Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Orange Chicken with Broccoli

Truth is . . . I love Chinese Food.  But, I've never been able to make it.  Sure, I've tried many times using countless recipes, but none of them ever turned out to be nearly as good or look as appetizing as restaurant dishes.  A couple of weeks ago I ran across a recipe for Orange Chicken and I thought it looked pretty simple.  I made it for the second time last night, and with a few little tweaks, we had a winner.  This was really good!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
1 lb broccoli crowns cut into florets
8 cloves fresh garlic
4 Tbsp salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup dry coating mix for chicken or fish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your chicken into 1" chunks and place in a bowl with a lid.  Add your salt and pepper and shake well to season the chicken.  Add the coating mix and shake again to evenly coat all of the chicken chunks.  Set aside

Cut your broccoli crowns into florets and place them in a 9" x 9" baking dish and salt lightly.  Finely dice all 8 garlic cloves and divide evenly.  Place 1/2 of the garlic in a small dish with 4 Tbsp of butter.  Cover the dish and melt butter in the microwave.  Evenly spoon the butter and garlic over the broccoli.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

While your broccoli bakes, prepare your sauce.

Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 Tbsp white cooking wine
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp water
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water

Place oil in small saute pan with the remainder of the garlic.  Cook over medium heat until garlic begins to brown.  Add the ginger, red pepper flakes, orange zest, orange juice, cooking wine, soy sauce, water and sugar.  Let this simmer slowly for about five minutes.

When broccoli is ready, remove from the oven and let it sit while you fry your chicken chunks.

Heat about 4" of cooking oil in a frying pan or wok.  Personally, I like the wok because I can use less oil.  Drop your chicken chunks in small batches into hot oil.  Don't overcrowd your pan and your chunks will not stick together.  Remove them from the oil when they are a nice golden brown and place them on top of the broccoli.  When finished, return to your sauce.  Mix your 1 Tbsp of corn starch with 1 Tbsp of water and then add to the sauce.  Stir well until sauce thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli.  Stir gently and return to the oven for five minutes.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is one of my go-to favorites when I need a yummy appetizer or a nice side.  They are alway a hit!

For six Portabella caps

3 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
6 oz Johnsonville sasage patties
1/2 cup shredded cheese - I like the Kraft Italian 5-Cheese
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp Pampered Chef 3-Onion Rub or another seasoning of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash mushroom caps and remove buttons.
Place in baking dish.  Salt both sides lightly and bake (button side down) for 15 minutes.
Crumble and cook sausage.
Combine sausage with room temp cream cheese, shredded cheese, onion flakes and seasoning.
Mix well.
Stuff mixture into partially cooked mushroom caps and return to oven for 15 minutes.

Note:  I like to use medium sized caps and really overstuff them.  They look appetizing and they taste really good!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

S'mores Dip


In our house we love football. And, along with that, we love football food. I found a new recipe on Facebook last week and today we gave it a try. This one certainly didn't disappoint.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of peanut butter chips to a cast iron skillet.
I added 2 tsp of Vanilla and stirred the chips to even them out in the skillet.
Top the chips with marshmallows.
Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes.
Marshmallows should be brown and melted.

Notes:

The original recipe said to bake at 450. I did that and the marshmallows were brown at 4 minutes and not quite gooey enough.  I turned off the heat and left it in the oven a few more minutes and this was perfection.

The vanilla was not part of the original recipe, but it was a great addition.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes & Apples

I love Fall!  I get in the mood to cook again. Sunday dinner is almost always a crock pot meal when the weather is cool, and tonight will be no different.  I think this recipe may just become a new family favorite.

It began with a trip to the best grocery store ever -- Dierbergs in Des Peres. That place is awesome! It has every ingredient you could ever imagine all under one roof. If you live in the           St. Louis area, I strongly recommend a visit. This time I discovered McCormick Gourmet Recipe and Seasoning Mixes.  I bought four different flavors.  Tonight's dinner begins with the Bourbon Spiced Pork Seasoning.  There is a recipe  on the back of the package to roast this in the oven.  I adapted it just a little bit to make it work in the crock pot.

I started with a 2 lb  Pork tenderloin.  I salted it all over and let it sit on a cutting board for about 20 minutes while I peeled and sliced five medium-sized sweet potatoes and three Granny Smith apples.

I combined the seasoning packet with 1/3 cup of brown sugar.  1/4 cup of the spice mixture gets set aside to use later.  The pork tenderloin is drizzled with olive oil and then the rest of the spice mixture is rubbed into the tenderloin.  Into the crock pot it went with the cooking temp set to warm.  The sliced sweet potatoes went into the crock pot on either side of the tenderloin and the apples were placed on top of the pork and sweet potatoes.

The reserved 1/4 cup of spice mixture was combined with 1/4 cup of orange juice. That mixture was poured over the top of the apples and sweet potatoes.  The lid went on and it will cook for seven hours.

I am anticipating a yummy dinner!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cucumber, Tomato & Onion Salad

Are you looking for a salad that's fresh and inviting?  For a hot summer's night or an early fall salad, you need to give this salad a try.

8 oz of cherry tomatoes halved
4 mini cucumbers (cut into quarters and then sliced)
1/4 of a red onion sliced thin
2 oz of zesty Italian salad dressing (or sweet Italian)
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of cracked pepper

Slice the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions into a glass bowl.
Toss with 1/4 cup salad dressing
Add salt and pepper and toss again.

This is so easy to make and it looks aweome.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cocktail Sauce

One of my favorite pleasures in life is shrimp.  Oh, how I love the large shrimp!  And, I like them best with Cocktail Sauce.  Sure, you can buy the bottled kind, but I like mine homemade.

1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp horse radish
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 dash hot  sauce

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl and stir to combine.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Broccoli Salad

Are you looking for a signature dish to take to a potluck?  One that will wow everyone there?  This is it.  It's a winner every time I take it.

This recipe is a change from the normal Broccoli Salad recipe and will be memorable to anyone you share it with.

3 bunches of broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrots (you can shred your own, but it's easier to buy them already shredded)
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup Craisins
1 lemon
1/4 red onion (sliced very thin)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt


Cut the Granny Smith apple into bite size pieces and place in serving bowl
Cut lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice over the apple pieces
Add shredded carrots
Add Craisins
Slice red onion and add to the bowl
Trim broccoli to bite-size pieces and add to bowl
Combine Miracle Whip, Sour Cream, sugar, red wine vinegar, and sea salt.
Stir to mix well and top salad.
Stir all together and refrigerate for at least one hour to combine flavors.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Good 'Ole Fashioned Shrimp Boil

I was looking for an original and interesting birthday lunch idea for my mother-in-law, Blanche, for her 81st birthday.  The kids and grandkids were going to be at the house to help us celebrate, so lunch needed to appeal to a wide range of ages.

A shrimp boil seemed to be the obvious choice. It covers so many food favorites in one pot.  It looks great and it tastes great.

This time I decided to try a new recipe instead of using a Shrimp & Crab Boil spice packet.

4 quarts of water
1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 can of beer (Bud Light, of course)
8 medium red potatoes
2 Vidalia onions
2 lbs Smoked sausage
5 ears of corn (I like the bi-color best)
2 lbs of shrimp  (I like the peeled and deveined - tail on -- lots less work!)

In a 10 - 12 quart stock pot, combine the water, beer, Old Bay seasoning and sea salt.  Bring this to a boil.

While waiting on the mixture to boil, wash and and quarter your red potatoes.  I didn't peel them.
Peel and quarter the Vidalia onions.
Cut the smoked sausage into 2" pieces.
Shuck and wash the corn.  Break the ears in half.

Once the mixture boils, add the potatoes and onions.  Boil for 8 minutes.
Add the smoked sausage and boil for 5 more minutes.
Add the corn and boil for 7 minutes.
Add the shrimp and boil for four more minutes or until shrimp is pink and opaque.

Drain your boil and pour into the middle of you table.  I used my Pampered Chef bamboo cutting board to pour it out onto.  You could use newspaper or anything else that is food safe.

Serve this with sour cream, cocktail sauce, and butter on the side.  I served fresh fruit and crusty bread with this to round out our lunch.

My grandson, Christian told me this was the best corn on the cob he'd ever had.  He is six so that's a compliment I'll take.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Perfect Chicken Dinner

If you're like me, you're really starting to get tired of this long, cold winter.  Last Sunday, after a night of snow, it was a day we just decided to stay at home for the day and not venture out.  It was the perfect day for comfort food.  I had a full chicken (bone-in, skin-on) already cut up in the freezer. So, Roasted Chicken & Potatoes made the perfect choice for a fantastic dinner.

1 - Full chicken (bone-in, skin-on), cut into pieces -- breasts, wings, legs, thighs
4 - Tbsp olive oil
2 - Tbsp Weber Beer Can Chicken seasoning (one of my favorites)
1/2 tsp salt
3 lbs small red potatoes (cut into 2" chunks)
2 - Tbsp Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
1/2 cup buttermilk ranch dressing
Salt & Pepper for seasoning to taste

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the 4 Tbsp of olive oil with the Beer Can Chicken seasoning and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Mix well and coat the chicken working the seasoning on and under the skin.  Place pieces in a 9 x 13" stoneware baker.  Bake for 45 minutes uncovered.

While the chicken is baking, wash and cut your potatoes.  Combine the 2 Tbsp of olive oil with the Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub.  Add the potatoes to the mixture and toss to coat.  Add the potatoes to the baking dish with the chicken.  Sprinkle the potatoes only with salt.  Bake for 1 hour still at 325 degrees.

Remove the chicken and potatoes from the oven.  Increase the oven temp to 375 degrees.  Baste the chicken with 1/2 cup of buttermilk ranch dressing.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Your chicken and potatoes should be a beautiful golden brown and very moist and tasty.

I served this with steamed broccoli and a tossed salad.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Normally at this time of year I've been browsing Food Network and other foodie favorite places looking for new and interesting ideas for our Thanksgiving dinner.  I just haven't found the time to do that yet this year.  A post on Facebook was kind enough to point out that Thanksgiving is just five weeks from today.  I had better get started!  I am looking forward to planning a fantastic meal for the whole family and any friends that choose to join us.

Thanksgiving is a day to count our blessings and one my blessings is cooking for the people I love and knowing they enjoy their meal.

Check in often for creative and tasty ideas for this year's feast.