General TSO’S CHICKEN

GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

Since our retirement, my husband seems to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. Now do not take this wrong he is an excellent cook and comes up with some good ideas. He loves his pressure cooker, one morning he is surfing the web for new ideas for dinner. He also knows whatever idea he conjures up has to be healthy.  So when he says WHY DON’T WE MAKE General Tso’s Chicken tonight my first thought was YUM, I love General Tso’s chicken, but reality says breaded, deep fried, grease  oh no.  So we do more research in the  Kuhn Rikon webb site, took about 12 different recipes and ideas and came up with this fantastic recipe.  I will admit I was skeptical that just a few ingredients  could bring out such amazing flavors. OK I was wrong; this recipe has become one of our favorite fast, healthy go to recipes. It also works well for us as we make it in our RV often. The recipe works with an instant pot or my traditional pressure cooker.

SIMPLE INGREDIENTS

SAUCE –   mix together and set aside

¼ CUP LOW SODIUM SOY SAUCE OR TAMARI

¼ CUP HONEY

1 TABLESPOON TOMATO PASTE

PINCH OF CHILI FLAKES

3 STRIPS 2 IN LONG FRESH GINGER OR  2 TEASPOONS JARRED MINCED GINGER

2 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC

3 TABLESPOONS RICE VINEGAR

PLACE

1 POUND CHICKEN    I USE CHICKEN TENDERS –  You can use any kind of chicken you prefer thigh’s  would be good also but more fattening.  Tenders are more convenient for RVing.

Add your chicken to your pot; pour sauce over chicken, that’s it, so simple. Close the lid. I bring my pressure cooker up to the top red ring and let cook for 5 minutes, then quick release. Instant pot cooks for 10 minutes then quick release. Remove the chicken to a vessel you can keep it warm in. Leave the sauce in the pot.

3 Tablespoons Water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix water in a small cup, whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch, add this slurry to your sauce in your pressure cooker and cook for about 2 minutes stirring to keep from lumping. Should  thicken up if not turn heat up and cook 1 to 2 additional minutes.

SERVE OVER BROWN RICE OR MY NEW FAVORITE FARRO

NOTE; FOR CONVENIENCE YOU CAN MIX THE SAUCE AND CHICKEN ALL TOGETHER, THAT WORKS WELL ALSO.

NOTE; ANOTHER HEALTHY IDEA WE DO OFTEN IS STIR FRY A LARGE BAG OF MIXED VEGGIES (LIKE THE ONES AT COSTCO) PLACE IN A REFRIGERATOR CONTAINER AND HEAT UP AS NEEDED. I THEN PLACE RICE OR FARRO IN A BOWL TOP WITH THE HEATED PRE COOKED VEGS , PLACE CHICKEN AND SAUCE ON TOP, VERY TASTY.

ANOTHER NOTE: YOU CAN USE WHITE RICE – BUT REMEMBER BROWN IS MORE NUTRIOUS!

BROWN RICE

1 CUP ORGANIC BOBS RED MILL BROWN RICE

2  ½ CUPS WATER OR STOCK

Place ingredient’s in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid or use your pressure cooker. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once or twice, cover. Reduce heat and simmer 45 to 55 minutes.

FARRO- ORGANIC BOBS RED MILL MY FAVORITE

1 CUP FARRO

3 CUPS WATER

RINSE 1 CUP FARRO, PLACE IN A POT WITH 3 CUPS WATER OR STOCK.  BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER FOR 30 MINUTES. DRAIN EXCESS LIQUID IF ANY.

HOPE YOU ALL TRY THIS SIMPLE HEALTHY RECIPE – CHEERS FROM LIZ AT JUST AROUND THE BEND

Napa Valley Wine Country

The first thing that comes to my mind as we begin to see beautiful rolling hills and majestic vineyards is Calistoga water, The French Laundry and the CIA at Greystone. Napa Valley is a culinary mecca of the finest dining and wines set in the most beautiful valley and climate. We are on our winter journey exploring as we go and this was a must stop. Pulling our 25 foot trailer and trying to visit the beautiful Napa Valley Wine country is a little tricky. So what do you do, you head to The ELKS Lodge (if you're lucky enough to be members) and pay $35.00 a night for full hook-ups, bocce ball ,horseshoes,BINGO NIGHT and of course a full bar. Now that we are parked in a gated and locked secure campground we can venture out to explore the beautiful wine country at a leisure pace.

Visiting the Culinary Institute Of America (CIA) was definitely a culinary dream of ours, we are definitely foodies and this is the place to tour. From the massive carved doors when you enter, the italian architecture and the aromas from the hi tech kitchens we were in culinary heaven. A self guided tour allows you to see years of antique wine stoppers to kitchen equipment which will bring back many memories. I can’t tell you how many items we saw that our moms or grandmas had, very fun. After you are finished with your tour you have to find the CIA’S restaurant and BAKERY.

FIRST STOP: THE CIA

Homemade baguettes, stone ground bread to chocolate hazelnut tarts all made to perfection what a treat. With so much to choose from we opted for a chocolate tart and a expertly made Illy Espresso. We then had to sample their handmade chocolate truffles and maybe take home a calamita olive focaccia bread and a whole wheat stone ground loaf of bread. Yes we went a little carb crazy. We will walk it off right!

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Of the over 500 wineries in Napa Valley, the Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga California is a unique winery and a must see. We purchased the premium tour which lets you visit the dungeons, the torture room and the underground barrel rooms. We each got to taste 5 unique and delicious wines and an additional wine tasting right out of an oak barrel. We are not wine experts but do appreciate a fine glass of wine and as we tasted we were to judge each tasting. We found ourselves rating them all 10’s as EVERY TASTING was some of the best wine we have ever experienced. We had to hold back and only purchase 2 of our favorites but could have purchased all of them. We highly recommend the tour as the castle itself was Dario Sattui’s dream in which he kept the Italian theme. The style of the castle, the vast grounds and their wines make you feel you are in the heart of Italy.

Our next winery exploration was CHATEAU MONTELENA. Now there is madness behind finding this winery as it is the winery they made the movie BOTTLE SHOCK. Its a fascinating story about a struggling little winery back in 1976 that just happened to have one of the finest wines in the USA and needed to prove their excellence to the established French vintners. The grounds of the Chateau are all original and are featured in the movie. What a beautiful winery and their wine well you’ll need to watch the movie and sample some of their finest wine, let’s say we were in wine heaven.

Until our next adventure, thanks for following my blog and CHEERS from JEFF AND LIZ

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO ALL

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McMenamins Old St Francis Schools Secret Broom Closet Oregon 2018

Tonight is date night for Jeff and Liz and part of our date is to find the secret passageway that leads to a  Lilliputian cafe and bar.     Located at the Art House at Mcmenamins Old St Francis School is a  series of passageways and the fun begins. You do need to be quiet as the hallways and rooms could be occupied. So let’s begin by looking for the secret hallway which starts on the main floor. We are looking for a door which says Barnsdale Crescent-enter at your own risk-this passageway is so amazing.

Next we head to the third floor looking for the Broom Closet- they encourage you to enter. Now the question is- are you brave enough to enter. Even after you slowly open the door and even then, what you see is a hallway of old witchie brooms, now what. Glancing around at the very artsy brooms what do you do next, we started pressing the panels and OMG one of the panels moved, we slowly pushed and entered a Lilliputian  bar. Surrounded by art and greeted by a very energetic bartender who was eager to satisfy our explorers thirst. So much fun and sad the adventure has ended. We will certainly be bringing our Bend quests and exposing them to this fun quest.

Mcmenamins is far more than a artsy secret passageway, with 55 locations around Oregon and Washington, every location is worth a stop. Their signature wines and beer and pub food is renowned. The art and creativeness of every location is so worth a self tour.

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CHEERS FROM LIZ  ♥♥♥♥    Harvest Hosts Affiliate Banner

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Turkey, Barley and Mushroom Soup

Bringing you your daily dose of travel and adventure and sometimes some good stuff to eat!!!

This is week # 2.

So how is everyone doing ? Hope you have been trying these heart healthy  RV friendly soups. This healthy soup recipe is chock-full of sturdy root vegetables and whole-grain barley. You can use any combination of dried and fresh mushrooms here. The soup will thicken as it sits on the stove—thin it as needed with more broth or water. Just as tasty omitting the protein. ♥

INGREDIENTS:

1 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, soaked in  2 cups boiling water                 NOTE: soak for 30 minutes or can cover and leave overnight overnight for additional flavor

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion   chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 medium carrots chopped

8 ounces fresh shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, caps coarsely chopped

8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced

1 Teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 Tablespoon fresh diced thyme

1 Teaspoon lemon pepper

Salt and  Coarsely ground pepper to taste

2 Cups of leftover roasted turkey or chicken (1 inch pieces)

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup pearl barleyp1000890
Preparation

Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes or overnight for addition flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve the liquid. Squeeze the mushrooms to remove excess liquid, then dice. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion cook until slightly caramelized, stirring, until very soft, about 4 minutes. Add carrots, all of the fresh mushrooms, salt, and garlic; cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add broth, barley, thyme, the reserved soaking liquid and chopped soaked mushrooms. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer until the barley is tender, about 50 minutes.  Add roasted turkey or chicken to heat through .About 4 minutes.

Nutrition information
Serving size: 1¼ cups each
Per serving: 241 calories 9 g fat(2 g sat); 4 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 44 mcg folate; 38 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 3147 IU vitamin A; 6 mg vitamin C; 47 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 401 mg sodium; 611 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (63% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1½
Exchanges: ½ starch, 2½ vegetable, 1½ lean meat, ½ fat

I adapted this recipe from: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2016. I changed some of the ingredients to lessen the fat and use a leaner type of protein.

Until next week Cheers from Just Around The Bend ♥

Next Week:  Curry Chicken Veggie Soup, very addicting and figure friendly

 

Savory Herbed Roasted Potatoes

These lemon-herb roasted potatoes have become one of our favorite side dishes. Made with olive oil, herbs and chicken broth, it doesn’t get simpler and so tasty. Roasted potatoes are usually loaded with a lot of butter and unnecessary hidden calories. You will be surprised how wonderful these taste and simple to make, with only 15 mins active time!
Ingredients

4 to 6 medium size yukon gold potatoes (Organic)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup chicken broth, I use Better Than Bouillon (Organic)
I use 1 tablespoon in 3/4 Cup water, this is what I baste the potatoes with

3 dashes Black pepper, ground

1 lemon for drizzling  (optional)

Salt to taste (really not needed with the chicken broth)

PREP POTATOES:

The whole secret to these is to not cut completely through the potato.

Place potatoes in a casserole with a lid and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs. Pour about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth in the bottom of the casserole, (more broth if you’re using a larger casserole for more potatoes). Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove lid and baste potatoes with broth from the bottom of the casserole ( this is where all of the flavor is). I baste about every 10 minutes or so, as you baste the broth gets thicker as the potatoes brown .If the broth completely is used up you can add a little more as needed. The potatoes are done when they are tender, you will know as they start to fan out more. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes after you have removed the lid. See pictures below.

OPTIONAL:  

Before serving drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice

CHEERS FROM  JUST AROUND THE BEND  ♥

NOTE:  Next recipe from just around the Bend is HAZELNUT CHICKEN, which pairs perfectly with my broccoli quiche recipe and Savory Herbed Roasted Potatoes.