Monday, October 23, 2017

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

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Sometimes recipes don’t always come out how you think. I planned on making this in the slow cooker, but with all the prep work you might as well just make it right then and there. The recipe came out really good and it’ll be added into my rotation of Asian foods we make. I did double the sauce since we serve it over rice I like to have the extra sauce soaked up.

Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

(Adapted from the recipe critic)


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⅓ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks

1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil

**4 - 6 dried red chili peppers (to taste) found in Asian supermarkets or the International section of a large chain grocery store - see NOTE

⅔ cup roasted cashews (or roasted peanuts)

1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 medium zucchini, chopped into halves


Sauce (Feel free to double the sauce if you like more sauce)

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

½ cup water

3 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

¼ - ½ teaspoon dried red pepper chili flakes


Cornstarch slurry

2 Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2-3 Tablespoons water (plus more as needed to thin out consistency of sauce)


In a large zip-top bag, toss in chicken, cornstarch, salt and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer chicken into slow cooker. (SEE NOTE FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS)


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In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes and pour over chicken.


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Cover and cook on LOW for 2.5 - 4 hours or HIGH for 1.5 - 3 hours. (SEE NOTE)


About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into the slow cooker. Add the dried red chili peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini and cashews.


Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up. (Add more water to thin out sauce to your preferred consistency).


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Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over rice, quinoa or zoodles, if desired.


NOTES

**If you can't find dried red chili peppers, leave out and add an additional ½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes

**If your slow cooker runs hot, be sure to check on chicken earlier as it may cook faster than the suggested cooking times.

**FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: Brown the chicken until cooked through (7-8 minutes). Then add vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes – or until tender. Add the sauce to the pan, turn to high heat and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens up – about 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Once everything is coated and heated through, serve hot with favorite sides.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Slow Cooker Gingersnap Pot Roast

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Just because it’s starting to turn Fall doesn’t mean everything is about turkey. Don’t get me wrong I love turkey, but sometimes you just want a solid meat and potato meal. This is a different outside the box sort of meal and bonus…it’s made in a crock pot!

Slow Cooker Gingersnap Pot Roast

(Adapted from Melanie Makes)

 

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4 medium sweet potatoes, cut in 1" slices

6 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 bay leaf

2.5 pound beef chuck roast

1 cup water

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

10 gingersnaps, crumbled

 

Place sweet potatoes, carrots and bay leaf in slow cooker.


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Place roast on top of vegetables and pour water and vinegar over roast.

 

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Sprinkle pepper flakes and gingersnaps over roast.


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Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.


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Transfer meat and vegetables to platter, removing bay leaf.

 

Skim fat from gravy and then stir to combine. Ladle over roast and vegetables.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Sauce

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Summer may be over, but the quick weeknight meals is still going strong! The semi homemade version is fantastic and if you make the sauce the day before it’s even easier to throw dinner together. I used pre-battered cod fish patties, but there’s a recipe for doing them fresh below if you like. We really loved the sauce and I used it on a few other items since then. It tasted great on fajitas!

Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Sauce

(Adapted from Pinch of Yum)


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Jalapeño Sauce

1 large jalapeño (if you like spicy, leave the ribs and seeds in there)

1 cup cilantro leaves

¼ cup green onions

¼ cup oil

¼ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup water

½ avocado

½ teaspoon salt


Fish Tacos

2 lbs. firm white fish like cod

1 cup flour (see notes)

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cornmeal

¼ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon chili powder or spicy seasoning

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup light beer, such as Corona

1 egg, beaten

vegetable oil for frying

12 flour or corn tortillas

cilantro for topping

Cotija cheese for topping


Puree all the jalapeño sauce ingredients in a food processor until your desired consistency is reached. I sometimes add a little more oil or water at the end to make the sauce less gloppy and more drizzle-able.


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Pat the fish dry with paper towels and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Put ½ cup flour in a shallow bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk ½ cup flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, chili powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the beer and the beaten egg; stir until combined to form the batter.


Pour enough oil in a frying pan so that the fish will be partially submerged while frying. Heat the oil until a drip of water sizzles across the top. Dip each piece of fish in the plain flour, then the batter, then transfer to the hot oil. Fry on each side for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the frying pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt while still hot; let cool slightly.


Arrange your tacos with a few pieces of fish, cilantro, Cotija cheese, and jalapeño sauce. Yummy!


NOTES

About the flour: I've used both whole wheat flour and white flour. White flour is more traditional but whole wheat works, and that's what's pictured here. The cornmeal adds a unique texture but you could use flour in its place for a more traditional beer-battered fish texture.


About the batter: If the batter sits for a while, the cornmeal will sink to the bottom. Stir it up again to get everything mixed before dipping the fish in it.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Vampire Cocktail

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Happy Friday the 13th!! It’s almost Halloween!! Since it’s my favorite holiday I have a few recipes to share with you in the next upcoming post. Here’s a fun vampire theme cocktail which is soooo good! Maybe with a sign out that says “free shots”. I love an interacting food or drink at a party and this one nails it!

Vampire Cocktail

(Adapted from Self Proclaimed Foodie)


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2 cups raspberries

1/4 cup sugar

4 ounces vodka

2 ounces amaretto

2 ounces orange juice

6 ounces club soda

4 plastic syringes


Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor.


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Press the puree through a fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp from the seeds. Discard the seeds.


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Combine the puree with the sugar in a small saucepan over medium high heat.


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Stir frequently and cook until mixture darkens and thickens, about 10 minutes. Chill until ready to use.


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Add vodka and amaretto to a shaker with ice and shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Stir in orange juice and club soda. Pour into iced glasses.


Fill syringes with equal parts of the raspberry syrup and place in glasses before serving.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spicy Thai Peanut Wraps

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I love quick meals like this on busy nights. You can make the sauce ahead of time then use a Asian slaw mix like what I did from HEB. We grilled the chicken for added flavor and just sprinkled on a little of this seasoning.

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Spicy Thai Peanut Wraps

(Adapted from The Chunky Chef)


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FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE:

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut milk, canned

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp tamari

1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp red curry paste

1 small shallot peeled and finely minced


FOR THE WRAPS:

Flour tortillas

Fresh cilantro

Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets

Shredded purple cabbage

Shredded carrots

Birds Eye Protein Blend California variety


Combine all peanut sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly. Alternatively, you can add ingredients to a blender or food processor and process to make smooth.


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Place tortilla on a plate and spread with peanut sauce. To the center strip of the tortilla, add fresh cilantro, Tyson Grilled and Read chicken breast fillet (cut into strips), shredded carrots, shredded purple cabbage and Birds Eye Protein Blend vegetables.


Roll into wrap shape and enjoy!


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