Baked Sesame Chicken

My New Year’s Resolution was to publish a blog post at least 3 days a week. FAIL. But hey, I’m here today & I have a pretty easy dinner to share. If you know me through the blog or in real life, you know that I have three kids that keep me running constantly from one end of the county to the other with all their extracurriculars. Who has time to plan & execute elaborate meals? Not me. However, I still want to cook decent meals for my family, so quick & easy is where it’s at. Who’s with me?

Baked Sesame Chicken

I love Asian inspired food, as does my oldest daughter. I like making it at home because I can make it so much healthier than take-out. Plus, we have one local Chinese place…and it wasn’t very good the one time I’ve been. This Baked Sesame Chicken is fairly simple to make, just takes a few ingredients, and is baked instead of fried – which makes this a healthier (and less messy…I hate frying) option.

Baked Sesame Chicken

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Recipe adapted from Friday is Cake Night

Even though I would have liked a nice thick sauce to add at the end, I didn’t want to use the sauce that the chicken cooked in because it contains so much chicken fat (thighs are fatty), but it is certainly an option (just thicken with cornstarch). I think next time I may reserve some of the sauce, thicken it, and baste it on, under the broiler at the very end. That would give it a sticky sauce, kind of like my Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken. The chicken has a good flavor & is good with rice or sesame noodles. We also had egg rolls, which I normally make from scratch, but these were super convenient!

What’s your favorite Chinese food? I want to try some other dishes at home. This Bourbon Chicken is one of my favorites!

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife, Life with Lorelai (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Creamy Hoisin Egg Roll Dipping Sauce

This post was sponsored by MINH® Mini Chicken Egg Rolls and I was compensated to write it. Regardless, what I have written reflects my own opinion and experience. I hope you find it useful.

The holidays are in full swing, and with that brings social gatherings. And obviously you can’t have a get together without lots of good eats…otherwise it’s just a meeting. (Ok, so I’m sort of paraphrasing Julia Child, but she definitely had a point.) I love party food (aka appetizers, appies, finger foods, or hors d’oeuvres <– hardest word ever to spell)

Egg rolls w sauce collage_Fotor

Sometimes we have hors d’oeuvre night where we just have a bunch of party food for dinner. My kids love that (for obvious reasons.) It’s mainly for “special occasions”. Anyway, as much as I love making everything from scratch, like homemade egg rolls, I often just don’t. have. time. So, I was thrilled to find these MINH® Mini Chicken Egg Rolls at Sam’s Club.

Minh at Sams

They are affordable, you get a bunch in a box, and most important – they are delish!

egg rolls labeled photo

They are the perfect size to serve at a party too. They bake in the oven in under 15 minutes, and come with a tasty sweet chili sauce.

party egg rolls

I’ve sprinkled this platter with dried cilantro and red pepper flakes (green & red!) but it could be easily omitted, or just added to the sauces. You could also use basil I think, but I would not recommend oregano (personal opinion).

Egg Rolls

Along with the sweet chili sauce, I wanted a white sauce (I almost made it green with the addition of green dragon sauce, but I wasn’t sure if it would look appetizing.) This is a mild, creamy, slightly sweet sauce that pairs well with the egg rolls and perfect for those who have a low heat tolerance (everyone in my house except me!), but you can easily spice it up by increasing the chili paste or adding red pepper flakes.

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In addition to mini egg rolls, my other “go-to” party foods are sausage balls (these are a must at Christmas and New Year’s!), Creamy Sausage Dip, Chips with restaurant style salsa, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, and at Christmas, there will be fudge on the dessert table, along with these…022

Pretzel Treats…my kids LOVE these. Obviously, we don’t usually have fancy parties. We have family, kid-friendly parties! What’s your favorite party food?

Grilled Mongolian Chicken

I love lots of Asian inspired foods, and I have found that it is relatively easy to make many of my favorite dishes at home. I probably make Baked Egg Rolls at least once or twice a month, and I love Bourbon Chicken and Sesame Noodles. I discovered San-J Tamari Sauce a while back and have been using it ever since, so when they contacted me about trying their new line of Asian Cooking Sauces, I was happy to oblige!

SanJ Sauces

These are the three I chose, but there are more options available. I’m on a mission to try them all! The first one I used was the Mongolian Stir-Fry & Marinade Sauce. I simply added the sauce to boneless, skinless chicken thighs and froze them. When ready to use, I let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator overnight, which also gave it time to marinate well.

Freezer meals

I cooked these on the grill, which is my favorite way to eat chicken thighs. The thighs are great for grilling due to the higher fat content, and they really absorb a lot of flavor from whatever marinade you choose.

Grilled Mongolian Chicken Pin

These were juicy and flavorful! I served them over brown rice, with a little added spicy chili paste. So good! I am planning on adapting this Pineapple Chicken into Orange Chicken using the Orange Sauce next. It’s my oldest daughter’s favorite, so at least I will be guaranteed to make at least one family member happy at the dinner table! Sometimes (most times) it’s a struggle. *sigh*

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San-J provided me with samples to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Sit Back and Relax with P.F. Chang’s

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of P.F. Changs for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Anyone else having quite the hectic holiday season? I’m talkin’ running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off kinda hectic. Sorry for the visual.  I just need a breather. A time to sit down, relax and maybe indulge a little bit.  How does sitting down with friends or family and enjoying something decadent and delicious that you don’t have to prepare yourself sound?! Sounds pretty good to me!

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I feel more relaxed already! And what about…

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yes please.

So where can you enjoy this? P.F. Chang’s of course! They have some new seasonal-inspired desserts and drinks that will make anyone’s day a little more merry. Just imagine handmade Sweet Vanilla Cream Dessert Wontons and the Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake. Fa la la la la!

You can learn more about the offerings of P.F. Chang’s by giving them a Follow @pfchangs on Twitter or Follow P.F. Chang’s on Pinterest. In the meantime, you can think about how delicious the Peppermint Mocha Cappucino is going to be when you get there.

How are you finding time to relax during the holiday rush?  What P.F. Chang’s menu item do you think you would like to try first? Remember, it is the season to eat, drink and be merry!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

I’ll admit, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with copycat recipes of late. I’m not sure if it is because I live so far from restaurants now, or because I just want to see if I can replicate restaurant food at home. I imagine it’s a little of both! This particular salad is my husband’s favorite thing from Applebee’s Restaurant, so I wanted to give it a try. There are several versions of the recipe on line, but I based mine off of one from Mandy’s Recipe Box.Looks good, right?!  What’s even better…it is very easy to put together with some pre-packaged items from the grocery store.

Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

Dressing – 
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise (*I use Hellman’s with Olive Oil)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
 
Salad – 
6 crispy chicken strips, cooked
Pre-packaged salad mix (w/romaine lettuce, carrots, and cabbage)
Pre-packaged coleslaw mix
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (I used toasted sesame seeds instead)
1 cup Chow Mein noodles
 
  • For the Dressing 
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Refrigerate while preparing salad.
 
  • For the Salad 
Cut chicken strips into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Mix together about half the bag of each of the pre-packaged salad and coleslaw mixes.
Top with cut up chicken, almonds & Chow Mein noodles. 
Drizzle the dressing on top, to taste.
Makes approx. 3 large salads
You can make as much or as little as you want by altering the amounts of salad used.  The amount of dressing used per salad is such an individual preference, so you may need more or less.  The amount listed was enough for 3 salads (a dinner sized salad entree) for us, but my husband said he would have liked more dressing (he likes a lot, where I like just a little!)
I added mandarin oranges to my salad, and I used toasted sesame seeds in the place of almonds, just because I love them! This was a convenient, filling and delicious salad, and I can’t wait to tackle my next copycat recipe!  So far, I’ve tried Copycat Chick-fil-a ChickenOlive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, and Chili’s Monterey Chicken.
Have you got a restaurant favorite that you make at home? I’d love to hear about it!
I’m linking up this recipe over at – (Wednesday) Fluster BusterSemi Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsHungry Little GirlNaptime is My TimeBloom DesignsCherished Handmade Treasures  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorTaste and Tell,  Miz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,  The Busy Bee’s(Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryMummy DealsOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home, A Peek Into My Paradise (Saturday) Sassy Little Lady Lemons for Lulu,  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ Stuff (Sunday) Mommy’s Sweet Confessions 
Yay! This recipe was featured at The Better Baker and The Best Blog Recipes!

The Best Blog Recipes

Bourbon Chicken

This is called Bourbon Chicken, but I made a few small changes in the recipe, and it tasted just like General Tso’s Chicken to me. Since I’ve never actually ordered Bourbon Chicken, I left the name, b/c who knows, maybe they taste the same.  Whatever you want to call it, you can also call it delicious!  This was SO good, and the closest I have come to restaurant flavor at home.  The best part…it’s not FRIED!
I prepared mine in my cast iron skillet, but I think it could be made in any frying pan.

 Bourbon (or General Tso’s!) Chicken 

adapted from Bigoven.com – my changes are in italics
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts – cut into bite size chunks
1 T. olive oil
3/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t. fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar & Stevia blend
2 T. ketchup
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
Notes: I mixed my brown sugar with Stevia in the Raw to decrease the sugar a little, but you can use all brown sugar if desired. I also used orange juice instead of apple (b/c that’s what I had on hand), and I used fresh ginger and rice wine vinegar since I had them. You could use ground ginger and apple cider vinegar as per original recipe instead. Also, this is spicy so adjust the red pepper accordingly. I used a generous 3/4 tsp and thought it was delicious, but it was too hot for the rest of the fam. (I left some plain cooked chicken out for the kids.)
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  
  • Add red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds.  
  • Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.  
  • Remove chicken from pan and add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.  
  • Add chicken back into pan with sauce and bring to a hard boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered.
I served mine over brown rice, with green onions and sesame seeds. If you like Chinese food, I would recommend giving this a try!

Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

I’m back!  One thing my grandma truly loved was food, and she would not want me to stop sharing recipes.  I may not have adopted her Southern ways of cooking, (no fat-back or collard greens for me, thank you) but I do share her love of all things food.  I even taught her a thing or two…for example, she thought she hated pumpkin until my pumpkin breads and muffins 🙂

Today, I wanted to share a crock-pot recipe.  I love using my crock pot, and have been trying lots of different recipes to build up a good rotation.  For a while, it seemed like everything I slow-cooked (mainly chicken!) always came out tasting the same…bland.  Of course, a lot of the recipes have had similar ingredients, b/c I just can’t be too creative with my family.  They have really boring taste buds 😉  This chicken dish, found at Six Sister’s Stuff, was a hit with everyone. Except Mr. Three, who eats nothing worth mentioning.

A huge thanks to everyone who has come over from Pinterest! I’d love for you to become a regular around here. You can receive my posts via email, or Bloglovin’; follow on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Please link back if re-posting on your own blog, I’m finding my picture everywhere with no credit/link given.  It’s just common courtesy folks (not to mention my posts and pictures are copyright protected.)

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken 

adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

4-6 chicken breasts *I used 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup packed brown sugar *I used 3/4 cup
2/3 cup vinegar  *I used apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda *I used Sprite Zero
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic *I used about 1 1/2 T. fresh minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water

Red pepper flakes (optional) 

Directions:

  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. (Crock pot liners are also great!)
  • Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. 
  • Mix together the sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper, and pour over chicken. 
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (Frozen chicken will obviously need a longer cook time.)
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker (it should basically fall apart) and pour remaining sauce into a saucepan over high heat. 
  • Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. 
  • Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools).
  • Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.  

This can be served over rice or noodles, but we had ours with a baked potato on the side (It’s good on top of the potato too!)

Verdict? Everyone enjoyed this.  I liked it because it was not too sweet like some of the other recipes I have tried, and the red pepper flakes gave it a nice little kick.  I bet it would be good with a little sriracha too!  The kids, of course, skipped the spice, and enjoyed it as is.  This, along with Sticky Chicken, will be made again.

I’m linking this up over at – Holly’s Stamping Addiction, The Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Skip to My Lou, Making the World Cuter, Project Inspire, Moms Crazy Cooking; The Gooseberry Patch