Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Panda Express Sauces

A friend told us about these. We decided to give it a go. I found the sauces at Fry's. I hear that Costco has them too. We tried the Mandarin Sauce and it was awesome! I marinated chicken chicken breasts in about 1/2 c. of the sauce for 30 minutes. At this point you can grill it or cook it on the stove top in some oil. I served it with Toasted Almond Rice Pilaf (recipe below this post).
Yum and sooo easy!!

Toasted Almond Rice Pilaf

1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. white long grain rice
1 c. vermicelli pasta, broken into pieces
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Melt butter in saucepan. Add rice and pasta and saute until golden brown. Add chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and toss in toasted almonds.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hard Candy Suckers

Remember Mom making these for us when we were kids? So fun! I have two different recipes. One is the original way that Mom did it --on the stove. The second is a microwave version. It's so fast to use the microwave when using regular flavorings. If you are going to do butterscotch, peanut butter, or chocolate, then the stovetop is the way to go. Butterscotch is one of our favs. Stovetop method:

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. white corn syrup
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. Lorann or Wilton flavoring
food coloring

Prepare molds by lightly spraying them with cooking spray and adding sticks. Also, spray the flat surface you are using to cool your suckers on. Combine first three ingredients in pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, add thermometer, cook, stirring occasionally to hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat, add flavoring and food coloring. Pour hot candy into prepared molds. Remove candy from molds when cool and beginning to hold their shape. Place on another flat surface to continue cooling.

peanut butter - add 1/4 c. peanut butter at 275 degrees, cook to 310 degrees
chocolate - add 2 Tbsp Hershey's chocolate syrup at 275 degrees, cook to 310 degrees
butterscotch - add 1/4 c. butter and a pinch of salt at the start

Microwave method:

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. Lorann or Wilton flavoring
food coloring

Mix sugar and corn syrup in a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes 15 seconds. Remove plastic wrap and stir mixture. IMPORTANT!!!---cover with NEW plastic wrap and microwave for another 3 minutes 15 seconds. Add flavoring and coloring, stir well. Pour into molds.

**Sometimes I just pour the candy onto a greased cookie sheet, break into pieces, and shake in powdered sugar to coat.

**I made these last weekend for a Valentine's Party. I didn't have the oil flavorings so I used extracts that I found in the Walmart baking aisle. I had to use 3 tsp. of it but they had a lot of flavor choices.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Easy French Dips

This is my go to meal on nights when I don't have much time. It's fast and my kids really like it. You can't beat that! We don't usually use rolls with sesame seeds, like in the picture. Actually I prefer them without.
1 pkg. soft French rolls
sliced deli roast beef
sliced provolone cheese
1 pkg. Au Jus gravy mix, made according to directions
sauteed onions and mushrooms (optional)
Open rolls and butter insides of bread. Put under broiler (butter side up) til very light brown. Put cheese on one side and roast beef on the other. Put back under broiler until cheese is melted. Close sandwich and lightly brown under broiler. Flip to other side and put back under broiler again. Stay close when broiling...they can burn fast! Serve with little bowls or ramekins with Au Jus.

Chili's Honey Mustard Dressing

I have two favorite salad dressings. One is store bought - Brianna's Poppyseed. Soooo good! The other is Chili's Honey Mustard. Several years ago I went online and searched for a recipe for the Honey Mustard dressing. I love this dressing. It's so easy to put together and yummy! I'm thinking that I need to do a search for the poppyseed recipe and see what I come up with. 2/3 c. mayo (I often use light mayo)
1/4 c. honey
2 T. Grey Poupon dijon mustard
1 tsp. vinegar
pinch of paprika
pinch of salt

Mix all together and it's ready!!