Monday, May 23, 2011

Winning Is Everything

When cooking, why would we ever want to lose?  Winning is definitely the goal in mind!  The other options just don't seem to be quite as satisfying!  Now that's not to say that sometimes things don't turn out quite as planned and you end up with a whole different and new creation - those times are awesome.  I'm speaking merely of disasters...  inedibles...  black where black doesn't belong!  In those cases, winning is everything!

Last night I won!

Whenever I've attempted to make Chinese food it's always been referred to as Stir Fry.  Why?  We don't order Stir Fry from the Chinese shop menu do we?  Is it even an item on the menu?  Where did the term come from?  Maybe I should look that up before I post this?  Make it an educational post too!  Anyway, last night I didn't make stir fry, I made Chinese Food!  I finally got the taste AND texture of my favorite dish, I won!

Cashew Chicken
6 tbsp soy sauce, divided
2 tbsp sherry (or chicken stock)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 lb chicken breasts, cubed
3 tbsp cornstarch, divided
2/3 cup chicken broth, fat free
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp canola oil, divided
2 cups fresh snow peas
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 medium carrots, julienned
8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
2/3 cup cashews
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth, fat free

~  In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 4 tbsp soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and 1 tbsp cornstarch; add chicken.  Toss chicken to coat with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
~  Cook rice as directed on the package, or rice cooker, using the chicken broth for the liquid.
~ In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp cornstarch and 2/3 cup broth until smooth.  Stir in the sugar, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, ginger, salt and remaining soy sauce; set aside.
~ Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade.  Rinse the chicken lightly with cold water to remove excess cornstarch.  (The cornstarch is what gives the chicken the "Chinese Food" texture - ancient Chinese secret!)
~ In a large non-stick wok or skillet, stir fry the chicken in 1 tsp of oil until it is no longer pink.  Remove from pan and add the peas and carrots.  Fry until crisp tender, then add the water chestnuts.
~ Return the chicken to the pan and add the cashews.  Stir the sauce mixture and then add it to the chicken and vegetables.  Bring it to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until it is thickened. Serve over rice.

Notice I snuck the secret in there!?  I learned that secret a long time ago and I can't believe what it does to the chicken!  You'll have to try it with thin sliced beef for Beef and Broccoli and let me know how it is!

So there you have it - my winning dish!  With 1/2 cup of rice and plenty of the chicken it's only 9 points plus!  That even leaves room for a little extra chicken without the rice - and trust me, you're going to want just a few extra bites!

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