Thai Basil Beef “Fake-Out-Take-Out”

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It only took one bite to know that this recipe would become a regular in my kitchen. Traditionally Thai dishes don’t use ground beef but since I have two very busy little boys I needed to make it easy and affordable. Ground beef or beef strips, this recipe is a show stopper. The flavor is savory, spicy, and sweet. I think the fresh basil is really the highlight here. It adds a crisp fresh element that really blew us away. We spooned the beef over a mound of brown rice that added a nice chewy texture. We declared that from now on we will be doubling this recipe because two dinners just isn’t enough!

Serves: 5     Calories: 423 per serving (includes 1 cup brown rice)     Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, I used Canola
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups basil, I used 1.5 cups of basil from my garden
  • Brown rice, cooked (optional)

Directions:

  1. If you’re serving with rice start cooking your rice now.
  2. Crush garlic with the flat blade of a knife. If you have a mortar and pestle you can use them to make a paste with the crushed garlic, pepper flakes and salt. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle continue using the flat blade of a knife and crush together the garlic, pepper flakes and salt to make a garlic-y paste. Once you’ve made the paste let it sit for a minute or two to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and cook the garlic paste with shallot for a minute over medium heat.
  4. Add the beef and continue to cook until just browned, approximately 6 minutes
  5. Stir in your bell peppers. I like to leave my bell peppers still a little crunchy so I immediately moved onto the next step. If you like your bell pepper more soft allow them to cook for a minute or two before moving onto the next step.
  6. Add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Cook for a minute or two longer
  7. Add the basil and cook until just wilted, about a minute.
  8. Spoon beef over a bed of rice or other steamed veggies. OR eat it straight out of the pan, I will not confirm nor deny that I was tempted..
  9. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe is adapted from http://www.littlespicejar.com which is an adorable food blog with many many more delicious recipes!

Sweet Fire Chicken Tenders (Fake-out-take-out)

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Sweet fire chicken, I adore it but I hate to spend 12.00 on a meal at Panda that will not produce left overs. Problem solved, friends, as I’ve scoured the darkest ends of the internet and got some ideas that birthed this wonderful copy cat recipe. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating sweet fire chicken at Panda Express : firstly I’m sorry and secondly prepare yourselves to be turned on to the “tangy yet sweet and spicy all at once” temptress that is this dish. Another thing that makes this recipe so awesome is that it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. Sometimes even I don’t enjoy cooking for hours. I did find room for improvement and think this may go better with a panko crusted baked chicken. I’ll be honest, I suck at pan frying chicken. From now on I’ll stick to the oven (and don’t worry I’ll post the revisions if I think the oven baked chicken turns out better).

Serves: 5     Calories: 523 per serving    Time: 30-45 mins 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, if you have high cholesterol like Perry they make cholesterol free canola oil which is what I used.
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, I added some salt and a lot of pepper to the flour as if this dish needed any more flavor
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 2/3 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim chicken. Once the chicken is clean bread it by rolling each tender first in the flour then dip in eggs and roll in flour once more. Working one tender at a time set those already breaded aside.
  2. Once all the tenders have been breaded heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium high heat. Once hot add 4 tenders at a time. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Continue to do this until all the chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
  3. In a separate pan heat an additional 1 tsp of oil (olive or canola) over medium heat and add the bell peppers and pineapples. Cook until peppers are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chili sauce and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly, an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. Serve the pepper and pineapple sauce over the chicken tenders and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me. 

*Recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com 

Baked Eggrolls

263983_10200250275437662_815732732_nMy newest obsessions are eggroll and wonton wrappers. They are so easy to work with and you can fill them with virtually anything. It is a great way for me to trick my son into eating veggies and my husband loves every single bite. I was a little unsure if I should try making eggrolls because they just seem like a lot of work.  In my mind lots of things could have gone wrong. As per usual the only thing that was wrong was me haha! These are not only tasty but also guilt free at only 150 calories per serving. So to my friends out there who love Chinese takeout but are counting calories here is the answer to your problem! I loved that these were crispy without all the grease and the veggies tasted ultra fresh which was also a plus. I was satisfied after 2 of them and had lots left over. They keep well but I would suggest reheating in the oven to keep them crisp.

Serves: 8        Calories: 150 for 2 eggrolls

Ingredients:

– 2 cups grated carrots

– 1-14.5oz can of bean sprouts

– 1/2 cup of chopped water chestnuts

–  1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper

– 1/4 cup chopped green onion

– 1 clove of garlic, minced

– 2 cups finely diced cooked chicken

– 4 tsp cornstarch

– 1 tbsp water

– 1 tbsp light soy sauce

– 1 tsp canola or olive oil

– 1 tsp brown sugar

– 1 pinch cayenne pepper

– 16 eggroll wrappers (You can get these at your regular market usually either by the refrigerated gourmet pastas or where they keep vegetarian foods next to tofu)

– nonstick cooking spray.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a cooking sheet. (Don’t go crazy with the spray.. Remember these are baked eggrolls not fried eggrolls haha!)

2.) Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium. Add the carrots, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, green pepper, green onions, and garlic. Cook for approximately 3 minutes (You want the veggies to be a little crisp). Stir in chicken and cook until heated through (approximately 3-5 minutes).

3.) Combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce, 1 tsp oil, brown sugar, and cayenne in a small bowl. Stir into chicken mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Constantly stirring, cook until the sauce is thickened (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat.

4.) Spoon 1/4 cup of chicken mixture onto the bottom 1/3 half of an eggroll wrapper. Fold the sides towards the center and roll tightly. Place seam side down on your baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the wrappers.

OPTIONAL: If you want a little extra crisp very lightly spritz the tops of the eggrolls with cooking spray.

5.)  Bake until golden brown (10-15 minutes)

6.) Serve with soy sauce or spicy mustard and enjoy!

*Original recipe can be found at http://www.allrecipes.com

**Photo is an original taken by me

 

 

Mongolian Beef – Fake Out Take-Out!

Okay guys I promise to be out of my Asian inspired recipe addiction next week and venture into different cuisines 🙂 Last night I was craving a beef dish. We try not to eat a lot of red meat anymore because of my husband’s health but we do splurge sometimes and really enjoy it when we do. This recipe is so versatile because you can tweak the ingredients for the sauce to make it exactly how you like it. Add more sugar to make it sweet, more hot sauce to give it a kick or more soy sauce if you love a salty taste. This is another one of those “can’t go wrong” recipes that I love! Original recipe can be found at http://www.food.com

Serves: 6   Calories: 263

Ingredients:

-1 lb flank steak

-1/4 cup cornstarch

-2 tablespoons canola oil

-1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

-1 cup snow peas

-4 green onions, sliced

-1 tablespoon grated ginger root

-1 tablespoon canola oil

-1/4 cup hoisin sauce

-1/4 cup light soy sauce or 1/4 tamari

-1 tablespoon brown sugar

-2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce OR black bean garlic sauce

 

Directions:

1.) Wrap the flank steak  and freeze for 1 hour to make slicing easier. Then, slice into 1/4 inch strips. Toss with cornstarch and let sit for 15 minutes

2.) Meanwhile, make sauce by combining hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and bean/chili sauce.

3.) Stir fry the veggies and ginger in 1 tsp. canola until just cooked through but still firm. Remove from pan and set aside. Then add the remaining canola oil and stir fry the beef over high heat until browned, about 4 minutes or so. Return veggies to pan, and add sauce and cook for about 1 minute longer.

4.) You can serve over rice or just eat with a side. This dish can stand alone that is how delicious it is! Enjoy!

 

* The photo is an original taken by me

**Find the original recipe and other great recipes at http://www.food.com