Wonton Soup and Mini Egg Rolls

Wonton Soup and Mini Egg Rolls

So easy to follow and delicious, this wonton soup recipe will serve you for years to come. The wontons can be frozen for quick and easy meals during the week, or for a lazy weekend morning brunch.

 

These homemade egg rolls are filled with pork and vegetables, all wrapped up and fried to crispy perfection.

 

Simple Wonton Soup

This simple wonton soup recipe is so delicious and easy to follow. The wontons can be frozen, boiled and added to stock to make wonton soup any time of day

Wonton Soup

Ingredients
  

  • 10 oz baby bok choy or similar green vegetable (280g)
  • oz ground pork (225g)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sesame oil  plus more for the stock
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 6 cups chicken stock  about 1.5 liters
  • 1 scallion chopped

Instructions
 

  • Start by thoroughly washing the vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the vegetables just until wilted, about 60-90 seconds. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Grab a good clump of veg and carefully squeeze out as much water as you can. Very finely chop the vegetables (you can also speed up the process by throwing them in the food processor). Repeat until all the vegetables are chopped.
  • In a medium bowl, add the finely chopped vegetables, ground pork, 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, pinch of white pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1-2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine. Mix very thoroughly until the mixture is totally emulsified—almost like a paste.
  • Now it’s time to assemble! Fill a small bowl with water. Grab a wrapper and use your finger to moisten the edges of the wrapper. Add a little over a teaspoon of filling to the middle. Fold the wrapper in half and press the two sides together so you get a firm seal.
  • Hold the bottom two corners of the little rectangle you just made (the side where the filling is) and bring the two corners together. You can use a bit of water to make sure they stick. And that's it!
  • At this point, you can cook (boil) and taste a couple of wontons and adjust the seasoning of your filling to taste––you can always add a little more Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and/or white pepper to your liking.
  • Once you're happy with the flavor of the filling, keep assembling until all the filling is gone. Place the wontons on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper, and make sure they are not touching (this will prevent sticking).
  • If you'd like to freeze your wontons right away, you can cover the wontons with plastic wrap, put the baking sheet/plate into the freezer, and transfer them to freezer bags once they’re frozen. They’ll keep for a couple of months in the freezer, and be ready for wonton soup whenever you want it.
  • To make the soup, heat your chicken stock to a simmer and add 2-3 teaspoons sesame oil and white pepper and salt to taste.
  • Bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the wontons one at a time to the pot. Pick up the pot and use a swirling, twisting motion to keep the pot moving and prevent the wontons from sticking to the bottom. If they do stick, don’t worry, They should come free once they’re cooked. Once they're floating, boil them for another 1-2 minutes. Take care not to overcook them – mushy wontons are a sin! Remove the wontons with a slotted spoon and put them in bowls.
  • Pour the soup over the wontons and garnish with scallions. Serve!

Notes

Wontons can be frozen for use later. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so they aren’t touching, and put the baking sheet in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze for up to two months.

Mini Egg Rolls

You probably heard about Easter egg roll but have you heard of mini egg rolls? well it’s an side dish invented by the American-Chinese influenced Indian / Pakistani spring rolls which are very big side dish served in all sorts of ceremonies and events. Mini egg rolls are prepared exactly the same way as the spring rolls. There is not much history to it but that doesn’t mean the taste is not there.

The other day, I decided to make Chicken Spring Rolls at home.  I love spring rolls, but I often find them quite greasy and oily.  That’s because they are not fried correctly, so they become soggy and absorb too much oil. 

This home-made version is so much better.  They come out crunchy and not oily at all.  And the filling is delicious too.

 

Mini Egg Rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp plus 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1-2 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 2 scallions white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed packaged slaw mix (about 10 oz.)
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (about 4 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 square egg roll wrappers, thawed if frozen

Instructions
 

  • Warm 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and scallions. Sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add slaw mix and bean sprouts and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
  • Cut egg roll wrappers in half. Have ready a small bowl of cold water and a pastry brush. Working with wrappers one at a time, lay each out so short side of rectangle faces you. Place about 1 Tbsp. filling toward bottom of wrapper. Pull bottom of wrapper over filling, then fold side corners over filling and roll up tightly, like a burrito. Brush far edge with cold water before closing. Continue with remaining wrappers and filling.
  • Heat 2 cups oil in a large skillet to 350°F. Put a few egg rolls in skillet (don't allow them to touch) and cook, turning over once or twice with tongs, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Halloween Treats for ADULTS

Halloween Treats for ADULTS

Who says Halloween is just for kids?  After the kids have returned from Trick-or-Treating and they’ve wound down for the night put them to bed it’s time for some adult fun.

Whip up some adult treats ahead of time, hide them from the kids, and take them out for a bit of spooky fun with your friends, or snuggle up with your significant other for drinks and nibbles as you watch a scary movie.

Here are a few recipes for Halloween treats and drinks for adults.

Black CocktailThe Blackbeard cocktail from Honestly YUM is made with chocolate stout.  It looks lethally YUMMY!

 

 

Pumpkin cheese ballWhip up this Nacho Pumpkin Cheese Ball from Cincy Shopper, it’s creamy, crunchy, with a bit of spicy!

Recipe click here!

Spiderweb DipDip the nigh away with this zesty south-of-the-border dip from Mr. Food.com

Recipe click here!

Mummy BrieAdd a bit of sophistication to your Halloween with this Mummy Baked Brie found on Babble.com.

Recipe click here!

 

Smoking MartiniHere’s a lovey Smoking Martini created by Thomas Johnson from Cocktailatlas.com

Perfect for Halloween!
Recipe click here!

 

CocktailThe Grave Digger Cocktail is a concoction of hard cider, whiskey, and ginger ale designed by Boulder Locavore.

Recipe click here!  

 

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Summer is almost here!  And in our family that means outdoor entertaining!  It’s always a good idea to take advantage of good weather and dine alfresco every chance you get!

I know that outdoor entertaining means backyard barbecues complete with grilled meats, corn on the cob, and other mouth watering goodies we can make outside.  Don’t forget the S’mores!  But really outdoor entertaining isn’t limited to cooking stuff on your grill, there are so many ways you can enjoy dining on your patio or backyard.  It could be an intimate breakfast for two, a rambunctious kids’ birthday party, or a more serene adult dinner party for friends and family.

To get your creative juices flowing I’ve got 7 ideas you can build on to take your summer time entertaining outdoors!  By the way outdoor entertaining doesn’t mean you have to invite the whole neighborhood; you can enjoy a nice quite meal outdoors with just your immediate household!

How about an intimate breakfast for 2?

They’ve always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day; how better to start your day than with breakfast outdoors with your spouse or partner?

You don’t have to go all out.  A nice cup of coffee and a croissant will do; or if you’re feeling inclined a plate of bacon and egg and some warm biscuits will hit the spot.  Whatever the menu all you’ll really need is a simple table and chairs on the patio or in the backyard.  (And maybe keep the kids indoors so you can have some quiet time!)

If you’re not a morning person then make it lunch or dinner for two.  Remember the idea is to relax and enjoy some couples time!

Vintage Garden Tea Party

Tea is my favorite method of entertaining  and a Vintage Garden Party is a great to entertain outdoors.  I love tea parties, they’re simple and easy to prepare, they make you and your guests feel pampered, and they are so pretty!

Have everyone dress up in pretty summer frocks to make it an extra special event.  You don’t have to limit tea parties to adult parties, children, particularly little girls will adore a princess tea party for her birthday!  Our you can have a Teddy Bear Tea Party for boys and girls; each child is invited to bring along their favorite plush animal for the garden party.  Kids love it!

Kids’ Birthday Party

In my opinion kids’ parties should always be held outdoors, weather permitting of course.

There are so many options and themes for outdoor birthday parties.  The kids love it because they have room to run around and parents love it because it keeps the mess out of the house and makes clean up easier.

If your patio or yard isn’t big enough to let the kids run around then take your party to your neighborhood park!  Just be sure to clean up and place your trash in the trash containers.

Boho Adult Dinner Party

Adult Outdoor parties don’t always have to include grilled meats or barbecued anything for that matter!

A Boho themed or any themed outdoor party works for any occasion and it’s great if you don’t have enough outdoor tables and chairs.  Just stock up on large floor pillows or even picnic blankets.  Use low tables or a piece of plywood resting on cement tiles for your “dining table”.  Just be sure you cover it with a pretty tablecloth!

As for food serve anything your heart desires!

Baby or Bridal Showers

Who says indoor sofas and shelves can’t go outside?  Bring the indoors out and host your bridal or baby shower in the backyard.

It’s amazing what a bit of “redecorating” can do!

This works great if you have a small indoor living area and have lots of friends and family to invite!

 

Outdoor Weddings

I just love outdoor weddings!  They can be as low key or as fancy as the bride wants.

Lots of brides have learned to think outside of the box and hired some wonderful wedding venues.  You can check out vineyards, parks, beaches, and even zoos!

Depending on the venue outdoor weddings might take a bit more planning so it’s important to have a great wedding planner on your team!

Outdoor Barbecue

I can’t talk about outdoor entertaining without including the outdoor barbecue.  Take advantage of summer and take dinner (or lunch) outside.

You’ll definitely have lots of opportunities to host an outdoor barbecue between Memorial and Labor Days you’ve got Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, possibly a birthday or two.  Not to mention you don’t need a special occasion to barbecue, you can have one for the family just because!

Now one of my favorite things at an outdoor barbecue is the corn on the cob!  A barbecue isn’t complete without it.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Elotes, Mexican Street Corn, it’s super yummy!  Well it has mayo on it and my son will not touch anything with mayo.  So I had to find a way to make something similar to Elotes without the mayo and I came up with my Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob.  Here’s my recipe!

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Ingredients
  

  • 16 niblets Corn Frozen (For the corn - I used frozen mini cobs or niblets and boiled on the stove - you can use frozen or fresh and boil it, bake it, or grill it.  This recipe is to boil frozen corn.)
  • 1 pot Water
  • 1 cup Milk

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Queso Fresco - crumbled
  • Cilantro - chopped
  • 1 Lime - cut into wedges

Instructions
 

  • Make the topping by mixing butter, honey, and powdered seasonings together.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until you're ready to use.
  • Boil corn in water/milk mixture for about 20 minutes or until done.  Drain corn and transfer to a baking pan.
  • Place spoonfuls of butter topping on each cob.  Butter topping will melt.  Roll cobs in melted butter until all sides are covered.
  • Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro.
  • Serve with lime wedges for each person to squeeze over cob if they want to.
  • You can keep this warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  • You can store any extra butter topping in the fridge and use for other things.  I like to use it to saute chicken or even veggies.  Pretty much anything you want to add a bit of spice to!

 

Quick and Delicious Cheeseburgers

Quick and Delicious Cheeseburgers

Cheeseburgers are probably my most favorite foods on earth.  I love a tasty and juicy cheeseburger and am always in search for the perfect one.

Okay I’ve found a lot of truly magnificent cheeseburgers around the country, but in my humble opinion the best cheeseburgers are those that we make at home.

My son make the BEST ever cheeseburgers you will ever taste.  Seriously it’s to die for!  But his burgers are an overnight project.  You start out mixing his seasoned butter the night before and freezing it at least overnight.  Lot’s of work, but the end result is definitely worth it.

As much as I love his cheeseburgers I don’t always have the time nor inclination to make them.  So there has to be an easier way right?  Ok I’ll settle for a good burger at home verses an excellent one.

Recently I made these cheeseburgers for lunch.  I didn’t have to leave home to make them, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen.  It didn’t take all day and all night to make them and they turned out pretty good.  My grandsons loved them.

These burgers are tender, juicy, and tasty.  All this using store bought frozen ingredients.  Best of all it’s cooked in less than 15 minutes.  Perfect for quick lunches or dinners.  Actually it’s the perfect dinner on Halloween when you need to get the kids to eat before rushing out the door to trick or treat.

These burgers are so easy they don’t even require a recipe, just quick instructions.  And here they are!

Quick and Delicious Cheeseburgers

Ingredients
  

  • Frozen beef patties - thawed in fridge or microwave
  • Frozen Garlic Bread Slices or Texas Toast
  • Cheddar Cheese slices
  • Condiments - Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, etc.

Instructions
 

  • Fry thawed burgers in frying pan over medium-high heat
  • Cook until desired doneness - don't over cook as they will become tough and dry
  • Meanwhile place frozen garlic bread in a separate frying pan or panini maker and cook on high
  • Remove from pan when done and set aside - be careful not to burn your bread - you want it cooked with a bit of crunch on the outside but not over cooked
  • When burgers are just about cooked place a slice of cheese on top of each patty
  • Place another slice of cheese on one slice of bread
  • Place hot burger on top of cheese and cover with another slice of bread
  • Serve hot with condiments - if desired you can place a couple of strips of cooked crisp bacon on top of the patty

cheeseburgers

cheeseburger

DIY Infused Olive Oil

DIY Infused Olive Oil

infused olive oilI just love infused olive oil!  But have you seen the price of infused olive oil at those specialty stores?  Yup, they can cost a pretty penny!

You might be wondering what’s the big deal with infused olive oil and what is it used for.  Infused olive oil adds flavor to just about anything!  You can use it in marinades and dressings; drizzle it on anything you want to add flavor to, even scrambled eggs; you can add it to your cooking oil to give fried food some extra zing; and it makes a quick appetizer, just pour some into a small plate and dip bread in the oil, it’s delicious!

I used to buy infused olive oil from those specialty shops.  With all it’s uses I figured it was worth the splurge.  But I recently discovered just how easy it is to make infused olive oil.  So I’ve been making my own.  I make infused vinegar too!

I love making my own infused olive oil because I can infuse it with anything I want.  In reality you can infuse olive oil with just about anything, but be careful when using fresh ingredients.

Fresh ingredients, such as garlic cloves and herbs, have a high water content.  The water when combined with the oil is a perfect medium for growing botulism toxin and you don’t want to do that!

To keep my infused olive oil botulism free I use only dried ingredients.  You can of course use fresh ingredients (I know a fresh sprig of rosemary floating in oil is so pretty).  When using fresh ingredients be sure you store your oil in the refrigerator and discard after 3 months.

Having said that here’s how I make infused olive oil!

Materials:

Jars or bottles with sealable lids or caps  – I used glass Woosey hot sauce bottles with shrink capsules I got from Amazon.  But you can use Mason jars or whatever you have handy

Funnel

Ladle

Large pots

Measuring spoons

Tongs

Kitchen Thermometer

Ingredients:

1 large bottle of extra virgin olive oil

Dried Minced Garlic

Dried Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary

Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

infused olive oilPlace jars or bottles in a large pot and fill with water.  Be sure all the containers are covered with water.

Boil on the stove for about 10 minutes.[spacer height=”-20px”]

infused olive oilCarefully remove hot containers from pot using tongs and place them on a clean towel to dry.

Make sure the inside of the containers are dry before filling the bottles.

Using a funnel put 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of each dry ingredient into your container.

Set herb filled bottles aside while you heat your oil.

Pour olive oil in large pot and place it on the stove over medium heat.

Heat oil until it reaches 180° – do not boil

Remove from heat

infused olive oilUsing a ladle fill your containers with the hot oil.  Fill to about 1″ from the top.

Screw on caps or lids.

Store in a cool dry place for about 4 weeks before using.  Once  you open it store oil in the fridge for up to 3 months.

This recipe will make 24 – 5oz. bottles.

If you want to be fancy print labels you can stick on the bottles, that’s what I did!

I recently made a batch to include in the pasta salad kits I gave out on Christmas.  Infused Olive Oil make great gifts and favors.  I used some of the oil as favors for my husband’s Godfather themed birthday party, but that’s another article!

 

Infused Vinegar
 

DIY Infused Olive Oil

DIY Infused Vinegar

infused vinegarInfused Vinegar has become a very popular gourmet staple.  You’ll find them in grocery stores and specialty shops.  They can cost a pretty penny!

You might be wondering why you need infused vinegar and what you’d use it for.  Infused vinegar can be used for so many different things depending on what type of vinegar is infused.

Infused vinegar can be made with Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar.

You can infuse vinegar with fruits, herbs, or spices.  Fruit infused balsamic vinegar can be reduced and used as a topping on ice cream and other desserts.  Vinegars infused with herbs and spices make great salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces.  In short you can use them on almost anything!

You can splurge on a pricey bottle of infused vinegar or you can make your own at home.  It’s fairly easy and very inexpensive.  Now a word of caution, vinegar infused with fresh herbs and fruit can grow toxins and cause botulism poisoning.  That’s because fresh ingredients contain lots of water which when released into the vinegar makes the perfect medium for growing the toxin.

If you choose to infuse vinegar with fresh fruits or herbs you MUST store it in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 months.  Check it before each use for mold and discard if you see it.

To avoid this issue and to make infused vinegar that can sit at room temperature I use only dried ingredients.  Dried herbs and spices have little or no water content therefore are less likely to grow toxins.  This time I will show you how to make infused white vinegar, but the technique is the same for any other type of vinegar.

Materials:

Jars or bottles with sealable lids or caps  – I used glass Woosey hot sauce bottles with shrink capsules I got from Amazon.  But you can use Mason jars or whatever you have handy

Funnel

Ladle

Large pots

Measuring spoons

Tongs

Kitchen Thermometer

Ingredients:

infused vinegar1 Gallon White Vinegar

Dried Minced Garlic

Dried Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary

Crushed Red Pepper

[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

Directions:

infused vinegarPlace jars or bottles in a large pot and fill with water.  Be sure all the containers are covered with water.

Boil on the stove for about 10 minutes.

Carefully remove hot containers from pot using tongs and place them on a clean towel to dry.

Make sure the inside of the containers are dry before filling the bottles.

 

Using a funnel put 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of each dry ingredient into your container.

infused vinegar

infused vinegar

Set herb filled bottles aside while you heat your vinegar.

Pour vinegar in large pot and place it on the stove over medium heat.

Heat vinegar until it reaches 180° – do not boil

Remove from heat

Using a ladle fill your containers with the hot vinegar.  Fill to about 1″ from the top.

Screw on caps or lids.

Store in a cool dry place for about 4 weeks before using.  Once  you open it store vinegar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

If you want to be fancy print labels you can stick on the bottles.

infused vinegar

This recipe will fill 24 – 5oz. bottles.

Once you’ve made your first batch you’ll be a pro!  Experiment with different ingredients and use them for different things.  I find strawberry infused balsamic vinegar delicious over ice cream!

Infused vinegars make wonderful gifts.  I made a batch last Christmas to include in the Pasta Kits I gave out!