Black Pepper Chicken

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Chinese takeout is one of my favorite kitchen cheats, but with recipes like this, I can prepare the salty deliciousness myself. Yes, friends, this is another fakeout-takeout recipe. I will admit that Panda Express got me through my long Tuesdays on campus at Cal State Long Beach. I would arrive at 9am and my last class would end at 10pm. Truly, I owe my degree to Panda for fueling me through my last semester. Upon graduation, I needed to find a way to satisfy my Tuesday cravings. That is where the adventure for this recipe began. Before I knew it I was whipping it up myself! This recipe is fairly easy and features that super savory pepper sauce. If you don’t feel like fussing with fresh ginger, you can substitute it with ground ginger powder. However, I will advise that it’s very much worth fussing over the fresh stuff.  Recipe For.png

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from https://sweetcsdesigns.com/panda-express-black-pepper-chicken-copycat-recipe/

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Eggroll Soup

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Friends, we have made it through the blistering summer. As we approach cooler nights I am inspired to cook a big pot of soup. If you’ve been following this recipe blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve not done a great job of posting consistently. This means I have about a year’s worth of goodies stashed away to get up on this site. The recipe you find here is one that has become a family favorite during my absence.  It satisfies the craving for Chinese take-out while also packing in veggies. The added bonus for my family is that Perry, my husband, gets to take a few servings for lunch to warm and fuel him up after a long morning of diving in the chilly Pacific. This soup features the flavor you’d find in traditional eggrolls with a nice crunch from wonton toppers. Cut the sodium by using vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth and you’ve got yourself a hearty and healthy dinner option. Also, add any additional vegetables that appeal to you. Some ideas include mushrooms, bean sprouts, and even diced water chestnuts. Truly, you can tailor this soup to your taste.

Serves:  8-10    Time:  45 minutes   

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, I prefer olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 6 cloves of garlic (you know me, I use an excess of garlic. If you are not a garlic fan cut this back to 3 cloves)
  • 1 small green savoy cabbage, sliced into bite-sized strips
  • 8-10 cups of vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp ginger, ground
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Optional: wonton salad toppers (you’ll find these by the croutons at the grocery store), sriracha for heat

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook the pork over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Once cooked, remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
  2. To the same pot, add the cooking oil and onion, sauteing for about 6 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and garlic, sauteing for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add the cabbage, broth, ginger and cooked pork. Stir to combine.
  5. Continue to cook the soup until it starts to simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the sesame oil before serving.
  7. Top with optional wonton strips and/or sriracha and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

**Recipe adapted from https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/egg-roll-soup/

 

 

Grilled and Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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This egg-free/not fried spin on Chiles Rellenos is perfect for summer grilling. These peppers have bold flavor with spicy chorizo, smoky corn, and creamy bubbling cheese. This recipe does take a considerable amount of prep as you must start with roasting the corn and peppers before cooking up the filling and then returning the stuffed peppers to the grill. Trust me when I say the extra steps are so worth it. This recipe pairs beautifully with chile-lime seasoned edamame.

Serves: 6      Time: approximately 45 minutes to an hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 large poblano peppers
  • 1-ish cups of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (8oz) of chorizo
  • 1.5 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • optional: cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream 

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to high and brush your corn and poblano peppers with 1 tsp of oil. Grill corn and poblanos until they begin to brown, turning occasionally. Continue roasting for about 10 minutes until the corn and poblanos are fairly blackened/browned. We are looking for scorch marks here, on the surface, not compete burning.
  2. Remove corn and poblanos from the grill, placing the poblanos in a bowl and covering them to steam.
  3. Cut the roasted corn from the cob and set it aside.
  4. Cook the chorizo in a large pan. Once cooked through add breadcrumbs until most of the excess oil is sopped up. Add the roasted corn and 1 cup of the Monterey jack cheese (reserve 1/2 cup of the cheese for topping).
  5. Return to the poblano peppers and peel the skin. This is the clear-ish bits that should be flaking off, not the actual green fleshy parts. Don’t look for perfection here just get as much off as you can. Slice each pepper and remove the ribs/seeds.
  6. Create foil pockets and place a pepper on each one.
  7. Fill each pepper with the chorizo and corn mixture. Top with a bit of extra monterey jack cheese (you should have 1/2 cup reserved). wrap each pepper up along the side but keep the top open so that your cheese isn’t pulled off.
  8. Place the peppers back on your grill for a few moments to get the cheese bubbly on top.
  9. Plate and enjoy!

*Photo is an origial belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine (July 2018, p. 86)

Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos

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I do this thing where I scroll through pinterest and find a bunch of recipes that look AMAZING. That seems pretty normal, but I don’t stop there. I often cannot decide between recipes for the week’s menu so I take elements from a bunch of recipes and mash them together. That said, I took the heat and cheese from jalapeno popper recipe, and the sausage crumbles from a breakfast stuffed pepper recipe. Sometimes these recipe risks are epic fails, but other times they turn out so good that they make it to the blog. This is one of those times. These peppers are super savory and spicy, and the creamy cheese adds balance to bigger flavors. This is definitely going to be a frequent item on our dinner menu this summer.

Makes: 24 peppers          Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 large jalapenos
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook up sausage and crumble it with your spatula as it browns.
  3. Slice jalapenos in half and remove ribs and seeds.
  4. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion powder and garlic powder. Once this mixture is combined well, fold in the cooked sausage.
  5. Scoop some of the sausage mixture into each sliced jalapeno.
  6. Set the filled jalapenos on a foil lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and peppers are tender.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

Baked Orange Chicken

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Every few months I get a hankering for breaded, fried, and saucy chicken nuggets. That’s really just a round about way of saying I am addicted to orange chicken. I finally tried recreating this recipe at home. While it can be a treat to order take-out, we live on a pretty tight budget. I also love experimenting with recipes I love, so it was a lot of fun to play with these ingredients. These morsels are perfectly tangy and sweet with a perfect crunch. The best part, these babies are oven baked! No hot oil is required for this recipe saving your skin from oil burns and arteries from clogging. You are all very welcome 🙂 I must give credit to Just a Taste whose original recipe was adapted to form this one.

Serves: 6     Time: 30 minutes     Calories: 623/serving

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cooking oil, I used canola
  • 2-3 tbsp minced garlic (Refine this to your tastes. I love garlic so I went for 3)
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce.
  • 1 (18oz) jar of orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, I used “lite” soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (Refine this to your tastes, we like spicy so I used 2. If you don’t like spice leave this ingredient out).
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut up chicken into bite size pieces
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and pepper. Put the chicken into the bowl and toss it to coat the chicken.
  4. Pour milk into a small bowl and the Panko crumbs to a large bowl or plate.
  5. Working one piece of chicken at a time, dredge chicken in  milk then roll it in the Panko breadcrumbs. Once coated in breadcrumbs place each piece onto the foil lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes, flip them, then bake for an additional 10 minutes. (You’ll bake for 20 minutes or until fully cooked and nicely browned).
  7. While the chicken is baking, heat sesame and cooking oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and ginger stirring for a minute or two until fragrant and golden.
  8. Add the hoisin, marmalade, soy sauce and crushed pepper flakes to the garlic/ginger mixture. Stir frequently while cooking over low heat for about 5 minutes.
  9. If you are planning to have left overs, take only the chicken you plan to eat and dunk them in the sauce. Let the other chicken pieces cool and put them in an airtight container and then in the fridge. Store extra sauce in a separate container. When you plan to eat the left overs, bake the chicken at 450 degrees F in the oven and heat up the sauce. Baking the chicken will ensure that the breadcrumbs become crispy once more.
  10. If you are planning to eat all of the chicken pieces, put the chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Turn over the chicken to make sure all pieces are coated.
  11. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from Just a Taste

 

Baked Garlic Honey Pork Chops

 

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I won’t lie, pork chops scare me. You walk a fine line between nice tender meat or a dry jerky like patty. Every once in a while Perry will ask for something other than beef or chicken. He will suggest I try my hand at pork. Since he doesn’t ask for it too often I oblige. This is only one of two pork chop recipes on this blog right now. I hope to diversify my catalogue of recipes, and this is a delightfully delicious start! These chops are tangy, sweet and savory. The combination of flavors is fabulous and I’m willing to bet that you’ll be lapping up the sauce with with whatever side you pair these chops up with. I have to give credit to the blog who inspired me to try this recipe. If you like these chops check out other tasty recipes on Mama Hen’s Kitchen.

Serves: 4      Time: 40-50 minutes       Calories: 186/pork chop

Ingredients:

  • (4) 1 inch thick boneless pork chops (size matters here, friends. Otherwise you may end up with dry chops)
  • Salt and pepper to season the chops
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • (Optional) If you like spice throw in some red chili flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Brown the pork chops (about 3 minutes per side).
  4. Set the pork chops in a baking dish.
  5. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Be sure that the honey is well combined.
  6. Brush this mixture over the pork chops on both sides. Pour the remaining sauce all over the pork.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the internal temperature reaches your favored tenderness. This is approximately 30-40 minutes. For your reference Medium-Rare (145F-150F), Medium (150F-155F), Medium-Well (155F-160F), Well (160F).
  8. Bathe these babies with sauce before serving, and plate with your favorite sides!
  9. Enjoy 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

*Recipe is adapted from Mama Hen’s Kitchen

Gnocchi and Vegetable Soup

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My husband and I recently returned from a dive trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing trip filled with great diving, good friends and TONS of delicious food and drink. That said, when we returned home from a week of lush eating and drinking we needed to incorporate a healthy dose of vegetables into the week’s menu. It is not necessarily soup weather where we live at the moment but I could not pass this recipe up. As is my pattern, this is a super easy dish to throw together. Seriously, the most difficult part is prepping the veggies. This recipe will be ideal for brisk fall and brutal winter nights to warm up your core and fuel your body with nutrients. This recipe was adapted from Umami Girl who hosts a wonderful recipe blog.

Serves: 8

Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (32 oz) cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can of white beans
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • crushed red pepper flakes to top

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-hot heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until tender/crisp (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the three cartons of vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to create a simmer.
  3. Once simmering stir in the white beans and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add in one gnocchi and cook it until it pops up to the top. I do this in order to taste the broth. Taste your tester gnocchi with a healthy spoonful of broth and veggies. Add salt/pepper to your taste at this point. Once you have the broth up to your standards add in the rest of the gnocchi and cook until they pop up to the surface of the soup.
  4. Dish the soup and top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me