Friday, March 30, 2012

Caramel Custard

Caramel Custard or Flan
This is the easiest method I know for making caramel custard, also known as flan in Spanish or crème brûlèe in French. The texture of this pudding is firm and smooth and it tastes heavenly! 

The ramekins filled with custard should be placed in a bain marie (ban-mah-REE). This is a fancy term for a hot water bath used in cooking delicate foods like custards, cheesecakes or terrines. The hot water creates a gentle and uniform heat around the ramekins. Find a baking dish with high sides that will hold the six ramekins. A roasting pan or casserole dish works well. First pre-heat the oven, heat 1½ cups of water, pull out one of the oven racks and place the pan on the rack. Pour hot water into the pan, carefully arrange the ramekins in the pan, making sure the water comes only half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Gently push the oven rack back in place, shut the oven door and the puddings are now ready to be baked.

After baking, remove the ramekins from the bain marie and wipe off the water from the bottom and sides of the ramekins. It is best to chill this pudding in the refrigerator overnight but if there's not enough time, allow to chill for at least 3 hours.  

   ½ cup sugar
   ½ cup water
   4 eggs
   1 (14 oz.) can Carnation Evaporated Milk
   1 (10 oz.) can Eagle Condensed Milk
   1 (8 oz.) cup fat-free ½ & ½ or milk
   1 tsp. Vanilla extract
   Raisins (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. in a small saucepan, simmer sugar & water until caramelized.
  3. Divide caramel between 6 ramekins and set aside to cool.
  4. Beat eggs and combine with remaining custard ingredients.
  5. Stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth & pour into six prepared ramekins.
  6. Prepare roasting pan as outlined above and place ramekins in it.
  7. Bake at  300°F for an hour until set and center jiggles slightly.
  8. Refrigerate overnight and invert onto dessert plates to serve.
Notes: To darken color of caramel, add 1 tsp. instant coffee to caramel ingredients before simmering.

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Rasgollah Payesh or Rasmalai

This Bengali dessert is delicious and requires only 3 ingredients!  It is made with cheese dumplings that are soaked overnight in sweet cream.

Rasgollah Payesh

1 can Haldiram rasgollahs (15 or more per can)
2 cups whole milk
1 pkg. Gits Kulfi mix

  1. Remove rasgollahs from can, squeezing out all syrup.  Discard syrup.
  2. Place rasgollahs in a serving dish.
  3. Bring milk to a boil.
  4. Add Kulfi mix, stir until dissolved  and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour milk over rasgollahs in serving dish and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Savoury Bread Pudding

Savoury Bread Pudding

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes

Pam non-stick cooking spray
4 eggs
½ tsp. salt 
¼ tsp. pepper 
2 cups cubed day-old bread
6 broccoli florets, blanched & chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
6 stalks cilantro, chopped
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. grated cheese

1.Preheat oven to 375°F and spray baking dish with Pam.
2.In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt.
3.In prepared pan, layer ingredients as follows:
   a.1 cup cubed bread, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   b.Broccoli, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   c.Half the onion, tomatoes, pepper & cilantro
   d.Remaining cubed bread, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   e.Remaining onion, tomatoes and pepper
4.Pour beaten eggs over the top, making sure bread cubes are submerged.
5.Pour melted butter over top & set aside for 15 minutes.
6.Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes, turn the pan & bake another 15 minutes.
7.Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
8.Let stand 5 minutes before serving to allow cheese to melt.

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Vermicelli Upma

Vermicelli Upma

1 cup vermicelli (semia)
3+1 Tbsps. extra-light olive oil
¼ tsp. fenugreek seeds (methi)
¼ tsp. black mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
5-6 curry leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. ginger paste or 1” ginger, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 pkg. Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables for soup
2 cups hot water
½ tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ghee

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in pan over high heat, brown vermicelli and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining oil over high heat.
  3. Fry fenugreek and mustard seeds, bay leaf and curry leaves until the seeds begin to sputter.
  4. Add onions, jalapeno and ginger paste and fry till onions turn translucent.
  5. Add frozen vegetables and stir well.
  6. Add browned vermicelli, stir until combined with vegetables.
  7. Add hot water and sugar to contents in pan, adjust salt to taste and cook until water evaporates.
  8. Garnish with cilantro, dot with ghee and serve.

Chili Jam

Chilli Jam

Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr 0 min
Cook: 1 hr 0 min
Yield: 4 (14-oz.) jars
Level: Easy

Add as much red hot chilies as you can handle. I used more bell peppers because my family can't stand too much heat. 

15-20 red hot chili peppers, halved and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups sugar (or to taste)

  1. In a saucepan, combine chili peppers, red bell peppers, and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have softened.
  3. Drain and transfer peppers to a blender, puree and strain through a sieve to remove skin.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, add pepper puree and sugar.
  5. Stir until sugar has dissolved and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat when the mixture reaches a jam consistency.
  7. Allow to cool and transfer into jars.
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Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep: None
Cook: 2 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy


20 frozen Armor meatballs
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can Campbell's Tomato Soup
1 (6 oz.) can Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. McCormick's Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 servings angel hair pasta

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except pasta.
  3. Bring meatballs and sauce to a boil; cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Serve pasta with meatballs and sauce.
  5. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Notes:  For a great meatball recipe visit  Also includes recipes for Chicken and Pork meatballs.

Chilli Chicken

Chili Chicken 

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep: 10 minutes                                   
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy


1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp. Kraft Ginger Sesame Marinade*
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 jalapeno peppers, cut in rounds (or more to taste)
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1/2 pkg. sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper, sliced
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions for garnish
Salt to taste

  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
  2. Marinate chicken in ginger sesame marinade and sesame oil for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat vegetable oil over high heat and stir fry jalapeno peppers until they soften slightly.  Set aside.
  4. In same oil, fry onion and garlic until translucent.
  5. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink.
  6. Add mushrooms and green peppers and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  7. Add sweet chili sauce and reserved jalapeno peppers.
  8. Adjust salt to taste and continue stir-frying for 2 minutes.
  9. Garnish with green onions, cut into inch-long pieces.
  10. Serve over steamed white rice.
* To make your own Sesame Ginger Marinade, combine 2 Tbsp. soya sauce, 1 tsp. dark sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, 1 tsp. ginger paste, 1/2 tsp. garlic paste, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. corn starch.

Quick & Easy Fried Rice With Bacon And Peas

Fried Rice with Bacon & Peas
Left over white/steamed rice, unless cooked at home, usually turns hard and inedible the next day.  I usually freeze the left over rice in Ziploc bags until I'm ready to turn it into fried rice.


2 cups cold cooked white rice (preferably short-grain sticky rice)
1 Tbsp. dark roasted sesame oil
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
4-5 slices bacon
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large egg, beaten with salt & pepper
1 cup peas
2-3 stalks green onion, chopped

  1. Remove all lumps from the rice with your fingers.
  2. Pour sesame oil and soy sauces on rice and mix until rice is coated well.  Set aside. 
  3. Fry bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon, crumble and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, heat vegetable oil and saute onion and garlic until translucent.
  5. Add rice and crumbled bacon to pan and toss.
  6. Make a well in the center of the rice and melt butter in well.
  7. Add beaten egg.  When it begins to set, combine it with the rice.
  8. Stir frozen peas into rice and garnish with green onions.
  9. Serve immediately.