Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Baked General Tso's Chicken - Our Best Bites

I first tried this recipe from Our Best Bites over the summer and completely forgot to post about it. Though it isn't the same as the fried stuff we get from our local Chinese takeout place, it's very tasty and loads healthier. The first time I made the recipe, I omitted the crushed red pepper flakes since I thought my picky toddler might like it better. This time I included them since he'd eaten his dinner before this meal was ready. Both ways work, depending on your taste. I highly recommend the chicken baked with corn flake crumbs idea--I had a hard time preventing my husband from eating the chicken pieces while I prepared the sauce.

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Baked General Tso's Chicken
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 egg whites (or 2 whites plus 1 egg)
5 cups corn flakes, finely crushed
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 2/3 cup water
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup apricot jam
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
nonstick oil spray

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Spray rack with oil spray. Pour flour into a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk egg whites until foamy in second shallow dish. Spread corn flakes crumbs into third shallow dish.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with corn flakes. Place on prepared wire rack.

Spray or brush chicken with oil. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees and coating is brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes.

To make sauce, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch, and vinegar together in bowl. Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, finer, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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Moroccan Lamb Burgers

This recipe comes from a former coworker of my husband's. He was a bachelor with a single cookbook but was developing an interest in food. His version calls for an egg on top, similar to a "loco moco" burger at home in Hawaii. Since I've never been a fan, I omit it, as well as the mint garnish. Sometimes I add a bit of provolone cheese. No pictures because these always disappear too quickly. I've grilled these and pan fried them, all with tasty results.

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

1 - 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb

1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander (I sometimes omit)
1 tsp sea salt (I typically use plain kosher)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (I sometimes omit)

1/2 cucumber (English seedless or regular, seeded), thinly sliced
1/2 med red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 TBS apple cider vinegar
4-6 whole wheat buns

Place cucumber and onion in cider vinegar and allow to marinate while you prepare the burgers.

Mix seasonings and meat. Shape into patties. Allow meat to rest while you preheat the pan or grill to medium-high heat.

Grill or cook burgers about 5 minutes per side. Remove meat from heat and allow to rest while you toast the buns.

To assemble the sandwich, spread a thin layer of mayo on one or both sides of the bun. Top with burger and pickled veggies.

Serves 4-6