Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Either of these recipes are great on their own but they also go great together. Impress your family and make their favorite take out entrees at home. 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice


Orange Glazed Chicken

1 1/2-2 lbs chicken ( use your favorite cut, thighs, wings, breast but leave the bones in and skin on)

Salt and pepper

1 c orange juice

1 T corn starch

1/2 c ketchup

2 T honey or brown sugar

2 t vinegar

2 T soy sauce

2 t hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450,  place chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper,  cook for 20 minutes skin side down, then turn and cook 20 minutes more. Chicken should have crispy skin and be golden brown. ( this is for thighs, cook longer for breasts, shorter for wings). Meanwhile add orange juice and cornstarch to a medium sized sauce pan and whisk together, add ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy and hot sauce and whisk again, bring mixture to a boil over med high heat and then turn to low, whisk mixture until thicken to a glaze consistency. Keep Warm.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Dip cooked chicken into glaze and coat well, place back on baking sheet and place back into the oven for 4 minutes or until chicken starts to get dark spots.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Serve with any remaining orange sauce.

 

Vegetable Fried Rice

4 c cold cooked rice (great for left over rice, or make the day before for best results)

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c rice vinegar

1 T sugar

2T oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c broccoli florets

3/4 c sliced carrots

1/2 c chopped scallions

2 t chopped garlic

1 T minced ginger

1/2 c frozen peas

2 T chopped basil

 In a small bowl mix together, soy, sugar and vinegar. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or wok, add carrots, broccoli and scallions, cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, ginger and peas, cook 2 min more, add cooked rice and soy mixture. stir together and cook over med high heat until all rice is coated and brown, make a well in the center of the wok/pan and add remaining oil and beaten eggs, stir vigorously and then mix with rice mixture until egg is cooked, add basil and stir. Serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

 Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

 

 

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Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

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Here’s a little trick, use smoked paprika to get the smokey taste of bacon without the mess, fat or calories. Also great to use in vegetarian dishes. I used it here with this roasted Cauliflower to enhance the roasted taste and add some depth of flavor.

Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower broken into florets

1-2 T olive oil ( or substitute your favorite oil)

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t salt

1/2 t-1t smoked paprika

Preheat your oven to 400. Toss Cauliflower with oil and lemon juice until well coated. then sprinkle on salt and paprika and toss again. lay on a baking sheet and put in the oven. cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and starts to brown.

 

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Shh I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. I am slowly replacing some of my families meat laden meals with healthier vegetarian options. Some of us have higher blood pressure and cholesterol than we should  (not naming names). One of my families favorites is taco night, and while we usually use chicken or turkey, I thought why not go all the way and just use beans. Canned refried beans are not the healthiest and my motto is that homemade beats processed any day. My younger son who is starting to take more interest in cooking was up for this challenge so he and I made this tasty recipe that would be great as a side or a filling for tacos, burritos and tostadas.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

2 cans of beans, I used one Pinto and one black. (check the labels here many canned varieties add sugar, salt etc… I used an organic variety that was free of sugar)

1 t olive oil

1/4-1/2 c chopped onions

1 clove garlic chopped

1 t cumin

1 t salt

1 cup vegetable stock ( you can use any stock or water if watching your sodium)

add oil to large skillet over med high heat, add onion and sauté until soft, add garlic and beans and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add stock, cumin and salt. reduce heat to low and cover.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Cover and cook 10-15 minutes over low. Use potato masher to mash beans to desired texture, add more stock if needed.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Add to your favorite dish or serve as a side.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

 

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Make your plate a little more colorful with this Purple Potato and Bean Salad. Great as a side or a light meatless Summer meal.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

4 cups small purple potatoes, quartered ( I left the skins on)

1 can white beans, rinsed

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 c red onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

2T red wine vinegar

1 T chopped  fresh cilantro ( or basil)

1/2-1t salt

1/8 t black pepper

Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain and add to a large bowl. Add bean, tomatoes, onions,  toss with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add cilantro and stir.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Chill and serve.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

This dish is delicious and decadent. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any special dinner. They bake in a rich butter sauce so they absorb all of the flavor with none of the fluff of the traditional Sweet Potato and marshmallow casserole. Try this as an elegant alternative this year.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced in 1/4 ” rounds

4 T butter

8 0z mascarpone cheese

1 t chopped rosemary

2 T maple syrup

1/2 c milk.

Preheat the oven to 350. Arrange sweet potato slices in layers in an oven proof dish ( I used a 8×8)

Baked Maple Marscapone Sweet Potatoes

 

In a sauce pan melt butter and mascarpone cheese together over medium heat. Add maple syrup, milk and rosemary and stir to combine.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

Pour mixture over potatoes and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve on the plate with a spoonful of the butter sauce from pan over the top.

 

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

 

Mashed Potatoes are my favorite food and these are one of my favorites. These would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving, an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes, or a weeknight meal.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

6 large Gold Potatoes peeled and quartered

1 1/2 c peeled baby carrots

1/2 c cream or milk

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

4 T butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of boiling salted water, cook until fork tender ( your fork should be able to mash them easily). Drain and return to the pot, add cream/milk, salt, Pepper, butter, and thyme. Use and electric mixer or mash by hand until smooth. Stir in cheese and serve. These also make a great topping for Shepherds or Cottage Pie.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thanksgiving Favorites

Yes, I have been a slacker lately, I have lots of new and delicious recipes but I just haven’t gotten around to posting them, it is on my to do list this week though. Since November seems like it is flying by and I wanted to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes before the big Turkey Day.

Spiced Pear Sangria

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos 

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus with Beer

Enjoy!

Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

Pool Party: My Nephew’s 1st Birthday

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Under The Sea Cake

I come from a very large family, and my nephew turned one last week and so we celebrated in style.  It was a collaborative effort by friends and family with ideas from everyone and Pinterest. It turned out so cute I thought I would share some of the highlights. The cake above came from the very talented Creative Wine-O, check out her facebook page here. The detail was stunning. The beach ball was the “smash” cake and even the sand dollars were edible.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Watch Me Grow Time Line

To celebrate his first revolution around the sun my sister made a timeline, featuring a picture from each of his 12 months. Use ribbon and clothes pins to hang. Make sure you put it in a place that is easily accessible so all guest can admire it.  We also used this as the back drop when he ate his birthday cake. We placed his high chair in front.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Craft

We hung a fishing net ( available at party stores) over the main food table and attached sand molds to it. We also had a craft table so that some of the older kids could make paper plate fish to hang in the net. We also used sand buckets and shovels to serve some of the food in.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

One of the highlights of the food table was this awesome watermelon carved into a shark by my brother-in-law. We then filled it with various cut up fruit.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Blow Fish Fruit Platter

He also made a cantaloupe into a blow fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Veggie Tray

Vegetables morphed into a tropical fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Octopus Spinach Dip

Spinach dip was turned into a jolly octopus using a bread bowl and pretzel sticks.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Hummus Beach

Make your own hummus beach by spreading hummus in a shallow tray ( I used a clear lid to a casserole) and decorate with drink umbrellas and Pretzel Crisp crabs.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Dolphin Finger Sandwiches

I found a dolphin sandwich cutter at Sweetbay, perfect to make mini sandwiches for the kids.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Bait Bucket

Swedish fish and gummy worms turned into an edible bait bucket decoration.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Party Favors

Each child got to take a bit of the fun home. Our good family friend made party buckets out of plain sand buckets decorated with stickers and ribbon and filled with beach themed goodies from the dollar store.

It was a true success and a joyous celebration of one of our youngest family members birthday.

Mango Quinoa

Mango Quinoa

 

Quinoa is a food trend that is delicious and healthy. It is as versatile and as easy as rice. This recipe is a perfect side dish to a spicy entree like jerk chicken, Hot wings or Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken. Try incorporating it into some of your weekday dishes. For ease and clean up I make mine in my rice cooker.

3 c water

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 c chopped mango

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 c chopped cilantro or parsley ( I used a combination)

1/4 c crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese or Feta

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t olive oil

Add water and quinoa to the rice cooker and turn on, when quinoa is finished pour into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, stir and serve.