Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Ok, who stole 2016? Yes, yes, I know, I’ve done a lot of whining lately about being glad the hot Summer is past and that the cooler weather and my favorite season, Fall, is here. And I stand by those whiny moments.  It’s just that today, I was suddenly cognizant of the fact that it’s almost November. Freaking NOVEMBER! Wth? I mean, I knew it was this late in the year, logically. I’m that person who starts looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas pins on Pinterest in August, because it’s fun to mentally prepare my menu. it just didn’t really hit me until it occurred to me that I could probably go ahead and post this so that it was up in time for people to use on Thanksgiving. This year has gone abnormally quickly.

I made this turkey breast a couple of weeks ago and we absolutely loved it. The recipe is lightly adapted from one I found in Food & Wine magazine last year.  I’m similar to what I guess most of you are and make my turkey the same way every time because, tradition. But this was a nice twist that I may even be willing to make on Thanksgiving and definitely will use other times of the year because we eat turkey more than just one day a year here, since we love it. My differences from the original are that they used a whole turkey, I used the breast, they melted and then re-chilled the butter mix and spread it under the skin and I left it melted and used it as a baste to make it easier, plus different cooking temps and minor diffs in seasoning.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 2

The skin on this gets nice and crispy and if you’re feeling ambitious, you could butterfly the breast and have it 1) cook even faster and 2) have all the skin get crispy rather than have the inevitable bottom skin staying kind of soggy. The flavor here is fantastic; a perfect mix of salty, a subtle sweetness, the richness of sesame oil and butter and a bit of bite from the seasonings. I served this with brown rice, but this would go just as well with noodles or Thanksgiving potatoes.

You know the drill…  🙂

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

  • 5 to 7 lb turkey breast, rinsed, innards removed, and turkey patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (please make sure it’s fresh. It loses quality if it has been stored in the cabinet for too long)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more or less of this according to your heat tolerance)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) good quality chicken broth
  • Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil. If you butterfly the breast, you’ll need to use a larger pan plus adjust cooking time.
  2. Make sure your turkey is dry, add to pan and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter, then add in the next 7 ingredients (everything but the broth). Stir well to combine and dissolve the sugar and spices.
  4. Using a pastry brush, baste the whole breast with the butter mixture.
  5. Roast at 400 for fifteen minutes, then turn heat down to 375 and add the chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Baste with more of the butter mixture and continue doing that every fifteen minutes.
  6. Roast turkey until it is golden brown and crispy and has an internal temperature of 165f, about one and a half to two hours, depending on size and whether or not you butterflied it. Be sure you’re not touching the bone when testing. Leave in the pan, very lightly covered with foil, for at least fifteen minutes to allow the turkey to continue to rise in temp and to prevent losing all the juiciness by cutting into it too soon.
  7. You can either serve the breast with the drippings, as we did, or use them to make a gravy. If you have leftover basting sauce, you can use it as a delicious dipping sauce for the turkey. Just make sure to bring it to a boil and let boil for one minute to prevent any cross contamination.
  8. Slice thin and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

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Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 3


Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

My family and  are still on a quest for a good Chinese restaurant. It has to have a buffet, because, for one, we’re feeding two teenage boys, who are simply walking hormonal stomachs. And two, I tend to be a picky and poor eater and I do better if I have variety. So far though, all the ones we’ve tried range from “omg, this sucks”, to the point where I actually left a bad review for it on Yelp and I’m not the type to do that normally, up to “ehhh, it was ok, but I wouldn’t pay for it again.” We aren’t asking much…. just food that is fresh and not sticking to the warming dishes because it’s older than my husband, food that hasn’t been salted to the point where you could use it as a salt lick to lure animals in when hunting and a decent variety of dishes.

One of my husbands favorite things from a buffet is the Orange Chicken. I’m a General Tsos kind of a gal myself, but I do enjoy a good Orange Chicken. Good being the operative word. And that’s hard to find. So I gave up for now and decided to make it myself. I have to admit, I’m rather glad I did. No, we didn’t have the variety of 17 different kinds of (Americanized) Chinese foods to choose from, but the one dish was fresh, had an amazing orange flavor that was real, not like a cook poured a bottle of orange extract in it to flavor it and I could eat lying in bed watching bad TV. Hey, don’t judge… I wasn’t feeling well yesterday. That I even MADE dinner is to my credit :-p

This is fairly easy to make. As I’ve told you many times before and will many times more, do your prep work ahead of time. have all the ingredients cut and measured, oranges zested and juice squeezed, etc, etc, etc. Doing this saves so much time and hassle. You don’t get to a certain step and suddenly realize “Oh, crap, forgot to do this or that!” and have to put everything on hold. Do. Your. Prep. Work. And you’ll breeze through this.

You know the drill… git to cooking. 🙂

Orange Chicken

  • For chicken-
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • oil for frying
  • For the sauce-
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger *
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (use less if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water combined with a tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium is a good idea if you have it)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • juice of 3 oranges
  • sesame seeds and extra sliced green onion for garnishing
  • rice and broccoli to serve with the chicken
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Combine the cubed chicken with the egg, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Dump in the cornstarch and flour and stir to combine. A wooden spoon works well here. Pour enough oil in a medium pot to go up two inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, then fry the chicken in batches of about 8 to 10 pieces at a time, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8  minutes. Set onto a paper towel lined oven safe plate or bowl. When all the chicken is cooked, set into the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.
  3. In a medium saucepot, combine the sesame oil, tablespoon of vegetable oil, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar and ginger. Stir fry over medium high heat until the onion is wilted and everything is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. As that cooks, combine the soy sauce, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a measuring cup. Add them to the stir fried green onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then pour the water/cornstarch mixture into it. Stir until the mixture comes back to a boil and thickens up, stirring constantly.
  5. Toss the chicken in the sauce mixture (Or serve the side on the side if you have some people who only like a little bit of sauce and others who like more.), and serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

*NOTE- For an easy way to peel and grate ginger, just get out a spoon and a fork. Use the edge of the spoon to scrape the peel off; so much easier and much less waste. And then lay the peeled part of the ginger down on a small plate, holding the other end with your free hand. Use a fork to scrape across the ginger. It grates it quite nicely and you can use the edge of the fork to mash/slice up any bits that come off too large.

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Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs

Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs

Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs

My brother in law Phil is a complete Asian food addict. Seriously. It’s a sickness. He is one of our countries beloved postmen (post people… post unisex? Heck, who knows what the PC term is these days.). When his day off was on Wednesday, his unwavering routine was to go to a neighborhood Chinese buffet for lunch. Every. Single. Wednesday.  The rest of us set our calendars by his routine. When he went on a Tuesday recently, we were all fairly sure that the world was ending.

His brother, my husband, is the same way. Say it with me class… anal creature of routine. It freaks me out because I am such a live by the seat of my pants, let life be a surprise sort of a gal. *laughs hysterically* Sorry. I couldn’t even fool myself with that one. I admit it. I too am one of those slightly rigid “don’t mess with my world, I like it the way it is” type of people. I’ve never decided if I admire or feel sorry for those of you who are the spontaneous live on the edge sorts.

I think my BIL would like this one. Marybeth, you need to make this for Phil! This is fall off the bone tender, spicy sweet (can be made more or less spicy depending on the amount of sriracha you add), a little bit salty and nice and sticky.I of course didn’t get sticky because I have those dainty girl manners and used a knife and fork. In reality, I simply hate sticky hands but dainty girl manners sounded cooler.

You know the drill… git to cookin’!

  • 3 lbs chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (you want the sesame for flavor but you can’t use too much because it’s quite strongly flavored and you need enough oil to help prevent sticking, thus the olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (more or less as desired)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (I know… sounds weird but believe it or not, a lot of “authentic” <aka Americanized> lol, Asian recipes use it for tang and flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil. Trust me. Line the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except for the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken in the prepared pan.
  4. Pour the sauce over it and turn the chicken in the sauce a couple of times to coat.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 75 minutes. Turn the chicken twice while cooking, making sure that you start and end with the chicken skin side up.
  6. Wonderful served with rice and the extra pan juices.

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Spicy Ginger Lime Thai Pork Tenderloin

Spicy Ginger Lime Pork Tenderloin

Spicy Ginger Lime Pork Tenderloin

I was talking with a blogging friend of mine yesterday, comparing future posts. When I mentioned I would be using this recipe I came up with for a grilled pork tenderloin, her response to me was “is there anything you can’t cook?”. Being a woman with the brain cells of an eggplant, I wasn’t sure what she meant and asked. Her response (Beyond “Duh Janet”) was that I ran what I called a baking blog but I didn’t  do just baking posts and certainly didn’t seem to be a food blogger who knew how to cook one type of food and that was it.

My response? That yes, there were things I can’t cook. I make a truly atrocious dish of boxed mac and cheese. I am utterly incapable of following the directions on the box and always end up with either a soupy or a gritty mess. Though how one makes something with a gritty powder into something that ISN’T a mess is beyond me anyway :-P. My husband, who can’t cook a lick, manages fine however. Go figure. I also am horrid at decorating layer cakes. I can make a homemade cake with the best of ’em but when it comes to decorating/frosting it, I am fairly sure that my 4 year old son could do better.

I also reminded her that I have six kids (though admittedly, three are grown and married) and that at one point in my life, I was cooking for 5 kids, three of them teens and a husband. When doing that, you learn to make a variety of things sheerly out of self defense. I was scared that if I didn’t have a constant supply of food ready, they would turn on me and I would wake one night to find my legs being salted and peppered, and two teen boys and a girl along with two little boys standing over me with napkins around their necks.

So I cook. Many different things. Not just baking, though that is the favored thing in a house that still has two teen boys (the ones who were little in the above mentioning), a 4 year old and a husband. Not to mention, at the moment, 2 stepkids, my daughter and three of my grandkids. yeah, baking is a definite favorite.

But this pork loin went over well too. When the mongrel hordes settled down, there was less than one loin left out of four. I think they liked it. I don’t blame them. It WAS pretty awesome. 😀

I had been trying to figure out for a few days what I wanted to do with this pork loin and I finally got fed up waiting for an idea to pop into my head and just went to the cabinets and fridge and starting pulling things out. I tend to do some of my best cooking that way actually; when I stop trying to do things by a recipe and just…cook. This spicy, but not too much so, a little bit sweet, tangy and with the perfect balance of saltiness. All in all, just yummy. And you can’t get much easier than combine some ingredients, put the meat in them, marinate and cook.

You know the drill….

Spicy Ginger Lime Thai Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 package (about 3 pounds) pork tenderloin (tenderloin, not just regular loin)
  • 1 bottle Kens Lite Asian Sesame With Ginger And Soy
  • zest and juice from one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nam Pla (fish sauce, and don’t worry, it doesn’t taste fishy at all… think of it as a strange version of soy sauce if it makes you happy)
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  1. In a large bowl or 2 gallon ziploc bag, combine all ingredients other than the pork. Stir well to combine or if in the bag, close the bag and squeeze it to mix ingredients. Take out one cup to use as a basting sauce then add the pork to the remainder of the marinade.
  2. Marinate in the fridge (I suggest setting the bag into a bowl to be safe in case the bag leaks) for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  3. When ready to cook,  preheat grill to medium hot.  Your coals should be totally covered in gray and you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand close to them for more than three or four seconds before you have to pull away.
  4. Oil your grill grate by brushing it with a bbq brush that has been dipped in oil.
  5. Place the pork directly over the hot area. Cook the pork until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of one of the loins registers about 145 degrees. Turn a few times during cooking, basting each time with the reserved marinade.
  6. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil and let rest for ten minutes before slicing.
  7. If you want to serve this with what sauce is left, make sure you bring the remaining sauce to a boil first to prevent cross contamination.

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Sweet And Sour Pork

Sweet And Sour Pork-001

When I was young, my mom was a waitress. Heck, when I grew up, my mom was still a waitress. She was the typical divorced woman of her generation. She was undereducated yet street smart from years of living on the south side of Chicago. That in itself was rather a feat considering she was a child of the depression who grew up in very rural Alabama. She never had a “good” job but always managed to keep us fed. It may have been mayo sandwiches or ketchup sandwiches at times, but we ate. The restaurant she worked at for over 20 years was fairly popular and well known in the Chicago area. It was named the Tropical Hut and was known for it’s Polynesian food, which was a big thing back in the 60’s as people were expanding their foodie taste buds beyond burgers and baked potatoes. Thing is, other than a duck dish they had that I loved (we of course went there for every family event. Why do people do that anyway? Work someplace and then go back then when NOT working? :-P) the main food I recall from there was their club sandwich. Mom would bring it home cold at night to eat but half the time it ended up going to one or the other of us kids. I loved them.

Point being, when I was young, my main experience with food from other cultures was a club sandwich from a Polynesian restaurant in the Midwest. Go figure. While my taste buds have grown a bit more sophisticated as I’ve aged, I have to confess that I still love all the Americanized versions of Asian foods, from which some of the Polynesian foods can branch off. One that I love that you will never find on the menu of any authentic Chinese restaurant is Sweet & Sour Pork. Deep fried pork thrown together with an overly sweet yet tangy sauce with pineapple in it, then put on rice. Sounds rather gross, ehh? But in reality, it’s soooooo darn yummy. I mean, the words deep fried should tip you off right away. I’ve said before; you could probably deep fry a shoe and it would taste good.

This is the version I’ve been making for years. Authentic? Nope. Just mine. Though like I said, what is authentic with this dish ANYWAY? Back when I first started making it, I honestly didn’t even know there WAS such a thing as sweet and sour pork lol. I just took the sauce recipe from some meatballs I loved, chopped up some pork, battered it, fried it and thought it seemed Asian enough to deserve rice as the base. Isn’t it amazing what we come up with, thinking we are so original only to find out later (or sooner now that you can google a recipe in 3 seconds) that many others have been making it for years?

This is a good version, mine though it may be. Nothing weird, nothing unusual, fairly standard as it goes. But I wanted to post it for those who may be thinking that this is a hard dish to make. It’s not. If you can fry food and combine sauce ingredients, you can make Sweet And Sour Pork.

Sweet And Sour Pork

  • Batter-
  • 2 eggs 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 pounds boneless pork loin, cubed into about 1 inch pieces
  • about 4 cups canola or vegetable oil, heated to 355 degrees
  • Sauce-
  • 1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1 8 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 2/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I like this served with Jasmine or Basmati but use your favorite)
  1. Start your sauce first- In a large pot, combine the pineapple with it’s juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the green pepper and onions and simmer covered for another five minutes. Set aside and keep warm
  3. Start your oil heating while you prepare the batter, which is easy peasy.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, milk and soy sauce.
  5. While your oil heats (large pot), take about half the pork cubes and put them into the batter. Stir around to get them well coated.
  6. When the oil has reached 355 degrees, carefully toss in (make sure your hands are fairly close to the oil… tossing from far up because it seems safer actually isn’t. It will just make the oil splatter all over you.) pieces of the pork. Do about 12 pieces at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd or the oil temp drops and you end up with greasy pork.
  7. Cook for about 4 minutes or until a nice dark golden brown. You’ll probably have to stir them around to get both sides browned.
  8. Using a wide slotted spoon or even better, a metal skimmer, lift out your pork and lay in a paper towel lined bowl.
  9. Keep cooking until it’s all done then you can either toss it with the sauce or, as I prefer to do, serve all the components separately so everyone can fix it the way they like it. Like here, my daughter loves a lot of sauce, I prefer less.
  10. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with soy sauce

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Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings Of A Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honor of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.

I think everyone has been touched by heart disease in one way or another, be it with their own health or that of a family member. It is still, in the year 2013,  the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States with over 600,000 deaths per year. Why? genetics of course but you can add in there the increasing tendency towards obesity and the utter lack of exercise many of us get other than walking to and from the snack cabinet. Add in the high fat, high calorie foods so many of us, including myself, love and it is far too common to see people be literally one heartbeat away from death.

I had a stroke last year as many of you know. While it’s not the same as a heart attack or heart disease, it can be caused by many of the same things I just talked about. So is this important to me also? Damn straight. It’s why I lost almost 50 pounds and have tried to get my own health issues fixed.

My family history isn’t pretty when it comes to heart disease. My dad had a heart attack in his mid 40’s. My mom had tachycardia from early adulthood until her death. I have issues with a heartbeat that goes so slow at times that I get dizzy.

On my husbands side, HIS dad has had…five…yes, five…heart attacks. The man is amazing. But the chances of most people being that blessed are rare. Tragically, a lot of the time, one heart attack is all it takes to leave behind a family who will feel that loss forever. So if there is a family history of heart issues for you (and even if there isn’t), I beg of you, don’t wait until later to take steps to insure your own heart health. If you need to lose weight, do it NOW, not after you finish all the junk food you have in the house. If your exercise consists of lifting your hand to your mouth to insert a doughnut, get off your butt and move, even if it’s only a short 20 minute walk per day. But please… please… take care of yourself. Too many people need you. Yes, even YOU back there eating that bag of potato chips, no matter what you think. You…are…loved. Why? Because you have a good heart. So keep it that way.

This soup can be either semi decadent or healthy, depending on what you use in it. For this post, I obviously chose the healthy way; even if you ARE used to seeing foods that have 14,000 calories from me. It can also be played with in many ways to make it more to your family’s tastes. Like things spicier? Add some Sriracha or red pepper flakes at the end or use a hot curry paste. Want a bit less tang? Use less lime juice. Slightly sweeter? Add a touch of brown sugar along with the regular. Plus you can use full fat coconut milk if so inclined and regular chicken broth instead of fat free. Don’t like chicken or just not in the mood? Use shrimp. You could even do this full on vegetarian by using vegetable broth and firm tofu instead of meat. This is a very versatile recipe. It’s also delicious and made as stated you won’t miss the fat or calories. I PROMISE. I mean, c’mon, you all know what I normally cook. So would I lie about something low fat being tasty? This has it all. Spicy, meaty, rich and creamy (yet with no dairy), sweet, salty, tangy. Also, don’t use dried lemongrass in this. If you can’t find fresh (I couldn’t) get the squeeze tubes of lemongrass you can now find in the produce section of most major supermarkets.

This recipe originally comes from Cooks Illustrated.


Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer parts removed, then sliced lengthwise (or use 1 tablespoon of the squeezable lemongrass)
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro (they say to chop them but I don’t bother since you will be straining them out later anyway)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (Nam Pla) (do NOT omit this. Yes, it smells ghastly as it heats but it adds that needed something to so many Thai dishes and it leaves NO fishy taste)
  • 4 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 2 14 ounce cans low fat (lite) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice (I also use the zest from one of the limes)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I tend to use more… no such thing as too much curry in my book hehe)
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the lemongrass, cilantro, shallots and one tablespoon of the fish sauce (like I said, the fish sauce smells horrid as it heats. But it is not meant to be eaten plain. Once mixed with everything else, the smells fades and it leaves an undefinable flavor. Cook this mixture just until the shallots and lemongrass are softened, about 2 to 5 minutes. If using the squeeze lemongrass, use it now too.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and one can of coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about ten minutes
  5. Strain soup over a mesh strainer into another pot; discard the solids.
  6. Return pan to medium high heat and stir in the remaining can of coconut milk and the sugar.
  7. Add the mushrooms and chicken. Stir and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is JUST done.
  8. Combine the lime, zest if using, remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the curry paste in a bowl. Stir into the soup.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with more cilantro and scallions and some slices of serrano (or jalapeno) pepper. If you really like the tang, pass around some lime wedges too.

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Now that you’ve seen my recipe and have read what I have to say, go check out what these other bloggers have to tell you. You’ll find good food and stories that will touch your heart.


The Recipes from the Heart Crew:

Healthy Snacking with Radish Dip by Juanita’s Cocina

Arugula, Walnut Pesto by Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Farro, Apple & Pecan Salad by It’s Yummilicious

Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado Yogurt Sauce by The Spiffy Cookie

Pasta House Wilted Salad by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars by The Cooking Actress

Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts by All Day I Dream About Food

Mini Pear Walnut Crisps with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce by Chocolate Moosey

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos by The Dutch Baker’s Daughter

Honey Soy Glazed Salmon by Curry and Comfort

Apple Walnut Spinach Salad by Magnolia Days

Broiled Salmon Gyros with Cucumber Feta Yogurt Dip by Damn Delicious

Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Make-Ahead Chocolate Oatmeal by Crumb

Hoisin Flounder by Taking on Magazines

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Veggie Nachos by Dine & Dish

Cheesy Quinoa and Asparagus Bake by Hungry Couple

Ahi Tuna Salad by Noshing with the Nolands

Canapes of Apricot, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Rosemary by Cook the Story

Thai Chicken Soup by From Cupcakes to Caviar

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf by Rachel Cooks

Black Bean Quesadillas by Pastry Chef Online

Sautéed Rataouille with Quinoa by Whipped

Polenta Rounds with Apples and Cheddar by Diethood



Now It’sThai(m) For Something Completely Different


I'm never going to be a world class photographer but what my photos don't show is that the food I make is darn good :-)

I’m never going to be a world class photographer but what my photos don’t show is that the food I make is darn good 🙂

Sorry. I couldn’t help myself there. I managed to find a way to mix one of my favorite shows (Monty Python) with a really really… no, I mean REALLY bad pun based on one of my favorites types of food.

It was “snack night” here in the Cupcakes household. We have that far more often than I’d like to admit to. But most of you can probably identify with it. You have every intention of cooking but this pesky thing called life gets in the way. Today life meant Wal Mart. Jordans homebound teacher was here and then we had to go to Wal-Mart to get his meds so by the time we got home, it was too late to make the wings I had planned on making. So frozen pizza came to the rescue. The problem with that is that while the guys like frozen pizza, I’m not a fan. Not of it or of fast food which is the other snack night staple. So I usually end up making myself a Lean Cuisine; preferably Salmon With Basil or eating junk food which I know is bad for me.

But tonight at Wally World, I saw a reduced chub of ground turkey that was calling to me, saying “Janet… Jannnnnetttttt, take me homeeeeee. Cook meeeeee… you know you want meeeee.” I wasn’t sure whether to be frightened or aroused so I grabbed it and hid it in the cart under the Oreos. Then came figuring out what to do with it. As hubby and I walked to the car (God; I once said I would never refer to my husband in print as “hubby” and look at me. How the mighty have fallen.) I was reeling off possible ingredients to use to make meatballs from it, at which point he told me he hated me because I was able to visualize a dish in my mind without a recipe whereas he can barely do that WITH a recipe. I don’t think he was appeased when I said that maybe I could do that, but I sure couldn’t chop wood the way HE could. Go figure.

So in the end, I decided to try to make a version of sauced Thai meatballs from it. If I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn good. The eating parties were torn only about whether I should omit the lime zest from the sauce with me saying it needed to go and my husband saying it was yummy as it was. So I’m going to put the lime zest as optional. All in all though, I was pleased with these. The meatballs were tender and flavorful; the sauce was sweet, hot, sour and salty all in one, which is a combo that can’t be beat. How authentically Thai they are I couldn’t tell you. Call them Americanized Thai. Whatever you call them, try them. They’re yummy! Now to see if I can remember the ingredients correctly hehe.

Saucy Thai Turkey Meatballs

      • MEATBALLS-
      • 1 pound ground turkey
      • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
      • 1 egg yolk
      • 2 green onions, finely minced
      • 1 stalk celery, finely minced
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
      • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
      • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
      • 2 tablespoons Spice Hunters Thai Seasoning Blend (I wish I could give some sub if you don’t have it but it has some ingredients not readily available at the grocery store. Just trust me and go buy some. This stuff has SO many uses it’s worth getting some just because)
      • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (Nam Pla… you can’t taste the fishiness. I promise)
      • 2 teaspoons orange zest
      • 1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
      • SAUCE-
      • 1/4 cup honey
      • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
      • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
      • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (optional)
      • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
      • 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
  1. Meatballs- easy peasy, all those other weird ways of saying it doesn’t take much to do this. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and Just get a large mixing bowl and using your hands or a large wooden spoon if you’re squeamish, mix everything together.
  2. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs (you can do them smaller, but this is what I chose. I got 14 meatballs out of this) and put onto a foil lined, greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer stuck into one reads at about 160 degrees. If you remember, turn them once during cooking so they brown evenly. If you don’t it isn’t that big of a deal.
  4. Sauce- while meatballs cook, prepare your sauce.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. While stirring, bring to a boil. Turn off and remove from heat..
  6. When  sauce is done, you have the option of straining it to get rid of the garlic pieces. Personal choice. I wanted it smoother looking so I did but if you really want the little bits of garlic and don’t mind the look of them, keep them in there. Otherwise, strain through a fine mesh strainer. Then set side until the meatballs are done.
  7. When meatballs are done, toss them GENTLY in the sauce.  Sprinkle with more minced green onions and sesame seeds.Serve over a bed of rice (preferably Basmati) or rice noodles.


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Dem Bones

Zesty Sticky Thai Spareribs

I’ve never been a sun worshiper. I was always content with (ok, slightly vain of)  my very pale, snow white, not too wrinkled complexion. When I was a kid, the trend was to rub baby oil on yourself and go outside and quite literally fry your skin to reach a skin tone that hopefully wasn’t lobster red but nice and golden brown. Few succeeded but they all kept trying anyway, burn after burn after burn. About the only time in my life I’ve ever had a tan instead of the burn I usually get after 32 seconds exposed to sunlight…just call me Vampirilla was when I was a little kid and always outside and when I lived in Houston for a year and swam every day. Sun bathing as a hobby never interested me. My tans were EARNED… either playing or swimming

Now at 47, relatively wrinkle free (I usually get guessed as being late 30’s, early 40’s due to lack of sun damage and I love it lol), things seem to have changed. Hello wrinkles here I come! As many of you know, we moved late last year. The home we bought sits on ten acres of land and we have a pool. Not a huge Olympic in ground pool, but a pool nonetheless. Well, part of having ten acres means upkeep. I mow a large portion with the push mower every week (my husband does the larger portion on the riding mower) plus we now have a huge garden to take care of. Add in pool maintenance (being in the pool floating on a floatie counts as maintenance. Really. I’m…er….making sure there are no bugs in the pool) and other out doors things and I have found myself outdoors a LOT. For a while I burned every time but now I have a rather respectable tan.

Beyond all of that however, I’ve come to realize that the sun has this weird thing called heat. And that this heat, for a woman who has suffered from arthritis since in my 20’s (virus gone awry, settled in my joints) feels damn good on my old middle aged bones. So I find myself spending more time outside for that reason and in the process accumulating more wrinkles tan. I haven’t been this tan since I was 13. But heat is good. Bones like heat. Yes, yes they do. Precious precious heat. My precious.

Sorry. I was having a very warped Lord Of The Rings moment there. GEEK ALERT!

Bones really do like heat however. Not just mine; all bones. Look at the photo above. Don’t those bones look like they enjoyed the heat to you? If not, I can tell you that we certainly enjoyed what the heat DID to said bones hehe. I had 2 racks of spareribs I was making (my daughter & her family were coming over) and wanted to do something different with each rack. You’ve probably noticed by now that when I make pork, I tend to go for Asian flavors a lot of the time. They and pork just go so well together. I used a Thai Seasoning blend from my favorite spice company, The Spice Hunter . That mixed with other ingredients for a spice rub then a few times glazing it with a fantastic (if I do say so myself) thick and spicy sauce made these out of this world.

So as I always say… give these a try. You won’t be disappointed. Also, yes these are made in the oven. I wasn’t in the mood to die of heatstroke using the grill when I could be floating in the pool 😛 Nor are they cooked in the crockpot (I don’t care for them that way as they get too soft) nor are they covered and cooked for 50 hours at 10 degrees (same reason). They are cooked at a reasonable temp for a fairly small amount of hours compared to many recipes and they turn out tender as can be, yet still slightly crispy. Best way next to grilling. Trust me.

Sticky Zesty Thai Seasoned Glazed Spareribs

  • 1 5 lb (approximate) rack of spareribs
  • Spice rub-
  • 4 tablespoons Spice Hunter Thai Seasoning Blend
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely crushed anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt (preferably a low sodium version)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • Sauce-
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (this is more just for a touch of flavor & to have a base to start from)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (again; preferably low sodium)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce (amount optional but at least use SOME or I’ll cry)
  • 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce (use your favorite brand)
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons plum sauce
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • zest and juice of one orange
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking pan with heavy duty foil….more than once. Again; trust me. Nothing worse than trying to clean a pan with stuck on sauce of any kind.
  2. Lay the ribs down flat in the pan. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the ribs. Rub them in well into the surface of the meat. Let stand for at least 15 to 30 minutes.  (unless it is unbearably hot in your house. Refrigerate them if so).
  3. Bake at 350 for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until a fork/knife/spork/large sword/stuck into the meat shows that they are tender but not quite done. You should be able to pull on the meat and it come apart but you don’t want it falling off of the bones. This isn’t a pot roast.
  4. While they are baking, in a large pot, combine all of your sauce ingredients except for the orange zest and lime zest. Zests have better flavor if added at the end of cooking in a food like this.
  5. Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add in the zest and stir. Turn off the heat and set aside. Reserve some of the glaze (about a cup) to use as dipping sauce later.
  6. When ribs are tender, glaze with the sauce. Turn heat down to 325 degrees. Cook for 15 minutes, then glaze again. Do this two more times for a total of 4 times glazing and another hour cooking.
  7. Take the ribs out and let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with the reserved glaze.
  8. Make sure you have lots of napkins