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 ūüôā 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

 

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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 ūüôā

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

*Recipe is adapted from Mama Hen’s Kitchen

Fruit Salsa and Churro Chips

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This recipe is a fresh summertime staple. Packed with sweet berries, sour Granny Smith apples, and tropical kiwi you won’t be able to get enough. My kids particularly like the churro chips as the bottoms are caramelized and crunchy like the outside of a churro, but the tops are softer like the center of a churro. I always make extra chips just because they are so good on their own. The recipe below is written for one batch of chips, but it is well worth it to double up on the chips. This salsa is inspired from my mom’s old recipe. It is very easy to throw together and is the perfect desert for a summer BBQ.

Salsa Time: 20 minutes

Chips Time: 30 minutes

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into small chunks
  • 2 kiwis, diced into small chunks
  • 1 carton (1lb) strawberries, washed and diced into small chunks
  • 1 carton (8oz) raspberries, sliced in half
  • 3 tbsp fruit preserves, my mom always used apple jelly but I prefer strawberry preserves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tsp lemon zest

Churro Chip Ingredients:

  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions for Chips:

  1. You will want to start with the chips first because you can utilize bake time to start making the salsa.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350
  3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon
  4. Rub both sides of the tortillas with butter and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on both sides as well.
  5. Stack the tortillas a few at a time and slice into 8 triangles.
  6. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Repeat for additional slices.
  7. Be sure to rinse the baking sheet between batches because the sugar residue will burn. This results in a smokey kitchen and the second wave of chips will have burnt bottoms instead of caramelized ones. This takes a little extra time but it is well worth it not to have burnt chip bottoms or a screeching fire alarm.

Directions for Salsa:

  1. Combine all the prepped fruits, lemon juice, zest and preserves.
  2. Mix really well
  3. Serve with Churro Chips
  4. Enjoy!

 

 

Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberry muffins with sugar on top, could this recipe be any more “comfort food from mom’s kitchen?” Baking is something I don’t do very often because, honestly I’m not the greatest baker. It is an exact science and I’m more of an “add-a-pinch-or-two-more” kind of cook. I will say that I have gotten better at making muffins, so who knows maybe there is hope for me! These babies have a great texture. I can only describe them as the traditional cake-y, dense and sweet muffins you would find at your local bakery. I think the trick is to use sour cream to get just the right texture. The sugar on top is an added touch I remember my mom adding to her chocolate chip muffins when I was a kid. It is crunchy, sweet nostalgia my friends. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are baking for a whole family. You can also get more muffins if you use smaller “cupcake style” baking cups. Just adjust the time if you are using smaller cups so you don’t burn the muffins. I will usually make these on Sunday to enjoy them throughout the week for breakfast, that is if they make it that long! This recipe was inspired by http://www.yammiesnoshery.com. I highly suggest you check out their site. They explain why you need to use the right amount of each ingredient and how it can go wrong if you use too much or too little. I found it very informative.

Makes: about 8 large muffins     Calories: 329 per muffin     Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk, I used 2%
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • sugar to top, I did not account for this in the calories because my perfect amount of sugar topping is more than likely different from everyone else’s. Be aware of this if you are counting calories and add what you need.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spritz your muffin tin with cooking spray
  2. Combine sugar, egg, oil, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined. Try not to get too crazy mixing as you don’t want to overmix the batter.
  3. Fold in the sour cream and blueberries being careful not to chop up the blueberries in the process. Continue to fold/mix until the sour cream is just mixed in.
  4. Place baking cups into your muffin tin and fill each cup leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top. Top each muffin with as much sugar as you think is necessary ūüėČ
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from oven to check readiness with a toothpick. To do this check just insert a toothpick into the center of each muffin and if it comes out without any gooey muffin residue they are done. If there is gooey muffin residue continue to bake for a few more minutes and perform the check again.
  6. Serve up with your favorite fruit, yogurt, coffee, or whatever tickles your fancy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

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Give me a sticky sauce on anything and I’ll devour it. These meatballs were dripping in a wonderfully sticky and sweet sauce. I didn’t find these unbearably spicy but they do pack a delightful kick. The heat in these guys is more of an aftertaste then a knock you out kind of spicy. I paired it up with some crunchy veggies and rice. I do think it would taste great alongside some grilled veggies or even in a sandwich to switch it up for lunch. The process was very simple and straightforward making it a great weeknight recipe. There were plenty of left overs that kept really well. I will be making this one again and again! I found the original recipe at http://www.littlespicejar.com and have to tell anyone reading this how beautiful that blog is. They have so many yummy recipes over there and I definitely recommend that you give them a look.

Serves: 18-22 meatballs     Calories: 100 calories per meatball     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs of ground chicken
  • ¬†6 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2¬† tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the firecracker sauce over medium high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Mix well but don’t over mix.
  4. Roll the mixture into 18-24 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and brush them with a bit of the sauce. Place them back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove and top with the remaining sauce and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from www.littlespicejar.com

 

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!

Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Rolls

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This past Easter my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful brunch for the family. I volunteered to step out of my comfort zone and bake. When I say I can’t bake I mean that I cannot even slice and bake a Pillsbury cookie roll. So, when I saw the millions of recipes on pintrest I took on the challenge and whipped up some gooey¬†and¬†delicious lemon blueberry sweet rolls. These were a hit! I will admit that the process was time-consuming and my anxiety levels were high (because I ruin everything I bake), but I pulled it off. I know it sounds clich√© but if I can do it anyone can. I would describe the taste as sweet and fresh. The blueberries explode in your mouth as you chew and the lemon glaze adds a creamy yet tangy bite to a perfect finish

Serves: 12    

Calories: 206 per roll    

Time: Prep and rise time: up to 3 hours 20 minutes ; Baking time: 30 minutes – Total time approx 4 hours

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2 + 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Ingredients for Blueberry Filling:

  • 1 + 1/3 cups of frozen blueberries,¬†must be frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions : SAVE YOURSELVES FROM PANIC AND MAKE SURE BLUEBERRIES ARE FROZEN, BUTTER IS UNSALTED AND THE EGG IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. 

  1. Combine the ingredients for the filling. Gently toss to coat and let sit while preparing the dough.
  2. Begin preparing the dough. Measure out 1/2 cup of flour and set aside. In a large bowl combine the remaining flour, sugar, salt and yeast until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  3. Heat the water, milk and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to the touch. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg, don’t forget this egg must be at room temperature, and only enough of the reserved 1/2 cup of flour to make a soft dough. You will know the dough is ready when it gently pulls away from the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  4. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place dough ball into a clean and lightly greased bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes as passed, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Pour the blueberry filling mixture over the dough and gently spread the filling to cover the dough. Spritz your fingers with nonstick spray and roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 pieces and place into a lightly greased pan (I used a rectangular aluminum¬†pan so I could take it to my sister-in-law’s house but). Cover the pan with foil and allow to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the rolls have doubled in size preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Bake rolls for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  8. Prepare the glaze by mixing the glaze ingredients together until smooth.
  9. Glaze the rolls immediately before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com