Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope your day has been filled with love and joy!

The Olympics are still going on...sure you don't need to get back to watching the action?  We've been watching so many of the different sports - the kids are really into it!  And with all the actions you would think we'd be bursting with American pride.  We are...but for some reason we've been eating a lot of Asian fare!  This past week we made one of my favorite recipes, Chang's Spicy Chicken.  I wanted it for my birthday dinner but we just couldn't all get to the table at the same time that day, so we moved it to this week.  But when I went to get out the recipe I couldn't find it!  ACK!  I'd been thinking about it for a few days, and now the recipe was no where to be found?  Thankfully I remembered that I found it in a cookbook at the library.  I searched for the recipe on the internet, figured out the book I had found it in many years ago, and I headed to the library to pick it up (it was on the shelf and available!).  We've had this dish many times over the years, and each time we do we love it

Now that I had the cookbook in my hands again (Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur), I looked at the table of contents to see what else might be worth trying.  One of Ryan's favorite dishes from PF Chang's is Dan Dan Noodles.  Lo and behold it was in the book!  We made it and it was definitely voted a keeper!  Even Hannah had two helpings...and if you know her well you know she hates Chinese food.  So the fact that she had 2 helpings is a real indication of its keeper status (at least in our household!). Plus the recipe needs julienned cucumbers...put my zoodler to work on that and bam!  Perfect thin cucumbers for the dish!   And just because we clearly hadn't had enough yet, later in the week we had leftover rice, so we whipped up homemade fried rice!  I am not sure why our meal plan ended up with so much Asian cuisine, but it was a delicious week!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Dan Dan Noodles

Tried and True
Chang's Spicy Chicken

Dan Dan Noodles

* 2 chicken breasts, cooked and minced (approximately 2 cups)
* 6 oz lo mein noodles, cooked as directed on package
* 2 tbs vegetable oil
* 1 tbs minced garlic
* 1/4 cup green onions, green parts only
* 6 tbsp soy sauce
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
* 4 tsp cornstarch
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup julienned cucumber (seedless if possible)
* 1 cup bean sprouts

1. Cook the chicken.  Once the chicken is cooled, mince it.
2. Prepare the lo mein noodles according to the package.
3.  Make the sauce by heating the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or wok.  Add the garlic and green onions and saute for just a few seconds being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar and chili-garlic sauce. Stir well.
4. Combine the cornstarch and water, and stir this in the sauce.  Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes on until it thickens.
5. When the sauce is thick add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken.
6. To serve, pile the noodles on a platter.  Spoon the chicken and sauce over the noodles.  Garnish the platter with the cucumbers on one side and on the other side, the bean sprouts.

Wow!  What a great recipe!  We really thought this tasted like Ryan's favorite dish from PF Chang's.  And the kids really enjoyed it as well, including Hannah - which is amazing!  I used my zoodler to julienne the cucumbers and it was perfect!  

Chang's Spicy Chicken

* 2 tsp vegetable oil
* 2 tbs chopped garlic (3-4 cloves)
* 3 tbs chopped green onions
* 1 cup pineapple juice
* 2 tbsp chili sauce
* 2 tbsp rice vinegar
* 4 tsp granulated sugar
* 1 tsp soy sauce
* 2 tbsp water
* 1/2 tsp cornstarch
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1 lb chicken breast, cut into small pieces
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* rice

1. Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp vegetable oil in a small saucepan.  Saute the garlic and green onions in the oil for just a few seconds making sure the garlic does not burn.  Add the pineapple juice, chile sauce, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
2. Dissolve the 1/2 tsp cornstarch in 2 tbsp of water.  Add this to the other sauce ingredients.  Bring the sauce to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium/high and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is thick and syrupy.  Set aside.
3. Heat the cup of vegetable oil in a wok or large sauce pan over medium heat.
4. While the oil is heating, toss the bite size pieces of chicken with the cornstarch.
5. Saute the chicken in oil, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Remove the chicken to a plate with paper towels on it and let it drain.
6. Put the chicken in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over top.  Toss to coat the chicken.  Serve the chicken with rice on the side.

We have followed this recipe as is, but have also found that you can just saute the chicken without dusting it in cornstarch and lightly frying it.  The sauce is so good that even if the chicken isn't crunchy it is still delicious!  But if you do really want to a dinner akin to the restaurant experience, dust the chicken with cornstarch and lightly fry it.  Either way you are bound to love this!