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


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


  • 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.

Chocolate Mocha Torte

Yet another birthday cake. I took our ever present Torte recipe (chocolate, fruit, orange, chocolate-raspberry to name a few) and gave it a coffee twist for a friend’s birthday this week. I dropped it off to her and her husband Monday night in a birthday cake drive-by.

This was the text I received the next day: “Best. Frickin. Cake. Ever.” Made my day. I’ll be repeating the chocolate version next week for my dad’s birthday.

As always, the surprise in this cake is that it’s gluten-free, no flour at all, just eggs, sugar, chocolate, butter as its main ingredients.

Chocolate Mocha Torte

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp espresso or cold brewed coffee*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans (opt)
  • powdered sugar

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate and butter together over low heat until a smooth mixture forms. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool and add coffee.

In a blender, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, blending slowly until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and nuts; mix until just combined.

Bake for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack until completely cooled.  Decorate with powdered sugar and coffee beans if desired. Serves 12 small portions

*which I used because I happened to have some on hand.

Iced Coffees

photo from Seattle’s Best

Yesterday friend of blog, Kirk Spencer, put up a post on iced coffee.  He does a great job of explaining the different ways to approach it. He followed up (after a question from me) with a post on cold brewing, which was great, because I knew nothing about cold brewing and had only seen very expensive machines for the process. I’m going to give it a shot, probably on a small scale.

I love iced coffee in the summer. I do the ‘brew strong coffee and serve immediately over ice” process. I have yet to get the ratio perfect for my tastes. My standard  is Dunkin Donuts, love their coffee, it’s one of the few big coffee shops I can say that about, and their iced coffee is just as good. Not from a mix, it is fresh brewed. They say they double brew it. Whatever, it works. Oh, and did I mention there is not a DD to be found around here? Though that is about to change in a big way. Yay!

I think I will work this summer at perfecting my technique. One advantage I have is the  vita-mix and I can easily make smooth frappucinos. My goal it to make a mocha frappuchino that does not have 400 calories a glass.

So let the adventures begin. I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until then….

Valentine’s Chocolates

Photo from FoodNetwork.com

I’ve never done a Molten Lava Cake.  I’ve always wanted to, just haven’t gotten around to it.  I hear they are very easy.  I googled around to find one that had good ratings.  The recipes vary greatly, so I decided to go to a reliable source:  The Pioneer Woman.  She liked this recipe from Tasty Kitchen.

Molten Chocolate Cake – by Brandielle

  • 4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Real Whipping Cream (seriously It’s So Much Better!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray 4 custard cups with Pam and place on cookie sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.

Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Divide between cups.

Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.

Combine sugar and heavy cream and whip until stiff.

Invert cakes on dishes and top with whipped cream.


I do make a mean pudding cake – which is basically an extra-large lava cake.  And to make it even tastier, I substitute coffee for the boiling water.   It doesn’t get any simpler than this:

Mocha Cake

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


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee**
  • 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled

Preheat oven to 350°

This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.

From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish. From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.

** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio, or use espresso.

Also, for a fun read, head over to The Pioneer Woman.