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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Orange Chicken

One of Max's favorite things is Panda Express Orange Chicken. I think the kid could eat it everyday, me, not so much. Plus his meal alone is $8. I found this recipe on line and not only did he say it tasted better than Panda's, I made the entire meal for $8. I only made a couple minor adjustments, like changing the sauce just a bit and doubling. This is the recipe the way I prepared it.

The bummer...since he knows I can make this, he would like it to be on our dinner table at least once a week.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 eggs ~the second time I made this, I needed 3 eggs but they were small eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
white pepper
Crisco (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
1/4 cup green onion, chopped ~ I left these out
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Orange Sauce for Stir Fry ~ mix together and set aside
3 T Soy Sauce
3 T water
10 T sugar
3 T white vinegar
8 T Orange Juice
1 orange, zest of

Stir eggs, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Mix in 1/2 C Cornstarch and 1/4 C Flour. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat

Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp

Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to your pan. Add ginger, chili peppers and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds. Add green onions (I actually left this out because I forgot them). Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Stir 1/4 C COLD water into 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to sauce. Heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in sesame oil and orange zest. Add chicken and give a good toss. Serve over rice or sesame noodles minus the chicken like we did.< This is the consistency of the batter, just thick enough to stick to the chicken. You should be able to stir the chicken around in the batter to make it stick.

Chop your chicken in pieces like this

Mix the chicken into the batter

Fry your chicken pieces in crisco until golden brown.

Grate your orange peel

Add to the sauce

Start the ginger, garlic and pepper paste in a pan with about a tablespoon of Olive Oil

Add the rice wine vinegar and orange sauce and bring to boil

Here is what your cold water and cornstarch looks like. Make sure you have the lumps worked out

What the sauce looks like after you add cornstarch mixture

Add chicken and give a good toss.

Serve over rice or sesame noodles like we did.

Tell your kids you stopped off at Panda Express and let this be our little secret:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a day filled with good food and wonderful company!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Banana Raisin Bran Muffins

I have a confession. I volunteered to make muffins for the kids school, bought the ingredients to make the Raisin Bran Muffins and completely spaced until late the night before. The Raisin Bran muffins are perfect because you can store the left over batter in your fridge for up to 6 weeks. I thought, I'd send 2 dozen and leave the other 2 dozen for the morning after Thanksgiving when we head to hockey.

As I was mixing up the batter, I saw some bananas that looked as tired as I felt on the counter and thought that I would throw them in. As I was mixing, LIGHTBULB, I can't store them in the fridge for 6 weeks now because of the banana, I have to make ALL of them!

BUT, they were YUMMY and work got a bonus. Even better than the plain muffins. What I would do next time is add the bananas to the amount of batter I want to make. Figure 2 bananas for half the batter. Half the batter makes 2 dozen muffins. Below is the "original" recipe.

Easy Bran Refrigerated Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 F
Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on size

15 oz box of Raisin Bran Cereal
5 C Flour
3 C Sugar
5 t Soda
2 t Salt
5 eggs
1 C Oil
1 qt Buttermilk
1 C chopped nuts(optional)~I didn't use them because my kids don't really enjoy them.

Mix all dry ingredients together (including nuts if used) in a very large mixing bowl.

Beat eggs thoroughly then add oil and butter milk to eggs. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix only until all ingredients are moistened.

Store batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Batter will keep up to six weeks.

To Bake:

Fill muffin cups half full, bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes (depends on size).
Total recipe will make 6 dozen muffins.
Give the eggs a good whisk.
Add buttermilk and oil.
Mix your dry ingredients in another large bowl.
Dump the wet into the dry and mix until dry is moist.
Fill your muffin tins and tightly cover the rest and put in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

My friend Karol gave me this recipe forever ago and I've made it a couple of times and it's always a hit.

I think it would be a nice addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. Love it!

2 pkgs Cream Cheese softened ~ I used light
2/3 C Sugar
2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice ~ which I didn't have so I used 1 1/4 t Cinnamon, 1/4 t Ginger, 1/4 t Cloves and 1/2 t Nutmeg
2 Eggs
15 oz can of Pumpkin
1 Graham Cracker Crust ~ extra serving size

Beat Cream Cheese and Sugar until fluffy. Add spices and beat until well combined.

Add your eggs and mix well.

Stir in Pumpkin.

Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool for one hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Garnish as desired. I garnished with a fork and plate:)
Mix up your cream cheese, sugar and spices
Ready for the oven
Done! Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Found 3 cans of pumpkin in my cupboard and thought I'd take a stab at a new cake. I used my trusty bundt pan because that's always easy. Something about it reminded me of pie, thus the name. Hope you like it.

What you'll need:

15 oz can Pumpkin
2 Eggs
1/3 C Milk
2 t Vanilla
1/4 C Oil
1 3/4 C Flour
1 C Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 t baking Soda
1/2 t salt
1 t Nutmeg
2 t Cinnamon

Mix the wet ingredients, add the dry. I used a whisk to get out all of the lumps. Pour into sprayed bundt pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes. Check with tester (stick a skewer in the middle of the cake and if it comes out with out wet batter, it's done), if it comes out clean, you're good to go.

Cool for 10 minutes and invert on plate. Frost lightly with cream cheese frosting. Serve.

This is my recipe for cream cheese frosting. I probably used a third of this recipe and put the rest in the fridge for another day.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 brick Cream Cheese~softened, yep low fat
1 stick butter~softened
2 t Vanilla
4 C Powdered Sugar

Mix together and frost

Ready for the oven

Out of the oven

Ready to eat

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Coffee Cake

My kids brought some fresh cranberries home from my Aunt Mona's and I just had to do something wonderful with them. Yep, I made my cake. Coffee cake with Cranberries, White Chocolate Chips and Orange Juice and Zest with an orange flavored glaze. YUMMY!

2 cups Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1 t Vanilla
2 T Orange Juice
1 cup Sour Cream
½ cups Soft Butter
1 C Cranberries
1/2 C White Chocolate Chips~I had these mini ones, aren't they cute?

Zest of one Orange

Mix everything together to make your batter. It's kind of sticky, not like a cake mix, more like a wet bread dough. Fold in cranberries and white chocote chips.

Spread in the pan and put in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Glaze is 1-2T of Orange Juice and about 1/2 C Powdered Sugar


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Red & White Lasagna

Remember when I've said to store those little bits of sauce away in the freezer until you get enough to do something with it. Here's what we're going to do with left over Creamy Italian sauce and regular Spaghetti sauce. If you don't want to make it from scratch, you can use your favorite jarred sauce I'm sure. Alanna claims the Ragu Alfredo sauce is very good. I'm taking her word on that one.

This was seriously YUMMY. I think it's my new favorite lasagna. We're also going to pretend that we're making a 13x9 pan because that's what most folks want to do when they are taking the time to make lasagna.'ll want left overs, I promise.

What you'll need:
3 C Red Sauce ~ I used my spaghetti sauce with ground turkey
1 1/2 C White Sauce ~ I used Creamy Italian Chicken sauce with chicken but you could use Alfredo
Box of Lasagna Noodles
1 Egg beaten
15 oz container Ricotta~I used low fat
1/2 bag of Spinach chopped
1/2 t salt
1 t pepper and garlic powder
1/2 C Asiago shredded ~ you could use Parmesan or any hard cheese like that
3 C Mozzarella shredded

Mix your egg, Ricotta, spinach, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Asiago cheese and set aside.

Spray a 13x9 pan. Put 1 1/2 C red sauce in the bottom of pan, top with dry lasagna noodles, single file.

Half of the ricotta mixture goes on top of the noodles.

Top with white sauce

Sprinkle with 1 1/2 C Mozzarella.

Another layer of noodles

Rest of Ricotta mixture

Rest of red sauce

Rest of mozzarella cheese

Cover and refrigerate over night. Take out of fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can go as long as an hour out of the fridge) before popping into a 350 degree oven for an hour uncovered. Serve.



Beaten Egg

this is what the spinach mix looks like

spinach spread on top


White sauce

Noodles, not pictured

Spinach mixture, not pictured,

Cheese, not pictured

Noodles, not pictured

Red Sauce, not pictured



Monday, November 14, 2011


This is one of those meals that make you plan ahead but it's a good thing. It can also sit in your fridge a couple of days until you're ready to bake it. And, let me say...since I started using dry noodles, I've never looked back. Why would I cook them and make extra work for myself???

However, this isn't the lasagna I usually make. I bought cottage cheese instead of ricotta, silly me thought that ricotta would be in the row that it stated and I didn't look closely. But I made it work and it was pretty tasty.

We're also going to pretend that this is a 13x9 pan because it will be easier for me to tell you amounts. If you want to get crazy and try this smaller 8x8 pan yourself, it's probably a little over 2/3 of the recipe for ingredient purposes.

Bet you're wondering why I didn't make a 13x9?? It's because I used left over sauce, and didn't have enough for the larger pan. See, left overs are a good thing.

What you'll need:

Spaghetti Sauce
or you can use your favorite jar sauce
Box of Lasagna Noodles
Large container of Cottage Cheese ~ I used low fat/small curd
1/2 C shredded Parmesan~please use fresh or if you use the can, don't tell me;)
3 C shredded Mozzarella

Sauce first, use about 1 1/4 C

Dry Lasagna noodles

Cottage Cheese~ 1/3 container

Mozzarella next ~ 1/2-3/4 C, plus a sprinkle of parmesan

Top with sauce, about 3/4 C

Repeat the above process 2 more times and top with additional cheese

Press down a bit.

Cover with foil and put in the fridge overnight so the noodles have time to soften.

Out of the oven and waiting to be served

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sticky Chicken

I think this is seriously my new favorite dinner. It is so easy and tastes great. The leftovers with the broth make a great start to chicken soup or dumplings. Or the meat makes a fantastic sandwich.

The first time I posted this, I told you to rub the seasoning on the night before. That's a great plan because you can go from fridge to crock pot in a minute. BUT I didn't plan that far ahead last time and just rubbed in seasoning and started the crock pot and guess what..I think it tasted the same.

I serve this with everything from pasta, to potatoes, to just a green salad. LOVE it. You could also season a turkey breast and get similar results. YUMMY

Here's what you'll need:

4 t Salt
2 t Paprika
1 t Cayenne
1 t Onion Powder
1 t Thyme
1 t White Pepper
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Black Pepper
1 Whole Chicken
1 medium Onion chopped

In a small bowl, combine the spices. If you bought a chicken with giblets and/or neck..remove those. Wash the chicken well, taking extra care with the cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, inside and out. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed and that you rubbed it in well.

Place in a ziploc and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, dump onion into cavity of chicken and put in the crockpot. You don't need any liquid because the chicken will make it's own juice. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, I cooked 10 because that's how my day worked out, it was falling off the bone. Slice it up and you can spoon some of the pan juices on top if you desire. I threw the onions out.

Here's your spice mix.

Just a whole chicken, wash it, pat it dry and rub the seasoning in
Give that chicken a good rub and put in a ziploc bag and into the fridge
Doesn't this look yummy!
I cut it up, poured a bit of pan juices on top and put in the oven on warm while I made the sides. Forgot to take a "pretty" photo, sorry.