June 21, 2013

10 minute Sweet & Sour Chicken with Jasmine Rice

When dinners promise to take you 10 minutes, it's usually a sign that:

a) The word "Helper" is in the title of the dish
b) Everything comes out of a can
c) It's going to taste like crap.

But this one is different, I swear. As an American Chinese food aficionado, I love anything "Sweet & Sour." I've made some sweet and sour dishes from scratch, and it can be really time-consuming. I like to spend more time eating, and less time cooking. This recipe uses a jarred sauce as a base to speed things along.

So, let's get to it--here's how to make the easiest (and most delicious!) Sweet & Sour chicken in the Western hemisphere.

Sweet & Sour Chicken w/ Jasmine Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-7 minutes
Serves 3-4 people

  • 1 jar LaChoy Sweet and sour sauce
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1" pieces
  • Sesame-ginger seasoning blend
  • Minced garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Corn starch
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sesame seed oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds, optional
  • Jasmine rice, prepared

If you're into a more robust flavor (I am!) and have some extra time, you can marinate the chicken pieces in soy sauce, minced garlic, and some extra sesame-ginger seasoning for about 30 minutes. 

If you don't have time to marinade, simply toss the chicken with soy sauce, sesame ginger blend, and the minced garlic, letting it soak for just a minute. The soy helps the chicken achieve a browner color and the garlic imparts some flavor. 

1. Heat vegetable oil and a few drops of sesame seed oil over medium-high heat.

2. Coat chicken pieces in corn starch, shaking off excess.

3. Fry the chicken until golden brown.

4. Add the jar of Sweet and Sour sauce to the chicken, then a tablespoon of soy sauce, stirring quickly to blend.

5. Wait for the mixture to become bubbly, then remove from heat.

6. Serve over jasmine rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for a restaurant-quality touch--my husband hates them, so I had to forgo it.

Enjoy it! This is a once-weekly staple at my house. Sorry, China Garden, we don't need you anymore!

June 19, 2013

I'm not scared of skinny dipping or break-ins. Let me tell you why.

I live in the middle of nowhere in Middle Tennessee. It's the epitome of rural, and some people don't understand how I can stand it. 

Sometimes I wish I was in the hub of the city, with the excitement of constant movement and fast-paced living. Sometimes I enjoy the solitude and close-to-nature experience of rural living. There are two sides to every story.

"Living in the middle of nowhere is awful", said the City Mouse. 
This is paradise to some.
  • You have to drive 20 minutes to go to the grocery store. By the time you drive home, all your frozen stuff is thawed.

  • Your friends all live at least 30 miles from your house. After 4 years of this, you won't have many friends left. 

  • Jobs that don't require an hour commute are far and few between.

"But living in the middle of nowhere also has its perks", said the Country Cricket. 
And this is my paradise. 
  • You're almost certainly the hottest chick within a 30 mile radius. Maybe even the only chick.
  • The creek, lake, and hiking trails might only be a few steps from your front door. 

  • You can go skinny dipping without fear of getting caught. Well, okay, you'll still be a little scared you'll get caught.

  • You don't have to worry about anyone breaking in to your house, because no one would be stupid enough to attempt to drive down your treacherous, mile-long, gravel driveway.

  • It's quiet, unless you count the sound of my 3 year old daughter screaming as "sound." 

So, which are you? A country cricket or a city mouse? Do you prefer the city, where it's gritty, or the country, where it's...funky? I don't know, I don't think anything really rhymes with country. But you get the point. 

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