Posts Tagged ‘cashews’

Chicken & Cashews

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I pulled this recipe from a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine. I don’t really have a lot to say about this one–it was good, but not great. I prefer the Cashew Chicken Stir Fry that I made before. Really, there shouldn’t have been a lot of difference, but to me, the previous version was much better. I’ll be keeping that as my standby, as far as Cashew Chicken goes.

Chicken & Cashews
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

  • 3  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 4  teaspoons  cornstarch, divided
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  oyster sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  honey
  • 2  teaspoons  sesame oil, divided
  • 3/4  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  chopped celery
  • 1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions (about 3 green onions)
  • 1/4  cup  chopped unsalted dry-roasted cashews

1. Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sherry, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and chicken in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, broth, oyster sauce, and honey in a small bowl.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Return chicken mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with green onions and cashews.

Rice pilaf: Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup water, 1/2 cup long-grain rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

Cooking Light’s Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

I really, really enjoyed this Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe, and so did Leah and David. The sauce made with pineapple juice was much tastier than any sweet and sour sauce I’ve had at home. The water chestnuts and bell pepper added a satisfying crunch to the mixture, but the pineapple chunks were my favorite. This was very good with canned pineapple, but I imagine fresh pineapple could take it to a whole new level. I think I’ll try that next time.

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1  teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1  (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1/3  cup  reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  cornstarch
  • 2  teaspoons  brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  dry-roasted chopped cashews
  • 1 batch of prepared Baked Brown Rice, recipe follows

Directions

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper, and chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture from pan; set aside.

Add onion, celery, water chestnuts, and bell pepper to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Add 1 cup pineapple chunks to pan; cook 30 seconds. Reserve remaining pineapple for another use. Combine the reserved 1/2 cup juice, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Return chicken mixture to pan. Stir in juice mixture; bring to boil. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve over rice.

Note: Sweet & Sour Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese dishes to order. Normally, the take-out version is made by deep frying the chunks of chicken in a thick batter before adding them to a thick, syrupy sauce. Though this dish was a little different than that version, I didn’t miss the breading one bit. I will definitely make this one again.

Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice

This is by far the easiest and best brown rice recipe I’ve come across. It’s literally fool-proof, and after you taste the chewy, nutty texture, you’ll never go back to Minute Rice again.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  • Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashew Rice

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

If you (like just about everyone I work with) are working on your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, you probably have not been aided much by this blog. There have been some seriously unhealthy things around here lately, but I swear, that’s not all we eat! To prove it, here’s a recipe for last night’s dinner, a stir fry dish adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

If you’re looking for healthy recipes and enjoy cooking, you really can’t go wrong with Cooking Light. I get their “Dinner Tonight” emails daily, which is actually where the inspiration for this meal came from.

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Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashew Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

  • 1 batch Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice, recipe follows
  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/4  cup  dry-roasted cashews, salted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2/3  cup chicken stock
  • 2  tablespoons  cornstarch, divided
  • 3  tablespoons  soy sauce, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  honey
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 6 ounces)
  • 1  cup  chopped red bell pepper (about 1)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts

Directions

  1. Cook the rice according to the recipe below. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped green onions, and chopped dry-roasted cashews; set aside, and keep warm.
  2. Whisk together 2/3 cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and honey in a small bowl, and set aside.
  3. Combine chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a bowl, tossing well to coat. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 4-6 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan.
  4. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add water chestnuts, ginger, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add peas and bell pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in pork; sauté 1 minute. Add reserved broth mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Serve over cashew rice.

Nutritional Information (For 1 & 1/2 cups of chicken mixture, and 1/2 cup cashew rice): Calories: 460 (23% from fat), Fat: 11.8g (sat 2.5g,mono 6.2g,poly 2.3g), Protein: 31.8g, Carbohydrate: 55.9g, Fiber: 3.6g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Iron:4.6mg, Sodium:787mg, Calcium:73mg

Note: This recipe is flexible; almost a method, rather than a recipe. The original called for pork, onions, and mushrooms, but I made the swaps as you see above–and it was just as good. Broccoli would also be at home here, or maybe those baby corns, bamboo shoots, some carrots, cabbage, or bok choy. It could be spiced up with red pepper flakes, if that’s more to your liking. I’d add about 1/4th of a teaspoon to the remainder of the sauce, if you want a spicier dish.

Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice

This is by far the easiest and best brown rice recipe I’ve come across. It’s literally fool-proof, and after you taste the chewy, nutty texture, you’ll never go back to Minute Rice again.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  • Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

Cashew Brittle

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Apparently, Christmastime is also for candy.

On my hunt for Christmas cookie recipes, I came across an excellent recipe for Cashew Brittle. Now peanut brittle, I’m not that crazy about, but cashews are a whole different story. We also had bought cashews at Costco the week before, which were delicious. So it seemed meant to be.

I’m also a sucker for the salty and sweet combination, and this definitely fits the bill there.

I found this recipe on another blog that I read, The Wednesday Chef.

Homemade candy is one of those things that seems to impress everyone, but brittle is really about the simplest kind of homemade candy that there is. No candy thermometer or special equipment needed.

Note: Because I wanted the salty flavor to really come through, and because it’s what I keep on hand, I used salted butter instead of unsalted, and it was delicious. One other reminder–the instructions call for a large saucepan, and that’s important. When you add the baking soda and salt, it’s REALLY going to rise and bubble, and my saucepan wasn’t large enough to keep it from boiling over. A non-stick stockpot is really a safer bet, in my opinion.

Cashew Brittle
Makes 3.5 pounds

4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds salted, roasted cashews

1. Line two baking sheets with lightly buttered parchment paper or lightly coat the sheets with cooking spray. Do not use wax paper or plastic wrap.

2. Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan and stir together. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel turns a medium-golden color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Carefully whisk in the baking soda and then the salt. The mixture will rise and bubble. Using a wooden or metal spoon, stir in the nuts, then immediately pour the brittle onto the prepared cookie sheets, using the back of the spoon to spread the brittle out.

3. Once brittle is completely cool, break it into bite-sized pieces using the back of a knife or your hands. The brittle can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to two weeks.

I’ve made this kind of candy once before, and this recipe is as good as I remember. For an extra fun treat, stir a bag of popped popcorn into the hot candy once it’s spread out on the cookie sheets. It makes an awesome poppycock style snack.