Lightened Up Orange Peel Chicken


At my bridal shower last year, my bridesmaids put together a recipe book for me. What was so sweet about it was not the fact that it was just random recipes, but they were favorite recipes from my family and friends.  It’s such a cute book filled with so many great recipes! It was by far my favorite gift that I received at my shower!

Now that I have this blog, I have decided that I really want to try the recipes in this book so I have made it my goal to make at least one recipe from each person that contributed one into the book! Today, I give you P.F. Chang’s Style Orange Peel Chicken from my good friend, Lisa! This recipe was very appealing to me because I love P.F. Chang’s, but because I live in a small college town, there aren’t any around here!! I have made this recipe a couple of times and really enjoyed it so I wanted to make it again, but this time, lighten it up a bit. As is the story with most breaded chicken, the original recipe calls for frying the chicken up in a pan with oil.  I decided to lighten this dish up a bit by using a panko bread crumb and whole wheat flour mixture instead of white flour. And instead of frying the chicken in oil, I baked mine in the oven. Yay for no grease!! This orange peel chicken was so tasty and if you ask me, way better than take out!! Serve it with some steamed rice, quinoa, or more veggies!

Lightened Up Orange Peel Chicken

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

Chicken:

– 4 chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

– 1 cup panko bread crumbs

– 1 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 egg

– 1 cup milk

– Peel from 1/4 of a large orange, julienned into 1/8-inch strips

– 1 cup sugar snap peas

Sauce:

– 1 tbs. vegetable oil

– 2 tbs. garlic, minced

– 4 green onions, sliced

– 1 cup tomato sauce

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1 1/2-2 tbs. oriental chili-garlic sauce

– 1 tbs. soy sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine panko and flour together in a pie dish or bowl. Whisk together milk and eggs. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and place the rack into a baking sheet. Dip chicken pieces into milk and egg mixture and then into the flour and bread crumb mixture. Place chicken onto wire rack. Once all your chicken pieces are breaded. Spray them with more cooking spray and bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Gently turn the chicken over, spray with more spray and cook for another 5 minutes. Set cooked chicken aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and green onion. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, water, sugar, chili garlic sauce, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Simmer sauce for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens.

3. Heat a large pan or wok on medium high heat, add chicken and orange peel. Heat for 30 seconds, stirring gently. Add the sugar snap peas and the sauce to the pan. Gently toss chicken (you don’t want to knock off the breading) into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Serve with rice or additional veggies!

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

After last week’s sugar high, I am ready for some good dinners this week. Fall means time to pull out the crock pot and put it to some good use! Sundays are my cooking days and I always like to try to make a nice dinner for Sunday nights. It was a pot roast kind of night. This pot roast is SO easy to make and while it makes a lovely Sunday dinner, it is also great for any night of the week because you just have to throw it all together in the slow cooker and let it go! And while I only made this for the hubs and I, it would be perfect for a dinner party! The gravy for this pot roast comes out so flavorful and delicious and the meat is perfectly fork tender!

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Adapted from All Recipes

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– salt and pepper

– 2 1/2 to 3 lb. pot roast

– 2 cans condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup

– 1 package onion soup mix

– 3/4 cup red wine

– 1/2 cup water

Directions:

1. In a pan, heat olive oil. Try to trim away any large pieces of fat on the roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper to both sides of roast. Sear meat on both sides until brown.

2 In slow cooker, mix together the soup, onion soup mix, wine, and water. Add roast and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours or on high setting for 4-5 hours. If adding carrots or potatoes, I recommend adding these during the last 1 1/2-2 hours of cooking.

7 Links and More Awards!

Ok, this post is long, long overdue, but Joanna, from one of my favorite blogs, Chic and Gorgeous Treats tagged me for the 7 links challenge, but life just got in the way. Then, another one of my favorite bloggers, Kym from Free Spirit Eater tagged me.  So, now I am finally making some time to do this! I had a hard time picking my 7 links. My blog is only a few months old and I am still learning so much about blogging and photography! I feel like I have so much to learn! Being a newer kid on the block, I don’t have too many recipes to pick from, but I am going to give this a go anyway!

1. Most Beautiful Post

Well, I’m going to go with with my most recent post for Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting because it was the first photo of mine that got accepted by foodgawker, LOL! I know nothing about photography and our apartment has AWFUL lighting so taking nice pictures is difficult. But, my husband is a video editor so he is helping me with lighting as much as he can! Bit by bit, we are kind of figuring it out!

2. Most Popular Post

This one is easy. Based on my site stats, my post for Nutella Cupcakes is my most popular. People seem to find their way to my page every day for this recipe and I’m so glad they did because these cupcakes were SO good!!

3. Most Controversial Post

To my foodie friends, this isn’t controversial at all, but it was to my husband. When I told him that I was making Blueberry Zucchini Bread, he got a very disgusted look on his face. The thought of putting a vegetable in a sweet bread sounded disgusting to him. I think he expected huge chunks of zucchini. But, after it came out of the oven and I gave him a slice, he said it was actually pretty good!

4. Most Helpful Post

For most helpful, I’m going with my Homemade Manicotti. Making the shells from scratch can be a little tricky, so I tried to give step-by-step instructions on how to make them. Hopefully at least one person will find this helpful!

5. Post That Was Surprisingly Successful

This classic, Pasta Fagioli, has been getting a ton of hits and comments. I guess I didn’t think people would love it as much as they seem to be! But, it is a delicious soup and it is one of my favorite family recipes and I’m glad to see it doing so well!

6. Post That Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved

Since my blog is new, I think there are quite a few recipes that didn’t get the attention they deserved since I didn’t really try to get my blog out there until  more recently. I can’t really pick one! It’s a toss up between, Pasta Aglio e Olio, Banana Maple Breakfast Quinoa, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and Cheddar Swiss Fondue

7. Post That You’re Most Proud Of

You are probably wondering why a bowl of guacamole is the post that I am most proud of. This was my first post on my blog. I had wanted to start a food blog for over a year and never did it. I finally decided back in May that it was time for me to start this blog as a way for me to share my favorite recipes and to become a better cook by trying new recipes! I’m having so much fun and can’t wait to see what the future brings!

So, there you have it. My 7 links!!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting


Let the week of horrible eating continue!! I swear, I am taking a major break from baking and sugar. Back to healthy eating next week! But, for now, the sugar rush keeps going! Tomorrow is officially the first day of fall, my most favoritest time of the year! I wanted to celebrate with something special for you all. I’ve never made whoopie pies. They’ve been on my list of things I want to make for some time and I decided it was time to give them a try. I originally wanted to make pumpkin whoopies, but my dear husband wouldn’t touch them and God forbid if I make a baked good and he can’t enjoy it too! So, I opted for chocolate whoopie pies with plain cream cheese frosting for him and pumpkin cream cheese frosting for me. There. We both get our way!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes approximately 24 whoopie pies
Cake recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients for the Cake:

– 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 1/2 cups natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 tablespoon baking soda

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1 cups unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature

– 2 cups sugar

– 2 large eggs at room temperature

– 2 cups buttermilk at room temperature

– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray whoopie pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well-combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture until combined.

3. Drop approximately 2 tablespoons of the batter into each cavity of the pan (or drop directly onto a greased cookie sheet if you don’t have a whoopie pan). Here is where I had an issue. I overfilled mine on the first batch. See:

Here is a comparison of the first and second batch. The first batch is on the left. You can see that they puffed up too much. I didn’t really measure 2 tablespoons exactly the first time around. For the second batch, I did 2 leveled tablespoons of batter and I also tried to spread it a little into the cavity and this made a big difference! After filling each cavity, bake for approximately 9-11 minutes (mine took exactly 9 mins. with the whoopie pan). Cake should be “springy” to the touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling:

– 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter

– 1/3 cup can pumpkin puree

– 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and pumpkin. 1 cup at a time, add confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well-combined. If your frosting seems too liquidy, try sticking it in the fridge before filling your whoopie pies!!

Notes:
– I didn’t stuff too much frosting into my whoopie pies so if you want to add more filling to yours, you might want to make extra frosting!

Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

I don’t know what happened this week, but I have not been eating well. Ok, I should also include last week in that statement, but hey, you get to eat a little bad on your birthday, right?!! Unless I want to try and argue that this is my birthday month, then there is no excuse for making these cookies. I just thought it sounded like a great idea! As I was perusing the peanut butter and cereal aisle last month, I spotted this:

I’ve professed my love for chocolate and peanut butter many times already on this blog so I probably don’t need to do it again. Upon seeing this, I HAD to have it!! This peanut butter is pretty good, almost like Nutella, but with regular peanuts and not as much of a chocolate taste. I like making peanut butter cookies, so I decided this chocolately peanut butter would be GREAT in a cookie. And I was right! They didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped they would, but Husband said he wants me to make these more often! I used my best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base for these!

By the way, I’m so excited that I am going to be having my first GIVEAWAY tomorrow! I hope you will all come back so you can enter to win!!!

Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

– 3 cups oat flour (or 2 1/4 cup white flour)

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2 sticks of butter at room temperature

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Combine oat flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter together. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add in flour until all of it is well-combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for approximately 10 minutes (of put in the freezer for about 5 mins.) (This will make your cookies come out a little thicker and chewier so if you don’t like that, then skip that step!).

3. Drop spoonfuls of chilled batter onto the baking sheet (I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this!). Make sure each cookie is about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Notes:
– I was not asked, nor did I receive any compensation from the Peanut Butter & Co. for this post. I just really like their peanut butter!
– Can’t find this peanut butter in your store? No problem! Use regular peanut butter and add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder!

Chicken Farfalle with Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce


Happy Friday everyone!! I’m so glad it’s the weekend! Tomorrow is my birthday and I am looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend with my family and friends! If you’ve read my blog, then you’ve probably heard that I hate going to the grocery store. Husband and I like to go once a week on the weekends and get everything we need for the next week so we don’t have to go back until the following weekend. This usually means that we have to have our meals planned out for the week which sometimes works out really well, and sometimes it doesn’t! This week is a good example of it not working so well. On Tuesday, I decided to just grill up some chicken. Yeah, it burned! The coating on my grill pan must have completely worn off because in just 5 minutes, our chicken was black! Husband was so sweet. He said it wasn’t too bad and ate some of it. I couldn’t bare the sight of it. He had to go and buy us dinner. Oh, and did I mention I have been sick all week? Yup. I have a lovely sinus infection so Wednesday’s dinner was homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese.

Then this morning I realized that we had no meal planned for Thursday night. To the fridge and pantry I went to see what I could come up with. We had lots of chicken, bacon, asparagus, and pasta. DONE! I decided to try my hand at making a low-fat alfredo sauce. My husband loves chicken alfredo. I think it’s okay, but what I don’t like about it is how fattening it is! I made my own low-fat alfredo sauce using skim milk. The other thing I don’t really like about traditional alfredo is that it doesn’t have a lot of flavor to me, so I also added some white wine and lemon juice. We loved this dinner! Husband said I knocked it out of the park so it’s a definite meal that I will make again soon! This dish is great because you can toss in whatever you happen to have on hand. Any type of pasta, meat/fish, or veggies would be good!

Chicken Farfalle with Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced into bite-size pieces

– 1 lb. farfalle pasta

– 1 1/2 tbs. butter

– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 1 1/2 cups, skim milk

– 1 tsp. garlic powder

– 1/3 cup white wine

– 1 lemon, juiced

– 1 tsp. salt

– 1/2 tsp. black pepper

– Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook chicken breasts (I sauteed mine with a little olive oil and salt and pepper) and set aside. Cook pasta while cooking the chicken and set aside.

2. In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and stir in with butter, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, salt and pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, and wine. Bring to a boil, constantly whisking. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Sauce should thicken.

3. In a large saute pan, add pasta, chicken, and any other desired additions. Heat pan on medium heat. Add alfredo sauce and toss with pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper (if needed) and serve!

Notes: This recipe made more sauce than I really needed, but I liked having extra. This way, you can add as much sauce as you prefer!