Sunday, February 9, 2014

Slow Cooked Sweet and Sour Chicken over Rice

Greetings from the snowy Pacific Northwest! When the weather gets really bad, I cook up a storm. It soothes me like nothing else can, and if my family needs to be fed, I'm on it. The recipe I'm about to share with you is made in a slow cooker, but if the power goes out (like mine did this weekend) you can also cook this in a heavy pot on your outdoor cook stove, grill, or fire. Just be careful that it doesn't get so hot the honey burns, and stir often. The chicken is done when it's thoroughly cooked through and the meat is tender.

I found the genesis for this recipe on the internet, but I can't remember where, so kudos to the unfortunately unnamed chef. Whoever she/he is, we have been blessed! Here's my take:

Slow Cooked Sweet and Sour Chicken

2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2/3 cup soy sauce
3 T. ketchup
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper
1/4 - 1/2 onion, chunked
2 ribs celery, diced thick
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Spray the inside of a slow cooker (i.e., Crock Pot) with vegetable or olive oil.

Mix together the honey, garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Sometimes my honey can get thick or crystalized, so if that happens I microwave the mixture for about 10 seconds to make it easier to mix.

Into the slow cooker, add the chicken, onion, and celery. Pour the honey mixture over the top. Cook on high for about 4-5 hours, or on low for about 6-7 hours, or until done.

When it's close to meal time, mix together the cornstarch and water. Pour it into the slow cooker, stir well to mix, turn the cooker onto high, cover, and let it heat and thicken. This will take about as long as it takes the rice to cook (about 20-30 minutes).

I think you and your family will love this recipe. Serve it with Sriracha or other hot sauce available for those who want a little extra heat. Delicious!

May you and your loved ones feel God's presence. Always!

Mocha Pudding Cake--Quick and Easy

We here in the Pacific Northwest have been through the wringer. In two days' time we got over a foot of snow, which was followed by an ice storm. Many of us have been without electricity for more than a day--in fact, one of my sons is out in the elements working on a line crew, helping to restore power to thousands. Linemen are a brave, intrepid lot, and if you see them near your home, offer to bring them a healthy snack and something hot to drink. They might really appreciate it as they work long, arduous hours during storms such as this. And this mom would be grateful!

Now, on to the main event: food.

I'm sharing with you today a quick and easy recipe for Mocha Pudding Cake. The recipe bakes in an 8 x 8-inch pan, but don't let that smaller size pan fool you. This pudding cake is very rich, and when you serve it with vanilla ice cream or a generous dollop of sweetened whipped cream, it's a filling and satisfying dessert for six people no problem.

Here's a picture of it right out of the oven:


No pudding, you say?

It's on the bottom! Here's a picture of it plated up and suddenly looking quite gooey...with whipped cream because I didn't have any ice cream and wasn't going to try to get to the store with the snow-covered roads making travel difficult:

And now, the recipe...which, by the way, will be in my Amish Baking Cookbook, due out around September 1st of this year:

Mocha Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1 1/2 T. instant coffee granules
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
3 T. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Combine the flour, 2/3 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the unsweetened cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk. Combine milk, oil, and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended. (The batter will be very might want to use a large spoon to mix.)

Spoon batter into a greased 8 x 8=inch pan. Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water over batter. DO NOT STIR!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

This cake is best eaten fresh because the pudding sort of disappears if it sits too long. But it's still good even the next day!

I hope you are staying warm and dry. And if you have power, thank a lineman today!

May God richly bless you and yours,