Saturday, April 7, 2012

Corned beef sandwiches.

What are a few of my favorite things to cook? Challah and Corned Beef! I thought it would be fun to pair the two together for a delicious dinner.

I cooked the corned beef according to the package directions. Each sandwich had two slices. The meat is so good that I didn't add any sauces to my sandwich, there was enough delicious moisture!

I have made this challah dough dozens of times. Normally I split the dough in two to make two loafs, or make one big loaf. This time I pulled out little pieces of the dough to make knots. I let these knots rise a bit before putting them in the oven. I made 6 knots this time, but there was enough dough to make 10-12 rolls.

I cooked these for 20 min at 350 degrees. I skipped the egg wash because I didn't want to waste the excess egg. A lot of the definition was lost when the rolls cooked up, but they had a shape that was perfect for mini corned beef sliders. Yum!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Fail - But a nice creamy sauce

I realized that I had never shared the pictures of my failed sweet potato gnocchi attempt (mentioned in the previous post.)

A couple of the dumplings held their shape, but I had to rescue them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Whoops! I am not sure what was off about my recipe, but I will add more egg and flour next time. I think the sweet potatoes soaked up more liquid than the russet potatoes normally do.

I cannot find my notes on the sauce, but I started with some thickened flour and butter, added heavy cream and some powdered sage. I may have added a tiny bit of brown sugar. The sauce was fantastic, too bad it was like soup with my gnocchi!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fried Gnocchi

A while back I tried making some sweet potato gnocchi. I had some sweet potatoes that were going to go bad, and while making normal gnocchi I mixed some mashed sweet potatoes into half of the mix. I also decided to try freezing the dumplings for the first time.

Unfortunately, this first attempt failed. When I tried to boil my sweet potato gnocchi they lost their shape and clumped together. I still had some dumplings in the freezer, so I needed to try something else.

I thought that the dumplings would keep their shape better if I fried them. I heated up some canola oil on the stove in a frying pan. I didn't want to use a ton of oil, so the oil was just deep enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

I let the gnocchi brown on one side (5-6 min) before flipping them over. This was careful work because there was a lot of oil splattering. Next time I am going to use a deeper pan! Thank goodness I had a splatter shield to protect me.

The gnocchi come out looking like mini tater tots.

The next big question was an important one... how do I serve fried gnocchi? I thought that I would turn this into a kiddy dinner by serving it with a side of manara sauce. (Well, salad isn't very kiddy, but I wanted to counteract all of that starch and oil!)

Keith had some other ideas, and while I was trying to not get burned (or to set the house on fire) he was setting up our table with candles!

Gnocchi is one of Keith's favorite meals. I will need to try something else next time I try sweet potato gnocchi, but I now know that frying them is a decent save.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chicken Shrimp Coconut Curry

Sometimes you have a bunch of ingredients laying around, and have no idea what you can make with them. I had some potatoes, carrots and onions laying around that needed to be used up quickly. (I didn't feel like making gnocchi again!) I found a can of coconut milk in my pantry and the idea of curry started forming.

  • 1, 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • some chopped baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes (pealed and chopped)
  • 1/3 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breaste, cubed
  • 8 shrimp
  • +3 Tblsp brown sugar
  • 20oz can of pineapple (drained)
  • 8 tsp curry powder.

  • Combine milk, water and spices with potatos, carrots and bring to a summer. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the veggies soften. (covered)

  • Add onions, chicken, shrimp and pineapple chunks and simmer covered, stirring occasionally until the meats are cooked
  • remove from heat, serve over rice.
    Align Left

Initially when I tasted the curry, I felt there was something missing. There was something different from what I've had in similar curries at restaurants . I finally realized... SUGAR! The little bit of brown sugar listed in the ingredients brought this curry from ordinary to extraordinary!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Matzah ball soup

I have a huge backlog of pictures and recipes that I need to write up and post. For now, I thought I would share a delicious picture of some matzah ball soup.

I made the chicken soup from scratch. I don't know what normally possesses me to make two chicken soups, but I like to have a lot to put in the freezer. I added some rosemary and thyme to the soup base and it gave a nice fragrant twist.

Hopefully I will be able to be back with regular ChemEats posts in the near future.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

7 Layer Taco Dip

Everyone loves my Taco dip, but I'm not sure that it's actually 7 layers. It is a great way to prepare for any party, because you can make the dip the morning of, and then stick it into the oven once guests arrive. This way, they are guaranteed to enjoy a warm, melted, delicious taco dip!

  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1- 16oz can refried beans
  • 1 - 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1- 16oz sour cream (use half)
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 can black olives
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (lots)
  • Avocados
  • lime (for garnish if making guacamole)


1) mix beans with taco seasoning
2) Sour cream and cream cheese (blended)
3) Guacamole (or in this case sliced avocado)
4) black olives
5) green onions
6) salsa

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 min (or until cheese is melted), serve and be happy. Make sure you enjoy some of the dip quickly, because it won't last long!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pasta Time

What do you do when you have extra heavy cream in the fridge that you want to use up? Why turn it into a creamy tomato sauce! I use pasta dishes as an excuse to use up ingredients in the fridge.

This time, I used 4 Trader Joe's Pesto Sausages, half of a sweet onion and 1 green bell pepper. I sauteed them with some olive oil and then added 6 ounces of tomato paste and some heavy cream until I get the consistency I want.

It is funny that the pasta of this dish is the least important part!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pizza Pie

What is the secret to good bread machine pizza dough? Well it is adding garlic powder and other spices to the dough. This way, the dough has some good flavor if it is too thick in places on the pie. A 2lb loaf creates enough dough for 2 - 13 inch crusts.

I baked the crust in an oven prheated to 400 degrees F before adding the toppings. This time I used mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and caramelized onions. (Most of the time I add raw onions and peppers.) Making pizza is so easy and simple, that I try to always keep some dough in the fridge for a last minute meal.

The pizza was baked until the cheese started to bubble, about 10 minutes. Let it cool and then enjoy a yummy, yummy pizza!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Indy's Sick Day

Last fall, Indy (our American Eskimo puppy at 4 months old) got really sick (*cough* digestively.) The vet told us to keep him on a bland diet of boiled rice and chicken with no salt or oil. Enter the rice cooker + 3.5 cups rice + 7 cups water + 2 chopped up chicken breasts = Indy's food for the weekend.

I knew there is no butter or spices in the mix, but it smelled AMAZING. Even I wanted to eat it!

Indy was particularly excited when he smelled this food. (He also had not had anything to eat for a while that day.)

I think that Indy liked this bland dinner more than his standard kibble... Despite being sick, he was a very happy boy at mealtimes.

Since this bout with illness, Indy has been very healthy. And I have learned a good trick to temperarly help with digestive issues... canned pumpkin!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Fresh lime juice is the best when you want fresh margaritas, but sometimes you just cannot get your hands on that many limes! In a pinch, here is a recipe that I like to use for Margaritas:

  • 1 can of frozen Minute Maid Limeade
  • 3 cans of water
  • 200 mL of tequila (~1 cup)
  • 100 mL of tripplesec (~1/2 cup)

And voilĂ , a yummy pitcher of margaritas.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gnocchi for Six

Handmade gnocchi is a lot of fun to make, but I am always afraid of it clumping during boiling. (I had one disastrous experiment when I tried a variation of my recipe and I ended up with a mashed mush.) I wanted to make gnocchi with my Pals so I doubled the normal standard recipe, keeping my fingers crossed that I would be able to fit them all in one pot.

To set the stage for dinner, I steamed broccoli and placed it in the bowls. Cream and broccoli go so well together, don't they?

Before dropping the gnocchi in the water, I set up the creamy pesto sauce (discussed in the previous post) to simmer. I put the dumplings directly in the sauce after they floated so that way they would not stick together.

I was so lucky that there was no clumping! It was a bit stressful dropping so many gnocchi into the pot at once (trying not to compress them as I put them into the water) but it ended up even better than I could have hoped.

With any yummy sauce, you need to have some bread to wipe up what is left! I whipped up some bread machine pizza dough and twisted them into breadsticks. The dough was brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt before baking.

I am very lucky to have great friends to share wonderful food with. Especially when those friends decide to come out to Evanston to visit. Anyone else want to come to dinner? :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Growing up, I was not a huge fan of pesto. Keith has always loved it, and after meeting him my appreciation grew. We frequently have gnocchi in a creamy pesto sauce, but the best I had ever had was from our cooking class where everything was made fresh. Since we were going to have friends come to town, I thought it would be fun to make gnocchi from scratch with creamy pesto sauce, but I wanted to pre-make the pesto.

This a nut free pesto since one of our friends has an allergy. It contained:

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1.5 cup olive oil

Of course we had to test the sauce out to make sure it would be suitable for company. I heated the pesto up in a 1:1 ratio with heavy cream and served on pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese.