The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Pepper Steak November 7, 2009

Filed under: Asian,Quick dinners,Steak/beef — xigumdrops @ 1:12 pm
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Pepper steak

This is a simple weeknight meal.

1 to 2 tablespoons flour

1 pound top sirloin or round steak, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or seasoned pepper blend

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, partially drained

2 tablespoons soy sauce

5-6 dashes Tabasco sauce

salt, to taste

  1. Coat beef in flour.  Heat olive oil over medium heat; add steak. Cook, stirring, until steak is browned.
  2. Add onion, garlic powder, pepper, Tony Chachere’s and cook, stirring, until onion is tender.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bell pepper; cook for about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add tomatoes, soy sauce, and Tabasco and bring to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt.  Serve with hot rice.

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil November 28, 2008


This is an easy to-prepare dish that looks and takes fabulous.  The original recipe calls to grill the chicken but I prefer to bake it so I’ve included the baking instructions here.  To save on cutting time and costs, I used a 3 cheese Italian blend which is also much easier to work with than fresh mozzarella.  I served the chicken with fried okra but it would be great with a caesar salad or maybe a light pasta side?     

Adapted from:  Fine Cooking

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1.5 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 large basil leaves

1/4 Lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (I used 3 cheese Italian blend, pre-shredded)

4 thin slices prosciutto (should be long enough to wrap all the way around the chicken breasts)

1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Cut through each chicken breast horizontally almost all the way through and open it like a book. Sprinkle the chicken all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper (total for 1.5 pounds chicken).  Layer the basil and mozzarella evenly on half of each breast and then fold it closed.  Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each breast to hold it closed and then brush lightly on both sides with the olive oil.

3.  Bake on foil lined sheet for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.


Land Inspired Thai Fried Rice November 23, 2008

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,Quick dinners,Spicy — xigumdrops @ 6:42 pm
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I was feeling fried rice and was inspired by my old favorite New York thai restaurant, Land.  Fresh cucumbers and golden raisins and a hint of heat.  Keep the cucumbers sliced very thin or they will overpower the dish. I left the raisins out on my husband’s serving but I love them!  You can make it as spicy as you wish with the chili sauce.  It would be great with a few diced plum tomatoes or pineapple as well.


2 tbs. oil (I used olive oil but you could really use any kind)

1/2 tbs. garlic, minced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cups cooked white rice

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch x 1/4 inch pieces

1/4 large red onion, diced

Soy sauce

Serrano chili sauce

1/2 tsp. sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 eggs (I used egg substitute), scrambled (I prefer to scramble the egg in a separate pan and add later)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 cucumber, sliced thin


1.  Add 2 tbs. oil and garlic to pan over medium-high heat, cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.  

2.  Add bell pepper and onion and cook until softened.  Increase heat to high and add “two turns around the pan” of the soy sauce and “one turn around the pan” of the chili sauce.  Please excuse the Rachel Ray reference but I forgot to measure while I was making this!  Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  

3.  Fold in rice and eggs and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until well incorporated and rice is slightly browned. Stir in raisins and serve with sliced cucumbers.


Black Tagliatelle with Shrimp and Jalapeno Cream Sauce November 9, 2008


On a trip to Vegas my husband tried a similar Mario Batali dish with black pasta, crab, and a spicy cream sauce.  He loved it and we tried to recreate it at home.  We tried using the crab we could find in the grocer but it ended up stringy in the sauce.  It would work well with large king crab chunks but we found that shrimp were much easier and just as tasty!

8 ounces black tagliatelle pasta (similar to fettuccine)

2 tbs. olive oil

1 celery stalk, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapenos, chopped fine

1/2 pound raw jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined

2 tbs. flour

1/2 cup half and half

Salt and pepper


1.  Cook pasta according to instructions.

2.  Saute garlic, celery, and onion in olive oil over medium heat until celery is soft and cooked through; 5-7 minutes.  Add jalapeno and shrimp; cook until shrimp turn pink; 3-4 minutes.  Turn heat to low, add flour and half and half.  Cook on low 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add pasta to sauce and serve warm.


Panko-Crusted Chicken with Mustard Sauce November 2, 2008

Filed under: Chicken,Quick dinners — xigumdrops @ 7:40 pm
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It seems as though panko breadcrumbs are all the rage right now and I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  I found an old recipe in Food and Wine and adapted it from a pretzel crusted chicken to panko.  The crust was nice and light and very crispy.  The recipe is also really fast and great for a weeknight.

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine Pretzel-Crusted Chicken

1 cup panko breadcrumbs (approx.; use 1/2 cup at a time to reduce waste)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1 Tbs. mayo

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1.5 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast (cut into strips)


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and nonstick spray.  Combine the oil, mustard, mayo, celery seed, vinegar and blend.  Season the dressing with salt and pepper.  Pour 2-3 Tbs. of the dressing into a small bowl to reserve for dipping.  Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat.  Dredge the chicken into the panko crumbs; transfer to a foil-lines baking sheet.  

2.  Bake the chicken breasts in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with reserved sauce.


Triple-Tomato Pasta September 17, 2008

Filed under: Italian,Pasta,Proscuitto,Quick dinners — xigumdrops @ 7:19 pm
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I’m always looking for fast recipes and this recipe was included in the 30 best fast recipes ever in the Food & Wine 30th Anniversary Issue.  It’s really fast and was definitely tasty.  I added prosciutto but I think it would be great with chunks of chicken.  Changes in green.

Source:  Food & Wine Magazine

1 pound pasta

2 medium tomatoes, diced  (1 can diced tomatoes, drained)

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 Tbs. tomato paste

4 large basil leaves

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2.5 oz. prosciutto, chopped


1.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.

2.  In a blender, puree the diced and sun-dried tomatoes with the tomato paste, basil, garlic and olive oil.  Pour the sauce into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce (add prosciutto) and toss well to coat.  Serve piping hot.


Chimichurri Sauce September 15, 2008

The original recipe as written basically tasted like chopped up parsley in oil.  I tried adding the onion but that didn’t do anything special either and was still lost in the weird texture.  I decided to pop the mixture in a blender and it turned out great.  My changes are in green.

Source:  Food & Wine Magazine

2 cups chopped parsley

2/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 plus 1 Tbs.)

6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. minced garlic (5 cloves; which was less than the 2 Tbs)

2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 cup minced red onion

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1.  In a bowl, mix the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper (and onion) ; season with salt and pepper.

2.  Combine in blender and mix until a paste forms.

3.  Serve with thinly sliced grilled skirt steak and sweet potato fries.