Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Asian Cooking...and Take-Out

I love Asian food. I use to think it was something I could never make at home, but have slowly learned more and more about it, and discovered it really is not all that difficult. It is true that you will have to branch out and buy some new staples for your pantry, but once you do you will find that so many Asian dishes use these things, and if you are like me, you will go through them quickly!

I admit that I have never traveled to Asia and my knowledge of Asian food is limited, so most of the recipes I have tried have come from magazines, cooking shows, etc. So, I am not claiming that they are super authentic. But they are delicious. And easy. So give it a try.

The other night I had some chicken breasts on hand, so I decided to cook Asian-Glazed Chicken. I used this recipe, which I found in Cooking Light a little while back. Side note: if you do not get Cooking Light, you should. It's awesome. I had made it once before with chicken thighs, as it calls for, but this time used chicken breasts, and it was delicious again (you may need to extend the cooking time if you use chicken breasts, so make sure you check your chicken before you eat it)!

The ingredients above are those I used in this meal. These, combined with a few others like hoisin sauce, chili paste with garlic and sriracha should have you set for most recipes you find. Occasionally you may have to search for something else, but these basics will get you started. And you can find most of them at almost any grocery store. If you cannot find them at a regular store, try an Asian Market or World Market if you have either of those. Also, I always use low sodium soy sauce, no matter what the recipe calls for. I cannot taste the difference, and cutting the sodium in half is definitely a good thing!

Along with the chicken, I mixed broccoli and carrots with equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar, a little chili paste, and a little sesame oil. Then I sauteed them in a pan with a some canola oil (you won't need much). This meal was good, healthy, and easy!

So you might be reading my blog and thinking I am some kind of super mom/housewife that always has a fresh meal on the table and wouldn't dare pick up take out, order a pizza, bake a frozen pizza, etc. Well, as much as I love to cook, I am frequently guilty of all three. Many nights I find myself tired, not up to cooking, or just craving something besides what is in my own kitchen.

One night last week I even had an Indian dish in the slow cooker but did not feel like eating it or cooking the rice (I know, so tough) to go with it, so I picked up Chinese take out instead. And it was delicious. And I had an excuse. I had Bible study the next morning and could bring my Indian food there, so I would not be wasting it.

So I savored my delicious orange chicken and fried rice from one of our favorite local spots for Chinese, Golden Chopsticks.  It's nothing fancy, but we think the food is good, and the prices are great (plus it's just a few minutes from our house). Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break...

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