Monday, October 8, 2012

Pinned there, done that: Baked sweet and sour chicken

This weeks Pinned there, done that recipe is from Life as a Lofthouse: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Its a fairly new pin for me but I needed to find another chicken dish to round out this month's menu.  When I pinned this, the comment stated that it was very addictive... It is very good, not exactly addictive, but very good.  Be sure to click here for the original recipe.  I switched it up some in the spice area but kept to the cooking concept.  I actually increased my chicken amount from her recipe but I didn't double all the ingredients.  For some reason I just felt that 1 1/2 cups sugar would be a bit much!  I am also hesitant to call this a "baked" recipe since it does require some partial frying.  I'll call mine Semi-baked... or maybe it should be half baked... you decide.

Semi-Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

For the chicken coating:
6 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt + pepper
11/2 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten 
1/4 cup canola oil

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper,garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. I missed the instruction part when it said, "Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs."  I actually reversed the method and did the eggs first then into the cornstarch... it worked out perfectly.    Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook chicken until lightly browned but not cooked through.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (I lightly spritzed with cooking spray) and place in browned chicken pieces. Put all of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl, mix together with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. The ingredients said to bake for one hour, but ours was done in thirty minutes.  I stirred the chicken twice during the baking time. 
Serve with rice and side vegetable.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pinned there, done that challenge #1 - Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas with Lazy Spanish Rice

Sorry about the lack of blogging this summer.  Too much medical rubbish made for little blogging enthusiasm.   I was struggling with keeping the whole joy thing,  There has been much to be joyful about this summer, too... friends having babies, weddings, showers.... numerous cupcakes for the various events. Then Hubby and I took an amazing trip to San Francisco together.  He is an awesome traveling companion!
I'm a huge fan of Pinterest (perhaps addict would be the better word) but while pinning is fun, it will be much more fulfilling to actually do the recipes and projects I have pinned.  Therefore, I will be adding a new feature, "Pinned there, done that."  It will be a way to highlight many of the great ideas out there on Pinterest. And I don't know about you but I while I know that most all of the projects "pinned" are done by actual people, I like to know what ones can actually be done by amateurs, like me. I hope you will join me in our new adventure.
There are some other changes to come.  I hope you will continue to hang out with me!

Tonight I made a recipe I had pinned from (I have it pinned on my healthy cooking board).  I loved the idea of making a hearty black bean quesadilla!  I made them fairly close to her recipe but served with a side of creamy jalapeno ranch dressing that I made up.  Yummers! While it was filling enough to eat just the quesadilla (especially for mom and I) I served some lazy Spanish rice for the hubby and the boys to make it even more hearty.  Budget Bytes is an awesome blog and has several things I've pinned along the way.  Visit her site and share some blogger love :-)
 Fiesta Quesadillas
adapted from hearty black bean quesadillas by

2 cups frozen corn (thawed)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages taco seasoning
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 tablespoon bacon grease, optional
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup chicken broth, or water
10 whole wheat tortillas
2 cup cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend

In a large skillet,heat bacon grease over medium heat and add corn, onion and garlic; allow corn to slightly char and onions and garlic to lightly brown.  Add black beans, cilantro and taco seasoning, add broth (I felt this allowed the mixture to be less dry but is totally optional) and let simmer for fifteen minutes.

To assemble:
I like to slightly warm my tortillas to work with them.... especially if they have been in the fridge...
On half the tortilla add sprinkle some cheese (the amount is up to you... I used less than 1/4 cup per quesadilla) top with 1/2 cup bean mixture and sprinkle with a bit more cheese; fold over.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  They can now be frozen once they are assembled.

I didn't freeze any as I made half of them and used the remaining black bean mixture with Spanish rice side dish I had made for a future casserole.
For cooking the quesadilla, I lightly sprayed a skillet with cooking spray and allowed the quesadilla to crisp up a bit.

Lazy Spanish Rice
1 cup long grain rice
2 cans Campbell's tomato soup
2 1/2 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound hamburger
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, brown hamburger and onion; drain off excess grease.
In a 2 quart casserole dish, add rice, tomato soup, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and salt; mix together and add water.  To the rice mixture add the hamburger and onion mix and stir together to completely mix.  Cover and cook in microwave on high heat for ten minutes; cook for another fifteen minutes on half power (I have to use power fifty on my microwave).  Let set for five minutes then uncover, stir and serve.