Take-out Fake-out

Take-out Fake-out: Chicken Lo Mein

by Shawnda on November 12, 2013

in Chicken & Poultry,Pasta, Rice, and Grains,Take-out Fake-out

Chicken Lo Mein

There are some days that only the ringing of the door bell can fix. Assuming the person on the other side of that door is holding a large brown bag full of an oil-drenched sodium bomb.

Or a margarita. (And one day, I’ll bring that dream of a margarita delivery service to life. Or at least be their very best customer.)

No amount of justifying “but homemade is soooo much better – and better for you!” fixes those days. Carbs must be over-paid for. Then delivered outside of the promised window without the extra spicy mustard you specifically requested. And then consumed in excess, and far too fast.

But on days when you don’t need the psychological effect of throwing your credit card at a stranger standing on your front step, homemade is so better. And better for you. Because there’s room in everyone’s kitchen for a take-out recipe that doesn’t come drenched in a 1/2 cup of oil.

Chicken Lo Mein

For the last 5 years, that bowl of DIY take-out Chicken Lo Mein has been the second-most popular noodle dish in this house. 5 years.

The recipe comes courtesy of my friend Elly over at Elly Says Opa. Her blog is usually the place I visit when I’m short on ideas for our weekly menu. Also, it’s where I go when I want to look at dreamy photos of delicious Greek food that no one else in this house would eat with me.

Well, at least not before I introduced them to the magicalness of gyro and baklava at Greek Fest… but that’s a different story and a different recipe.

Today, it’s Chinese Food from my favorite Greek blogger.

Chicken Lo Mein

We make a few minor changes to the recipe. We don’t incite the natives to rebel by including mushrooms. And the open-bag-of-frozen-snap-peas-dump-in-pan keeps the littlest native from picking through her bowl of noodles looking for an offending chunk of celery or an icky chunk of carrot. (Because in typical 3 year old logic, carrots are awesome raw and carrots are awesome cooked to a mush in a can of soup. But she will cut you – and by “you” I mean “me” – over anything in between).

And sometimes we add orange juice and strips of orange zest. And sometimes that orange becomes grapefruit.

And when we can’t keep up with the red bell peppers from the garden, I throw in as many of those as I can squeeze into the pan.

And as long as there’s no celery or mushrooms or carrots, everyone is happy. And stays happy.

Chicken Lo Mein

A lighter, better-for-you-than-takeout chicken lo mein.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lo mein noodles
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp olive (or other cooking) oil
  • 8 oz chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced (dark green parts reserved)
  • 8 oz frozen snow peas
  • Sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the lo mein noodles according to package directions.
  2. Drain, toss with a few dashes of sesame oil, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the oyster sauce, soy, chicken stock, cornstarch, and red pepper until smooth; set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet (I use a nonstick pan) over high heat.
  5. Stir fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes, until almost cooked through and add the ginger, onions, garlic, white and light green onion parts, and snow peas.
  6. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are cooked to your preference, stirring frequently.
  7. Whisk the sauce and add it to the pan, letting it boil for 1 minute before adding the noodles.
  8. Toss to coat, top with dark green onion slices, and serve.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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Eggs Benedict con Queso

Hi, my name is–

Queso! QUESO!! KAY-SOOOO!!!!

That’s kind of what happens when we go to Austin. We stop by the original Kerbey Lane Cafe at least once… a day. And before the server can even get his or her name out, my husband is already reaching for his tranquilizer gun.

So maybe it’s not that bad, but I am a certifiable chile con queso junkie. And I’ve never really paid much attention to their menu. (Seriously, they have a menu! Who knew?)

Eggs Benedict con Queso

But a reader recently brought to my attention a dish from that alleged menu: “Eggs Francisco.” Eggs Francisco is an English muffin topped with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, bacon and a scoop of Kerbey queso.

That? That sounds like my kind of breakfast. (Or breakfast for dinner, as it turned out.)

We took a slightly different approach to Eggs Francisco, instead merging Eggs Benedict with a few TexMex and breakfast favorites to create a dish totally worthy of a fancy & pricey brunch: bacon, avocado, pico de gallo, and a generous spoonful of queso.

Eggs Benedict con queso y avocado y bacon y pico de gallo. But you can call ‘em Eggs Benedict con Queso.

Eggs Benedict con Queso

And then you can call it the best thing to happen to Eggs Benedict since butter and homemade English muffins.

I already had English muffins in the freezer and leftover pico and queso in the fridge from the night before, so I really only had to cook the bacon, poach the eggs, and toast the muffins. It took no time at all for it all to come together!

Eggs Benedict con Queso

Eggs Benedict, with a TexMex twist.

Ingredients

  • For the pico de gallo:
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt
  • For each serving:
  • 1 toasted English muffin half
  • Sliced avocado
  • 1 slice of cooked bacon
  • 1 poached or fried egg
  • 1 scoop of warmed chile con queso (this is my favorite recipe)

Instructions

  1. Stir the ingredients for the pico de gallo together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Build your Eggs Benedict con queso from the bottom-up: english muffin half, avocado, bacon (breaking the pieces as necessary to fit), egg, queso, and a generous scoop of pico de gallo.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, Inspired by Kerbey Lane Cafe

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Chicken Relleno

One of my favorite places to grab lunch near the Foodie Groom’s office is Cafe Red Onion. With the world’s best collection of Tex-Mex restaurants within 5 minutes in any direction of our house, their “Latin fusion” really stands out. The food is incredibly fresh and every plate that comes out of the kitchen is a festive and colorful work of culinary art. And if you need another excuse, their pineapple salsa can be incredibly addicting.

My favorite dish is the Chicken Relleno: a chicken breast stuff with an oozy goat cheese that’s loaded with pistachios, poblano, and roasted red pepper and served over and under a cilantro curry sauce. It’s served along side a quick and super simple fun confetti-style pile of white rice tossed with rinsed black beans and diced Texas cantaloupe (don’t forget to hit it with a little lime juice and cilantro for garnish!).

While the recipe serves 4, I recommend only making 3 – dinner, a leftover lunch, and then a worthy use of the remaining stuffing and sauce for His & Her Burger Night:

Leftover Chicken Relleno

I know, right?

Chicken Relleno

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, pistachios, poblano, and roasted red pepper and served over and under a cilantro curry sauce.

Ingredients

  • For the filling:
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (reserve the other half for another use)
  • 1/2 roasted poblano pepper (reserve the other half for the sauce)
  • salt and pepper
  • For the chicken:
  • 4 5-oz chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 of roasted poblano
  • juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
  • dash of curry powder
  • fat-free half and half or canned condensed milk (not sweetened!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Process pistachios in the food processor for ~10 seconds, until mostly ground. Add goat cheese and lime juice and process until thoroughly mixed. Add cilantro, the chopped bell pepper and poblano peppers and pulse to just combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture in the center of each chicken breast. Roll the ends up and secure with toothpicks. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan until very hot. Place chicken breasts in the pan (toothpicks up) and sear 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned. Flip (toothpicks down) and transfer to the oven for ~8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (use a meat thermometer).
  3. While the chicken is baking, make the sauce: Cut the bunch of cilantro so that most of the stems are left behind. Place all ingredients except the half-and-half in a blender. With the blender running, slowly stream in the half-and-half until you reach a nice, saucy consistency. Transfer to a small sauce pan and heat on low. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Divide chicken between plates and serve with a generous spoonful of sauce.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Inspired by Cafe Red Onion

Estimated time: 45 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 372.1 | Fat: 18.5 | Fiber 2.3
WW Points: 9

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Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

One of our favorite splurge meals is sushi. I like to make it at home but I love going out for sushi. And while I love the variety of the restaurant-specific interpretation of sushi rolls, I’m completely content with an ice cold platter of mini-slabs of fresh fish in front of me. The Foodie Groom? He lives for his Alaska Roll.

The Alaska Roll at the sushi place that we frequent is fresh salmon and avocado rolled inside-out style and fried, crusted in panko. That’s enough to make a person swoon already but they don’t stop there. They top the sliced rolls with eel sauce and a fresh jalapeno slice… and if you’re feeling really adventurous, it’s topped with the tiniest dab of Sriracha by request.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

If you’re going to make sushi at home, you’ll need a couple of tools. We’ve been making simple sushi rolls at home for a few years now but if you’ve never done it, you’ll want to get a few things to get you going. Not many tools, but a few – like a mat on which to roll the rolls and if you ask me, a rice cooker. I can’t tell you how much rice I’ve ruined before dropping $20 on the greatest invention ever. You also need a bowl of cold water to keep your hands wet. Sushi rice sticks to everything but wet hands and plastic wrap.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

Rather than using my old trusty sushi rice recipe, I tried the recipe that the Pioneer Woman’s house-call-making chef used – it’s more like the rice that we get out so we’re making the permanent switch. And since the At-Home Alaska Roll got two thumbs up from The Foodie Groom, we might not be going out for sushi for a while.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Rolls

Sushi-house rolls at home, for a fraction of the cost!

Ingredients

  • For the sushi rice:
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/2 cup sushi vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • For the sushi rolls:
  • 3 Nori sheets, halved
  • 1/2 large avocado, pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 lb fresh salmon filet, skin removed and sliced into 1/4-inch strips*
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2-3 fresh Jalapenos, sliced (you need 1 slice per piece of sushi)
  • Eel sauce
  • Soy sauce, for serving
  • Wasabi, for serving
  • Pickled sushi ginger, for serving
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

To make the sushi rice
  1. Put sushi rice in a sieve and set the sieve in a larger bowl full of cold water in the sink. Using your hands, stir the rice to rinse it. Change the water in the bowl as it becomes cloudy. Continue to rinse the rice until the water remains clear. Drain the rice and place it in a rice cooker, using the manufacturer's measurements for the rice:water ratio.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.
  3. Place the rice in a large bowl and pour over the vinegar mixture. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, covered with a damp cloth. Stir again to fluff and use slightly warm.
To make the sushi rolls:
  1. Pour enough vegetable oil into a pot to come about 2.5-3 inches up the side of the pot (you want to be able to submerge the entire roll). Heat the oil to 375.
  2. Cover a bamboo rolling mat with a couple layers of plastic wrap. Cut nori sheets in half crosswise. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic covered mat. With wet hands, spread about 1/2-2/3 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Flip the sheet of nori over so that the rice side is down. Line the salmon and avocado strips in the center of the nori.
  3. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the filling in place with your fingers, and roll forward, forming the roll into a tight cylinder, and pressing on the mat lightly to shape and secure. Pull away the mat and set the roll on a plastic wrap-covered plate. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used.
  4. Place the flour and panko in separate shallow dishes. Beat the egg and place in another shallow dish. Roll as many sushi rolls as will fit in your pan in the flour (brushing off the excess), in the egg, and then in the panko (pressing the crumbs lightly into the roll). Carefully slide the roll into the heated oil and fry for 30 seconds (this is just long enough to brown the panko, not overheat or cook the filling; I used two sets of tongs to get the rolls in and out of the pan). Drain on paper towel to wick away excess oil. Repeat for remaining rolls.
  5. Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into 6-8 slices. Top each slice with a bit of eel sauce and a slice of fresh jalapeno. Serve with soy sauce, prepared wasabi, and pickled ginger if desired.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 rolls

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, rice adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Estimated time: 1 hour

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