Schezwan Chicken



Can I tell you the hardest part of this recipe is spelling the word “schezwan”?  So true.  I still don’t even know if I have it spelled correctly.  If you know the true spelling, please feel free to enlighten me!  I won’t mind at all!

Now on to the important stuff!  The food. 

My husband claims not to like any Chinese food besides sweet and sour chicken and I am determined that he does like it, he is just afraid to try anything that wasn’t simple English.  Moo Goo Gai Pan?  Nah.  General Tso?  Nah.  Really, he probably likes them all but doesn’t know what they mean so he won’t try them.  I have now broadened his horizons to my favorite Chinese eat.  I love anything spicy and this dish fits the bill perfectly.  My one word of caution is to add the red pepper with caution.  If you like spice, start easy.  If you don’t, start even easier.  The first time we made this dish with the original recommended amount of red pepper, we called it fire sauce.  It was so ridiculously hot that we had to get napkins to wipe our noses and eyes.  There may have been a cup of milk for each of us as well. 

I love strifry type meals.  They are easily adaptable to everyone’s tastes and preferences.  You can also make them as healthy as possible.  Growing up stirfry meant rice but I have fallen in love with rice noodles that you can buy at almost any grocery store in the Asian foods section.  Try them!

I like chicken and shrimp with my stirfry but my husband is anti shrimp so ours typically are just chicken. You could always use some sort of steak as well.  For three to four servings I use two medium sized chicken breasts and as many vegetables as I can stuff in there.  I like to use vegetable mixes that include water chestnuts.  I do think I am the only one the world that likes water chestnuts!  But don’t think you have to stick to just a plain old bag of frozen vegetables.  Throw in some edamame, julienned carrots, snow peas, fresh peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, or any other vegetable you like.  I like to have about 1-2 cups of vegetables per person, 1/2 cup of cooked meat per person and 2 oz of rice noodle or rice per person.  If you like more of one, just increase the quantities accordingly. 

The recipe below is only for the schezwan sauce.  Again, I caution you to add the red pepper according to your taste. You can always add but never take away.  The portion below is suppose to be for four people but we must use a lot more sauce than that because I have had to double it for our servings.  Don’t worry about the amount of garlic.  I will admit it is scary but you can do it.  It really makes the flavor so authentic.  If you buy garlic in those glass bottles instead of in the head, it is really easy to have the amount you need.

Schezwan Sauce

8 tbsp water
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl with a whisk
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat warm until thickened to desired consistency.
3. Pour over stirfry vegetables and chicken.
Note:  I prefer to keep the sauce and the stirfry items seperate as I like a lot less sauce than my husband.  This way the sauce portion is controlled to my liking and his.  If you prefer everything to be coated, after mixing the ingredient with a whisk, pour the sauce over the stirfry mixture and allow to thicken approximately five minutes. 

Crab Cakes – none of that filler stuff!

Oh again, I profess my love for crab. If you are allergic, I am quite sad for you. This will be my last post for crab for a while, so just stick it out!

Yesterday it was crab dip. Today it is the glorious crab cake.  Most people are particular about their crab cakes and for good reason.  There should not be a bunch of filler of bread crumbs and such.  There should never be anything that even resembles faux crab.  While I would love to be able to buy fresh crabmeat, I don’t live close enough to the ocean for such glorious things.  But PLEASE do not purchase canned crabmeat for this recipe.  If you have to, make sure that it is at least lump or claw meat. 

While living elsewhere, I discovered a brand called Blue Star.   They are headquartered in Miami but sell their products all over the US.  Their website is clunky and a bit non consumer friendly, but I will look past that since they sell crab meat in my local grocery store.  Do you want to know what it looks like? 


I know, not pretty.  But it is the best option for a reasonable price. 

Because that little pouch turns into this.  These gloriously tasty crab cakes.  Crab cakes that taste like restaurant quality.  Crab cakes that don’t have a ton of filler.  Crab cakes that are making my mouth water as I type and look at that picture. 



Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes – adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Serves 3-4

1 egg slightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs (I like fresh, but any will work)
3 tbsp mayonnaise or salad dressing ( I like Miracle Whip)
2 tbsp onion, finely minced
1/2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb crab meat
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, Old Bay and pepper. 
3. Gently add crab meat and fold into mixture.
4. Shape into 8 – 2 inch rounds.
5. Bake on a greased baking pan for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.  You can also pan fry these in 2 tsp of oil, but I find that they cook more evenly and maintain their shape much better in the oven. 

I like to serve these with some crispy baked fries.  Slice one potato per person into 6-8 wedges.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.  Bake at 450 for 45-60 minutes, turning once, depending on desired crispness. 

Tasty Turkey Burgers

My husband is a meat and potatoes guy.  Sure, he likes food of different ethnic backgrounds, but his heart remains with a good NY Strip steak, a steaming baked potato and maybe a salad if he has room for it in his tummy.  He always eats the salad last when we have it with steak so that he doesn’t waste precious tummy room on lettuce and such. 


Most dinners that we eat include meat of some sort.  Spaghetti?  Meat in the sauce.  Quesadillas?  Chicken and cheese, please.  When I planned the menu this week, my husband was no where to be found.  So instead of regular chili, we had white chili with chicken.  Instead of hamburgers, we had turkey burgers. 


I am the first to admit that if you are craving a big juicy burger, turkey burgers don’t cut it.  But if you are wanting something a little different and want to use the grill a couple of more times before you have to put it away for the year, try this turkey burger. 


Tasty Turkey Burgers – makes 4 , 4oz burgers

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 egg white

2 tbsp bread crumbs

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp diced onion

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

1 clove garlic minced


Mix all together and shape into 4 patties.  Grill for 5 minutes each side on medium heat. 

Top with cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mustard or any other topping of choice.  Mmmm. 

What the schnitzel?

He he.  I am still laughing about my title.  So glad I can entertain myself. 
Two or three years ago, I was browsing a Cooking Light magazine and this chicken recipe popped out at me.  It seemed like a way to cook chicken that I had never heard of before. In that time, I still have never had any schnitzel besides this recipe.  I imagine that as tasty as this recipe is, the full fat version must be over the top. 
Don’t be scared by fact that you may have no clue what schnitzel is.  This recipe seems to be an adaptation of a parm crusted chicken.  And if you are a non mustard fan like myself, again do not be afraid. I don’t like mustard, let alone strong and potent ones like dijon.  But this recipe?  Does not lead you astray.    The chicken ends up incredibly tender and moist yet has just enough crispy crust to make your mouth water. 
Chicken Schnitzel (serves 2)- adapted from Cooking Light
1 large chicken breast or 2 small
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black ground pepper
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 large egg blended
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tbsp fresh parm
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp chives chopped (I use regular onion)
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350
2.  Place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper
3. Place flour in shallow dish.  Combine mustard and egg in seperate shallow dish.  In another dish, combine breadcrumbs, parm, parsley, garlic and onion. 
4.  Dredge chicken in flour then dip in egg mixture.  Dredge in breadcrumb mixture. 
5. Heat oil in large skillet.  Add chicken and saute until browned on each side.   (3 minutes approx per side)
6.  Place chicken on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Serve this with a salad and some red potatoes and it is scrumptious!!!  You could change recipe by using pork or even turkey cutlets. 

Crockpot Special: Stuffed Peppers

We have had guests at our home every nite for four nites.  The first guest brought with him about thirty green peppers and about fifty large tomatoes.  Not such a bad guest to have I suppose.  The trick has been figuring out what to do with that many peppers.  Since I travel quite a bit for work and there are always lazy evenings when no one feels like cooking, freezable meals are perfect. 

My mother use to make these stuffed peppers, but minus the Mexican flavor.  I think every stuffed pepper recipe has similar ingredients in different ratios, but the trick is to finding one that is a little unique.  I particularly love that these are a crockpot recipe, which says perfect for fall. 

Since we had so many peppers, I froze 15 on a cookie sheet for about 2 hours and then moved them three at a time to storage containers.  It will be nice to have a few meals ready to go. 


Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Mama B adapted serves 2

2 large peppers (or three medium)
10 oz ground beef or turkey
1/3 instant rice
2/3 cup shredded cheese (I like Colby Jack), additional for topping
1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 can of Mexicorn (Green Giant makes this)
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can Rotel brand diced tomatoes (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl except soup and tomatoes. 
2. Stuff peppers and place in crock pot. 
3. Pour soup and tomatoes into crockpot.  Sprinkle tops with additional shredded cheese. 
4.  Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 7-8 hours.