Peanut Noodle Stir-Fry

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comWhen stir-frying with rice noodles for the first time, the obvious thing to do is not start with a recipe. Right? Even though I did just that, the result was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. I made it twice in less than a week. There’s just something about the rice noodles and peanut butter together that tastes really good.

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry

Marinade

1 pound chicken breast

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com
ingredients ready

Sauce

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Cooking

2 nests Thai rice noodles

2 teaspoons sesame oil

4-5 carrots, thinly sliced

1-2 heads broccoli cut small

Slice chicken thinly. Marinade for 20 minutes in the baking soda, soy sauce, and rice wine. Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and prepare vegetables.

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com
let’s eat!

Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in wok over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil until no longer pink.

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Begin cooking sauce by heating over medium-high heat until bubbling. Simmer 1-2 minutes.

While sauce and noodles are cooking, add vegetables to the wok with the chicken and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Add cooked noodles to the wok, and pour sauce over everything. Stir-fry an additional 2-3 minutes, then serve.

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Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce

"Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce" by marissabaker.wordpress.comI found this amazing recipe here: Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts. I thought it would be harder to make, but it’s really very simple. To make it even easier, I’ve found that you can just use chicken tenders instead of slicing chicken breasts in half or pounding them thin.

The original Honey Garlic Sauce was a bit too sweet for our tastes, so I amended the recipe slightly. That’s the version I’m posting here.

Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce

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"Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce" marissabaker.wordpress.com
Mixing the breading

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut or pounded into half-inch thick pieces. (I typically use chicken tenders and cook two for each person.)

canola oil for frying

Breading

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons black peppercorns

3 Tablespoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

"Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce" marissabaker.wordpress.com
This chicken smells so good frying

2 teaspoons ground thyme

2 Tablespoons paprika

Wash

1 egg

2 Tablespoons water

Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

"Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce" marissabaker.wordpress.com
Put the sauce in a deeper pan than you think you’ll need, or it might boil over

¾ cup honey

¼ cup rice wine

¼ cup soy sauce-free

1 Tablespoon tapioca starch

1 teaspoon black pepper

Sift together the breading ingredients. (Note: This flour and spice mix is enough for two or three batches of this chicken. Leftover mix can be stored in a Ziploc bag in the freezer).

Whisk together the eggs and water. Dip chicken tenders in the flour and spice mixture. Dip chicken into the egg wash and then again into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.

"Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Honey Garlic Sauce" marissabaker.wordpress.com
I let the chicken drain on a wire rack over a glass cutting board for easy clean-up

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. Carefully regulate the temperature so that the chicken does not brown too quickly (just below medium heat works well). Fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. The chicken is thin enough that this should cook it through. Once cooked, drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes.

In a medium saucepan add the 2 tbsp olive oil and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but do not let it brown. Add the honey, soy sauce and black pepper. Simmer the Honey Garlic sauce together for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to let it foam up over the edges. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Dip the cooked chicken in Honey Garlic Sauce and serve over rice or noodles.

Chicken Fried Rice

fried rice

I have a confession to make: for many years I made chicken fried rice using a boxed dinner because I was intimidated by this dish. It seemed like it would be so simple, but when I tried one recipe I found online it was a soggy mess that tasted like licorice because of the Chinese five-spice. Just recently, I finally found another recipe to try (this one a simple side-dish), and I expanded it into this chicken fried rice. The secret to avoiding sogginess is to use rice that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so, which gives it a chance to cool and dry-out a little. I still don’t feel I’ve quite mastered the art of keeping the egg on only one side of the skillet while scrambling it, but at least when we want fried rice we’re not eating dinner out of a box any more.

Chicken Fried Rice

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1 pound chicken, cut into chunks

1 teaspoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon canola oil

3 Tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 cup peas

1 cup diced carrots

1-2 green onions, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs, lightly beaten.

4 cups cooked white or brown rice (day old or leftover rice works best)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine

3/4 teaspoons ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

IMG_4002Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon canola oil in wok or large skillet. Fry chicken in hot oil until cooked through. Remove when done.

Add 3 Tablespoons sesame oil to the wok and heat over medium heat. Add the peas, carrots, onion, and garlic. Stir-fry until tender. Push the mixture off to one side, then pour eggs on the other side of the skillet and stir-fry until scrambled.

Add rice and stir. Add soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, and pepper. Stir to blend. Continue stir-frying until thoroughly heated, then serve.

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Brown Rice Pilaf

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.comWhen served with a few pieces of chicken, this brown rice pilaf is one of my favorite meals. The original recipe (the origin of which I have lost track of) called for long grain or basmati rice — I’ve always used the brown rice that we keep on hand to serve with stir-fries. It has to cook longer than the original 15-20 minutes, but it’s healthy and it tastes good. There are several variations you could try on this recipe, though I like the one with basil and carrots so much that I haven’t played around with it too much. I have kept substitutions suggested by the original recipe in parenthesis if you want to experiment with some of them.

Brown Rice Pilaf

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com
Cook the rice and garlic in hot butter

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1 cup brown rice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup shredded carrots (can substitute mushrooms, sweet peppers, or zucchini)

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com
Add liquid, carrots, and basil

¼ cup rice wine (can substitute apple juice, dry white wine, or water)

¼ teaspoon dried basil (can substitute oregano or thyme)

½ cup slivered almonds (can substitute green onions, chopped walnuts, or pine nuts)

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add garlic and uncooked rice. Stir in hot butter for 3 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth, then stir in carrots, wine and dried herb.

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add slivered almonds and serve.

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com. For the chicken, I pour some rice wine in a baking dish, add garlic and basil, then add the chicken. Shake some basil and garlic over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese or crushed garlic and cheese croutons
For the chicken, I pour some rice wine in a baking dish, add garlic and basil, then add the chicken. Shake some basil and garlic over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese or crushed garlic and cheese croutons

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken rice soup recipe at marissabaker.wordpress.comThis has become one of my favorite soups. It is simple and easy to make with few ingredients. Here is the original recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. It’s a good recipe, and I’ve changed very little to make it perfect for me (basically, I took out the onions because I don’t like them and replaced the fresh thyme with dried because I didn’t have any). It makes a huge pot of soup though, probably enough for 8-10 people, so the version I’m posting here is smaller. It heats up well, so if you want to make a big pot and eat it for several days go right ahead.

In regards to the chicken, you can either boil a chicken breast cut into large pieces for about 7 minutes (until there is no pink left) and then shred it with two forks, or you can use meat left over when making chicken stock from scratch.

One more thing …. I apologize for only have two pictures. I kept for getting to take them while cooking, and then only these two turned out not-blurry and edible-looking.

Chicken and Rice Soup

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Chicken rice soup recipe at marissabaker.wordpress.com
Chopped carrots and the celery we froze from our garden

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 teaspoon ground thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

½ cup water

½ cup long grain rice

1 cup shredded chicken

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

Cook chicken ahead of time and prepare broth. Set aside.

Place a soup pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring until vegetables are softened but not browned. Add chicken broth, water and rice. Bring to boil and add chicken, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Serve hot.

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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.