Thai Cashew Chicken

One of my favorite things to do is order take out.  Really, restaurants are so much fun and it is so easy to call up delivery after a long day of working.  What’s not so fun is the costs can add up from ordering out every night.  Also, it’s not the healthiest and goodness knows we’re not living on college metabolisms anymore.  Is there a way to find that same deliciousness while also being easy to prepare?  You bet there is!

Thai food is one of my favorites to order.  In DC, there’s not a lot of Chinese take out that isn’t greasy, so Thai food is the next best bet.  Last night, I whipped together a Thai ‘fake-out’ dish that was equally (if not better) than my usual order at the place around the corner.

I present to you…Cashew Chicken

(Original inspiration found here)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into pieces

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup mushrooms

1 red pepper, sliced thin

1 green pepper, sliced thin

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup shelled edamame [Find in the frozen aisle at the grocery store]

2 cloves garlic, minced [I use the jar kind out of laziness]

1/2 cup unsalted cashews

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Cashew chicken ingredients

1.  Heat a skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.

Cashew Chicken mushrooms

2.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, then coat each piece in cornstarch.

Cashew chicken in pan

3.  Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and add chicken. Brown on both sides until cooked, about 5 minutes per side.

Cashew chicken browned

 

4.  Add garlic, red pepper, edamame, green onions and cashews and stir for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and mix in.  Turn heat to medium low.

Cashew chicken veg in pan

5.  In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and honey. Pour into skillet, coating chicken and vegetables.

6.  Serve over rice.

cashew chicken final

Result:

I was surprised at how much I liked the cornstarch-coated chicken.  It absorbed the honey/soy mix really well and left a really sweet taste.  I always like a lot of veggies in my meals so I went a little overboard on this one.  Feel free to use as many or as little fit your needs.  The edamame, red pepper, and mushroom are a must, though.

I used an Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice for this recipe to cut down on time, but you could use whatever rice you want.  This time, I used brown rice, but I bet long grain would also be a good choice.

Also, for those of you who doubt the ‘cozy’ factor of this kitchen, I present the following evidence:

Cashew chicken cozy

Halfway through preparation, and you’ll notice that most of the ingredients are resting on the stove top (turned off – of course!).  You make it work with what you got!

Cider Glazed Chicken with Pecan Rice

Hi readers!
I decided to start this blog to broadcast my cooking attempts while also find a place to keep recipes that are a success.  I find that I thrive with a recipe.  I just haven’t mastered enough of the skills to throw things together on my own without a guide.  It helps me measure and keep in line and also allows me to pass the buck should something turn out wrong.

Fortunately, in this day and age of the internet, recipes are all over the place.  There are a bunch of listservs that will send them along daily, which allows me to pick and choose what looks good and easy.  Also, I like to borrow inspiration from fellow cooking bloggers – they seem to have it locked up in terms of good choices.  Also, from cookbooks and friends.  The best way to expand your knowledge is to ask.

So, with that in mind, I was seeking something autumn inspired.  It is chilly in DC after all and apple season is just wrapping up.  It seemed appropriate to honor this time of year with some cider inspired goodness.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

(inspired by MyRecipes.Com)
Ingredients

1 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (I was cooking for two so I just used two boneless skinless chicken breasts)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cider Glazed Chicken Prep

Preparation

1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. While rice cooks, melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
3.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
4.  Add chicken to skillet; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan.
5.  Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook until reduced.
6.  Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
7. Melt remaining butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until melted but not gone.
8.  Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently.
9.  Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat.
10.  Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle chicken with parsley.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Pecan Rice

Result:

Be sure to reduce the sauce as much as possible.  The original recipe says 2-3 minutes for the sauce but I found it took a lot longer.

I served this one up with a side of broccoli.  The taste was delicious and not too heavy on the cider or the mustard.  The rice turned out a little too sticky for my liking (without a rice cooker, this is a constant struggle) but the pecans fit nicely.