Slow Cookin’ Honey Sesame Chicken

sesame_chicken_1 You know me, addicted to Chinese! And since there isn’t really a GOOD Chinese restaurant where I live, I am forced to make my own Chinese cookbook.

This recipe is different. I’m not much for slow-cookery. Don’t know why, but I’m not and I have an old small cooker that I picked up at some yard sale. But this recipe was just fine for it.

So it’s an easy recipe you might surmise. And the flavors are good. As you recall, I’m a sweet/hot lover so I could not resist the temptation to throw in some arbol dried peppers. Those are Serranos which have been dried. So omit if you don’t like the heat.

Adapted from FoodiewithFamily.com

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs thigh meat deboned or breast meat. cut into bite sized pieces.
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil (hot) or not as you wish
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 4-8 arbol dried chiles or red pepper flakes 3/4 tsp on up. (I’d use a TBSP)
  • 1 tbsp, + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 c water
  • Sesame seeds (1/4 c or so)
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Salt and pepper the meat and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together everything down through the pepper flakes (if using the chiles, just throw them on the meat)
  3. Pour over the chicken.
  4. Cook on low for four hours.
  5. Remove the chicken and pour the liquid into a sauce pan.
  6. Mix the cornstarch and water and pour into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook down until you like the consistency. I like it sticky.
  7. Remove to a gravy boat.
  8. Serve the chicken over rice. Spoon on the sauce and then sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.

Serves: 4-6

NOTE: I would always stir-fry some veggies in a separate fry pan to complete the meal. What types you use is up to you. Simply cut them to bite-size, and heat some canola oil up in a fry pan or wok and then add the veggies in order of how long they need to cook. You don’t need to make a separate sauce obviously.

Secondly, I had a lot of sauce left over, so I froze it, and simply used it in the next stir fry I made. Was a great time saver.

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Pumpkin Cheese Cake

PumpkinCheesecake_s3x4_lgYes I know, it’s a bit late in the season, but I don’t worry about that. I get pumpkin cravings and well, this is one of the results.

This recipe comes from OrganicPedic. I swapped out the organic elements because I don’t usually shop that way. But I suspect it’s pretty darn near the same.

I found it to be an excellent recipe and we ate every bit of it.

And it’s quite easy to make as well.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CRUST:

  • 2 c graham cracker crumbs (place about 1 sleeve in a plastic bag and get your rolling pin and roll away until in a nice crumb size)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter (melted)

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 3  8 oz pkgs cream cheese
  • 1  15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs, and 1 egg yolk
  • 1  1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine the crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add the pumpkin, eggs, yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices.
  5. Add the flour and the vanilla.
  6. Beat until creamy and no lumps remain.
  7. Pour into crust, spreading evenly.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes or until the center is no long jiggly.
  9. Cool for 15 minutes on a rack and then refrigerate for 4 hours.
  10. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves: 8-10

Fruity Magic Cobbler

cobbler-2Cobblers are wonderful desserts and easier than a lot of others to make.

This one is found all over and is touted for its “magical” qualities.

What’s magical? The fact that the top “biscuit” magically arises all on its own. In other words, it’s not the typical biscuit dough you make separately and place on top.

I find this one simple to make, and gooey, which is how I like my cobbler anyhow. Fresh fruit of any kind works here, and frozen as well, which I would thaw and drain.

So let your imagination guide you. This one here is a plum cobbler, but as I said, apples, mangos, peaches, cherries, blueberries and so forth work just as well. I think fresh fruit is easier to work with, but you can use frozen. Be inventive!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 c sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 4 cups fruit, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon/and or nutmeg to taste (1/2 tsp generally)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°
  2. Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1 c of the sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk together.
  4. Add the milk, and mix gently just until combined. Pour this into the baking dish and DO NOT MIX.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, lemon juice and remaining sugar.
  6. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove and add the spices.
  8. Carefully pour into the baking dish, and DO NOT STIR.
  9. Bake on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serves: 6 or so.

NOTE: great served with ice cream or whipped cream. Serve either warm or cold. This recipe came from Bartolini Kitchens, but as I said, it’s a fairly common one around the Internet.

Pistachio Cream Cheese Pie

Pistachio Cream cheese pieI know it’s getting a bit late for a new recipe for Christmas, but this would also be nice for New Years. In fact it is pretty darn good almost any time.

I made it several weeks ago, and we enjoyed it.

It’s fairly easy to do, and of course uses the instant pudding mix which makes it a Midwestern pot luck wonder.

So do give it a go as they say, if you like pistachios that is.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 1/4 c graham crackers, munched up into crumbs
  • 1 – 1/4 c vanilla wafers, also munched up.
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 1 – 1/2 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 c whipping cream
  • 2 (3 oz) boxes of pistachio instant pudding
  • 2 c cold milk
  • 1/2 c chopped pistachio nuts, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the crumbs, butter and sugar together and spread into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for five minutes, or until just browning. Cool on rack and then in the fridge.
  2. In a mixer, add the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar, and one cup of the whipping cream. Beat well.
  3. Spread into the bottom of the cooled crust.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Mix the instant pudding with milk and whisk until thick. Spread on the cheese layer.
  5. Whip up the remaining cup of whipping cream and spread over the top of the pistachio layer.
  6. Cover the top with the nuts. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Serves: 8

 

Elegant Sour Cream Apple Pie

sourcreamapplepie400aOh goodness I do love apple pie. This is a variation off the usual one and frankly it’s utterly delicious.

It’s from allrecipes.com., with just a tad of alteration.

So think of this marvelous pie whenever you want to do something just a bit more elegant than the normal apple pie, good as that is.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 unbaked pie crust for a 9 inch pie (half recipe)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lg egg
  • about 4-5 peeled, cored, and sliced granny smith apples or other similar “hard” apple. Golden delicious works fine as well as some of the newer hybrids which are tart and crunchy. Do not use soft apples. They just disintegrate during the cooking.

For the Topping:

  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • about 1 c of oat meal (quick or regular)
  • 1/4 c chilled diced butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the pie crust following the recipe or *gasp* buy one of those premade ones. But please don’t.
  2. Place the crust in the pie plate and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, flour and salt together with a whisk.
  4. Whisk together the sour cream and the egg, and then add that to the flour/sugar mixture.
  5. Add the apples and stir to coat.
  6. Place all into the pie crust.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 425° oven. Reduce to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Prepare the topping by add all the ingredients save the butter and mix. Then drop in the butter chunks and cut it into the mixture until it is crumbly. Place in the fridge until ready to add to the pie.
  9. After the 30 minutes backing time is over, remove the pie and place the topping on top.
  10. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
  11. Cool the pie on  a rack and then place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.

Serves: 8

NOTES: you can vary the topping to include anything that would work here. Brown sugar might be substituted in part, also adding walnuts or pecans would be good.

 

Gumbo Chicken With Pizazz

tumblr_lvrhyfJtK21r4vlobo1_400Oh Cajun loves come this way!

I love Cajun food, and this is pretty darn good.

This recipe comes from Simply Recipes and I changed very little. I thought it was perfect.

For those of you who hate to spend extra for somebody else to mix your spices and herbs, then listen up too for the Cajun spice mix which is simple but perfect and can be used for other things as well.

Do try to get fresh Andouille sausage. It’s so much better than any of the commercially packaged kinds, but of course availability does depend on location.

For instance I can’t really get much fresh okra here or at least I haven’t seen it, so I used frozen, which I don’t think changes the taste at all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 lb bacon, diced
  • 2-3 lbs of chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1-2 lbs andouille sausage
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 medium green peppers, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, microplaned or minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 qt of chicken stock (unsalted preferred)
  • 1 qt of water or as needed to get the consistency you desire
  • 1/2 – 1 lb of okra, or 1-2 cups frozen
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • Approx. 3 tbsp of Cajun spice mix (store-bought or home-made–as much as you wish)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the bacon until crisp in a large stew pot (Cast iron would be perfect). Remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Set the thighs skin down and brown well. Salt the meat while it is cooking. Don’t move the chicken for a good 4-5 minutes. It tends to release and turn easily once the skin is nicely browned. Turn and brown the other side.
  3. Remove the chicken. Brown the sausage. Roll as needed to brown all sides decently. Remove this to the chicken.
  4. You need about 1/2  c of fat from all this. If you don’t have enough, use the canola oil up to that level. This isn’t rocket science, just be in the ball park. Once heated up, stir in the flour and stir. At first stir almost continuously, then every couple of minutes. Turn to low-medium heat and cook until the roux is a dark caramel. This will take about 30 minutes. Don’t let it burn, cuz if you do, it’s a complete loss. So watch carefully.
  5. You can warm the chicken stock and water in the microwave, but it’s not essential. It makes everything blend a little faster is all.
  6. Add the veggies all nicely diced to the roux when it is ready and stir often for about 5 minutes until they are softened. Add the garlic, and continue cooking and stirring for about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and whisk into the roux and veggie mix.
  7. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking it in a bit at a time until you have it all in. Continue to scrap the bottom of the pot, and whisking away.
  8. Stir in 3 tbsp of the Cajun spice mix, taste, and add more in you desire.
  9. Add the thighs back in. Simmer for 90 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool.
  10. While chicken is cooling, cut the sausage into discs and add to the gumbo. Then add the okra. You can cook this for 1 hour or if you wish, longer to cook down the soup. It’s your call as to how thick you want things. If it’s too thick for you now, add water or more stock.
  11. Pick the meat off the chicken bones and chop and add back in.
  12. Add the green onions, parsley and bacon back in at the very end before serving.
  13. Serve over rice or with bread.

Serves: 10-12

Note: This makes a big pot, but this freezes really well. I thought it was better after it came out of the freezer frankly.

Chocolate Slathered Granola Bars

chocdippOkay, so it’s sorta healthy but it has chocolate so you can forget all that stuff and just enjoy the flavors.

Lots of good stuff in this really I swear, but the taste is really good, not at all like that stuff you find in boxes in the grocery store. It all tastes like cardboard with a layer of chocolate.

This stuff is chewy and tasty and keeps nicely. So make a batch and you will have a snack on the run which is good for ya mostly and very tasty as well.

Recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, with minor alterations.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 c rolled oats (not the quick ones)
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1/4 c apple juice (substitute freely here with any juice you might like)
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c Rice Krispies
  •  1 c wheat germ
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c almonds (use any combo of nuts you wish)
  • 8 oz your favorite chocolate, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Toss the oats, butter, canola oil, and salt. Spread out on baking sheets and taste for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool.
  3. Reduce oven to 325°
  4. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice, and molasses. Heat until blended and then add the vanilla.
  5. Place the oat mixture in a large bowl. Add the cereal and the wheat germ and the nuts, mix well. Pour over the sugar syrup and toss. This will be very sticky.
  6. Press into a jelly roll pan that has been greased well. You can line with foil and grease that if you wish.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
  8. Melt the chocolate and then spread it over the cooled granola sheet. Once the chocolate is cooled and firmed up, cut up the granola into serving pieces.

Servings: 16

NOTE: you can vary the taste a bit by changing up the fruit juice you use, adding some dried fruit of any type, varying the nuts used, and substituting light corn syrup for the molasses. Also the variety of chocolate used from milk to bittersweet. And consider throwing in some miniature marshmallows or coconut.