Sweet and Sour Chicken

IMG_4644

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

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