Orange Balsamic Chicken

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Orange Balsamic Chicken

I have never been the biggest fan of deep fried orange chicken. Something about it to me feels too processed and fake. I like my chicken juicy and savory, where it doesn’t make me feel terrible after I’ve eaten it. Maybe this all comes from having food poisoning each of the three times I’ve had Panda Express. Ever since, I have mostly stayed away from American Chinese fast food restaurants and I have been looking to make more authentic Asian dishes. I don’t have much experience cooking these kind of meals and I thought this would be a good place to start. What I really liked about this version of orange chicken which I adapted (out of necessity) from Rachel Ray, was that the cinnamon, orange and balsamic really blended well and neither overpowered the other.

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  •  1 tsp Cinnamon (ginger substitute)
  • 1 tbsp White wine (sake substitute)
  • 1 tbsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Orange Balsamic Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice

Cooking/other

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 small sweet chili peppers diced
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 2 Pots (for mixing)

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Instructions

First, cut the chicken into small 2 inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Then add all of the Marinade ingredients to the bowl, mix them up and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Dice the sweet chili peppers into small pieces. I was cooking at my girlfriend’s house and her household did not have sake or ginger, (they clearly don’t love sake-bombs) so I improvised with some white wine and cinnamon.

In a small bowl mix all of the orange balsamic sauce ingredients and set aside. The color of this sauce will be more brown than orange and that is due to the balsamic vinegar.

Set a medium frying fan to medium high and cook the chicken for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Add the sweet chili peppers to the pan and cook for 5 minutes with the chicken. Remove them from the pan once done. Pour the orange balsamic sauce over the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the diced peppers to the chicken, serve with rice and enjoy.

Orange Balsamic Chicken

I saw the legendary BT last night and he did not disappoint. From the classic ‘Calling your name’ to ‘Surrounded’ it was quite the set the brought back some memories.

The 2013 remix with Emma Hewitt & Tritonal.

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Coconut Shrimp with Tangy Dipping Sauce

Coconut Shrimp with Tangy Dipping Sauce

Coconut Shrimp

Even though I grew a picky eater, I have always loved seafood, I guess that’s just my Seattle roots. From scallops to salmon to sashimi I pretty much love it all. When fall and winter roll around seafood seems to go out the door in favor of comfort food, and I always miss it. I thank the four maybe five months of grilling weather here for that. With Thanksgiving this Thursday and since everyone is probably posting recipes for that, I’ll change it up with coconut shrimp and orange chicken leading up to turkey day.

Coconut Shrimp

Shrimp cocktails have never set my world ablaze, I think it’s because they’re cold, wet and kind of slimy and then they are dipped in cold cocktail sauce. I will eat them if I’m hungry enough, which I usually am, but any other form of shrimp and I won’t hesitate to devour them all. Coconut shrimp has the perfect blend of taste, texture and temperature, especially when it’s not an overpowering coconut flavor. What’s awesome about this recipe which I adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, is how simple it is. The tangy dipping sauce, which is from the Food Network is even easier. Regardless of how simple it seemed, I was pumped about how well they turned out on my first attempt and I will definitely be making these again, maybe even as a Thanksgiving appetizer. Wait who said I was changing it up?

Raw Coconut Shrimp

Ingredients

I adapted this recipe by using italian bread crumbs instead of panko bread crumbs, using chili powder instead of paprika and adding garlic powder and red pepper flakes.

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (about 20-25)
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed peppercorns or black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 3 Pie plates or shallow bowls
  • Wire rack
  • Cookie sheet
  • 1 medium – large pot
  • 3 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

Coconut Shrimp and Tangy Dipping Sauce

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Orange marmalade
  • 4 tsp. Rice wine vinegar (same as rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes

Instructions

In the first pie plate, combine and mix the flour and all the spices. In the second pie plate, whisk together the water and eggs. In the third, combine the Italian bread crumbs and coconut. Place paper towels in the cookie sheet and then place the wire rack on top of the paper towels. Bring the pot of oil to a temperature of 350 F. Be sure to keep it at this temperature, use a candy or oil thermometer to check.

Take a shrimp and place it in the flour pie plate and roll it until it is covered. Shake off excess flour and move to the egg pie plate and roll until covered in egg. Allow excess egg to drip off and move to the coconut/bread crumbs pie plate and roll until covered. Place on wire rack and repeat until all shrimp are coated. Place 4-6 shrimp in pot and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Be sure to flip the shrimp while frying. Remove and place back on the wire rack and repeat until all shrimp are finished.

For the dipping sauce, take the marmalade, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and mix in a saucepan. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on medium-high or until the sauce starts to bubble and turn syrupy. Empty into a dipping container, serve and enjoy.

Coconut Shrimp

Beats

I have been waiting to hear back from some companies after a few interviews, cooking and music has done a great job keeping me busy while waiting to hear back. ‘Take your mind off it’ by Kaskade does exactly what it sounds like.

Cinnamon Apple Chocolate Chip Scones

Cinnamon Apple Chocolate Chip Scones

Cinnamon Apple Chocolate Chips

I have never been much of a baker except for buying pre-made cookie or brownie dough, mixing in water and putting it in the oven. I thought I would get seasonal and ambitious with cinnamon apple scones and chocolate chips to feed my the chocoholic in me. Cinnamon is in my top 3 favorite spices. I put it on tons of random stuff (chicken?!?) but I especially love it in breakfast dishes and pastries.

Apple Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones

The scones turned out pretty good for my first attempt at actual baking. I grated the apple so that it would have a subtler taste. (If you like a stronger apple flavor, dice them into small cubes and fry them on low-medium heat for 4 minutes or grate 2 apples instead of just 1.)

Grated Apple

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple
  • 2.5 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of Chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of French Vanilla
  • 6 tbsp. Butter (frozen)
  • 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 egg
  • Large cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper

Grated butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine the flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until mixture is even. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, french vanilla, vanilla, buttermilk. Grate the cold butter using the large holes of a grater and whisk into the dry mixture. Grate apple and place into dry mixture. Pour the wet mixture into the dry one, add the chocolate chips and whisk until everything is evenly combined. (I added the chocolate chips into the mixture after I had placed about 50% of the dough on the cookie sheet. This way I could see if I liked them with or without chocolate chips better. I have to say they were equally good.)

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour the parchment paper and using a rubber spatula place 4 inch pieces about 1/2 inch apart until there is no more dough. (My mixture was very sticky, next time I would try and roll and knead dough until it was less sticky and I could form it into a circle. Then I would cut the dough into wedges. Just a thought!)  Bake 12-14 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire racks.

Apple Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scone

Optional: Chocolate sauce topping.

I melted some butter and extra chocolate chips in the microwave and using a spoon drizzled chocolate sauce over the cooling scones to give it a finishing touch.

Cinnamon Apple Chocolate Chip Scones

Beats

“Dancin” used to be one of my favorite dance tracks back in 06-07, this remix by Krono is pretty sweet.

Sautéed Kielbasa with Tomato Pesto Penne

Sautéed Kielbasa with Tomato Pesto Penne

Sautéed Kielbasa Tomato Pesto Penne

PASTA! It is probably one of the easiest, most diverse, and best tasting meals that can be made. It took me awhile to realize this as I grew up eating plain pasta, aka no sauce, just butter and lots of parmesan cheese. Since then I’ve expanded my horizons significantly. There is a restaurant near my house that makes a killer italian sausage pasta dish, and ever since I had it I’ve been wanting to diversify the meats that I use in pasta dishes. I saw this recipe for a grilled kielbasa pesto penne dish and since I’ve never had kielbasa I instantly wanted to make it. The problem was I only had about 2 tablespoons of pesto… So I decided to add some tomato paste and see how it would turn out. WOW, this was so easy and sooo good. The kielbasa and red pepper flakes added a slight hint of spiciness and the pesto and tomato sauce worked perfectly with the pasta and kielbasa.

Sautéed Kielbasa Tomato Pesto Penne

I adapted this recipe from HowTo: Simplify by using less pesto, adding tomato paste and red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa
  • 2 tbsp. Pesto
  • 4 oz. Tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan

Tomato Pesto Sauce

Instructions

Bring a pot of water to boil. Combine pesto and tomato paste in a small bowl and blend together. Add the dry ingredients to the sauce and mix until everything is blended evenly. Cut the kielbasa into 1/2 inch or 1 inch slices and sauté it until it browns and starts to have grill marks. Cook pasta according to instructions.  Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the tomato pesto sauce, kielbasa and parmesan. Toss it all together and serve.

Sautéed Kielbasa

Beats

Ilan Bluestone is tearing it up lately, from Under My Skin to Fade Into You and his remix of Fire Fire Fire below is another fantastic addition to his growing work.

Spicy Honey Pulled Chicken

Spicy Honey Pulled Chicken

Spicy honey pulled chicken

One of my favorite types of meat is pulled chicken or pork, and despite that fact I somehow just discovered the crock pot. Growing up my family never used one, except for pot roast which I despised, because vegetables touched everything thereby making everything inedible.

My love for ketchup is renowned and I also like honey and some kick for my taste buds. I had some chicken so I decided to make spicy honey ketchup pulled chicken sandwiches.  After the chicken finished cooking I put some in a wheat bun and made my first ever crock pot sandwich… It was Amazing not nearly up to my standards. I think I used too much ketchup and something else was missing. Truth be told, the buns I bought were not very good, but (Rule 76.) no excuses, play like a champion. I had to boost to work for a few hours and when I came home I tried my concoction in a quesadilla with some baby spinach and it tasted exponentially better (no pictures of this). I told you it was the buns! If I were to do this again I would use about 1/4 cup of ketchup and 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. I’ll chalk this up as a good first attempt at using a crock pot. 

spicy honey pulled chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup (I’d use about 1/4 if I were to make this recipe again.)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • Sandwich buns

Pulled Chicken Quesadillas

  • Tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Baby spinach

spicy honey pulled chicken

Instructions

Mix honey, ketchup, and dry ingredients in bowl. Evenly coat the chicken with the mixture. Place chicken in crock pot and pour remaining mixture into the crock pot. Cook for 5 hours and when finished you have some spicy honey ketchup pulled chicken  sandwiches, quesadillas or tacos.

Beats

Since it’s Throwback Thursday, here’s a classic house banger for you!

Chicken Pesto Pizza Rolls

Chicken Pesto Pizza Rolls

I was trying to figure out what to make for my first post and I thought that it should be dedicated to pizza in some way since it’s my favorite go to food. I was browsing pizza recipes and found this recipe for homemade pizza rolls from Carpe Season, which I adapted into chicken pesto pizza rolls.

I grew up on pizza and I remember coming home from school and looking for anything from Hot Pockets and Bagel Bites, to leftovers and frozen pizza. If it resembled pizza in any way I would probably eat it, well as long as there were no veggies involved. Chicken and pesto are one of my favorite combinations so I thought why not make it into a pizza roll. Convenience is usually associated with pizza rolls, pop them in the microwave and boom, 2 minutes later you have a snack. While the homemade version is not as convenient, it more than makes up for it with its taste and texture.

Wrapping and filling

This recipe only made 12 larger rolls and that’s because I used about 2 tablespoons to fill each roll.

I adapted this recipe by using pesto instead of tomato sauce and using chicken as my “pizza topping”. I didn’t have any thyme on hand so I substituted it for parsley.

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 mini sweet chili peppers (minced)
  • 3 tbsp. of pesto
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • 1 tsp. of oregano
  • 1 tsp. of basil
  • 2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
  • 2 dozen egg roll or wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (minced)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used colby-jack because that’s what I had on hand)
  • Vegetable or olive oil for frying
  • Total prep and cook time 45 – 60 minutes

Finished chicken pesto pizza rolls

Directions

Prep/cooking

Start by mincing the garlic cloves and sweet chili peppers as small as possible and put them in a small bowl to be added to the chicken later. Next, cut the chicken into pieces as small as possible and begin to fry them on medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. I like a hint of spiciness in almost everything and that’s the reason for the pepper flakes. While the chicken is cooking, continue to chop or break apart the chicken into smaller pieces. When the chicken is nearly done, add the minced garlic and chili peppers and cook for about two more minutes. Turn off the burner, add the pesto and cheese and mix with the chicken and peppers, the pan will still be hot enough to melt the cheese and warm the pesto.

 Assembly

Have a cutting board or plate ready to roll and place finished rolls on. Put a damp towel over the finished rolls and one over the egg roll wrappers to keep them from drying out. Fill a small cup or bowl of water, this will be used to seal the edges of the rolls. Start by placing a tablespoon of the filling (1 for smaller & 2 for larger rolls) in the center of the wrapper. Put your fingers in the water and moisten the edges of the roll. Fold the wrapper over the filling and tuck under the filling as far as possible, then continue to roll the wrapper until you can’t roll any more. Push any air out by gently pressing on the top of the roll and working towards either side of the roll and then seal the roll by pressing firmly on each side of the roll. Next, cut off extra wrapping and lightly moisten the edges again to ensure a secure seal. Continue to assemble pizza rolls until there is no more filling.

Final Cooking

Fill a pot with vegetable oil about 1.5 inches deep and heat to 375 F.  Place a few pizza rolls in the pot, (keep the temperature between 350 F and 375 F, this will depend on how many rolls you place in and how big your pot is of course. Flip the rolls until both sides brown evenly which takes about 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Make sure to use a spoon or utensil that has holes in it so that the hot oil drains before placing  the rolls on a plate with a dry paper towel. Repeat until all the rolls are fried.

Let the rolls cool a few minutes before serving and garnish your homemade chicken pesto pizza rolls with fresh parsley.

Music

Mat Zo released his album Damage Control last week and WOW, I was blown away. The album ranges from soothing trance to upbeat house, some trap and everything in between. EDM has been highly criticised with producers using cookie cutters to create songs that are hard to tell one from another, that is certainly not the case with Damage Control. The diversity is what makes this album so special. It’s easy to tell that Mat Zo truly understands and loves making music.