Father’s Day Menu – Chinese Style Pineapple Chicken & Spare Ribs

The weather here has been disappointing on the weekends lately, on again off again showers. This Spring has brought lots of rain and our backyard garden is enjoying it even if we aren’t. My husband had made some of his great smoked ribs for the family for Mother’s day this year but he fought the elements throughout the whole day just to prepare me a fantastic meal. Rain showers are predicted again for all day tomorrow so I decided to plan a fun indoor meal for our family and one I know he will enjoy as well.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Here is my menu:

Eggrolls for an Appetizer – Not making them from scratch this time because of time constraints.

Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs – the terrific recipe can be found here:

pressure-cooker-char-siu-pork-ribs

Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs

 

 

 

 

Chinese Pineapple Chicken with White Rice

Chinese Style Green Beans – the recipe can be found here:

Chinese Restaurant Green Beans

Sweet baked hawiian chicken

Chinese Restaurant Style Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
¼ cup canola oil

1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon cornstarch
1 red pepper chopped
1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In separate bowls, place cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs. Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture.
(yes, you dip the chicken first in the cornstarch. I promise this method is amazing.)

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and cornstarch.
Add the red pepper and pineapple tidbits. Pour over chicken and bake for 1 hour.
I stir the chicken every 15 minutes so that it coated them in the sauce.

 

 

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatorre

I am all about making a good meal at home even on a weeknight. I look for easy recipes that take less than an hour from start to finish, recipes that don’t take too much time to prepare but are flavorful and might go even with a nice glass of wine after a busy day. Here is my weeknight one-pot chicken cacciatore.

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced

2 large bell peppers, sliced (a mix of 1 red and 1 green)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or homemade

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 lb Spaghetti

Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Roll chicken in flour mixture, coating completely.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot; brown chicken on all sides for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet; set aside. Add mushrooms, green/red peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook 5-8 minutes, or until onions and peppers are slightly tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat a bit as to not burn the garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; return chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the meal simmers have a pot ready to cook the spaghetti then serve over cooked spaghetti, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

What a difference a year makes. My Instant Pot & Honey Garlic Chicken

 

My 6 Qt Duo

I know so many people have been enjoying their Instant Pots these days, I know I have. It’s just about a year now and with a busy schedule, the Instant Pot has been a saving grace and allowed me to prepare weeknight dinners when I’m not in the mood to fuss after a long day.

There are a great many wonderful websites from how to take away the mystery of operating it to many delicious recipes. The videos recipes are great!

I’m not totally new to pressure cooking. My first pressure cooker was one I bought at a yard sale that was several years old but had never been used, even included the cookbook still sealed all for $5. Being able to make the occasional weeknight pot roast dinner was such a treat. I didn’t use it too often but meals were enjoyed when I did. I then moved to my first electric pressure cooker making soups or stews but I never really used it to its full potential so it collected “dust”. The Instant Pot really caught my eye last Spring. I never thought someone could make so many different types of dishes in a pressure cooker including yogurt. I knew the Instant Pot was out there for some time but it was now time for me to take the plunge and my 6 Qt Duo came into my life and has it has been a year-long romance ever since. Honestly, I knew my husband had doubts and figured it would be another appliance that would sit in the cupboard. However, week after week I have been making new recipes and to his delight, he has enjoyed every bite.

Left to Right: Potato and Egg Salad, Yogurt, Cranberry Loin of Pork, and Onion Soup, Jambalaya, Teriyaki Chicken, Beef and Bean Chili

So why not join this wonderful world of “pot-heads” as we are affectionately called and open up a whole new world of meals. Here is an easy recipe to try. BTW, I still cook on my stove and use my oven too LOL!

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken is always moist,
tender and flavorful!  Serve with rice and a veggie side dish for a quick dinner!

Ingredients

1/2 cup chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion)
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2  pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons cornstarch &  1 Tablespoon of water to thicken the sauce after cooking

1. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and pepper in Instant Pot and stir.
2. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot.
3. Seal the lid and turn the pressure valve to the sealing position.
4. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and set the cook time to 10 minutes.
5. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then will start
counting down the cooking time. Once it beeps to let you know the cooking time has
finished, do a Quick Release.
6. Wait for the steam to release and the pin to drop down.
7.  Remove chicken to a plate, it will be a nice golden color
8. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Turn the Instant Pot on Saute and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring with a spoon or whisk until the liquid has thickened, 2-3 minutes and turn off Instant Pot.
11. Slice the chicken and stir it back into the sauce in the pot or score the chicken slightly and serve the sauce on top over rice. Serve with rice and vegetables, or as desired.

IMG_2095

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Dinner – Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Heart Health Vegetabtle_shutterstock_76317430_cropepd b B

Show your loved ones how much your love them by serving a healthy meal this Valentine’s Day. For those who are budget conscious or would rather avoid the restaurant crowds this is an affordable, healthy and flavorful, meal that is easy to prepare.

20160808_195018

Skillet Chicken with Sweet Potato & Asparagus

A delicious, healthy, and easy to make dinner and it take less than 40 minutes from start to finish and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground fresh black pepper

3 garlic cloves — minced or 3 teaspoons pre-chopped jar garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Optional)

1 medium to large sweet potato — peeled and diced

1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (Better than Bullion works perfect for this dish) Amount of broth depends on the size of the sweet potato used.

1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus spears, cut on a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and chicken. (Make sure the burned is not too hot as you don’t want to burn the garlic and red pepper)
  3. Sauté the chicken for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. When cooked set the chicken aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the diced sweet potato and chicken broth.
  5. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.
  6. Add asparagus pieces and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste more or less if desired.

 

After dinner dessert – Something Sweet

While this bakes in the oven you can prepare the Skillet Chicken dish on top of the stove.

For an easy after dinner dessert  why not give this easy recipe a try.  It is a long time favorite (since the about the 1960’s) that I learned to make years ago. Serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Any fruit pie filling works, apple, peach, blueberry or cherry. I have made them all.

crazycrustapplepie

 

 

 

 

A Chicken in my Sunday Pot and several ways to enjoy it!

With the rising cost of groceries these day chicken still seems to be a good bargain and when preparing a whole chicken you can get the most for your money.

So on a Sunday I sometimes will put up a pot of chicken soup to start. If the chicken is plump enough I can get two or three nice size meals depending what I make.

basic chicken stock

Basic Chicken Stock Recipe

1 Large chicken (about 4 lbs)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 medium stalks of celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 sprigs parsley
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 1/2 quarts cold water

Rinse chicken under cold water and add the chicken to a large heavy stockpot. Add cold water to cover chicken. Bring the water slowly to a boil then reduce to a bare simmer. There should be very few gentle bubbles bursting on the surface of the water. Skim the surface of the stock to get rid of the impurities (foam).

Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, peppercorns to the pot. Continue to simmer the stock for 3 hours, skimming occasionally.

Carefully remove the whole chicken. Strain the stock through a paper towel or cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl. Carefully discard the hot solids. Let cool. Place in refrigerator for 12 hours to allow fat to rise to the top. Skim fat off and discard. Divide between freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months if it lasts that long!

Yields 2 quarts

Once you have make the chicken stock there are lots of meal options that can be made: Once the chicken has cooled remove the chicken from the bones and divide. Separate and shred the breast and wing meat into two portions. Then remove the leg thigh meat making a third portion of chicken. Each portion should yield about 2 cups of meat enough for three meals. After a long day at work it’s nice to have one of these meals easy to prepare.

What to make now? Here are a few ideas.

Chicken Soup – your choice, you have two quarts of broth you can add vegetables, rice or noodles and one portion of the chicken or follow your favorite recipe.

chicken & biscuit dumplings

Chicken Pot Pie with 2 Crusts or Biscuits

This is old-fashioned, from scratch, comfort food. This has been a family favorite for years.

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
2 prepared pie crusts (1 top crust and 1 bottom crust)

Heat butter over low heat until melted.

Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat.

Stir in broth and milk.

Heat to boiling; stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute.

Stir in chicken and veggies. (Add in 1 – 2 diced cooked potatoes if you like!).

Reserve.

Line pie plate with prepared bottom crust.

Pour in filling.

Top with top crust. Cut slits in center to vent. Flute edges.

Cook uncovered in 425°F oven until crust is brown; approximately 30-35 minutes.

Note: If you don’t have any pie crust available add the filling to a greased 9″ x 13″ casserole and top with your favorite biscuits and bake for 20 minutes.

 

chicken ala king

Chicken ala King

This old fashion meal is total comfort food on a cold winter evening and when you have two cups of chicken available it’s so easy to prepare. Have you ever read about the history of Chicken ala King? Seems there are at least 5 different possibilities of where the recipe originated going as far back as the late 1800’s and it was served in some very prestigious restaurants and hotels. Who would have thought, right?

 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken

2 tablespoons diced pimientos or small diced red cherry pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and celery in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in flour and salt until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Add chicken and pimientos; heat through. Serve over toast points, or biscuits or in puff pastry patty shells if you want something fancier.

Chicken Tetrazzini

Named after a famous Italian singer, Tetrazzini is an American dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushroom in a butter/cream and Parmesan sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, or some similarly thin pasta, garnished with parsley, and sometimes topped with  Parmesan cheese. Tetrazzini can be prepared as a baked noodle casserole, sometimes with steps taken to give it a browned crust.

chicken tetrazzini1

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked thin spaghetti (not Angel Hair) or pasta of choice

1/2 cup butter & 2 Tb

2 TB Olive Oil

Add any of these items to taste – I have no exact measurements

Onions

Garlic

Mushrooms

1 10 oz. box of Frozen Peas or Peas & Carrots (optional)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth & 2 cups milk

1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

4 cups chopped cooked chicken

Handful of chopped parsley

Season to taste, herbs etc.

Butter bread crumbs to top the casserole if you like.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and place in the prepared baking dish.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

At this point I sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms. Remove from pan and set on the side.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in same pan over medium heat.

Stir in flour, pan cook so flour cooks but is not brown

Mix in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in about 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat.

Add onion, garlic mushroom mix to the sauce and fold in. Add chopped chicken, parsley or any frozen vegetable you are using

Mix chicken sauce mixture with cooked spaghetti and put into a greased 9 x 13 casserole.

chicken croquettes my

Chicken Croquettes

Easy-to-make chicken croquettes. These croquettes freeze well. This one needs a bit of pre-planning as the croquette mixture needs time to chill in the refrigerator.

Cone shape is traditional for croquettes, but I have made patty shaped ones that are just as wonderful. Try adding some chopped mushrooms too

Ingredients

2 cups roasted chicken, shredded

1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup or cream of celery

1/4 cup milk

1 (6 ounce) box chicken stuffing mix

1 large egg, slightly beaten

½ of a small onion, chopped fine

1 stalk of celery, chopped fine

breadcrumbs, for dredging

1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying (may need more or less)

Sauce

1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

Directions

Mix well the chicken, soup, stuffing mix, egg, onion, and celery. Refrigerate for 3 hours minimum.

Create a ‘log’ shape from about 3/4 cup of mixture. Gently drop onto the counter to flatten the bottom to form a traditional ‘cone’ shape. (about 3″ high, 2″ in diameter), or form patties for a simpler method.

Roll croquettes in bread crumbs. (At this point, you can freeze them for up to two months or cover them and place them in the fridge overnight to serve the following day. Just bring them to room temperature when ready to use if frying them).

Fry in about 1/4″ of oil in skillet over medium heat turning occasionally till golden brown on all sides and bottom, about 10-15 minutes. For a healthier version, they can be baked at 350F for about 25-30 min (from the freezer, bake 45-50 minutes).

MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, stir the remaining can of soup with milk, stirring until warmed and creamy.

Easy Cooking Sunday’s – The Instant Pot

The last several weekends have been busy so no special meal preparation. We went away to open our summer place in the Pocono’s two weeks ago, then last weekend was Mother’s Day and the family insisted I shouldn’t cook. This weekend is filled with chores so I need an easy peasy meal for dinner. I’ll put on a loaf of bread for the weeks lunches in the bread baker and put dinner in the Instant Pot so I won’t have to bother babysitting while it cooks and I can get some things accomplished.

I’d been putting off from buying an Instant Pot for several years, I just felt I really didn’t need one. The more I read about how I could make some easy put together recipes that didn’t take as long as it would on the stove or oven I decided to go for it. Preparing dinner on a weeknight sometimes takes far too long after a long day at work and heck it’s all in one pot so less dishes. I have found with the slow cookers of recent years that the cooking time is shorter being they now cook at a higher temperature. Doesn’t work for me with the 10 hours I’m out for work and commute time, I didn’t like the thought of warm food sitting on the counter for hours until I got home. So I took the plunge and ordered a 6 Qt IP Duo. There are a ton of IP recipes out there and lots of helpful folks on the FB Instant Pot Community group.

My 6 Qt Duo

I keep trying new recipes each time I use the IP. So far no disappointments.

Today’s dinner will be IP BBQ Ribs, I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Here are some of my cooking adventures with the IP. One day I will tackle that cheesecake everyone in the group has been making that looks so delicious.

 

Above left to right: Zuppa Toscana, Chili with Beef and Beans, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, Chicken Teriyaki and Pot Roast with baby red potatoes, carrots and mushrooms.

Sunday Funday in the Kitchen – Roasted Chicken

I’ve never been one to make/serve the same meals on a weekly basis like pizza Friday’s or Italian sauce with pasta every Sunday. Sometime it’s fun to mix things up a bit from the traditional and try a new idea. What the heck!
So last Sunday I decided to just make a whole roast chicken. I searched around looking for something a bit different but a meal the family would enjoy so I came across a recipe called Bundt Pan Roast Chicken on one of those quick prep cooking videos. I put my own spin on it and substituted sweet potatoes for the Yukon golds and pretty much followed the recipe from there. My husband even doubled checked later in the day if I was still planning on giving this idea a try, his curiosity was stoked.
It was certainly worth a try, it was very easy to make and the meal was really delicious. Not too much different than roasting the chicken with the vegetable in a roasting pan but it was a meal that was enjoyed by all and we had a bit of fun mixing it up a bit.
So why not give it a try.

Here is the link below.
Bundt Pan Roast Chicken link

 

bundtpanchickenbefore

 

bundtpanchickencooked