Sesame Chicken

If you ever want to get on your friends’ good sides, just make them food. When you have to borrow your friend’s craft room for a few hours, you should at least bring them a free meal.

Besides from that, this meal is easy enough to use for meal prep for the week. Plus, it stays good for a few days in the fridge. Normally this is made in a frying pan, but for convenience, I made this in the crock-pot. For easier cleanup, I always use a crock-pot liner before I start.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken Breast or Thigh
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 2 tablespoon Sriracha or 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 teaspoon Ginger, grated
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Water
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown Rice

Directions

  1. In a clean crock-pot, lay the chicken out evenly on the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, sriracha/ red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and diced onion.
  3. Pour the sauce on top of the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low or 2 ½ hours on high.
  5. Cut a piece of chicken to see if it’s done. If done, remove from the crock-pot and cut into pieces.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch, stirring until a paste forms.
  7. Add this paste to the crockpot sauce and stir until it thickens. Add the chicken back into the pot and to recoat it into the sauce.
  8. At this time, prepare two cups of brown rice. Fix according to the package and serve with the chicken.
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Pavlova

Meringue is possibly the easiest dessert to make. At its core, it’s just beaten egg whites and sugar. When you can take that to the next level by adding whipped cream, you have a Pavlova. I had this famous New Zealand dessert last summer while in Canada. It wasn’t until I saw photos of it on Instagram until I remembered the name of it.

 

I can safely say when my three friends and I ate all of this in one sitting that it’s delicious.

 

Ingredients

  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¾ Powder Sugar
  • 2 packages Rolos
  • 3 tablespoon Butter
  • ¼ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 Bananas
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven 250°F

Begin by whisking the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. From there, add in the sugar and continue mixing until combined.

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Then combine in the vanilla extract, cornstarch, and vinegar.

Cut out a sheet of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Take a bowl about the same width of the sheet (about 10 inches) and trace the outline of the bowl onto the paper with a pen. Then flip it over so it’s ink side down and you can see the traced circle.

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Pour the pavlova meringue into the circle on the parchment paper. With a spatula, evenly spread out the meringue so that it fills the circle.

Bake for an hour and 20 minutes in the oven. When done, remove and allow to cool for an hour.

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In a skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar. Stir and allow it to combine.

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Chop up the bananas into slices. Add the bananas to the sugar syrup into the skillet. Let this cook on medium heat for five minutes. Afterward, remove from heat to let them cool down a bit.

In a bowl, whisk the heavy whipping cream until peaks form, then fold in the powdered sugar.

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Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter on medium heat in a small saucepan. Then add in the Rolos and nutmeg. Slowly stir until melted. Next, add in the chopped pecans. When this is completed, lower the heat to low and stir regularly.

Finally, assemble the pavlova. Layer on the whipped cream onto the base cooked meringue. Spread it evenly over it. On top of that, place on the caramelized bananas. Finish it off by spooning on the pecan caramel sauce.

fullpavl

Cajun Sausage Pasta

As winter starts to fade and spring begins to bloom, I’m finishing off the last half of my second semester of college. This upcoming month, I have more deadlines than imaginable and have to prepare a presentation for a conference next week. Over spring break I spent ten days on the big island of Hawaii (pictures to come), and when I came back I was extremely jetlagged and busy with homework I put off. Somehow in my free three days before going back to school, I caught up on work and I cooked for my friends. They are never ones to decline a free meal, so they came over when I made this pasta dish.

What stands out for me in this recipe is the sauce that goes with this. It’s rich, yet not overbearing. Over the years, making pasta sauce has never been my thing. Either it comes out too chunky, or overly bitter when it needs to be savory.
Ingredient

  • 1 packaged Italian Sausage
  • ½ lb Penne Pasta ( half a 16 oz box)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
  • ½ Onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/4 cup Monterey Jack
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced

 

  1. Start by cutting just the sausage into small pieces, and cook it according to the package in a small skillet with water. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

boiled.jpg2.) Now cook the penne pasta in a boiling pot of salted water. Again fix according to the box. I like to add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the water so the pasta doesn’t stick together. When it’s cooked through, drain in the sink and set aside.

pasta

3.) In the same small skillet as before, add back in the cooked sausage. Add olive oil, cajun seasoning, and minced onion. Bring this to a medium-high heat, and allow this to cook for about five minutes or until the onions are cooked through. Once completed, remove from heat.

cooked4.) In a saucepan, melt some butter. Then add the garlic to that, and cook this on medium heat for two minutes. Stir frequently to make sure the garlic is coated with the butter. To this, whisk in the cream and lemon zest. Again, let this cook for two minutes to allow it to combine the ingredients. To thicken it up, add in some cheese.  

5.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in tomatoes and the sausage.

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6.) Then add the sausage and sauce to the pasta, and stir until the pasta is coated.

Hawaii Sandwich

With the countdown to Hawaii now being in the single digits, I wanted to get into the spirit of making something that reminds me of the island. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I know I like Hawaiian pizza. So I wanted to add those flavors into a sandwich. I wanted to go the extra mile and make bread too, so I made the bread (without nuts and cranberries in it) that I used a while back in my Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 teaspoons Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Sourdough Loaf, sliced
  • ½ Mayo
  • 10 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2/3 pound Deli Sliced Ham
  • 1 cup Pineapple, crushed

Directions

  1. In a small skillet over low heat, combine the butter and onions.
  2. Once the onions soften after a few minutes, add in the poppy seeds, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. After it reaches a simmer, let it set there on the stove for two minutes.
  4. Spread on the mayo on the outside of two pieces of the bread. Then flip them over. On one slice, spread on the mustard that we just made. Then, layer on a piece of swiss cheese. Next, add on the ham, followed by about 1/4 cup of the pineapple. Top that off with the other slice of bread with mayo on top.
  5. In another skillet over medium heat, place the sandwich on the skillet and flip it after three minutes. Allow the other side to cook for an additional three minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

I’ve been in a baking mood recently, but I only have access to a kitchen on the weekends. Also, when I’m home I sleep in and skip breakfast most Saturdays. Last weekend, I tried to clear out the pantry and fridge and cook using ingredients I already had on hand. Friday night I made these for breakfast for the weekend so that they were ready for me whenever I decided to get up. Original, I planned on making these into muffins, but we only have some mini bread pans on hand.

loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted Butter, melted
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Poppy Seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease down a three mini bread pans with cooking spray.
  2. Start by mixing the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and yogurt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Make sure to not over mix in this step.
  5. Then carefully fold in the poppy seeds until incorporated.
  6. Evenly pour the batter into the three bread pans, and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Chicken Fried Rice

I LOVE FRIED RICE! This week I attempted to make some at home for the first time. In theory, this should’ve been easy. But also in theory, a lot of things should be easy. I made a lot of this just to keep on hand for this week. I placed the rice into a smaller container so I can just reheat it in my dorm for an easy lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice
  • 1 pound Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 bag Frozen Peas and Carrots, thaws
  • 1 Small Onion, small dice
  • 2 Eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoon Sesame Oil

Directions

  1. To start, prepare the rice by following the instructions according to its package. For this recipe, I like to use brown rice that already measures out for me by cup.
  2. Now cook up about 1 lb of chicken breast, then dice them up.
  3. In a large skillet, melt down the butter with the garlic. Once that happens, fry the peas, carrots, and green onion in the butter. Then crack in the eggs and scramble it.
  4. Combine in the rice, chicken, and sesame oil. Cover the skillet with a lid, and let the flavors come together for five minutes on low.

Banana Bread

I applaud everyone who is trying to eat healthier in the new year. With that, I recommend trying out a different recipe because this isn’t even close to healthy.

I was heading to work Monday, and I remember that everyone was out watching a presentation. This meant I had about 25 minutes to kill before I had to be back. My school’s student union got a new Starbucks this semester, so I went to buy myself a hot chocolate. That’s where I saw the thickest piece of banana bread in my life. I knew after that moment that I had to make some banana bread that weekend. I’m not going to lie; I’m probably going to sneak this into the movie theater tonight.

By far, I’m a better baker than my mom. Don’t worry, she will admit it too. Growing up whenever my mom would try to make banana bread, it would always come out raw in the middle. Even though she is trying to be healthy right now, I dedicate this banana bread to my mother.
Ingredients

  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup soft margarine or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups ripe bananas, about 4-5 small
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Spray down a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Start by mashing the banana into a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter. Then add in the eggs and continue to beat. After that, stir in the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
  4. After this, mix the flour 1/2 cup at a time until incorporated. Finally, combine in the baking soda and cinnamon.
  5. Pour this into the loaf pan and bake for an hour. Once this is done, test the middle with a toothpick to check if it’s cooked.

Chicken & Garlic Soup

Living in the Midwest, the winter fluctuates day to day between below freezing and feeling like a nice spring day. Still, it’s a good time to curl up with comfort food and a good movie. If you read last week’s post about me talking about my all-time favorite films, you are already set for the movie part. I cooked up a soup that’s even impressed my mom and helped me get rid of all the leftover chicken in the fridge.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups Shredded Chicken
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 2 Carrots, minced
  • 2 Stalks Celery, minced
  • ¼ Onion, minced
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt down the butter.
  2. Once this happens, add the shredded chicken and coat it using tongs.
  3. Now that the chicken is warming up, add in the garlic, carrots, celery, onion, and cream cheese. Let them melt down and blend together.
  4. Since the base of the soup is done, it’s time to add in the liquid. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Allow this to sit and reach a boil. Once this happens reduce the heat to low. Let this simmer for 4 minutes.

Ranch Pork Chops

I’ve never been a super picky eater, but growing up I absolutely hated pork chops. It could be because my prepubescent taste buds hated pork. But let’s get real, I’ve always and will forever love bacon. Looking back now, it could have been just too salty, or I didn’t like how dense the meat was.

I found this article on Daily Mail that discussed that some people have a gene called OR7D4. This can alter the taste for pork for people who are carriers. I’m 99.9% sure I don’t have this gene, but I used to profoundly hate this cut of meat.

It wasn’t until some time in middle school before I even ate or tried one again. It turns out I actually liked it, and from there on I enjoyed having one every once and a while. This all changed a few years ago, when my dad bought enough pork chops to feed a small army. Seemingly, we ate pork chops once a week for like six months. At that point, I was sick of eating pork and I ingested enough salt for a saltwater tank.

Late one night last week when I was planning out recipes, I was craving a pork chop. Like who craves a pork chop? I was feeling brave enough to go outside when it was 20 degrees out, so I grilled these up on my BBQ. If you want to go the extra mile, marinate these all day.

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Ingredients

  • 4 boneless Pork Chops
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ranch Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat a grill or pan over medium heat.
  2. Coat the chops with olive oil and set them aside on a plate.
  3. In a small bowl, place the ranch powder, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle on the ranch seasoning on top of the pork. Then flip them over to get both sides coated.
  5. Grill for 9 to 11 minutes. Make sure to cut one in half to see if it’s done.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

During the holiday season, there is nothing I like more than having a large slice of pecan pie. I get it if you want to use your own crust recipe, but just to make my life a little easier I used a frozen crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pre-Made Frozen Pie Crust
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 large Eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Lay out the pie crust on the freezer.
  2. In a saucepan, melt down the stick of butter. Then combine sugar and corn syrup. Constantly stirring, mix the sugar and corn syrup into the butter until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat and add in the chocolate chips.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Pour the cooled sugar mixture into the bowl. Whisk this constantly so the egg doesn’t cook. Then stir in the pecans.
  4. Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes.