Sweet and Sour Chicken

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This one time in high school, I dated a boy. I should mention that all throughout elementary school and even in high school, my mom spoiled me with good food. She made all of my meals so every day I had an amazing, homemade packed lunch to bring to school. I started dating this boy in grade 11 and we were serious enough to keep things going into grade 12 (kind of a big deal when you’re in senior year of high school, hello guaranteed prom date!).  I even managed to dig up a prom picture for you!  Here I am waiting for my date.

prom

Anyways, so this boy I dated usually went across the street with almost half of my school at lunch time to one of the fast food places to grab lunch. But then there was this one time where he decided to make a lunch ahead of time! Great idea, except for the fact that he thought it would be a good idea to make 5 sandwiches on the Sunday, one for every day of the week. The sandwiches were pretty simple, plain white bread, mustard, ham and a piece of lettuce. By Wednesday, the lettuce was no longer crispy fresh but instead was replaced with a slimy green substance that almost looked like seaweed. Let’s just say he didn’t eat Thursday or Friday’s sandwiches… anyways naturally I thought this was hilarious and gross and I told my mom who instantly took pity on this poor boy and for the rest of the year she sent me with 2 packed lunches every day, one for me and one for my guy.

One of the places across the street from our high school was a pretty cheap place that had great but really greasy Chinese food. Whenever I think of Chinese takeout, I always think of sweet and sour chicken which I adore. I stumbled upon this recipe a while back and was intrigued at the possibility of recreating my favourite dish at home. This recipe is so good that I made it twice in one week (and finished all the leftovers!!). A big statement, guys. The sauce smells fantastic in the oven and tastes good enough to lick off the plate and overall it’s a pretty easy dish to whip up on a weeknight 🙂

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients:
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenderloins), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil

For the sweet and sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the chicken in a pie plate (or any wide, shallow dish). Season with salt and pepper and then sprinkle the cornstarch over the top. Toss to coat. Add the eggs to a second pie plate and beat with a fork to break them up. Transfer the chicken to the eggs (shaking off excess cornstarch first) and coat the pieces thoroughly.

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides (you don’t have to worry about cooking it through right now). Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan.

Whisk the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic salt together in a large measuring cup. Pour over the chicken. Bake for 1 hour, tossing the chicken every 15 minutes – the sauce will thicken as it cooks. Serve over rice.

—SOURCE—
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup

I’m a huge fan of soba noodles, they somehow satisfy a serious carb craving without making you feel like you just ate a heavy meal afterwards. Growing up, I was lucky to have a mom who made a lot of authentic, Japanese-style home-cooked meals. One of my favourite meals was always chilled soba noodles in a light soy-flavoured sauce with a sprinkling of dried nori seaweed on top. Although I’ll always love that classic way to enjoy these buckwheat noodles on a hot summer day, the world of food blogging has opened me up to so many different ways of preparing soba noodles, and I’m happy to say that this soup won’t disappoint. It’s healthy and flavourful and oh so good. If you love soba noodles as I much as I do, you should also check out this sesame soba noodle salad..yum!

Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup
Yield: about 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2½ cups mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (shiitake or cremini)
4 scallions, sliced, with white and green parts separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. grated fresh ginger (peeled)
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
6 oz. soba noodles
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 oz. baby bok choy, ends trimmed
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, white scallion parts, garlic and ginger to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.

Add the soba noodles to the pot and cook at a boil for 5 minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and bok choy and cook 2 minutes more, until noodles are tender and bok choy is wilted and slightly softened.  Stir in the lime juice and soy sauce.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt if needed.  Top with scallion greens.  Serve warm.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, slightly adapted from Kitchen Confidante

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

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Thanksgiving is this coming weekend for us Canadians! Growing up, it was just me, my mom and my sister so we never needed a whole turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving. Instead we did just fine with a small chicken! I always enjoyed the taste of chicken better than turkey anyways. Did you know that you can easily make a roast chicken using a slow cooker? I didn’t until I saw this recipe, and I can honestly say that it is probably the easiest way to make a roast chicken. You essentially cook the chicken all the way through in a slow cooker, and then stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to get a nice crispy skin.

I’ve never been squeamish when dealing with raw meat, but something about an almost whole raw chicken made my stomach turn a bit. The chicken I bought at the grocery store already had the giblets removed, there was just the neck that I had to chuck (I felt quite faint looking at it anyways). Then I just stuffed the chicken with lemon, garlic cloves and fresh parsley.

IMG_3781After the chicken has been cooked in the slow cooker, it will still have a very light skin that does not look very appealing. I sprinkled some salt and pepper over the skin, and then stuck it under the broiler.

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And there you have it! A perfectly simple roasted chicken.

IMG_3785I managed to get about 2 cups of shredded chicken off of what was left over of the chicken as well, which came handy in pastas. You can also use it as a pizza topping or for chicken noodle soup, the possibilities are endless!

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Slow Cooker Roast Chicken 

Ingredients:
4-5 lb. whole chicken
1 medium lemon
1/2 bulb garlic
1/4 bunch fresh parsley

Directions:
Remove the chicken from its packaging over the sink and allow the juices to run out. Remove the giblets from the cavity and discard them. Fold a long piece of foil lengthwise to form a sturdy sling and place the chicken on it.

Cut the lemon in half and then cut one of the halves into quarters. Stuff the quarters inside the cavity of the chicken. Peel the garlic cloves and stuff them into the cavity along with the whole sprigs of parsley.

Take the second half of the lemon and place it face down in the center of the slow cooker. This will help the chicken sit up off of the bottom of the cooker. Using the foil sling, lift the chicken into the slow cooking, placing it on top of the lemon. Fold the sides of the sling into the cooker, secure the lid, and cook on high for four hours.

After cooking on high for four hours, carefully lift the chicken out of the slow cooker using the foil sling and place on a baking sheet. Set the broiler to its low setting and cook the chicken under the broiler (5-6 inches from the flame) until the skin is golden brown and crispy (5-10 minutes). Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting or serving.

—SOURCE—
Budget Bytes

 

 

Parmesan Chicken

This is one of the first recipes I tried out from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook (which I bought for 25% off!!).  I love most of the recipes and the pictures of beautiful, but my real issue with it is that all of the recipes that require eggs, call for extra-large eggs. I’m used to most, if not all, of the recipes I use requiring only large eggs. I tried googling a conversion, but to be honest I don’t know how accurate it is.

Luckily the amount of egg you use in this recipe doesn’t have to be precise, because you are only using the egg as a mixture to coat the chicken in.  I really liked this recipe, and the chicken tasted delicious. I think I ended up using 3 large eggs in place of 2 extra-large, but to be honest I don’t think it really matters here. 🙂

Parmesan Chicken

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
unsalted butter
good olive oil

Directions:
Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tbsp. of water. On a thrid plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.

Serve with extra grated Parmesan and a light salad, as desired.

Source: the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook by Ina Garten

Apple Almond Chicken Salad

I made you a yummy chicken salad sandwich.

I hope you’ll stay for a bit.

I also made the most delicious chocolate peanut butter torte for my friend’s birthday today.

I will hopefully be sharing that recipe with you soon!

In the meantime, have a sandwich 🙂

Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 whole boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayo
Salt
Black pepper

 

Directions:

Toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast 7-9 minutes. Let cool.

Make the chicken salad: In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, apple, celery, onions, and parsley, and just enough mayo to bind the chicken salad. Salt and pepper to taste. If serving, add the almonds. If making ahead of time, wait to add the almonds until just before assembling the sandwiches.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

 

Slow Cooker Sticky Wings

For those of you Canadians living in Alberta, Ontario (like me!), Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or P.E.I., and for the Americans living in Arizona and Nevada, and a few other select places around the world, Happy Family Day!!! I hope you’re having a lovely day off of work/school. I’m back home in Toronto for reading week, and it’s -10 degrees Celsius right now…but I swear I can almost smell spring and a new pair of shorts. Let’s hope I’m not getting my hopes up too soon.

To me, wings are comfort food. I especially like this recipe, because it gave me an excuse to use my slow cooker. This recipe calls for a 3-inch piece of ginger, but I only used a 1-inch piece because I didn’t want an overpowering ginger flavour in my wings. I also used drumsticks in place of wings, because they were on sale 🙂

Slow Cooker Sticky Wings

Ingredients:

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds chicken wings, halved at joint (wing tips discarded)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste

Directions:

Add 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until everything is finely ground and a paste-like mixture results.  Transfer the mixture to your slow cooker then add the wings and toss to coat them with the paste.

Cook on low until the chicken is tender, 3-4 hours.  Transfer the wings to a large bowl, leaving as much of the liquid behind as possible and discarding it when all of the wings have been removed.  Let the wings cool for about 20 minutes.  (At this point you can put the cooled wings in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.)

Preheat your broiler and position one of the oven racks about 10-12 inches from the broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place a wire rack inside the baking sheet.  Spray the rack well with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the water, tomato paste, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  Add half of this sauce to the bowl with the wings and gently toss to coat.  Place the wings on the rack, skin side up.  (I fit all 4 lbs of wings on one rack – spacing was very minimal between the wings.)  Broil until the wings are lightly charred, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and flip the wings over.  Brush the remaining sauce over them and return them to the oven.  Broil for another 3 minutes, or until the sauce caramelizes.

 

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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