If you like to cook, and you're a parent....you'll totally understand where I'm coming from. If you're not a parent...you can still read this and go "awwwwwwww".
Remember when the kids were really little and they'd be excited to do just about anything with mom and dad? "You wanna play in the front yard?" "YAAAAAAAA!!!" "You wanna go with daddy to the gas station?" "YAAAAAAAAA!!!!" "You wanna bake cookies with mommy?" "YAAAAAAAAAA!!!" Then they got older and well....the Ya's came a little less often and finally disappeared all together.
Now...fast forward about 15 yrs...and its the mom and dads turn to say "YAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" My oldest (19 yrs. old) hated cooking until very recently when she discovered the joy of making something that tastes awesome!! Woo Hooo....I mean...YAAAAAAA!!!! Tonight she asked...I mean actually ASKED if she could help me make dinner! I was shocked!
Of course I jumped all over that (YAAAAAAA!!!) and we had such a nice time making dinner together. And the best part is...I got to take the pictures while she did most of the work
We had Orange Chicken, Fried Rice and an Asian Salad (ok...the salad was from a bag). We'll start off with the Orange Chicken. I got the recipe from The Food Network. Its one of the few Rachael Ray recipes I've tried...its actually called Buffalo Chicken Popcorn Bites. All I did was put Panda Express Orange Sauce over the chicken popcorn instead of Rachaels suggested blue cheese dressing.
2 1/2 cups pancake mix (divided). I only had 2 cups worth so I used self-rising flour instead. It worked fine for the application it was used for
1 1/4 cups water (I wonder if you could use beer instead and call it beer batter LOL)
8 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/4 lbs diced chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
1 bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce
First off....fill a pan (with high sides) or a wok, with 1 1/2 inches of oil and heat over medium - high. Now, check this out. (I learned this from Ms. RR herself)....theres a bread test you can do to see if you're oil is ready. You take a 1" piece of bread...drop it in the oil and if its a nice dark gold brown color by the time you count to 40...then the oil is hot enough....
While thats heating up....mix 2 teaspoons of hot sauce with the chicken in a medium bowl. Then in another bowl that would be good for dipping, mix together 2 cups of pancake mix, the water and the remaining 6 teaspoons of hot sauce....
Place the rest of the 1/2 cup of pancake mix in a separate bowl (or in my case the self-rising flour). Line up the bowls....chicken, dry mixture, then the wet mixture....then your hot oil pan....
Now...when the oil is ready and everything's set up, dip a few chicken bites in the dry mixture...shaking off the extra. Then dip it into the wet mixture...shaking off the extra...
Then carefully drop it into the pan. It says to fry for 2 minutes on one side, then turn the bites over and continue frying for another 2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
Remove from oil onto a plate covered with paper towel, to drain. Repeat the process until all the chicken is cooked. At this point, if you want to salt them...nows the time while they're still oily and hot. Personally, I didnt. Not that it was a choice, but I just didn't think of it.
Just before serving, drizzle with the Panda Express Orange Sauce
Noooow....for the fried rice. I don't have any exact measurements...maybe
2 garlic cloves
2 - 3 cups cooked rice
couple teaspoons of soy sauce
1 cup of cooked mixed veggies
(sometimes I'll toss in a scrambled egg but my helper said not to do it this time).
Start off by chopping the mushrooms, onion and garlic...then saute in a hot skillet in olive oil
look at my little girl chopping away
after its all tender and fragrant and you feel like you want to just jump into that pan, face first cuz it smells so damn good, add your rice and stir it up a bit...
Its time to add your soy sauce and veggies, stir and continue cooking over medium low heat until thoroughly heated up.
And....we did have a salad with our dinner. I slaved and slaved over that baby.....all that chopping and prepping...oh ya. shit, I already told you it was from a bag, didn't I. Ok fine. Here's the evidence:
It was really good. I just love those bags of theme salads. Takes all the guess work right out of the prep!!
Did I forget anything? hmm....dont think so. I did have an apple strawberry marg. thing, but it wasn't worth writing about. So we'll just leave it at that.
Stay tuned for some more fun with my oldest child...playing in the kitchen with mom. Do you think I'd be pushing it if I started calling her Mini Me?