Dinner Menu: Stir Fry Orange Chicken and Broccoli

It’s snowing here – well, raining at the moment, but snow by the evening. Never mind my garden is planted with tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, tomatillos, and zucchini, all raised in the house nursery over the past few months. Sigh.

It’s Colorado and we are always prepared for snow, so I’ve got everything ready to be covered and protected as the weather turns. Just not how I expected to spend the latter part of my week.

Cold weather puts me in the mood for some spicy favorites. This is from 2017:


orange-chicken-dinner

I’m not big on deep frying anything, but I love orange chicken so I wanted to find a way to make it so it was still crisp without all the oil and breading. I found the perfect ingredient to produce that result: potato starch. I’ve been using it for a while now and it makes the most perfect Oven Baked Chicken – I’ve been substituting it for the bread crumbs, combining it with crushed rice chex – I’ll post an updated recipe on that technique this week.

I thought it might have the same effect on pan frying chicken pieces. It did. Crispy, light and flavorful. Of course top anything with enough orange sauce and I’m there.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-Fried Orange Chicken
  2. Rice or Rice Noodles
  3. Steamed Broccoli

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Dinner Menu: Cajun Catfish and Buttered Potato Pie

Continuing my Southern-themed menus this month, leading up to Mardi Gras:

I get gifts and often times it’s spices, so I have a couple of really good Cajun spice mixes to choose from for the fish. The potatoes are so easy, especially if you have a mandolin, it takes about 10 minutes to make this recipe from start to finish. Lots of butter and I added crushed roasted garlic and brushed a little olive oil on the top layer.  I always forget how good they are and wonder why I don’t make them more often.

Blood oranges are in season if you want to substitute for the pears.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-fried Catfish
  2. Broccoli
  3. Buttered Potato Pie
  4. Sliced Pears

Pan-fried Catfish*

  • 4 catfish fillets – approx. 6 oz each
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun spice (according to your taste preferences)

large skillet

Brush catfish with oil and season with Cajun spice.  Lightly oil pan, using high heat fry 3-4 minutes on each side.

*if you don’t think you’ll like catfish, you can substitute salmon, whitefish, trout, or even boneless chicken breasts (requires longer cooking time).

If you can’t find a commercial Cajun spice mixture, you can mix together equal parts of the following and store in an airtight container:  paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper, allspice, thyme, ground cloves, mace, cayenne, and crushed bay leaf.

Buttered Potato Pie

  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ onion, sliced in thin rings
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley

large skillet

Peel & slice potatoes thinly.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in skillet.  Arrange onions on the bottom of the skillet, then layer potatoes slices overlapping in a ring on the bottom of the pan.  As you make each layer, drizzle the remaining butter over the top and season with salt & pepper.  Invert heat-proof plate, or I use a metal pie pan, over the potatoes, weigh down with heavy heat-proof object (like a can of water).  Sauté over medium heat until potatoes are molded and golden brown.  Remove the plate. Transfer the potatoes to the 400-degree  F oven and cook until caramelized and cooked through, about 30 minutes, pressing the potatoes occasionally to compress and shaking the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Cut into four wedges and serve with parsley garnish.

Shopping List

  • 4 Pears (or one large can sliced pears)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 catfish fillets
  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • ½ onion
  • Parsley
  • 1 stick butter

Also: olive oil, Cajun spice, salt, pepper

More Stir Fry

The chicken marinade was black bean/garlic sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, Chinese cooking wine, mushroom soy, and sweet soy sauce plus a lot of minced ginger and fresh garlic.The veggies steamed concurrently with the chicken cooking in the wok and everything was timed to be ready when the rice was done.  And it happened just that way!  I dumped the veggies into the chicken to coat with the sauce.  Yay!

Lemon Dill Cream Sauce

Unsurprisingly,  this recipe is the first one to come up in a search for a sauce with the search terms lemon, dill, and cream sauce.  I used a bit of this roasted garlic broth mix to take care of the garlic component.  (This is good stuff and I find myself using the various “Better Than Bouillon” products routinely in my cooking.)
The sauce was good on both the pan-seared fish filets and the steamed veggies.  I used a bit of thickener in my sauce and it set up nicely in the fridge.  I think it would be a killer veggie dip served cold.

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

I cut a pork loin in half for sealing in two vacuum bags along with sprigs of oregano and rosemary, and cooked them both for 4 or 5 hours @ 135°.  I see a recommended range from 130° to 150° for pink and juicy at the lower end and firm and not so juicy at the higher side.  I still get twitchy about seeing pink pork but I am gradually overcoming that.
The sauce is brown butter with roasted garlic. I cubed the potatoes and gave them a nice soak in cold water, drained them well, and dropped them into 350° oil till they browned.  The broccoli was steamed and then buttered with a squeeze of lemon.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I saw a comment, somewhere, that a particular band of chili oil was their favorite.  I sought some of it out the other day.  The soup has a couple of spoonfuls.  It is good but my sample size is pretty small to declare it the best ever.  Still, it’s pretty good.

Pan Biscuits and Chicken Gravy

 

This was a cross between biscuits and gravy and chicken pot pie.  I went with this recipe for the biscuits.  I’ve made it before but this time I used an 8×8 inch glass pan.  I should have stayed with my larger hotel pan because the biscuits took way longer to bake than the recipe indicated.  After I took the pic I tried to plate some biscuits for the dinner but they were not yet done, I had to give them 10 more minutes past the 25 I had set the timer for and they were still not quite right.

The chicken was leftover from the “Winner, Winner..” post the other day, and the gravy was just a simple white sauce with powdered mustard, a few ounces of Parmesan, plus the remaining chicken gravy.  I steamed some more veggies to add to it.  I was hungry when I put the biscuits into the oven and ravenous by the time they were finally done.

Garlic Herbed Butter Roasted Chicken

I grabbed a big chicken at the store the other day, I was thinking beer-butt roasted fryer chicken for Sunday dinner but when I went to put it into the fridge  I saw the “roasting chicken” right there on the wrapper.  No problem!  A quick search led me to this recipe.  I had some fresh rosemary, bought for the porchetta last week.A quick slather and we were ready for the oven.  I ran it at 400° on the convection roast setting.  I mixed the soft butter with several cloves of roasted garlic rather than fresh garlic.  I did add fresh garlic to the cavity, and several cloves went under the bird along with the onions, celery, and carrots.I more or less destroyed the breast quarter, Mrs J got the leg and thigh.  The juices strained from the bottom of the pan made a killer gravy.  A baked potato and steamed veggies rounded out the meal.