Sunday, March 25, 2012

Honey Sesame Chicken

I love easy chicken dishes! By easy I mean under 30 minutes, one pan to clean, and ingredients I almost always have on hand. (Yes, I always have fresh ginger on hand. Did you know you can peel and freeze ginger, then grate it from it’s frozen state right into your meal?! It works wonders!) I have made this recipe a few times, and I have made quite a few alterations to the original. What I came up with we really enjoyed-and hope you do, too!

Honey Sesame Chicken
Printable Version

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
Oil (for deep frying)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)

4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg white

1 ½ tablespoons oil
4 tsp. ginger (minced)
4 Tbs .garlic (minced)
2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. honey
6 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
⅔  cup water
⅔ cup sugar
2 tsp. accent
2 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 Tbs. water)

In a large bowl mix all batter ingredients together until smooth. Cover and allow the batter to site for at least 30 minutes. Add the chicken to the batter tossing to coat.
Heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees. Fry chicken bits in patches for 2 minutes or until batter becomes firm. Drain on paper towels.
To make the sauce. Heat 1½  tablespoons of oil in your wok. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add salt, honey, vinegar, and water. Mix well. Combine 1 teaspoon of water with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Add to the sauce and Simmer for 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan and Coat chicken with the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with rice or quinoa

Recipe highly adapted from
Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

My hubby went on a cake baking kick on his last break from school. I was his expert Sous Chef, and it was so much fun! We loved cooking together, and I like taking directions from him for a change! This is a traditional red velvet cake. Nowadays red velvet cake is served with cream cheese frosting. I have always devoured it and praised the cream cheese...well, my mind has officially been changed. This traditional pudding-like frosting is STRAIGHT-FROM-HEAVEN. No joke. I am pretty sure I ate about ¼ of this cake, good thing we shared with some friends or I would have devoured a lot more! The cake itself is fluffy and moist all at the same time. We followed the directions to a “T”, and I will never venture from them again!

Red Velvet Cake
Printable Version

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for pans, sifted
2 tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. red food coloring
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8″ cake pans, and set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth, about 5 seconds. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth top with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel any large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks, and let cool.

Make the frosting and assemble cake: Whisk together sugar and flour in a 4-qt. saucepan; add milk and whisk until smooth. Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 5 minutes. Remove pudding from heat; cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and 1/4 of the pudding on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add half the remaining pudding, beating until smooth, and then add remaining pudding and vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until white and fluffy, about 3 minutes. To assemble, place one cake on a cake stand, and spread with 1 1/2 cups frosting. Place second cake over frosting; cover top and sides with remaining frosting; chill to firm frosting. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 10-12
Recipe from Saveur Magazine

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Creamy Lime Bars

O my. My tummy feels sick because I just ate, well, way too many of these little morsels. I wanted to hoard them all to myself, and at the same time, share them with the neighbors so they would think I was amazing:)! It worked! I ate my fair share and spread some around to some lucky friends. I mean, what can go wrong with nilla wafers, cream cheese, lime juice and lots of sugar, right? Nothing! These were divine. I would almost say that they are a rival to my amazing sister-in-laws lemon bars, which I just realized I haven’t posted yet! O my gosh I will get on that right away! The lime in this recipe could easily be replaced with lemon, if that’s your fancy! Enjoy the creamy deliciousness, and, if you feel so inclined, invite me over for a bite!

Creamy Lime Bars
Printable Version

40 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold real butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbs. flour
5 Tbs. grated lime peel, divided
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1 cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender. (A fork works great if you don’t have a pastry blender).
Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 3 Tbs. lime zest, and lime juice and then pour mixture over crust.
Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbs. grated lime peel just before cutting into 1” squares to serve. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from
Makes about 36 1”x1” bars

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steamed Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a new favorite side dish of ours. If you missed THIS POST on garlic roasted brussel sprouts, go check it out. If I have extra time I go for roasted versions, if I am in a rush, then steaming and sauteing are first on my list. And of course in the summertime, steaming is the only way to go without heating up my house to WAY too hot! They are both equally yummy, just very different! The squirt of lemon juice on these sprouts takes them to a whole new level-so don’t skip that part!

Steamed Brussel Sprouts
Printable version

1 lb fresh brussel sprouts
2-3 Tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper
1 lemon

Cut off ends and remove any old-looking outer leaves on the brussel sprouts and discard. Chop into quarters. Steam the brussel sprouts for 3 minutes or until just tender. They should be almost cooked all the way through. Strain the hot water and place the sprouts in a bowl of ice water, this will keep their color bright green.

Meanwhile, heat 2-3 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the brussel sprout quarters. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for several more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, while the brussel sprouts are cooking. Do not overcook! Overcooked brussels sprouts are bitter and are the main reason why some people don't like them.

Remove the pan from the heat, and squirt with the juice of 1 lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste prior to serving.

Serves 6.
Recipe highly adapted from

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hoisin Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork anyone? Yes, PLEASE! I love pulled pork. I have a variety of different recipes, including Sweet Pulled Pork, Mango Pulled Pork, and Cafe Rio Pulled Pork. They are all so different and equally delicious! This is another recipe, more asian flare-ish. We really loved it, especially with the coleslaw. Please don’t omit it! The sour tang of the coleslaw makes this sweet pork really pop!

Hoisin Pulled Pork
Printable Version

3 pounds pork butt
6 cloves garlic, smashed (3 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
1 bottle hoisin sauce, 15 ounces

Wrap the pork butt completely in foil. Put in the slow cooker and pour ½ cup water around pork. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove from crock pot and drain juice and water. Shred pork, removing excess fat, with two forks. Meanwhile, combine smashed garlic cloves, grated ginger and hoisin sauce. Return shredded pork to crock pot. Pour hoisin sauce mixture over pork and mix together. Cook for an additional 1-2 hours.
Top with coleslaw (below). Serve over rice or in tortillas.

Serves 6.
Recipe Highly adapted from the

Hubby Friendly Coleslaw

8 ounces red cabbage, sliced thinly
8 ounces carrots, shredded
2/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Combine the red cabbage and carrots.
Whisk together the mayo, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; mix  thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.`

Makes 3 cups