Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fool Me Once

I have been cooking for a long time. I remember making my parents breakfast in bed (and laying it on the floor for my father to step in); preparing a rich chocolate-cherry cake (recipe courtesy of my 6th grade Home Ec class); and planning "menus" for various occasions.

Yet I am not a chef, nor will I ever be. I do not create recipes from the depths of my (slightly twisted) mind. I just know how to read and follow directions.

However, there is one skill I have cultivated over the years - I can figure out what ingredients will work and make minor adjustments accordingly. Tonight, while the adjustments were almost too teensy to tell (fun with "t"!), it made the overall meal a winner for everyone.

So why "fool"? One: These silly recipes can try and trick me with their ridic amounts of salt, ginger and red pepper, but I know better. And two? Rest assured peeps, I am nobody's fool.

Now let's all join Paul for a little singalong:

Kung Pao Chicken
Source: Cooking Light, December 2010

  • 2 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 lbs chicken cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bottled minced ginger (used 1/4)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (used 1/2)
  • 1 c. sliced red pepper
  • 1 c. snow peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped, unsalted peanuts (I smash them a bit)
  • Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion to pan; saute 3 mins or until soft. Add garlic, saute 30 secs, stirring constantly. Add chicken, saute 3 mins or until it begins to brown.
  • Combine water and the next 5 ingredients (through crushed red pepper), stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Add water mixture ot pan, bring to a boil.
  • Add bell pepper and snow peas to pan, cook for 2 mins or until veggies are crisp-tender and sauce thickens. Sprinkle with nuts.
Note: I let this all cook a bit longer because I am crazy-paranoid about undercooked chicken. I'd rather have it slightly chewy than salmonella any day of the week... no fooling!

Yield: 4 servings (1 c. each) (We also had plain brown rice - not included in the calorie count, below obvs)
Per serving: 275 cals; 13.8g fat (2.6g sat; 5.3g mono; 4.8g poly); 25.3g protein; 11.9g carb; 94mg chol; 502mg sodium; 41mg calc

Huge thumbs up from the kid. He was swiping chicken from both of our plates, and he ate all of his snow peas and red peppers. He was also able to apply the dinner to school - he "studied" one of the snow peas to prepare for his food painting. I have no doubt it will be a masterpiece!

Four forks: Easy to prepare, didn't require too many dishes or advance work, and the flavor was delightful

Over-zealous on the peanuts


  1. LOVE Kung Pao Chicken and this looks yummy! If you want to try an even lower sodium version, I made this in the spring:

    Not sure you're interested (or need) the faux soy, but even our normal-salt-eating neighbors raved about this.

  2. I LOVE Dick Logue and his recipes... never thought to look at a lower sodium sauce! Might have to give it a whirl!