Asian Chicken Lo Mien & Honey, Ginger Sauce

Hello beautiful Foodies!

As many of you all already know, my culinary class will be proudly crossing the stage in the next couple months (Wow! That is so weird for me to even say. I DO NOT feel like it’s already time to be graduating.)

Today, my classmates and I were approached by Chef Rob about an idea he had swimming in his head for a last “Hoo-Rah” before our time in Culinary school has ended. Of course we were all intrigued to find out more. That’s when he went on to ask if we would be interested in participating in our own little version of Chopped. Do I really have to tell you our answers? One hint… the vote was unanimous!

Not going to lie- I am super, super excited about throwing down The Hungary Pollock style but I am nervous as crap to be under pressure! Sure, most likely we won’t be using ingredients as off-the-wall as Food Network’s Chopped but the whole idea of coming up with something that will blow whatever judges Chef Rob has recruited out of the water is a little nerve wracking.

Since finding out, I have been wrapping my brain around all kinds of flavor possibilities, thinking “this could go well with this ” and “that would be awesome with that”(and obviously planning for a worst case scenario with mystery food items). While details are still in the air, it’s our understanding that we will have access to everything in the kitchen and, like Chopped, we will be required to use EVERYTHING in our Mystery baskets. I’ve even jumped right in to studying my Flavor Bible (if you do not have this book- GET IT! I’ll be making a post about this wonderful find another day!).

One recipe I’ve came up with brings the flavors of Asia right to your table. Ok -confession- I actually made this a few days before learning about the Chopped Competition but still… it falls in the same category, right?

The other day I was in the mood for something Asian inspired so I whipped together a Honey, Ginger sauce; cut and fried up some chicken and threw in some julienned veggies. Oh! And let’s not forget the stir fry rice noodles! In no way would I consider myself an Asian food connoisseur, but the flavors this sauce was packin’ had me feelin’ pretty dang good about this dish!

Here’s how I make it:

Asian Chicken Lo Mien with Honey, Ginger Sauce

IMG_1607fb.jpg

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Tbs. +1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. Ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed Red Pepper (optional if you do not like heat)

For the Chicken Lo Mien:

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 3-4 Carrots, julienned
  • 3 Celery stalks, julienned
  • 2 Green Peppers, julienned
  • 5 oz. Stir-fry Rice noodles, prepared according to box
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Add chicken to another bowl and coat with 1/4 cup of the Honey Ginger Sauce. Let marinate in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In a wok (or in my case- a large skillet), heat Sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir fry until cooked through.
  4. Add carrots and celery. Stir fry for about two minutes before adding in the green peppers.
  5. Add rice noodles, Honey Ginger Sauce and green onions; stir fry 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  6. Place noodle mix on a serving platter, sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  7. Grab your chopsticks and dig in! 😀

Notes

  • If you’re not afraid of a little heat, you can add as much red pepper as you like to give it that extra oomph! I, personally, love to have my Sriracha Sauce close by for those moments when I need a little extra soul warming.
  • If you do not use your noodles immediately after softening, cover noodles with plastic wrap or let them soak in cold water until ready to use. If they become sticky, rinse gently with warm water to separate!

I hope you enjoy my version of this flavorsome meal as much as I did making (and eating) it. I am always having fun in the kitchen so when I put this one together and it didn’t taste like something you just found in the trash, I just had to share with all of you.

Got another Asian inspired dish? Tell me all about it! I’m always looking for new ways to spice up my dinner options so I would LOVE to try some suggestions!

 

 

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Buttercream Frosting

 

Hello lovelies!

Raise your hand if you love cake. I’m juuust gonna slowly raise my hand and answer my own question because I LOVE cake. Chocolate. Fruity. Cheesecake. You name it.  I even love them molten, just oozing with chocolaty goodness. I love it in tiers; I love them in sheets. I love them all. But what I love more than cake is the frosting.

AngryOrchardCupcakesblog

There are those who will scrape it off and eat the cake plain… it’s safe to say- I am not one of those people. Sometimes I will only get a piece of cake for that heaping mound on the edges. I could eat it by the spoonfuls. (#guilty #dontjudgeme)
My favorite kind is a good ol’fashioned buttercream! I love its buttery flavor, the fluffy texture and I love how you can work with different consistencies for decorating.

Yesterday, I created a recipe for Angry Orchard Cupcakes (I am dying to post the recipe but I figure I better get the other components first 😉 ). Everything was homemade from the cakes to Fireball Caramel Sauce. No, I was not the first to come up with the idea of adding hard cider to an apple cake batter, but this version of the recipe is completely mine.

When I came up with the idea of recreating my own recipe for the cupcakes, I had caramel apples on my mind. I needed a frosting to top it so I created a Caramel Buttercream. I’m sure there are other bloggers who have made a buttercream recipe that’s the same as mine- it’s kinda hard to come up with an original recipe these days- but this recipe is so good I had to share my version with my foodies.

Honest to goodness- this is the BEST recipe for a basic Buttercream Frosting! You need to try this, like… now! And because I love you all so well, I threw in directions for my awesome Caramel Buttercream, too.

Here’s how I make mine:

Basic Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened_MG_0543 copy
  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.

3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes as desired.

Caramel Buttercream

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Buttercream recipe from above
  • 1 cup of Caramel Sauce, cooled (store bought or HOMEMADE)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix ingredients as you would for the Basic Buttercream, omitting the cream until after adding the caramel. 
  2. Add in the Caramel sauce and mix on medium speed. 
  3. If needed, add cream for desired consistency. 
  4. Scoop into piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread as desired. 

NOTES
  • This recipe is very versatile. You can change the flavor by adding in desired flavored extracts and flavorings. You can also double and triple this recipe with ease.
  • Do not skimp on the butter- it’s a must! If you use shortening or margarine, you are drastically altering it’s flavor and consistency. Trust me, I’ve been there and nothing compares to the good stuff!
  • If you add in color, I suggest using gel coloring. The liquid color may thin your frosting too much by the time you get your desired color.
  • If you have too much frosting, freeze it 😉 Put the leftover buttercream in an airtight box and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

See? Simple. Delicious. Versatile. I hope this recipe is enough to make you wanna bake a cake and whip up a batch of frosting! Or maybe skip the cake altogether and just grab some spoons and go to town. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send it to me and I will give it a try and even feature it on my blog. Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Shoot me a message and let’s chat!

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Golden, Flaky Pie Dough

Ahh. The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is about four days away and I can already smell the turkey being pulled from the oven! Thanksgiving is my absolute, all-time favorite holiday (Halloween being a close second). It’s the only holiday that folks don’t “expect”gifts or fancy things. This holiday’s only requirement is good food and good fun with the people you love.

Every year,  my sweet husband and myself host a Turkey Dinner- with all the fixings of a traditional thanksgiving dinner- the Saturday directly following Thanksgiving. This year makes our fifth dinner (wow!) and each year we have a great turn out. I don’t dare host it on the actual holiday. It’s too much on everyone between all the competition of family time. If you’re like my husband and I, you probably do a lot of bouncing around between family dinners on each side of your families (Stressful, isn’t it?).

To start the holiday off right (this year) I decided I wasn’t going to slave away the night before and day of my dinner. I figured a little planning ahead and pre-prepping food that can be made ahead would save so much time and I MIGHT actually get to get myself ready in time for guests to arrive. So far it’s working out perfectly. I managed to make and freeze my pie dough, an apple pie, punch and today I’m going to make a pumpkin roll (recipes to follow).

What’s a thanksgiving dinner without pie?  And what’s a pie without pie dough? We all have our favorite pie dough recipes, some that may have even got passed down through the years from a beloved family member. Me? I never really found a dough recipe that stood the test of time (at least, not yet). However, last year in the test kitchens we were introduced to a dough recipe that they used all the time and still use to this day! It’s a great dough that delivers a beautiful golden, flaky crust when baked. Oh, and best of all… this dough can be used for savory meals like pot pies, too! 😉

So here is how we make it 🙂

Flaky Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c. Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 5-6 tbs. Cold Water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender or fork, cut shortening into the flour until particles are about the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add in a couple tablespoons of water at a time until the flour mixture is moist enough come together. (Do not add too much water or dough will be sticky).
  4. Divide dough into 2 balls.
  5. Lightly dust board or cleaned table with flour and roll dough into about 1/8″ thickness about 2″ larger than your pie plate.

NOTES:

  • Follow your pie recipe for further instructions on baking your dough. Some recipes, like cream pies,  may require you to dock (prick your dough with a fork) and blind bake (adding some form of weight, like a layer of parchment paper with dried beans, to your dough to keep the dough from bubbling up) before adding the filling. Other recipes, like custard pies, require a raw dough before baking.
  • When preparing your dough, be careful not to over work it. Overworking will cause your dough to be tough and hard to work with.
  • This dough actually freezes really well, so if you’re like me and can use all the extra time you’re thrown, make a double batch of dough ahead of time, separate into individual balls, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about 2 months.

Like my recipe for a Flaky Pie Dough? Let me know in the comments. If you have a favorite dough recipe you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll give it a try!

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Creme Chantilly- sweetened whipped cream

Hey, don’t let the name fool you into thinking this is going to be too hard to construct. Creme Chantilly is actually just a fancy way of saying “whipped cream”. Let me tell you, this is one of the easiest recipes you will make. Just 3 ingredients and a couple steps! I promise, that easy! 😉

I first made this a couple years ago. I always like to make it around thanksgiving as the perfect topping to my famous (to my family) pumpkin pie. I knew it then as just whipped cream.

Lemon Custard on an Italian Meringue tart– topped with Creme Chantilly and Candied lemon Peels.

Last semester, we were making lemon custard on Italian meringue tarts. While everyone else stopped at just making the lemon custard, I just wasn’t satisfied with the consistency. So what did I do? I went a step further. With my instructor’s permission (she always encourages us to use our imagination and creativity in the kitchen and wants us to experiment), I made my own “whipped cream”. I then gently folded this creamy goodness into my lemony custard to give it a little more life! Before, the custard being sorta runny, would spill over the sides. My use of the whipped cream gave it a little more firmness to hold it’s shape. I then topped it with a dallop of the extra cream and garnished with two candied lemon peels.  That’s when Mrs. Peggy (my instructor) informed me that my use of powdered sugar is what makes this a Creme Chantilly.

See? I told you it’s nothing to scare you away. Ya gotta admit… the name makes it sound more enticing doesn’t it? Makes me feel like I’ve put tedious hours into preparing it, when it only really took a few minutes.

Here’s how I make it:

Creme Chantilly

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (may use more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in freezer for 15 minutes. This step is optional but does help firm up the cream.
  2. Using a stand mixer with the whip attachment or a hand mixer, whip the cream until ripples start to form.
  3. Add the vanilla and sugar and whip until it forms stiff peaks.
  4. (Taste) Add more sugar if necessary and whip to desired consistency.
  5. Top it on your favorite desserts!

NOTES:

  •  When making pumpkin flavored desserts that beg for a heaping spoonful of the Creme Chantilly, I like to add a tablespoon or two of left over pumpkin puree as it’s whipping. Don’t be afraid to spice it up!

Viola! You’re done. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now you can make your own whipped… eh ehm… Creme Chantilly in the comfort of your own home. After making this, you won’t have any reason to buy the store bought stuff again!

Did you like this recipe for Creme Chantilly? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Pineapple Casserole

_MG_0631 copy  “Mmm…mmm… mmmmmm…” The sound of satisfaction after taking that first bite of a dessert so wonderful, you could make-out with your spoon! Ok, maybe not really “make-out” with your spoon, but you certainly find it hard to stop after just one bite. Making sure you leave no crumb left behind!

Which is exactly how it was for me a few hours ago when I threw together some pineapples, mandarin oranges, and crackers. Yes! I said all three of those in the same sentence, and yes, it is a dessert. More like a dessert casserole.

Every year I host a big turkey dinner at my house for close family and friends to gather and hang out after the stress of Thanksgiving house jumping is over. Being someone who loves to cook, I find it easier just to go to family gatherings, for both sides of our family, on the actual holiday. The following Saturday I set aside for showing off my cooking and hostess skills! Long story short, I always request that everyone bring a dish to beef up the variety on the table. My husband’s father’s girlfriend always brings an awesome pineapple dessert, similar to this. It’s a great combination of sweet and savory. I wasn’t real sure about how she made hers but I worked my magic and made something equally delicious!

This recipe infuses summer favorites with the comforts of fall, all in one dish!

Pineapple Casserole

  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained (save 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple above
  • 1 stick butter or margarine or 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup, melted
  • 40 to 50 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts (Optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, vanilla, sugar, flour, and pineapple juice.  Mix well.
  2. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and spread pineapple mixture into the dish. (I used a 1.5 qt. glass loaf pan and had plenty of room)
  3. Melt the butter and mix with the crushed Ritz crackers.
  4. Sprinkle on top of the pineapple.
  5. Add pecans on top.
  6. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes until brown on top.
  7. Grab a fork, dig in, and experience the wonderful things happening inside your mouth! 😉_MG_0568 copy

This would be perfect after some Smokey, Chunky Chili, don’tcha think?

Did you enjoy my Pineapple Casserole recipe? Let me know in the comments below what you thought. Have a favorite fruity dessert recipe you make all the time? Share it with me and I’ll give it a shot._MG_0635 copy

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Tuscan Styled Pork Chops

_MG_0551 copyI first used this scrumptious recipe about two years ago when browsing pinterest for italian inspired dishes. I was getting tired of the same ol’ meals and ready to try something a little more “fancy”. That’s when I stumbled on the blog, Sweet C’s Designs, and found a recipe for One pan Tuscan Pork chops. It was quite delicious!

The savory aromatics of the herbs and pork chops filled my kitchen and gave me a sense of being in Italy, when really, I am forever stuck in Eastern Kentucky. It’s nice being able to close my eyes while biting into the pork chops smothered in the chunky tomato sauce and to imagine I am miles and miles away. I like to visualize myself beaming over the silvery olive groves, fields of sunflowers, and the vineyards that stretch for miles.

I’ve made some minor tweaks of my own in this recipe and served it with some Italian Seasoned Potato Wedges. This recipe is quick, delicious, and (my favorite) simple! Best of all, you probably already have everything needed for this dish, on hand. No special trips to the grocery store. It is sure to impress guests. You could even convince them you spent hours preparing it, when really it only took roughly 30 minutes (it’s ok, I won’t judge 😉 ).

Tuscan Styled Pork Chops

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 pork chops_MG_0512 copy
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1½ cups fresh tomatoes, diced (include liquid if cutting tomatoes produces a lot of liquid)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat a large (I used a cast iron), heavy pan on high until warm.
  2. Add oil and heat until shimmery (but NOT burning/smoking) about 20 seconds.
  3. Brown pork chops on each side, about 1 minute each.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onions.
  5. Stir onions and flip pork chops after 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Add tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic and spices.
  7. Simmer until tomatoes are soft and sauce has set up- about 5-8 minutes.
  8. Serve with Italian Seasoned Potato wedges, grab a glass of your favorite wine (or favorite drink) and dig in!_MG_0525 copy

I hope you enjoyed my slightly different version of the Tuscan Pork chops! I know I did! If you tried this recipe, remember to let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear all about it.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir fry- the not so traditional way.

  


_MG_0484 copy 2Today was one of those days that I just didn’t feel like spending my whole afternoon slaving over a hot stove. I am still recuperating from my daughter’s birthday party, yesterday. Between the water balloon fights and water guns, I’m not real sure who had more fun; the kids or the adults. It was a great time but after that, I’m ready to just take it easy.

If you haven’t figured out by now, I will do whatever I can to shortcut the time spent in my kitchen while still putting out a delicious, pretty, and filling meal. It’s just the way of a tired momma. I think every parent I know does this in some way, shape, or form. So I don’t feel particularly bad when I do it. 

This recipe is in NO way an authentic stir fry recipe. In fact, my teriyaki sauce was just put together one day and it just happened to be perfect for what I was going for. It’s become my go-to recipe when I’m trying to sneak in the vegetables for my girls. They love the way the crisp veggies crunch in their mouth as they stuff their little faces. I also whipped this up in a jiffy (which keeps my hungry little ladies from yelling, “momma, is it done yet?” every 5 minutes), so if quick and delicious is what you’re looking for, give it a try.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir fry_MG_0487 copy

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Tbs. Teriyaki marinade and sauce
  • 4 Tbs. Barbeque sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbs. oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into strips 
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 carrots, cut into thirds and julienned (cut into strips)
  • 2 stalk of celery, cut into thirds and julienned
  • 1/2 bell pepper, julienned
  • 1- 12 oz pkg. frozen broccoli cuts , thawed (fresh will work as well) 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups white rice, already prepared

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl- mix the first 4 ingredients and set aside. This makes about a cup of sauce. 
  2. In a large frying pan (or wok) over medium-high, heat the oil. 
  3. Add chicken and red pepper flakes. Cook until chicken is cooked halfway through. 
  4. Add celery, carrots and sesame seeds. Cook for 2 minutes. (The chicken should be completely cooked by now)
  5. Stir and add green pepper. Cook 1 minute. 
  6. Add in the sauce, broccoli, salt and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, reducing heat as needed. 
  7.  Serve over a bed of white rice, garnish with extra sesame seeds, grab some chopsticks (or if your chopstick skills are as poor as mine, grab a fork), and dig in!

NOTES

  • When cooking the veggies, be sure not to overcook them. They should have a little crunch to them, but not underdone. The color should also be vibrant. 
  • You can add or substitute other vegetables but the cooking time can vary. 
  • We also like to just mix the rice right into the stirfry when it’s cooked all the way through. If you do this, you may need additional teriyaki sauce. 

I can already guess what you’re probably thinking, “How does barbeque even fit into stir fry?” Well, I can’t really give you an answer to that. Sorry 😦 I can, however, tell you how that came to be. I was down to just a few sauces but was REALLY feeling some chinese food, particularly stir fry. I happened to find some teriyaki marinade sauce. It was too thin for what I wanted so I pondered what in the world I could use to make this thicker without taking the flavor away. I honestly don’t even know what made me try the barbeque, but I snatched it up. I added a little of this and a little of that and tasted it to see how bad the damage was. To my surprise, it was perfect. The barbeque added the right thickness without overpowering the teriyaki. My husband raved about how good this was for forever and made sur_MG_0486 copye he packed it in his lunch for work. SCORE! Proud wifey moment 😉

I hope my use of our everyday condiment doesn’t scare you away from trying this out. It’s quick. It’s simple. It’s delish! 

If you liked this recipe and want to try it out, be sure to let me know how it turned out for you in the comments! I would love to hear all about it! Please share with friends so that they may enjoy this too!

Thank you for following The Hungary Pollock!