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General Tso’s Chicken – Lightened up!

Published September 8, 2013 by jenmatteson

Don’t you hate it when you are looking forward to a bowl of cereal in the morning, only to find your sig other had finished off the milk without alerting you or purchasing more?  Sadly, this happens to me quite frequently.  Sometimes Nate makes his protien shakes with water, and sometimes he makes them with milk.  Of course, when I am expecting to have a bowl of cereal in the morning, that happens to be the day that he uses up the rest of the milk for his shakes.  But, when we don’t have cereal, but still have a half-gallon of milk left, he chooses this time to use water.  I will never understand.

General Tso's Chicken

The most recent time this happened, I had left over Special K.  I remembered that I had this General Tso’s Chicken recipe made with corn flakes, and decided Special K would be an easy swap for Corn Flakes.  Mind you, this is the regular Special K, not any special flavor with the red berries or yogurt or anything of that sort.  That would probably be weird.

General Tso's Chicken

The chicken is breaded and baked, and it stays nice and crispy after coating it with this yummy sauce.  I didn’t add any extra heat to the sauce, but you better believe that I added Sriracha to my plate!  I could have easily added veggies to this dish, but I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t have any on hand, so this was an easy go to!  Don’t be afraid to step outside your box when you’re in a pinch.  You might find something you like, or even love!

General Tso's Chicken

Lightened Up General Tso’s Chicken

Source: Adapted from Dainty Chef
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1/4 all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
4 cups Special K cereal, finely crushed (I used my food processor)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
olive oil spray

1 2/3 cup water
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup apricot jam
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and place a wire rack on top, and spray with olive oil.  Set aside.

2. Pulse cereal until fine and pour into shallow dish.  Whisk egg whites in another shallow dish.  Add flour to gallon size zip-top bag.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to bag with flour, close, and shake until all chicken is coated evenly with flour.  Piece by piece, remove chicken, shaking off any excess flour, dip in egg whites, then into crushed cereal, then place on wire rack.    Spray with olive oil and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a small bowl, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch and vinegar together.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in small sauce pan.  Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until sauce thickens, about two minutes.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

4. Once chicken is cooked, place in a large bowl, and toss with desired amount of sauce.  Unless you like it really saucy, you probably won’t use it all.  Serve over rice and garnish with green onion or chives if desired.

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Published August 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

Who doesn’t love  a sloppy joe?  Certainly no one in this house. Unless it’s that gunk out of a can that rhymes with sanwhich.  I’ve always used the same sloppy joe recipe since I was a kid, the one my mom would make, and it’s delicious.  I had to get out of my sloppy joe comfort zone for one of my first recipe swaps, as I was given slow cooker sloppy joes.  While those were good, we didn’t love them, and I really don’t understand the point of using a slow cooker when you basically have to precook everything anyway.

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

I came across this recipe in Food and Wine a few months ago and have been wanting to try it.  I actually had it planned for dinner a few nights, but you know how sometimes plans just don’t work out?  Well, they didn’t.  But, I finally got the chance to make a batch of these for a camping trip with my bestie, her husby, Nate and myself.  We were in charge of one dinner and one lunch, so I thought this would be something easy, but different from the normal burger or brat that is a common meal while camping.

Sloppy Joe Sliders

I thought these turned out fantastic.  At first, I thought I would need more hoisin, but after letting it simmer and taste testing it, I thought they were perfectly Asian.  For serving, I wouldn’t mind a little extra Sriracha, but obviously it’s not for everyone.  They went over really well while camping, and even the Asian approved!  I love my mom’s sloppy joe recipe, but I have to say, this really takes the cake.  The spicy pickles really kick it up a notch, adding a crunch, while the lettuce adds some extra freshness.  Try these out for your next pot luck.  You can come back and thank me later!

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 8-10 (Makes 20 sliders)

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3 tbsp sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce (I used a combo of sweet asian chili sauce and Sriracha)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 lb lean ground chicken
1 lb lean ground pork
1 cup hoisin sauce
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
20 dinner rolls, split and toasted
shredded iceberg lettuce and spicy pickles (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, celery, chile sauce, garlic, ginger and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.  Add ground chicken and pork and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.  Stir in hoisin, tomatoes and lime juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture on the bottom half of each roll.  Top with shredded lettuce, spicy pickles and top of bun and serve.

Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burgers

Published June 19, 2013 by jenmatteson

I used to not like fish.  I know, I can’t believe it either.  But, now if I could afford to, I would eat fish every day.  When I was young, I would dabble in a little fried fish every now and then, only because it was fresh and my dad caught it, and it was what’s for dinner.  Finally, I grew out of my picky stage and realized how delicious fish is, especially my dad’s cracker crusted pan-fried walleye.  But, we’re not here to talk about walleye, we’re talking about salmon.

Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burgers

One of my first times trying salmon was at a place in downtown Minneapolis near my work.  It was a fairly fancy seafood place, and I wanted to try to expand my horizons, so I ordered a salmon burger.  It was so delicious.  Granted, I did top it with tartar sauce, not knowing at the time it was weird – but it is.  To this day, if I’m there for lunch, I’m likely to get the salmon burger.  Too bad I don’t work in Minneapolis anymore.

Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burgers

So when I saw Nicole’s recipe for salmon burgers, it took me back to my nearly virgin fish days.  The flavors aren’t really similar, but I still wanted to try it because I love salmon, and I really like Asian flare, so the hoisin glazed salmon burgers sounded right up my alley.  These came together so super quickly, and even better, tasted amazing.  The pickled cucumbers on top really add a bang to the burger.  It might also have to do with me adding a little extra cayenne pepper to the pickling juices.  The burgers were firm enough that I might have been able to grill them, but I didn’t want to take the chance of them falling apart, so I used a cast iron skillet.  The sesame oil added the perfect amount of nuttiness and wasn’t too overpowering.  This is a great summer burger recipe and alternative to your average turkey or beef burger.

Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burger

Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burgers

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the cucumbers:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin (about 16 slices)

For the burgers:
1/2 cup panko
4 tbsp chives, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp lime zest
1-1 lb skinless wild, fresh salmon fillet, finely chopped
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
4 hamburger buns

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, combine water, vinegar, garlic, ginger and cayenne.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat and add cucumbers.  Let stand for 30 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together panko, chives, cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, lime zest, salmon and egg white.  Separate mixture into four equal parts and shape into patties.

3. In a cast iron pan, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add two patties to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to brown on the bottom, and flip.  Cook for another 3 minutes, brush the tops with hoisin sauce and cook for 30 seconds more.

4. Place patties on bun and top with cucumbers and top half of bun.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Published April 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was really on an Asian kick, and I wasn’t kidding. I’ve got another one. Only because I had 8 oz of fresh rice stick noodles leftover, and I wanted to use them up. I have no idea how long they would be good for, and the packaging was absolutely no help.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

It’s “spring” here in Minnesota, so we must start thinking about our summer figures. Oh, and I have a small event coming up at the end of August that I’d like to look my best for 😉 I love eating salads; they are so versatile, and definitely a meal for spring and summer. While the technical start of spring was March 20th, we’ve had nothing close to what we would call “spring weather”. In fact, we just had a snow storm this week, dumping up to 9″ of snow in some areas. More snow is in the forecast for this weekend. I’m really glad I put all my patio furniture together and out on my deck when it was nice two weeks ago.

Two weeks agoThis week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But let’s talk about the salad. I really loved this salad, and the noodles bring a lot of sustenance to it. As a carb lover, adding the carbs right into my salad is brilliant! The original recipe was for  a noodle salad, but I just added more lettuce and took out some noodles to make a more salad-salad :p  This still made a huge salad, enough for Nate and I to have dinner, and each take it for lunch for two days. We ran a little short on the dressing, but that’s no biggie, though in my opinion, it was the best part! I loved all the veggies in this salad, and I added in bean sprouts (as they were also leftover from the Pad Thai I made earlier in the week).  This was a great way to use up leftover veggies, noodles, and bean sprouts to create a new exciting entrée salad.  It came together super fast, too, which is always a huge plus!

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Source: Adapted from Branny Boils Over
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 Serrano chile, seeded
1/3 cup peanuts

For the salad:
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienne
2 carrots, shredded
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced into ribbons
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz rice stick noodles, cooked and cooled
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts, thoroughly rinsed (I quickly sautéed mine)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a food process, except for the peanuts.  Puree until smooth.  Add peanuts and pulse until coarsely chopped.

2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes before serving.

Spicy Pineapple Chicken

Published October 27, 2012 by jenmatteson

Elly posted this recipe on Thursday morning, and I made it for dinner on Thursday night.  It’s not often that recipes make it to my dinner table same day, let alone same week.  But I just so happened to have all the ingredients, and I had purchased chicken breasts at the grocery store over the weekend (on sale, of course) that I had been meaning to freeze, but still hadn’t gotten around to.  I figured I should at least make two of them for dinner tonight, which will force me to freezer-zip-top-baggie the other two and store in the freezer.  However, I just couldn’t decide what to make.  I was thinking buffalo chicken wraps, then chicken tacos, then possibly a salad (I have a gala this weekend and must look good in my dress!), but nothing really seemed to excite me.  Thankfully, I was on my cooking board and Elly, from Elly says Opa!, posted this recipe (pictures didn’t hurt either!).

I had leftover pineapple from mango-habanero chicken sandwiches, and it’s not like I couldn’t just eat the pineapple alone, but it’s always more fun to make something from it.

I didn’t change much, but I only had a half can of pineapple w/juice left, so that left me with about 1/2 cup of pineapple juice.  I made it work, but I’d suggest the full cup if you have it.  Also, I added a little more chili sauce, as we like things with a little more kick.  I would have added sliced green onions to the finished product, but I didn’t have any, so I used some cilantro, just to add some color.  Everything else is pretty much as the recipe was written, and it was delicious.  Definitely better than take out and a good creation for my uninspiring chicken breasts!

Spicy Pineapple Chicken

Source: Elly Says Opa!
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
1 cup pineapple juice
1-2 tbsp chili sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch

For the chicken and vegetables:
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped pineapple

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch.  Set aside.

2. Salt and pepper sliced chicken breasts, then toss with cornstarch.  Ensure all pieces are coated with the cornstarch.  Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, and heat over medium-high heat.  Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook on each side until cooked through, 3-5 minutes.  You may have to add the chicken in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan.  You want your chicken to get a nice crust.

3. If needed, add a small amount more oil to the pan and saute onions and peppers for about 3 minutes, until they start to  become soft.  Add garlic and cook for one minute more.   Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.  Add chopped pineapple and chicken.  Toss to coat chicken with sauce.  Serve over prepared whole grain rice.

Mini Baked Egg Rolls

Published April 15, 2012 by jenmatteson

I thought these were an amazing idea for an appetizer instead of having regular sized egg rolls, as they seem quite large for appetizers.  I used the same recipe as my Baked Egg Rolls, but just used won ton wrappers instead of egg roll wrappers.  The process is the same, however, very tedious and time consuming.  You have to have a lot of patience to wrap so many of these guys.  But, the reward is totally worth it.  These are really fun finger food that pack a lot of flavor.

Mini Baked Egg Rolls

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded (I bought the fancy cole slaw mix with carrots and broccoli included)
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp siracha (I probably at least twice this only because I like the heat)
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh ground ginger
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 tbsp water
won ton wrappers

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ground pork and brown until just cooked through.  Add shredded cabbage, and toss with browned pork.  Add soy sauce, siracha, black pepper and ginger, and cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat.

2. Place won ton wrapper at an angle so one corner is facing you, and one is facing away.  Add a small spoonful, about 1 tsp, of the pork mixture to the center of the won ton.  Brush the beaten egg on the corner of the wrapper facing away from you.  Fold in the corner facing you so it covers the mixture.  Fold in the two sides; they should be touching in the middle, then roll away from you.  Repeat with remaining mixture and won ton wrappers.

3. Place mini egg rolls on a baking sheet lined with foil and spray with cooking oil.  Bake egg rolls on bottom rack for 1o-12 minutes, until beginning to brown on the bottom.  Remove from oven, flip, and bake for another 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then enjoy!

Asian Coleslaw

Published April 15, 2012 by jenmatteson

This was a really simple salad to go with the Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Pork Tenderloin.  I probably would have used more lime juice, but I only had one quarter of a lime in my refrigerator.  Instead of using a traditional coleslaw mix with cabbage, I like to use the broccoli slaw.  It seems to have a bit more crunch and flavor, and I think the nutritional value is a bit higher in broccoli slaw.

Asian Coleslaw

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp seasame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 tbsp seasame seeds
3 cups broccoli slaw

Directions:

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together vingar, oils,  and garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Add scallions and sesame seeds.

2. Add broccoli slaw in seperate bowl.  Pour dressing over slaw and toss to coat.  Refridgerate for at least one hour before serving.

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