Beef and Peas Rice Bowls

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A very easy and quick dish that’s going to satisfy your hunger after a busy day at work or if you have a little time to prepare your food. 

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I don’t know why sitting all day at work, doing almost nothing, still makes you feel tired. I haven’t planned what I have to cook after work, so my meals were mostly leftovers from the weekend. I am not complaining, but sometimes you crave for something. Think a delicious baked pasta or a warm brownies!

My new colleague asked me “Juju, are you okay? It seems like you are thinking about something very deeply.” I said “When I have this face on, I am thinking of what to cook or what to eat.” She was like “Seriously? If I have that face on, I must be thinking of my house rent and other bills to pay.” I told her “Well, I worry about that, too. But thinking about food makes me happier than thinking about bills or rents to pay.” And she willingly agreed. Yes? Yes!

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Being busy at work the whole day and having little time to prepare your meals, easy and quick dishes like this Beef and Peas Rice Bowls are very helpful and filling. I think I overdid the addition of green peas, but overall, the dish was delicious! It is totally a quick fix for some HANGRY fellas.

The dish was great! I had it for lunch and brought some as well for my lunch at work. I had to make adjustments to the source recipe as some of the ingredients were not available in my pantry, so I used what I had. I am glad that this still turned out lovely!

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Now, I am taking this easy, but delicious meal to this week’s Fiesta Friday #160. Of course, this amazing party is not possible without the lovely Angie. Thanks as well to our co-hosts this week, Anugya and Margy.

Beef and Peas Rice Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 400 g ground beef
  • 2 tbsp onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ chicken cube (or 1 beef cube) dissolved in ¾ warm water
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • Cooked white rice, to serve

Instructions:

  1. In a wok or deep skillet with high heat, add cooking oil.
  2. Add in garlic and onion. Cook until onion is translucent.
  3. Add ground beef until no longer pink, making sure to break up any large pieces.
  4. Add rice vinegar and chicken (or beef) stock.
  5. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add in oyster sauce, soy sauce, ground black pepper and sesame oil (if using).
  7. Put a lid on and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add in green peas and let cook for about a minute.
  9. Add in cornstarch slurry, while stirring constantly.
  10. Cook until the sauce has thicken or has reached your desired consistency.
  11. Place your cooked white rice in a bowl and top with cooked beef.

Notes:

Instead of dissolving chicken/beef cubes, you can use store-bought or homemade stock – the taste will be way better, I am sure. But I didn’t have it in my kitchen.

If you like this dish sweet, you can add little honey or brown sugar until desired taste is achieved. You can also add any spicy stuff like cayenne or chili flakes.  

If you prefer removing the peas, you can also do that. I love the texture, so I kept them in the recipe. You may also use spring onions.

I wish you all a relaxing and fantastic weekend! Happy Fiesta Friday!

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Silvanas

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Cookie sandwich fully coated and filled with buttercream, then coated again with nut-biscuit crumbs. A frozen treat that so sinful, you’ll find yourself asking for more. 

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So imagine a meringue cookie sandwich with buttercream filling and coating, then again coated with nut-biscuit crumbs…

I know, I know! It’s sinful, yeah?

I’ve heard rumors about this frozen dessert, but I was afraid to make my own to the painful fact that I always burn meringue cookies. I found out that a new found friend was selling these cookies, so I purchased some. Considering that I LOVE meringue, there was no question asked – I instantly loved it and promised myself that I will also make my own.

So… tadaaaaa!

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This is so heavenly – the buttercream filling and coating with the melt in your mouth meringue cookies – PERFECT! I just had to keep myself away from the fridge so I don’t finish all in one sitting. 😛

Be happy that I didn’t finish everything so I could bring some to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #159 where Zeba and I are co-hosting. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to link up! 😉

Happy Fiesta Friday! 

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Silvanas

Ingredients:

For the meringue cookies:

  • 2 ¼ cups cashew nuts
  • 6 egg large whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½  cup white sugar

For the buttercream:

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾  cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk (I used fresh milk)

For the crumb coating:

  • ½ cup ground Marie biscuits
  • Reserved grounded cashew nuts from making the meringue cookies

Instructions:

To make the meringue cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, place cups of cashew nuts. Pulse until finely grounded. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat until frothy. Gradually add white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold 1 ¾ cup of the grounded cashew nuts. Reserve the remaining.
  5. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and pipe mixture on the baking sheets forming an oval shape.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the meringue cookies has turned lovely golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Once completely cooled, gently lift the meringue cookies from the baking sheet. Make sure not to stack them as they will stick. Set aside while making the buttercream.

To make the buttercream:

  1. In a bowl, add softened butter. Beat until creamy.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  3. Lastly, gradually add the milk. (If you think the milk is not enough, you can add little by little.)

To assemble the Silvanas:

  1. In a bowl, mix the remaining ground cashew nuts and Marie biscuits.
  2. Take 1 meringue cookie. With the flat side facing outside, spread buttercream on the other side. Place another meringue cookie on top of the buttercream (again, with the flat facing outside), making them look like a sandwich.
  3. Cover all sides with buttercream and coat the wafers with the crumb coating.
  4. Do the same with the others.
  5. Chill in the fridge or freeze before serving.

Source recipe: Silvanas by My Style Recipe

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Steak with Gochujang Sauce

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Marinated steak with sweet, spicy and tangy gochujang sauce. Perfectly paired with corn on the cob and white rice. 

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Steak…

It’s one of the things I am afraid to cook. I am very impatient and I can’t help myself not to check the bottom side if it’s cooked or not. That’s also one of the reasons why I HATE FRYING. I think the only thing I can wait until it’s perfectly done is sunny side up egg. 😀

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Since the day I decided that my gochujang need to be used, I searched for recipes and one of the recipes I found was this one. Unfortunately, I don’t use mirin and sake, so made adjustments. I told the butcher that I want beef for my steak and he gave me the chuck part. Since it was my first time cooking a steak, instead of medium, I got well done. Oh, well… I might be better next time.

Overall, this steak with the gochujang sauce was incredible – sweet, spicy, tangy. I was also craving for corn that time so I paired it with corn on the cob and of course, a cup of white rice. They were perfect all together!

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Now, I am off to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #158 to share this lovely stuff! Thanks to Ai and Petra for co-hosting this week’s amazing party. And of course, a huge thanks to Angie, too. Happy Fiesta Friday, beautiful people!

Steak with Gochujang Sauce

Ingredients

  • 600g beef chuck, sliced into 3/4 thickness
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, sliced
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 150ml rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp white sugar
  • ½  cup gochujang
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Spring onions (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, all ingredients except beef, spring onions and cornstarch. (You can do a taste test if you want and adjust accordingly.)
  2. Place beef in a ziplock bag or container. Pour some of the marinade enough to coat the beef. Keep in the fridge at least two hours or overnight. Reserve the remaining marinade and keep in the fridge.
  3. When ready to grill: take out the beef from the fridge and bring to room temperature.
  4. Using a pan, electric grill or over a charcoal, grill until desired doneness, basting both sides with the remaining marinade. (See this video on how to know the doneness of your beef)
  5. Remove steak from the grill and transfer to a plate. Let the steak rest at least 5 minutes before cutting.
  6. While waiting the steak to rest, place the remaining marinade to a small sauce pan and add about ½ tbsp cornstarch and simmer until a bit thick.
  7. Pour the sauce over the steak. Serve and enjoy!

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Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!

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Sriracha Ramen Noodle Soup

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Have an instant filling meal with this quick and easy to make spicy ramen noodle soup. 

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Another answer to a craving.

I think that’s always the start of my food posts, eh?

So I’ve been into Korean drama recently and I always see ramen in most of the episodes. Whenever I see the characters eating ramen, my craving becomes stronger and stronger. Well, you know how naughty I am when it comes to my eating habits… and I confess that I always keep instant/cup noodles with me. You know, anytime arrive at home starving, I can eat something. Instant fried noodles or noodle soup – I always have them. Don’t judge. 😀

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While watching one of the Korean drama (it’s romantic, comedy, drama, action, actually) episodes, I suddenly remembered that I made stir-fried ramen noodles that I haven’t posted here. I even cannot remember the ingredients I used. To satisfy the craving, I went to my long lost friend, Pinterest, and searched for a ramen noodle soup. The first thing that made my tummy rumbled was this 20-Minute Spicy Sriracha Ramen Noodle Soup. I instantly made this with no hesitation.

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I really loved how this turned out – spicy, delicious and filling. The process of making this – easy peasy. The poached egg just made my cooking life miserable. 😀 I think I took longer time in poaching eggs than making the ramen itself. Haha! I added squid balls because I love them in my soup, but that is completely optional.

I am taking this delicious soup to Fiesta Friday #157 to warm your cold days or to make your warm days warmer. 😛 This week’s FF party is co-hosted by Su and Andrea. Of course, thanks to you, Angie.

Sriracha Ramen Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe and firm tomato, chopped
  • ½ tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 300 ml water
  • 700 ml vegetable broth (or 700 ml water + 1 ½ veggie cube)
  • 10 squid balls (optional)
  • ½ tbps soy sauce
  • 2 packages ramen noodles (seasoning packet discarded)
  • Spring onions, sliced
  • Coriander, roughly chopped
  • Salt, or to taste
  • Poached eggs (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a pot with medium heat, add cooking oil.
  2. Add in onion, tomato, ginger and garlic. Cook until soft.
  3. Add in garlic powder and sriracha. Cook for a minute.
  4. Turn of the heat and add in 300 ml water. Place the mixture to a blender and pulse until smooth.
  5. Put back the mixture to the pot and turn on the heat.
  6. Add the broth, soy sauce, squid balls (if using) and simmer for 8 minutes. By this time, you may do a taste test and adjust accordingly.
  7. Add ramen noodles and simmer until the noodles are cooked.
  8. Turn off the heat and transfer the soup into bowls and garnish with sliced spring onion and cilantro. You can also top with poached eggs or soft boiled eggs.
  9. Serve and enjoy immediately! 😉

Source recipe: 20-Minute Spicy Sriracha Ramen Noodle Soup

Notes: 

This can be served in two large bowls or three medium bowls. 

You can start with 1 tbsp sriracha and when you do a test taste, you can add more if desired.

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Have a fantastic weekend and happy Fiesta Friday! 😉

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Chicken Spinach Flatbread Wraps with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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Grilled chicken and grilled pineapple salsa wrapped in homemade spinach flatbread, drizzled with (another) homemade healthy ranch dressing – delicious, healthy and refreshing

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My brain has been so full of leafy greens and pineapple that my naughty buddies (a.k.a. rice, pasta and sorts…) were a bit upset saying that I don’t think about them that much. I could see leafy greens on the one side and pineapple on the other, not knowing if they would ever want to be BFFs. I told them they should help me and I was happy that they did. I caught them arguing few times that they can be together as one, but not to the point of being healthy. Oh, I almost forgot that this is a healthy recipe challenge with pineapple and leafy greens to go with it.

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I wasn’t exactly sure if I can pass the ‘healthy test’, but when Angie told me that when there are greens and pineapples, it’s healthy. 😛 So maybe I can get a passing grade for my homework… Maybe… 😀

I’ve thought of salad and smoothies, but I want to challenge myself more (hey, it’s fun!) so the last thing that came to mind is something sandwich. The best option I had in mind was to make my own spinach tortillas that later became spinach flatbread.

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So… there came chicken and grilled pineapple salsa wrapped in spinach flatbread… and let us not forget to drizzle with homemade ranch dressing! The chicken wrap was so filling and refreshing at the same time… and healthier. It was really good not feeling that guilt after eating these wraps. And oh, did I say “after eating these wraps”? It was a mistake; I ate only one. I hope you believe me this time. 😀 I should have put more grilled pineapple salsa, but overall, the taste was really good!

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This Fiesta Friday Healthy Recipe Challenge is so much fun. It indeed made me get out from my comfort zone and made something healthy and new. And I am glad that I almost everything is homemade – from the flatbread to salsa up to the dressing. I feel great! Thank you, Angie!

Now, let me share with you the recipe of this delicious wrap. I did post individual recipe for the fillings, but I will also share them below.

Chicken Spinach Flatbread Wraps with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Spinach flatbread, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought
  • Grilled pineapple salsa (recipe below)
  • Homemade healthy ranch dressing (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish
For the grilled chicken, you can use your own grilled chicken recipe or try this All-Purpose Grilled Chicken.
For the spinach flatbreads:
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (all-purpose or whole wheat; I used AP flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2-3 tbsp water for the dough
  • water for simmering the spinach
 Instructions:
  1. In a pan, add water. Place over a stove on medium heat. When the bubbles appear at the edges, add the 1 1/2 cup of spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Using a strainer, drain water from the spinach and run under a very cold water.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree the spinach. You may need to add little water in this step. I did pureed mine using a mortar and pestle because my blender was acting up.
  4. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and vegetable oil.
  5. Add in spinach puree and mix until crumbly.
  6. Add in 2-3 tbsp (or more) water until the dough comes together.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  8. In a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough and divide into three.
  9. Flatten each to 7-8 inches disk.
  10. In a non stick skillet with high heat, cook the flatten dough until brown spots appear. Flip and cook the other side.
  11. Repeat until all is cooked.
  12. Transfer to a lint-free towel and keep in an air-tight container until ready to use.

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For the grilled pineapple salsa:

Ingredients:
  • 6 slices of fresh pineapples
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced vertically into 4
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup ripe and firm tomatoes, diced
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
 Instructions:
  1. Place bell peppers and onion in skewers.
  2. Grill 4 slices of pineapples along with the bell peppers and onions until edges turn brown.
  3. While waiting for the veggies to be done from grilling, prepare your cucumber and tomatoes and place them in a bowl.
  4. After grilling, let cool a bit and chop the grilled veggies and add them to the bowl of cucumber and tomatoes. Add squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley and cilantro (if using).
  5. Chill before serving.

To assemble:

  1. Cut up your chicken. Chunks or vertically sliced is fine.
  2. Place your flatbread on a surface. Fill with grilled chicken. Top with grilled pineapple salsa.
  3. Optional: drizzle with homemade ranch dressing and fresh parsley.
  4. Wrap and enjoy your meal. 😉

Notes:

This can be topped with less salt and less fat white cheese, too. Oh, I could imagine how good it could be! 

The bread can be folded into two and press using a double/press grill pan. 

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Spinach Flatbreads

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Sneak leafy greens into your kid’s sandwiches by making this Spinach Flatbread – it’s easy and it’s good for them and us, too. 

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When someone says leafy greens, the first thing comes to mind is spinach. I think that would prove that my favorite leafy green is spinach. I used to put spinach in vegetable soups/stews, but when told by friends that spinach is good for anemia, I started consuming spinach like Popeye. Since then, I could eat spinach in any form… even in the form of flatbread.

Well, I was really aiming for tortillas since I really wanted to make my own. Somehow and by accident, these came out as flatbreads. At first I was a little disappointed, but when I saw the dough cooking beautifully, I felt nothing but happiness. I also love the spinach specks – how gorgeous!

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I was a little nervous at first knowing that this has no yeast and was doubtful that the baking powder alone will do its thing and will make this bread pliable. The secret? You just have to believe. 😀

What do think my friends at Fiesta Friday # 155? Will you say something about my Spinach Flatbread? 😀

Spinach Flatbread

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (all-purpose or whole wheat; I used AP flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2-3 tbsp water for the dough
  • water for simmering the spinach
 Instructions:
  1. In a pan, add water. Place over a stove on medium heat. When the bubbles appear at the edges, add the 1 1/2 cup of spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Using a strainer, drain water from the spinach and run under a very cold water.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree the spinach. You may need to add little water in this step. I did pureed mine using a mortar and pestle because my blender was acting up.
  4. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and vegetable oil.
  5. Add in spinach puree and mix until crumbly.
  6. Add in 2-3 tbsp (or more) water until the dough comes together.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  8. In a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough and divide into three.
  9. Flatten each to 7-8 inches disk.
  10. In a non stick skillet with high heat, cook the flatten dough until brown spots appear. Flip and cook the other side.
  11. Repeat until all is cooked.

Notes:

This recipe made only 3 8 inches flatbreads, but can be doubled, tripled…

These flatbreads are good for wraps or can be paired with dips or dressings. 😉 

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Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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Sweet, smoky and tropical pineapple salsa – the grilled ‘effect’ will make you eat the whole thing. Perfect as side dish, sandwich/wrap filling or with salad 

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So Fiesta Friday Healthy Recipe Challenge started kicking in. When Angie revealed the rules and the recipe should have pineapples in it, I still didn’t know what to do. It took a while until grilled pineapple salsa came to mind. The only thing left? Leafy greens. Hmm…

Before I finally proceed with my Fiesta Friday Healthy Challenge entry, let me just talk about this grilled pineapple salsa…

I love fruit-based salsa/salad and mango is my favorite. Since this challenge requires pineapple, I’d say bye bye for a while to my favorite fruit. I knew fresh pineapples aren’t that sweet like the one in can if you pick a good fruit. How to pick? Don’t ask me – ask the store fruit ninja (a.k.a. the ones who is in-charge with fruits at your local grocery store).

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I was planning to “coat” this with sugar syrup, but that’s a big No, No for now… In my experience in grilling the pineapples, the tang disappears, but dries out a little. I did mix 4 slices of grilled pineapple with the non-grilled ones and it came out perfect. I grilled this in a pan, but if you char-grill the pineapples and the veggies, it will give you a deliciously smoky flavor. If you are not a fan like me, you can also check out this post for the trick on how to get the smoky effect. I also grilled red bell peppers and onions to come along with the salsa. Added some cucumber, tomatoes and squeeze of lemon juice… and I got amazing salsa! 😉

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Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
  • 6 slices of fresh pineapples
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced vertically into 4
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup ripe and firm tomatoes, diced
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
 Instructions:
  1. Place bell peppers and onion in skewers.
  2. Grill 4 slices of pineapples along with the bell peppers and onions until edges turn brown.
  3. While waiting for the veggies to be done from grilling, prepare your cucumber and tomatoes and place them in a bowl.
  4. After grilling, let cool a bit and chop the grilled veggies and add them to the bowl of cucumber and tomatoes. Add squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley and cilantro (if using).
  5. Chill before serving.

Notes:

This can be served as a filling for sandwiches, wraps or can be added to a salad. This can also be used as a side dish or can be eaten with tortillas, flat breads or crackers. 

I served this as a filling and as a “dip” / side dish to my Spinach Flatbread. Heading over to Fiesta Friday # 155 to bring this delicious salsa.

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Cream Cheese Frosted Gingersnap Brownies

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Fudgy brownies with gingersnap crust and cream cheese frosting! Heaven in every bite!  

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I’ve been craving for something chocolate for some time now. And when I say something chocolate, I mean something with rich chocolate frosting, filling or anything that is super rich in chocolate. I knew what I want from the start, but I keep on buying something with chocolate trying to convince myself that they could satisfy my craving… or let’s just say that’s an excuse (which is very obvious) so I can try something else before I finally admit that what I really crave is brownies. But still, I want something else with brownies. Think! Think! Think! Then there’s my cousin:

Cousin: Hey, aren’t you going to eat your gingersnaps? The texture might be bad now, you know. 

Me: Uh, I am gonna use that for something else (trying to sound convincing, though I really don’t know what else to do with gingersnaps-turned-soft cookies).

Cousin: What are you going to do?

Me: Something. (I want to tell my cousin to trust me, but I realized I cannot even trust my words. Ha!) 

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Then I thought of using the gingersnaps with the brownies. Maybe mix with the batter? Hmm, nope! A crust would be perfect so wouldn’t call this “find the gingersnap brownies” And a naughty frosting would be amazing! 😀 You get the idea? Fudgy brownies with gingersnap crust and cream cheese frosting! I used a chocolate with 70% cocoa so this would not come super sweet. I also placed the brownies inside the fridge before eating them – they came out absolutely fantastic!

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I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious bars as I bring them to this week’s Fiesta Friday #154. And I will be off to fill my head with some leafy greens and pineapple for the challenge. Don’t forget that the link for FF #154 is different from the Fiesta Friday Healthy Recipe Challenge – don’t be confused adding your link to the challenge when it’s meant to be for FF # 154.

And now, for the recipe:

Cream Cheese Frosted Gingersnap Brownies

Ingredients:

For the gingersnap crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the brownies:

  • 5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 g 70% cocoa chocolate, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp of warm water
  • 1 tsp of instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 200g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Gingersnap crumbs (optional)

Instructions:

You can make the frosting first by just mixing the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. You can add less sugar then do a taste test and adjust accordingly.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 8×8 baking pan and place parchment paper or aluminum foil with hanging on the sides so it can be removed/lifted easier later on.
  2. In a bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Pour it evenly on the prepared pan and gently press them to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes while making your brownie batter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix warm water and espresso powder. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract and water-espresso mixture. Beat until all combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix again.
  6. Add the dry ingredients mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  7. Pour the batter evenly over the baked gingersnap crust and bake for about 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with crumbs, but not wet batter. (Check your brownies at 35 minutes of baking)
  8. Let it stay in the pan for about 20 minutes. Lift the foil/parchment paper and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. 
  9. Cut the brownies into bars.
  10. Frost the brownies with cream cheese and top with more gingersnap crumbs.

Notes: 

To make gingersnap crumbs, place them in a food processor and pulse until finely crushed.

Bittersweet chocolate an be used instead of 70% cocoa.

Ovens differ from each other, so see what works on you. It takes about 15 minutes for my oven to reach 350 F (depending on how much heat it has). I used an oven with the fire from the bottom only so I always rotate the pan in the middle of baking. 

Best eaten after storing in the fridge. 

Have a sweet day, people! Always smile! 😉

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Cheese Manakish

Middle Eastern flat bread topped with beautiful Kashkaval cheese and/or mozzarella, browned to perfection. 

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I am very friendly and I’ve made friends recently. Well, they’re long time friends, but I didn’t know that they’ve been there the whole time… and when I say ‘there‘, I mean in my brain.

So you know that movie Inside Out? I have some sort of friends inside my brain but they look like more of a food – uh… like pasta, rice, bread, cheese. Yes, I know, because I’ve met them.

So few weeks ago, I’ve been in a pizza kick lately… like I’ve been making pizza for the 2 consecutive weekends and eat 6 slices of them in one sitting. Please, don’t look at me like that! I am still your friend, right? Anyway, let’s not discuss what happened inside my brain during the food war because it was very chaotic. To make the story short, Manakish won on the third weekend.

I’ve been meaning to make Manakish since forever, but I cannot figure out the right cheese the bakery usually uses as a topping whenever I get one. One day, I got a Kashkaval cheese from an amazing friend – kept it inside the fridge for a while until finally decided to use it. I wanted to top it on the pizza, but when I tasted the cheese it was like ‘Aha! This is the cheese the bakery usually uses for Manakish! I need to make one very soon!’ And I said it out loud like it was an emergency.

Excuse me pizza, please make a way for cheese manakish!

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I used Kashkaval cheese alone in some and some, I mixed with mozarella. I love the one with Kashkaval cheese alone – it was closer to the manakish I usually get from the bakery. Oh, it was so simple, yet so good! The recipe below makes about 8 x 4 inches round of manakish. Now, do not ask me how many I’ve eaten. I am not telling you this time. 😛

Now, let me bring these at this week’s Fiesta Friday # 153 with our co-hosts, Quinn and Monika. I am happy to be a part of first FF for 2017. Thanks, Angie!

Cheese Manakish

  • Servings: 8 x 4 inches round
  • Difficulty: easy, needs practice
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or any flavorless oil)

(You’ll also need additional flour for your work surface.)

For the toppings:

  • 1 cup of grated Kashkaval cheese; or
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella + 1 tbsp olive oil + pinch of salt

(You can also combine both cheeses (1 cup of grated Kashkaval cheese + ½ cup grated mozzarella, discard oil & salt when you want to combine them.)

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, mix the dough until you get all the flour from the bowl.
  3. Transfer the dough in a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. This may take about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover using a plastic wrap or lint free towel. Keep it in a warm place and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds.
  6. By this time, you may need to preheat your oven at 375 F. My oven needs about 15 minutes before it reaches 375 F, so I turn it on when I am about prepare for the final steps.
  7. Divide the dough into eight. Flatten them thinly into about .5 cm or less than. (Optional: You can pinch the edges of the dough as Manakish usually has pinched edges. Most of the Manakish I see are pinched-free so I did not bother… or let’s simply put it this way: I completely forgot to pinch the sides. Haha!) Place them in a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  8. Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until the bottom turns lovely brown. Take the baking sheet out and flip the dough. Now, the bottom is now on top. Place your toppings and put the baking sheet inside the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has beautifully melted.
  9. Optional: Turn off the oven and turn on the broil (grill). Place the Manakish under the broil and broil until the cheese turns lovely golden brown.
  10. Enjoy your Manakish warm. They can be kept in the fridge for later consumption and can be reheated beautifully in a microwave.

Notes:

  • The kneading process can be completely done in your stand mixer or even in a food processor. When kneading in a food processor, place the dry ingredients first. While the motor is running, gradually add warm water and olive oil. Turn off the food processor once the dough has turned into a ball. You can now continue with the rest of the steps.
  • In my oven, the heat does not circulate that much like in the fan oven. So I have to flip the dough so I will have browned bottom and tops, then turn on the broil later for the toppings to brown, too. You can place your toppings the first time when you place the dough inside the oven. I did flip my dough because I like browned top and bottom – that flipping gives me the texture I love. Do whatever works better for you.
  • You can also use your pizza dough recipe or you can get the dough from the store.
  • This is just like as if you are making pizza minus the pizza sauce.

I hope you’ll love the recipe!

Always smile and enjoy your weekend! Happy Fiesta Friday! 😉

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