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Monday, September 27, 2010

Chickity China the Chinese Chicken

I'm tired. I'm broke. I'm hungry. A quick solution? Chinese food. However, I don't feel like getting the MSG sweats or eating mystery kitty cat meat. So, what's a girl to do? Make it at home, silly goose. Not only is it just as cheap, but it's gotta be better for you! I ended up using a lot of stuff I had around, so just remember: you don't ever have to follow a recipe 100%. Improvise with what you have and avoid a stupid trip to the grocery for 1 ingredient that won't make a difference. I got this recipe at a budget cooking class at Whole Foods a few years back. This is about as easy as it gets.

8 ounces whole wheat linguine (I used angel hair b/c it's what I had. You could also use rice)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used a boullion cube + 1 cup water)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil, divided (i don't even know what this means - I used vegetable oil)
1 pound frozen Nature’s Rancher Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins, thawed and cut into strips (I used chicken breasts and just sliced & diced evenly in cubes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups small fresh broccoli florets (from about 1 large crown)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips (I didn't have carrots but I did have water chestnuts and that adorable baby corn so I used this instead)

Cook linguine according to package instructions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, combine broth, soy, vinegar, pepper and cornstarch in a bowl. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. When very hot, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside. Add remaining oil, garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add broccoli and carrot; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add soy mixture and chicken, stir well, and cover. Lower heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Toss with linguine and serve.



This serving has way too much broccoli in it. Mom will be proud.

Got My Red Beans Cookin'

Ok, this was made last week especially for the Saints game on Monday night, but I am just getting around to posting. Seems like I should have made them yesterday instead...bad Saints, bad bad bad! No shortcuts were taken here ladies and gents.....I'm talkin authentic Monday red beans n rice. I brought some Camellia beans home with me from my last trip to New Orleans, and they kept taunting me every time I opened my cabinet. "Eat me, Lisa. Eat me," they would say. Adios red beans. Smell ya later.


1 pound red kidney beans, dry
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
5 ribs celery, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 large smoked ham hock
1 to 1-1/2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced on the bias
1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 or 2 bay leaves
As many dashes Crystal hot sauce or Tabasco as you like, to taste
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Tony Cachere's - a nice heavy pour makes me happy
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper

Some people soak the beans overnight, but you don't have to. Instead, bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart.

While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock, sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Adjust seasonings as you go along. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Serve generously over white rice. Tasted even better the next day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to Basics: Southern Green Beans

I picked up some fresh green beans from the farm yesterday. I worked especially hard on these beans, weeding the beds one week and fertilizing another. I've never been so attached to a vegetable -sounds like I need to step up my love life. I didn't want to totally cook these down too much; I wanted to be able to taste the freshness. So I altered a basic recipe with ingredients I had on hand.

Green Beans - I grabbed a handful, probably 1/2 lb., trimmed and cut into pieces
1 piece bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar

Cook green beans in 1-inch simmering water, covered, for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. Return skillet to stove, add bacon and brown. Add chopped onions to the pan and cook until tender with the bacon. Add cooked green beans to the pan and turn to coat in bacon drippings and onions. When the beans are hot and bacon crisp at edges and onions translucent add vinegar to the pan and season with beans with sugar. Cook 1-2 minutes and serve.