Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chinese Take Out Style Orange Chicken

I decided to give chinese take out style food a go...and this turned out so delicious!!

Chinese Take Out Style Orange Chicken
~Recipe adapted by Two Crazy Cupcakes from
***Marinate your chicken breast strips in OJ for at least 30 minutes.
16 oz orange marmalade
4 tbsp orange juice- no pulp
1 ¼ cups water
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar (I didn't have it the second time so I used white vinegar-- just as good)

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (kikoman preferred)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of ground ginger or ½ tsp fresh minced ginger

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste but at least ¼ tsp)
3 tbsp cornstarch mixed 4 tbsp with cold water until completely dissolved with no lumps

Crispy chicken breast chunks:

Cut 3 breasts into thin chunks. Marinate strips in OJ for at least 30 minutes. Combine 2 cups flour with salt, pepper, Lawry’s season salt, cayenne pepper, pinch of baking powder. Dip chicken in beaten egg and coat in flour mix. Fry in 1-2 oil until golden –OR- oven crisp chicken 375 for at least 30 minutes turn halfway through cooking time.)

***You can also substitute crispy frozen breast tenders cooked according to package for chicken to make it fast and easy but "from scratch" tastes more like a restaurant.
1)      Combine all ingredients up to red pepper flakes in medium sauce pan.

2)      Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally so it does    not burn. Remove from heat.

3)      Prepare your chicken.

4)      Place your sauce back on medium high and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch/water mixture.

5)      Boil about 5 minutes or until thickened and just sticks to back of spoon.

6)     Before serving toss your crispy chicken in orange sauce. Serve over white steamed rice with broccoli.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Overnight French Toast Casserole

I hosted a baby shower brunch for a friend of mine and made a french toast casserole. Not only was it delicious but it was easy to make ahead of time.

***sorry about the unedited iphone pic but at least you get the idea of what it looks like :)

Overnight French Toast Casserole


10 cups cubed (1 inch) sturdy white bread (1 long loaf of French bread)

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese (at room temperature)

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

2/3 cup half-and-half cream

1/2 cup maple syrup (pancake syrup)

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar


Place bread cubes in 13"x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Beat cream cheese well with an electric mixer at medium speed until completely smooth. Then beat in eggs at low speed until blended.

Add milk, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla and wisk or beat until smooth.

Pour mixture over top of bread and press bread down gently into egg mixture making sure the bread is completely coated.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning remove casserole from refrigerator and press down gently to re-soak bread and let stand on counter for 20-30 min.

Bake at 350* for 40-45 minutes or until set. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle top with confectioner's sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

This turned out delicious. It reminds me of a really quality chicken pot pie. Do you see those huge chunks of chicken breast in there? YUM! My kids really enjoyed this one! It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe with some minor changes to make it easier and tiny bit less fattening.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Printable Recipe
3 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Enough water to cover the chicken breasts

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (dried herbs)

5 cups chicken stock, low sodium

2 chicken bouillon cubes (I prefer organic to cut down on some of the not so healthy stuff)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

3/4 cup flour

1 10-12 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables (2 cups)

1 10-ounce package frozen corn (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions -OR- frozen diced potatoes (optional)

1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (dried herbs)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup half-and-half

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

3/4 cup half-and-half -OR- whole milk

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2) ***This can been done day before or morning of to save some time. Poach the chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a pot with lid and cover with water. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and bay leaves. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Set pot aside for 25 minutes and do not remove lid. Remove chicken to cutting board or plate and allow chicken to cool enough to handle. Then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

3) In a large glass measuring cup, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock in microwave.

4) In a large pot or Dutch oven (To save on dishes later I use same pot as chicken and just rinse it out), melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

5) Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

6) Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.

7) Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the half-and-half. Add the cubed chicken, mixed vegetables, corn, onions or potatoes, and Italian Seasoning. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

8) While stew is in oven, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the diced cold butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Optional-Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a sheet of wax/parchment paper and cover dough with another sheet of wax/parchment paper. Roll out with a rolling pin, to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or use the the rim of a glass or jar like me.
9) Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are light brown and the stew is bubbly. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note from Barefoot Contessa: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, and then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

*** I am sure this dish can be completed using ready to bake country style biscuits in a time pinch but I prefer to make my own so I can control what goes in them and make sure we are eating the most natural ingredients possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quick & Tasty Mediterranean Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Here is a quick and tasty bow tie pasta salad that I threw together one night when we were running short on time. This goes really well with the Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Burgers.

Mediterranean Bow Tie Pasta Salad

12 oz box bow tie pasta, cooked according to package, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 - 2 cups Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup sun dried julienne cut tomatoes herbs packed in oil, drained
optional: olives

1) Combine drained, rinsed pasta with vinaigrette.
2) Fold in feta and sun dried tomatoes.
3) Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Better if left overnight for flavors to combine.

California Sun Dried Tomatoes with herbs packed in oil are my favorite sundried tomatoes. I used these in salads, burgers, pasta, and chicken dishes. I love them mashed on a plate mixed with some oil from the jar, coarse sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to use as a sourdough bread dipping sauce.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Creamy Shells and Cheese

This has become one of my kids favorites. I got the original recipe from a newspaper article but I cannot remember which one. It has been in my recipe binder for quite some time.

Creamy Shells and Cheese
Printable Recipe

8 oz shell pasta, cooked according to package, drained and rinsed
12 oz can evaporated milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated colby-jack or parmesan cheese
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1) Microwave evaporated milk and chicken broth until steamy (not boiling).
2) In large pot (I use the same pot from the pasta), over low heat melt butter. Whisk in flour and then steamy milk mixture. Cook until thickens about 3-4 minutes.
3) Whisk in Dijon mustard, grated colby-jack or parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
4) Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Fold in cooked shell pasta.

***TIP: Sometimes we make this a meal by stirring in poached or grilled sliced chicken breasts and steamed broccoli.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jerk Chicken Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Jerk Chicken Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Field Greens or Baby Spinach
Jerk Chicken Breast, sliced with skin on
Carrots, sliced thin
Red Bell Pepper, diced
Ripe Mango, diced
English Cucumber, sliced or diced
Mango Vinaigrette

1) In a large bowl, toss all ingredients with Mango Vinaigrette to taste.

Mango Vinaigrette

1 whole ripe mango, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (for lighter taste) Use balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar for more flavor.
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 -1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup light olive oil or canola oil

1) In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients up to kosher salt. Blend well.
2) Slowly drizzle in oil while food processor is running. Combine until emulsified.
3) No food processor...that's can combine all the ingredients in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake that baby up for 20-30 seconds.

Oven Baked Jerk Chicken Breast

lemon juice or white vinegar
3-4 whole chicken breasts with bones and skin on
1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce (I was taught by a Jamaican chef with this sauce but any soy sauce will work)
3-6 tablespoons Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning, to taste ***See Note
1/4 cup water

1) Clean chicken breasts with lemon juice or white vinegar and cut whole chicken breasts in half.
2) Place chicken breasts bone side down in baking dish.
3) Toss to coat chicken breasts with mushroom soy sauce.
4) Add water to bottom of baking dish.
5) Using back of spoon or gloved hands, rub walkerswood jerk seasoning all over top of chicken breasts.
6) Marinate at least 4 hours for full flavor.
7) Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or internal temperature reaches 160F.
8) Broil for 5-10 minutes to allow skin to crisp.

***NOTE: Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning can usually be purchased in most major cities at a caribbean grocer. Check your yellow pages. Take a lil field trip and you may discover a whole bunch of delicious products you never knew were out there.

Look out for another delicious recipe coming soon using Walkerwood Jerk Seasoning!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alton Brown's Crispy Wings

These wings are so delicious! As always Alton Brown comes through with another great recipe with moist juicy meat on the inside and a crispy exterior. And the best part these taste like a restaurant but are oven baked wings!

Alton Brown's Wings
Printable Recipe


12 whole chicken wings

3 ounces unsalted butter

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup hot sauce---to kick up the heat add more hot sauce
(Two Crazy Cupcakes likes Frank's Hot Sauce)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1) Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.

2) Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock. Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint. Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

4) Replace the paper towels with parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.

5) While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.

6) Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.
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