Chinese Eggrolls

– johanna | March 8th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer

It has never crossed my mind to make homemade eggrolls. I guess for me eggrolls are part of the experience of eating at a Chinese restaurant. When I saw this recipe just in time for Superbowl, well it seemed like a good time for a little adventure.

Jaden from the Steamy Kitchen stresses only using frozen eggroll wrappers and NOT the kind in the produce section of the grocery store. Which is exactly the kind I picked up because I failed to read the recipe completely. They were still delicious. They were not a lighter crispy eggroll, more like the bumpy doughy kind; but still delicious. I used half of the filling to make the eggrolls and the other half of the filling to make wontons for wonton soup. You can even use some of the unused wrappers to make fried cream cheese wontons.

Source: Steamy Kitchen

50 Spring/Egg Roll Wrappers (about 2 packages), defrosted unopened at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight
1 tablespoon rice flour or cornstarch
¼ cup of cool water
Oil, for frying

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice flour or corn starch
freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
½ head of cabbage (about 11 ounces)
3 carrots, shredded
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried black mushrooms soaked overnight), stems discarded
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Filling: combine the ground pork, tablespoon soy sauce, teaspoon flour, and season with pepper. Marinate at least 10 minutes.

In the meantime, shred the cabbage and the carrots using your food processor or grater. Slice the mushrooms into very thin strips (or you could use your food processer and pulse a few times to get a fine dice.

Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, push the meat to one side of the pan. Add the garlic, cabbage, carrots, ginger and the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the vegetables are softened. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute. Scoop out the filling to a baking sheet and spread out to cool. Prop up one end of the baking sheet so that it tilts and will allow all the liquid to drain to one end. Let cool for 15 minutes. Discard all of the accumulated juices. Use paper towels to blot the filling to rid of extra oil or juice.

IMPORTANT: Only use 1 heaping tablespoon of filling for each egg roll. These are slender egg rolls, the width of the egg roll should only be 1.25″ diameter.

Keep the rolled egg rolls in neat, single layer and covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep wrappers also covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to fry or freeze.

To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or pot with 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) or until a cube of bread will fry to golden brown within 10 seconds. Gently slide in or lower the egg rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 1½ minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.

NOTE: To fry frozen egg rolls, do not defrost the egg rolls – just add them to the oil frozen, frying 4 to 6 at a time. Add an additional 1½ minutes to the frying time since they are frozen.

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Korean Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

– johanna | April 27th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Snacks

Lately we have been learning all we can about South Korean customs. Such as it is bad luck to pour your own drink and always take your shoes off before entering ones home. Respect is of utmost importance in South Korea. The formality of Confucianism dictates so. It is a belief in a code of honor that is viewed as old fashioned by newer generations.

Generally most Koreans are warm and giving. They live by the age old traditions that when an elder enters a room you stand up. On the bus you offer them your seat. If someone is in need you help them. When accepting a gift use both hands to take it. And always be sure to say, “gamsa hapnida.” (Thank you)

The relationship between people of seniority is just as important. In fact, when adults speak to one another they use a formal form of speech; unlike when talking to a child or how youth of the same age converse. When addressing a person they always use the surname first. To call an acquaintance by their name would be considered informal and is frowned upon. For example, the name Eun Sun (first name) Park (surname) would be spoken Park Eun Sun. When familiar or given permission you can drop the surname. Interestingly enough even a slight inflection in the pronunciation of a name (similar to a nickname) is seen as informal.

When addressing a person of status always use their title or position first: including president, director, professor, doctor, Sunbea (senior at school). With permission a younger girl might use the term ‘Uhn-nee’ (meaning older sister) to address a female a few years older than she. A young male could call a female he is comfortable with ‘Noona’ (meaning sister). A female would call an older young male with whom she is close to ‘Oppa’.

Now on to the food! Maangchi’s tuna pancakes are amazing. My kids gobbled them all up. Do not let the word pancake confuse you. Jeon means pancake in Korean but it is basically a tuna cake. Like a crab cake. The onion and sesame oil are what what gives these little cakes flavor. I do not recommend omitting these ingredients as it would drastically change the taste.

Source: Maangchi
(Makes 6 small pancakes)
1 (5 oz) can of tuna
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons canola oil

Strain out the liquid from a can of tuna and place it in a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, sesame oil, and flour to the tuna and mix it well.

Heat oil in up a pan until hot.

Scoop a spoonful of the tuna mixture with a spoon and place it on the heated pan. Press slightly and round the edges with the spoon.

When the bottom is cooked golden brown, turn it over and cook until both sides of the pancakes are golden brown. About 3-5 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and serve with rice.

Sauce: Mix the following ingredients
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
left over onions

** Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or panfry.

– Egg allergies: Egg can be omitted. No substitute needed.
– Gluten free: replace flour with corn flour.

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Halloween Mystery Dinner

– johanna | October 18th, 2011

Filed under: CREATING MEMORIES, RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Beverage, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Treats

Photo: by Bunny Cakes


Slug Butter beer

Black Quagmire Potion


Freshly Picked Graveyard Morsels

Skinned Vampire Fingers

Zombie Brains

Crispy Fried Bat Wings

Main Course:

Roasted Heart of Troll

Ogre Eyeball Sub


Snickers Cheesecake

Fruity Ghosts and Pumpkins

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Barbecue Chicken Pizza

– johanna | January 28th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Sides

When I was little I loved Pizza Hut pizza. The crust was so thick and crunchy on the outside and so soft

and warm on the inside. Each slice had the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. Of course if it was not a special occasion we usually ate homemade or Little Caesars. I remember the first time I had Pizza Hut BBQ pizza was on a trip to Atlanta. The BBQ flavor was short lived. Besides I seemed to have been the only one who favored a non traditional slice of pie.

Source: Stolen Moments Cooking
For the crust:
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning, optional
4 – 4 1/2 cups flour (can use 3 cups white flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

Let yeast and sugar dissolve in warm water in a large mixing bowl for about 5 minutes. Add olive oil, salt and optional Italian seasoning.

Slowly add the flour until completely combined and dough is no longer sticky. Knead for 5 minutes, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Depending on how thin you like your crust, this makes enough for 2 large pizzas plus 2 small pizzas. The extra dough can be frozen.

For the barbecue sauce:
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp each – allspice, crushed red pepper flakes, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder

Add everything to a small bowl and stir until combined. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to blend.

For the toppings:
1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
1/2 pounds bacon, diced and crisped *optional
1 onion, thinly sliced and caramelized (cooked in 2 tsp bacon grease or butter.) *optional
1 cup frozen corn, thawed *optional
2 cup shredded pizza blend cheese

To assemble the pizzas:
Roll out dough into desired sizes on thickness. Place on a baking sheet or stone dusted with cornmeal.

Spread barbecue sauce on top of the crust, leaving about 1/2 inch crust all the way around.

Top with chicken, any other desired toppings and cheese. Bake at 500 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

— Sub flour tortillas or frozen or refrigerated pizza dough for the homemade version.

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Pesto Chicken French Bread Pizza

– johanna | January 28th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Sides

Super Bowl Sunday is set for February 6th. If you are not heading to the Cowboys Stadium then it is time to plan your home turf game menu. This year we’ve got a pizza bar theme. The two contending teams are the Gourmet Pesto Chicken French Bread Pizza and my personal favorite the BBQ chicken pizza.

Source: Stolen Moments Cooking
1/2 – 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper or type of poultry seasoning
2 loaves French bread, halved lengthwise
1 – 1 1/2 cups pesto
2 cups Italian or pizza blend cheese
1 large tomato, sliced

Season chicken breasts to taste. Bake at 350 degrees until fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into thin slices.

Spread pesto on each of the four halves of bread. Evenly layer the chicken pieces on top of the pesto.

Cover completely with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and lightly golden brown.

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Zucchini Patties

– johanna | September 24th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Sides

I love zucchini. I love roasting them, dicing them up in sauces and who cannot resist a tempting loaf of zucchini bread. But, I am bored with this little green courgette. I needed something new to use my last zucchini in. Ironically I was thinking about the fried zucchini my mom and enjoyed once but quickly moved on because I did not want anything fried and now here I am making fried zucchini patties. The daughter loved hers until she found out what was in them. I countered her saying “but you eat them in zucchini bread!” She would not budge. Zucchini Patties or fritters as I call them are really tasty with salsa or Spicy Dipping Sauce. Serve them as an h’orderve or as a side with a salad or grilled fish or chicken.

Source: Allrecipes
2 cups grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, onion, flour, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and salt. Stir well enough to distribute ingredients evenly.

Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.

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Caramel Apple Brickle Dip

– johanna | September 17th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Snacks

Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

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Cheesy Broccoli and Potato Soup

– johanna | November 6th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Soup / Salad

cheesy broccoli and potato soup

A couple of years ago I bought a recipe book for kids. You know the one that shows you how to transform food into edible art? Supposedly kids will gobble down sandwiches in the shape of a caterpillar or a bowl of soup with a roll in the shape of a pig. Maybe my kids are not in the norm. They will go for ants on a log (celery, peanut butter and raisins) but not the vegetable shark.

Tonight an interesting thing happened at dinner. Our oldest decided he was not going to eat the soup because it was green. We tried coming up with a clever title for the soup but he was not buying it.
I reminded him of our rules. You have to take at least one bite of something new. Eventually he survived the agony of slurping one spoonful of green stuff only to declare it “disgusting.” Soon the kids went outside to play while I started to clear the table. I was loading the dishwasher when I noticed Mason hiding by the table dipping a roll into the pot of soup and eating it.

I really enjoyed this version of a potato soup. The soup uses broth in the place of milk resulting in a lovely light yet filling soup. Serve with a nice green salad. Cheesy broccoli potato soup would also pair well with a main course of grilled fish.

Source: Adapted from an unknown magazine clipping
Serves 4 generously
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic broken into pieces
1 medium potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups broccoli, chopped
3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

-If using finely shredded cheese add a heaping cup full.
-Use the whole broccoli crown and stem. Peel the tough outer skin off before chopping.
-Can use broth, stock or bullion.
-If you like a little more texture do not puree the soup too much leaving plenty of bit sized potato pieces.

In a large stockpot, heat oil and saute the onion for 5-7 minutes over low to medium heat. Add potatoes, broccoli and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 12-15 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove the mixture from stove top; allow to cool a bit. Pour into a blender and puree or use a handheld blender mixing right in the pot.

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Halloween Mystery Dinner

– johanna | October 23rd, 2009

Filed under: CREATING MEMORIES, RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Beverage, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Treats

Halloween center piece

It is that time again. It is time for Halloween dinner fun. Here are a few tantalizing ideas for this years Halloween Mystery Dinner Menu.


Boo Beverage

Ghoulish Punch


Worm Pizza

Witch Hat Calzones


Roasted Ghoul Tongue

Barbecue Worm Sandwiches

Brains A La Fiesta

Witches Caldron and Bread Stick Brooms


Graveyard Gravel

Scary Skulls

Kooky Caldron Sundae

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Mini Pigs in a Blanket

– johanna | July 24th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Snacks

mini pigs in a blanket

Talk about blast from the past. I have not eaten a “pig in the blanket” since I was a little girl. The kids were a little skeptical at first, you know the whole something new hurdle. My sister-n-law Roxanne showed us how to make these mini pigs in a blanket.

1 package refrigerated biscuits
1-2 packages hot dogs

Preheat oven to 400. Cut each biscuit and hot dog in half. Wrap the biscuits around each hot dog. Seal the seam and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Or until golden brown.

– Use croissants or bread dough in the place of biscuit dough. We used the temperature and time as indicated on the package.

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