Homemade Butterfingers

Homemade Butterfingers
These are some of the most amazingly delicious homemade candies I’ve ever had. Ever. I am not a huge fan of the traditional Butterfinger candy bars and will never eat another again now that I’ve tasted these. C and a good friend of hers made these and the recipe is theirs. It’s probably best that I still think these are super complicated or else I might only eat Butterfingers for the rest of the time candy corn is available in the stores.

Ingredients:
Equal amount of candy corn and peanut butter (You’ll want to use slightly more candy corn than PB). Get the honey flavored Brach’s candy corn. It’s the best.
1 or 2 packages of Chocolate flavored Almond Bark.

Directions:
Melt candy corn in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir until it’s melted. Stir in peanut butter with melted candy corn. Spread it out on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Try to be even. Refrigerate or freeze it for 10 to 30 minutes. (Longer is better!) Take the baby poop looking cold candy corn/ peanut butter mixture and cut it into squares. Follow package directions to melt Almond Bark and pour it over the cut pieces. You can do this on a new sheet of wax and refrigerate again. Keep the bars cold, trust me, they are better that way. Plus, it keeps the candy corn and peanut better from melting a little and making a mess on your fingers.

My opinion:
Other than what I said above, just take this fair warning: you’ll never want to eat store-bought Butterfingers again. Ever.

Easy Butterfingers

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Homemade Butterfingers
Servings
Servings
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Steak with chimichurri sauce

Steak with chimichurri sauce

We recently had a bunch of cilantro and parsley that needed to get used quickly. Luckily, we found an amazingly delicious and surprisingly easy chimichurri sauce to enhance a skirt steak. (You might notice the meat in the photos isn’t skirt steak, our local grocer had thin New York Strips on super sale, so the second time we made this, we used those. But I promise the recipe works just as well with the skirt steak.)

Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients:
bunch parsley (about 1-2 cups worth)
bunch cilantro (also, about 1-2 cups worth)
olive oil (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, enough to make a paste, not a soup)
lime juice (about 1/4 cup)
garlic, minced (2-3 tablespoons, but we like garlic. If you don’t try 1 tablespoon first)

Directions: Put everything in the food processor and pulse to make a paste, don’t over pulse or you’ll make a soup and that’s not tasty.
chimichurri sauceNow add about half to two-thirds of the chimichurri sauce to a plastic zip top bag. Add your skirt steaks and squish to coat.
chimichurri sauce
Let marinade for a few hours (the longer the better!) in the refrigerator. The day we made this dish was rainy and blustery, so grilling it was out (trust me, it’s best grilled). We ended up broiling it.
Steak with chimichurri sauce

How long will depend on your cut of meat and what temperature you like your meat. To enhance the flavor, we basted the steak with more of the chimichurri sauce about half way through cooking. You’ll want to make sure you have some of the reserve left over to spoon over the finished meat.

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My Opinion:
I love this dish. It’s bright, flavorful and works very well with rice. When we grill the meat, we often add skewers of onions and green peppers and if there’s extra chimichurri sauce, spoon that over the vegetables too.

San Francisco Shrimp

San Francisco Shrimp

We’ve been on a shrimp kick again. Only this time, we’re eating more than just the sriracha shrimp. J bookmarked this recipe on a wonderful recipe finding site, Big Oven. So far almost every thing we’ve made from the site has been delicious. While at first glance this dish may seem time and labor intensive, it isn’t. The key to making it a weeknight meal is to have the ingredients ready to go.

Ingredients:
2 pounds jumbo shrimp shelled
5 stalks scallions finely chopped (more works too!)
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 slices ginger root finely chopped (we grated it, it was easier)
2-3 pods dried red chile peppers crushed (in a pinch you can use red pepper flakes)
Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 Tbsp cooking sherry (this is a bit salty in my opinion, we usually use regular sherry)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (if using cooking sherry, omit this!)
4 tablespoons cooking oil (you might need more or less depending on the oil you use. We found with sesame oil, it absorbs fast, but tastes the best!)
cornstarch about 2/3 of a cup should be enough

Directions:
Put the cornstarch in a zip top gallon sized bag. Dry the shrimp with paper towels and put into the cornstarch bag. Shake. Pour about an inch of cooking oil in the bottom of a wok. Deep fry shrimp in batches until pink and slightly golden. Remove shrimp to a separate plate covered in paper towels. Ladle a bit of oil from the wok to a non-stick skillet. Heat and add scallions, garlic, ginger, and chile pepper mix in the oil until fragrant, about one minute. Pour sauce ingredients into the skillet, stir until bubbly. Return shrimp into the skillet, mix well. Serve over a bed of rice.

My Opinion:
This dish is perfect for a hot summer night. It’s delicious and sweet and spicy and a touch sour. We’ve added a diced onion into the scallion mixture and it was wonderful. We’ve added broccoli into the sauce and it was fantastic. This might just be in my top five favorite meals. So good!

Nordstrom Tomato Soup

Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup

We don’t live anywhere near a Nordstrom’s or the next best place for tomato soup, La Madeline.  So we had to find a way to make it ourselves. Luckily, J found this recipe on Food.com. With a few tweaks, we could be back in San Antonio at La Madeline enjoying this soup by their fire.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, diced
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes (84 ounces total) (diced will work too if you have a hard time finding whole, just make sure they aren’t seasoned!)
1 quart chicken stock (it’s better with stock but broth will work in a pinch)
1 pint heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrot and onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes (including juices!) and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

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Allow the soup to cool somewhat, then purée until smooth in a food processor (Trust me, it’s much easier than in the blender).

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We skip this step because we don’t mind a few chunks, but if a smoother texture is what’ you’re after, strain the purée before returning to the pot.

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Add cream little by little over low heat, stirring gently. Do not boil it! Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.

My opinion:
This makes more than we could ever eat, but it freezes beautifully and reheats wonderfully over the stove or in the crock pot. We’ve made this four or five times and it never disappoints. With a side of grilled cheese this is the perfect comfort food.

Japanese hibachi style fried rice

After a recent trip to our local Hibachi grill, we realized that copying the food at home wouldn’t be that difficult. So after a quick internet search, we found exactly what we were looking for the fried rice recipe.

Ingredients:
4 cups White Rice, short-grained, cooked
1 cup Green Peas
2 tbsp Carrot, shredded (we ended up using about one and a half small carrots)
2 eggs
one Onion, diced
bunch of scallions, diced
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Soy Sauce

Directions.
The Rice: Cook rice according to package directions. Put in bowl and place in refrigerator to cool while getting the rest of the ingredients together. Eggs: Scramble the eggs in a small pan over medium heat. Separate the scrambled chunks of egg into small pea-size bits while cooking. When rice has cooled to near room temperature, add peas, shredded carrot, scrambled egg and diced onion to the bowl. Dump the bowl of rice into the pan with the eggs. Slowly add soy sauce plus a dash of salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Cook rice for 6-8 minutes over heat, stirring often. (We actually only cooked it for about another 5. This will depend on the Wok you are using and how hot your stove top gets.) Serve immediately.

My opinion:
I love this rice. It’s simple and filling enough to eat as a meal by itself.