Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tonight’s recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.  If you go to her site you will notice that she has over 400 comments on this recipe alone.  With that many comments and accolades I couldn’t pass this recipe up.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

*Note: if you like extra sauce, double the sauce ingredients – pour half over the chicken and follow the recipe instructions; pour the other half in a small saucepan and cook the sauce on the stovetop at a simmer for 8-10 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Serve it on the side of the chicken.

*Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten (I had 4 chicken breasts so I used 3 eggs)
1/4 cup canola oil

Sauce:  (I doubled the sauce recipe as I looooooove extra sauce)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

1)  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2)  While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

3)  Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken.

4)  Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate.

5)  Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.

6)  Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through.

7)  Place in a single layer in a baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

8)  Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish.

9)  Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce.

10)  Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Even though there are quite a few steps, I encourage you to try this recipe.  It is good, and cheaper than take-out.  This is going to be a staple on our rotation!!!

-Jennifer

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Cajun CatAss and Collard Greens

If only I were kidding. 

The other night Garrett and I were watching Big Bang Theory and they mentioned “turbriskefil”.  It is in the same vein as turducken but turkey, brisket and gefilte fish.  Which led Garrett down the path of “what can I make that sounds funny?”  His conclusion:  CatAss.

So what is CatAss you ask?  Why it is catfish stuffed striped bass of course.

Below are his directions.

-Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
-Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil, and spray to grease it.
-Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of seasoned salt, 1/4 teaspoon of cajun, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes onto the foil.  Sprinkle evenly.
-Lay the striped bass filets on the seasoned foil (skin side down).
-Repeat the seasonings above on top of the striped bass.
-Cut 2 filets of catfish (skin removed) into small inch width strips.
-Lay the catfish strips on top of the striped bass.
-Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of cajun seasoning on top of each stack.
-Now, fold it over, end to end.  Garrett said to roll one end to the other and skewer it to stay together…see picture below for what it should look like skewered.  He also said to mention that striped bass skin is TOUGH so feel free to pre-perforate your fish with a knife instead of relying on the skewer alone.

-Next, put it in the oven and bake it for 35 minutes.

BAM…now you have cajun catass.  Serve with cocktail or tartar sauce.  I’m a cocktail girl, and Garrett is all about the tartar sauce. 

I’ve gotta be honest…..I love me some catass.  😉   I also made collard greens but want to alter that recipe a little before I post it.

Bon Appetit’

-Jennifer & Garrett

Taco Soup

It is a chilly evening here in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area.  As a Georgia Girl, I have come to really love “northern” winters…yes I am fully aware that VA is still the “south” but they don’t serve sweet tea everywhere so, to me, it is the north.  😉

Nothing warms my heart more than some good ol comfort food.  So tonight I am making a recipe adapted from the one I found on Cat on a Limb’s blogTaco Soup!

*I have not yet created my Ratings Scale so bear with me.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced  3 teaspoons onion powder
2 cans (15 oz) black beans
2 cans (15 oz) corn (I used white corn, it’s smaller and sweeter)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (I use no salt added)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 c water
1 packet taco seasoning (I used 30% less sodium)
Optional:  Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream

Directions:

Step 1:  Brown the ground beef in a stock pot.  (Trust me on this you will need a big pot)

Step 2:  Drain fat from the ground beef after it is cooked and set beef aside.
Step 2.5:  If you do not have a boyfriend who hates onions then you would place the 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the pot and cook the diced onions until tender.
Step 3:  In the stock pot, add all of the remaining ingredients (except cheese and sour cream) to the ground beef.

Step 4:  Heat until boiling. 

Step 5:  Serve with optional cheddar cheese and sour cream topping.

Did you sense my sadness in step 2.5?  If Garrett had a food blog it would be 86Onions.  He likes the flavor but not the crunch.  Sometimes I will puree an onion just to get the freshness in there but as you can tell I wasn’t up for anything too involved tonight. 

This recipe is SUPER easy and quick to make.  Warning..it makes a TON.  Either for a big family or lots of leftovers.  I haven’t tried freezing any of it down yet so maybe I should try that and see how it works. 

Truth:  I was not going to post this recipe as my first recipe, but once you see what Garrett has in mind for dinner tomorrow you will see why I just couldn’t let that be the first recipe post..LOL 

Happy Cooking!

-Jennifer

Meal Planning

One of my favorites weekend activities is planning our meals for the week.  Weekly meal planning saves us both time and money.  With a plan we are able to limit impulse buys at the grocery store, and do our best to avoid last minute meal stops at fast food restaurants. 

So how do I do it?  It is SUPER easy and I encourage y’all to give it a shot.

Step 1:  Print my weekly meal planner
Step 2:  NextI think about my week and if there is anything planned or anything going on that would not leave enough time to cook that day.  If there is anything, I add the that to the meal plan.  For example:  Wednesday, Dinner with the Smith’s or Wednesday, Dinner – Eat Out (class)
Step 3:  Then I go through all of my cabinets and fridge/freezer to see what I already have.
Step 4:  Once I find out what I have I try to find recipes that require the ingredients I already have.  I find most of my recipes on Pinterest and the Food Network
Step 5:  I cook enough so that what we have for dinner one night has enough leftovers for our lunch the next day.
Step 6:  I also try to make sure if a recipe calls for an ingredient that I don’t normally keep on hand that I can use it in another recipe.   Let’s be thrifty here folks!
Step 7:  As I go through each recipe I write down the ingredients that I do not have so I can pick them up at the grocery store.
Step 8:  Time for my 2nd favorite thing….GROCERY SHOPPING

You will notice that my printable meal plan does not account for breakfast.  I don’t really “cook” breakfast so I don’t really count it in the planning.  Don’t worry, I eat breakfast.  Usually just cereal.

Make it fun, and try your best to stick to your shopping list. 

If you give this a shot, let me know how it works out.

– Jennifer

Why not 85 Carrots?

I love food.  Not only do I love to eat food, but I love to cook food. 

I created this blog in an effort to chronicle my cooking adventures.  I get recipes from everywhere *cough* Pinterest *cough* and sometimes I create my own recipes.  This will be a place where I can share the good, the bad and the ugly of everything I make. 

Photo Courtesy of: BeeHealthyHoney.tumblr.com

So…why “86 Carrots”?  In the restaurant business the term “86” is for items that the restaurant has run out of or items that the customer does not want included in their order.  Since I am allergic to carrots my orders are always 86 carrots.  A lot of the recipes I find require carrots, but of course I do not add them.  🙂

I hope that you will join me in my culinary adventures. 

-Jennifer