Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cashew Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
 Dash ground red pepper

Vegetables and Chicken
4 cups broccoli florets
3   stalks celery, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
3   green onions with tops, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons finely chopped, peeled fresh gingerroot, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
2   garlic cloves, pressed, divided
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodles, any flavor
1/3 cup cashews or peanuts

For sauce, combine chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey and ground red pepper in Small Batter Bowl; mix with Stainless Whisk (mixture will not be smooth). Set aside.

For vegetables and chicken, cut broccoli, celery and green onions using Chef's Knife. Finely chop peeled fresh gingerroot using Food Chopper. Set vegetables aside. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in Stir-Fry Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken, 1 teaspoon of the gingerroot and 1 garlic clove pressed with Garlic Press. Cook and stir 6-7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet. Add broccoli, celery and remaining gingerroot and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add green onions and continue cooking 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Return chicken to skillet. Stir in sauce; bring to a boil. Remove skillet from heat.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a boil in (2-qt.) Saucepan. Break noodles and add to boiling water (discard seasoning packets or reserve for another use). Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir noodles into chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve immediately.

4  servings

  • It's easy to overcook pretty much everything here, but better if you take care not to.
  • This is another in my series of "getting rid of cookbooks that feature all the recipes online" project.  This one is from Pampered Chef.
  • I prepared the vegetables and chicken the night before and it came together very quickly when we all got home from work/school.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Yield: About 8 fajitas, 4 servings

2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fajita filling
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch thick strips (slice extra wide strips in half)
1 of each red, green and yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced into strips (3 whole total)
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced from top to root
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

For serving
8 taco size flour tortillas
Sour cream, avocado slices or guacamole, diced tomatoes, Mexican cheese blend (toppings are optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 17 by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

For the seasoning:
In a small mixing bowl whisk together chili powders, cumin, paprika, coriander, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, set aside.

For the fajitas filling:

  • Spread bell peppers and yellow onion onto baking sheet. 
  • Top with chicken strips then sprinkle garlic and seasoning evenly over chicken strips. 
  • Drizzle olive oil over top then toss everything to evenly coat. 
  • Spread into an even layer working to keep chicken from overlapping. 
  • Roast in preheated oven, tossing once halfway through cooking, until veggies are tender and chicken has cooked through, about 20 - 25 minutes (test a few of the larger pieces to make sure they are 165 in the center, careful not to over-bake it or the chicken may be dry). 
  • Wrap tortillas tightly in foil and warm in oven during last 5 minutes of fajita filling cooking.

Drizzle lime juice evenly over top of the chicken fajita filling, sprinkle with cilantro and more salt to taste and toss to coat. Serve filling warm in warm tortillas with desired toppings.

Whiskey-Ginger Cocktail Meatballs

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp peeled and finely diced ginger
2 shallots, finely diced
1 lb (500 g) grass-fed ground beef
½ lb (250 g) ground pork
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup (250 mL) rice cakes or crackers, processed to crumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp orange zest (for meatballs)
¼ cup (60 mL) bourbon or other aged whiskey
½ cup (125 mL) fresh-squeezed orange juice
¼ cup (60 mL) salted butter
¼ cup (60 mL) honey
½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
For Garnish
2 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a large skillet on high heat, heat the olive and sesame oils. Add garlic, ginger and shallots and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Transfer to a medium bowl and set skillet aside.

Using your hands, incorporate the ground beef, pork, salt, soy sauce, black and red pepper, cracker crumbs, egg and orange zest into the garlic, shallot and onion mixture until all ingredients are well-combined.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, measure 2 tbsp of meatball mixture into mounds spaced 1 in (2.5 cm) apart. Using your hands, roll each mound into a ball.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to high heat. Add the whiskey and orange juice and, on medium-high heat, reduce the liquid by half. Bring to a boil, add the butter and honey and reduce the heat to low. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tsp of water and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and stir until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the lemon juice and meatballs to the skillet and toss until well-coated. Garnish with chopped scallions, sesame seeds and orange zest and serve with cocktail toothpicks.

Makes about 24 generous size meatballs

TIP: We highly recommend you sample the whiskey before you make this recipe. And then get right to work, using your shot glass, the ideal size vessel, to measure the meat.

SOURCE:   Chowgirls Killer Party Food: Righteous Bites & Cocktails For Every Occasion

  • This is an excellent method for making meatballs.  I've always pan-cooked them in the past, but baking is definitely better!
  • Their shotglass tip is better in theory than practice.  It didn't want to come out easily and a was much easier with a scoop and kitchen scale.
  • These are definitely bigger than a bite, so if you do want to serve them with a cocktail toothpick, I'd make them half this size or maybe a little bigger.
  • The texture is great.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cocoa Raisin-Nut Brownies Bars

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. raisins (or golden)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Hershey’s premium European style cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c. coarsely chopped nuts
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, optional

Heat oven to 350°. Grease 8-inch square baking pan. In small mixer bowl beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. In separate bowl stir together flour, cocoa, chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, cinnamon and salt; add to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until bars just begin to pull away from sides of pan; cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Sift powdered sugar over top if desired. About 20 bars.

I'm currently debating the value of holding on to cookbooks that contain just a handful of favorites.  I'm finding that many of the recipes (like this one) are online somewhere.  But will I regret getting rid of the paper copy?  If I needed to make brownies during a power outage, maybe.  (But I can probably think of better uses for that shelf that is currently holding dozens of cookbooks.)  Anyway, these brownies are noted as being "excellent" and I cut down the cocoa to 1/3 cup.

Source:   Hershey's Homemade cookbook

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pot Roast - Instant Pot

3-4 lb. chuck roast 
1 medium onion
1-1/2 lbs. potatoes, either B sized or large potatoes cut into eighths 
2 cups beef broth, or a combination of broth and red wine 
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

Turn Instant Pot onto sauté, add a drizzle of olive oil. Season the roast with salt and pepper to your liking and add to the pot, allow to brown on one side, then turn it. Add the onions and potatoes, pour broth over everything and seal the lid. Turn pot to cook on high pressure for 90 minutes. When finished, release pressure and serve.