Monday, December 11, 2017

EASY SESAME CHICKEN

Sesame chicken is one of those great recipes that is perfect for a crowd because you can make a lot of the steps ahead........even the day ahead. It is also a very forgiving recipe. If you like SWEET sesame chicken, add a little more sugar. If you like it NOT SO sweet, add a little more vinegar. This recipe has several steps, but NONE of them are hard to do.


Cut 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1 1/2" pieces and set aside. 

In a medium size bowl, mix:

2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin sweet rice wine
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tiny dash sesame oil  (I often leave this out)

Mix above ingredients and stir in the raw chicken pieces. Cover and let sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, fry the batter covered chicken pieces until done, drain on paper towels and keep warm in a VERY low oven

Note: you can deep fry the chicken pieces or just fry them in a pan (which is what I like to do).

Sauce Ingredients

1 cup chicken broth (not bullion)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons  white vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper ** (see below)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup water
toasted sesame seeds (see below)

Heat the broth, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne until it comes to a boil. Mix the corn starch and water together, and stir about half of it into the boiling ingredients while whisking.  If you want the sauce thicker, just add the rest of the corn starch mixture. Cook until thick.

Drizzle the thick sauce over the hot, cooked chicken pieces and gently toss. Serve over hot rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

NOTE: You can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper. We are a family that cannot tolerate much spice at all, and 1/8 teaspoon is perfect. If you like a little heat......double the cayenne. 
NOTE: Toast the sesame seeds in a DRY frying pan...watch closely so they don't burn. 

ENJOY !!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

EASY CHOCOLATE WAFER COOKIES

I found this recipe over at smittenkitchen.com and it is a true keeper. Chocolate wafer cookies can be used for so many things. They are great in the ever popular no-bake eclair "cake", and they look so pretty coated with mint chocolate at Christmas, they are perfect for ice cream sandwiches, and much more. The only problem is, that commercial chocolate wafer cookies are sometimes hard to find in the store, especially around the holidays. So, here is a recipe that tastes just like Nabisco's chocolate wafer cookies.





1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use 1/2 cup)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar   (I use 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) UNsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of your food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly.

Cut the SLIGHTLY softened butter into 12 chunks and add them to the flour mixture. Pulse several times.

In a small cup, mix the milk and vanilla and drizzle it into the cookie batter while the food processor is running. Continue pulsing until the batter clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl.

Transfer dough to the counter (no extra flour needed) and knead a few times to form into a 12" x 2" log. Cover in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. I like to square off the sides of the log to give me more of a square cookie.

The original recipe says to slice into 1/4" thick slices, but I find that 1/8" slices are better. Bake them on parchment lined cookie sheets (1 1/2" apart) in a pre-heated 375° oven, for 12-15 minutes. My electric oven takes 13 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes, then place them on a wire rack. They will crisp up as they cool.

You can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks or they can be frozen up to 2 months, so they are a perfect "make ahead" baking project.



Coated with mint chocolate for Christmas
Here's the link: Thin Mint Cookies


No Bake Eclair Cake
Overnight in the fridge, the cookies 
turn into "cake"...delicious!!
Here's the link: No Bake Eclair Cake

ENJOY !!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

EASY CROCKPOT PICNIC BEANS

I've been making these beans for my family for 30+ years and they are always a hit. Now that we are empty nesters, I make a big pot of these and then freeze them in 2 cup containers for a quick and yummy addition to any meal. 



I put the following ingredients (which are always in my pantry) into the crockpot before I go to bed and let them cook on LOW all night.



2 cups DRY navy beans (do not soak)
6 cups water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar  (light brown sugar works well too)
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3/4 cup sweet onion chopped small *see note below
(1) 8 ounce can tomato sauce
6 slices crisp cooked bacon

Now, a word about the beans:  Over the years, I've tried every kind of DRY bean there is and they ALL work, however, the tiny little "navy beans" work the best and tolerate re-heating without going mushy. I highly recommend that you use navy beans. Make sure you do NOT pre-soak the beans for this recipe.

Saute onions and fry bacon until almost crisp then drain well. Put everything into a large crockpot and cover with 6 cups of water. Stir well and set on low for 12 hours. The last 3-4 hours, prop the lid of the slow cooker open with a spoon, to thicken the juices. 


Note about onions: When I decide to make these beans and I'm out of fresh onions, I use a scant tablespoon of dehydrated onion flakes, they work well.


ENJOY !!!