Spicy Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup

Turned out to be just one of those weekends where things are just not going right. Had to go into the office on Saturday morning for a few hours to make sure things were going well. Unfortunately, I felt a cold coming on the day before and yes, stuffy nose and all, Saturday morning. I hate colds! On top of all that – it’s been raining for 2 days straight!  Now I know that most of you will go “really, rain for two days? What’s the problem?” However, I live in Arizona and this is not common for us; it’s supposed to be my favorite time of year.  Always sunny with temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s.

With the rainy weather and “cold temps” (yea sorry, cold temps for me!), I was in the soup mood and Cavewoman was all for it. Being that I made chicken noodle soup a few weeks back, I decided I wanted something different. I decided to tackle a spicy Udon noodle soup. Traditionally, I am a huge chicken noodle, chicken and dumpling, & chicken pot pie fan – but I wanted to change it up with spicy zesty Asian flavors. That’s where the Udon noodle soup idea came in.

Being that I was a prisoner in my home, (rain and all) I went all out and made my own chicken broth. This really isn’t something I would recommend because nowadays you can buy chicken broth for a lot cheaper than you can make it. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t beat the flavors of homemade but for $10 a bowl, you can make it a lot cheaper with store-bought broth. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, check out my chicken broth recipe; if not, don’t be shy and buy the broth, I have plenty in my cupboard.

For more great recipes and tips go to http://www.cookingwithcaveman.comOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
What you will need:

  • 2 tbsp. bacon fat (or other oil)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 habanero, seeded and chopped (or 1 small jalapeno for less heat)
  • 3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced (1 package)
  • 3 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced (1 package)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast recipe follows
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 (7-ounce package) udon noodles, prepared according to package directionsoyster1[1]
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • 2 baby bells chopped for garnish
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, for garnish (optional, adds a good crunch)

 

Prep

Grab a small stock pot and fill it with about 8 cups of water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Add your chicken breast and bring the water just to a rolling boil. Then you will want to reduce the heat to a simmer and let the chicken cook. It will take about 15 – 20 minutes. Once it’s cooked set the chicken aside and let it cool and then shred it with a fork.

Caveman Tip*** If you boil the chicken it will seize up and get tough. You want to gently boil or simmer the chicken. I also like to add some dried herbs to the water to help add flavor to the chicken. You could also bake it or grill it whatever you want to do.shiitake01[1]

Cook

I like to use the same stock pot as I cooked the chicken in, less dishes to clean. To the pan add the bacon fat or oil and give it a medium heat. Next add the onions, celery, carrots, ginger and garlic to the pan. Cook until the onions become soft, stirring frequently.

Once the onions are soft, add the 8 cups of chicken broth and the diced habanero. Now turn up the heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Let the broth simmer for about ten minutes with the lid off.

Caveman Tip*** By letting the brother simmer with the lid off, it will reduce the liquid slightly and give you a more concentrated flavorful broth. Always taste the broth at multiple times this will give you an idea if it needs more salt or other seasoning. I can’t say this enough; always taste your food as you cook.

While you are finishing you broth get a pan out and cook your noodles as the package describes, don’t forget to salt the water.Shredded Chicken

Caveman Tip*** I like to boil my noodles in a separate pan from the broth that way I can salt the noodles and the starch released from the noodles doesn’t get in my broth.

Once the broth is where you want it add the shredded chicken, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for another 20 minutes with the lid on. This will allow the beautiful flavor of those mushrooms to infiltrate that broth and give it an earthy flavor.

Grab a bowl; place your noodles in center and ladle the broth in. I like to garnish with a little cilantro, bean sprouts and red baby bell peppers.

Enjoy!

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Home Alone BBQ Pork Chop

This week the cavewoman is out of town for work so looks like I am cooking for one this week. Usually this means I tend to be less healthy since I am only cooking for myself but now that the holidays are over we are trying to cut back and drop some of winter weight. With the healthy frame of mind, for tonight at least, I thought about a quick and easy BBQ pork chop dish with a bitter green salad and asparagus. It turned out pretty well the sweetness from the pork balanced well with the bitter greens, and I was able to use pull double duty on the pork marinade as a salad dressing.  For other recipes like this visit www.cookingwithcaveman.com

What you will need: O

  • 2 Center Cut Pork Chops
  • 1 Cup Italian dressing (recipe below or use store bought)
  • 2 Cups BBQ sauce (recipe below or use store bought)
  • Salt and Pepper

Pork Marinade

  • 1 Cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Cup of olive oil
  • ½ tbls. garlic powder
  • ½ tbls. onion powder
  • ½ tbls. honey or white sugar
  • 1 tbls. dried oregano
  • ½ tbls. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoons salt

Quick BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchupBraungerPorkChops1[1]
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbls. Molasses
  • 1 tbls. Yellow mustard
  • 1 tbls. Chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbls. Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)

 

Prep

BBQ Sauce: Combine all the ingredients into a small sauce pan and heat on low for 5-10 minutes until the ingredients are well blended. Let it cool until you are ready to use.

Pork Marinade (Italian Dressing): Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Use half for the marinade and reserve the other half for the salad by covering well and storing in the fridge.

Caveman Tip*** `While you are prepping dinner and getting things ready or just puttering around the house doing chores just drop the pork in a zip lock back with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to cook, I like to let it go 45 to 60 minutes

Preheat your grill: First make sure you clean the grates and then oil so that the chops will not stick. Turn your grill up to full temp, close the lid and let it get hot for about 10 minutes.O

While your grill is getting hot pull the pork out of the marinade and pat it dry. Now liberally coat it with the BBQ sauce and let it sit until your grill is ready.

When you grill is good and hot, the temp gage should read 700 degrees or better, place your pork on the grill directly over the heat source. Close the lid and let the pork site for 2 minutes and then turn them 90 degrees and close the lid again. This should leave those great grill marks you are looking for. After 2 more minutes flip the chops over close the lid and let them sit on the grill for 2 minutes. After the two minutes is up rotate them 90 degrees and close the lid. You will want them to sit another (you guessed it) 2 minutes.

At this point you will want to temp your chops depending on the thickness they may be done. You are looking for 145 degrees. If they are ready pull them and let them rest, if not put them on the top rack and turn your burners to low. You will continue to cook until you reach 145 degrees, it should not take long.

Let the chops rest for 5 minutes or so and serve them with your favorite sides. I just so happened to make a bitter salad and asparagus.

Enjoy!

7 Layer Dip

I remember this one from my childhood. Mom used to make something similar for parties and get-togethers. It has a great layer of flavors and can be put together with pantry ingredients or you can go wild and make items from scratch. Either way this one is always a favorite among family and friends. I ended up making this dish the same day I made my Mexican pizzas because they share a lot of ingredients and I was able to cut down on a lot of waste.  

What you will need: 7 Layer Dip

  • 1 Can refried Bean (I like to caveman them up a little)
  • 10oz Sour Cream Dressing (See below)
  • 15oz Can Black Beans (rinsed well)
  • 2 tbsp. Taco Seasoning (can use packaged or see my recipe included with my Mexican Pizza)
  • 7oz Guacamole (I prefer Wholly Guacamole if store bought)
  • 5oz Can Green Chili’s diced
  • 2 Cups Salsa
  • 8oz Shredded Cheese (I prefer the 4 cheese Mexican blend)
  • 2 Cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato Chopped
  • Hot Sauce
  • 1 Red Onion Chopped
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Olives
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced Thin (optional)

 Prep

Refried Beans: I like to caveman up the beans a little, it’s just how I prefer them. In a small pan at low heat add your refried beans, 10oz can Rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 1 tbsp. cumin and 2 baby bell peppers chopped. Simmer under low heat until warm and then pull them off the heat and let them rest covered until you are ready to use them.

Sour Cream Mixture: Add 2 tbsp. of the taco seasoning and the diced green chili to the 10oz tub of sour cream and mix well. Store it in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Assembly

Start with a 9” x 9” shallow baking dish.

 **Caveman Tip: I tend to be a little heavy handed with the ingredients and make my layers a bit too thick. If you do that you will run out of room for ingredients when you get to the end. So keep the layers thin.

Using a flexible spatula add a thin layer of the following ingredients in order.

  • Refried Beans
  • 1/3 of the shredded cheeseO
  • Sour cream mixtures
  • Black beans
  • The next layer is the difficult one; carefully add a layer of the guacamole over the black beans. If it’s too hard to work with try thinning it out with a little salsa.
  • Salsa
  • 1/3 of the shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Garnish with red onion, black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and remaining cheese.

Now you will just need to cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for an hour or two until you are ready to eat.

Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza

Playoff Pizza – Mexican Style

This last weekend was a tough one for the Cavewoman; her beloved Colts lost their playoff game. So to perk up her spirits I made her favorite foods, Mexican and Taco Bell. First off will be the Mexican Pizza, which I have to say, one off my favorites as well. Check out the 7 layer dip I will be posting tomorrow…it’s not too shabby either.

What you will need: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ of 1red onion chopped (I reserved the other half to top the pizza with) 4 tbsp.
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe to follow, or use package)
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese 8 (12″) Thin Flour Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced (optional)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans (Caveman Version)
  • 1 Cup Salsa or taco sauce.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives

Taco SeasoningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

 Prep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Caveman Tip*** I make the taco meat and beans early in the day, and then store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. This way I don’t have to rush to put them together and it gives the mixtures time to marry together for better flavor. Then when I am ready just reheat it quickly on the stove.

In a heavy bottom skillet under medium heat, drizzle EVOO and add the onions. You will want to sauté them till soft and then turn it up to medium high and add the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat & reduce to medium low heat. Add the taco seasoning to the meat in the pan along with a splash of chicken or beef stock. (2 tbsp. or so) You will want to simmer on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.

Place the refried beans in a separate pan and heat to medium low.

Caveman Tip*** I use refried beans a lot, in either dishes and just don’t have the time to make them from scratch but I do like to doctor them up a bit. Sauté a 1/3 cup onion (I use a lot of onions so I always have some in the fridge half used from earlier that day or the day before) 2-3 baby bell peppers until soft. Add your beans small can 10 oz. rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 2 tbsp. cumin and heat under medium low.

Take your flour tortillas and lightly coat with EVOO then place on a backing sheet and put in the oven. After a few minutes I like to turn the heat up to broil to really crisp up those shells, but be careful they will burn quickly.

Assembly

Take your tortilla and apply a thin layer of beans on it, then add a thin layer of ground meat and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. Next, add your second tortilla to the top and then put a thin layer of salsa on it followed by a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Cook.

Put the pizza in the oven, middle rack at 400 degrees until all the cheese is melted, it will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pizza and your oven. Once all the cheese is melted remove it from the oven and finish the assembly.

 Final Assembly

Top the melted cheese with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and jalapenos and olives.  Don’t forget your sour cream!

This will definitely be on the repeat list.

Fettuccini Alfredo

Allright folks, this one is a classic and one of my alltime favorites. Alfredo sauce is a very quck and easy recipe to add to your rotation and there are many options that can be added with it. Once you make this I honestly doubt you will ever by store bought alfedo sauce again. For more recipes like this visit www.cookingwithcaveman.com

What you will need:Fettuccini Alfredo

1 pound fettuccini noodles

2 cloves of garlic mashed then minced

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 package of diced pancetta

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1 pint heavy cream

1 bunch fresh parsley

 Pancetta

Prep

In a small skillet under medium low heat, render down the fat of the diced pancetta. Once it’s rendered down remove it from the heat and place them on a paper towel to dry.

Caveman Tip*** To make sure you don’t burn it, slowly cook it under medium low heat until most of the fat is rendered off the meat. This usually takes about 10 minutes of so.

Prep

At this point, get out a pot to boil your noodles and just start bringing the water to a medium high heat.Pancetta 2

Caveman Tip*** I like to get the water warming up while I am prepping, this way when I am ready to add the noodles I can just turn up the heat to high and get the noodles in. Then I don’t have to wait for the water to get up to temp, just to get from warm to boil.

Caveman Tip*** Always salt you water when boiling any noodles, it adds great flavor to the noodle. (Taste the water as it gets warm and you should be able to taste the salt.) General rule of thumb is 1 tbsp. per quart of water.

Cook

In a large skillet melt your stick of butter along with the garlic. Do this under low heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes. This allows the butter and garlic to blend. Now you will want to add the pint of heavy cream and bring it up to medium heat. At this point add a little pepper to the mixture if you like, but do not add salt as the parmesan will add all salt flavoring you need. Once the liquid is up to temp, slowly start whisking in both cheeses, about a ½ cup at a time.

Caveman Tip*** This would be a great time to start you noodles.Alfedo Sauce

Once all the cheeses are integrated into the sauce turn the heat down to low and just simmer. Hopefully at this time your noodles are just about al-dente (soft but with a little firmness to them still) If so, quickly drain your noodles (do not rinse) and then add them to the Alfredo sauce. Turn the heat up to medium low, so they can finish cooking in the sauce; this way they absorb some of the great flavor you created.

Caveman Tip***The sauce will be a little thin while hot but will thicken once it starts to cool, I prefer the thinner sauce as to not overpower everything.

At this point you are ready to go, just plate the Fettuccini and top with the pancetta and sprinkles of parsley. I chose to serve with my blackened chicken and an arugula side salad with a lemon parmesan dressing.

Fettuccini Dinner