Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cashew Chicken

We love love love Chinese food at our house. My husband actually really loves this china buffet out by us. I sometimes have issues with it b/c the chicken isn't always trimmed and it isn't all white meat. Plus its usually fried with tons of salt & sugar added in. Long story short, I like to attempt my own Chinese food at home.

I stumbled across Amber's post for cashew chicken & when I saw it was originally a Williams-Sonoma recipe I knew it was going to be a good one. Some of my all time favorite recipes have come from Williams-Sonoma. And this one did not disappoint. Like Amber said this came together pretty quickly which was nice b/c we didn't have a lot of time last night. While the recipe says to use chicken thighs, I just used cut up chicken breast.

Cashew Chicken

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

~makes 4 servings ~

3 tablespoons. soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup salted roasted cashews
Steamed rice for serving

Marinate the chicken - In a large bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the soy sauce, the wine and ginger. Stir in the chicken to coat evenly and set aside for 15 minutes.
Make the sauce - In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. water, the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch, and stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.
Stir-fry the chicken - Heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and add 2 Tbs. of the corn oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, draining it well, and discard the marinade. Add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until opaque, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. corn oil. Add the green onions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Return the chicken to the wok and add the cashews. Give the sauce a quick stir, add to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately with the steamed rice

In addition to this, I also made my "fried" rice.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Squash Casserole

My dad & I love to cook-i have always been this way-but my dad started his cooking about 3-4 years ago. Well, he knows all about our garden & veggies, we usually bring some out to them when we visit. Anyway, the last time we were at their house, he had printed out a recipe for me. Squash Casserole. Yay! I can use up some of the squash at home!! Then I read who the recipe was by. Paula Deen. I was like, man this is going to be laden in butter, cream, etc...
My dad loves him some Paula. In his defense, he was treated for throat cancer years ago & lost a lot of weight. I mean, he wasnt big before but he is so skinny now, so we encourage him to eat full bodied meals.
I adjusted the recipe to better fit our dietary needs :)

Squash Casserole
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time: 25 min Inactive Prep Time: hr min Cook Time: 55 min
6 servings
6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini
Vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter (I used 2 Tbps here & a little olive oil)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used lowfat sour cream)
1 teaspoon House seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (2% cheese)
1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz) (I used Club Crackers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

I also added some grilled chicken so it could be a main dish, well I would have eaten it as a main dish without the chicken but my husband wouldnt. I really liked it, he said he wanted the squash cooked more so it was less crunchy more chewy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

I was really really excited for stuffed peppers. The day started out raining and i thought what a perfect dinner! I should have known then that they would be so-so. I don't want to bag on anyone so I will post the recipe but not the link. I had 3 big peppers from the garden & 2 baby ones, so I went ahead & bought 3 more red peppers from the grocery store.

2 cups cooked brown or white rice
1lb ground turkey
7 bell peppers
1 onion
Olive oil for vegetables
2 tomatoes, diced
1 jar (25.5 ounce) marinara sauce
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked pepper
½ cup Parmesan Reggiano

1. Make the rice according to package directions. Set aside.
2. brown the ground turkey
3. Dice the onions & add to the turkey, if you need more oil add it here.

4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub a 7x11 inch (2 quart) baking dish with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Pour in the sauce and spread about the bottom of the dish. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and place the baking dish in the center to prevent spills.

5. In a large bowl mix together the rice, sausage, diced bell pepper, onion, asparagus, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and fresh cracked pepper.

8. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and gently pack down. Place in the sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan Reggiano Cheese. Top with a pepper ring.

9. Bake for 60 to 120 minutes or until golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Wait 5 minutes before serving.

Here are the reasons maybe we didn't like it
1) not enough sauce
2) the peppers were still really crunchy even after an hour of cooking
3) the insides weren't, i don't know, cheesy enough maybe?

So since I have so many leftover, I decided to remake them. I cut the peppers in half & placed them in on a bed of tomato sauce in a roasting pan. I sprinkled them with mozzerella cheese & put them in the oven at 375F for probably 25-30 minutes. They were so much better.

More zucchini

I found this gem over at ClosetCooking. He has some of the best pictures. I am extremely jealous of his farmers market b/c they always seem to have the most unique items.

Italian Sausage & Zucchini Pasta

A few changes--> I didnt even look for garlic scape. I just used some garlic cloves. I also used turkey sausage & whole wheat rotini to make it a bit more healthy. I have become a big fan of using leftover pasta water to create a sauce. I used to think it would be so bland but its not! Try it out!

Zucchini Harvest

As many of my followers know, my husband has quite the green thumb. We have the biggest zucchini I have ever seen, so I decided to put one (yes one) to good use yesterday. I made 3 different kinds of zucchini bread.

The first was found on myrecipes.com/CookingLight:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl.

Combine egg substitute and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; add sugar, stirring until combined. Add zucchini; stir until well combined. Add flour mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in walnuts.

Divide batter evenly between 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

**So for one of these I just made it plain, no nuts.

And I made a smaller one with chocolate chips

The next recipe was a little different. I was sucked in by the color of the bread from the original poster. See how yellow it is???

Zucchini Bread

**This one only made one large loaf. I had wanted to make 2 loafs, one plain & one with pecans. So instead I did half with pecans and half without.

The showdown results
Its easy to say the chocolate chip one was the best, I mean it had chocolate chips in it. But the yellow one had a much lighter feel to it. The plain one you could really taste the cinnamon. So I think my winner is the yellow one!