Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hoisin Five Spice Chicken Legs

I love chicken drumsticks and thighs. I had some in the freezer that I needed to use up. I found this recipe at and it seemed simple and easy enough for a weeknight meal.

The original recipe called for only hoisin, 5 spice powder and chicken. However, I read the reviews and decided to add some more ingredients to add a little extra something. I halved the ingredients because I had only 4 drumsticks, but the recipe called for 4 whole chicken legs.

I was also hesitant with baking something at 500°, but I remember seeing chicken wings baked at 500° before with no problem. The smoke detector did go off when I was making this! I guess it was because the garlic burned…

hoisin 5spice drumsticks

Hoisin Five Spice Chicken Legs
Adapted from:

4 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce

1. Preheat oven to 500°F.

2. Put chicken in a shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan lined with foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

3. In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Brush liberally all over chicken. Bake in upper third of oven until skin is browned and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

My chicken was probably bigger than normal. I baked for about 35+ min. I also removed the skin from the chicken before I brushed it. Next time, I will probably add garlic powder instead of minced garlic because it did burn on the chicken. Other than that, the flavor was similar to a Chinese style barbeque.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Steamed Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms

I wanted to try to recreate a dish my mom made for me when I was growing up. I knew it had various chicken parts with shitake mushrooms, but I didn’t know what else was in it. I also knew it was steamed, as were a lot of recipes she made.

Although my recipe was not exactly like what she made, I think it was a good try and tasted equally as delicious. Mine seemed to come out lighter and didn’t feel as heavy as the one my mom makes. It was good enough to make Gary go back for seconds!

chicken and shitake

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6-7 fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces, white parts removed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoons white sugar

1. Cut up chicken to 1 inch wide strips. Remove stems from mushroom and slice. Clean and cut up scallions into 1 inch pieces. Place all into a bowl.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the bowl, toss to coat together.

3. Transfer to a shallow dish with edges (liquid will form), place in steamer or wok with steamer rack in water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice.


We also didn’t have a steamer, our wok was what we used for basically everything. With a wok and a rice cooker, we were set in the kitchen. With that said, this recipe is also being submitted to Joelen’s Tasty Tools event for the month of March. Be sure to check her site at the end of the month for other tasty recipes using the wok!

chix shitake plate

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alton Brown’s “The Chewy”

If you’re a foodie and watch Food Network at all, you should have heard of “The Chewy” by now. If not, have you been living under a rock? …I kid, I kid.

But anyway, The Chewy is Alton Brown’s creation for an episode where he made different types of cookies for his sister, Marsha. He made 3 different cookies: The Thin, The Puffy, and The Chewy. The one that called out to me was of course, The Chewy!

These cookies were certainly chewy, however they didn’t spread as much as I hoped. I had to flatten them out before I put them in the oven. I didn’t use the cookie scoop to measure out the dough, instead I used a medium cookie scoop which is a little bigger than a tablespoon. I also usually don’t have milk on hand, so I used milk powder reconstituted with water. Bridget from The Way the Cookie Crumbles recommends cutting the milk in half to allow the cookies to spread.

Although these cookies are good, I don’t think it’s my favorite cookie. I still like my tried and true recipe better.

the chewy

Alton Brown’s Chewy
Adapted from: Alton Brown/Food Network

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk (I used milk powder reconstituted with water)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 375° F.

2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Chill the dough, then using a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto parchment-lined or silicone baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 4 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.


These cookies were not flattened before I put it in the oven. It came out a bit puffy and didn’t seem to spread that much. I had to flatten the next batch before I baked them.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice

I saw this recipe come up on my Google reader, and I knew I had to try it. It was a great use of ingredients I had usually had on hand. I was also home and I wanted to put the crockpot to use while I did other things around the house. I know, I know, the crockpot was meant for things such as when you’re out of the house and need to have dinner ready when you get home. However, I still get paranoid (all Gary’s fault) if I leave it plugged in for an extended period of time without supervision. I’ll probably have to use it a few more times under my watch before I leave it on when I’m away. I also don’t have a programmable one, so that’s one of my concerns too. Mine just has low, high, and warm. It doesn’t shut off after a certain amount of time.

With that said, I made this with chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, because that’s what I usually have on hand. I’m much more of a dark meat fan myself. The pack had 5, so I added it all in there. I also used pineapple chunks instead of rings. I thought I had rings, but I was mistaken. It worked just the same though. I also paired it with some coconut rice that made this a great meal. We both enjoyed this a lot.

The others mentioned that it was a bit sweet, but I didn’t find it sweet at all. I think it was the extra piece of chicken or because it was paired with the coconut rice that balanced it out.

hawaiian chicken

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken
Adapted from: Stephanie Cooks, Lauren’s Kitchen, and …and a cookie for Dessert, originally from the Easy Slow Cooker Cookbook.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used a pack of 5 boneless skinless thighs)
salt to taste
1 (15 ounce) can pineapple slices, juice reserved (I used a can of pineapple chunks)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup cornstarch

Place chicken in slow cooker sprayed with non-stick spray and sprinkle with a little salt.

Place pineapple slices (or pineapple chunks) over chicken.

In a small bowl, combine pineapple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, ginger and cornstarch and stir until combined. Pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve over rice.

See below for coconut rice recipe.

coconut rice

Coconut Rice
Adapted from:

2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice (note that other types of rice, such as brown rice, do not work for this recipe)
1 1/2 cups thick, good-quality coconut milk (not "lite")
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar

Place rice in rice cooker. Add the water, coconut milk, salt, and sugar. Stir well (use a plastic or wooden utensil to avoid scraping off the non-stick surface).

Cover and set to cook.

Once your rice cooker switches to "warm" mode, allow another 8-10 minutes for rice to finish "steaming". This will ensure your coconut rice is fully cooked and pleasantly sticky.

Gently fluff with chopsticks before serving.

This is the recipe that uses a rice cooker.
For Coconut Rice made in a pot on your stovetop, see: Thai Coconut Rice Recipe (stovetop version).

Before I started the coconut rice, I had a can of coconut milk that was new and not opened. I opened it up and saw that it was in chunks! It still smelled like coconut, but I couldn’t use it. I guess it was because I put it in the fridge when I bought it. DO NOT PUT CANS OF COCONUT MILK IN THE FRIDGE. If you do, this is what it will look like:

coconut milk

Luckily, just this past weekend, I found coconut cream powder at the Chinese supermarket and bought it.

coconut cream powder

This was a life saver! It had instructions for both coconut cream and coconut milk. Whew!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken Sausage Pepper Stew

We had a bunch of leftover ingredients from our dinner party that we needed to use up. One was part of a package of turkey sausages, and the other was some chicken we were supposed to use, but didn’t end up making it. While I was thinking about what to make with it, I turned on Food Network and Rachel Ray was on. She just so happened to be making something with Chicken and Sausages! What a coincidence. As I watched, and as she went along, I was thinking, “I have that, I have that.” It wasn’t until the end that I thought it seemed so simple to add whatever to the pot and would come out as a great dish. I didn’t have everything she used, so I winged it from the first 2 ingredients.

I started thinking about the summer cookouts and how we always made sausages with peppers and onions. I wondered if that would work in stew form. It definitely did! This was a great dish, and it reheated very well the next day too!

The chicken I had was previously seasoned with salt and left in the fridge overnight. We were supposed to use it during the dinner party, however it ended up being forgotten, or we didn’t have time to make it in the end. If you have time to preseason the chicken overnight, go for it. If not, seasoning it right before should be fine. It was also pounded flat, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

sausage chicken

Chicken Sausage Pepper Stew

5 turkey sausages, casings removed
5 pieces chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch strips
2 medium onions roughly chopped
2 bell peppers sliced (I had partial pieces of 3 different colored bell peppers)
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste 

1. Heat a dutch oven on medium high heat. Add olive oil. Remove the casing and break up the sausage into 1 inch pieces. Place into the pot stir around to brown. Cut the chicken into 1 inch wide pieces. Add to the pot.

2. Cut open the peppers, discard seeds and slice into half inch strips. Roughly slice the onions into thick slices. Add both to the pot. Stir around for a few minutes until chicken turns opaque.

3. Add chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, thyme and red pepper flakes. Mix well, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hearty Beef Stew

I’ve been wanting to make beef stew for a while now. Gary and I don’t usually eat too much beef, so a whole pot for the 2 of use would not work very well when we only need a small taste. When a bunch of friends came over for a dinner party, it was a great opportunity to try the stew I saw on Good Things Catered. This was a great stew for a cold night, even though it was pretty warm in my apartment! This was a great comfort meal to have with company.

I originally wanted to use the California Zinfandel I had, however when it came time to pour the wine, I couldn’t find my corkscrew, so I used red cooking wine in place of it. It still came out wonderful. I also didn’t use chicken stock, I didn’t have any in the pantry at the time. I had some beef bouillon that I used with 2 cups water to make the beef broth.

beef stew

Hearty Beef Stew
Adapted from: Good Things Catered, originally from America’s Test Kitchen

3 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
salt and ground pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped coarse (about 2 c.)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c. full-bodied dry red wine
2 c. beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. cubes
4 large carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled and sliced 1/4 in. thick
1 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Dry beef thoroughly and season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Add half the meat so that pieces are not touching and cook not moving until brown (about 2-3 min)Use tongs and rotate pieces until all sides are browned (about 5 additional min.)

Transfer beef to medium bowl and add another 1 Tbsp oil to pan, repeating previous steps with other half of beef.

Reduce heat to medium and add additional 1 Tbsp oil to now empty pan and swirl to coat bottom.

Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, scraping bottom of pan for brown bits until softened (about 5 mins).

Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 sec.

Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored (1-2 min.)

Add wine, scraping the bottom and stirring until thick and flour is dissolved.

Gradually add the beef stock, stirring constantly scraping up the remaining browned bits on bottom of pan.

Add bay leaves and thyme and return to simmer.

Add beef, return to simmer, and place the pot in the oven.

Cook for 1 hour.

Add potatoes and carrots cover and return to the oven to cook for additional hour.

Remove the pot from oven (here you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

Add the peas, cover and allow to stand for 5 min.

Stir in the parsley, discard bay leaves, adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

The first time I made this type of dish, it was plain spinach dip, no artichokes. I don’t think I’ve ever really had artichokes before. I tried Alton Brown’s spinach artichoke dip with some adaptations of course, and it was very good! I have had good luck with Alton’s recipes lately, and this was another win. I also had lots of cream cheese I wanted to use up, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to use it.

My revisions were omitting the sour cream since I had none, using 8oz cream cheese instead of 6, and adding more mayo and parmesan cheese to balance out the flavor of the extra cream cheese.

spinach artichoke dip 

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Adapted from: Alton Brown/Food Network

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach (I used a whole 10 oz box of frozen leaf spinach)
1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts (I used a whole box of frozen artichokes)
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Defrost and squeeze out excess liquid from the spinach and artichokes.

2. Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 1/2 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Squeeze/press out excess liquid

3. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Espresso Chocolate Chip Walnut Brownies

Recently I’ve been craving brownies so I ended up making a batch to curb my craving. I also wanted to make a dessert for Gary that didn’t require milk or butter. I found this on and knew I had to try it. Although it has 2 cups of sugar in it, it doesn’t taste overly sweet. He loved that it didn’t taste too greasy at all and tasted very light. He ended up having 3 pieces in one sitting!

I tried this recipe twice in the past week. The first time, I followed the recipe exactly, and also added 1 cup each of chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. I baked it for 35 minutes. It was good, and had rave reviews from my coworkers (who love being my guinea pigs!). However, I personally thought it was lacking something.

The next batch I made, I also added 1 tablespoon of espresso powder, as suggested from one of the reviews. This was the key ingredient that MADE this brownie! If you want a great brownie, you can still omit the espresso. If you want an extraordinary brownie, add the espresso powder!


Chocolate Chip Walnut Brownies
Adapted from:
Makes 24 squares

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or carob chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil and boiling water. Mix until well blended and thickened. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup oil, sugar, then eggs one at a time. Add the flour, vanilla and salt; mix just until all of the flour is absorbed. Add in the espresso powder. Mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (The second time around, I baked for 30 minutes. It was not coming out perfectly clean, but it was a great consistency after it cooled.) Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Highlights of a Dinner Party

Our friend Jason will be leaving for culinary school in Italy next week. He came over to join me in the kitchen to cook for our friends. Here’s some highlights of what we made:

mango guacMango Guacamole
(made by Jason)

4 avocados
1 mango, cubed
1 red onion, finely diced
lime juice
salt to taste

I think those were all the ingredients. I liked this even though I’m not a huge fan of mangos.


spinach artichoke dip Spinach Artichoke Dip
click here for link to post








bowtie pasta Bowtie Pasta with Asparagus Pesto
(made by Jason)

Sorry, I don’t know what the ingredients are. It was very tasty though.

The leftover pesto also made a great dip.






mac and cheeseMac and Cheese
(made by Jason)

Again, I don’t know what’s in it. All I know is that he added lots of cheese!







beef stew

Beef Stew
click here for link to post








fried chicken wingsFried Chicken Wings
(made by Jason)

Season wings with salt and pepper. Fry in about 2 inches of oil.

Hot sauce (optional):
Add melted butter and hot sauce in a zip top bag. Add chicken and toss to coat.

I have a deep fryer, however when I opened the box, the cord was missing. It was left at my parent’s place. We had to make do with the pot on the oven.

linguine and clam sauce

Linguine in Clam Sauce
(made by Jason)

1 lb of linguine
2 15 oz cans of clams with juice
olive oil
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed. Transfer to a pan. Add 2 cans clams with juice. Toss to coat. Add seasonings and olive oil to taste.
Jason, let me know if I forgot anything!

carrot cake cupcakes Carrot Cake Cupcakes
(made by me)

I made these the night before using an existing recipe. I let it cool overnight and let my guests have fun frosting their own designs. Some of them got a little carried away, so I can’t show those ;).

To make this, pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into cupcake liners (about 3/4 full). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.



Espresso Chip Walnut Brownies
click here for link to post









Other dishes that were made but were camera shy:
Ragu – Homemade meat sauce (made by Jason)

Thanks to Allen for the photos!

Thanks to everyone who came over to eat!

Thanks to Jason for coming over and showing me new techniques. I’ll definitely work on my knife skills!

Can’t wait until next time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream

Gary first tried Turtle Mountain non dairy ice cream made with coconut milk. I wasn’t such a huge fan, but he liked it. What really turned me off was the price at over $5 a pint! I told him that I would research recipes for ice cream and I would make it for him myself. It was tough finding plain chocolate non dairy ice creams. I found a few using tofu, but very few using non dairy milks. I will try the tofu one someday, but I wanted to use up the soy creamer. I finally found this recipe for double chocolate ice cream, but I omitted the chips so it’s plain chocolate. I also used 2 cups non dairy creamer instead of all 4 cups milk.

chocolate ice cream

Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from: Washington Post

2 cups non dairy creamer (or use all milk)
2 cups non dairy milk (I used almond milk)
2 tablespoons arrowroot
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup vegan dairy-free chocolate or carob chips (I omitted)

1. Combine ¼ cup of the milk and the arrowroot. Blend well and set aside.

2. Place remaining milk and creamer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and sugar, and bring up to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add arrowroot mixture, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

3. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into a bowl and chill in an ice bath. Refrigerate until chilled, then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions, add chips during last 5 minutes of freezing.

Makes 1 quart.

This turned out very good. The liquid tasted a bit bitter before it was frozen, but once it was frozen in the freezer, it tasted just like chocolate ice cream. I think the consistency was more like Italian ice than dairy ice cream, but it is pretty close.

Of all the non dairy milks Gary has tried so far, he seems to like the almond milk the best.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shanghai Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Every other week, we buy bags of vegetables at the Chinese supermarket. We don’t usually buy the bunches. Instead, they have pre-packed bags that are already portioned out. It’s perfect for the 2 of us. Each bag has enough for 4 servings (not necessarily an actual serving) with leftovers to pack for work. I think there is about 2lbs in each pre-packed bag. We use half the bag if we do not want leftovers.

This week, we picked up some Shanghai bok choy. I’ve always made the veggies more or less the same way, however this time I had leftover mushrooms that I needed to use up, so I added that in. The mushrooms made this dish extra tasty!

bok choy mushrooms

Shanghai Bok Choy and Mushrooms

1-2 Tbsp oil
1 lb Shanghai bok choy or baby bok choy
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce

1. Slice of the ends, rinse and clean the bok choy. Clean and slice the mushrooms.

2. Add oil into a hot wok. Add the garlic, sauté for a few seconds. Add the bok choy to the wok. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir well until vegetables are tender.

3. Transfer to plate and serve.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chilean Sea Bass in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Chalk it up for another tried and true recipe from my parents. This was one of my favorite fish dishes when I was growing up.

I asked my mom how this dish was made, and she told me how simple it was. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “that’s it??” I’m glad I asked. This tasted just like how I ate it when I was growing up. Yes, we ate fish growing up! We loved it. I don’t think we were as picky eaters as other kids were when we were younger.

Black bean garlic sauce comes in a jar and has all kinds of good stuff in it, so it saves time when making lots of different dishes. I’ve used it in a spare rib tip recipe before, but since I don’t eat pork anymore, I haven’t made it in a while. But, here it is in a fish recipe.

sea bass

Chilean Sea Bass in Black Bean Garlic Sauce
Adapted from: my parents

1 lb sea bass steak (I had a little over a lb)
1-2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 inch piece of ginger
1 Tbsp. black bean garlic sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce

1. Cut up the fish into chunks about 1-2 inches in size. Peel and cut the ginger into matchstick pieces.

sea bass cuts

2. Heat a wok with oil. Add the fish and ginger. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic sauce and soy sauce and mix well.

3. Cook for about 3-5 minutes while continue to toss. The fish is done when the middle of the largest piece is opaque. (I usually cut the biggest piece in half to see whether or not it’s done.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken Teriyaki

What happens when I ask Gary what he put in a dish?

Gary: “I dunno…some of this, some of that. I did it like that.”
Me: “Like what?”
Gary: “Like that. I don’t know how to explain it”
Me: “Argh! How am I supposed to blog about it like that??”

Anywho…I think I finally got it out of him. This should be more or less the recipe he used. He got it from his Personal Cooking game for the DS. He made this a few times before it actually came out right, but at least he tried, and finally made something edible. I think he used the original recipe as a loose guideline and adapted it to his taste from there.

chicken teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki
Inspired from: Personal Trainer Cooking by Nintendo DS

2 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch strips
1-2 tbsp cooking oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. rice wine

1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. rice wine

1. Cut up the chicken into 1" wide strips. Place in bowl. Add in the marinade ingredients. Mix well and let sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes.

2. Coat a wok or stir fry pan with oil. Remove chicken from marinade and place in the wok. Discard marinade. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add in sauce ingredients. Continue to mix. Cover and cook until most of the sauce has evaporated.

So, Gary left the spatula in the wok while he covered it. He said it helps the liquid evaporate faster. It seems kind of unorthodox to me…but whatever works.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Curry Chicken and Potatoes

Here is another recipe I have grown up with. I should really call these Curry Potatoes and Chicken. I usually use more potatoes than chicken in this recipe. Gary and I went out to enjoy the wonderful weather this past weekend. At around 6:30, we decided to heat somewhere to eat. I’ve been craving Malaysian food lately, and curry chicken sounded really good. We actually had about $15 cash in our pockets, and we debated (well not really) the pros and cons of going out to eat.

Pros: It would be a nice treat.
Cons: We didn’t have any money (I think the restaurant only takes cash). We would have to stop by a bank to get money. We would be paying a lot more for something we can make ourselves.

So, since we’re trying to save money and needed to go grocery shopping anyway, we decided to go to the grocery store  and get the week’s groceries.

curry chix/potatoes

Curry Chicken and Potatoes
Adapted from: my parents

2 boneless chicken thighs
4-6 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon curry powder (more or less to taste)

1. Cut the chicken into 1 inch strips. Peel potatoes. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch wide pieces.

2. Heat a wok or stir fry pan on medium high heat, add cooking oil and chicken. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until chicken has started to brown. Mix in soy sauce, salt and sugar. Add potatoes, mix well for 2-3 more minutes.

3. Add water to the wok, then add in curry powder into the water. Mix well. (If you add curry powder first, it will be bitter.) Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

4. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

I recommend using dark meat for this. If you use white meat, it may dry out. I’ve also used chicken wings cut in half.

curry chix potatoes

I’m also submitting this recipe to this month’s Tasty Tools event hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures. This month, she is highlighting the wok. Here’s my wok in action while making this dish.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Scallops with Thai Peanut Noodles

We bought a bag of frozen scallops the last time we went to BJs. We try to get some kind of seafood every time we’re there. I’ve never made scallops before, although I love eating them at restaurants.

I saw a couple of recipes for scallops that I wanted to try, but I didn’t have all the ingredients. This recipe called out to me because I’m a big fan of peanut butter, AND I had all the ingredients on hand. I also didn’t want to make a huge fuss with dinner, so I decided to make this.

thai peanut noodles

Scallops with Thai Peanut Noodles
Adapted from: Eat Better America

1 package (7 oz) spaghetti, broken in half (I used half a package of Thai style rice noodles)
5 cups fresh broccoli pieces or 1 bag (12 oz) frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
3/4 lb fresh or frozen (thawed) bay scallops or quartered sea scallops
1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter spread (I used Lee Kum Kee Peanut Sauce)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce (I used chili garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped (I omitted since I didn’t have any on hand)

rice sticks peanut sauce chili garlic sauce

1. Cook spaghetti as directed on package—except add broccoli and scallops during last 4 minutes of cooking. Scallops are done when they turn white and opaque.

2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and red pepper sauce with wire whisk until smooth.

3. Drain spaghetti mixture; return to saucepan. Add peanut butter mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately.

Final verdict: I will try this again with crunchy peanut butter instead of the peanut sauce. The peanut sauce had vinegar in it already, so it made the entire dish more tart than usual. There wasn’t enough peanut butter flavor for my taste.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Curry Chicken Pot Pie

I first saw this recipe a couple of months ago on the Food Network site. I wanted to make a chicken pot pie when I had first roasted a whole chicken, however I didn’t get the chance to. I love chicken pot pie. It’s so hearty and filling. I also love yellow curry, so when I saw this, I knew I had to try it.

When I started making this, I realized that the bag of mixed vegetables I bought had lima beans in it. I had to pick them out one by one because Gary can’t have them. I bet he bought those! I used homemade pancake mix as the crust. I usually don’t have puff pastry, so this was an ok alternative.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. Although we both don’t usually eat anything spicy, anything with curry is a plus in our book.

curry chicken pot pie

Curry Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from: Alton Brown/Food Network

4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter (I used olive oil)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk)
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used about 2 tsp)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 package puff pastry (I used 1 cup homemade pancake mix whisked together with 1/2 c. soy milk and 1 egg)

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.

3. In a sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables and the chicken.

4. Pour into a shallow baking pan, or a large terra cotta pot base, lined with foil, and top with 6 to 8 circles of puff pastry. (I used a 2.5 qt casserole dish without the foil and poured the pancake mix on top.) Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes. (The pancake mix will not bubble. It will turn golden brown in about the same amount of time.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup

We roasted a whole 6lb chicken the other night, and the next few days would be chicken leftovers of course. I also had vegetables and mushrooms and various beans, so when I saw the recipe from, I decided to try it. It was a great way for me to use up the leftovers and vegetables.

chix vege barley soup

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup
Adapted from:
Original recipe was halved

1/2 cup slivered almonds (I omitted)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (I used 1 small onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I used baby portabellas)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped carrots (I had 1 extra carrot, so I added that in)
2-1/2 cups diced red potatoes
1-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
5 cups chicken broth (I used 3 cups broth and 2 cups water)
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 tablespoon butter (I omitted)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used 1 tsp of dried)
salt and black pepper to taste

If including the almonds, preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Spread slivered almonds evenly over a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven until golden brown and fragrant.

1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic in oil until onions are tender.

2. Stir in carrots, potatoes, chicken, and broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in barley. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, parsley, and toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This was the first time I’ve ever cooked with barley. I must admit, I’m not sure if I’m much of a fan. Sure, it kept me full for a while, but somehow in this soup, it was a little off. If I try this soup again, I will probably add more spices to it. Otherwise, I found it a little bland. It’s a good clear soup for detoxifying though…so Gary says.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Homemade Pancake Mix aka Bisquick

Before I found this mix, I would use bisquick. When I first started out in the kitchen, I would buy pre-packaged mixes that aren’t always good for you. Bisquick was one of them. I would always buy a box, use a couple of servings, then the rest of the box would go to waste. I never ended up using the whole thing.

I hadn’t bought it in a long time since we were living gluten free at one point. We also started looking at labels and ingredients, and some of the ingredients in bisquick was not something we need in our bodies. When I found this recipe from Looking2Live, I knew it was something I could whip up in no time.

The original recipe called for a lot of flour, so I quartered the recipe. This was when I realized we don’t have a handheld calculator. I was in the kitchen with a pencil and paper and my kitchenaid booklet that came with the mixer which has measurement conversions on the back page.

pancake mix

Homemade Bisquick
Source: as seen on Looking2Live originally from
Original recipe has been quartered

2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup canola oil (I used corn oil)

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and sugar into large mixing bowl. Sift one more time.

2. Slowly add oil, cutting in with pastry blender, until mix is consistency of corn meal. (I used a stand mixture with the paddle attachment.)

3. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature or refrigerate.

My first batch messed up because I decided to use the dough blade in my food processor. I also didn’t measure the oil and decided to eyeball it…big mistake! It ended up looking like peanut butter. I tried again using my stand mixer and it turned out perfect.