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What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken from Six Sisters’ Stuff

22 Oct
Definitely, definitely a keeper! Thanks Six Sisters Stuff!

Definitely, definitely a keeper! Thanks Six Sisters’ Stuff!

We eat a lot of chicken. It’s a meat most of the five of us enjoy, most of the time.

I’m being very diplomatic in that statement, because not everyone likes all of it all the time.

That said, I’m constantly on the lookout for some variety in our chicken recipes. We do breaded chicken, we do chicken with mushrooms, we bake it, we saute it, but I’m just always searching.

Recently I found a great one. It looked delicious and it did not disappoint. Almost all five of us loved it.

Almost.

There’s always one….

This recipe is from the blog Six Sisters’ Stuff, and I’m pretty sure I’ve made some of their other “Stuff” before, and shared it here. When I made this recipe, I knew for sure I had to share it here. It was amazing! The recipe is for baked sweet and sour chicken and in the description they said it was just like Chinese take out.

And it was.

I served it with a side of my Light Vegetable Fried Rice, to which I now always add a dash of sesame oil, and it was a perfect combination.

You’ll definitely want to give this recipe a try, and soon! It’s easy, there’s not a ton of ingredients, and it’s delicious.

Here’s the recipe exactly as it appears on Six Sisters’ Stuff, I did not change a thing, other than using chicken tenderloins instead of breasts.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff
Ingredients:
Chicken:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Place cornstarch and beaten eggs in separate bowls.  Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture.  Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned.  Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, ketchup, vinegars, soy sauce and garlic salt.  Pour over chicken and bake for one hour.

Stop by and visit us on….

20 Oct
Stop by either of two websites to see my blog post for Pilgrim Pies featured!

Stop by either of two websites to see my blog post for Pilgrim Pies featured!

Everything is coming up Pumpkin!

Everywhere you go, everything is featured in flavors of fall.

If you go on over to either this website, or this one, you’ll see my blog post from The Whole Bag of Chips “Pumpkin Palooza” series, featuring the recipe for Pilgrim Pies, which is such a seasonal favorite.

It’s the greatest form of flattery when someone wants to feature your work on their site, and it’s even greater when they credit you for your work. Thanks so much to the crew over at cpnewsnet.com for featuring my work and doing such a great job!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Healthy Shrimp Scampi

15 Oct
This was a great alternative scampi recipe for our family!

This was a great alternative scampi recipe for our family!

I know I say it all the time, but I just love all the recipes that come across my Facebook page every day. I’ve gotten so many great ideas just by my daily scrolling. Today’s recipe is one such recipe.

The only down side is I can’t remember who shared it! I know it was on Facebook though and it says it was from the Prego & Mommy Facebook Page. That’s not a page I follow, so someone definitely shared it and it appeared in my feed.

The thing that appealed to me about this particular recipe for Shrimp Scampi was that it specifically stated that it did not use any butter. We have issues with butter here, and anything too buttery makes some of us sick. I substitute with “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” pretty often, but when I saw that this recipe had no butter at all, I decided to give it a try.

I’m glad I did! It got thumbs up from all who tried it! I’d definitely make it again. The thing I liked about it too, was that you could make it as lemony as you wanted it to be (or not to be) by adding additional lemon at the end.

I followed the recipe just as it read, other than one change to the type of shrimp I used which is noted below, and I served it with wide egg noodles. Anyone who didn’t want the shrimp could have plain pasta if they so desired. There was just enough left at the end of the night that I could have it for lunch the next day, too! I love it when that happens.

Here’s the recipe just as I copied it:

Easy & Healthy Shrimp….No Butter (uses chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice)
Ingredients
4 tsp olive oil
1 1/4 pounds med raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on)  **I used a bag of frozen shrimp and I removed the tails before cooking.***
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup + 1 T minced parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 lemon wedges
Preparation
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Saute the shrimp until just pink, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep them warm.
In the skillet, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the salt and pepper; and bring it to a boil. Boil uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by half.
Spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Serve garnished with the lemon wedges and sprinkled with the remaining tablespoon of parsley. Enjoy!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Smoky BBQ Pork Tenderloin Sliders

8 Oct
This was an excellent Pampered Chef make ahead meal!

This was an excellent Pampered Chef make ahead meal!

You may have read some of my past two- week menu posts, where I mentioned having attended a recent Pampered Chef make ahead freezer meal “party” where we made up four or more meals for our freezer. I chose four meals from a pre-selected menu, but there were others who made ten! Today’s meals is one of the meals from that night. It was very easy to prep ahead, and very easy to cook the day of. It received all thumbs up reviews.

Pampered Chef recipes generally highlight some of their own ingredients, and this recipe is no different. The two needed PC ingredients are their Chef Smoky Barbecue Rub and their Garlic-Infused Canola Oil. When I participated in the freezer meal party, I was given a list of these types of items that would be ordered for me. I paid ahead of time for the items and when I walked in the door that night with the rest of the groceries I needed to prep the meals, I was handed a bag with my needed PC ingredients all ready to go. Any extras were mine to keep at the end.

When we arrived at the party, a station was set up for each of us with the recipes for our freezer meals. We prepped them right in the gallon ziploc bags we brought with us, double bagged them and put them right into our coolers. We came home with four (or ten) bags all labeled and ready to go with a list of cooking instructions, the full recipe and any other important information. It was fantastic.

Here is the recipe for the tenderloin sliders. I will note here that it calls for two pounds of meat but we only ended up needing one pound once it was cooked. We froze the cooked second portion for another night in the future. We’d just need another bag of the Hawaiian sweet rolls, which I found to be a teeny bit addicting! Those weren’t something I normally stock up on, but now I think I want to!

This meal was our dinner, we used it leftover for a few lunches and we froze a whole pound for another night, as I mentioned above. This was definitely a meal I’d prepare and freeze again!

Easy peasy, a meal all set to throw into my crock pot!

Easy peasy, a meal all set to throw into my crock pot!

SMOKY BBQ PORK TENDERLOIN SLIDERS (Pampered Chef, A Taste of Dinners Done freezer meal workshop)

Cook Time: Frozen in the crock pot 4-6 hrs. on low

Thawed in the Deep Covered Baker: Microwave on high 10-15 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs. pork tenderloin

4T. Pampered Chef Smoky Barbeque Rub

1/8 cup Pampered Chef Garlic-Infused Canola Oil

1 yellow onion, wedged

Keep separate a 12-pack of Hawaiian Rolls. Freeze and thaw when ready to use.

 

 

 

Fun Friday: S’Mores Mug Cake

3 Oct
Everything tastes better in a mug!

Everything tastes better in a mug!

We have lots of mugs in our kitchen cabinets. Big mugs, little mugs, colored mugs, white mugs, kids’ mugs, teacher mugs, matched mugs, mismatched mugs and every kind of mug you can think of.

I almost never drink my coffee out of a regular coffee mug, ever. I almost always drink it in a re-usable travel mug.

So what to do with all those mugs?

Mug cakes!

I’m sure you all remember the notorious Four Ingredient Nutella Mug Cake recipe that’s my all-time favorite mug cake thus far, but there are plenty of other mug cake recipes out there which deserve equal opportunity to shine. A quick Google search will yield you plenty to try, and recently I even saw a link to breakfast recipes that can be cooked in a mug. I can tell you, that’s in my future for sure.

Last fall, my brother sent me a link which contained multiple mug cake recipes to try, probably 20 or so. I filed it away for future use, and this summer I pulled it back out again. The kids and I were craving something sweet (okay, when are we NOT craving something sweet??) and we couldn’t really agree on what it was that we wanted. I decided to pull up the link to the various mug cakes and let them each choose one to make, and go to town.

I think that for us, half the fun of the mug cakes is baking something so small, so individual rather than a full-sized anything. The other half the fun is eating your creation, sharing a bite with someone else, and taking a taste of theirs. Cooking mug cakes is a fun, easy way to involve kids in the kitchen. In general the recipes are quick and easy, a little less messy (sometimes), and still incorporate important math and science skills, an added bonus to cooking with kids.

On this night, I don’t think anyone even finished their whole mug cake, as they were pretty filling, but everyone definitely enjoyed their chosen creations.

I’ll share both recipes we tried eventually, but today I thought I’d share the 5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S’More Mug Cake recipe from How Sweet Eats because it was the more unique and different recipe we tried. I will say, ours wasn’t exactly like the one over at How Sweet Eats because I didn’t have exactly the same ingredients on hand, but it was pretty close and it still got a thumb’s up at the end of the taste test. I’ll also say, it took us much longer to prepare than five minutes, but I was told that it was worth every minute spent.

Here is their recipe, just as it appears on their site, and my photo of our finished version is here at the top of my post. I’ve tried to add in any notes where I made some changes, using an *.

5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S’More Mug Cake

from How Sweet Eats

INGREDIENTS

2-3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted  *We used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour  *She said we could use all-purpose flour, so that’s what we did.

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (mine was dark cocoa, hence the dark color)

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate (chopped or morsels)  *We used chocolate chips, semi-sweet.

marshmallow fluff, cream or actual marshmallows  *We had giant-sized marshmallows designed for campfire S’Mores. We used one big one, right on top.

DIRECTIONS

Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of chocolate in a small bowl, then melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Set aside. In another bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham crumbs into the bottom of your mug.

In a bowl. whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir until a thick batter forms. Stream in melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Add half of the mixture on top of the graham crust, then throw on a scoop of marshmallow fluff/cream or a few marshmallows. Add remaining batter on top, then pop in the microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds to almost 2 minutes. Remove and top with additional marshmallow if desired. You can pop it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make them melty, or pop them directly under the broiler for about 10 seconds to toast if desired. You can also use a kitchen torch if you have one. Sprinkle with graham crumbs!

Notes: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use all-purpose. I would not recommend using regular whole wheat. Additionally, I have made this by substituting coconut butter for the full amount of butter. It was just as delicious, albeit slightly drier. You cannot taste coconut at all. Finally, take into account the power of your microwave. Mine has a mind of it’s own and is insanely powerful, so I cooked this on 80% power. Judge accordingly and add/subtract a few minutes of cooking if you know yours is wonky too. Unfortunately it may take 1-2 trial runs to get the right consistency because all microwaves are different, but I promise it’s worth it!

 

 

Get your pumpkin on and Go Orange for No Kid Hungry!

1 Oct
Thanks to Paula over at My Soup For You for teaming up with me today to bring you some great pumpkin recipes, and for bringing even more awareness to No Kid Hungry!

Thanks to Paula over at My Soup For You for teaming up with me today to bring you some great pumpkin recipes, and for bringing even more awareness to No Kid Hungry!

It’s October! It’s fall. It’s the season of beautiful leaves, fun autumn events like apple picking, hay rides and pumpkin carving.

Pumpkin….mmmmm…..does it make you think of pumpkin spiced coffee, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie?!

Me too!!

We’re a lucky bunch, most of us. We can run through the drive through at the local donut shop and get this month’s pumpkin flavored muffin or drink, without too much of a struggle. We can pop a recipe for my good friend Paula’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread or her Pumpkin Soup right into the oven and enjoy it without too much trouble. All those warm, orange flavors warm our bellies and our thoughts all throughout the fall.

We’re very lucky.

Not everyone is so lucky, however. According to the No Kid Hungry statistics for our local area, as of June 2013 (more than a year ago), 22% of kids in our little state were struggling with hunger. Fifty-five percent of them were eligible for free or reduced lunch at school, and only 51% of those students were eating school breakfast.

At a recent school event I covered for the newspaper earlier this month, when a room full of young students were asked what the most important thing was that they’d miss if they were late to school, their answer wasn’t attendance, or morning math, or reading, it was breakfast. Every student who raised their hand was worried that if they were late to school in the morning, they’d go hungry until lunchtime.

Childhood hunger across our nation is a growing problem, but we can do something to help.

Last year, you may remember that our own family started a local Go Orange Day for No Kid Hungry after seeing a television commercial about the nationwide effort to help end childhood hunger. Nationally, the official Go Orange Day for No Kid Hungry is at the end of September, but we opted to do ours just a little bit later at the start of October. It was a big success. We rallied our large school district, the superintendent’s offices and City Hall all to Go Orange for No Kid Hungry, and raised over $1000 in monetary donations as well as bringing in hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items for our local food pantry. We were helping to put food on the tables of families all around us, and it was a great feeling.  All around us, local restaurants and other establishments went Orange as well, donating portions of their proceeds to the No Kid Hungry effort, and wearing orange to show their spirit.

This year, we’re doing it again. We’ve pushed our date out slightly further, and this year on Friday, October 31, Halloween Day we’ll be getting our pumpkin on, going Orange for No Kid Hungry again. We’ve rallied our school district, our superintendent’s office, City Hall, and even our church to help us put an end to childhood hunger again this year. So far we’ve had TEN local responses for going Orange on Halloween Day. Even more exciting, we’ve had some inquiries from local folks wanting to spread this year’s local Go Orange day to their communities and schools within our state and neighboring areas. All around our city, people will be showing their Halloween spirit, dressing in orange, donating money and/or non-perishable food items on Halloween Day and helping out their neighbors all in a day’s work.

We are thrilled. Wouldn’t it be great if we could really make a difference EVERY YEAR?

Wouldn’t it be great if just by spreading awareness and spreading the word, we could help feed other families?

We are foodies, we are blessed, we are thankful to be able to cook and bake and eat our fun pumpkin flavors in the spirit of the season, all month long.

So I ask you: will you get your pumpkin on this Halloween Day too? Will you spread the awareness of childhood hunger in your area and continue the good work of No Kid Hungry and their Go Orange efforts in your city or town, at your school or church or temple? Will you help?

Get your pumpkin on. Visit Paula’s blog over at My Soup for You and help her spread the word too. Make some Pumpkin Soup. Grab some Pilgrim Pies, eat some pumpkin spiced Chex snack mix, and be thoughtful, be thankful that you can help another family in such a simple way.

 

 

Fun Friday: Cook once, eat twice. After school snacks and breakfast

26 Sep
These were healthy and a huge hit. Definitely a keeper.

These were healthy and a huge hit. Definitely a keeper.

ORIGINALLY POSTED SEPTEMBER 13, 2013

Cook once, eat twice.

I love that old adage. You cook once, and live on the leftovers. Or, you make double, since you’re cooking anyway, and have twice as much.

Either way, I like it.

I’ve been living on that theme all week long.

I’ve been a cooking machine this week, in between my own work hours, trying to deal with our crazy school year schedules, and making sure that we maintain a healthy eating lifestyle at the same time.

Really, just making sure everyone’s got something to eat when it’s time to eat.

However, one thing I really enjoy doing is making great after school snacks for my kids whenever I can. Everyone has something that makes them happy, and I think I’ve inherited my grandparents’ genes. My dad always said that my grandmother was happiest when everyone was eating.

If everyone is eating, they’re happy, and that makes me happy.

To me, as a mom, there is nothing more special than the moment the kids walk in the door from school. They’re tired, they’re hungry, they’ve got more work to do or places to go, but the look on their faces when they smell a snack fresh out of the oven or see it on the table is priceless to me.

I feel like I have the ability to make their day, every day. Or almost every day. I do the best I can. Later on in life, I want their memories of their school years to include coming in from school, and finding me there with something tasty for them to snack on. Some days I’m not even there, my schedule is not always consistent, but I’ve left them a tasty snack and a note on my way out the door.

To me, it’s things like that which make all the difference.

Everyone loves these whether for breakfast or after school or a meal on the run.

Everyone loves these whether for breakfast or after school or a meal on the run.

Additionally, I try to think smarter these days. If I’m going to make an after school snack, I might as well make enough of it to last for more than just one afternoon. I have tried to make things that can be used either as lunchbox snacks or as breakfast the next day.

These little mini quiches, or however you’d describe them, make a great after school snack. They’re healthy and you can make all different varieties to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. This time I did tomato/egg/cheese, spinach/egg/cheese and just plain egg/cheese. Fifteen eggs made 16 good-sized cups.

They were a snack and they’ve been breakfast or lunch throughout the week as well.

The pumpkin muffins, pictured above, I doubled the recipe to make twice as many. They served as an after school snack, breakfast the next day and a lunchbox snack the day after that.

If I’m going to work hard, I might as well get the mileage out of my efforts.

On that same afternoon this week as the pumpkin muffins, I also made a big batch of homemade applesauce. If I’m going to stand there and peel three pounds of apples, I might as well peel six pounds (although I have to stop there or my hand aches from all the peeling and slicing).

I used one batch in a recipe that night, froze two batches in my freezer for future use, and had some leftover to serve on the side with dinner as well. There’s nothing like homemade applesauce, especially in the fall in New England.

Today, I’m going to share with you the recipe I found for these delicious pumpkin muffins. Note that the recipe calls for mini chocolate chips. I don’t *do* mini chocolate chips. If I’m going, I’m going all the way so mine had regular-sized chips. Otherwise, the recipe I made was the same, just doubled.

This recipe is not my own. Thanks to Skinnytaste.com for posting such a wonderful snack and breakfast! It got all thumbs up at our house and we’d definitely make these again!

If I'm going to spend the time, might as well make it worth my while.

If I’m going to spend the time, might as well make it worth my while.

Skinny Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 14  • Size: 2 mini muffins  • Old Points: 3 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 4 pt
Calories: 160 • Fat: 5 g • Carb: 27 g • Fiber: 2 g • Protein: 2 g • Sugar: 18 g
Sodium: 118 mg • Cholest: 0 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
  • 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or canola)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • baking spray
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray liners with oil for easy removal.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix pumpkin puree, oil, egg whites and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, then blend at low speed until combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake on the center rack for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let them cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 28 mini muffins or 14 regular sized muffins.

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