Stir-Fried Chicken With Broccoli

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This weekend I was just clicking my way through You Tube when I came across a video about how to get the most from an all you can eat Chinese buffet.  The basic premise is most of us are doing it all wrong.  We fill up our plates and our bellies with the food that is cheap to make, like fried rice, lo mein and sweet and sour pork.  We then neglect the most expensive stuff, like crab legs.   In order to get the most of an all you can eat Chinese buffet, we should be concentrating more on eating the expensive stuff.

I guess I am doomed to never get the most out of all you can eat Chinese buffet because my favorites are all things that, according to the video, are the cheapest to make.  I love fried rice, lo mein, sweet and sour pork and stir-fried chicken and broccoli the best.  The rest is nice but if I don’t get to it I haven’t missed anything.  Well,  I don’t think I miss anything.  The gentlemen in the video might disagree.  Maybe, if I make more of the Chinese food I like at home, I’ll get more out of the next Chinese buffet I go to.

 

Stir-Fried Chicken With Broccoli

From How To Cook Everything The Basics

1 lb broccoli

2 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS minced ginger

1 medium onion, halved and sliced

1/2 cup water

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

2 TBS soy sauce,  sub coconut aminos and adjust salt for Whole 30

Prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking.  Once you start cooking things progress quickly.  Trim your broccoli and cut into 1 -2 inch pieces; set aside.   Mince your ginger and your garlic; set aside.  Peel and slice your onion; set aside.  Place your salt, pepper, water and soy sauce to the side with your vegetables.

Add 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-heat.  When hot, add the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Stir it once, and then let it sit for at least one minute, until it begins to brown and sizzle before stirring again.  Add the garlic, ginger and onion to the chicken.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink and the vegetables are soft, 3 -5 minutes.  Remove the chicken mixture from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Add the broccoli right away and raise the heat to high.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli starts to char in some spots and turns bright green, 1- 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of water and stir to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. Taste the broccoli, it should be tender but not mushy.  If it isn’t tender, cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Return the chicken mixture to the pan and toss to combine.  Add the soy sauce, and the remaining 1/4 cup water, if the mixture looks dry.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. 

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Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

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Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence isn’t going to write any more cookbooks because …. “Recipes are dead.”  His reasoning behind this statement is …. “I’ll publish a cookbook and I’ll have a 125 recipes.  People only use five and they won’t even follow them:  They’ll use those like a guide that they’ll kind of interchange different ingredients with ….”   (The Smart Kitchen Summit via The Washington Post).

I can’t even begin to tell you how much this statement irked me.  First of all, every recipe since the first caveman threw a piece of meat on the fire has come into existence because someone used someone elses’ recipe as a guide and changed out the ingredients.  This includes every recipe that Chef Florence has ever created.  Second, I wonder if it ever occurred to Chef Florence that more people would use his recipes as written if they were more accessible to the average home cook.

Maybe, I am sensitive to what Chef Florence said because I have spent the last 5 1/2 years adapting other people’s recipes.  Over the years I have asked dozens of professional and hobby bloggers for permission to post my adaptions for their recipes.  None of them have said no because they don’t want their recipes changed in any way.  Most of them are happy I like their recipes enough to include them on A Solitary Feast.  In fact, only one blogger has ever said no when I asked permission to post one of my adaptions. It was more of wanting the views for her recipe on her blog rather than mine not because she was upset I changed her recipe.

Personally, I want you to take the recipes I have posted here and make them your own in whatever way you wish.  To me finding new ways to make a recipe is what cooking is all about.  It’s where we get new flavor combinations, new recipes and new cooking techniques.  So go grab a recipe, get into the kitchen and play.  When you are done come here and tell me about it so can get in the kitchen and play too.

 

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Adapted From Budget Bytes

1 cup pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup milk

1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin,  brown sugar, egg, vanilla and milk; mix well.  In medium bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  In a 1 quart baking dish, spread the oat mixture in the baking dish.  Bake 45 minutes or until firm. 

 

Curry Spiced Scrambled Eggs and Red Onion (Whole 30)

The start of this week is going so much better than last week.  Riley is completely off her meds and back in the cage with all her parakeet and cockatiel brothers and sisters.  Riley’s weight is up to 98 grams, right about where it should be.  Riley is much happier and so am I.  Maybe, now I can get back in the kitchen and cook again.

Curry Spiced Scrambled Eggs and Red Onions

From Eat, Drink,  Paleo

1 TBS ghee

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp curry powder

1 handful of baby spinach leaves

1 TBS lemon juice

Heat ghee in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the onions and sauté 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Whisk the eggs in a small bowl; set aside.  add the garlic and curry powder to the onions, mix well.  Pour the eggs into the pan and gently stir continuously until the eggs are cooked to your liking.  Add the spinach to a serving dish and drizzle with lemon juice.  Top with the scrambled eggs.

Texas Hash Casserole

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Hey Guys,  thank you for all the good vibes for me and Riley Jo.  It is all very much appreciated.  Riley Jo came through the surgery amazingly well.  However,  the damage was more extensive than Dr. Dill thought.  We will be going for a re – check on October 29th to evaluate whether or not Riley Jo will need further surgery.   Keep your fingers crossed she doesn’t.   Right now, Riley Jo’s biggest complaint is she has to be in a cage by herself because I have to monitor her food intake and I keep giving her icky pain medication every morning.

As for me, I am starting to relax enough to let Riley Jo,  Beau and Squeak play together when I am around to supervise.  I can actually leave the room without freaking out that every noise I hear is Riley Jo hurting herself.  Yeah,  I am a mess.

I haven’t been doing much cooking this week.  This casserole is really the only attempt I have made to cook anything, which is a testament to how physically, mentally and emotionally draining this week has been.  Usually, you can’t pry me out of my kitchen.

Texas Hash Casserole

Adapted from The Crazy Casserole Cookbook

1/2 lb ground beef

1 large onion, sliced

1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1/2 cup long grain white rice

2 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper, taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  In a frying pan, over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.  Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Stir until the vegetables soften.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, rice and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole and bake 45 minutes or until slightly crusted on top. 

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Mark Bittman’s Bean Patties

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A little over a week ago, I found out my cockatiel, Riley, is going to need surgery.  About two months ago, Riley developed an abscess on her wing.  I took her to the vet and got it cleaned out but Dr. Dill said he thought there was damage to the feather follicle.  If there was damage to the feather follicle every feather that grew out of it would cause another abscess. The only way to prevent this from happening would be to remove the follicle. We couldn’t really be sure until it happened again.  Sure enough, it happened again so we scheduled surgery for October 15.  In 20 years of having birds, I have never had to experience surgery for one of my birds.  I have had handicapped birds, birds with behavioral problems, birds who plucked themselves,  a bird with gout, a bird who poked a hole in her beak, a bird who scalped herself and two birds with a disease the vet didn’t even have a name for but never a bird that needed surgery.  I am a total mess worrying about Riley.

To make matters worse, there was a problem with my paycheck this week.  Yeah, so it was really short and I won’t get the money until my next paycheck.  So after paying my bills and setting money aside to pay for Riley’s surgery, I don’t have much money left in the budget for anything else.  So this week all my recipes are going to be made from stuff I already have in my pantry.  One of the great things about being able to cook and having a moderately well stocked pantry is I am always able to cobble something together for a meal.  It may not be the most amazing meal I have ever made but it will keep me from going hungry.  I can usually make it taste pretty good too.

One of the things I always keep in my pantry are a couple of bags of different kinds of beans.  Beans are cheap and nutritious.  They can be made in tons of different ways.  My favorite way to make beans is into a patty to serve as a sandwich.  I like Mark Bittman’s recipe for beans patties because of all the recipes I have tried for bean patties, and I have tried dozens, his stay together best if you follow his directions.  Feel free to use any seasoning blend you like instead of the chili powder.  I have used taco seasoning and Shawarma spice blend with good results.

 

Bean Patties

From How To Cook Everything The Basics

2 cups beans, cooked, or from a can, drained, any type of beans can be used I like chickpeas

1 medium onion, cut into chunks

1/2 cup rolled oats, more as needed

1 TBS chili powder, or spice blend of your choice

salt and pepper, to taste

Bean liquid or water, as needed

In your food processor, add the beans, onion, oats and chili powder; sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Let the machine run, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides.  until the mixture is throughly  combined.   If you don’t have a food processor, chop your onions finely and add everything to a large bowl.  Use a potato masher to mash everything together.    Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.  You want a moist consistency that will easily form into patties.  If the mixture is too wet, add more oats 1 tablespoon at a time.  If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of bean liquid or water at a time.  Shape the mixture into 4 patties.  Let the patties sit another 5  minutes.  Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the patties.  Cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on one side, 3-8 minutes.  Add more oil to the pan, if necessary.  Carefully, flip the patties and cook on the other side until the is browned and the patties feel firm, another 3-5 minutes.