Orange Chicken

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When Taylor and I were dating, we spent a lot of time in Spokane. Our favorite place to eat dinner was P.F. Chang’s, and we always order their orange chicken. When we first got married we probably had this every date night by Taylor’s request.

We have also made this recipe gluten-free by using rice flour and leaving the soy sauce out.

Rating: 10

Servings: 4

Source: http://www.recipesecrets.net/PFChangsOrangePeelChicken.html

2 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves minced garlic
6 green onions, sliced
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (Taylor likes 6 1/2 TBS)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cup flour
1 grated orange peel

Directions

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, sautee green onions, garlic, and 1 TBS of oil.

2. Add tomato sauce, water, sugar, Sriracha, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the remaining vegetable oil.

4. Beat egg in a medium bowl. Pour flower into another bowl. Coat the chicken pieces by dropping them into the flour a few at a time, then into the egg mixture and then back into the flour again.

5. Cook the chicken in small batches in the oil until lightly golden brown on all sides. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

6. Discard the oil from the skillet and then place the skillet back on the burner over medium heat. Add the orange peel and cook for a couple of minutes or until the orange is fragrant. Next, add the chicken and stir till well coated. Mix in the sauce, cook till thoroughly heated.

7. Serve with white or brown rice.

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Greek Chicken

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Rating: 9 out of 10

Servings: 2

Source: http://www.savoringthethyme.com/2012/05/cvs-extracare-rewards-purse-to-plate-series-%E2%80%93-greek-inspired-chicken-breast-recipe/

Time: 25 min.

Ingredients: 

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 large roma tomatoes
25 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup crumbed feta

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Spread the flour out on a large plate and scatter oregano, pepper and salt on top. Coat each side of the chicken breast in the flour and place in the heated oil, cook for 4-5 minutes until browned. Flip the chicken breasts over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a platter. Mix tomatoes, kalamata olives, and garlic. Top the chicken with the tomato-olive mixture, followed by feta.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

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One of our favorites. Its easy, cheap, and filling!

10/10 – Always turns out wonderful and still good reheated the next day.

Serves: 2 with leftovers or 4

Recipe origin: Not sure where this came from… I took and modified it from my mother’s collection of loose recipe cards

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Ground sausage (I use hot sausage links from SamsClub grated)

1lb. Ground beef (I use Italian style meatballs from SamsClub grated)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 Egg

1/2 cup smashed saltine crackers (about 14)

Mozzarella cheese to taste (about 3/4 cup grated; additional for tops if you want)

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Tyme

1/2 tsp Garlic

1/4 tsp. Pepper

4 small zucchini (or 1-2 large)

 

Brown meat. Add onions and cook a little longer till onions tender.

Wash and cut out bad spots/ ends from the zucchini. Slice in half long ways and coop out the seeds (save seeds for next step). Place hollowed out halves face down in 9×13 pan with 1/2 cup of water. Bake at 350 for 15min to ‘steam’ the zucchini.

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While the zucchini is steaming, grate 2/3 of the seeds that you scooped out and mix them with the browned meat, onions, crackers, egg,  spices, and cheese. Stir together until evenly mixed.

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When zucchini is done, drain out the water and carefully flip over the halves in the pan.

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Fill zucchini with meat mixture. Sprinkle tops with extra cheese if you want and replace back in oven for 30-45min until cheese is browned. Serve hot with any side dish or alone. Sorry for no finished product picture…we were hungry and ate it before I remembered to take a final picture!

Punjabi Chana Dal

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This recipe brought back memories of college. Almost every weekend, when our dorm was out of groceries, we would go to a little Indian restaurant, tucked away on a side street in the Philippines. For a couple dollars, we would stuff ourselves on chana dal, chicken masala, curried cauliflower, naan bread, and fish tikka. Mmmmmm! I love Indian almost as much as I love Thai! Unfortunately for me, although Mr. HHF could eat Mexican every single day, he’s much pickier about Indian. This recipe passed his inspection though! You could make it with regular red or brown lentils, but we both thought the chana dal lentils were creamier. I wish I had added cauliflower towards the end, so I will let you know when you could add cauliflower to the recipe. PLEASE don’t let the amount of spices deter you (I know it looks like a lot of work)….it’s worth it, I promise. We thought it was yummier the next day once the spices had time to meld. Also, Mr. HHF added sour cream to his the 2nd time we had it and liked this even better!

Serves: 2 with leftovers

8/10 We both thought it could be a solid nine if I had added some cauliflower and had cooked the lentils just a little longer….we like mushy beans. After one bite, our toddler rated the recipe as 1/10. He was NOT a fan…but he has texture issues with beans. Our 6 month old loved it and ate about half a cup of the lentils once I rinsed off most of the spices.

Prep and cook time: I was making spiced cauliflower and naan bread while preparing the chana dal….I think it all took about an hour and 15 minutes. If you were just making the chana dal, I think it would only take 45-50 minutes depending on how long you soaked your beans and how quickly they cooked.

Adapted from: Masala Chana Dal and Punjabi Chana Dal

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup chana dal or lentils

1 onion

2 tablespoons butter or oil (I used oil to make this dairy free)

1 inch cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or powder (I used powder)

1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

4-5 thinly sliced ginger rounds

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch cloves

1 bay leaf

1 cup grated juicy tomato (or canned diced tomato)

4-5 cups of water

1 small steak (sizzler, sirloin, etc.) optional

Fresh cilantro, lemon juice, sour cream or plain yogurt to garnish

Instructions:

1. Rinse chana dal until the water runs clear. Then let them soak for at least 30 minutes. 1-2 hours would be better.

I used these lentils….I know you can get them cheaper in other brands, but I just wanted to try them to see if we would like them, and we do!

2. Heat oil in the pan and add the cumin and cinnamon stick. Let them sizzle a minute or two while you chop the onion. Add the onion.

3. While the onion is cooking (stir occasionally), mix together the garlic, chili powder, tumeric, coriander, garam masala, cloves, bay leaf, pepper, and salt.

4. Add the grated tomato or canned tomato.

5. When the onions are nicely browned, add the spices and tomato to them. Cook on high heat, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes until water is mostly evaporated.

6. Add the drained lentils and continue to cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently, for another 6-8 minutes.

7. Add 4-5 cups of water (depending on how soupy you want it to be). Add the ginger slices. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. The lentils should be soft, but not completely mush. At this point, Mr. HHF realized there would be no meat in this recipe. This was NOT ok. So I quickly defrosted a small steak. and added it….the next two steps are optional. ALSO, at this point, I wish I had added a cup or two of chopped cauliflower.

8. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and lemon juice on the steak. Cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes each side until nicely browned.

9. Slice thinly against the grain. Add slices to the soup a minute or two before you are ready to remove soup from the heat.

10. Adjust spices according to taste. I ended up adding more salt, chili powder, garam masala, and garlic powder. Serve hot with cilantro, lemon juice, naan or a crusty bread or rice.

Sorry about the poor quality of this picture….it really does look much yummier than this. It had gotten dark by the time the soup was done, and I was in a hurry to snap a picture and eat! I’ll be posting recipes for the naan and the roasted cauliflower soon!

Smoked Salmon and Leek Tart

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Since turkeys don’t care for leeks, they are the only crop that survived in our garden this summer. We decided to use up our abundance by trying some recipes from the British Isles. This smoked salmon tart seemed perfect because: 1) it uses leeks, and 2) it requires a tart pan, which I have always wanted an excuse to purchase. (Tart pans seem so sophisticated.)

7/10 I think this would have rated higher if I had used the tart crust recipe in the book, but instead I tried to invent a gluten-free crust, which didn’t work out very well. No one raved about this recipe, but the leftovers did get eaten — cold, for breakfast. This is a recipe I’d like to try again with a different crust.

Prep time: Forever! Seriously, it should have rated a 10 for the amount of time we put into it.

Serves 8 or 6, depending on how many teenage boys are present

Recipe adapted from: The Best International Recipe

Ingredients:

One 9-inch tart crust (If I find a better gluten-free tart crust recipe, I will post it.)

1 pound leeks, white and green parts only

1 Tbsp. butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tsp. dried dill

black pepper to taste

6 ounces smoked salmon

The recipe calls for the crust to be covered with aluminum foil, filled with pie weights, and baked for 30 minutes at 375 before adding the filling. We used dried beans for our pie weights.

Slice and wash the leeks.


Saute the leeks in butter for about 10 minutes. Salt the leeks to taste and keep them covered, except to stir occasionally.

Mix together all the remaining ingredients, except the salmon. Add the leeks to the liquid ingredients and pour into the crust. Bake 20-25 minutes. Top with chopped salmon, and serve with lemon if desired.

These are the turkeys that ate the garden. We will eat them soon. Don’t feel sorry for them. They have lived a cushy life of eating what they please, going where they choose, and watching movies through our windows. 

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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These cookies were a LIFE-SAVER when I was eating dairy free for my daughter. They were easy, cheap, and I could freeze the dough to solve my ice cream cravings. I adapted the recipe from several different recipes…you can really play around with the ingredients (add more nuts, more oatmeal instead of nuts, coconut flakes instead of nuts, etc.). The first time I made them, I used all coconut oil (instead of shortening). They had too much coconut flavor for me….I liked the half shortening, half coconut oil combo the best. If you use only shortening (and omit the coconut oil), make sure you use butter flavored shortening. I didn’t get a photo of them once they were cooked (because I usually end up just eating the dough frozen…don’t judge). But they cook up beautifully…nice and chewy the way cookies were meant to be.

9/10 I think they could be a 10/10 if I could use butter 😉

Makes about 9 dozen little cookies

Prep: 10-15 minutes (doesn’t include cook time)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup slightly packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2-3 eggs (I like the chewiness that 3 eggs gives)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups oatmeal (or 2 cups oatmeal, 1 cup flaked coconut)

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups Ghirardelli dairy free chocolate chips (see picture below) or any dairy-free chocolate chip. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE INGREDIENT LIST ON THE BACK! I accidentally ate dairy so many times because I didn’t check the back. If it says “milk fat”, it has dairy in it.

1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans or almonds)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream shortening, coconut oil, and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

2. On top of the sugar mixture, pour in (in this order) the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Use a fork to whisk in the baking powder and soda into the flour before mixing everything into the sugar mixture.

3. Add chocolate chips, coconut (if using), and nuts. These are the only dairy free chocolate chips I could find (without ordering specialty ones) in our local grocery store. Again, check the back…you never know when a company will change their ingredients.

4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Don’t overcook these unless you like crunchy cookies…especially if you used whole wheat flour!

Thai Style Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

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This was yummy. Even Mr. HHF was surprised at how much he liked it. Toddler ate it too…but picked out the mushrooms (he’s never a fan of those). Make sure you use real lemongrass (not the jarred or canned kind) and don’t skimp on it. It’s worth the splurge. I’d never cooked with real lemongrass before, but after trying this soup (and some lemongrass tea), I’m definitely growing my own as soon as Mr. HHF starts the greenhouse heaters in January! Make recipe as is for an appetizer, or add extra mushrooms and chicken (about a cup of each) for a main course.

9/10 Mr. HHF said when he looked at it, he thought he was going to give it a 6/10, but he was pleasantly surprised. I think the mushrooms freaked him out.

Serves: 4 as a main course or 6-8 as an appetizer (make sure you add extra chicken and mushrooms as a main course…especially if you are cooking for guys

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Recipe adapted from: The Best International Recipe Book

Ingredients:

1 tsp oil (olive, grape, or vegetable)

3 stalks of lemongrass (only the bottom 5 inches), peel off the outer layer then slice thin

3 large shallots or 1 medium white onion (I used white onion)

8-16 sprigs cilantro (we all LOVE cilantro, so I always add more)

2-3 T. fish sauce

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or 4 cups water with 3 chicken bouillon cubes)

2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk (regular coconut milk is MUCH yummier than the light coconut milk)

1 T. sugar

1/2 lb white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts) halved lengthwise and sliced on the bias into 1/8 inch pieces

3 T. lime juice (I only had key lime juice…we didn’t notice a difference)

2 tsp Thai red curry paste (comes in a little jar with a black lid in most grocery stores)

Garnish: 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 2 fresh Thai or jalapeno chilis, 2 sliced scallions , 1 lime cut in wedges

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in large saucepan until shimmering. Add lemongrass, shallots or onion, chopped cilantro, and 1 T. of fish sauce. Stir frequently until just softened but not browned (2-5 minutes).

2. Stir in the chicken broth and ONE can of coconut milk (don’t make the same mistake I did of adding both cans). Bring to simmer over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the flavors have blended, 10-15 minutes. Strain out all the solids in a strainer or with a fine slotted spoon. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step…pretty sure the toddler was getting into trouble at this point!

3. Return strained soup to the saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Add the 2nd can of coconut milk and the sugar. Bring to simmer and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until slightly soft, 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and stir constantly until all the chicken is white, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Add lime juice, curry paste, and fish sauce to taste (1-2 tablespoons…the fish sauce makes it salty so be careful). Garnish soup with cilantro, chiles, scallions, and lime. Hubby added sriracha sauce.

I served this soup with a peasant style bread because we already had that, but it would be yummy with rice noodles, quinoa, or rice. We ate the leftovers with rice the next day, and it was equally as yummy!