Feast from the East Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

Chinese Chicken Salad

In high school, I was one of the few kids who still had a parent make their lunch. The reason wasn’t that I was lazy or didn’t know how, but was instead because my father took pride in making me lunch every day {and he enjoyed the requests from my friends to bring two lunches}. It’s how he knew he made it in the teenager girl hierarchy of cool. Just kidding, looking back we never really told him how cool he was for all those lunches, but I’m sure he figured it out.

Every now and then I find myself wanting to recreate one of my dad’s go to recipes. This Chinese chicken salad recipe was a staple in my lunch diet for almost 5 years– and the number one request from my friends whenever they spent the night. The recipe is as simple as chopping some veggies and frying some dough. The true jewel of the recipe is the Feast from the East dressing, which I buy it in bulk at Costco, but it’s also available here.

Chinese Chicken Salad

ingredients:
2 heads hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
3 green onions, sliced on the bias
1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 package wonton skins
2 Tbsp cup sliced almonds
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Feast From The East Sesame Dressing

Chinese Chicken Salad

directions:
Cut the wonton skins into 1/4″ strips and fry in vegetable oil over high heat. Dry on a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Combine remaining ingredients in a salad bowl and shake vigorously.

2 Hearty Servings.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Is it just me or are Friday nights the most difficult night to try to cook anything? I either get total recipe block and I can’t think of anything that sounds good or can’t find the right version of what I want to try. I literally found myself standing in front of the fridge for ten minutes looking and guessing what I could make for dinner without going to the store. I was about to break out a ramen when it hit me- CAPRESE GRILLED CHEESE! Yes, I got very excited for sure. Butter, cheese and a little something sweet- hello? get in my belly. Not only was my idea ingenious and delicious, but it’s super simple– almost everyone has the ingredients already in their kitchen. Next time you get recipe block, keep this on the back burner, you won’t be disappointed.

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

ingredients:
sourdough bread or rustic bread
fresh mozzarella, sliced
sliced tomatoes
spinach
Pesto, homemade or store bought
Butter and olive oil for the pan
TJ Balsamic Glaze

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

directions:
Preheat oven to 375F. Layer 3 slices fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and pesto between two slices of bread.

Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a heavy bottom oven proof skillet. Lightly brown each side place in the hot oven. Bake until cheese is melty, about 15 minutes. Add spinach leaves, slice in half and serve with balsamic glaze.

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Can we talk about sweet potatoes for a second?  How have I not realized the amazingness of these potato cousins?  Last weekend Bill and I went on my first backpacking trip to Havasupai Reservation– it was kind of a pseudo backpacking trip because we only carried our packs in and out, but let me tell you, 10 miles each way in triple digits trekking in sand with 20+ pounds on your back, that counts as the full Monty in my book!  We were lucky to have an awesome group who prepped all of our meals and brought a cooler {using a mule} to the campsite.

Unluckily, the first night there our cooler up being the victim of wild animal attack– see you later salami, carne asada and chicken apple sausage.  Don’t worry they left us all the veggies!! Thanks to our group’s quick thinking, we ended up subbing in some sweet potatoes for the missing breakfast meat and had some BOMB breakfast burritos.  You couldn’t even tell the dish was missing a huge element, the sweet potatoes totally saved our morning!

Don’t get me wrong, I love ordering a basket of sweet potato fries whenever I see them on a menu, but how have I not made a recipe with them until now?  The possibilities seem endless, swapping these into a breakfast burrito like on your trip, serving a spicy Thai curry chicken over these babies, and even just a simple mashed sweet potato side.  I’m all over it.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

ingredients:
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
8 6-inch flour tortillas
1 scallion, chopped as topping

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chili powder, half the onion, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion, the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black beans, sweet potato, oregano, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.Cook, tossing frequently, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll up the bean mixture in the tortillas (about ½ cup each) and place the rolls seam-side down in the dish. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and 1 cup of Cheddar. Bake on the top rack of oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Top with chopped scallions and serve warm.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake

In high school, I absolutely loved planning tea parties for my girl friends. From the bite size tea sandwiches to the perfect sorbet pallet cleanser and finally picking the best teas. Tea parties were an easy way to impress my friends and have a quick and easy party with minimal cooking effort.

But who says tea is only for drinking? I love the hint of spice and subtle flavor that makes tea what it is. So why not harness those flavor profiles and add it to something delicious like cake? Don’t mind if I do. I present to you a double dose of Earl Grey in cake form. These two different cake recipes combined create a gorgeous presentation of chocolate and plain cake. Paired with a soft vanilla butter cream, try to resist this delightful cake.

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake

Chocolate Earl Grey Cake:
ingredients:
6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt

directions:
Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour two 8″ round pans.

Brew the tea in the water 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set the brewed tea aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter, eggs, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Blend in the chocolate. Beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yogurt, and brewed tea. Pour into pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.

Turn out of pan and cool.

Earl Grey Cake:
ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp corn meal
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons of loose leaf Earl Grey tea

directions:
Preheat oven to 350°C. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a bowl, combine the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt.

In your mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon ground tea leaves until light and fluffy. The scent of the tea leaves will emerge.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and 3 tablespoons of whole tea leaves until just boiled, remove from heat and let steep for a few minutes until the milk changes color. Strain out the tea leaves and set the “tea milk” aside.

Add the combined flour mixture into the wet mixture, and finally pour in the “tea milk”. Mix just until blended.  Immediately pour into the prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake

Frosting:
ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

directions:
Combine all ingredients in your mixer and whip until fluffy.  You can adjust the recipe for thicker or thinner frosting by using more or less sugar and butter.

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake

Assembly:

Starting with the plain Earl Grey cake, apply a thin layer of frosting and alternate cake flavors until all four layers have been assembled.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin even layer.

Double Take Earl Grey Layer Cake