What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Quick and Easy Sesame Chicken

17 Sep
This new recipe was definitely a keeper!!

This new recipe was definitely a keeper!!

My kids and I are professional mall food court stalkers. I seriously think we could make an entire meal of circling a food court at lunchtime and tasting the samples being given out. Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Sushi, Subway, Philly Cheese Steaks, you name it, I am pretty sure we’ve sampled it.

Not to mention, that I am seemingly the BEST mom ever for saying “Yes!” when they ask if we can go find samples in the food court. Seriously, if that’s all it takes, I’m golden. You’d think I’d said, “Yes, we’re going to DISNEY!” instead of allowing them to go eat a piece of chicken on a toothpick.

Anyway, I tell you all this because so often when we go food court sample stalking, we come across a Sesame Chicken at one of the Asian restaurants. I absolutely love Sesame Chicken. I’ve often fallen for the sample ploy at the food courts and caved into getting lunch there, all because of the Sesame Chicken.

My friend Paula recently sent me a recipe from E-D Does It for Quick and Easy Sesame Chicken, and it was just that: quick, and easy! Delicious too! If you’re a Sesame Chicken fan like me, then look no further than the E-D Does It recipe! I’ve linked to it just above, and copied it for you below.

Quick & Easy Sesame Chicken
Ingredients

For the chicken
4 medium chicken breasts (diced)
1 egg
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp rapeseed oil (or vegetable oil) *I used canola*
Salt & Pepper (to season)

For the sauce
5 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 cloves of garlic (chopped very finely)
80g of cooked rice per person

Method
1. In a large bowl, beat the egg. Add the corn starch to the egg and beat until well combined. Season well with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the rapeseed oil in the pan until very hot. Add the chicken to the egg mixture, stirring until all of the chicken is well coated. Now add the chicken to the hot oil. Stir occasionally and continue to cook until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
3. Meanwhile make the sauce by adding the soy sauce, sesame seeds, vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, water and oil together with the garlic.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, turn down the pan slightly and add the sauce mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce thickens and then remove from the heat.
5. Serve over a bed of rice and garnish with basil leaves.

 

 

Rachula Web Arts phone consultation giveaway….winner!

15 Sep
We have a Rachula Web Arts consultation winner!!

We have a Rachula Web Arts consultation winner!!

In last Monday’s blog post I ran a product review of Rachula Web Arts and their services, with a week-long contest, to go along with it. The prize was a free phone consultation for those bloggers or website owners who were looking for some advice about their sites.

The winner has been chosen, and Michele C., you have won!! You will be contacted at the email address associated with your blog by Rachula Web Arts!

Congratulations! I know you’ll be pleased with your free consult!

Good luck with your blogs!

Fun Friday: Blueberry Crisp

12 Sep
We had the most perfect day for our blueberry picking trip!

We had the most perfect day for our blueberry picking trip!

At the end of the summer we had the opportunity to go blueberry picking just over the state line with my cousin Val and her husband Bob. I have been wanting to go blueberry picking for years. The last time I went, my oldest daughter was two and a half years old and I had a newborn in a front pack. All I remember about that day was that it was incredibly hot.

This summer we were able to check both strawberry picking and blueberry picking off of our list of things we’ve wanted to do.

I have used this cookbook for years and years.

I have used this cookbook for years and years.

That day when we came home I knew immediately what I wanted to make with my blueberries: Blueberry Crisp from my favorite Blueberry cookbook that my parents gave us years and years ago. I use it every summer.

Once I put aside those berries for baking, I divided the rest and bagged them up to freeze so that as the summer turned to fall I’d have extra berries for cooking. As of now, I have one bag left.

In my cookbook I have marked the inside front cover with all of my favorite recipes and their page numbers. Blueberry Crisp is on page 82. I always mark the date that I tried the recipe, on the page that the recipe appears on. I first made this recipe on 6-27-99.

1999!!!

At the time I was four months shy of having my first baby. That was a hot summer, and I bet this dessert made an incredible treat!

The recipe is simple and quick, perfect for summer, and it’s delicious with ice cream on top. I especially love chocolate frozen yogurt on top of my homemade blueberry crisp.

If you have some blueberries in your freezer, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

Delicious topped with chocolate frozen yogurt!

Delicious topped with chocolate frozen yogurt!

Blueberry Crisp

INGREDIENTS

4 cups blueberries

2-4 Tablespoons sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup butter or margarine (I use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Dash salt

3/4 cup quick oats or old fashioned rolled oats


DIRECTIONS

Place blueberries in buttered 8×8 square baking dish; sprinkle with 2-4 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice. In a medium bowl mix together butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt until mixture is crumbly. Stir in rolled oats, sprinkle evenly over blueberries. Bake 375 degrees 35-40. Serve warm with whipped cream.

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: How to plan ahead

10 Sep
Throw it all in, throw it all in the microwave, throw it all on the table.

With my Pampered Chef deep covered baker, cooking a chicken is so easy. I throw it all in, throw it all in the microwave, and throw it all on the table.

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about my make ahead meal posts that I’ve written the past couple of weeks for my WFDW posts. I’m glad that they’re inspiring others to make some meals ahead. I wish I could take all the credit for this freezer meal inspiration, but I’m just sharing something I’ve read along the way too. Everyone helps everyone out by sharing what they’ve learned, read or tried, and I’m glad my posts are helpful.

I had a couple of people comment to me that the whole idea of planning ahead is just so overwhelming, they can’t even wrap their heads around it. I know I’ve written before about how we try to menu-plan ahead of time, but it’s been a while, so I thought I’d do a quick recap once again, to coincide with my make ahead meal series.

My husband is paid every two weeks and I am paid at the end of every month, so we try to plan our menus and our grocery shopping trip for our “big shopping,” as we call it, two weeks at at time. We try to go as soon as we can once he’s been paid, and most of the time we try to create a menu first which spans the two weeks.

Besides thinking about what we all like to eat and don’t like to eat, when planning our menu, we also look at our calendars and map out which nights one of us may have to work, or nights that are tight because the kids need to be somewhere early or right after dinner, or whatever the case may be. We cross off any nights we’re not eating at home, which doesn’t happen often, but on occasion there are some, and we try to plan fast meals for busy nights, big meals with leftovers that can be used for another dinner or lunches, on not-so-busy nights, and we try to stick with the menu plan as much as possible.

You’ll notice that in the paragraph above, I use the word “try” a lot. It’s because you still have to be flexible. Schedules change, so menus sometimes change too. Sometimes we don’t get to do the big shopping and we’re stuck planning on the fly, by the day and picking up what we can, when we can. Sometimes we don’t get to do a menu ahead but we have time to do a quick big shopping and we grab staples we always use in our menus and plan our menu around what we’ve bought.

Either way, my point is that no matter how you do it, planning ahead is worthwhile for organizational purposes, and for staying on budget as well. The less times I enter a store, the less extra items that I just “have to have” that week!

I thought I’d leave you here with the list we came up with for our two weeks of meals, and a few tidbits about how they’ll serve us well on that particular night. I’ve also linked to the recipes on my blog from past posts if I had them.

Sunday: Chicken dinner (we had most of the day to do a big Sunday dinner, it’s one we all love, and it made enough for leftovers for lunches. Two people had chicken sandwiches the next day stuffed with cranberry sauce and stuffing, and one had chicken salad the day after that.)

Monday: Quesadillas (everyone likes at least one variety or another of these and they are great for lunches the next day.)

Tuesday: London Broil (marinated ahead and frozen for a busy day.)

Wednesday: Pasta and meatballs (very busy day, one parent working at night, kids all over at night, and makes enough for leftovers for lunches or dinner.)

Thursday: Pulled pork in the crock pot (same sort of night as Wednesday, everyone likes this, we can eat and run, and have leftovers for lunches or another dinner.)

Friday: Homemade pizza and salad (a favorite meal, three different varieties of pizza for a busy night, and usually we have enough left to freeze some for the future or to use for lunches.)

Saturday: California Chicken with cheddar cheese and avocados (this is a one time only meal. No leftovers. Anyone can make their chicken any way they’d like.)

Sunday: (Eating out with a gift card to celebrate a special event.)

Monday: Chicken Marsala (a family favorite, served with noodles on the side for the one person who doesn’t like chicken. Makes enough for leftovers.)

Tuesday: Nicoise (a favorite French dish, a quick meal to pull together, provides some leftovers for lunch.)

Wednesday: Soup and sandwiches (a crazy night, soup will be made ahead of time using the carcass from the previous week’s chicken dinner, and reheated.)

Thursday: Pasta and Meatballs again! (another crazy night.)

Friday: Payday! Chinese takeout!!

Product Review and Giveaway: Rachula Web Arts consultation

8 Sep
Where do bloggers and site owners get technical support? Rachula Web Arts can help!

Where do bloggers and website owners get technical support? Rachula Web Arts can help!

I can remember when I had my oldest daughter, back in 1999. That was the first time I’d ever heard the word “blog,” when my brother, always ahead of the techie curve, said to me, “You should start a blog!”

“What’s a blog?”

I’m never ahead of the techie curve, but that year, I started my first blog. I didn’t post often. I was a working mom with a new baby, but I did post at least one or two times, that I can remember.

Blogging and the internet and website design have come a long, long way. Now there are hundreds of “mom bloggers” out there and lots of other kinds of bloggers as well. Over the years, as my career has changed to fit my lifestyle, I’ve had the baby blog, a craft blog, a newspaper article blog and now this blog which encompasses it all, The Whole Bag of Chips.

And yet, I’m still not a techie type of person. I took some “blogger boot camp” types of courses while working with Stampin’ Up!, and I got some basics down then, but technology is constantly changing and it’s so hard to keep up, to truly understand what it is you’re doing or need to do unless you have a technical background. I sometimes will count on tech support for various issues I’m having, but sometimes even that isn’t what I need.

Enter Rachula Web Arts.

A friend of mine recently started her own technical support site, along with a friend of hers. Together, they provide bloggers and website owners with feedback, maintenance, answers to questions and suggestions for improving your existing platforms. Here’s what they write in their “About Us” section:

“We are a couple of user experience professionals focused on helping small businesses improve online presence and customer interaction. 

We are not Web designers or graphic artists. We understand and are power users of IT tools. We help guide you in making sound decisions to make your Web tools useful, understandable, and appealing.

Here’s what we will do: We’ll talk with you and see where you think there are issues. We’ll advise you on possible remedies and suggest ways to get to know your customers better.

Here’s what we won’t do: We won’t throw a lot of jargon at you. We won’t send you a list of all the things you are doing wrong and make you feel like you don’t know your business.”

Sounds perfect, yes? It sounded exactly like what I could use myself, here at The Whole Bag of Chips.

Paula and Rachel took a look at my blog, gave me some feedback, answered my questions and helped me to understand features and benefits of my blogger dashboard that I didn’t even know existed. I was able to update my blog and make some changes based on their advice.

They have a whole menu of services at Rachula and you can see it here.

For now though, they’d like to help you!

Rachula Web Arts is giving away……a one hour phone consultation about a website or a blog!

HOW TO WIN:

If you think that your website or blog could use a once-over by two amazing IT professionals, and that you would like some constructive feedback about how to update or improve your blog, then leave me a comment telling me why YOU should be the winner of the one-hour phone consult!

This giveaway will be announced in ONE WEEK! On September 15 I will post the winner’s name here on my blog!

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: More Make Ahead Meals

3 Sep
I'm on a roll, what's the next batch of dinners I can cook ahead?

I’m on a roll, what’s the next batch of dinners I can cook ahead?

Ever since I did all my meal prep prior to the start of school last week, I have been looking at every meal with new eyes. Every time I cook something or eat something, I think to myself, “Could I prep this ahead?”  If I determine I can’t prep it ahead, I try to think of whether or not I could even just prep a part of it ahead.

I’ve come up with some good ideas though. We recently had Tortellini, Shrimp and Tomato Soup for dinner, and I realized that I could easily make up some batches of the soup without the tortellini and shrimp in it, freeze it and reheat it, adding the cooked tortellini and cooked shrimp in at the end. Also, having the soup prepared ahead makes a great option for my own lunches, even if I don’t add in the pasta and shrimp. It’s good just as a tomato soup, and in fact that’s how one of my kids eats it; I separate out a small batch for her to eat plain.

That led me to wonder, how many other soups could I make ahead and freeze? And what else is good to make ahead?

We just marinated a London Broil for a future meal, using this marinade. It’s good on steak and on pork. Pork tenderloins and London Broils are super easy to marinate ahead and freeze.

Pasta of all kinds, as well as sauce and meatballs, also very easy to make ahead and freeze.

I’d like to hear from you! What do you think would be a great make ahead dinner to make and freeze for future meals? Do you have any super successful meals you’ve frozen in the past? Anything you would NOT recommend freezing? I once saw a movie where the main character froze absolutely everything, from milk and cheese to lettuce. That’s not me.

Not yet anyway. :)

Leave me a comment below if you have some great make ahead meals! In the meantime, check out the recipes I have linked here and enjoy!

 

Fun Friday: Banana Split Smoothies

29 Aug
My kids never get tired of having homemade smoothies, especially on these hot days!

My kids never get tired of having homemade smoothies, especially on these hot days!

As I mentioned on Wednesday, this was our first week of school. It was a short week but being the first week, it feels approximately two full weeks long. Not only are we re-adjusting to the school year schedule, but we are also adjusting to a new schedule, an earlier schedule for our oldest daughter, who started her freshman year of high school this week.

To top it off, while our summer has been 8-10 weeks of perfect, not-humid, summer-like weather, not a day over 80 degrees, this first week back in our non-air conditioned schools on our not-air conditioned buses, it’s been nearly 90 degrees, hot and humid every.single.day.

On Day Two, the younger kids took the bus home. They were like soggy noodles getting off the bus; they were so hot, tired and sweaty. As soon as I saw them, I knew exactly what the quick fix would be: smoothies.

Even better, I had a new frozen yogurt in the freezer here at home, an Edy’s Slow Churned, Low Fat, Limited Edition yogurt. When companies call something “Limited Edition,” it almost always becomes a favorite flavor of mine and I almost always pine for it when they take it away from me.

As soon as I saw this, it went right into my shopping cart!

As soon as I saw this, it went right into my shopping cart!

This Limited Edition flavor was made for me: Fun ‘N The Sun Banana Split Frozen Yogurt.

No, I am not even kidding you right now.

It just so happened that I had this Banana Split yogurt, I had two frozen bananas, and I had chocolate syrup. I also had a freezer full of ice and some low fat vanilla yogurt (not the frozen kind) as well. My middle daughter was immediately intrigued by the idea of a banana split smoothie, having had her first-ever banana split dessert on her birthday at a local restaurant this summer.

Suddenly the heat wasn’t so unbearable anymore, and we got to work.

We use our Ninja blender all the time, and I’m so glad we made the investment. I was thankful this week as I put the frozen bananas, the ice, the frozen yogurt, milk and regular yogurt all into the blender. Our old blender could never have handled this type of all-out smoothie that we were creating.

We added some chocolate syrup in, and we turned it on.  Level 1 blending didn’t cut it, so we kicked it up a notch to Level 2. At the end, as I saw some of the ice still in decent sized pieces, I gave it a blast at Level 3.

I poured it into the glasses. My youngest daughter handed out straws. By this time, my oldest was home from her sports practice, which had been outdoors in the hot sun. She too, was melting on the spot. Her eyes lit up when she saw this smoothie that we’d concocted in her absence. She was just in time.

It

Was

Amazing.

If you have the chance, if you have the ingredients, and you’re in the mood, I *highly* recommend you try out your own banana split smoothie. The flavor was fabulous, it hit the spot on a hot day, and I will most definitely be making this again.

And when this limited edition frozen yogurt is gone, I’ll definitely be pining for it all year long until they (hopefully) bring it back again next summer.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 613 other followers