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Dinner Menu: Hot Orange Chicken, Potato Wedges and Mocha Cake

Potato Wedges1a

As promised, this week’s menu. Kind of hodge-podge. I love spicy, citrus flavored chicken and this one is quick and easy. The potato wedges are a breeze and the Mocha Cake is the simplest chocolate cake to make, a cousin to yummy Lava cake.  Enjoy.

  1. Hot Orange Chicken
  2. Potato Wedges
  3. Tossed Salad w/Pineapple chunks
  4. Mocha Cake

Hot Orange Chicken

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • ¼ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

bowl

skillet or wok

Mix the first 6 spices in bowl and rub chicken with it.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat oil in skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides (5 minutes).  Add water, cornstarch, lemon and orange juice and let simmer 7 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, keep warm.  Bring liquid to a boil, cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until reduced by half.  Spoon over chicken and serve.

Potato Wedges – easy to do, quarter potatoes, rub with olive oil, salt and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425° until tender.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flourMocha6b
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee (see notes)

8×8 inch baking dish

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Combine milk, oil and vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture.  Stir well.  Pour batter into baking dish.  Combine sugar and cocoa (from bottom list) and sprinkle over batter.  Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir.  Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

NOTE: if you don’t want to use coffee, use boiling water. If you want stronger coffee flavor you can use ½ cup hot espresso and ½ cup boiling water.

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Lo Mein Pr0n – with Chicken and Shrimp

DSC_8166 (1600x1060)Wikipedia tells me that “lo mein” translates from the Cantonese to “stirred noodles”.  This dish had chicken breast chunks and shrimp with broccoli, onions, and carrots along with rehydrated mushrooms that I bought dried.  I’ve learned to simmer them for at least an hour before they are anywhere near tender enough to eat, and don’t try to save the stems.  I simmered these with the dried cayenne peppers, and used the broth from that in making the brown sauce.  I ran across a good discussion of brown sauces here.  Mine has dark soy, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken paste in that mushroom stock, a little chili paste, tamari, and a lot of garlic.  I sweeten ours with Splenda but sugar is more common.

Dinner Menu: Golden Curried Chicken

Golden Chicken Curry4

Been crazy busy, but didn’t forget about the weekly menu. I love the flavors in this chicken recipe and the dill dip is the perfect complement to the spicy main course. If you can find really good pita bread you’re luckier than I am. I have to really search to find the soft, chewy kind I like, that isn’t dry and flavorless. I think next time I make this I might try JeffreyW’s Fry Bread recipe.

On the board tonight:

  1. Golden Chicken Pilaf
  2. Cool Dill Dip
  3. Applesauce w/chopped dried figs Curried chicken spices

Golden Chicken Pilaf

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 oz diced carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tsp (2 cubes) chicken bouillon
  • ½ to 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

skillet, saucepan

In saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions for 2 minutes, add carrots, rice, water, bouillon, curry, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, stir well, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Add raisins and fluff rice with a fork.

In skillet, heat oil, add chicken and brown on all sides.  Add salt & pepper, reduce heat and allow chicken to simmer until rice is done.  Toss chicken to rice and garnish with almonds. 

Cool Dill Dip

  • 8 oz container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dry dill)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pita bread pieces

bowl

Mix together all ingredients, except pita.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with pita bread, torn into large pieces.

 

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Roasted Sprouts with Prosciutto and Balsamic Vinegar

DSC_8137 (1600x1060)I’ve ordered a couple of times now from a St Louis based food retailer, Ditalia, getting in rolls of pancetta, different cheeses, olive oil and a few other items as they suit my whim of the moment.  I just got in a fair sized chunk of prosciutto and wanted to use some right away.  I managed to slice a few little wafers with my old raggedy meat slicer but this prosciutto is more than it can handle.  It needs to sliced so thin you can read through it.  I have a pal that may be able to help me out with the slicing.

Anyway, back to the sprouts – I searched for prosciutto and sprouts and ran across this recipe that called for shallots and pine nuts along with stuff I actually had on hand and decided it was close enough.  I used onions and left out the pine nuts, it worked out well.

Mmm… Soup

DSC_8081 (1600x1060)I swear I didn’t see that bay leaf in there.  I actually had it in my mouth and had to take it out.  Nothing special about the veggies or the broth but I did use a different noodle this time:DSC_8089 (1600x1060)The package has several little noodle bundles, each just about right for a single serving.  I boiled two of them separate from the broth and then drained them and plopped them into the bottom of the bowl before adding the soup proper.  It does solve the problem of noodles disintegrating when saved as leftovers.  Tomorrow or the next day it will be a snap to boil a serving of needles, takes five minutes, and the serving size won’t be a problem.

Chicken Fried Chicken

DSC_8038 (1600x1060)This is similar to the schnitzel dish I did a while back, except this just has the flattened chicken dredged in flour without a dip into eggs.  The gravy is the classic milk gravy made in the same pan.

 

Tidbits

DSC_8012 (1600x1060)I put a chicken into the electric smoker yesterday afternoon and jolted myself out of bed, just as I was closing my eyes, when I remembered it was still in there.  The skin was black and the bird was pretty dry but we salvaged what we could and chopped the meat for sandwiches.  A good soaking in bbq sauce heals a lot of dry.DSC_4535 (1600x1060)Ginger kitteh pesters Toby all the time.  Tobe squalls and hisses and smacks him around and retreats to the top of the tree.  Toby’s tail is quite an attraction.  He lets Ginger get away with stuff that he will not abide from Homer.DSC_4537 (1600x1060)We often get geese at the front pond.  These two showed up today and have been hanging out.  We’ve never had any try to nest, the dogs would preclude any attempt at that.  I wonder if a raft out in the middle would attract a pair to nest?  The back pond is more secluded, we get ducks on it pretty often, there are several Wood Ducks back there now.PICT6349 (1600x1060)The males are very colorful, I wish the camera back there was better.  The light wasn’t very good, either.  The green box holds corn, the little box under it holds a timer and a little spinner motor to spread the corn at set intervals.  The raccoons are all over it at night.DSC_8013 (1600x1060)It has turned off cold again, it will be down into the twenties tonight.  Perfect weather for a good Irish stew!  I went with this recipe today.DSC_4525 (1600x1060)Mrs J sat the dogs down in the laundry the other day for a little light clipping.  We hang the hair out front in a device that lets the nest builders grab hanks for their constructions.DSC_4538 (1600x1060)The tree with the yellow flowers is a Cornelian cherry.  It’s a neat little tree, puts out loads of red berries in the fall.  It’s usually the first thing to flower, beating out the forsythia for that honor.

Potato Salad Pr0n – Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

DSC_7945 (1600x1060)We were quite taken with the store-bought baked potato salad we bought the other day at the market.  I was determined to make some and today seemed like a good day.  Alas!  I could only turn up a handful of small yellow potatoes.  I did have a little bag of Brussels sprouts so I thought “why not”?  I quartered the potatoes and halved the sprouts and set them to roasting on a tray at 400 in the oven, drizzling a little olive oil over them first.  When they had a little brown on them I dumped the lot into a big bowl, adding sour cream and mayo,  about a cup each.  Also add chopped crisp bacon, I used six slices, and a fair measure of cheese.  I have about one and a half cups of mixed cheddar and jack cheese.  Chopped green onions are in the classic recipe but I had none, and judged the sprouts sufficient.  I did rethink and add a bit of chopped parsley for a garnish.  The crisp outer leaves of the sprouts go great in this, don’t try to pick them off!DSC_7940 (1600x1060)Some roasted chicken thighs set the salad off perfectly, I brushed them with bbq sauce at the end, and glopped a little more on them for the table.  Yes, we keep napkins at the table.  LOL

Chicken Schnitzel

DSC_7912 (1600x1060)A  schnitzel is a boneless cut of meat – could be chicken, pork, veal, or just about anything – that has been pounded flat, coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and then fried.  These are chicken “tenders”, part of the breast, and they are tender indeed.  If you are too enthusiastic with the meat tenderizer they will disintegrate.  They got an Italian seasoned bread crumb final coat.

Chicken with Couscous

DSC_7832 (1600x1060)We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight.  This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up.  Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer.  Add the browned chicken back and cover.  I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving.  The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.

We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace.  I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy.  I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.

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