Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Ever since I got my new Wolfgang Puck Multi-Cooker that you can brown/sear in, I’ve been in heaven. That thing is wonderful! I love that I don’t have to dirty any extra dishes. Everything can be made in 1 pot! I don’t have to pour anything into a saucepan so that I can thicken it on the stove. I can do it right in the crock pot. I’ve definitely been using my crock pot more because of this.  So this recipe is AWESOME if you have a Multi-Cooker, but if you don’t you can still make it in a regular crock pot.

A friend posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken on Pinterest and it sounded wonderful! I knew I needed to add it to my long list of recipes to try. And what made it even better is that I had everything on hand to make it already. Don’t you love that?

(Adapted from Six Sisters Stuff)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
  • Sesame seeds (Penzeys, of course!)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat crock pot to the sear setting if you have a Multi-Cooker. If you don’t, you can skip the browning step OR you can brown the chicken in a pan on the stove. That’s totally up to you. Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Add in 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil.  Brown the chicken.

In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil and garlic. Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for about 4 hours or just until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from crock pot. Turn the crock pot setting to “Sear” and let it heat up. Shred the chicken.


Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce.  It should thicken up pretty quickly. If you don’t have a crock pot that will heat up quickly to allow you to thicken the sauce, you can try one of two things. Once you add in the cornstarch mixture you could replace the lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened (I would think that it would take longer than 10 minutes, but this is what they had in the Six Sisters Stuff recipe so I’m guessing it works?); OR you could transfer the sauce to a saucepan and thicken it that way. It’s totally up to you. As you can see below, the sauce is bubbling away and thickening very nicely.

After the sauce has thickened, add the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and toss with the sauce before serving.


Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

MY NOTES

As usual I usually change or tweak a few things. So this is the part where I tell you what changes I made from the original recipe I saw. To start, I used 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken because I wanted leftovers! This worked out well because we got a few more days out of this meal. Perfect for lunch!

Since I used my handy dandy Multi-Cooker, I decided to brown the chicken first. So what I did was I put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the crock pot and browned the chicken in that.  I did not use the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil that the recipe called for. I thought the sesame oil gave it some great flavor.  If I wasn’t going to brown the chicken first I probably wouldn’t even add in the oil.

I’m usually a “double the sauce” kind of girl when it comes to recipe. I feel that some recipes skimp on the sauce. But not this one! There is no reason at all to to double the sauce – you get plenty, trust me!

Instead of serving the chicken in chunks, I decided to shred it. I thought this was a great idea – the sauce gets mixed in and it’s nice and sticky – goes well with the rice!

And we don’t like heat, so I didn’t add in the red pepper flakes. But if you like heat I’m sure you can add in however much you want! :)

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I had a can of Libby’s Pumpkin in my cabinet taking up some space, so I decided to make something with it. I figured the perfect thing to make would be a loaf of Spiced Pumpkin Bread. This is the perfect thing to grab for breakfast while heading out the door for work. And it’s such an easy thing to make since I always have all of the ingredients on hand.

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons ground allspice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

SIFT flour, allspice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, Juicy Juice, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in large bowl;  Stir well.

Stir in flour mixture just until moistened.

Spoon into greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

BAKE for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

This was my first time using this recipe, and it wasn’t that bad. I added in a little extra spice to mine, and I’m so happy that I did. It calls for 5 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, which may sound like a lot, but it’s really not. If you think about the canned Pumpkin doesn’t give it any spice; just a subtle pumpkin flavor. So you need the spice to come from somewhere.  So I used the 5 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (all Penzeys, of course!) plus I used 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I used regular Apple Juice and that worked out fine.  I think next time I’d use a little bit more brown sugar because I think it could be a tad sweeter. I baked mine for 58 minutes, which I think was plenty! So keep an eye on it. But for the first time making this, I was pretty happy with the result.

Souper Bowl Sunday ['11] ~ Week Five ~ Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder

I love hearing about new recipes, and I get quite a few emails each day with a “Recipe of the Day” or “Your Weekly Dish,” etc.  Since we’re in the midst of “Souper Bowl Sunday” here at One Curly Fry, I’m always on the lookout for new soups or stews to try. I got an email from Recipe.com that gives you good recipes and tells you what items you can find on sale. The highlight recipe was a Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder from Midwest Living. I’m all about beer, cheddar, and chowder so I knew I had to try this one out.

  •  2  tablespoons  butter or margarine
  • 1  medium  onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1  medium  carrot, coarsely shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 3  large  shallots, chopped
  • 1  14-ounce can  vegetable broth or 1-3/4 cups vegetable stock (I used 14 oz of chicken broth)
  • 1/3  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1  cup  whole milk, half-and-half or light cream
  • 1  teaspoon  caraway seeds, crushed (Penzeys, of course!)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • 10  ounces  Wisconsin Aged Cheddar cheese or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4   cooked smoked bratwurst, knockwurst or Polish sausage (about 12 ounces total), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ sized pieces
  • 1  12-ounce can  beer or 12-ounce bottle ale (I used Kirin)
  • Pretzel Croutons (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and shallots; reduce heat to medium low.


Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is very soft and golden.

In a large screw-top jar, combine broth and flour. Cover and shake until combined and smooth.  Stir into the onion mixture.

Add the milk, caraway seeds and black pepper.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens.

Gradually stir in the cheese; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts, but do not boil.
Stir in the bratwurst and beer.

Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. Serve!

I thought this chowder turned out very well. I loved the beer and cheddar flavor. I would’ve been completely happy not even adding in the turkey kielbasa! It was that good. I used turkey kielbasa in place of the brats only because I like them better. I used Sharp Cheddar because I had extra on hand. I used half & half, and I added the caraway seeds into my soup when I was ready to serve it. Mr. Curly Fry doesn’t like them, so I didn’t want to put them in the entire batch. I loved the flavor the seeds gave the soup. And as you can see, I added some of the Pretzel Croutons on top.

A few notes: I followed the directions as they were written and wasn’t a fan of how the soup looked after the beer was added. It was too

‘runny’ in my opinion. So I took a little bit of half & half and mixed it with a tablespoon of flour and added that into the soup. I turned the heat up a little bit to thicken the soup a little bit more, and was much happier with how it looked.

Mr. Curly Fry wants me to add in Potatoes the next time, so I’ll give that a try. I think the cheddar ale part (minus the turkey kielbasa) would be a great soup base to create some new flavors!

 

 

 

 

Souper Bowl Sunday ['11] ~ Week Two ~ Shrimp Bisque

This weekend actually felt like Fall, which is always a bonus in my book! I loved being able to have the air conditioning turned off, and the windows open. This week’s Souper Bowl Sunday recipe is a Shrimp Bisque recipe from Tyler Florence.  I love seafood, and a nice creamy soup, so I thought this was the perfect recipe to try!

 

  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

 

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it.

Add Olive Oil and then Butter

Then add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir it all together

Take the pot off the heat and carefully pour in the brandy. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides.

Add Brandy

Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

Add Water (or Seafood Stock)

Add the cream and bring to a boil.

Bring Cream to a boil

Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened

Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.

Strain the Bisque – nice & smooth!

Chop the shrimp. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes just to cook the shrimp through. Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest and chives.

 

I usually make some sort of change to the recipe, and this was no exception. Except that this time I only made two changes! I usually change up a bunch of things, but I really like the way this recipe was written. One change that I made had to do with the cream. It calls for 4 cups of heavy cream. I decided to use 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of light cream. I’ve had luck in the past with making this change, so I figured I’d try it out here. The second thing I did differently had to do with the water that you add. I added some seafood stock (made with Penzeys Seafood Soup Base)  in place of the water because I figured it would give that extra depth. I ended up adding in 1 1/2 cups, and that seemed to work out well.

I really loved the flavor that the orange zest gave it. It was very subtle, but it added a lot of flavor, if that makes any sense. I definitely wouldn’t skip that part. At first I thought it sounded kind of odd, but I wanted to try it. And I’m so glad that I did. I loved it. This Shrimp Bisque really was delicious. I loved how creamy and flavorful it was. I would say the biggest pain in the butt was straining the soup, but it’s something that really has to be done. It’s not difficult to do, it’s just a little time consuming. But it’s definitely worth it in the end.

I want to try this recipe but doing a Lobster Bisque. I’ll definitely share it with you all when I do.

Cupcake Emergency

So as I already mentioned, Hurricane Irene came through and kept everyone indoors all weekend long. I decided that I was going to get a little bit of baking in while I had the chance. I had a few cupcake flavors I wanted to try out, so that’s exactly what I did! After all, we were in a Cupcake Emergency!

I baked up some Chocolate Cupcakes

+

And I made my Basic Buttercream

I wanted to do a few different flavors of Buttercream, so I divided up the Basic Buttercream and went to business!

I took some Oreos and threw them in Vitamix. I had Oreo crumbs that were nice and fine. So I decided to do a Cookies N’ Cream ButtercreamVanilla Buttercream + Oreo Crumbs = YUM!

Chocolate Cupcake; Cookies N’ Cream Buttercream

I still had some of the fine Oreo crumbs leftover, so I decided that I wanted to do a Chocolate Buttercream dusted with Oreo Crumbs. So I added in some Penzeys Natural Cocoa Powder and a very small sprinkle of Williams-Sonoma Espresso Powder.  And let me tell you – between these two ingredients, the Buttercream comes out oh so chocolatey. The Epresso Powder really enhances that rich chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Cupcake; Chocolate Buttercream; Oreo Crumbs

Mr. Curly Fry loves Kit Kats, so I wanted to incorporate those into a cupcake. So I used the Chocolate Buttercream. Talk about a Chocolate overload. But in a good way!

Chocolate Cupcake; Chocolate Buttercream; Kit Kats

I had some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the refrigerator so that inspired me to make a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake. When I was making the Cupcakes, I put some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the center of the cupcake and baked it. So there’s chocolate chip cookie baked in the center of these bad boys!! Then I topped it off with Chocolate Buttercream and garnished it with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  How can you go wrong with that?

Chocolate Cupcake with a Chocolate Chip Cookie filling;
Chocolate Buttercream
; Chocolate Chip Cookie garnish

Last, but certainly not least! I wanted to do a Peanut Butter Buttercream. Is there really a better combination?! Peanut Butter + Buttercream = Heaven! This was my favorite cupcake of the day…the Chutter Butter! The Peanut Butter Buttercream was so creamy and smooth…it had my taste buds doing back flips! I seriously could have sat there with a spoon if I had any extra Buttercream left!

Chocolate Cupcake; Peanut Butter Buttercream; Nutter Butters

What flavor of Buttercream would you like to see spotlighted here on the blog?!