Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PF Chang's Mongolian Beef

PF Chang's takes me straight back to my early 20's. It was always a popular place for girl's nights and first dates. Besides the lettuce wraps, I almost always ordered the Mongolian Beef. It's great served over rice or rice noodles!

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths

1. Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat.
2. Don't get the oil too hot.
3. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.
4. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
5. Remove it from the heat.
6. Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4" thick bite-size slices (Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts).
7. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef.
8. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
9. As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil).
10. Heat the oil over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking.
11. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges.
12. You don't need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later.
13. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.
14. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.
15. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute.
16. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions.
17. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate.
18. Leave the excess sauce behind in the pan.

Rotini with Sausage and Asparagus (By The Big Cheese)

Oh Olive Garden...how I love thee! There's not a ton of my favorite ingredient (cheese!), but this still rocks my world. Enjoy!

1/2 lb Italian sausage, sweet or hot, casing removed

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb asparagus, fresh

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 lb rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 Tbsp butter

Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

HEAT oil in non-stick sauté pan. Add sausage. While sausage is cooking, break up with spoon. When sausage is completely cooked, drain fat.

CUT bottom 2” off asparagus stems (the inedible part), then cut remaining stem into 1” pieces. Boil asparagus until tender in a separate pan. Drain and allow to cool. Remove tips from asparagus and set tips aside.

COMBINE asparagus and heavy cream. Simmer 10-12 minutes over medium heat.
ADD hot, drained pasta to asparagus cream sauce. Add parmesan and butter. Add cooked sausage and sauté until simmering. Salt and pepper to taste.

TRANSFER to large platter. Garnish with asparagus tips and serve.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Panera Mac 'n Cheese (from Dessert Diva)

Greetings, Diva fans! I've been on a bit of a bloggy break for quite some time, but I'm back and ready to give you an awesome recipe! Our theme for this month is "Restaurant Copycats." I went back and forth several times on which recipe to go with, but ultimately, I chose a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers and one of the very few chain restaurants we frequent in my family. Panera's Mac 'n Cheese is delish! Hope you give this recipe a try and love it!

Here's the link to the recipe over at Annie's Eats!