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Sticky Sesame Chicken Legs or Wings

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Last month I defrosted a ginormous tray of frozen chicken legs and then had no idea what to do with it.  Usually I’m really independent when it comes to choosing the recipes I make (Pinterest is usually my favorite way to decide), but this time I sought help on Facebook, asking for ideas.  Being connected to many fabulous cooks, I got many, and I chose this one because I had every ingredient and making them wouldn’t require an extra trip to the store. Score!

The recipe is actually meant for chicken wings but it works great on legs (and would also work great on any other part of the chicken, for that matter).  I mean what part of chicken doesn’t taste great with some sticky-smoky-salty-sweet glaze on it, right?  So good!  And for those not firing up their ovens in the heat of summer, I really think these could be done on the grill, but I think you’d have to grill them naked and then brush the sauce on near the end of the cooking time so that it wouldn’t burn up.  If you try it with success, please let me know!

Sticky Sesame Chicken Legs or Wings

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 large garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne
3 lb chicken legs, wingettes or chicken wings*
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 scallion (green part only), finely chopped

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large shallow baking pan (17 by 12 inches) with foil and lightly oil foil.

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt using a large heavy knife. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and stir in soy sauce, hoisin, honey, oil, and cayenne. Add wingettes to sauce, stirring to coat.

Arrange legs or wingettes in 1 layer in baking pan and roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes (the time is for wingettes but I really don’t remember cooking my drumsticks any longer! Maybe 10 minutes more? Just start checking at 35 minutes). Transfer legs or wingettes to a large serving bowl and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.

*If using chicken wings instead of wingettes, cut off and discard tips from chicken wings with kitchen shears or a large heavy knife, then halve wings at joint.

Recipe source: Epicurious


Paleo Orange Chicken

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This dish is a revelation for healthy eating.  It has no breading, not even a thickener for the sauce, doesn’t require frying, is naturally sweetened with fresh squeezed juice alone, contains only healthy fat, and yet it is so. delicious.

And guess what?  It is yet another way to use virgin coconut oil!  I’ll be drawing the winner for the Tropical Traditions oil at midnight tonight (click here to enter the giveaway if you haven’t yet), so I decided to sneak in another recipe that uses it before I did.  I myself just got a gallon of it (happy happy, joy joy! Thank you to those who made first-time purchases through my links, that’s how I earned it!), so you can be sure I’ll be posting many more recipes using it.

Full disclosure: for the record, I mainly cook with/eat extra virgin olive oil, just so you don’t think I’ve devoted my life to saturated fat, even if it is a healthy one.  :)  Also, for the record, I am not on the Paleo diet, but am all for eating healthy.  And lastly, this was Den’s plate, as I had no rice on mine because I’m not eating starches right now. </TMI>

As for this chicken, I don’t have much to add beyond that it was incredible.  It is sweet, even without refined sugars of any kind, and packed with flavor.  I have to admit I totally forgot to include the sriracha (*sob* we love spicy, how could I?), which probably would have improved the consistency so that it coated the pieces a little better, but it was still great even without it. Who needs fried chicken pieces drenched in a sickeningly sweet syrup sauce when eating healthy tastes even better?  Move over, take-out!

Paleo Orange Chicken

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1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (cut into bite size pieces)
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
juice of 2 oranges*
zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or sriracha
3 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)

In a medium-sized saucepan, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha. Set over medium-high heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks. In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped chicken thighs and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes. If your chicken pieces are really close together, you’ll likely have a lot of water in the pan (it doesn’t evaporate as well), and you should drain the excess liquid off to help the pieces brown.  Remove from heat and if the sauce is ready (it will be reduced to very little, coating just the bottom of the pot, thick and almost like a glaze), add the chicken to the saucepan and stir to coat with the orange sauce. Serve topped with sliced green onions.

*Taste your oranges. If they don’t taste orange-y, then neither will this dish. Use tangerines if you need to, or add a teaspoon of sweetener, such as stevia or agave nectar, until you’re satisfied with the flavor.

Recipe source: Health-Bent

Asian Lettuce Wraps

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I’m still on vacation but, SURPRISE!  I had another blog scheduled.  :)

This is one of the fabulous recipes I made on the first cycle of the 17 Day Diet, one that I would eat whether I was on a diet or not, and one I intend to eat again soon.  I doubt it is any sort of copycat PF Changs recipe, but it is good, nonetheless, and doesn’t use any pre-made, packaged sauces for flavoring, which is the main reason I chose this recipe over others.  I didn’t want the sugar you find in those sauces!  I did think it needed a hint of sweet to compliment the other flavors, so I added some stevia, but that’s totally optional.

This recipe makes a large family-sized batch, and I took it for lunch a couple days.  Eating lettuce wraps with a dipping sauce is a bit messier than I’d like for a work lunch, so I just put a bunch of lettuce in a bowl then heated the filling at work and dumped it on top, then drizzled the sauce over.  And voila!  Asian Lettuce Wrap salad.  The easier way to eat lettuce wraps!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

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Printable recipe with picture

2 teaspoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh shredded ginger
20 oz 97% lean ground turkey (or ground chicken breasts)
5 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups bagged coleslaw mix or finely shredded cabbage
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, drained, and finely minced
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 packet NuNaturals stevia powder, or other sweetener to taste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ to 1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce

Dipping/Drizzling Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 packet NuNaturals stevia powder, or 2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoons fresh shredded ginger

Heat an extra-large skillet to medium-high heat on the stovetop. When hot, add oil and then garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant, then add the turkey, mushrooms, and salt. Cook for about five minutes, breaking the turkey up and stirring often until it is cooked through. Drain off the broth, and add the cabbage, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 2 minutes, then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, stevia, lemon zest and juice, and sriracha if desired. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

To prepare the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and whisk to combine.

To serve, carefully remove each individual leaf from the head(s) of lettuce, place chicken mixture on the leaves and serve with sauce.

Recipe source: adapted from Our Best Bites

Secret Recipe Club

Lemongrass Chicken with Peppers

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Secret Recipe Club

It’s that time again! Secret Recipe Club time!  This is my sixth month with the club, and still having a ball.  My favorite part is getting my assignment and then stalking my assigned blog, bookmarking all the recipes I want to try.  I really love the secrecy and wonder how far the other members take it.  I take it so far as to not even pin the recipes I want to try on Pinterest (how I usually keep track of recipes), for fear that the blog owner will find my bajillion pins and figure out I have their blog this month.  That would ruin the surprise.  I also don’t subscribe to the blog I’m assigned to, just in case they keep track of their subscribers, and I don’t leave comments.  Nothing to let on that I’m the one that has their blog!  The secrecy is pretty fun and makes me feel super sneaky. :)

This month, I was assigned to Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy, and boy did I have fun scouring Anne’s archives.  Although you may not be able to tell  it from the amount of buttery, sugary treats I post, I really love healthy food, especially if it’s easy to prepare (kinda helps balance out all the time and calories in my desserts), so this blog was perfect for me!  I counted the recipes I bookmarked and know this has got to be a personal record: 44.  No joke.  Um, Amanda (Amanda started the club), is there a reward for “most recipes bookmarked in a SRC assignment?” ;)

But when I came across Anne’s Lemongrass Chicken, there was little doubt that it was the winning recipe.  The grocery store closest to us started carrying lemongrass a couple years ago, and was really happy to have an excuse to buy some!  Of course, when I went to buy it, they were out. Of course!  So off I went to my trusty Asian market, and I found a big bucket of lemongrass stalks, bundled in bunches of 3 for $1.  Can’t beat that!

My friend, Pia, mailed me some vegetable cutters for Christmas and while I was trying to think of what veggies I could add to the chicken (I bulk up most of our meals with as many veggies as I can), I thought of those cutters and knew I’d be adding in some pretty peppers.  I know most people will not have these special cutters (I believe you can buy them at Asian markets, though), so just slice your peppers if you don’t–it will still make a very colorful and pretty dish!

Thanks, Anne, for sharing this wonderful recipe!  It was the MOST delicious dish I’ve ever made with SRC, hands down.  I’ve never had lemongrass before, and I was surprised (though I shouldn’t have been) that it smelled exactly like the lemongrass soap that my sister makes!  It has a bright & fresh slightly lemony smell and flavor.  It looks like a green onion, and has a fibrous texture similar to ginger.  It is very good and I hope that you have an Asian market near you so you can make this chicken.

I do want to mention that I made this sweet, almost as sweet as the sauces you get on Americanized Chinese fare, so if you want a more subtle sweetness, halve the honey.  I started with 1/4 cup, which was good but barely sweet.  I wanted it sweeter and my recipe reflect the change I made to 1/2 cup honey, but you might want to start with less and taste it once the chicken is cooked. You can always add more!

Lemongrass Chicken with Peppers

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Printable recipe with picture

3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon (1 clove) minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup (about 1 large stalk) minced fresh lemongrass
3 green onions, chopped
½ of a red pepper, cut into strips or shapes
½ of a green pepper, cut into strips or shapes
½ of a yellow pepper, cut into strips or shapes
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag or in a large bowl, combine chicken, honey, ¼ cup of the soy sauce, and garlic, and allow to marinate 10-15 minutes (this is a good time to prep your veggies). Mix the remaining ¼ cup soy sauce with the cornstarch and set aside.

Heat an extra-large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add lemongrass and stir-fry for about 15 seconds, until fragrant but not brown. Add the chicken, and continue to stir-fry until the pieces are cooked through, about ten minutes. Stir the soy sauce & cornstarch mixture, and add it to the skillet along with the green onions and peppers. Stir-fry until sauce is thickened and serve hot over rice, topped with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Makes 6-8 servings

I have to pimp my Tupperware lady, Stacy, because I just got a rice maker from her and used it to prepare my brown rice for this dish.  There are only instructions for white rice and a few other quick-cooking grains on the insert, so here’s how I did mine if you get one and want to make brown rice (the insert does say it can be used for brown rice, but doesn’t give instructions): 1 cup brown rice, 2 1/4 cups water.  5 minutes on high, 30 minutes on 50% power in a 1000 watt microwave.  (The rice cooker is BPA-free, in case you are worried about cooking your rice in plastic.)  Perfect brown rice, and a little faster than it takes on the stove!  Get your own rice cooker here.

Chuncheon Chicken Wings

This is my third month participating in the Secret Recipe Club, a club started by Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’, in which everyone is secretly assigned another participants’ blog and you choose one of their recipes to make and post. On reveal day, which is today for my group, everyone posts their recipes and gets to see who had their blog and what recipe they chose! Fun stuff!

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned to Koreafornian Cooking, which consists mainly of Tammy’s excellent cooking videos.  All the recipes, whether on video or typed, are Korean fusion dishes.  The blog’s tagline, “Korean cooking with California flare,” is quite apt!

Since football season is officially upon us, and chicken wings are a popular choice for game fare, I chose to make Tammy’s Chuncheon Chicken Wings.  Chuncheon (pronounced Choon-chen, as far as I can tell by hearing Tammy pronounce it in the video) is the capital of Gangwon province in South Korea, and she was inspired by their popular dakkalbi dish to make these wings.  According to Tammy, dakkalbi is diced chicken marinated in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce, and then stir-fried with sliced Chinese cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cake).  So she used the sauce in this dish as a marinade for wings served with the typical blue cheese dressing and celery in America, and voila! Chuncheon Chicken Wings, a truly Koreafornian fusion recipe, was born.

Though I searched high and low, I could not find the gochujang (Korean pepper paste) anywhere!  I asked the ladies at the Asian market what I could use instead, and they said sriracha wasn’t as salty or hot (whoa, Nelly, that stuff must be smokin’!), but it could work.  I really wanted to use the gochujang, if not just to see what it tasted like, but the wings turned out really lovely even with the sriracha (a Thai chile sauce) that wasn’t intended.

I changed the recipe a bit more by replacing all the sweetener (she used sugar and honey) with honey and upping it by a couple tablespoons.  Fearing the heat, I left out the chile powder, but wish I would have kept it in because we like spicy food and while these were spicy, we could have handled the extra heat.  The heat using sriracha only is about as hot as regular buffalo wings, so if you want to make it spicier, do add the chile powder.

The last change I made was one that might not be necessary if you use the gochujang, but with the sriracha (or maybe it was the wings, which had been frozen, or maybe it was the extra honey), the sauce became watery after a few hours of marinating and didn’t stick well to the wings when I baked them.  They were looking pretty pale and sad, so I dumped the remaining marinade to a saucepan and cooked it with some cornstarch to thicken it, then brushed the wings with it, which did the trick.  They were red and pretty, just like Tammy’s Chuncheon wings!

While my spicy-sweet version probably tastes nothing like the dakkalbi served in Chuncheon that inspired Tammy’s original recipe, they still were very good.  I detest buffalo wings, but I loved the flavor of these, and they were a winner with Dennis, my wing man, too.  Meaning to only have a few before dinner, he ended up eating 14 wings and turning those into his dinner.  So yeah, I’d say they were a success.

Chuncheon Chicken Wings

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Dakkalbi Sauce
¼ cup gochujang (Korean pepper paste) or ¼ cup sriracha
2 tablespoons hot chile powder or hot paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup honey

4 lbs. chicken wings
1 bunch celery stalks
1 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Put all the sauce ingredients in a gallon freezer bag, seal, and shake/knead to mix.  If you purchased your wings in a bag and defrosted them in the fridge, be sure to pat/squeeze each one between paper towels to dry them.  Add the the wings to the bag, seal, and massage to coat the wings with sauce. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least ½ hour (I did three hours). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place wings on a foil-lined & greased baking sheet with a rim (reserve extra marinade). Bake for 25 minutes.

While wings are baking, wash celery and cut the ends off, then cut into strips. Chop strips into thirds. Place them on a large plate along with a bowl of dressing.

Pour extra marinade into a saucepan and whisk in a teaspoon of cornstarch.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two until thickened.  When the time goes off for the wings, remove from oven and turn them over using tongs.  Brush the wings with the thickened sauce and return to the oven to bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

Once wings are done, arrange them with the celery on the plate and serve!

Recipe source: adapted from Koreafornia Cooking

Be sure to click the blue linky man below to see all other secret recipe club posts today!  I know it says there are 0 links, he’s a big fat liar, don’t believe him! Just click and you will see the truth. :)

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Green Beans

If you’re looking for the usual fried “chicken” pieces (is that grisly stuff really chicken? It seems rather suspicious to me!) served with scary hot pinkish-red sauce, you’re in the wrong place! What I have instead is a wonderful version that does not involve frying, but does involve real chicken, with the only red in it coming from the peppers.  It’s real.  It’s healthy.  It’s bright & colorful.  It’s delicious!  For reals.

Although I found this recipe unique and refreshing, I balked a little at the green beans.  They just seem so random!  I considered subbing green peppers, but I went with it and it all worked great, plus they made for a some nice visual variety amidst the square-ish chunks of chicken and peppers.  I’d recommend following the directions, however, and cutting the green beans in half, because I discovered that forgetting to do so makes serving and eating them kind of tricky. Oh well, it was still delicious and there’s always next time!

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Green Beans

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1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bell peppers (any color) seeded and diced large
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and halved
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat oil over high in wok. Add chicken, peppers, green beans and cook until softened, 5 min. Add scallions, ginger garlic and cook until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, 4 min. Whisk soy sauce mixture, add to skillet, and cook until sauce is thickened, 3 min.

Serves 4. Per serving: 470 calories; 7 g fat; 63 g carb; 7 g fiber; 39 g protein

Recipe source: Everyday Food January/February 2011

This post is linked with Cupcake Muffins for this week’s BSI: green beans!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

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I found this recipe over at Kalyn’s Kitchen, where she posts South Beach Diet-friendly recipes.  I’m not on the South Beach Diet, but I am trying to eat healthier and this one really appealed to me.  The only change I made was to add a bit of honey to offset the sour vinegar, which was overpowering without it.  Now I’m completely in love and hooked.  I’ve made it twice in as many weeks!

 Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken
Printable Recipe

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 package)
salt for pasta water, about 2 tsp.
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

3 T rice vinegar
2 1/2 T soy sauce
2 T vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 T chili garlic paste (I prefer to use 2 T but adjust to your tastes)
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 T sesame oil
1 T honey

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, then break spaghetti noodles in half and add to water. Stir, let it come to a boil again, then cook until noodles are tender but still have a little bite, about 8-9 minutes.

While pasta water is coming to a boil, grate enough fresh ginger to make 1 T, then combine with rice vinegar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, chili garlic paste (or sriracha), sesame oil, and honey.

While the noodles are cooking, chop the chicken into same-size pieces about 1/2 inch square, and slice green onions. Wash cilantro, spin dry or dry with paper towels, and chop enough to make 1/2 cup.

When noodles are cooked but still al dente, drain them into a colander placed in the sink. Put noodles back into pan you cooked them in and add the diced chicken. Pour sauce mixture over chicken and noodles, then toss well enough that noodles and chicken are well-coated with the sauce mixture.

Add chopped green onions and chopped cilantro and toss just enough to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 328 calories; 13 g fat; 48 g carb; 7 g fiber; 13 g protein

Recipe source: very slightly modified from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Hot Mustard Recipe

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Are you getting sick of my spice blend and condiment posts?  Well, not to worry, this is the last one (for now) and I saved the best for last.

My hubby is obsessed with the hot mustard you get at Chinese restaurants.  He simply can not eat Chinese food without hot mustard and chopsticks.  So a couple of years ago I bought him some plastic chopsticks and some hot mustard powder at our Asian market so he could eat the stuff I served without noticing how awful it was.  Worked like a charm!  We just mixed the powder with water and ta-da!  Mustard so hot it made our eyes burn and totally masked the flavor of the food we were eating.  Perfect.

However, the powder eventually ran out and the hubby was very sad.  I don’t go to the Asian market often so he suffered in silence for a while, until a knight in shining armor came along to rescue him from his hot-mustardless Chinese food.  My friend Dewey (the same Dewey of one-minute mayonnaise fame) let me in on a secret.  Do you know what’s in hot mustard?  Just two ingredients.  Ground mustard and water.  (!)  When you mix the two, a chemical reaction occurs which makes the mustard very hot.  That prepared mustard you put on your hot dogs and sandwiches has vinegar in it, which neutralizes the heat.  How cool (or hot, in this case) is that?  That is science-cool!

I checked the label on that empty “hot mustard” powder tin and found that, indeed, the only ingredients were ground mustard and turmeric (for added color).  So I tested Dewey’s “recipe” and sure enough, it’s just like the stuff you get at the restaurants!  It’s enough to make me want to do a little happy dance.

Hot Mustard
Printable recipe

2 parts Ground Mustard Seed
1 part Water

Put as much mustard powder into a small bowl as you think you’ll need and add half that amount in water.  I used 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 teaspoon of water and that was enough for two meals. Store extra in the fridge.  Dewey says maximum heat is reached after 30 minutes, but it will be very hot instantly per our experience.  He also says that the heat will diminish over time, but the extra we stored in the fridge overnight seemed just as hot the next day and we’ve stored hot mustard in the fridge for up to a month and it was still pretty hot so it apparently never gets mild over time, just loses some of that pungent intense heat after a while.

Recipe source: Dewey B.

General Tso’s Chicken

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How was your Easter?  Dennis and I went to Abilene to spend it with his family and had a lovely time.  Phyllis, my mother-in-law, made a killer ham and my favorite scalloped potatoes, and we also had the creamed corn (the REAL kind with whole corn mixed with butter and cream cheese–Dennis HAS to have that stuff at every family function) and Mexican coleslaw that my sister-in-law, Joan brought.  The coleslaw was really yummy and I plan to use it on some fish tacos so I’ll be blogging it eventually.  I brought the dessert (was there any doubt?) and supplied lemon bars and white cupcakes with my favorite lemon frosting.  I’ve had lemon on the brain since it finally started warming up and I’m still thinking about making more lemon desserts!  Something to look forward to.

Anyway, now that we’re all getting a little tired of leftover ham, I have something completely different for you to add to your meal plan.  I mentioned in a recent post that I’d been wanting to spread my wings a little and try more ethnic cuisine so it’s a little ironic that I chose General Tso’s chicken as one of my first attempts since it’s actually an American creation.  But it tastes and looks Asian and is served in Chinese restaurants so that’s close enough for me!

I based my recipe & method off of a You Tube Video that my friend Dewey sent me when he read that I was wanting to try it out.  After watching itkman cook it up with little effort, I was comfortable enough to change it up a little, and it turned out beautiful and delicious!  I hope you try it.  Just looking at the photos has me drooling and wanting some more!

General Tso’s Chicken
Printable recipe

½ cup chicken broth
¼ c sugar
¼ c rice vinegar
2 T hoisin sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
2 t minced fresh ginger
6 cloves minced garlic
4 scallions, chopped

2 lb. chicken breast, cut into chunks
1 egg
1 T soy sauce
Vegetable oil for frying

1/3 of a red pepper, sliced
1/3 of an orange pepper, sliced
1/3 of a yellow pepper, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets

Mix all but the last three ingredients for the sauce and once the sugar & cornstarch are dissolved, stir in the ginger, garlic & scallions.  Set aside.

Mix the chicken with the egg and soy sauce, then roll each chunk in flour.  Fry the chicken in vegetable oil that is 375 degrees F until golden brown.*  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Put the vegetables in a microwave-safe dish with a cover and nuke for 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a large wok on high, give the sauce a stir, and pour it into the wok.  Wait for it to start simmering, then start stirring until it gets thickened.  Add in the chicken and toss until it is evenly coated.  Remove from heat and add the vegetables, stirring until mixed.**  Serve hot along with rice if desired.

Serves 6.

*Veronica’s notes: I do not own a fryer, so I filled an uncoated (as in, no Teflon coating or nonstick surface) skillet half full of oil and used my candy thermometer to gauge the temperature, frying the chicken in three batches.  If you do your frying on the stove top, be sure to keep an eye on the temp b/c you don’t want it over 400 or below 350.

**If you are wondering why I didn’t just stir-fry the veggies before adding the sauce & the chicken, it is because the veggies would absorb too much of the sauce if done this way and the chicken wouldn’t get enough.  Coating the chicken first ensures it’s thoroughly coated so that just the little bit extra coats the vegetables, making them slightly flavored but still bright and fresh tasting, which nicely contrasts the saucy chicken.

I’m linking this with Food For Thought for BSI: Broth.

Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu

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My friend, Jaci, clipped this recipe and mailed it to me a few years ago because she knew of my preference for vegetarian fare. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, which is one reason it took me over three years to try it. (The second being that I have about 36,000 recipes saved and this one kind of got lost in the pile.)

This is one of the most enjoyable tofu dishes I’ve ever eaten! The caramelized onion, sweet snap peas (OMgosh, I’ve found a new best veggie friend–these are so sweet & crisp!), flavorful sauce, and the way roasting made the outside of the tofu firm really made this enjoyable. My husband couldn’t eat the tofu but loved the rest of it so if you’re a person that really doesn’t like tofu, don’t expect this recipe to change that. If you’re looking for a tofu miracle, this one and this one worked for me.

Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu
Recipe from EatingWell magazine, September/October 2007 issue
Active time: 20 minutes Total: 45 minutes

1 14-ounce block extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tahini, (see Tip)
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Toss tofu, onion, canola oil, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast until the tofu is lightly golden on top and the onions are browning in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Whisk tahini, soy sauce, maple syrup and vinegar in a small dish until combined. Remove the tofu from the oven, add snap peas and drizzle with the maple sauce; stir to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Return to the oven and continue roasting until the peas are crisp-tender, 8 to 12 minutes more.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

Tahini is a smooth, thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. Look for it in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters in large supermarkets. I used peanut butter in place of the tahini and it still tasted really good, though maybe not as intended. :)  To make it a meal, serve over udon noodles or rice.

Nutrition Per serving: 197 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 3 g fiber; 305 mg sodium; 219 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (25% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv), Iron (15% dv).

Secret Recipe Club

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