Sweet and Sour Chicken

I should be more embarrassed that I keep posting unoriginal recipes, but I’m nine months pregnant and basically don’t care how the delicious food makes it to my plate.

In the spirit of self-awareness, I will admit that this recipe in particular is not the sort that we normally would make – ketchup is the main ingredient in the sauce, for goodness sakes – but I saw it on Pinterest and it struck my fancy.

So, here it is. Make your own baked sweet and sour chicken, eat it over some leftover rice from the Chinese food you ate yesterday (no judgment!) and enjoy.

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I made this exactly as written and plan to do so again and again. It was definitely on the sweet side with all that sugar, but it absolutely satisfied my craving.

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Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

I found this recipe posted on my new favorite website, Pinterest. Egg rolls? Absolutely. Buffalo chicken? Love it. Baked? Yes please.

I was sold.

I’ve never worked with these wrappers before, but they really couldn’t be easier. Blissfully not wafer thin and awful like phyllo. Don’t be afraid to get in there and work with them. Reasonably pliable and actually kind of fun to wrap ’em up.

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I cooked a package of chicken breast tenders, and shredded about 6 of them. AJ doesn’t like bleu cheese (yet) so I substituted mozzarella. We don’t have a wire rack (I know. Insanity.) so I cooked them on a regular baking sheet. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.

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I should have filled the egg roll wrappers more, but I was afraid they would explode. I recommend you go for it. Make ’em count! We ate these with broccoli slaw from Giant Eagle Market District, which is one of our favorite quick and easy dishes. Also, bacon.

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I would definitely make these again, but using bleu cheese and make them rounder and more full. I have a bunch of extra wrappers that need to be used within a few days. Any idea what I should fill them with next??

Healthy Casserole

It’s no secret: I love casseroles. What cook from Western PA doesn’t? They usually involve delicious things like cheese and carbohydrates. However, AJ and I just joined a gym and we are trying to steer our meals in a healthier direction so we don’t undermine our progress/pain. My big concern was balancing “better for you” with “still fun to cook and eat.”

Worry not, dear friends. I’ve got just the recipe that brings honor to the beloved casserole.

I had the day off with leftover cooked chicken and broccoli that needed some attention. Normally, I would have gone straight to amped up baked mac and cheese (always a winner), but as I was stuck inside with no cheese in the house, I needed an alternative. I googled a few recipes to get an idea of what needed to happen, and I’m happy to report the end result was A Big Fat Winner. (Well, a skinny winner. No canned soup or frozen veggies for this casserole, no siree. No cheese, even. And still good!)

While I’d love to claim this recipe as my own, I stole a lot from this guy. I certainly followed the process in the recipe above, but as always, made some changed to suit our tastes. Starting, of course, with my new favorite vegetable trick.

I don’t like mushrooms, and didn’t have green peppers, so I added roasted broccoli to the original recipe.

The chicken was already cooked – double leftovers from last night’s AMAZING crock pot “fried” chicken and a piece I had made and frozen last week in my traditional style (sprinkle Old Bay on both sides and bake.) So, the only thing left to do was make the roux glue – no canned soup here! – and cook some rice.

I had a brilliant idea, blatantly stolen from a recent tweet suggestion from Jacob, and cooked the (brown) rice in chicken stock that I had made from my original roast chicken. Honorable mentions go to Thinking Ahead and Extra Freezer In The Basement.

To recap, this dish has:
– no cheese
– no cream
– only a small amount of butter
– fresh veggies
– lean meat
– protein
– healthier carbs
– A TON OF FLAVOR

You’re looking at a very welcome addition to our lunch and/or dinner repertoire.

Plan B

Hi. I know we said in the beginning that for the sake of simplicity, Abby was writing these. But this is AJ and I have things to say. Let me weave you a heartwarming tale of improv and personal favorites.

This meal started out as a slow roasted brisket. Sounds good already right? The sauce used was pushed upon us by my mom. She had the best of interests but when we pulled it out of the crock pot and tasted it, we realized why my mom gave us the sauce so openly. It was salty. When I say salty, I mean there are mines jealous of the salt content of this meat. Neither one of us liked it, but we hate wasting food. This is where Abby shows her culinary genius. She asks me to strain, pull, and rinse the meat.

Rinsing. Meat. Let that soak in (no pun intended). After I rinsed off the pulled meat, the salt content was far lower. That meat will be used in a later dish and possibly if you’re all good, a later blog.

This left us with slightly dampened meat and no dinner. Abby comes through again. She went to her ace in the hole, Tater Tot Casserole.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Mix half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and a can of condensed cream of chicken soup together in a glass baking dish.
  • Top with chicken (preferably the roasted chicken from our Sunday Dinner post), the tater tots (preferably Ore-Ida’s Crispy Crowns), and then cheese. (Abby’s note – tater tots go on top. That’s how they get crispy!)
  • Bake for 20 minutes

It’s ridiculously simple. Takes no time at all and it’s delicious. That’s MY personal favorite.

But what about Abby? What’s her favorite? Glad you asked. She was hungry for something crunchy. This is where I reach into my bag of tricks and pulled out garlic bread. She loves my garlic bread. It’s even simpler than the tater tot casserole.

Here’s my recipe:

  • Take two slices of bread
  • Butter them
  • Season with garlic salt
  • Bake in the toaster oven or oven (350F) until crispy

Normally I use regular bread, but we picked up some sourdough rolls for sandwiches so I used those instead. Sourdough garlic bread. You heard me. I also made celery with peanut butter. But not with just any peanut butter. I used the ground honey roasted peanut butter from the Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson. Do yourself a favor and go there and get some. They have a machine that grinds the peanuts there, so it’s super fresh and makes the perfect mix of creamy and crunchy peanut butter. It’s magical stuff.

Also, hooray for my first blog post ever.

Sunday Dinner

Turns out, roasting a chicken isn’t so hard, even without the proper pan!

I went simple and dressed this fella up with salt, pepper, garlic, onions, carrots, celery and a few pats of butter under the skin. (We like it crispy.) The meat is so tender and juicy that I can’t even describe it. I never want to buy prepackaged chicken breasts again.

Thank you, BOGO Giant Eagle meat section, for you have given us yet another beautiful meal.