Monday, February 29, 2016

General Tso Chicken

We love Chinese take out in this house.
Any time we order in, that is usually our first choice. Everyone has their own favorites, but one thing we all agree on is General Tso (or General Gao depending).

Always on the lookout for taste tested make at home versions of take out, I stumbled across this recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker site and was sold!

Admittedly, I was a smidge nervy about being able to get that coating factor correct. It's a really important factor.
Oh the crunch! It was perfect!

I added some broccoli to mine to make it a bit more take out like for us, but that is up to your tastes.

There was no speaking during dinner. Everyone was too busy chowing down to discuss our days!

After dishes were done, and stomachs digested, we decided that we want to try this again with pork and maybe even shrimp.
Enjoy the possibilities!

Marinade & Sauce:
½ Cup hoisin sauce
¼ Cup white vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ Cup water
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Garlic cloves (minced)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
½ Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Coating & Frying:
3 Egg whites
1 ½ Cup cornstarch
½ Cup all purpose flour
½ Tsp baking soda
4 Cups vegetable oil
1-2 Green onions (optional)

1. Marinade: whisk the hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a bowl
2. Remove 6 tbsp of marinade and add to a gallon zip lock bag along with the chicken. Move to fridge for at least 30 minutes. Keep remaining marinade in bowl.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet until shimmering
4. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant
5. Add 2 cups of the marinade to the skillet (there will be leftover in the bowl) and simmer.
6. Whisk constantly until the mixture is dark brown and thickened.
7. Remove sauce from heat, cover, and keep warm
8. Whisk egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy, set aside
9. In a shallow dish, combine cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining marinade. Mix until it resembles coarse meal.
10. Remove chicken from fridge. Pat chicken dry.
11. Toss half the chicken into the egg whites until coated.
12. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, pressing to adhere.
13. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
14. Heat remaining oil in a dutch oven to 350 degrees.
15. Fry half the chicken until golden brown (about 3 minutes) turning halfway through.
16. Place on paper towels to drain.
17. Warm the sauce until simmering. Add chicken. Toss and serve.


Marinade ingredients

Coating and Frying Ingredients

Finished product!
Come party with me HERE!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Week in Review Week 8: Feb 21 2016 - Feb 27 2016

Sunday Feb 21 2016
Mexican White Cheese Dip
Refried Beans
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Monday Feb 22 2016
Asian Beef and Noodle Soup

Tuesday Feb 23 2016
The girl child cooked again!
Watercress Soup garnished with Greek yogurt and almonds
Fruit salad with honey and mint

Wednesday Feb 24 2016
Pork Chops
Baked Potato
Mixed Veggies

Thursday Feb 25 2016
Tomato soup and yogurt.
We weren't really hungry, so hubby made himself a cup of soup and I had a yogurt

Friday Feb 26 2016
We gave in to a lazy week and ordered a pu-pu platter

Saturday Feb 27 2016
Tuscan Pasta Sauce over Fettuccine
Garlic Bread

Monday, February 22, 2016

Red and White Chili

It's no secret that I have a love affair going on with slow cooker liners.
I buy them 3,4,5 boxes at a time.

I finally got around to checking out the handy little insert that came in the package...what do I find? Well, it could be this recipe!

Talking to my aunt the other day, I happened to mention the liners and...can you believe...she had no idea what I was talking about?!
I promised her I would give her some...but haven't seen her since.

Of course, now that I am typing this, I realize her hubby and youngest child were just here. Why, of why did I not think to give some.

To quote the girl child "epic fail Mom".

6 Cups cubed cooked chicken
2 Cans (15.5 oz each) navy beans (drained)
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Large onion (chopped)
1 Large red pepper (chopped)
1 Jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
2 Cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp dried oregano
½ Tsp salt
½ Tsp cayenne pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot.
2. Cook on low 6-7 hours


Come party with me HERE!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week in Review: Week 7: Feb 14, 2016 - Feb 20, 2016

Sunday Feb 14, 2016
Home fries

Hubby made me a romantic Valentine's Day brunch.
We very lazily ate it at the coffee table, watching Food Network LOL

Monday Feb 15, 2016
Corn Bread
Potato Salad

Mashed Potato 

Tuesday Feb 16, 2016
Onion Rings

Wednesday Feb 17, 2016
French Onion Soup

Thursday Feb 18, 2016
We went out to dinner with my mother in law and my aunt (in law).
It was a nice time catching up!

Friday Feb 19, 2016
Frozen Pizza

Saturday Feb 20, 2016
Mashed Potato Cakes

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Can't we just leave McDonald's ALONE?

OK, I am totally annoyed by this whole Facebook THING where people are sharing that picture of the Happy Meal from 2010.

Look familiar?

The original poster is doing her best to "spread the word" about all the crap our kids are ingesting.
It is going viral like wildfire...

If you stumble on her facebook posting, you see all sorts of lovely comments where other people have tagged supposed friends and family making not-so-nice comments along the lines of "see what you are doing to little Susie/Johnny".

Thanks friends people. I really appreciate the unsolicited parenting advice.

Back to the topic at hand though. did research on this topic (as well as quite a few other independent sources) and came up with a big fat FALSE.
They compared to even homemade burgers.
Long story short, the issue is moisture. Mold needs moisture to grow. Due to the thin-ness of a lot of McDonald's food products, the moisture evaporates before mold is able to grow.

I am not here to claim McDonald's to be healthy, but I think it gets a worse rap than it deserves.

We all ate McDonald's as kids.
Then our parents sent us out to the "dangerous and scary" playground where we did this silly thing called playing with other children.

*Gasp* we even played in structures that looked like this!
McDonald's is targeted to busy families and definitely plays towards enticing kids. I get it. Cute characters like these make any kid smile.
(yes, I know I chose a picture of old timey McDonald's characters, but they are nostalgic)

It's not healthy...which is why it should only be consumed in moderation.
McDonald's (or BK, or Wendy's) is not to blame for childhood obesity. Stop using it as a scapegoat.
It's not going to kill you.

I just feel that McDonald's has enough to gripe about without people adding unnecessary stress to the pot. Just let it be people.
Eat responsibly.

If you don't want fast food, don't eat it.

Soapbox signing off.

Almost afraid to ask..but how do you feel about all of this?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tex Mex Chicken N' Rice Casserole

As I type this, hubby is flipping around the channels. (a guy? Remote control? What?)

He settled on The Witches of Eastwick.
I haven't seen this movie since I was many years younger.
Only read the book for the first time in the last 3 years.

The girl child is in her room putting laundry away...and I think I will have him change the station when she comes back in.
Seriously, I was so young.
I am blushing now.
The thought of watching this with her doesn't sit well with me.
Just because her age says adult, she's still my little peanut


On the plus side, such a phenomenal cast!

1 Cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp butter
1 (7 oz) package chicken flavored rice mix with vermicelli
1 Cup long grain rice (un cooked)
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
2.5 Cups water
4 Cups cooked cubed chicken
1 Can diced tomato
1 (4 oz) diced green chile peppers
2 Tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tsp cumin
⅛ Tsp pepper
1 Cup cheddar

1. In 3 qt saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender
2. Stir in rice-vermicelli mix, seasoning package, and un cooked rice. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. Stir in broth and water
4. Bring to boiling, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes
5. Transfer the rice mixture to a very large bowl.
6. Stir in chicken, tomato, chile peppers, basil, chili powder, cumin, and pepper
7. Transfer to a 3 quart casserole.
8. Bake, covered, in a 425 oven for 20 minutes.
9. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, bake for 5 minutes more.


Come party with me HERE!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Soup Round Up! (2016 version)

It is winter
We live in New England

This translates into boat loads of soups, chili, stew, and chowders. All those "warm you to your toes" meals that are just so simple and homey!

I remember being a kid, playing out in the snow, coming inside to thaw and having a warm cup of soup.
The smells, the feel, the love of it all!

Here are some of my fave go-to winter soups.
What are your favorites?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Week in Review: Week 6: Feb 7, 2016 - Feb 13, 2016

Sunday Feb 7, 2016
Deviled Eggs
Garlic Knots
Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

Monday Feb 8, 2016
Pork Roast
Twice Baked Potato

Tuesday Feb 9, 2016
M and M Cookies
Almond Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
Red Velvet Brownies
Leftover Pork Roast and Twice Baked Potato

Wednesday Feb 10, 2016
Beef and Veggie Stir Fry
Asian Cucumber Salad

Tonight's WONDERFUL meal was made, served, and cleaned up by my fantastic girl child!

Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Ravioli and Italian Bread

The ravioli were totally store bought, but it was an awesome, yummy, easy meal!

Friday Feb 12, 2016
Baked Potato
Cheesy Bread

Hubby and I were both UGH about cooking, Nothing about ordering out sounded good. He offered to cook, and it was a medley of things he felt like eating. I am TOTALLY not complaining about a meal served to me!

Saturday Feb 13, 2016
Potato au Gratin

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blogging for Books: Fast Food Manic by Jon Hein

** Note** I was provided a free copy of this book by in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

So, normally I review cookbooks, but this time I decided to deviate from the norm. The premise was interesting so I decided it would be a different sort of read.

I wasn't in love.
It really felt like a bunch of Wikipedia articles smooshed together with a random memory or two thrown in.
All the facts were there, which was semi interesting...but nothing that really kept my interest.

Each "chapter" was a new fast food joint. There was a pseudo message board picture at the beginning telling what each restaurant was known for, and what was a must have.
I stopped reading these almost immediately.
If I have been there, I already know what to order.
If I have never heard of it, or it's not in my area...what do I care?

Maybe I would have attached myself to this book more had there of been more personal references. He had a Roy Rogers birthday party that seared itself into his memory. Why don't I know more about it than that one fact?
I am also aware that he ate a lot of Domino's and had a McDonald's in his backyard. That's all the personality that was infused into this book.

All in all, I don't feel like I wasted my time reading this, I just feel like he could have done more with it than repeat facts.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cheezit Chicken

Superbowl Sunday has been a big THING for everyone...for 50 years!
I read some stat somewhere that said Superbowl is the 2nd biggest day of the year where people eat way too much, second only to Thanksgiving.

I can see this!

People converge in small or large groups, and communal plates of food are in extreme abundance.
The party I attend every year is no exception.
We have about 30 people, with an average of 2-3 dishes per person.
It sounds like over-kill, but variety is the spice of life!

This year I have been asked to bring:
Deviled Eggs
Garlic Knots
Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

It should be a relaxing year as our Patriots did not make it. It's a relief for the women folk as we do not have to worry about the hubby's blood pressure during the game!

Adapted from: Do They Have Salsa in China?

2 Cups Cheezits (crushed)
3-4 Chicken breasts (cut into nuggets)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Ranch dressing

1. Mix chicken with ranch dressing
2. Toss covered chicken with crushed cheezits
3. Drizzle with butter
4. Cook at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through


Come party with me HERE!