Stir Fry Dinner Menu: Orange Chicken and Broccoli

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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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Pan-Fried Orange Chicken

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp sriracha or chili sauce (opt)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch

bowl

Mix together in bowl and set aside

Chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken boneless breast (or thighs), cut into large chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 green onions, chopped – save 1 tbsp of chopped greens for garnish
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
  • 2 tbsp oil (more as needed)

2 plates, skillet or wok

Add salt and pepper to potato starch. Drizzle a bit of oil over chicken pieces to coat. Dredge in potato starch mixture and move to clean plate. Finish all chicken before cooking.

I used to have a wok, but never got the results I wanted from it. Then I heard Ming Tsai discuss how a skillet works better in regular kitchens because a wok really needs a commercial heat source to get it hot enough to cook the way it is designed. Got rid of my wok and use my skillet now. So don’t feel you need a wok to stir-fry things.

Heat oil and add onions (whites and green) quickly stir until they have softened (about 1 minutes) and then add chicken pieces – one at a time so they all touch oil/skillet surface.  You may have to cook chicken in two batches depending on the size of your pan.

Fry until golden on one side, then flip to brown the other side.  Then I tossed it around a bit until it was golden on all sides.

If you cooked in two batches, remove first batch to clean plate and cook the second batch. Add all chicken back to pan, coat with Orange Sauce and toss until it’s all coated. Let sauce heat through thoroughly over low heat. Serve with rice (or noodles), garnish with sesame seeds and onion greens.



 

 

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Christmas Eve Dinner Menu: Dessert Tray, Pt 1

cranberry-upside-down-cakeWith the dinner menu being fairly simple, I’ve spent the week baking desserts. I started with Spritz Cookies. I used this recipe, and then I divided the dough in half. I added 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about a 1/4 cup extra flour (a little at a time until it was workable dough again) and 2 tsp of lemon zest. I dusted those with powder sugar when done. The other batch was just the yummy butter half of the dough.

Next up, this cake. I had leftover Cranberry-Apple Sauce from Thanksgivingwhich I froze with this recipe in mind. It made for a very tasty fruit bottom.  Here’s the original recipe:

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped*
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange zest (rind)
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk

Topping

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tbsp orange juice (more as needed)
  • 2 tsp butter, softened

8×8 glass baking dish & mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 350°

Melt 3 tbsp of butter and pour into baking dish, spread to cover bottom and up the sides. Add ½ cup sugar, mix with butter on bottom of pan. Add cranberries & walnuts, spread over bottom of pan. Cream remaining butter & sugar, add vanilla, egg, orange zest, mix well. Add flour, baking powder & milk, mix until well blended, don’t over mix. Pour batter over cranberry mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and center bounces back at the touch. Invert on plate. Let cool.

Topping: Mix together butter, orange juice & powdered sugar, pour over cake and serve.

* if you don’t have a food processor, you can leave cranberries whole.

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I’m not done yet. I’ll be baking more later this week, so stay tuned….



 

Sweet Olathe Corn Finally Arrives and Dinner Menu

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Photo by JeffreyW

How is it Thursday already?

It was a big day today. Took a friend out to lunch at the new Tapas bar and Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in the store. Seems the rainy spring delayed the crop. I made a special trip to the store today to ‘stalk’ up.

Before that, we sampled the new Tapas bistro, SAMPLES. Really wanted to check out the roof top patio, but it was much too hot for that, so we settled for a sidewalk table. It was a pleasant experience. Good food, good beer and super nice staff. I think the consensus was that we would go back for more ‘samples’.

I had two completely new taste experiences (well four if you count the beer samples): truffle butter (on the bacon and grilled onions flatbread) and poutine (spare rib poutine to be exact). They were both fun and flavorful. I’d add spaetzle in brown butter, but my friend tells me it wasn’t true spaetzle, even though it was still delicious. Tasted like chicken mac ‘n cheese.

We finished down the road with Funnel Cake Strawberry Sundaes, offered in honor of county fair season. It was yummy.

Freddy's Funnel Cake Sundae

Freddy’s Funnel Cake Sundae

Later in the day I stopped at the grocery store, picked up a dozen ears of corn and steamed a few for dinner. I’ll prep the rest tomorrow and remove from the cob and serve cold on salads.

In honor of that arrival, grilled corn is on tonight’s Dinner Menu. It is one of the first menus I ever wrote.

On the board tonight:

But wait, there’s more! Click to read full menu

Quick Tip: Freezing Fresh from the Garden

 

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It’s the time of year again when things begin to ripen faster than you can eat them, but there are still not enough to think about canning or cooking down and freezing. So what to do?

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I had a bunch of cilantro and two tomatoes which were rushing to ruin and decided I needed to do something so I didn’t end up composting them. You can do this with any leafy herb, such as the basil, parsley, cilantro and veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini.

I added the tomatoes and cilantro into my blender, covered with water and blended together well. I froze them in 8 oz portions, as that is the amount I would use in soup or sauce. Ice cube trays are an option, too, but that size is better for when you’re freezing intense herbs, like basil, by itself, where you would only use a tablespoon or so in a recipe.

I also zest all my oranges, lemons and limes and freeze them in a thin and flat layer in ziplock bags. Then I break off whatever amount called for in a recipe.

Herbs can also be packed in oil (click here) as JeffreyW did with his basil pictured above and tomatoes can be flash frozen whole, as JeffreyW did with the batch  pictured at the top and detailed heregreen and red peppers can be seeded and cut up into large pieces and frozen in the same manner.

There are many more ways to preserve fresh from the garden produce and I’ll try and remember to document as I go along this summer. Until then….

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

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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.

Dinner Menu: Crispy Potato Chicken and Banana Foster Ice Cream

Shredded Potato Packet Final A while back I played around with Potato Encrusted Chicken and Fish. It is fairly easy to prepare, tastes great and looks very pretty on a plate. But it can be challenging and tonight’s menu offers a simpler version of the same style of chicken.  Perfect for a quick week night dinner. On the board tonight:

  1. Crispy Potato Chicken
  2. Steamed Carrots in butter
  3. Banana Foster Ice Cream

This recipe originally called for Dijon mustard, I am not a fan, so I always omit it, but I kept it in for this incarnation.  You can also add grated Parmesan or shredded cheddar to the potato mixture if you want to change things up a bit. Crispy Potato Chicken

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (opt)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ice water

2 bowls & baking dish (8×8), lightly oiled Shred potato, transfer to bowl of ice water. Rinse & dry breasts, place in baking dish and spread with garlic and optional Dijon mustard. Drain potatoes, pat dry and mix with oil & seasoning in bowl. Spread mixture over the top of the chicken pieces. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown and chicken’s internal temperature is 185° This is a quick and alcohol-free banana foster, if you want the real deal, try this Alton Brown recipe Banana Foster Ice Cream

  • 2 large,firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp orange peel
  • dash cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream

skillet and 4 dessert bowls Melt butter in saucepan, add bananas, sauté quickly until lightly brown. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and juice. Boil until syrupy, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add ice cream to dishes, top with ¼ of banana mixture each and garnish with almonds. Shopping List:

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large, firm bananas
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 1 quart premium vanilla ice cream

Also: butter, garlic, salt & pepper, fresh parsley, dried rosemary, olive oil, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional: Dijon mustard, Parmesan or cheddar cheese

Friday Recipe Exchange: Mix and Match

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Just when I needed some inspiration, it arrived via email. Frequent guest recipe contributor, Joshua D. sent along a terrific idea this week, so it will be the featured recipe tonight.

Next week I think I have a real treat in store, with some very, shall we say, unique recipes.

Until then, JeffreyW made some awesome looking slaw (ingredients pictured above) this week, with a some great photos and a simple recipe, click here for the whole show.

He’s also been harvesting his tomatillos and making some good looking sauce, click here and here. I love tomatillos and can’t wait to grow them again myself, because JeffreyW is making my mouth water with these.

And finally in between a busy week of work and helping friends, I posted this week’s menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze and Grilled Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup.

I haven’t forgotten about the gluten free recipes everyone sent me, either. I’ll be using those in an upcoming recipe exchange. Since most of the recipes involve baking, I thought I’d wait until the weather was a bit cooler.

How about you? Is it still to hot to cook? What’s your go-to meal when it’s too hot to be in the kitchen? And what are you looking forward to making  when the weather cools down? For me, it’s always soups. Cool weather means soup in my house.

Okay, now for Joshua D (you may know him as Yutsano):

After months of teasing…here it is! This is great for when you have leftover chicken and biscuits or bread in the house and need to use it up. Since this is a French-inspired dish there are two ways to enjoy it: either over toasted croutons or biscuits. Both are equally delicious! Italian kale is available in most supermarkets, but if you can’t get it use adult spinach.

Chicken Provence

  • 1 lb cooked chicken
  • 2 shallots
  • 8-10 crimini mushrooms
  • 6-8 leaves Italian kale
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I use pinot grigio)
  • 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp parsley, divided
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 biscuits or 2 cups croutons from day old French bread

Shred chicken and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Slice shallots and mushrooms thinly and throw into the pan. Season with some salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. While those are cooking, chop kale into 1/2 inch thick ribbons including stems, then add to pan. Cook another 2-3 minutes with another pinch of salt. While that happens, slice garlic very thin and chop tomato. Add garlic to pan and cook another minute, then add tomato and as much juice as you can that came out. Give one final pinch of salt. Sauté for another minute, then add wine, chicken, and herbs. Reduce until the wine is almost but not completely gone, then stir in heavy cream. Reduce for about 5 minutes, then test for final seasoning. You may need a bit more herb or salt at this point. Slice open biscuits and spoon sauce over the top. You can re-heat or toast your biscuits or croutons as you’re cooking everything else, it takes about the same amount of time!

Thank you Yuts! It sounds delicious.  If anyone else wants to share a recipe for the exchange, send me an email, I’d love to post them. See you next week.  Until then…

 

X-Posted at Balloon-Juice

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Dinner Menu: Fruit Juice Marinated Grilled Chicken

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JeffreyW grills up some corn

I’m still on the road, travelling through Nebraska, where corn is king. We had some great grilled corn this weekend and made the fruit salad for a family get-together yesterday. Both always go great with marinated chicken breasts. This marinade works best on the grill because it caramelizes well over an open flame and that gives its signature flavor.

Enjoy!

On the board tonight:

  1. Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken Breasts
  2. Corn on the Cob (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  3. Grilled Potatoes
  4. Ambrosia

Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken Breasts

  • 4 chicken boneless breasts
  • ½ cup grape or cranberry juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup wine (non-alcoholic is ok)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • zip lock bag

Add all ingredients into zip-lock bag and thoroughly coat & let marinate overnight. Grill (or roast in the oven at 375° in a large baking dish). 15 minutes each side, 185° internal temp. When grilling, to avoid drying chicken out, sear for 5 minutes each side, cook additional 10 minutes, then move away from high heat for rest of cooking time.

To make ahead, add chicken and marinade ingredients together and freeze. Pull out and thaw in the refrigerator the night before.

Grilled Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter
  • parsley or chives
  • salt & pepper
  • foil

Thinly slice each potato, layer one on each piece of foil, then layer sliced onion and parsley or chives. Melt butter and add garlic, drizzle equally over each potato. Wrap and seal foil. Grill, turning halfway through (about 15 minutes each side). Cook until potatoes are tender and onions crispy.

Ambrosia

Mix pineapple, sliced banana, orange slices, grapes & shredded coconut with 4 oz ginger ale.

Shopping List:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 oz grape or cranberry juice
  • 4 oz soy sauce
  • 4 oz wine (non-alcoholic is ok)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 8 oz fresh pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 2 oz shredded coconut
  • 4 oz ginger ale

Also: crushed garlic, butter, parsley, chives

Menu originally posted July 2009

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