Lighter Sesame Chicken

Chinese food is one of those kinds of foods I have mixed feelings about. Sure, it tastes good but something about the plate full of grease just gets to me. However, circa 2am after a night out, these mixed feelings are out the window and I am usually on board. In my recipe searches I’ve seen a lot of make at home options for chinese food but was alwyas intimidated to try it. I think you know what’s coming….

This is where my girl Martha comes in. I found a recipe for a lightened up version of sesame chicken on Martha Stewart’s webiste and decided to give it a try. Pretty much all the ingredients I had on hand which made it easy to think about attempting. I actually lightened it up a bit more here by swapping the oil for cooking spray and used a bit less honey. Here’s the recipe from her site (http://www.marthastewart.com/313256/lighter-sesame-chicken):

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.
  4. Meanwhile, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice

And voila:

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This was such an easy recipe and great for a quick weeknight meal!

Martha has yet to let me down 👍

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Thanksgiving treats

For the past few years I’ve been bringing desserts for part of our thanksgiving feastival if you will. I wanted to spice it up this year and I decided for some reason ill never know to try 3 new recipes! I’d say it ended up being half disastrous half great with the disaster being the hell of a mess I made from the pie crust extravaganza and the mess I was left to clean up. Here’s just a peek at that:

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Not fun…not fun at all.

Ok enough of my complaints…onto the recipes!

Appetizer dish: Goat cheese and pistachio stuffed dates. Recipe inspired by Smith Bites http://www.smithbites.com/2011/11/goat-cheese-pistachio-stuffed-dates/ these are a great appetizer and I even prepped the dates the night before by pitting and cutting them in half and keeping in the fridge

20121121-233018.jpg and I also chopped up the pistachios so assembling all together took no time at all!

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Recipe is as follows:
GOAT CHEESE & PISTACHIO STUFFED DATES
Martha Stewart
Makes 16 appetizers

INGREDIENTS:

8 large size Medjool dates, halved and pits removed
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons chopped pistachios (I used salted pistachios)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper – couple of grinds to taste
METHOD:

Cut or carefully tear dates in half and remove pits
Add soften goat cheese, 2 Tablespoons of pistachios (reserve 1 Tablespoon for garnish), 1 Tablespoon chives and a couple grinds of black pepper in bowl and combine well
Taste and add more pepper if you like
You can place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe into each half, but I used a small soup spoon and scooped approximately 1-1/2 teaspoons into each date
Garnish with remaining pistachios and chives
Serve with your favorite cocktail

I’m a sucker for all things Martha Stewart and this recipe was not at all a let down!

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Next up, Pecan Pie. Ok this one came from Martha Stewart ( it only gets worse from here – I’m obsessed and I’m over it). So I decided to be all so adventurous and make the crust myself. Martha’s recipe of course:
http://www.marthastewart.com/283515/basic-pie-dough. Now this recipe seems simple enough right? Flour and butter more or less. How hard could it be? Well…if you only have a 4 cup processor packed with flour, the butter will not mix well. Lesson learned. I ended up mixing it all in batches and it turned out ok but damn, what a mess I made. I couldn’t even capture a picture cause it was too much of a disaster zone but just picture a Kim Kardashian flour bomb situation went off on me and all counter tops and floors in the kitchen. Yeah. The crust I made two days in advance and on the day of I took it out of the fridge to soften up a bit before rolling it out and putting in the pan.

20121121-234137.jpg doesn’t look too shabby, eh?

I used Martha’s recipe for pie copied below: http://www.marthastewart.com/312503/pecan-pie

Ingredients

1/2 recipe (1 disk) Basic Pie Dough, rolled out and fitted into a 9-inch pie plate
4 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. with rack set in lowest position.

Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of pie plate. Crimp with fingertips. Transfer dough-lined pie plate to refrigerator.

Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth; mix in pecans. Pour mixture into chilled pie crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling jiggles slightly in the center when gently shaken, 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool pie completely in plate, 5 to 6 hours. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

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Ahh something about this being the worst possible pie for you makes me drool just looking it.

And finallyyy this next one was a doosie and didn’t hold together like I’d hoped but for my first time I still consider it a success!

Pumpkin Roll via Brown Eyed Baker. http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/11/14/pumpkin-roll-recipe/

Pumpkin Roll

yield: 6 to 8 servings prep time: 15 minutes cook time: 15 minutes total time: 2 hours
A classic pumpkin roll recipe with a cream cheese filling.
INGREDIENTS:
For the Cake:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
⅔ cup canned pure pumpkin

For the Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:
1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar and eggs together until combined and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until no flour is remaining. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.

4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. While the cake is in the oven, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.

5. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto the prepared piece of parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the top of the cake and discard. Starting with a short end, carefully roll up the cake with the parchment paper. Place the rolled cake on a wire rack seam-side down and allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Make the Filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely smooth and light. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly to combine.

7. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the surface of the cake. Re-roll the cake, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, place the pumpkin roll on a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated.

(Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking)

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All in all I consider it a thanksgiving day treat success! All made the night before to free up room for the real deal turkey and side cooking in the morning.
What are some of your go-to turkey day recipes??

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Gobble gobble. Eat up!!

Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers

Do you ever step back and look at your food Pinterest board and realize, “Maybe I should actually make one of these 389 pins?” Yeah, that’s me every week.  So I decided to actually tackle some recipes!

This one comes from a repin of  http://bunsinmyoven.com/2012/10/18/buffalo-chicken-cauliflower-bites/  and it mixes my love for buffalo sauce (Frank’s Red Hot – I literally put that sh*t on everything) with one of my favorite neutral vegetables.

Here is Karly’s recipe which I followed.  I made a half batch to yield about 2 servings and it was deeeelish

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, milk, garlic powder, and salt to form a thin batter.
  3. Coat the cauliflower pieces in the batter and place on a shallow baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes.
  5. While the cauliflower is baking, heat the hot sauce and butter together over low heat until the butter has melted.
  6. Toss the baked cauliflower gently in the hot sauce mixture.
  7. Return to the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with ranch dressing or blue cheese, for dipping.

Such a perfect side dish to any meal or a perfect appetizer to share!

I’m taking down this pin board one at a time!

Well this is new…

I think this has been a bit of a long time coming for me. I’ve taken on the twitter world as @EatsWhat with my obsession with all things food/restaurants/recipes/diet/fitness/healthy living and naturally I think blogging is the next step! We shall see how this goes but I plan to include some recipes inspired by other bloggers, websites, and of course, Pinterest! Maybe some workouts and health facts thrown in there as well. Who knows?!
See you out there.