Saturday, July 30, 2011

KITCHEN KREATION: General Tso's Chicken

Family, I'm back! Tonight I decided to try my hand at making Chinese at home again. Hubby's favorite dish whenever we go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant is General Tso's Chicken. As a matter of fact, the decision as to whether we will be back or not is primarily based on if the restaurant has a good General Tso's. It has to combine the exact right amount of sweet and spicy in order to score my hubby's affection. If the General Tso's is not up to par, there is a good chance that we will never be back.

The problem with the General Tso's that is sold in the restaurant is that it is battered and deep fried then smothered with a sweet sauce. There might be 2 or 3 broccoli sprigs thrown on just to say that there are vegetables on the plate. The caloric intake of a plate of General Tso's tends to average around 1300 calories with a staggering 3200 mg of sodium! Since hubby is being dragged along in my attempts to make us both healthier, I decided to make his favorite dish at home with my own little spin on it.

To start off, there was no batter anywhere near my chicken. It was also pan fried with about a tablespoon of oil versus being deep fried in oil. I also did not use any MSG and used low sodium sauces as much as possible. Hopefully my version is at least a little healthier. We'll find out when I calculate everything on SparkPeople. Hope you enjoy my healthier version!

2-3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken
12 ounce bag of frozen broccoli
½ onion – sliced thinly
1 clove garlic – minced
½ tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp corn starch
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil (stir fry oil)
2 Tbsp cooking sherry
1.5 tsp hot chili garlic sauce
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch

  1. Make sauce by adding chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, cooking sherry, hot chili garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce to bowl. Stir well until rice has dissolved.
  2. Rinse chicken well. Cut into bite sized 1 inch pieces.
  3. Pour in ¼ cup soy sauce & 2 Tbsp corn starch. Mix well and marinate for 5 minutes.
  4. While meat is marinating, prepare vegetables. Thinly slice ½ yellow onion.
  5. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in hot wok. Add chicken and sauté until browned. Remove from wok and let drain on plate with paper towels.
  6. Add another Tbsp of vegetable oil to wok. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute until tender and fragrant.
  7. Add chicken to wok and stir well to incorporate flavors.
  8. Make thickener slurry by mixing 2 Tbsp cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Should just have enough water to dissolve the cornstarch. Stir well until dissolved and add to sauce.
  9. Stir sauce well and add to hot wok.
  10. Bring chicken and sauce mixture to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
  11. Serve with rice and enjoy!
This just in, according to SparkPeople, for six servings, my version only has 301 calories and 1404 mg sodium. That's a big improvement from the numbers in the restaurant, but I will have to tweak this a little more to get the sodium levels down lower. May omit the dark soy sauce next time and the soy sauce used to marinate the chicken. I think next time I will just coat the chicken in the corn starch and saute it up that way. Will keep you posted.

I checked again and if the soy sauce used to marinate the chicken and the dark soy sauce is omitted, the sodium levels drop down to 799 mg. I think I can live with that...

Hubby gave this one two thumbs up and said that if I keep this up, I'm gonna give the local restaurants a run for their money. LOL!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Delhi Indian Restaurant: Philadelphia, PA

LOCATION: 4004 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

For phase 3 of our date day, the hubby and I went to this amazing Indian restaurant located near the University of Pennsylvania. My brother told us a while ago that this was the best Indian food that he had found in Philly, so of course we had to try it. Let me tell y'all, that food was so doggoned good, I am convinced that SOMEBODY'S grandma absolutely had to be in the back cooking. Everything was so well seasoned. Hubby ordered the buffet, and I ordered from the menu.

From the buffet, he had both meat and vegetarian dishes and there wasn't a single thing that I "sampled" from his plate that I did not like. (hehehe)

I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala in medium heat with a side of garlic naan bread.

Is "deliciousness" a real word? Because that is the only word that I can think of to describe that plate. Yummy spiciness, succulent chicken, tender pieces of basmati rice, oh and we can't forget the garlic naan. I think that was pure heaven on a plate. We will definitely be going back. Especially since apparently, the buffet changes from day to day. Hubby says that he has to go back to taste some of the other entrees. I'm sure that his research will be purely for scientific purposes and to help me out on my blog posts.

So anyway, if you are up in the Philly area, check out the ambience and the food at the New Delhi Indian Restaurant. It won't disappoint.

Honey's Sit & Eat: Philadelphia, PA

Location: 800 North 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123-2207

I know, I know, fam, I have truly been missing in action. Well, that's because the hubby and I recently moved out of Missouri and are now living up on the east coast. This weekend was the first weekend in over a month that we didn't have anything too pressing to do, so how did we spend it? We had a day-long date! Talk about fun times!

To start our date off, we went to Honey's Sit & Eat located in Northern Liberties right here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We found Honey's from a review online talking about their breakfasts. It was featured on Food Network on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri.
Even though he ate the Chicken Chili Frito Pie on the show, it gave us the idea to see what and had to say about this cool little spot.

Both sites had really good reviews for their breakfast and brunch. So, to start our date day off right, we went to Honey's to try their breakfast. The reviews online were right on point. I had the Huevos Ranchero with scrambled eggs. It was so good. I couldn't eat it all because they give you such a monstrous portion. The eggs were layered on top of some spicy beans and crispy corn tortillas. It had a small side of lettuce with pico de gallo sitting next to it. A dollop of sour cream and a scoop of jalapenos on the plate made the perfect condiments. I think I was supposed to have some salsa with it but everything was so good and the beans were already spicy, I didn't even really miss the salsa. I seem to vaguely remember mentioning that fact to my hubby as I was stuffing my face full of this delicious meal.

Hubby decided to be adventurous and ordered the Bubby's Brisket 3-Egg Omelet. It came with their special slow-cooked brisket and had spinach and carmelized onions folded into the eggs. Hubby asked if he could have cream cheese added too and man, did that make a difference! The cream cheese added this extra creaminess to the omelet. I'm thinking about doing that at home from here on out. Try it, folks, you will be pleasantly surprised. Don't even get me started on the home fries with peppers and onions or the potato latke. Notice the latke didn't even make the pictures, it was so good, by the time I thought about snapping a shot of it, it was half-way gone. LOL!!!

All in all, we both definitely recommend Honey's Sit and Eat. I can't wait to go back for lunch or dinner one of these days because the breakfast did NOT disappoint. Happy Eating!

After breakfast, hubby and I went to see the final Harry Potter movie in 3D at the Imax theater, we did a little shopping, and for dinner, went to this AMAZING Indian restaurant. Reviews on that to follow. Hope everyone else is having a great weekend! We sure are!!!
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