The Best Homemade Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken in the Whole Wide World

Sweet 'n Sour Chicken with Fried RiceI’ve learned that Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken is one of those dishes from a Chinese restaurant that is hit or miss. There is this Chinese restaurant near where my old office building was that had THE BEST Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken. They set the bar quite high, because I have yet to find another place that makes it like they do. They deep fry the chicken (heart attack on a plate, anyone?) and then they give you a container full of sweet ‘n sour sauce that has onions, green peppers and pineapple in it. It’s seriously to die for. I’ve had dreams about it. No really. I have.

In the past when I’ve ordered Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken from other restaurants, they only gave me the deep fried Chicken and a little container of sweet ‘n sour sauce. What? That’s it. Where are the onions, green peppers and pineapple? So I’ve just stopped ordering it from any other place but the original restaurant I got it at.  And if  it doesn’t have those items in it, it’s not Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken to me. I got tired of being disappointed and you can bet that I go back to that restaurant just for that dish. So good. [Read more...]

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise, but we’re not big fans of Mexican food in the OCF house. The Mister can’t eat anything spicy, and I just don’t really like it much. Too many weird ingredients that I don’t like.  I’ll eat a soft taco or a taco salad, but you can keep the salsas, refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, cilantro and guac to yourselves. But sometimes you just want to make something different and just do it your own way so that you do like it. So that’s what I did with Enchiladas. I’d see recipes for them but I didn’t like anything in it. That green sauce? Ewww, what’s up with that?  So I decided to make up my own. Do it the way we’d like it. And I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

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Baked Pretzel Coated Chicken Strips with Honey Dijon Sauce

I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Fried Pretzel Coated Chicken with Honey Dijon Sauce. Now I’m from Philly and we have an unhealthy love for soft pretzels in this city. But we also have a love Hard Pretzels as well. And I love Chicken. So it just seemed like a no-brainer for me to try this. However, I opted to bake the chicken instead of fry it. Trust me, I wanted to fry the chicken. But I’m trying to cut down on calories and make some healthier choices (a girl has to save her calories for cupcakes!) so I decided to bake them and see how they turned out.

I made these Baked Pretzel Coated Chicken Strips before going to Orlando, FL for Food Blog Forum Orlando.  There were so many other fabulous food bloggers there and I had the opportunity to meet Angie of Eclectic Recipes!  It was a pleasant surprise since I didn’t even realize she’d be in attendance.  It was so nice to meet her and I look forward to trying out many more of her recipes in the future!

So back to the Pretzel Chicken…let’s do it!

(I used this recipe and made a few changes to it)

INGREDIENTS

Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Breading

  • 2 cups pretzels, ground in the food processor (until they are the consistency of bread crumbs)

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine mustard and honey for sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees. Combine eggs with spices in a large bowl. Whisk together until everything is incorporated and it looks like scrambled eggs (before you would cook it!).

Using a food processor or Vitamix, turn the Pretzels into crumbs. I think next time I’d probably make them a bit finer, but it still worked well the way mine turned out,.

Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, and then place them into the pretzel crumbs. Make sure that you coat all sides of the chicken in the pretzel crumbs. I like the press down on all sides to make sure it sticks.

Place the pretzel breaded chicken on a greased baking sheet leaving a little room between each strip. I like to cover my baking sheet with foil to make for an easier clean-up!


Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is at 165 degrees.


Remove from the oven and enjoy!


I thought these were pretty good! I would also like to try them fried (how Eleclectic Recipes made them) to see how the baked strips compare, but I thought they were quite tasty for being a lower fat option. I think they’d be a little crunchier if they were fried, but we still enjoyed them. The Honey Dijon Sauce was a lovely addition! I want to try some of these in a wrap with some cheddar cheese, lettuce and ranch!

 

 

 

Country Club Chicken

Whenever I see a recipe that involves bacon, I immediately know that I need to make it. Bacon is one of my favorite foods. I don’t think I’ve ever come across something with bacon in it (aside from a Bacon Martini) that I didn’t like. So when I came across Country Club Chicken I immediately put it on our menu. It has chicken, bacon, cheese, and it’s creamy. What’s not to like?

[adapted from the original recipe located here]

INGREDIENTS

  • spaghetti or another kind of pasta
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 5)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms (about 10 medium)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 or 5 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 1 apple (I used a gala apple)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cook the bacon in your favorite cast iron skillet. After the bacon is done cooking, don’t clean out the pan. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and set aside.

Season the chicken breasts with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides in the cast iron skillet. You may or may not have to take out some of the bacon grease. It all depends on what kind of bacon you used (Center Cut?) and how much grease accumulated in there.

Transfer them to a plate and set aside.

 Cook the onion for about 4-5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and the garlic. After about 4 minutes or so add in your minced apple and cook it for another 4-5 minutes.

Season everything with some salt & pepper, if desired. Pour in the white wine and make sure all of the flavorful bits come off the bottom of the pan.  Add in the cream of mushroom soup and the sour cream. Add in all but ¼ cup of the cheese. Mix it altogether and let it cook for a few minutes.

While that’s cooking, place the chicken in a casserole dish. Crumble up the bacon and place some bacon on top of each piece of chicken. I did it this way so that everyone was sure to get some bacon!

After the soup mixture cooks for a few minutes, pour it over the chicken.

Put the casserole dish in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes. While the casserole is in the oven you can cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.

 
Serve!

I have to say this was pretty delicious! It was packed full of flavor and I loved the creaminess of it. The apple gave it some sweetness and it really added to the dish. I loved the apple in it so much that the next time I may add in some more.

I know some people don’t like cooking with wine, but I think the wine is a key ingredient here. You could substitute chicken broth for the wine, but I don’t think you’d end up with the same flavor. The wine took it up a notch, if you ask me.

I made a few changes from the original recipe, and I’m glad I did. Although the next time I make it I think I’m going to omit the cheese that’s inside the dish and just put 1/2 cup of cheese on top before baking. That would cut the calories a bit, which is always good.  This would also be very good with some boneless pork chops! I think I’m going to try to turn this into a crock pot meal!

Kraft Fresh Take & Homestyle Hearty Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese [Product Review + Coupon]

I love to cook and so I use any opportunity I can get to play around in the kitchen. I try to make dinner every night, and I try my best to make everything myself and not use a lot of pre-packaged foods.  For instance, I’d rather make my own macaroni and cheese than buy a box of it; I’d rather make my own au gratin potatoes than buy a box; I’d rather season up some panko bread crumbs myself and bread chicken that way. But sometimes I don’t have the time to do it, especially if it’s during the week.

Last night was one of those evenings where I had some things to do after work so I was short on time. But I didn’t want to go out for dinner or get take-out. So I tried a few of Kraft’s new products.

I had some boneless skinless chicken breasts that were thawed so I got that new Kraft product called Fresh Take. It’s a special blend of Kraft Natural Cheeses and seasonings that can dress up your chicken, fish, pork, beef, pasta, vegetables, etc. It sounds like the possibilities are endless – there were ideas on the packet for chicken, meatballs and even baked potatoes!

They have several different flavors – Chili Lime & Panko, Southwest Three Cheese, Italian Parmesan, Cheddar Jack & Bacon, Savory Four Cheese and Rosemary & Roasted Garlic. I picked up the Cheddar Jack & Bacon because I love anything with bacon in it! You can find this in the Dairy aisle.

It comes in a large ziploc type bag that separates the cheese and the seasonings. When you open it up you pull apart the separation and mix the two things together. I just coated my chicken breasts in the mixture and baked them for 25 minutes. They turned out really good! This isn’t something that I’ll do all of the time, but it’s nice for something quick, easy and flavorful!

Click here to print out a $1 coupon!

 

I also decided to give the new Kraft Homestyle Hearty Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese a whirl as well. I thought it was pretty good! it was quite easy – you boil the macaroni for about 7 minutes and drain it. Then you melt a few tablespoons of butter in the saucepan and add a seasoning packet. This also has a thickening agent in it. Once you incorporate the seasoning packet with the butter, you stir in some milk and let it thicken. Once that’s thickened a bit you add in the cheese sauce (which is quite thick) and whisk it together until it’s creamy & smooth. I added in the macaroni and combined them together. They also provide a bread crumb topping if you’d like to use that.  I thought this macaroni and cheese was good – much better than the blue box!

***I WAS NOT COMPENSATED AT ALL FOR THIS POST. I PURCHASED THE PRODUCTS MYSELF AND FORMULATED MY OWN OPINIONS.***