Sunday, February 10, 2008

Looking To Link With Others

I am looking for some people with other cooking blogs or websites, or any blogs/websites for that matter to link with.... If anyone who views my blog is interested in linking with me, please send me an email... Thanks! :)

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is something I made up on my own and have gotten the flavours right where I like it... I love sweet and sour chicken and I live out in the boonies, so it's not so easy to go to town and buy chinese food. It's more convenient for me to go to the small super market near my house and buy some of the ingredients than jump in my car and drive 15 miles to the nearest chinese restaurant... Haha. Most of the stuff in this are things that I usually have on hand, but the fresh produce is something I have to buy when I want to make it. This recipe is not as sweet as some in the restaurants and it has no food colouring in it because I don't want to polute my body with chemicals, but if you want it red, then by all means add food colouring. This is also a lower in calorie version of this favourite, but still has tons of flavour!

Serves 6



1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into big chunks
1/2 green bell Pepper, chopped into big chunks
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into big chunks
1 tsp. minced ginger root
1 15 oz. can chunked pineapple, drained
2 tbsp. sweet chile sauce, optional
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 cups pineapple juice
3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
6 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
kosher salt to taste
non-stick cooking spray

In a large sauce pan, liberally spray with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat.

When pan is hot, add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, and ginger root and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add pineapple chunks, sweet chile sauce, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, and soy sauce.

In a small bowl or cup, add cornstarch and 1/2 cup water and stir until completely mixed together.

Season sauce to taste and bring sauce to a low boil over medium heat... When a boil emerges, pour in the water and cornstarch mixture.

Stir with wooden spoon until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and serve with chicken (see recipe below) and jasmine rice.

At this point you have to decide if you want to deep fry your chicken, or pan fry it in a little oil in a pan... This recipe for chicken can be made either way.

Fried Chicken:

4 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp. sweet chile sauce
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
Corn oil for frying

In a zip lock bag combine the chicken chunks, half the buttermilk (1 cup), and sweet chile sauce and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

In pie tins or any kind of shallow dish, mix flour, breadcrumbs, and salt in one dish and 1 cup buttermilk and 2 eggs in another dish and a large plate for placing chicken on after breading.

Take the chicken chunks and place them in the flour mixture and roll around for an even coating, then place chicken chunks into buttermilk mixture and back into the flour mixture for a double coating. Repeat until all chicken is coated.

Prepare your deep fryer with the corn oil at 350 degrees. When the fryer is ready, place only a few pieces of chicken at a time (about 4-6 pieces). Fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown, repeat all the chicken in batches.

If you want to pan fry them, you can prepare a large skillet with about 1/2 an inch of corn oil or olive oil in the bottom of the pan over medium-low heat. When pan is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken in batches of 6 - 8 pieces of chicken at a time for 3 - 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve chicken with jasmine rice and sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy!

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Make Your Own Microwave "Warm Delights" Minis

Okay, I really like those warm delights, the mini ones are 150 calories and very yummy... I was trying to think of a way to replica that at home and I figured out a way that I really like it, but even better than the Warm Delights you buy in the store, and way cheaper too... It's a little more work at home, but I figured out it's 15¢ for each mini cake at home, versus $2.00 per cake from the store... You pay about $4.00 for the cake minis for a package with 2 mini cakes in them, but the regulars only come with 1 cake and those are $4.00 each. I'm sorry, but I really have a hard time paying that much for a cake that is a single serving when I can buy a cake mix for less than a buck at my local super market and a cheap packet of generic brand pudding and make the same thing for much much less. Dollars less in fact. It costs pennies to do at home, versus dollars from the grocery store.

So, here is the Recipe:

Makes 21 Mini Cakes with 1/4 cup dry mix

1 Duncan Hines Cake Mix
1 Sugar Free Instant Pudding Package (4 serving package; in the corresponding flavour of the cake mix)
1 1/3 Cups Dried Egg Whites (you can purchase this at baking shops)
Fruit Preserves, Hot Fudge, or Caramel in the tubs for dipping fruit (I get the low fat caramel and it tastes great, just don't go overboard with it, it can be a bit overwhelmingly sweet if you put too much on.)

Okay, you can do two things... You can either measure out 1/3 cup of mix into little packets or you can just scoop out 1/3 cup of mix whenever you want to make a cake... Then add 1 1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon oil and mix well.

Now, the Dried Egg Whites are not necessary. This is how I make it at home because I don't have the dried egg whites... I measure out 1/2 cup of mix (just the cake and pudding), and mix in 1 egg white, 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons of oil, and mix well. Then I divide it into 2 mini cakes because I share with my mum whenever I make them. The problem is, I don't know how to make just one serving because I can't put half an egg white in the cake mix... So, for me it works out well to use the egg whites from an egg, but if you are single, it might work best to get the egg whites dried.

Now, I usually very lightly spray the bottom of my bowls (any microwave safe bowl works just fine, I have used correll (sp?), and even a mug.), and then swish a paper towel inside the bowl to make an even coat. Then I pour the cake mix in the bowl and if I am having chocolate cake, I use that caramel that is already made for dipping apples, and put 1 1/2 teaspoons on top and then microwave for 35 seconds in a 1000 watt microwave. Times may differ depending on the microwave, but you want the cake to look dry on top and have no sign of moistness... The caramel will melt and get saucy, so don't let that get dry, just the cake.

You can experiment with flavour, I am thinking of mixing up a white cake version and using lemon curd on top to make a light lemony swirl cake... For chocolate, you could use fruit preserves for flavours, or hot fudge, peanut butter, etc.

I know it sounds odd to microwave a cake, I thought it was too, but if you follow my recipe, you will see that it's very moist and quite good... I also top off with a little squirt of whipped cream. :)

If you don't want a mini, you can make the entire 1/2 cup serving with 1 egg white etc, and you will want to microwave for 90 seconds or so.

I use these little ramekins to make my minis in, but you'll want a bigger bowl, just a normal sized cereal bowl to make a regular sized cake in. :)

I hope everyone enjoys. If you try it, please let me know what you think.

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