Friday, August 22, 2014

Cashew Chicken

By now we know that I love re-creating Chinese takeout at home. I've done my take on General Tso's, Sesame Chicken, and Pad Thai. And today I carry on the torch and cover the classic cashew chicken. This weekend we will be moving into our new house, and with lots of moving comes less time for homemade meals and more likelihood of takeout and fast food. But when you have a recipe as simple as this, you can have "takeout" at home for a fraction of the cost and calories.

Cashew Chicken

  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. honey 
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Then add in the soy sauce, honey, Sriracha, vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a medium pot, add 1 cup water to the bottom, then steam the carrots and broccoli in a steam basket for 10 minutes, 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, preheat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and cashews. Cook until fragrant and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook, stirring until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. 

Drain the steamed carrots and broccoli and add them into the chicken. Lower heat to simmer and add in the sauce that you whisked together earlier and the whites of the green onions. Cook, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened and the chicken and veggies are well coated.

To serve, place a large spoonful of brown rice onto a plate or into a bowl, top with the chicken and garnish with green onion tops.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Orange Basil Ricotta Pancakes

Now that we have a new house that I can fill with whatever my heart desires (and my bank account allows) I cannot wait to build a garden in the backyard. And the main herb that I wan to produce? Basil. My obsession continues with this amazing breakfast recipe. I recently saw these pancakes here, and decided to make an HDFB version, complete with an orange glaze to finish them off.  My boyfriend is the one with the sweet tooth, so this was the perfect "meet-in-the-middle" breakfast. It's somewhere between his desire for chocolate brownie pancakes topped with oreos and peanut butter cups and my desire for savory bacon corn chive pancakes. The batter is a bit thicker than a standard pancake because of the ricotta, so just be patient. These babies are worth it!

Orange Basil Ricotta Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped basil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup almond milk
Orange Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. orange juice, separated
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, orange zest, and chopped basil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, ricotta, vanilla, butter, and milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine. Add more milk if you like your batter to be a little thinner.

Once the batter is mixed, spray the griddle with non-stick cooking spray and use a ladle or 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon batter onto the griddle. Allow them to begin to bubble around the edges before carefully flipping them to the other side.

Once all batter has been made into delicious pancakes, mix together the glaze just before serving. Whisk together the orange juice, powdered sugar, and orange zest until smooth. Stack your pancakes high, drizzle with orange glaze, and serve!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chipotle Sweet Potato Tots

Remember in the elementary school cafeteria, when you would walk in wondering what weird brick-shaped concoction they were going to serve you that day, and once you slid your tray up the counter that you could barely see over, your eyes met the most glorious of sights. A large batch of tater tots. Embarrassingly enough, I still get just as excited when I see tater tots on the menu at restaurants, or even being served at my office. It's one of those things that take you back to a memory of swing-sets and recess. But these are a more adult version of the classic, made with sweet potato and a smoky spicy kick. I love that you don't even have to make these immediately, you could make the tots, and freeze them for future use. I would be lying if I told you that I didn't have a gallon freezer bag of them at home right now.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Tots

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. chipotle in adobo sauce (found in the international/Mexican food aisle)
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in the chopped sweet potatoes.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are softened. Drain and set aside to cool.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooled to the touch, add them to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients. No wit's time to get messy. Using your hands, mix the tots mixture together, making sure all of ingredients are well combined.

Now form the tots using your hands, making a traditional tot shape, or whatever circle/square/shape that you want. Place them on a non-stick baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to set. If you are wanting to save these for future, then place into a ziplock bag and place back into freezer.

When you are ready to bake the tots, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tots on the non-stick baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes before flipping to the other side and baking for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.

If you are baking them from a frozen state, you will need to bake them for 20 minutes on each side, or longer depending on the temperature of your oven.

Serve hot with Srirachup or your favorite condiment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spicy Chicken Sandwich with Cilantro Lime "Mayo"

I recently obtained this amazing little "tree stump" stand, but really had no idea what it's purpose was supposed to be. I thought maybe a candle holder, or a trivet for a hot plate, but then I ultimately decided that it was perfect for holding up these perfectly crispy chicken sandwiches. I love using simple and fresh ingredients whenever I can, and that can really make or break a sandwich like this. A spicy marinated chicken breast, rolled in crispy bread crumbs, and then placed atop some freshly crisp lettuce, tomato, and onion, and finished off with some zesty "mayo". I have never been an advocate for mayo, but substituting Greek yogurt is definitely something that I have grown fond of. Let me know what you think, and if you make these at home be sure to tag it on instagram with the hashtag #HDFB.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich with Cilantro Lime "Mayo"

  • 2 chicken breasts, halved
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 3 tbsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 4 kaiser rolls or buns
Cilantro Lime "Mayo"
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Place chicken breast halves into a freezer bag, squeeze any excess air out of the bag and seal. With a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken until the breasts are evenly flattened, about 1/2-inch thick. Open the bag and add in the milk, hot sauce, and dried cilantro. Shake well to coat the chicken and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

To prepare the cilantro lime "mayo", mix together all oft he ingredients and place in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Once the meat is done marinating, prepare the breading. In a shallow dish, place the panko, salt, and pepper. Preheat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and shake off the excess marinade. Press each chicken breast firmly into the breading on both sides. Add breaded chicken to the hot skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes, crisping both sides until browned and cooked through, flipping after 5 minutes.

To serve, spread a large spoonful of the "mayo on each bun bottom, place the chicken on top and then garnish with tomato, onion, lettuce, and the bun top. Serve hot. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

HDFB News Alert!

As promised to you all on Friday, I have some major fun and exciting news to share. It's been a whirlwind 6 weeks, in which I sold my townhouse, my boyfriend and I moved in with my parents {thanks Mom & Dad!}, and then turned around and started the house hunt for a new place to call home. And as much as we have loved living rent free, and being able to spend quality time with my family, we are excited to announce that we officially closed on a new place on Friday afternoon! In which we proceeded to drive directly to the empty house from work, make an insane to do list and fill up a shopping cart at the hardware store with the essentials, like new address numbers for the front of the house and sample back splash tiles. Like I said, the essentials.

We have so much to do to make this our dream house, but we are the lucky ones and have nothing but time. Painters start this week, and in no time we will be moved in and starting a new chapter. I'll periodically share our renovations with you all. But I'm looking forward to the best part, the housewarming party!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Photo Overload

Remember that time when I thought I had come up with this amazing recipe idea, where instead of making homemade poptarts with jam, I would make homemade poptarts filled with pizza ingredients...only for my boyfriend to look at me in silence for a good 10 seconds and say, "like a Hot Pocket?". Dreams = crushed. Clearly I haven't had many Hot Pockets in my day. It's that time again- where I have recipes up my sleeve, but I am gonna need the weekend to prep them for you guys. Plus there's a lot going on in my household, and hopefully I can share some big news with you soon! Until then, enjoy some of my favorite photos as of late (from my instagram and Android camera).

 a storm rolling in from my office balcony

 happy hour with Jennica from aMaes Photography and Carissa from T is for Townsend

I'm gonna need this framed. {via}

eat ALL the bacon mac and cheese chips.

then wash the chips down with Fractured Prune doughnuts.

what Justin Timberlake looks like from a suite. 

hot dog humor. enough said.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownies

If you've ever been on Pinterest for all of, oh 3 seconds, then I know you have seen these little morsels of heaven. A layer of chocolate chips cookie is then topped with Oreo cookies, and then baked to pure perfection with a brownie layer to top it all off, making this the ultimate dessert. Just be careful. These things disappear FAST! And judging by how fast these disappeared from my counter, I know just what to make whenever my boyfriend is craving a sweet treat (which is pretty much always!).

Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownies

  • 1 box fudgy brownie mix (prepare according to box directions)
  • 16 Oreo cookies
  • 1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough (or use pre-made dough)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Press the chocolate chip cookie dough firmly down into the bottom of the pan.

Follow with a layer of oreo cookies ( I used 16 cookies).

Then top with the brownie mix and spread out evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cookie layer has turned golden brown and the brownie batter is cooked through, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out fairly clean.

Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into squares. 

design + created by | 2014