Top 5 Recipes of 2013

I was reading a Top 10 recipes post from another blogger, which gave me the idea to start off this new year of blogging by sharing a list of my most popular recipes from 2013. Since I didn’t have a full year’s worth of recipe posts, I decided to post my top 5 instead of top 10. Honorable Mention: No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake was only one view away from being tied with General Tso’s Chicken for 5th place.

  1. Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
  2. Bowtie Pasta Bake
  3. Sweet Potato Casserole
  4. Unleavened Banana Bread
  5. General Tso’s Chicken
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
A tasty side-dish that can be made in the microwave or oven. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
One of my favorite pasta dishes. I’ve also made it with turkey and penne. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
My family agrees this is the best sweet potato casserole recipe. For a little extra flavor, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to the filling. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
I was a little surprised to see this recipe was so popular. It’s one of my favorites, but I didn’t expect so many people to be looking for unleavened bread recipes. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
It seems fitting that the most popular Chinese recipe in our house should be one of the most popular recipes on my blog. Click here for the recipe.

General Tso’s Chicken

A plate of General Tso's chicken
A plate of General Tso’s chicken

This is one of the recipes that has earned me the title “Red-Headed Chinese Chef” here at home. The original recipe came  from a forwarded e-mail, and I don’t know the exact source. It’s one of the more involved Chinese recipes I make and takes at least an hour to prepare (count on longer for the first time making it), but it’s well worth the effort. We mainly cook this for special occasions — it is the dish my mom requested for Mother’s Day.

The most important step for this dish is frying the chicken. You want to make sure the breading is sticky, almost to the point where you can’t stir the chicken/breading mixture. That will make for a nice crispy coating that won’t get soggy once you add the sauce.

General Tso’s Chicken

Chicken/Breading

3 lbs. chicken meat (this recipe tastes best with thigh meat, but chicken breast works as well)

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tsp pepper

1 egg

1 cup tapioca starch (corn starch will work as well)

Cut chicken into medium-size chunks. In medium bowl, mix chicken, ¼ cup soy sauce and pepper. Stir in egg. Add 1 cup tapioca starch and mix until chicken pieces are coated evenly. Chicken should be sticky with coating. If breading seems too thin, add more starch.

Add a little vegetable oil to help separate chicken pieces. Divide chicken into small quantities and deep−fry until crispy.

 Sauce

½ cup tapioca starch

¼ cup water

1 ½ tsp. minced garlic

1 ½ tsp. minced ginger root

¾ cup sugar

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup rice wine

1½ cup hot chicken broth

For sauce, mix cup tapioca starch with water. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, ½ cup soy sauce, vinegar, wine, and chicken broth. Stir until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until needed.

Place a small amount of oil in wok and heat until wok is hot. Add 4-10 hot peppers and stir−fry briefly. (The number of peppers depends on how hot you want the dish and the type of peppers you are using. Lately, I’ve been using frozen cyan peppers, and I need 4-6.)

Add desired vegetables and stir-fry. (I use broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Some General Tso’s Chicken is served without vegetables, others with only broccoli and water chestnuts. It’s an individual choice.) Stir sauce and add to wok. Place chicken in sauce and cook until sauce thickens. Serve with hot rice.