HBE 9

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

With Easter coming up in just over a week, I thought I would share my tip on how to get the perfect hard-boiled eggs. I had tried various ways to get them “perfect” – no grayish rings; easy to peel; etc. But I could not find something that consistently worked. I tried adding salt, adding vinegar, adding whatever – it did not work for me. So in total frustration one day, I just boiled some water, plopped the eggs in it, boiled, ran in cold water – and to my shock and amazement….they turned out perfectly.

This almost feels like cheating because it is easy, but it works. The shells come off in large pieces instead of in tiny bits; there is no graying; they turn out just right.

Step 1: Boil Water

Step 2: Carefully plop eggs into the water. The only time I have had eggs crack on me is when they crash to the bottom when I first put them in. If I carefully lower them in, they have never broken for me. They may just be well-trained over at our house, though. :)

Step 3: Boil for 13 minutes. This time may vary depending on your altitude. For us, this gets the yolks cooked, but not dried out.

Step 4: Dump out the boiling water and run cold water over the eggs. Do this until the eggs are consistently cool to the touch. You can also just keep the eggs sitting in cold water.

Step 5: Peel your eggs. See the large chunks coming off? That has been my result every time. Easy peasy. No screaming at your eggs because you have to pick off little tiny pieces. Nope. Love it.

There you have it. Nice and straight-forward. Easy. Yummy. Awesome.

SSC 6

Awesome Sweet & Sour Chicken

I found this recipe on pinterest, and decided to try it – it claimed to be “baked” and “impossible to stop eating”. Well, who could resist that?

First, a point of clarification – yes, it is baked, but you FRY it first. In oil. Enough oil to add 56 grams of fat if all of that ends up in your final dish. And some – if not all – of it will. Therefore it is not technically “baked” like a baked homemade french fry that is not covered in oil and therefore is healthier than a true french fry. This recipe is still fried, even with the baking afterward.

HOWEVER, it was AMAZING. Seriously. We even messed up the recipe a bit, and it still was hands down some of the best sweet and sour chicken we have ever tried.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper

1 c. cornstarch

2 eggs (beaten)

1/4 c. canola oil

3/4 c. sugar

4 T. ketchup

1/2 c. vinegar

1 T. soy sauce

1 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat your oil in a large skillet. Rinse your chicken breasts in water, then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Dip the chicken first into the cornstarch to coat, then into the eggs. Cook your chicken until browned, but not cooked through (this is where we messed it up).

While you are browning your chicken, mix the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic salt in a small bowl – this is your rockin’ sauce.

When chicken is browned, dump the chicken into a GREASED 9×13 baking dish and dump your sauce over the top. Bake for an hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes. When you are done, you will get this deliciousness:

Here is where we messed up, which may not have been a bad thing. Both my husband and I worked on this one together. Here goes: one of us had put the oil on a mediumish heat initially, and the other one suggested that we turn it down to low. So down to low it went. So the breaded chicken never really “fried” properly, the chicken was definitely cooked through before we put it in the oven, and a good amount of the breading was in the sauce. Because the chicken was cooked through, we only kept it in the oven for 30 minutes or so, turning it halfway through. Still, it was fantabulous. Next time, though, we will keep the oil temperature up.

Initially the sauce tasted kind of like the Polynesian sauce from Chick-Fil-A (which I love), but it settled down to more of a sweet and sour flavor within a couple of minutes. The next time we make this, I will probably toss some drained pineapple and chunkily chopped green peppers and I think it would then be absolutely perfect.

This one is a keeper!

Freeze Your Veggies!

Earlier this week when we made our soup, I knew that I would be needing to make another pot of it later in the week to bring to a friend whose husband had surgery. One thing that is a little tough about that soup (or any meal where you need to prep, honestly), IS the prep work. Specifically chopping the veggies. Since I had all of the veggies out, I just chopped enough to put in the pot of soup for later in the week, put it in a plastic freezer baggie, labeled it, chucked it in the freezer and VOILA! Easy soup later in the week.

It was MUCH faster to throw together  with the bag of frozen veggies РI just dumped them in the pot and we were ready to go. So if you have to chop veggies for one meal, take a couple of minutes and chop a bit extra and freeze it so when you make that meal again, it is much faster.

 

TBP 11

Best Soup EVER. Pretty much.

We made this soup last night. And we have made it three times since we found it two months ago. I think we like it a little bit……possibly. I found it over at 365 Days of Slow Cooking (the link will actually take you to where the recipe lives now). It is so creamy and delicious, and yet feels light too and has a fantastic subtle crunch from the veggies. It’s awesome. We have made it both in the crock pot and on the stove – it is great either way.

Here is the recipe – I organized it a little differently than on the original site so it’s a little easier to follow:

Ingredients

2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz. each)

1 cup carrots (finely diced)

1 cup celery (finely diced)

1 cup onions (finely diced)

4 cups chicken broth (or 4 chicken bullion cubes and 4 cups water)

1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 T fresh)

1 T dried basil (or 1/4 c. fresh)

1/2 bay leaf

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. flour

1 c. parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if possible)

2 c. warmed half and half (or milk – will give you lighter flavor and will be a little bit healthier)

1 tsp. salt

 

How to:

1. Combine first eight ingredients (through bay leaf) in large pot. Start simmering. OR you could dump all of it into a crock pot and leave it on low for 5-7 hours. Yummy! :)

2. In another pot, melt the butter. When it is melted, whisk in the flour. Wisk continually for 5-7 minutes. Congratulations – you’ve now made a “roux”. If the rest of the soup is in the crock pot, you’ll do this step at the end of the 5-7 hours.

3. At the end of the 5-7 minutes, slowly stir in 1 cup of the hot soup. I like to move the “roux” pot over to the simmering veggies for this part. It will thicken up immediately. Then add 3 more cups of the hot soup. At this point you will have used a good deal of the soup mixture, and it will still be thick at the end.

4. Dump the “roux” mixture into what is left of the soup. Simmer and stir constantly until the soup thickens. Then wisk your parmesan. I actually prefer less than the 1 cup, but it’s up to you. Then add your warmed half and half (or milk) and salt. Simmer this over low heat for 15-20 min.

5. Serve up, and enjoy!!

 

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