, well it doesn't really even taste like zucchini at all (which is the best part, right?!). You can trick all of those people into eating their veggies without them even knowing, just like my mother used to do! The zucchini in this cake helps it to be moist and fluffy, and boy does it work!

ANDDDD it's Dad approved ^^^, so we're all winning here, right?!

Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake
Serves about 12
Recipe modified from Epicurious
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium zucchini)
1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1) Preheat oven to 325 ° Fahrenheit.
2) Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.
3) Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.
4) Beat sugar, butter, and oil in a large bowl until well blended.
5) Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6) Beat in vanilla extract.
7) Mix dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions.
8) Mix in grated zucchini.
9) Pour batter into prepared pan.
10) Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top.
11) Bake cake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Copycat: Orange Julius Smoothie

These smoothies remind me of late nights when my siblings and I would jump in the hot tub and beg mom to make us an orange julius. She would bring them out in those flowered paper Dixie cups and we would down that tasty orange stuff faster than it takes to say "that was soooo good", which would then follow soon after.

These smoothies are the perfect amount of sweet to tangy orange. They always hit the spot! AND, they also have 25% of your vitamin C for the day, so that's always a plus right?! Haha don't mind me just trying to justify this like usual.

These orange julius' are the perfect crowd-pleaser. Like come on, who doesn't like a yummy smoothie?! AND you're pretty much guaranteed to win with this recipe because it's practically fool proof. So pull out your blender and throw it all in! I promise you'll love these orange julius' as much as my family does!

Orange Julius
Serves 3-4
6 oz. orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 to 12 ice cubes (depending on desired thickness)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Steak and Vegetable Kebabs

Need a delicious and easy dinner for the summer? Well, you just found it! These steak and veggie kebabs are quick and effortless, but in no way less delicious! Our family loves to whip these up for a quick summer dinner to enjoy on those warm summer nights, because nothing beats grilling in the summer!  

The great thing about these kebabs is that you can make them with anything you have available. We've tried them with everything from crookneck squash to mushrooms, and it is all good! Our kebab meat of choice is usually sirloin steak or marinated chicken, both good options.

These lovely kebabs were our Fourth of July dinner this year. It was the perfect night! We invited grandma and grandpa up and ate dinner out on the patio. We listen to country music while we ate way too much food, because FREEDOM, right?! These kebabs were so good I had like 5, and I don't even regret it! I promise you won't either after you try them!

Steak and Vegetable Kebabs
Serves 8-10
For Meat:
Approximately 2 pounds steak (sirloin is what we use), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup steak sauce (A1 sauce is our go-to)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper 
For Vegetables:
Any type of vegetables, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing

1) Combine steak sauce and oil in a mixing bowl large enough to hold meat. Add prepared meat to sauce and coat evenly among pieces. Season with salt and pepper. 
2) Slide meat and cut vegetables onto skewers.  
3) Brush vegetables (while on skewers) with salad dressing.
4) Heat grill on high (around 400 degrees). 
5) Place kebabs on hot grill and cook until desired doneness. (Our kebabs cooked about 4-6 minutes on both sides). 
6) Remove from grill and serve immediately. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Classic Restaurant Style Salsa

Alright people, here it is: my neighborhood's famous salsa. If you could only have one recipe for salsa in the world, this would be it. All of the ingredients in this recipe come together to create a delicious and addicting combination that will leave you wanting more and more!

Many years ago (okay only like two and a half) I was still in high school and going to school dances. My friends would often get together before or after the dance and have a party at someone's house, and I was always assigned to bring the salsa.  I'm still not sure how I got that role... I think I brought salsa to one of our parties and then BOOM everyone wanted it every time. Yes, that's how good this salsa is! Just imagine all of my friends gathered around a big bowl of salsa and tons of chips for hours. Yep that's pretty much how it went.

So welcome to the world of delicious salsa where tomatoes and cilantro become your diet and where you are never judged on how much you eat because "it's healthy", right? 

Classic Restaurant Style Salsa
12 oz. diced tomatoes (you can strain them or not-we do it both ways)
Juice from half of a lime or lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno pepper (with seeds)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 to 1/4 of a medium white onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency.