Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

What do you think of when you think fresh Basil?

I know for certain that I don’t think stir-fry. I think of fresh bruschetta, crisp salads, sandwiches with a touch of spicy basil…definitely not stir-fry.  But what do you do when you have an abundance of basil and have already eaten too many tomatoes and salads over the summer? This was the question I went in search of answering when I found a Pin leading to this recipe on the Martha Stewart website.

First of all, lets state that the photo on her site is vastly misleading. With the amount of soy sauce that is in the recipe, there is no way to achieve that light coloured feel (Yes, colour has a feel). Thus, below is a photo of the actual dish I served.

033

However, the meal itself wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t anything to run out and make immediately, but it was decent as far as stir-fry’s go. As their comment for introducing the recipe states “If you see Thai basil (also called holy basil) at your market, give it a try.” I would describe this dish as exactly that, if you have too much kicking around it’s worth a meal. But I wouldn’t venture to say, “seek out this basil and try this recipe, it’ll blow your mind!” Or tastebuds in this case.

Potato Salad with Country Ranch Dressing

Today’s tester recipe was bbq season inspired. I was looking for something tasty to go along with bbq pork chops and though I’d try to find a potato salad recipe. I’m not a big fan of potato salad usually but I figured that if I look hard enough, Pinterest wouldn’t let me down. The recipe I decided to try was from Better Homes & Gardens.

 003 (4)

 

For a potato salad it was quite labour intensive, but it was definitely worth it! I did the classic boiling of the potatoes instead of baking in the oven like the recipe says and did the onions & corn in a pan instead. For potato salads, I like the texture you get when boiling the potatoes more than baking (I think this way will take a bit off the cooking time as well).

This recipe is a nice change from the usual ol’ potato salad. The powdered ranch mix added zing, but it didn’t overpower the taste of all the other ingredients. The corn and avocado was also another welcomed addition! So if you have some time to try out this salad and venture from your normal recipe, I would absolutely recommend it!

Rice Noodle Veggie-Chicken Dinner

This recipe is sure to be a favourite once you try it! While searching for dinner last night, I found a recipe for Rice Noodle Veggie-Tofu Salad on My Recipes.com. Now being that we’re meat lovers in this house and don’t care much for tofu, I decided to substitute in chicken. I also turned it into a warm pasta rather than a pasta salad, since I had to cook the chicken. I’m sure it would be just as good with tofu though.

The recipe itself was fantastic! The marinade was extremely flavourful and the chicken was the star of this dish. All the different vegetables made it filling and every bite had a bit of a different flavour to it. I especially like the use of rice noodles as a change from the every day pasta dish.

The marinade was so tasty that I will most likely try it with grilled chicken, baked chicken or even pork tenderloin.

This is a must try recipe!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tried a new recipe tonight. I was looking for something different, but fairly easy because I didn’t want to take a long time to cook. So I found a recipe for sweet and sour chicken in one of my Pinterest boards and thought I’d give it a go.

(Not the most appetizing photo but we ate the meal too quick for me to grab a pic!)

Overall the recipe was really tasty. It was easy and quick in prep, the longest part was waiting for it to bake for an hour. But baking means I can do other things at the same time so that’s alright with me!

The only suggestion I’d make is to 1 and a half to double the amount of ketchup used. I found that the apple cider vinegar was really potent and even burned my eyes when I opened the oven to check on the chicken. I made a second sauce with more ketchup and added it to the half baked chicken and it turned out great.

So if you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy meal, go to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and try this recipe!

Snickerdoodle Cake

So it seems I missed a month of posting, in my defence it was a crazy month and we were out of town for the majority of it! However, I’ll make it up to you with this post and a few more to come.

My husband had his birthday this month and to celebrate that I tried a cake recipe that I found on Pinterest in the flavour of his favourite cookie. The Snickerdoodle. For those of you who don’t know what this cookie tastes like, it’s sweet and cinnamony (it’s a word).

The original recipe is found at Foodie with Family

This recipe was both a hit and a miss. Overall everyone seemed to like it quite a bit, one comment was that it tasted like a cinnamon bun in cake form, which I would take as a good thing. But from a critical stand point I probably wouldn’t do this recipe again, not without changes at least. 

 

The icing was quite sweet (and I have a HUGE sweet tooth so this says alot). If you don’t like overly sweet things then you may want to tone down the recipe by using a cream cheese based icing with some cinnamon in it. The cake itself was moist when you’re eating it, but it crumbled like crazy when I was attempting to cut it for layers and placing it into cake form. For this reason alone I wouldn’t use the recipe again. However! If you want to give it a shot it does taste good, and my husband thought it tasted exactly like a cake version of the cookie would.

Balsamic Roast Beef

 

A few days ago I found this roast recipe on Pinterest, originally fromaddapinch.com. My thought was, basamic vinigar and beef, hmm…could be good, could be terrible. Lets try it!

And so I did. It turned out really well! I love cooking roasts in the slow cooker because they always turn out so good, fall apart to the touch and usually moist. This recipe was 2 out of 3. I had a hard time getting the roast out of the crock pot because it kept falling apart. It ended up a little dry but that’s my fault. It ended up cooking an extra 2 hours on low than it was supposed to since we had running around to do before we could sit down to eat. But throw on the gravy I made with the leftover juices and it wasn’t even noticeable. 

It’s such a versatile recipe, we ate it on open faced sandwiches one night and the leftovers on rice. If you aren’t used to vinegary taste, then this recipe may surprise you at first bite, but after you get accustomed to it, you’ll see that it complimented the beef well and made for a quick, tasty, easy meal. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash, Oven Fried Chicken Bites & Tootsie Rolls

Well today’s post is a triple threat. That is, triple the pin it, try it and eat it! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would try out a few recipes today and give you the run-down.
 003 (2)

On the menu tonight was:

Stuffed Acorn Squash – courtesy of the Lean Green Bean
Oven Fried Chicken Bites (I added the bites portion) – found onTheFoodNetwork.com
And last but not least,
Tootsie Rolls, home made of course, thanks to Food 52
So let’s start off with the:

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This was theirs:

 
This was mine:
 
Now I’m sure you can see that there is an obvious difference. The thing about this recipe was that it can be very diverse. The thing I love about cooking is that you can take the base of a recipe and turn it into whatever you desire. Say you don’t like mushrooms *cough* like me *cough*, you don’t have to put it in! Or you don’t have sweet potatoes in the pantry at the moment…again, like me. This doesn’t mean you can’t make the recipe! It just means you have to alter it. And in a lot of cases, that can work in your favour. Now, I’m not saying take out a main ingredient or anything like that, I mean, fettuccini alfredo wouldn’t really be fettuccini alfredo without the alfredo. You get my point? But substituting broccoli for mushrooms or chicken for sausage isn’t going to make or break the recipe.
Anyways, I’ll get on with it. The recipe calls for the following and I did not have the underlined things:
·         1 acorn squash
·         1 sweet potato
·         1/2 a small onion, diced
·         2 cloves of garlic, minced
·         2 Tbsp mushroom, diced
·         1/4 c zucchini, diced
·         1/2 c apple, diced
·         1/2 c veggie broth
·         3/4 c quinoa, cooked
·         1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
·         1/2 tsp paprika
·         1/2 tsp cumin
·         1/8 tsp cinnamon
Not a big deal, instead I used carrots, broccoli, snow peas and rice. The end result was still quite tasty! You may say that because I didn’t use the exact ingredients that I didn’t really make the recipe. But I think I did. To me cooking should be focused on whatever you have around the house and turning it into something wonderful. This recipe does just that.
One thing I’d like to note though is not to forget step 6…it may not exist in the recipe instructions, but in the step by step walk through she writes to put it in the oven for 15 min or so at 300 degrees. This is obviously quite important to finishing the cooking. Enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken Bites

Then next recipe I tried was Oven Fried Chicken. I changed this recipe a little bit too, just to use what I had around the house. I didn’t have any bone in chicken breasts, but I had boneless and in the picture it looks like they had made bites so that’s what I decided to do. I also did not have rice-corn crispy cereal, but I had raisin bran! And I didn’t have melba toast either, but that is easily substituted with either pre-ground bread crumbs or I had an intentionally dried out piece of French bread that I threw in the food processor with the cereal to grind up.
 
 I find having a little bit of dried bread around the house is a good trick. If you ever have bread that you know is going stale and are considering throwing out, DON’T! Just leave it out to dry then food process that baby and voila! Bread crumbs that most people go out and buy in the store, add some herbs and you’ve got your own Italian bread crumbs.
This recipe turned out great. If given a choice I probably would have gone for the corn flakes or something of that sort but the end result was still yummy. Served with a side of sweet and spicy thai sauce and you’ve got something very similar to the sweet and spicy thai bites you pay full price for at Boston Pizza.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

The last and final recipe I tried tonight was home made tootsie rolls. Now here is a recipe I probably wouldn’t recommend to anyone, unless you are allergic to corn syrup like one of the commenter’s on their site. The flavour really wasn’t close to a tootsie rolls, not to mention the overwhelming taste of dried milk. Not a pleasant experience.
 
Let me give you a run down. I made the recipe just as it says to but only had 1 cup of dried milk. The recipe said you may not use it all, so I was hoping I wouldn’t need the last 1/4 cup. Unfortunately the candy was still much too sticky without it, so I started adding more powdered sugar. I probably added about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of powdered sugar before it started to become workable. The other downside was that the powdered milk made it very grainy. I had read this in the comments and one reader had said that they were able to get that texture out of it after much kneading. Well I kneaded and kneaded and it was still grainy. The person who suggested this may or may not have been the same person who was allergic to corn syrup, maybe they were just looking on the bright side? Anyways, I’m glad I didn’t have that 1/4 more of powdered milk or else I would have had a lot more flavour and graininess to counter.
I wanted to try and save the candy from the garbage because I hate to waste! Especially with such an expensive ingredient as honey. So I started experimenting. I found that adding about 2 tablespoons of molasses (hence adding yet again more icing sugar) helped with the flavour but unfortunately the grainy texture is a lost cause.
Overall, I’m sorry to say that this recipe did not pass my test. Now on to making the failed project into something more edible. Wish me luck!

Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes

I pinned a recipe for sweet potatoes to see if I can find something else to replace my usual sweet potato fries. Below is the recipe and photo from All Things Simple.

 

Sounds delicious right? That’s what I though…but once I had made them I found they are actually rather plain. I wasn’t too impressed with this recipe. It is very similar to making the basic sweet potato fry, except you throw in some pecans and a little sugar.

As I was following the recipe I came to the instruction “Sprinkle with butter”. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never sprinkled butter before. So unfortunately, the butter ends up more in globs than anything and you have to stir it around to mix it over the potatoes. Then you’re supposed to add the brown sugar and pecans and put it in the oven to caramelize. It didn’t really do that, I could have just mixed them in and not thrown them in the oven again and would have had the same result.

All in all, the recipe tasted good, but I probably wouldn’t make it again. If you do want to try the recipe however, I would suggest maybe making them over the stove instead of the oven. Cook over low heat and covered, then when the potatoes are el dante add the butter, sugar and pecans and continue to cook until they’ve reached the desired tenderness.

Just for a little extra something, here’s the recipe I use to make sweet potato fries:

Cut into small strips 1-3 sweet potatoes (depends on how many fries you want)

Put them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with olive oil. Stir them around a bit and make sure they have a little bit of oil on each fry. Season with seasoning salt.

Bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes (again, depending on how many you’ve made and how you like them, I like mine with no crunch so I cook them for quite a while)

Take out of the oven and there you have it, a healthy fry! I like to mix up some sour cream with sweet and spicy Thai sauce to dip in. Mmm…