Kobayashi Maru (aka Yakisoba)

A couple weeks ago, Jayme asked me to help him look up a recipe. Now I happen to remember exactly how many times this sort of thing has happened because it’s NEVER!! “So, when I was in the Army,” he begins, “they used to serve this stuff in the mess hall. I don’t know what it was called but it was like spaghetti with no sauce.” Ummm, okay. Help me out Google!
So I type “Army Sauceless Spaghetti” in the Google box and up pops a page worth of items. The very first one looks to be some sort of discussion board and it says, “When I was in the Army they used to serve this stuff in the mess hall that was like spaghetti with no sauce…” So I guess my hubby isn’t the only fan of this mystery dish. Anyway, I click on it and someone has answered the guy. According to them the dish is called Yakisoba and it’s a Japanese style dish. When I said the word Yakisoba, Jayme said, “YES! THAT’S IT!!”
So I look around some more and find that there is a basic recipe that you can adapt to your tastes and preferences. I even found the actual Army mess hall recipe that feeds 600 people but I figure I need to try a smaller version first. I bought all the ingredients and added it to the menu. But when I went to write it on our menu, I couldn’t remember what it was called. I knew it was a Japanese word and for some reason all I could think of was “Kobayashi Maru”. Now before any Trekkies track me down and hurt me, I want to make clear that I knew it WASN’T Kobayashi Maru and I really do know what the Kobayashi Maru is. For whatever reason, though, it pops into my head every time I think of the dish name so for our family, this meal is called Kobayashi Maru!

The Ingredients

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 can water chestnuts
2 Tbsp oil
Soy sauce (to taste)
½ pound cooked, drained spaghetti

Since I am using a very lean hamburger meat I did not cook it separately and drain it. If you are using meat that cooks up with a lot of grease you will want to drain it before adding it to the rest of the dish. That being said, first I started the oil in a large skillet. I added the garlic and let it cook for a minute then added the carrot, let that cook some, then added the green pepper, and a minute or two later, the onion and water chestnut.

After the vegetables are softened to your personal liking, add the meat and cook until browned.

When meat is browned, add the cooked noodles and stir-fry it all together for a few minutes. This is also when I added the soy sauce. My husband isn’t a huge soy sauce fan so I went light with it.

This meal turned out wonderfully! We were all very pleased with it. In my humble opinion, the water chestnut is a MUST. That crunch is awesome. I can definitely see this as something you can customize to the extent that you never make it the same way twice. You could make it with shrimp or pork (***UPDATE*** I just made a similar dish with a teriyaki seasoned pork loin that I sliced into rounds and pan fried. Very tasty!) or chicken too. Have fun with it; add your own twist with some ginger or flavored oil or hot Asian spices. I think next time I will look around for some real Japanese noodles, or lo mein type noodles. Maybe add some snow peas or bamboo shoots or bean sprouts or…..


My First KitchenAid Bread

About a week ago, I finally bought myself a shiny red KitchenAid mixer. They happened to be on sale at Target for $50 off and when combined with our 10% discount it was a deal too good to pass up. Today I finally got some time to make something with it. I had a bread mix and decided to dive right in!
The mix was pretty simple. The yeast was included. All I had to add was a little butter to cut in and the water to mix in with the yeast. I attached the dough hook to my mixer and turned it on.
Look at it go!!
After the kneading portion was done, the bread needed to rise. It was a chilly day here so I followed a recommended hint and turned my oven on to 400 degrees for one minute, then shut it off. I set the bowl of bread dough in the oven to rise for about an hour.
Grow my beauty!
Once it had doubled in size I put it on my counter that was floured with a little of the dry bread mix. Following another hint in the mixer booklet, I made a rectangle out of the dough and then rolled it into the loaf shape. Plop that into a greased loaf pan and let it rise until just above the top of the pan.
After it rose this second time, I baked it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until it was golden brown. The bread turned out really tasty but there isn't enough of it left for a picture. I guess I'll have to make some more, huh?


Slow Cooker Sliced Pork Roast (Pulled Pork)

This recipe was for sliced BBQ pork sandwiches but we skipped the BBq sauce and the sandwich portion. It was very flavorful and moist and my kids INHALED it!!
The Ingredients:

1 pork roast (3 to 4 pounds)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 can French Onion soup (if using a condensed soup you will need to add the required liquid)

Place roast in slow cooker. Mix together salt, pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle mixture and garlic over roast.

Add carrot. Pour soup on top.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high on 4 hours or until pork is cooked through but fork-tender. Slice thinly and serve. Or shred it up with two forks into "pulled pork" for sandwiches.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Crescents

I made these as our dessert for Valentine's Day and I could have sworn I blogged them! Sorry about that; better late than never! I am fairly certain I found this recipe on the Pillsbury website.
The Ingredients:
1 can crescent rolls
2 packages (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips-semisweet
1/4 cup caramel topping

Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles. Press one rectangle in bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Press perforations to seal.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Add egg. Beat on low speed just until mixed.

Fold in chocolate chips.
Slip your sous chef any extras

Spread over crust. Top with remaining rectangle of dough. Press edges to seal.

Drizzle with caramel.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool one hour on cooling rack. Cut into bars. Dive in!

Store leftovers in the fridge. They are even better the next day so be sure not to eat them all :)


Irish Soda Bread

Last year just before St. Patrick's Day I found this recipe on another blog. It fit all my criteria for trying it out (easy, not too many ingredients, nothing weird or hard to find here in the sticks, taste described as "giant biscuit) so we had it with our St. Patrick's Day dinner last year. Then it languished, forsaken and unremembered until this St. Patrick's Day. It's still yummy though! And easy! And there aren't too many ingredients! You get the idea!
The Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp white sugar

Sift together all dry ingredients.

Make a well in the center.

Add butter and buttermilk.

Mix together quickly. Knead for about a minute. Use the spoons you were born with!

Shape into a round cake. Put on a floured sheetpan and carve a cross in the top.

Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

Cut into wedges and enjoy. It doesn't "need" butter but butter never hurts! We actually had ours with gravy and it was fantabulous!


Is this thing on?

Hello, there! Remember me? I used to cook here from time to time...I know, I know, it's been a coon's age but I promise we are all still healthy and alive and no tragedies have befallen us that would make a valid excuse for my long absence from the food blog. I've posted a few things to the family blog though; that has to count for something! Anything? I can see you are not in the most forgiving of moods right now so I will just keep rambling on until you forgive me or laugh becuase we all know you can't laugh when you're mad!
Let's see...How about if I tell you some of the things we have eaten lately? Would that be cool?
Monday we had Tuna Patties
Tuesday we had Beef Taco Skillet
Wenesday we had breakfast for dinner with some of our lovely yard eggs.
Tonight we will celebrate St. Patrick's Day by having Cheesy Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread.
Last week was Spring Break and we went on a monster trip all over the Texas Hill Country. We ate mostly camping food but there was one dinner at some friends when we ate this:
AND!! We got some meat from a cow that Mom and Daddy had butchered. What deliciousness! So, here is my usual promise: This weekend I am going to scour my cookbooks and look for new things to make and share with you. Part of the problem is that I have started making so many new things that we love that I don't look for new stuff any more. I need to just try for one new thing a week or something like that. ANyhoo, the first will have to be the Irish Soda Bread I am making today because I thought I had blogged it but I haven't. In the meantime you can click here to get it from the blog I got it from. Easy and delish, I promise.