Friday, January 11, 2013

one hundred and sixty-four

One of the things I'm often reluctant to 'fess up to is my love of Americanized Chinese food.  It's greasy, it's overpriced, and worst of all, you're hungry an hour after you put down your fork chopsticks.  If I were a less stubborn person, I would probably just decide that I don't care for Chinese food.  Since that's not exactly an option, I took the "mess around in the kitchen until you make something that tastes kind of like Chinese food" route.

The first few attempts were a disaster due to my fear of the food ending up too salty.  I quickly learned that, as with most restaurant recipe rip offs, there is almost no such thing as "too salty".  So, I doubled the soy sauce and ended up with... soy saucey chicken.  Not quite what I was aiming for, but it was getting there; I just had to figure out what I could use to balance out the salt.  While rummaging through the cabinets in a fit of frustration, the answer literally fell on my head--a gift from above in the form of a bottle of ginger.

That was when I realized that I had been going about it all wrong.  I needed to focus on improving Americanized Chinese food rather than emulating it.  So, I tossed out all of my work and started from scratch.  The end result remains one of my all time favorites, not only due to the deliciousness, but also because it can be prepared in the time it takes for the rice to cook.  Who needs takeaway, anyway?  Recipe is after the jump and menu plan.

Menu Plan : January 11 - 17, 2012

Due to my lack of smell (and thus taste) over the last couple of weeks, I have been less than inspired in the menu plan department.  Just in case the sick doesn't hit the road for a while, I've made sure to include lots of easy meals with plenty of leftovers for Mr. N to bring for lunch.  The salad is something I often don't look forward to, but one of the bajillion small batch balsamic vinegars in our cupboard turns it from an "ew, healthy" meal to something almost cravable. 

Friday : ginger chicken and greenbeans (recipe follows)
Saturday : pollo fundido
Tuesday : chicken soft tacos
Thursday : leftover chili and cornbread

Dessert : sopapillas

Ginger Chicken and Green Beans

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), sliced
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
fresh ground pepper
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp dried ginger
1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
~1/2 cup chicken broth
1-2 tsp of brown sugar (optional)
3 cups steamed green beans

Mix the chicken, cornstarch, vinegar, 2 tsp of the soy sauce, and the pepper in a small bowl.  Let marinate 10-15 minutes, or up to an hour.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the marinated chicken and stir fry until the chicken is opaque, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the gingers, oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce.  Once everything looks coated, add the chicken broth and brown sugar.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is thickened and is coating the chicken.

Stir in green beans.

Serve over steamed rice.

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