Catching The Torch

Trials by Fire in Hostessing, Motherhood, Life


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Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

If this recipe were a piece of clothing, it would be your favorite pair of jeans.  It goes with anything, meets any occasion, you can dress it up or down, and it makes you feel wonderful.  And it’s easy.  I make this almost every week, and it’s my go-to if I’m delivering a meal to a neighbor or new parents.  I’ve also dolled it up to serve for big family dinners.  I haven’t met anyone, including my picky toddlers, who won’t eat Orange Chicken.

This is also Mimi’s recipe, and she was quite proud of it.  What would the Queen say?  I believe she would say it is delicious.

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts

2 cups of rice

1 stick of butter

2 T flour

2 T sugar

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2-3 cups of orange juice

Salt and Pepper

An orange, sliced.

Method:

Boil your rice according to package directions.  Melt butter in a large frying pan.  Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken on both sides (cook in batches to avoid over-crowding).  Remove to plate.  Stir in spices and flour and cook over low heat until it forms a smooth paste.  Gradually stir in orange juice, stirring constantly.  Bring to a full boil.  Place chicken back in pan (you can squish them together now) and drape some sauce to cover chicken.  Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove one breast, check doneness.

Arrange for table:

Weeknight dinner:

  • Individual platings: Rice, chicken breast on top, drizzle sauce over both
  • Sauce in a gravy boat

Fancy dinner:

  • Rice in covered serving dish with a pat of butter in middle
  • Chicken arranged nicely on plate, drizzle sauce over
  • Slice orange, then, make a cut in middle of orange through one part of rind.  Twist orange slices into S shape and arrange on chicken
  • Sauce in gravy boat because people with LOVE it.

As a Meal-On-Wheels:

  • Buy a square disposable foil pan with lid
  • Pour in rice and stir in all but a little sauce until fully mixed
  • Arrange chicken on top, drizzle sauce
  • Place 3 flat orange slices in middle

Mimi always served this with steamed broccoli, but a salad is easy and crowd-pleasing.  This recipe also freezes well.

For more Dinners en Famille, see this

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Chicken Slop

Chicken Slop

Chicken Casserole, or as it will forever be known in my family, Chicken Slop, is one of the best meals for a crowd I have made.  Everyone loves it, it’s just different enough, and it is filling.  Embodying the spirit of my late grandmother Mimi, it is interesting, a little eccentric, and exceedingly warming to the soul.  Viewer Warning:  This recipe contains 2 ingredients my generation of cooks despises as much as they love quinoa and kale: Butter and Cream of Chicken Soup.  Is this recipe low-fat?  Absolutely not.  Is it an economically delicious treat for a crowd.  A thousand times yes.

(Katy, why did you link The Blue Danube Waltz to this?  Because this)

Chicken Slop

Ingredients:

8 boneless chicken breasts

2 cups of rice\

4 T butter plus 1 stick of butter

1 can Cream of Chicken soup

10 oz fat-free sour cream,

1 small can of diced green chiles

1 can of water chestnuts

1/2 cup sliced almonds

3 sliced hard-boiled eggs

1 can French-fried onions

Salt, pepper, and thyme

Method:

Preheat oven to 375*  Bake chicken for 30 minutes in a 13×9 pan with a little water.  Cover tightly with foil.  Cool.

Cook rice with 3 cups of water (or chicken broth) and 4 T butter

In a big casserole dish, mix can of soup, sour cream, green chiles, almonds, water chestnuts, and eggs.  Cut up cooled chicken.  Add chicken and cooked rice to casserole, mix well.  Add salt, pepper, and thyme.  Melt a stick of butter and pour it over the top of slop, then add entire can of french-fried onion rings.

Bake 50 minutes at 350*

Serve with a big salad and crusty bread.

For more Dinners en Famille, see this


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Dinner en Famille

Dinner en Famille

Finally, we come to the final performance of a guest visit: The Dinner.  I’m sure you have a dinner or two up your sleeve that you love to make, and I do too.  Sometimes however, my favorite recipes are time-consuming make for a crowd.  Or someone doesn’t like an element, or I feel like it’s boring, etc.   Today I’m going to leave the creativity to the memory of one of the most creative people I’ve been privileged to know:  my grandmother Mimi.  I pass along two wonderful Dinner en Famille recipes from Mimi’s kitchen.

Mimi was an amazing woman.  Imaginative, kind, never knew a stranger, and a lover of our family’s English heritage.  Once while babysitting my brother and me (as well as a flock of neighborhood children), she allowed us to paint her entire face blue, made a full High Tea as a snack, and went out to chat with the mailman still looking like an extra from Braveheart.  She taught us to build fairy-houses in the woods, stay still long enough to catch dragonflies on our fingers, and play Phantom of the Opera on the stereo LOUD.  She kept a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in her china cabinet as well as every picture of her grandchildren and the children of her friends ever sent to her on the fridge.  Many of my dishes, teacups, and assorted serving pieces were from her ever-growing collection of antiques.  She loved buying interesting items and immediately handing them down to us.  One Christmas, she couldn’t serve her punch because she had given all three of her punch ladles to us grandkids.  She was a woman who took us all to see The Phantom of the Opera (I was the oldest at 9) to which she was talked out of wearing wearing a green bridesmaid gown from the 80’s paired with a blue velvet cape.  She invested her time and interest in those around her, and was a constant supporter of her children and grandchildren.  Mimi was fun, dramatic, and completely unembarrassed to be herself.

It is this spirit that embodies her signature dish: Chicken Slop.  Now, ever a stickler for propriety, she is probably shrieking from Heaven that I am calling this dish by its nickname rather than “Chicken Casserole.” (“Oh!  What would the Queen say!!”)  Somewhere along the line, it was renamed Chicken Slop and the nickname was solidified by a little ditty my cousin and I created for it when we were children.  In the throes of rainy-day boredom in an Up North summer, we heard that Chicken Slop was being made for dinner and wanted to see how much we could get away with.  Pilfering dishes, spoons, and dishtowels as props, we choreographed a song and dance to the tune of The Blue Danube.  Every word of the song was Chicken Slop.  It went a little something like this, “Chicken chicken chicken chicken, slop slop!  Slop slop!”  and continued through the entirety of the waltz.  We presented our performance as a pre-dinner show to the family.  As no grandchild could do wrong in Mimi’s eyes, we got away with our making fun and the Chicken Slop Song has remained in family lore ever since.

(I consider it a testament to our raising that we knew all 9 minutes of The Blue Danube Waltz by heart)

Chicken Casserole, or as it will forever be known in my family, Chicken Slop, is one of the best meals for a crowd I have made.  Everyone loves it, it’s just different enough, and it is filling.  Embodying the spirit of my late grandmother Mimi, it is interesting, a little eccentric, and exceedingly warming to the soul.  Viewer Warning:  This recipe contains 2 ingredients my generation of cooks despise as much as they love quinoa and kale: Butter and Cream of Chicken Soup.  Is this recipe low-fat?  Absolutely not.  Is it an economically delicious treat for a crowd.  A thousand times yes.

Chicken Slop

Chicken Slop

Ingredients:

8 boneless chicken breasts

2 cups of rice\

4 T butter plus 1 stick of butter

1 can Cream of Chicken soup

10 oz fat-free sour cream,

1 small can of diced green chiles

1 can of water chestnuts

1/2 cup sliced almonds

3 sliced hard-boiled eggs

1 can French-fried onions

Salt, pepper, and thyme

Method:

Preheat oven to 375*  Bake chicken for 30 minutes in a 13×9 pan with a little water.  Cover tightly with foil.  Cool.

Cook rice with 3 cups of water (or chicken broth) and 4 T butter

In a big casserole dish, mix can of soup, sour cream, green chiles, almonds, water chestnuts, and eggs.  Cut up cooled chicken.  Add chicken and cooked rice to casserole, mix well.  Add salt, pepper, and thyme.  Melt a stick of butter and pour it over the top of slop, then add entire can of french-fried onion rings.

Bake 50 minutes at 350*

Serve with a big salad and crusty bread.

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

If this recipe were a piece of clothing, it would be your favorite pair of jeans.  It goes with anything, meets any occasion, you can dress it up or down, and it makes you feel wonderful.  And it’s easy.  I make this almost every week, and it’s my go-to if I’m delivering a meal to a neighbor or new parents.  I’ve also dolled it up to serve for big family dinners.  I haven’t met anyone, including my picky toddlers, who won’t eat Orange Chicken.

This is also Mimi’s recipe, and she was quite proud of it.  What would the Queen say?  I believe she would say it is delicious.

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts

2 cups of rice

1 stick of butter

2 T flour

2 T sugar

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2-3 cups of orange juice

Salt and Pepper

An orange, sliced.

Method:

Boil your rice according to package directions.  Melt butter in a large frying pan.  Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken on both sides (cook in batches to avoid over-crowding).  Remove to plate.  Stir in spices and flour and cook over low heat until it forms a smooth paste.  Gradually stir in orange juice, stirring constantly.  Bring to a full boil.  Place chicken back in pan (you can squish them together now) and drape some sauce to cover chicken.  Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove one breast, check doneness.

Arrange for table:

Weeknight dinner:

  • Individual platings: Rice, chicken breast on top, drizzle sauce over both
  • Sauce in a gravy boat

Fancy dinner:

  • Rice in covered serving dish with a pat of butter in middle
  • Chicken arranged nicely on plate, drizzle sauce over
  • Slice orange, then, make a cut in middle of orange through one part of rind.  Twist orange slices into S shape and arrange on chicken
  • Sauce in gravy boat because people with LOVE it.

As a Meal-On-Wheels:

  • Buy a square disposable foil pan with lid
  • Pour in rice and stir in all but a little sauce until fully mixed
  • Arrange chicken on top, drizzle sauce
  • Place 3 flat orange slices in middle

Mimi always served this with steamed broccoli, but a salad is easy and crowd-pleasing.  This recipe also freezes well.

I apologize for the skipped week, but this little girl came into our family last Friday and I’ve been a bit consumed.

Lucy

Lucy, our 8-week-old lab/shepherd/hound puppy

It is my best intention to present an Encore: le dessert, next week.


6 Comments

Make What You Love – Lunch for the Masses

Make What You Love - Lunch for the Masses

We just finished breakfast and we’re cooking again??  Yes, friends.  It’s lunch time.

For some reason, when I have guests, lunch seems to catch me off guard.  I’m so busy de-thawing my pastries and planning dinners suited to everyone’s tastes that I forget my guests need to eat a midday meal.  Also, I feel like I haven’t even gotten the breakfast mess cleared up before it’s 11:30 and people (my children) are starting to get hangry.

Lunch exists within people’s unique daily routine.  It’s a meal to eat what you like, catered exclusively to your tastes and diet.  It may be one of the only breaks in your day, or at the very least, a prelude to a break.   Some people eat at their desks, some eat with co-workers.  Some eat in the company of their favorite novel. Nearly no one in our day and age takes lunch as a sit-down meal with family.  Personally, I like to eat at around 2:00 p.m. by myself because as a stay-at-home-parent of toddlers, I find it vital to my humanity to have one meal that I am not supervising and/or wearing.    Considering all of this, planning lunch for a crowd is oddly challenging.

The answer to this challenge is to make what you love.  (And make it ahead of time.)  It will be impossible to cater to everyone’s normal lunchtime routine, and they are at your house to visit you, so present them with a little bit of yourself!  (No cannibalism necessary…)  Personally, my favorite lunches are mess salads and leftovers.  Because it’s pretty weird to serve your guests last week’s casserole, today I present Grandma’s Mac & Cheese and Thai Chicken Salad for a Crowd.  Bonus no-cook “recipe” is the Ploughman’s Lunch, American style

Another thing to remember about lunch is that everyone enjoys a little downtime afterwards (including you).  It’s been a lot of togetherness and people (including you) will very much appreciate some time to do their thing.  Pass out the WiFi password, point people to your magazines and books, hand over the remote, make sure there are blankets for those who want to rest their eyes, and let everyone go to their corners for an hour or two (including you).

Grandma’s Mac and Cheese

My Grandma is an amazing woman – strong, generous, comforting, and wonderful.  She would give her life for every family member and skin the hide off of anyone who crossed them.  The vast belief she has in those she loves, and the quiet expectation that they will be the best version of themselves has been encouragement beyond measure, and has shaped who I am.  I can only hope I have inherited the iron backbone, limitless love, shrewd smarts, and capacity for kindness that are the hallmarks of the Young women.

It is only appropriate that this wholly comforting, stick-to-your-belly, no-nonsense, wonderful recipe is handed down from her.

Grandma’s Mac & Cheese

Serves 6-8

~Can be prepped before: Prep time: 20 minutes  Bake time: 50 minutes  Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
  • Ketchup – a couple of squirts
  • 1 small box of macaroni noodles
  • 4 slices of bread, buttered on both sides and cubed

Method:

Preheat oven to 325*

Put first 4 ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat until cheese is melted and sauce is pretty smooth.  Stir often**

While the cheese sauce is melting, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and cook noodles according to package directions.  Do not overcook as they will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain and set aside.

Pour noodles into a casserole dish.  Stir in cheese sauce, arrange croutons over top.  Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes***

Goes beautifully with a big fresh salad and baked sausage

Baked Sausage:

Ingredients:

  • Smoked Sausage (1/4 lb per guest)
  • BBQ Sauce

Method:

Cut up sausage.  Put in oven-safe dish.  Pour BBQ sauce over top.  Bake in oven with Mac & Cheese

*Do not, I repeat do NOT try to substitute mild cheddar or low-fat cheese in this recipe.  It will bake into a disgusting, gum-like consistency.  I know, I know… butter, full-fat cheese… I watch what I eat too.  Take a nice scoop of this real-deal Mac & Cheese and fill the rest of your plate with salad.  It’s worth it and one scoop does not contain all the butter.  It’s okay.

**Seriously, low heat and stirring is the key.  So many times I cooked it too long/too high and the oil separated from the cheese.  If that happens, whisk it back in.  You do need the fat for the cheese to bake properly.  See above.

***You can prep this up to 4 days before serving.  Don’t bake it.  Take it out of the fridge while you’re making breakfast and put it in the oven an hour before lunch.

Thai Chicken Salad

Serves 6-8

Total Time: 20 minutes (35 minutes extra if you are cooking chicken beforehand)

Ingredients:

For Salad

  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced*
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 1 cup mango, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup spanish peanuts, regular peanuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 2 small bok choy OR 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into small strips

For Sauce

  • 1 tsp fish sauce**
  • Juice from 2 limes (or 2 TBS lime juice)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2 TBS peanut butter
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil

Egg Rolls

  • Your favorite frozen egg rolls.  I like Tei Pei Vegetable Egg Rolls

Method:

If you are serving egg rolls, turn on oven and bake according to package directions (they will take about 20 minutes)

Mix all sauce ingredients in a large bowl.  Experiment with taste.  Add water or oil if you think you need more dressing.  Heat in microwave just before serving.  Serve in a syrup pitcher, gravy boat, or salad dressing bottle

Mix lettuce, bok choy, slaw, and mint*** and put in a large salad bowl.  Put all other ingredients in little bowls with spoons.  Serve salad-bar style (This way, if people don’t care for a certain ingredients, they can skip them.  You can put out your other bottled dressings as well.)

*Up to 4 days ahead, prepare chicken breasts.  Put chicken breasts in a 8 x 8 glass dish.  Sprinkle with ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour a little bit (1/4-1/2 cup) of chicken broth on bottom of dish.  Bake uncovered in a 350* oven for 35 minutes.  Cut one to check for doneness (no pink).  To serve, cut into thin slices and arrange in circles on a salad plate.  Place some cherry tomatoes, grapes, cucumber slices or something in the middle since a plate of cold beige meat can look pretty gross.  OR, buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it.

** “Katy, I don’t have fish sauce.  I don’t even know what it is.”  I didn’t either.  You’ll find it in the Asian section of your grocery store.  Pick up a bottle, as well as a bottle of Sriracha chili sauce and you’ll never have buy one of those little stir-fry spice packets again.

*** “Crap!  I forgot the mint!!”  It’s fine.  I have too and the salad still tastes great.  The mint just adds a depth of flavor and cools off the spices.  Try to remember the lime juice though if that’s not a staple in your fridge.

Ploughman’s Lunch, American Style

Traditionally, Ploughman’s Lunch was a term for an English midday snack consisting of cheese, bread, and chutney.  Meat was soon added as were boiled eggs and pickled onions.

What we’re about to do is more of a deli spread, but “Ploughman’s Lunch” sounds so much more fun.

Ingredients:

  • Lunchmeat: 1/4 lb per person per lunch*
  • Bread: 1 loaf per lunch per 6 people
  • Sliced cheese
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Hot house tomatoes
  • Other sandwich toppings you love
  • Condiments (pickles, mayo, mustard, chutney, etc.)
  • Chips
  • Sliced stone fruit (apples, peaches, etc.)

Method:

Arrange meat and cheese on a plate.   If you’re concerned with making it look pretty, fold slices of meat in half and arrange in a semi-circle, folded edge out.  Arrange cheese similarly, no folding.  Rule of thumb: in home decor, neutral colors look good.  In food decor, neutral colors (brown, beige, cream) look gross.  Always add a pop of color (in this case, yellow and orange cheeses) to a plate of beige food.

Slice tomatoes and lettuce and place on a plate.  If you’re getting fancy, salt and pepper your tomatoes.

Set out bread, toaster.  Set out condiments.

Put out chips (in bowl if you want) and fruit on plate.

Invite everyone to help themselves.

*I cut cost corners whenever I can.  One of the only times I buy the pricey stuff is when it comes to lunchmeat.  I really like Boarshead at my grocers deli counter.  At about $1.50 more per pound than the store brands, it actually doesn’t cost that much more and is soooooo much better.  No slime, no weirdness, great flavor.

If you don’t know what to buy for your crowd, stick to basics and variety:  Smoked ham, smoked turkey, and a third wildcard (salami, roast something, spicy something – ask for a recommendation)  Same goes with cheeses (Mild white, mild yellow, and wildcard (Swiss, Pepperjack)

See!  You’ve done it!  You’ve served lunch and gotten to eat something you love!  Now go take your much deserved siesta before we return for Dinner.

What is your favorite everyday lunch?  What would you eat for lunch if you could have anything?


4 Comments

Ploughman’s Lunch, American Style

Ploughman's Lunch, American Style

Traditionally, Ploughman’s Lunch was a term for an English midday snack consisting of cheese, bread, and chutney.  Meat was soon added as were boiled eggs and pickled onions.

What we’re about to do is more of a deli spread, but “Ploughman’s Lunch” sounds so much more fun.

Ingredients:

  • Lunchmeat: 1/4 lb per person per lunch*
  • Bread: 1 loaf per lunch per 6 people
  • Sliced cheese
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Hot house tomatoes
  • Other sandwich toppings you love
  • Condiments (pickles, mayo, mustard, chutney, etc.)
  • Chips
  • Sliced stone fruit (apples, peaches, etc.)

Method:

Arrange meat and cheese on a plate.   If you’re concerned with making it look pretty, fold slices of meat in half and arrange in a semi-circle, folded edge out.  Arrange cheese similarly, no folding.  Rule of thumb: in home decor, neutral colors look good.  In food decor, neutral colors (brown, beige, cream) look gross.  Always add a pop of color (in this case, yellow and orange cheeses) to a plate of beige food.

Slice tomatoes and lettuce and place on a plate.  If you’re getting fancy, salt and pepper your tomatoes.

Set out bread, toaster.  Set out condiments.

Put out chips (in bowl if you want) and fruit on plate.

Invite everyone to help themselves.

*I cut cost corners whenever I can.  One of the only times I buy the pricey stuff is when it comes to lunchmeat.  I really like Boarshead at my grocers deli counter.  At about $1.50 more per pound than the store brands, it actually doesn’t cost that much more and is soooooo much better.  No slime, no weirdness, great flavor.

If you don’t know what to buy for your crowd, stick to basics and variety:  Smoked ham, smoked turkey, and a third wildcard (salami, roast something, spicy something – ask for a recommendation)  Same goes with cheeses (Mild white, mild yellow, and wildcard (Swiss, Pepperjack)

For more lunch ideas, see Make What You Love: Lunch for the Masses


1 Comment

Grandma’s Mac and Cheese

Grandma's Mac & Cheese

My Grandma is an amazing woman – strong, generous, comforting, and wonderful.  She would give her life for every family member and skin the hide off of anyone who crossed them.  The vast belief she has in those she loves, and the quiet expectation that they will be the best version of themselves has been encouragement beyond measure, and has shaped who I am.  I can only hope I have inherited the iron backbone, limitless love, shrewd smarts, and capacity for kindness that are the hallmarks of the Young women.

It is only appropriate that this wholly comforting, stick-to-your-belly, no-nonsense, wonderful recipe is handed down from her.

Grandma’s Mac & Cheese

Serves 6-8

~Can be prepped before: Prep time: 20 minutes  Bake time: 50 minutes  Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
  • Ketchup – a couple of squirts
  • 1 small box of macaroni noodles
  • 4 slices of bread, buttered on both sides and cubed

Method:

Preheat oven to 325*

Put first 4 ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat until cheese is melted and sauce is pretty smooth.  Stir often**

While the cheese sauce is melting, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and cook noodles according to package directions.  Do not overcook as they will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain and set aside.

Pour noodles into a casserole dish.  Stir in cheese sauce, arrange croutons over top.  Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes**

Goes beautifully with a big fresh salad and baked sausage

Baked Sausage:

Ingredients:

  • Smoked Sausage (1/4 lb per guest)
  • BBQ Sauce

Method:

Cut up sausage.  Put in oven-safe dish.  Pour BBQ sauce over top.  Bake in oven with Mac & Cheese

*Do not, I repeat do NOT try to substitute mild cheddar or low-fat cheese in this recipe.  It will bake into a disgusting, gum-like consistency.  I know, I know… butter, full-fat cheese… I watch what I eat too.  Take a nice scoop of this real-deal Mac & Cheese and fill the rest of your plate with salad.  It’s worth it and one scoop does not contain all the butter.  It’s okay.

**Seriously, low heat and stirring is the key.  So many times I cooked it too long/too high and the oil separated from the cheese.  If that happens, whisk it back in.  You do need the fat for the cheese to bake properly.  See above.

***You can prep this up to 4 days before serving.  Don’t bake it.  Take it out of the fridge while you’re making breakfast and put it in the oven an hour before lunch.

For more lunch ideas, see Make What You Love – Lunch for the Masses


4 Comments

Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Serves 6-8

Total Time: 20 minutes (35 minutes extra if you are cooking chicken beforehand)

Ingredients:

For Salad

  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced*
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 1 cup mango, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup spanish peanuts, regular peanuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 2 small bok choy OR 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into small strips

For Sauce

  • 1 tsp fish sauce**
  • Juice from 2 limes (or 2 TBS lime juice)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2 TBS peanut butter
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil

Egg Rolls

  • Your favorite frozen egg rolls.  I like Tei Pei Vegetable Egg Rolls

Method:

If you are serving egg rolls, turn on oven and bake according to package directions (they will take about 20 minutes)

Mix all sauce ingredients in a large bowl.  Experiment with taste.  Add water or oil if you think you need more dressing.  Heat in microwave just before serving.  Serve in a syrup pitcher, gravy boat, or salad dressing bottle

Mix lettuce, bok choy, slaw, and mint*** and put in a large salad bowl.  Put all other ingredients in little bowls with spoons.  Serve salad-bar style (This way, if people don’t care for a certain ingredients, they can skip them.  You can put out your other bottled dressings as well.)

*Up to 4 days ahead, prepare chicken breasts.  Put chicken breasts in a 8 x 8 glass dish.  Sprinkle with ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour a little bit (1/4-1/2 cup) of chicken broth on bottom of dish.  Bake uncovered in a 350* oven for 35 minutes.  Cut one to check for doneness (no pink).  To serve, cut into thin slices and arrange in circles on a salad plate.  Place some cherry tomatoes, grapes, cucumber slices or something in the middle since a plate of cold beige meat can look pretty gross.  OR, buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it.

** “Katy, I don’t have fish sauce.  I don’t even know what it is.”  I didn’t either.  You’ll find it in the Asian section of your grocery store.  Pick up a bottle, as well as a bottle of Sriracha chili sauce and you’ll never have buy one of those little stir-fry spice packets again.

*** “Crap!  I forgot the mint!!”  It’s fine.  I have too and the salad still tastes great.  The mint just adds a depth of flavor and cools off the spices.  Try to remember the lime juice though if that’s not a staple in your fridge.

For more lunch ideas see Make What You Love – Lunch for the Masses