Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Cocoa Pudding

1 toddler + 1 pre-schooler + snow in Alabama = lots of fun and a really tired mommy/aunt! My nephew came to spend the night and we got about 3 inches of snow. The boys had so much fun, but I am worn out! We even made snowcream for breakfast since snow is such a rarity here in the southeast. And after looking around a little online, I discovered that some people put hot cocoa mix in theirs to make it chocolate. We tried it and it was ok, but it just melted SO fast!

I left the hot cocoa mix on the counter and for some reason I got this wild idea to make chocolate pudding with it. I have no idea why. Sometimes I just get a wild hair and want try new things. And I never know how they are going to turn out. Sometimes they completely bomb. This time it was a major hit!!

Keep in mind I really have no idea how to make homemade pudding. I've only ever used the instant kind. And since 2 little boys running around means limited time on the computer, I didn't have time to research it. But I figured I know how to thicken milk with butter and flour, so that's what I did, using the instant hot cocoa mix as flavoring. The finished product:

Hot Cocoa Oreo Pudding
Source: Me

This is not really what I would call a recipe because I didn't measure anything. I made a basic roux (butter and flour), added milk. Let it thicken. Added a pack and a half of hot cocoa mix. Let it thicken some more. Put crushed oreos in the bottom of a glass dish, pour in mixture, top with more crushed oreos. Refrigerate until firm, cold and delightful!

Looking at this picture makes me want to make some more. But I will refrain. I don't even want to know how many calories were in the bowl, but I know it was WAY too many!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lots of Updates

I'm about to have a lot of updates coming your way! I've been cooking, but not blogging; mostly due to my crazy busy schedule lately. I've been taking pictures along the way though, so now I'm going to try and catch up in the next few posts. Make sure you check out the new posts below for some great new recipes!

This post will actually be about dinner tonight. It's hunting season and the hubby harvested 2 deer this year! So it doesn't take a crystal ball to see lots of venison in our future. And turkey season is up next, so hopefully we'll have some wild turkey in a few months!

Venison tenderloin is probably one of my favorite cuts of deer. I haven't always been a big fan of deer meat. It can be pretty gamey and definitely has a distinct smell and taste, but it is super lean and I've found that with the right marinades it is perfect! This year, T got smaller deer, so of course the tenderloin is smaller, but very tender and the perfect amount for our family of 3. I've gone Korean BBQ style and made deer poppers, so this time I decided on a Thai flair for the tenderloin. I was inspired by some fried shrimp with a Thai style sauce that we had over the weekend. It had a distinct peanut butter flavor, which I am not usually a fan of, but it really worked in that sauce. I've based my marinade around that sauce, but mine isn't quite as peanuty.

This time I went ahead and sliced the tenderloin into medallions prior to marinading and grilling the meat. I then marinaded the medallions for about 3 1/2 hours. I also reserved about a tablespoon of the marinade to top the cooked medallions. It was SO good! I will definitely do this again!

Thai Style Venison Medallions
Source: Me

1 venison tenderloin, slightly thawed from frozen and sliced into about 1/2" medallions
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 c soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

Melt the peanut butter slightly in the microwave, about 15 seconds on high. Then whisk in soy sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients except the venison and whisk together. Reserve about a tbsp, or more if you like, to pour over the finished dish. Add the medallions to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but several hours would be better. Grill medallions (I used my cast iron grill pan) until medium doneness. Pour reserved marinade over grilled medallions.

We also had sauteed blue (or purple, whichever you prefer) potatoes with crispy shallots. I bought the blue potatoes just because I'd always wanted to try them and my local Publix had them on sale.

They are very interesting to work with. They basically taste the same, but they get blue everywhere!

For the record, the hubby says they do not taste the same as regular potatoes. He said they were good, but not the same. I think they have a slightly bitter after taste occasionally, but not every time. These were just plain awesome! You can do the same thing with baby red potatoes or fingerling potatoes also.

(Blue)Potatoes with Crispy Shallots
Source: Me

10 small blue potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 large shallot, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat. Throw in the potatoes, toss to cover with oil, then put a lid on it. The steam will help cook the potatoes quicker. Stir occasionally. When the potatoes are slightly fork tender, but still too firm to eat, add the shallots and stir. After the shallots start to crisp up, add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic starts to brown slightly, but make sure it doesn't burn. Burnt garlic is really bitter!

Cheese & Green Onion Drop Biscuits

These were inspired by the cheese biscuits a local restaurant has on their menu. I used the exact same garlic cheese bread recipe from a previous post, click here to get it. I just added green onions, dropped them biscuit style instead of making a loaf, and then topped each biscuit with melted garlic butter. They were a big hit!

Taco Soup

Best comfort soup ever! Also one of the easiest. You could personalize this more with your own blend of taco spices and fresh chopped onions and garlic if you have the time and want to experiment. I went with the straight recipe for the first time. It was great! Of course mine was venison taco soup ;)

Taco Soup
Source: my mom

2 lbs ground chuck, drained (I used ground venison)
2 packets ranch dressing
2 packets taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can RoTel
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans white shoepeg corn
2 soup cans of water (You can use less depending on how thick you like your soup)

Mix all ingredients together. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. I did all this in the crockpot. Even on high for 30 minutes it never boiled, but it still tasted awesome!

My bowl topped with chopped cilantro and cheese:

Green Rice

I got this idea from Rachael Ray, but hers had a lot more green. This is a great side dish for any meal or even by itself if you are going meat-less. Forgive the picture, all I had at the moment was my iphone.

Green Rice
Source: Me, inspired by Racheal Ray

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup of cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Prepare two servings of rice according to the package directions. I like to use jasmin rice, but you can use whatever you like. Set aside to cool. In a large skillet, heat olive and sesame oil over medium high. Add shallot, garlic and jalapeno. Sautee for a minute or so, then add the rice. Toss to coat the rice and let it sit for a few minutes before you toss it again. It should develop a little crunch. After about 10 minutes or less depending on how much rice you have, remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately.