Sweet and Sour Chicken

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There are no Chinese places around our small town.  None.  I’ve seen a few buffet type places, but mama doesn’t do buffets, so I’ve been living sans Chinese food for close to two years.  That’s not right.  I make stir fry now and then but I decided to try a more authentic type of Chinese food.  This was really easy, not too sweet, light and fresh.  I subbed broccoli for yellow peppers.  You could certainly add more of your favorite veggies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1″ chunks (I used both)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • 1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used broccoli)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Directions:

1. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

2. In the meantime, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar.

3. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. It’s important that the pan is very hot. Add the chicken and spread the chicken out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle. Dish out the chicken onto a clean plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

4. Turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the bell pepper chunks and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Timing depends on how thick you’ve cut your chicken. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to take a piece out and cut into it. If it’s pink, add another minute to the cooking.

recipe found here.

Meatball Parmigiana Sliders

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Remember when I said that I rarely cook/eat Italian food?  Well would you believe that I’ve never made a freaking meatball?  For real.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it looked simple and delicious.  I had some friends coming over for a casual dinner so it seemed like a good time to test it out. The friends are pretty honest with me and I know they would have told me if it sucked.  It didn’t.  I enjoyed it a lot and it happens to be on the dinner menu for tonight.

Recipe can be found here.  I did make a few changes which I included in my recipe.  I used 2% milk rather than whole milk and I omitted the veal.  I’m sure veal would be delicious but I know it would’ve totally changed the flavor and I liked it without.  Pardon the horrible photo.

Ingredients

  • For The Meatballs

    • 2 slices white or sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 2% milk
    • 8 ounces ground beef (85 percent lean)
    • 8 ounces ground pork
    • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
    • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 large egg
    • Coarse salt
    • Marinara Sauce (I used a jar of Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce)
  • For The Sandwiches

    • 2 dozen rolls, split
    • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese (5 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
    • Small basil leaves

Directions

  1. Make the meatballs: Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes. Gently mix bread and milk with meats, pecorino Romano, parsley, garlic, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Roll mixture into twenty-four 1-ounce balls (each about the size of a golf ball).
  3. Heat sauce in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Drop meatballs into sauce, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Make the sandwiches: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Working in batches, arrange rolls, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Place 1 meatball, a spoonful of sauce, 1 tablespoon mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon pecorino Romano on bottom halves. Bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Sandwich with basil.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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When I first got married I had no idea how to cook.  In fact, I had a crazy work schedule so Pete actually did most of the cooking himself.  Once the kid came and I quit work it was time to teach myself.  I remember thinking that pot roast was the quintessential family meal.  All of the recipes I found usually called for cream of mushroom soup and a packet of onion soup mix and so that’s how I made it…for years.  Knowing now what I do about processed foods and their pure evilness I’m constantly on the hunt for recipes with simple ingredients.  And guess what? They taste a hell of a lot better than going the easy route and using processed stuff.  This Martha Stewart Recipe is simple and probably the best pot roast I’ve ever had.  I don’t change it much.  Sometimes I throw in some garlic cloves and I always add about 3-4 cubed red potatoes halfway through cooking.  Cajuns serve their roast on rice, so that’s how it’s done in the Pitre house.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 redskin potatoes, cubed

Directions

  1. In slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss.
  2. Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire. Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours).
  3. Add potatoes about halfway through cooking
  4. Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices. (there’s no need for a cutting board.  the meat falls apart)

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

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I had some ladies coming over to work on a project so I wanted to provide them with a simple, easy lunch.  This is the first time I’ve used a Paula Deen recipe and I was very happy with it.  I made a few changes which are in parenthesis.  I ate mine on Honey Wheat Hawaiian rolls and Pete and Chloe had leftovers today as a panini.

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

Ingredients

4 cups diced cooked chicken (I cooked 3 breasts with some broth in the crockpot the night before so I could just quickly use my tongs to shred the chicken.  Much better than cubed chicken).

1 rib minced celery (I don’t like celery so I used 2 finely sliced green onions)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup slivered almonds (I used sliced)

1/2 cup sour cream (Substituted 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine chicken, celery, basil and almonds. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add to chicken mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill.

Chipotle Steak Salad

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This is one of my favorite salads.  Take one thing away and it’s just not as good. You need the crisp red onion, the juicy tomato, and the chipotle mayo.  They work in harmony with each other.
I half the mayo recipe as it makes a ton.  I keep it in a mason jar in the fridge to use for dipping with sweet potato fries, crab cakes, etc.  It’s just that good.  I was running low on time and I didn’t want Pete to have to grill when he got home so I sliced the meat before cooking and cooked it in a wok.  It turns out okay this way but it is much better on the grill so you get that nice, pink center.  Oh, and this is another recipe from Pioneer Woman.

Ingredients

  • 30 ounces, weight Mayonnaise
  • 11 ounces, weight Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Reserve 2 Tablespoons Adobo
  • 1 whole Flank Steak
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 24 ounces, weight Salad Greens (spring Mix)
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 1 whole Cucumber, Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Onion, Halved And Sliced

Preparation Instructions

Dressing: In a food processor or blender, combine mayonnaise with canned chipotles. Blend until totally combined. Transfer to a separate container and store in the fridge.

Marinade: In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, oregano, honey, and reserved adobo sauce. Whisk to combine.
Pour marinade over flank steak, coating both sides. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Remove flank steak from fridge. Grill over high heat, only about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side until rare/medium rare. Remove from heat and allow meat to rest a few minutes. Slice very thin shingles of meat on an extreme diagonal.

Mound salad greens on a each plate. Drape strips of warm steak over the sides of the greens so that they’re cascading downward. Lay tomato and cucumber slices on one side of the plate, and place red onion slices on top.

Drizzle the whole salad with chipotle dressing. The warm meat on the cool salad, combined with the flavorful and spicy dressing, is out of this world.

Superbowl Remix

Just wanted to share other ways you can fix recipes I’ve posted before.

This is my shrimp recipe placed on top of guacamole in a tortilla cup.  Sweet heaven.

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And this is the teriyaki chicken.  I used a breast instead, sliced in half lengthwise and pounded thin.  Topped with colby jack during last bit of broiling, topped with bacon, and served on a bun.

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Gooey Goodness Bars

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I found this recipe on Pinterest about 15 minutes ago.  They looked good but I wanted to try something a little different.  I attempted granola bars instead of cookies and they came out really good.  You can add whatever you like or even follow the 2 ingredient recipe that I linked.  You can’t really mess up here.

Gooey Goodness Bars (named by Chloe)

1-2 cups Muesli

2 ripes bananas

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup Chocolate chips

Directions:

Mash banana in bowl and stir in muesli or oats.  Stir in extra ingredients of choice (mine were craisins and chocolate chips).  Flatten mixture on a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.  Flip tray over onto wire rack and let cool.  Place cutting board on top of wire rack, flip again, and slice into bars.  They are on the gooey side, and they aren’t super sweet, but the kid loves them and I can’t argue with that.

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Spicy Shredded Pork

I love this recipe.  It is so good.  I usually throw this in the crock pot on swim nights or on a Friday night so we have leftovers for Saturday lunch.  You can also cook it in a dutch oven.  I’ve done it both ways.  This is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few minor changes.  You could easily omit the chipotle peppers that I add and it is still just as good.  We served the pork on buns tonight but I also love this warmed in a tortilla and topped with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.  If you haven’t noticed, I tend to eat any leftovers taco-style if I can.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (up To 7 Pounds) Pork Shoulder (boston butt)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Salt
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 3 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 whole Onion
  • 1/2 of a 7 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I reserve other half to make chipotle mayo for other dishes)

Instructions

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.  Season with salt and pepper.

Slice onion into quarters and place half of it layered on bottom of crock pot and put other half in food processor.  Throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor.

Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork shoulder.

Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds and in crevices.

Place the pork into crock pot or Dutch oven and add a couple of cups of water. Top with 1/2 a can of chipotle peppers (or the whole can if you’re feeling frisky). Cook on low for 6+ hours.  Meat will fall apart.

I like to cut some of the fat off about halfway through cooking.  Just a personal preference.

Serve on buns or in a tortilla with fixings.

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Teriyaki Chicken with Spinach

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The Man chose this meal.  It seemed too simple, too bland.  He found it in Men’s Health 1001 Muscle Meals.  I was pleasantly surprised that something so simple could still be quite the satisfying meal.  Honestly, I was worried that I wouldn’t like it so I may have served up a loaf of rosemary bread with olive oil for dipping as an appetizer.

Anyways, it was good, super healthy, and a quick meal to fix.  All three of us enjoyed it and it will probably become a bi-weekly meal.

Teriyaki Chicken

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 201 calories, 29 g protein, 8 g carb, 5.5 g fat, 657 mg sodium

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp tomato paste

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

A few sprinkles of garlic powder

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

*If you have more than 4 thighs then you should double the sauce*

Directions:

Heat broiler to high.  Put soy sauce, honey, garlic powder and tomato paste in medium bowl and stir together.

Add chicken and turn to coat all surfaces.

Place chicken on foil lined pan under broiler.

Cook chicken until well browned, about 8 minutes.  Flip and brown the other side until cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Spinach:

12 oz fresh spinach, stems removed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

Heat broiler.  Cut an 18″x18″ square of foil.  Spray with oil.

Put spinach on foil, spray with oil, and toss with salt.  Fold over and seal edges to form a well sealed pouch.

Cook until wilted, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and top with sesame seeds.

 

Blackened Tilapia

We like things spicy in this household so anything blackened is always a hit.  The seasoning comes from Alton Brown’s recipe for blackened salmon.  Most of it is the  same but I changed it a tiny bit and cut back on most of the salt.  The Italian seasoning has a strong presence so if you like a traditional blackened flavor you may reduce the amount.  If you don’t like the heat, this sweeter version is great too.

I served mine with rice and roasted red and yellow peppers, broccoli, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.  Nothing fancy to that recipe, just a combo of salt, pepper, parsley, greek seasoning, minced garlic, and olive oil.  Roast for 40 minutes at 425 degrees.

Ingredients:

2-4 tilapia filets

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (up to 1 tbsp if you like some heat)

1/2  tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Combine spices and sprinkle liberally over fish.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add fish to pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side until done.

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