An easy, hearty and comforting recipe to make right in your slow cooker with just 15 minutes of preparation time.
One fresh produce that I have learnt to enjoy after living in Houston for almost 9 years now is collard greens. A staple vegetable in Southern U.S. cuisine, it is often prepared with other similar green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens, spinach, kale and turnip greens in a dish called mixed greens. And it is usually seasoned with smoked and salted meats, which reminds me so much of a traditional Asian dish (Hakka, to be specific), Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens (Mui Choy Kau Yoke).
Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens is not an easy dish to prepare as it is pretty time consuming and I have not been able to find preserved mustard greens here yet. But when I made these Slow Cooked Sausages, Greens and Beans, not only was it quick and easy to prepare, it reminded me so much of that traditional Hakka dish. Moreover, it could be prepared with simple and basic ingredients that are readily available. So, if you enjoy a savory and hearty dish that is easy to make and clean up, this recipe is for you!
Slow Cooked Sausages, Greens and Beans
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from Kaylyn's Kitchen
10 Fresh Bratwurst Sausages
8 oz Shredded Collard Greens (I used the packaged ones from HEB, so convenient)
1 19 oz can White Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1. Place 10 bratwurst sausages on a baking pan and broil on high on the 2nd top rack of the the oven for 10 minutes or until browned. Turn the sausages over once and broil further for another 5 minutes or until browned.
2. Place 8 oz shredded collard greens and 1 19 oz can white cannellini beans in a slow cooker and season with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper powder.
3. Place sausages on top of the greens and beans. Pour in 1 cup chicken stock and the juice from the baking tray.
4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Makes 5 servings
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies, a simple melt-in-your-mouth buttery classic that is dipped in chocolate and sprinkles.
One of the fun things that I often do whenever I bake Pineapple Tarts, especially during Chinese New Year, is to make these super easy Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies with the extra pastry. They are so simple and easy to make on its own too. And it can be a fun family activity for the kids, with them helping you dip the cookies into chocolate and sprinkles.
The shortbread cookie is not too sweet and hence, goes perfectly well with the pineapple jam in the Pineapple Tart recipe, and in this case, the sweet melted chocolate and sprinkles. You may also sprinkle them with colored sugar while they are cooling too.
We made these heart shaped ones with pink and red sprinkles for Valentine's Day last month. But you can pretty much cut the cookies out into any shape and use any color sprinkles to match the occasion. You can have clover leaf shaped with green sprinkles for St. Patrick's Day or egg shaped with pastel pink, blue and yellow for Easter, just to name a few.
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
5 cups All Purpose Flour
4 tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
8 tbsp Powdered Sugar
2 cups Butter (4 sticks)
4 egg Yolks
Dark Melting Wafers (I used Ghirardelli Chocolate)
Colored Sugar or Sprinkles.
1. Sieve flour and cornstarch into a large mixing bowl. Cut cold butter sticks into small cubes and place them into the flour.
2. Using your finger tips only, rub the cold butter cubes into the flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add in salt, powdered sugar, egg yolks and mix until a soft dough is formed. The dough should not stick to your hands. More butter may be added if it is too dry.
4. Roll out the dough till it is about 1/2 inch thick and use your choice of cookie cutter to cut out the dough and place onto a baking tray.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 min.
6. Place wafers in a top pan of a double boiler over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth and melted. Do not allow water to boil.
7. Once cookies are baked and cooled, dip them into the melted chocolate and sprinkles. Place on parchment line tray to allow them to set.
Makes approx. 100 pieces (depending on size of cookie cutter)
A simplified, quick and easy version of the famous braised soy chicken that earned a Michelin-star in Singapore.
Wow! What a month February has been and now we're in March! I cannot believe how quickly we are approaching the end of the first quarter of the year already. But first, a deep breath after the whirlwind of the last 2 months.
My family who visited from Singapore left mid of January along with Kian jetting off to London and Singapore for work for more than 2 weeks. That left me caring for the kids and household all by myself. Shortly after he returned, I plunged straight into preparing for Chinese New Year. We did all that while still maintaining after school activities. To add on to our busy schedules, Bella is also in a competitive team for the Destination Imagination Tournament that has been working on and practicing their challenges since October. With the upcoming competition this weekend, they have been practicing more frequently this couple of weeks. She is really excited about it.
With such an active schedule, one tray bake meals are my go to for dinners. They are quick and easy to prepare, I can set them on the oven timer and have a hot, delicious meal ready for when my hungry and tired family get home after a long day.
I derived this Soy Chicken and Chinese 5-Spice Vegetable one tray bake recipe from a popular Singapore hawker food, Soy Chicken. It is usually served with rice or noodles. One Singapore hawker even earned a Michelin-star with this dish. Read more about it here. With this one tray bake recipe, a few simple ingredients are tossed with seasoning and then baked on a tray.
Soy Chicken and Chinese 5-Spice Vegetables
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
4 to 5 lbs Chicken Thighs (about 8 pieces)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
Dash of White Pepper Powder
1 lb Brussel Sprouts (washed and cut into halves)
5 Carrots (cut diagonally)
1 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice Powder
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Marinate chicken thighs with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sesame oil and a dash of white pepper powder. Set aside.
3. Toss brussel sprouts and carrots with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder. Mix well to evenly coat and place them onto a baking tray.
4. Place marinated chicken thighs onto tray as well.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F on the middle rack for 30 minutes.
6. Broil on medium for 10 minutes on the 2nd top rack to brown the chicken before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Here are five of my must have foods for Chinese New Year, one of the most important holiday that we celebrate.
Happy Lunar New Year! May the Year of the Dog bring you Prosperity, Good Luck and Good Fortune! Last Friday marked the first day of Chinese New Year or what is also known as the Lunar New Year. Celebrations traditionally start from the evening preceding the first day (Reunion Dinner), to the Lantern Festival which is the 15th day of the first lunar calendar month. My family is Hokkien and so, we know the last day of Chinese New Year as "Chup Gor Meh", which literally means the 15th night of Chinese New Year. We are on the 7th day today and only halfway through Chinese New Year so there is still lots more to celebrate. You can click here to read about how we, in Singapore and various SEA countries, celebrate the 15 days of Chinese New Year.
During the festivities, people in Singapore will prepare many different foods and snacks for families and friends. As these Chinese New Year goodies are not readily available here, I spend the week before the first day of Chinese New Year every year preparing them at home. My kitchen was filled with such wonderful aromas, we definitely felt a little of the Chinese New Year atmosphere even though we are so far away from Singapore.
Every year, I'd also host a Chinese New Year dinner for our close family friends. We are so blessed to them all of them in our lives and they are amazing friends who became our chosen family. And we look forward to our reunion this weekend to celebrate life and friendship. Stay tuned to my Facebook and Instagram stories for the festivities of the day!
With that, it has become a tradition for me to serve the following 5 must-have foods along with our hot pot dinner every year. Click on the image for the respective recipes.
A simple and easy-to-make dinner with just a handful of fresh ingredients.
It has been two and a half weeks since Kian has been away, traveling for work. And he is finally coming home tomorrow! The kids and I are excited to have him home and join us at the dinner table again. Dinners are always a special time for us, even on week nights when it seems like there is a ton of chores to complete.
We'd play music on the background at dinner time, eat and talk about our day. And I'd always attempt to make a nice dinner too. With the right recipes and tools, dinners can be simple & uncomplicated to make and yet still tasty and special.
This Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken is the perfect dinner for our family. And I hope it will be for your family too. Bella and Jamie absolutely enjoyed the chicken. To be compliant with a low carb diet, I prepared a side of oven roasted broccoli and some Flourless Almond Butter Bread. Using only 4 basic ingredients (salt and pepper not included), and a slow cooker, I was able to prepare the meal in less than 10 minutes, turn on the slow cooker and dinner is sorted. With that taken care of, I could take Bella to her Kids' Yoga class and with Jamie playing at the gym's Child Center, I was even able to squeeze in a short workout myself.
When we got home, I simply popped the chicken in the oven and broiled it for a few minutes (because we like it that way, this step is optional if you do not have time for it) and there you have it, it is time to gather around the dinner table and share our stories of the day.
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from Life Tastes Good
4 lbs Chicken Drumsticks
2 Small Limes
1/4 cup Cilantro (chopped)
4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1. Mix the juice of 2 small limes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper powder in a small bowl.
2. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large zip lock bag and add in the cilantro lim marinade. Close the bag and mix the bag of chicken around, ensuring that the marinade coats all of the chicken drumsticks evenly. Set aside or refrigerate if using later.
3. Place marinated chicken in the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.
4. Once cooked, place chicken drumsticks on a baking tray and boil on the second highest rack on medium for 10 minutes, turn over and broil for another 10 minutes or until it is golden brown.
5. Serve with the sauce from the slow cooker, if desired.
Makes 4 servings
An easy to make, perfectly delicious and oh so comforting soup recipe with an Asian twist.
This week is the second week since Kian had been away traveling for work. And we have another week to go before he comes home. Friends have been really sweet, checking in on us and asking if I am managing well alone with the kids. Honestly, it has not been that bad. With a little bit of planning ahead, I have been managing really well. Getting the kids to school on time, to their after school activities & birthday parties and of course, making dinners.
I have said it many times before that the slow cooker is one of my favorite equipment in the house. And this week, it has proven to be really helpful with my dinners. Earlier this week, I decided to make chicken noodle soup for the kids. It is easy to make, it is tasty and my kids love chicken noodle soup. I had to be a little bit creative with the ingredients because while Bella and Jamie do eat their vegetables, it is only these few vegetables that they'll eat; broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach and some other leafy vegetables that are stir fried.
So, I made the chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker and gave it a slight Asian twist. I had my bowl without the noodles but with some lentils instead for a low carb version. Making a large batch also meant school lunches were sorted for the next day and I even had some leftover for myself.
Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
2 1/2 lb Boneless & Skinless Chicken Thighs (cut into 1" cubes)
6 Carrots (cut diagonally)
2 oz Ginger (skinned and sliced)
1 Onion (cut into wedges)
4 to 6 oz Spinach
2 Qt. Chicken Stock
2 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp Goji Berries
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
Extra Wide Egg Noodles or Lentils (for a low carb version)
1. Place cut chicken thighs in the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add in cut carrots, onions, sliced ginger and 2 bay leaves. Pour in 2 Qt chicken stock, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
3. Cook the egg noodles or lentils according to instructions. Set aside for later use.
4. Before serving, add spinach into the slow cooker and allow it to blanch cook in the hot broth.
5. Add in goji berries and season with 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp light soy sauce. Stir well.
6. Serve hot with egg noodles or lentils.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
A lovely combination of scallops and bacon on skewers, perfect as a hand held bite or as a dinner party appetizer.
I love scallops! And I love bacon too. So, the combination of these two ingredients is definitely a match made in heaven, in my opinion. The smokey flavor of bacon complements and enhances the sweetness of scallops when paired with it. Drizzled with a fermented black bean aioli, it adds a layer of complex flavor and a delicious boost of umami.
Fermented black beans, also known as salted or dried black beans, are made from soy beans that have been dried and fermented with salt and some other spices such as chillies, garlic, ginger etc. They can be easily found in Asian supermarkets and are sold in jars. If you do not live near an Asian supermarket, black bean sauce is often available at the international or Asian foods aisle. And you can substitute the fermented black beans with the sauce instead. One of my favorite brands that I often use is "Lee Kum Kee". And they can be found in my local HEB store.
Scallop Satays with Bacon and Black Bean Aioli
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from "Simply Ming In Your Kitchen" Cook Book
15 Large Whole Scallops
4 slices Bacon
3 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 1/2 tsp Fermented Black Beans (chopped)
1 bunch Scallions or Spring Onions (thinly sliced and divided)
1 Egg Yolk
1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
5 8" Skewers
1. Soak skewers in water for at least an hour. Pat dry with paper towel.
2. Skewer 3 scallops and place them toward the top of each skewer. Refrigerate them if not using them immediately.
3. Bake bacon slices in 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, until they are crispy. Drain off fat and pat dry with a paper towel. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Set aside for later use.
4. In a pan, heat up 1 tsp of the bacon fat from the baking tray. Add in chopped garlic, black beans and 3/4 portion of the chopped scallions. Sauté for about a minute, until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper and set aside for later use.
5. Prepare the aioli by placing 1 egg yolk, 1 1/2 tsp mustard and 1/2 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until an emulsion forms. Transfer into a bowl and mix in chopped fermented black beans. Add in 1 tbsp lemon juice and stir well.
6. Heat 1 1/2 tsp olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season skewered scallops with salt and pepper. Pan fry the scallops for about 30 seconds each side, until they are golden brown and just cooked through.
7. Drizzle the black bean aioli over the scallop skewers and garnish with chopped bacon and remaining scallions.
Makes 5 Skewers
A healthy, quick and easy one tray bake that is perfect for your week night meals.
Here is a fantastic recipe that is not only healthy & delicious but also so quick & easy to prepare. And the best part about it is that cleaning up after would be breeze! Just your baking tray, cutting board and knife. Have I got your attention yet? And I believe this recipe (that is gluten-free & dairy-free) is Whole30 and SCD (Slow Carb Diet) compliant too.
As much as I love to cook, I often feel bad that I am spending my time in the kitchen preparing dinners when the kids are home from school. Sometimes, all they want is for me to play a board game with them or just make slime!
With this one tray bake recipe, I spend about 15 to 20 minutes before the kids get home from school to cut up the meat and vegetables, marinate them real quick and then onto the baking tray they go. And because I can get lose track of time easily, I pop the tray into the oven and set it on a timer for it to be cooked by dinner time. The kids and I get to spend time together and dinner is ready on time! I even have plenty left for the entire family's lunch the next day.
Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables One Tray Bake
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from The Real Food Dietitians
2 to 2 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast (boneless and skinless)
1 lb Broccoli Florets
3 Carrots (cut diagonally)
8 oz Mushrooms (sliced thickly)
1 Red Onion (finely diced)
8 oz Cherry Tomatoes
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1 1/3 oz Fresh Basil (I used 2 packets of HEB Organics that is 2/3 oz per packet) (chopped and divided)
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
2. Tenderize chicken breast by placing them between plastic wrap and pounding it gently with the flat size of the meat tenderizer hammer.
3. Cut each tenderized chicken breast into 3 to 4 pieces and place them into a ziplock bag.
4, In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, 3/4 portion of the chopped basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper to make the marinade.
5. Use 1/3 cup of the marinade to marinate the chicken pieces in the ziplock bag.
6. Place broccoli florets, cut carrots, sliced mushrooms and diced red onion onto the baking tray. Pour the remaining marinade over the vegetables and toss to coat.
7. Placed marinated chicken pieces on top of the vegetables on the tray. Bake on 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.
8. After 15 minutes, add cherry tomatoes and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
9. Garnish with remaining chopped basil and freshly cracked black pepper.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Curry Puff Pastries, a scrumptious and flaky variation of the traditional Singapore Curry Puff that is wrapped in puff pastry instead.
In a blink of an eye, here we are with a week of the New Year gone already. 1 week down and 51 more weeks to go. It may seem like a long time to go but time always seem to just fly by when you're not paying attention.
I have kept myself busy by spending time with family who is visiting from Singapore, hosting parties and keeping up with our annual family traditions. And before I knew it, we were sprinting toward Christmas, Bella's birthday (which falls on December 27) and the New Year. While I took a month off from my blog, I never took a break from the kitchen. I was constantly making dinners for a household of 8 people or preparing dishes for a party.
On the topic of parties, for Bella's 9th birthday party, she wanted it to be "Harry Potter" themed. I had so much fun preparing and cooking for it. And I was so glad that my family is visiting. They helped out so much! We created letters from Hogwarts as invitations, hung battery operated candles with fishing line over my kitchen island to recreate the Great Hall, made Polyjuice Potion Slime and even made a Dementor pinata. The house was decorated with "wanted" posters of Sirius Black and Moaning Myrtle made a couple of appearances in some of our mirrors.
The refreshments had to be in theme too. I found non-alcoholic Butter Beer from my local grocery store and served it with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. A little too sweet for my liking but I think the kids had a blast! We even printed paper wings and stuck them onto Ferraro Rocher chocolates to make them look like "Golden Snitches". But the highlight had to be the Curry Puff Pastries that we named "House Elf Curry Puff Pastries" for the party. Inspired by Harry Potter's Pumpkin Pasties, I tweaked my traditional Singapore Curry Puffs recipe and made them with store bought frozen puff pastries instead. In fact, some bakeries in Singapore make them this way too. These flaky and crispy curry puff pastries were absolutely delightful and were flying off the platter at the party. A perfect finger food for any occasion really.
Curry Puff Pastries
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
5 tbsp Cooking Oil
1 Medium Red Onion (diced finely)
3 tsp Garam Marsala Powder
4 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 cup Chicken Breast Meat (diced 3/8")
2 large Potatoes (skinned, boiled and diced 3/8")
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
3 boxes Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets (6 sheets)
1 egg (beaten)
1. Prepare the filling first. Heat oil and stir fry onions on medium heat until golden brown.
2. Add in 3 tsp garam marsala powder, 4 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder and continue to stir fry gently.
3. Add in 1 cup diced chicken and stir fry until chicken is cooked. Add in potatoes, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt and mix well. Set aside to cool.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Remove pastry sheets from the box & packages and allow them to thaw for up to 40 minutes, until it is soft and does not crack or break when unfolding. The pastry sheet should still be cold.
6. Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares. Place 2 to 3 tbsp of curry filling in the middle of the pastry and fold it over into triangles, sealing the edges with water. Use a fork to create a crimping pattern on the edges and brush the beaten egg over the top.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown at 400 degrees F.
Makes 24 pieces.
Curried Pumpkin Soup, a creamy and yet light soup that makes a great appetizer and a perfect start to an chilly winter's meal.
Curried Pumpkin Soup, a combination of flavor that marries the complex essence of South Asian spices with one of the most popular winter squash. This creamy and yet light soup is perfect as an appetizer or as a meal on it own when coupled with some warm bread
After a cold, winter-like weekend that we just had in Houston, this steaming bowl of Curried Pumpkin Soup will help you stay warm and cozy during the winter months. While the temperatures now are a range of between 40 to 60 degrees, that is pretty typical weather for -mid-winter in Houston. A tasty bowl of soup to warm your body and soothe your soul is always welcomed.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, inspired by Epicurious
2 Medium Onions
2 cloves Garlic
1 oz Ginger
2 tbsp Butter
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Mild Curry Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
2 15 oz Canned Solid Packed Pumpkin
5 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1. Using a food processor, minced the onions, garlic and ginger.
2. Heat up a cast iron pot or heavy bottom pot and add in butter. Once the butter has melted, add in minced onions, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for a few minutes until it is fragrant.
3. Add in 1 1/2 tsp salt, 3 tsp mild curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala and mix well.
4. Stir in pumpkin, chicken stock, coconut milk and red pepper flakes (optional). Bring it to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minute or until the soup has reduced to the thickness of choice.
5. Puree the soup with a hand held blender. Season with salt and pepper, if required and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Makes 10 servings
A Singaporean SAHM living in Houston, Texas. Discovering her potential in the kitchen with authentic Singaporean Cuisine. And exploring the dynamic food scene Houston has to offer.