Archive for ‘Chicken’

May 20, 2011

General Tao Chicken

I remember seeing this recipe for a healthier General Tao Chicken in my Coup de Pouce magazine back in November and thinking OMG, I sooo have to give that one a try! (ok, ok, I confess… I didn’t actually remember that the recipe had been published in November, I had to go check my magazines!)

Then, I don’t know, life happened and I stored the magazine and forgot about trying that recipe. Looks like I get that problem a lot, which is why I created my must try list. That way, the recipes that I want to try are all kept together in one place. Well, so long as they appear on the Internet somewhere, that is. I still have to think of something for those recipes that are on paper…

When I saw this recipe last week on Taste and Tell and saw that it had been adapted from the very recipe that I’d been wanting to try earlier, it immediately found a spot on my must try list. And this time, I didn’t wait! I gave it a go right away.

Me being me, though, I had to clean it up even more. I have to say that I was extremely sceptical with the results of my little experiment before I plated it. I think the sauce didn’t look shiny enough, and the chicken didn’t look… well, it didn’t look like it had been deep fried enough! Somehow, it looked all wrong and I thought to myself “there’s no way this dish is going to turn out good enough to earn the right to be called General Tao. I’ll have to come up with a new name…”

Well, much to my surprise, it was very good. Nice balance between sweet, sour and spicy, the chicken had a great texture to it. Not quite as crispy as the deep fried stuff, but still very decent. At least, you could taste and feel the chicken, which I really appreciated. The sauce lacked a little bit of “stickiness”, but its wonderful flavour really made up for it. Hey! Even my son liked it. He ate a whole plate!!! I was stunned! Now THAT really means something. If he ate it and said it was good, then it really passed the test.

I say this dish is good enough to be called General Tao (or General Tso, whichever you prefer) and healthy enough to be served at my table, yet it will please even the fussiest of eaters!

By the way… does anyone know why the two names? Tao? Tso? Which is right?

INGREDIENTS
(serves 3)

SAUCE

  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • ½ tsp sambal oelek
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated (I went half and half)

CHICKEN

  • 1 tsp olive oil (to pan fry chicken)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

OTHER

  • 4 green onions chopped, to add to chicken
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
  • 1 green onion, chopped, to garnish
  • 2 cups cooked brown basmati rice, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix corn starch, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in this mixture and shake off any excess.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in the olive oil until browned on all sides. The key here is to leave your chicken alone until it forms a crust. Be patient. Don’t touch it. Just lift the pieces once in a while to see if a beautiful golden crust has formed. If not, put it back. Once you have a crust, then you can flip your pieces, one by one. Make sure you get that beautiful crust all around. This will take at least 10 minutes.
  3. While your chicken is browning, keep busy by preparing your sauce (just mix all the ingredients together), chopping your green onions and toasting your sesame seeds.
  4. When your chicken is ready, add the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens a bit.
  5. Serve with cooked rice and garnish with green onions, and sesame seeds

May 17, 2011

Bad Girl, Stupid Bath Tub, oh, and some sort of a chicken sandwich!

I have a confession to make. I have been a very bad girl tonight! Very bad girl! I skipped exercise night. Voluntarily!! Out of my own free will!

Those who know me know that I NEVER skip exercise night, unless I have a VERY good reason. Tonight? I didn’t even have A reason, let alone a good one… I was just feeling blah, you know… BLAH!

So… I was actually changing into my exercising clothes when I had a vision: Me, in a bath! OOOOOOH, a bath. It had been well over a year since I’d last taken a bath! I could already feel the warm jets of water and air bubbles massaging my skin. Instantly, my body and mind went into relaxation mode and I KNEW I had no choice, I had to go for it!

I get upstairs, get the water going then bring all my stuff, you know, all the stuff you need when you take a bath: shampoo, conditioner, soap, bubble bath, cup of green tea

I get in the tub and anxiously wait for the water level to get high enough for me to get the jets going… water level is rising, rising… soon, so soon, it will happen. Finally, after what seems like forever, oooh, bliss, the magic moment is finally here… I press the power button…

NOTHING! NOTHING! The damn thing is broken and refuses to throw water and air bubbles at me. Does it not understand that I have just skipped exercise night to lose myself in it?

ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!

Oh well, I ended up staying like 20 minutes in a bubbless tub… I never stay much longer than that anyway. I hate it when my skin gets all wrinkley.

Now what? My stupid bath is over, I didn’t exercise, so I don’t even get to have an evening snack. Somehow, I feel robbed and frustrated. I think I will have a nice cup of warm unsweetened soy milk with a teaspoon of honey in it. There. That ought to make me feel better. Although with my luck, the milk will probably have gone bad!

Oh, and this is what I had for supper tonight. A super quick chicken sandwich made from leftover cooked chicken. Huge sandwich. And I didn’t even work it out. *sigh*  There’s always tomorrow…

These are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  • ½ Red Delicious Apple, diced (I ate the other half too!)
  • 20g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 20g toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp low fat sour cream
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Just mix everything together and throw it between two slices of good, toasted whole grain bread (or a super cute triangular bread like the one I got!) with a few green leaves and a handful of alfalfa sprouts.

May 15, 2011

Chicken, Goat Cheeses and Roasted Bell Pepper Pizza

I finally got to have that pizza I’d been dreaming about for weeks! I was about time, too. I had been craving it big time since Easter… You see, we had this huge cheese platter on that day day and of course, there was a lot of leftover, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of the best stuff that was in there. In the lot was a very decent size piece of Paillot de Chèvre and when I took it, I knew precisely what I was going to use it for. THIS VERY PIZZA!! Well, minus the roasted bell peppers, I actually got that inspiration only a few hours before I made the actual pizza. I didn’t really want any tomato sauce on it (for some reason, you might have noticed that I am not a big fan of tomato sauce on pizza…) so I decided to make a quick sauce out of half a roasted red bell pepper. What a great decision that was. The flavour combination worked perfectly.

This one might have been a little labour intensive, but very well worth it. The good thing is, I had some dough in the freezer from last time, and it passed the freezer test with flying colours! That’s one less thing I had to worry about. All I had to do was take the dough out of the freezer 2 days prior and take it out of the fridge 2 hours before I was ready to use it. It was FANTASTIC. Just as good as the first time… I am in love with that dough, I tell you. This is now my official pizza dough recipe.

The toppings were a little time consuming… I had to cook the chicken and mushrooms ahead of time, as well as roast the bell pepper, but it didn’t take all that long. Plus, making pizza I find is so much fun, the entire family gets involved, and everyone gets to top their pizza with whatever ingredients their heart desire (if you happen to have them on hand, of course!)

I’m already looking forward to the next pizza night. I’ll let you guys in on a little secret: I still have one dough ball in my freezer! That means I can have pizza anytime I want, even on a weeknight!!! I know, I know… that dough might very well be ready, but it still has to thaw!

Allright then, anytime I want that is at least 2 days away…

All I need is an inspiration!

DOUGH

¼ Whole wheat pizza crust recipe

SAUCE

  • ½ roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 kalamata olives
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • Splash olive oil
  • Pinch salt & pepper

TOPPINGS

  • 150g sliced mushrooms (cooked)
  • 100g low fat mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 120g chicken breast meat, in chunks (cooked)
  • ½ roasted red bell pepper, sliced
  • 6 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped

ADD-ONS (AFTER PIZZA IS OUT OF THE OVEN)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 500F.
  • Roast bell pepper over an open flame until skin is good and charred. Transfer roasted pepper to a covered container or closed plastic bag. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Remove skin, cut pepper in half and discard seeds and stem.
  • Put half the pepper in a food processor (magic bullet type) with kalamata olives, garlic clove, splash vinegar, splash olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth.
  • Cook mushrooms (use salt and pepper to taste) in a large skillet over high heat until nice and golden. Set aside.
  • In same skillet, cook chicken pieces (sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano to taste) until nice and golden on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Roll dough into 10-12 inch disc and lay on a baking sheet. Spread roasted bell pepper sauce.
  • Top with cooked mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, cooked chicken, roasted pepper slices, kalamata olives and chopped sundried tomatoes.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and starts to colour on the edge.
  • As soon as your pizza comes out of the oven, add your goat cheese slices and raw goat cheese crumbles and sprinkle arugula leaves.