Gravy On Sunday's

Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

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Orzo pasta salad

I went to the grocery store with my sister shortly before lunch today, on the way out of the store she stopped at Subway to grab a sandwich. I couldn’t make my mind on what to get so I decided against a sub. As I pulled into my parking lot at home I realized that skipping lunch would only leave me hangry, so I shifted the car into reverse and when to the grocery store near my house.  While wondering the aisles aimlessly I saw orzo on the shelf and decided to make a pasta salad. This was my time  first preparing orzo, but I’m a pasta fiend.  I love the idea of trying different things in familiar dishes, like buffalo burgers.  So I took the orzo home and made a beautiful pasta salad, now I have lunch for the rest of the week and I’ll never go hangry again. Enough of my yapping; I’ll get to what you clicked the like for, the recipe. 

 Ingredients:

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  • Orzo (8 ozs of orzo) 
  • Cherry Tomatoes (12- 15 tomatoes quartered) 
  • Red bell peppers (1/4 of a bell pepper finely chopped) 
  • Green onions ( two stalks roughly chopped) 
  • Lemon ( juice from half of a lemon)
  • Fresh spinach ( 2 cups roughly chopped) 
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto sauce (4-5 ozs of pesto)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (1 cup of cheese) 
  • Olive oil( 1 tablespoon) (Adjust to taste) 
  • Salt & pepper to taste
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Sun-dried tomato pesto by Classico. SO Good!

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Directions: 

  1. Boil pasta according to package directions. ( I boiled my pasta approximately 10 minutes, it was perfectly al-dente ) 
  2. Drain your pasta, then pour into a container.
  3. Mix in your pesto sauce, let pasta cool. (I let my pasta pesto mixture cool to room temperature since I  was adding raw spinach which I didn’t want to wilt, and cheese which i didn’t want to melt.) 
  4. When the pasta cools add the remaining  ingredients, and thoroughly mix. 
  5. Let the pasta chill for minimum two hours, for best results chill over night. ( I ate some five minutes later.)

 

 

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Finished product

 

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*Served chilled

 

What are your go-to lunch staples? If I can help it I would much prefer to have a home cooked meal over fast food? Which do you prefer home cooked or grab & go? Comment below.

 

Until next time,

xoxo – Toya 

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Iced Coffee (DIY Edition)

Coffee, DIY, Drinks, Easy | June 22, 2016 | By

There isn’t a coffee shop, fast food restaurant, or gourmet grocery store in the country that doesn’t sell some version of iced coffee. Simple and delicious, it’s the perfect summer time cool down and pick-me-up. As I mentioned in my post on detox water, I went a little crazy with the caffeine during the school year so I decided to take a bit of a break from the nectar of teacher. Hiatus over is officially over ( Me to coffee: “Hello lover”) I had a ton of stuff to do therefore, coffee was in high demand. I did a mental scan for  where the nearest Starbucks was  so that I could get my afternoon pick-me-up then I thought to myself why not save; time, money, and calories and make my own. I love love love to recreate food/drinks I have a restaurant,  at home. It’s iced coffee, couldn’t be that hard right?  Turns out, it’s an easy recipe and pretty affordable. With all the money you save, you could finance a tropical vacation. Well i’ll stop yammering on and get to the reason you clicked the link…the recipe. 

 

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DIY Iced Coffee.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of brewed coffee (two cups is what I brew for a single serving of iced coffee. If I am making a batch for the week I’ll brew 8-10 cups) 
  • Sugar (to taste * I use raw sugar*)
  • Coffee creamer (I use the liquid kind that comes from the refrigerated section of the super market)
  • Whipped topping
  • Ice ( I brew the coffee, mix in the remaining ingredients, then freeze some of it for ice cubes.)

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Directions: 

  1. Brew your coffee according to the directions.
  2. Pour coffee into a container with a lid, mix in your sugar and coffee creamer, allow the mixture to chill.
  3. Place ice cubes into your drinking vessel of choice, pour chilled coffee.
  4. Top with whipped topping. (optional) 
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Finished product

 

The first time I made this I couldn’t help but think of all the money I had spent previously on iced coffee. This recipe is super easy and really quick. Are you a coffee drinker? Do you usually buy it or brew it? How do you take your coffee? Comment below.

Until next time,

xoxo – Toya  

Detox Water (Fruit Infused)

 

I’m a teacher by profession, what that means  is in addition to getting to interact with delightful students on a daily basis I also have summers off. I decided this year to begin my summer vacation with a detox. I would cleanse my body of all the toxins I took in during the school year. Let me be very honest for the last couple of months of school I brutalized my body with junk; sugar, caffeine, fats, salts, caffeine, fried foods, oils, and caffeine, you name it and I probably overindulged in it. Combine this with  a lack of sleep, a high level of stress and a complete absence of any and all physical activity. The next time you envy the fact that teachers get summers off…don’t. In general I am usually a reasonably healthy eater as much as a person who loves food and lives in a food city can be, but this year I was just really off. I was so focused on my kids and getting them to where they needed to be I neglected to take care of me.  Anywho…I decided to help remedy this by doing a detox which included me eating only (mostly raw) fruits and vegetables for 3 days. In addition to the fruits and veggies I decided to make a few different detox waters to have some variety in my beverage choices. Also detox waters have all these different benefits depending on the combination of fruit. Now that I have sufficiently blabbed on and on about randomness I’ll get to what you came here for… the recipes:

Watermelon & Mint

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of filtered water (I used my handy dandy water filter, which I purchased for 10 bucks at Walmart)
  • 1 cup  of watermelon (I  purchased a “personal sized” water melon” from my local grocery store, then used my melon baller to scoop out my desired month of melon-
  • 5 leaves of fresh mint

Directions:

  1. Cut up/ ball  desired amount of watermelon. I used about a cup of melon. I was only making one serving so this was more than enough.
  2. In container (or glass) put your melon and mint leaves, then add your filtered water.
  3. Refrigerate for minimum two hours. I let my water refrigerate overnight for a more pronounced flavor.

Benefits:

  • Watermelon- Flushes toxins
  • Mint- Aids digestion
  • Water- Hydrates the body (duh.. lol)

Strawberry & Kiwi

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of filtered water
  • 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of sliced kiwi

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice your strawberries, peel and slice your kiwi.
  2. Place your fruit in a glass/ container, pour in your filtered water.
  3. Refrigerate for minimum two hours. I let my water refrigerate overnight for a more pronounced flavor.

Benefits:

  • Kiwi- Vitamins C, K, A, and a good source of fiber
  • Strawberries- Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants
  • Water- Hydrates the body

Citrus Water

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of filtered water
  •  2 slices of grapefruit
  • 3 slices of orange
  • 3 slices of lemon
  • 3 slices of lime

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice your fruit
  2. Add your fruit to your glass/ container, pour your filtered water over the fruit.
  3. Refrigerate for minimum two hours. I let my water refrigerate overnight for a more pronounced flavor.

Benefits:

  • Grapefruit: helps to maintain a healthy heart, good source of fiber, lypocene, and potassium
  • Orange: Vitamin C& A, fiber, calcium
  • Lime: aids digestion, weight loss, and the prevention of scurvy  (arrrgh matey)
  • Lemon: Vitamin C, calcium, flavinoids, Vitamin B, weightloss

Spa Water

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of filtered water
  • 10 slices of cucumber
  • 5 leaves of mint

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice your  cucumber, wash your mint leaves
  2. Add your cucumber s and mint leaves to the glass/ container, pour your filtered water over the cucumber and mint.
  3. Refrigerate for minimum two hours. I let my water refrigerate overnight for a more pronounced flavor

Benefits:

  • Cucumber: Natural anti- inflammatory, prevents water retention
  • Mint: Aids in digestion
  • Water: Hydrates the body

Black & Blueberry Water

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of filtered water
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 5 leaves of mint

Directions:

  1. Wash your fruit and mint leaves
  2. Place mint and fruit into glass/ container, pour your filtered water over the fruit
  3. Refrigerate for minimum two hours. I let my water refrigerate overnight for a more pronounced flavor

Benefits:

  • Blackberries: Bioflavinoids, Vitamin C, high level of antioxidants, strengthens immune system
  • Blueberries: Folate, supports heart health, Vitamin A, C , B6,and fiber
  • Water: Hydrate the body

General benefits of  drinking detox water:

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  • Clearer skin
  • Cleanses your body of toxins,
  • Burns fat
  • Hydrates your body
  • Organs function better
  • *Note* I am not a doctor, before I made these waters I did my own research to find fruits that I thought would suit the needs I have. Please keep that in mind before you consume any of these drinks* 

Random picture of the groceries purchased for my detox: IMAG0671[1]

Have you ever tried a detox or a cleanse? How do you stay healthy?  What do you prefer  DIY or store brought products? Comment below.

See you later xoxo

Brunch: Home Edition

Brunch: Home Edition

Brunch: Home Edition

Scroll down any social media timeline on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you will be bombarded with images of plates of delicious Eggs Benedict, Berry Covered French Toast, or Shrimp & Grits. I myself often struggle between wanting to stay in lounging around in my pajamas and wanting to have my own brunch experience. Well I have discovered a way to have my cake and eat it too (Sometime I have cake for breakfast). I call it Brunch: Home Edition, this means I get to have fabulous breakfast, drinking Peach Bellini’s and eating eggs over easy while still enjoying the comforts of my fleece pajamas. Well I’m sure you didn’t click the link to hear me go on and on about how baby soft my pajamas are so I’ll get to the reason you came…the food
*This post is a little different for other ones, here I will include pictures of my entire meal, but I will only be posting the directions for how I made my homemade Hash browns.*
Finish product, hash browns plated
Ingredients
4 Red new potatoes (cut into bite sized chucks)  
1 Quarter of a yellow onion (diced)
2 Stalks of green onion (chopped)
Oregano (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Directions
1.     Wash your potatoes to remove any dirt or debris for the skin.

2.     Chopped your potatoes into bite sized chucks.

3.     Fill a pot with water; add potatoes and salt bring to boil. Boil potatoes until fork tender. Once the potatoes are tender, drain the water out, set aside.



4.     In a pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil, heat the pan until. Add olive oil, and your yellow onions, cook them until soften.
Sauteing my yellow onions. 


5.     Add potatoes to pan with onions, fry potatoes, season with salt, pepper, and oregano, continually stirring until golden brown. Add your green onion cook for 2 – 3 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Green onions
Green Tea : Breakfast with a message
Season the potatoes


I love having hash browns for breakfast, in fact it would seem that I love to have anything with starch or carbs for breakfast but that’s a whole other post. The first time I made these potatoes for breakfast I loved them I was overjoyed that I had finally perfected the hash brown, yes I was “overjoyed” I’m really easy to please, I celebrate my small victories. They make the perfect accompaniment to a hearty breakfast but they are really simple to prepare. What’s your favorite thing to have for breakfast? Do you venture out one the weekend to Brunch? Have you ever tried to prepare Brunch at home? Comment below.

Clutch Burger

Clutch Burger 

There is nothing is this world like a good burger. People look at a hamburger and think it’s basic or simple but in my opinion with food it’s the simple dishes that I enjoy the most. The simple dishes are what give the ingredients a chance to shine. I have a friend who just about every restaurant she goes to she orders burgers, and when I was younger I used to joke with her about it but now I just look at her as a connoisseur.  Any-who I’m sure you didn’t click the link to hear me go on and on about why I love burgers, so I’ll get to what you came here for … the food.


Ingredients
1 – 1 ½ Pounds of ground chuck (get the real deal 80/20 not the lean stuff)
1 Egg
1 Packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix (Shh… this is actually a secret of mine)
Salt (to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Worcestershire sauce
Romaine Lettuce (for topping)
Tomatoes (sliced for toppings)
4 Hamburger buns (lightly buttered, then toasted in a pan)
Directions
1.     Pre-heat your pan over medium high heat.

2.     Mix together your ground beef, onion soup packet, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning until thoroughly blended. (I usually fill the packet that the onion soup mix comes in half way with water; I think it helps the burger from drying out. I like a well done burger but I despise a dry burger)

3.     Form your beef mixture into patties.

4.     Once your pan is hot it’s time to fry up your burger. During this stage is where good burgers are made. Don’t move the meat around to too much when you first put it into the pan let it set for a minute or three to get some good caramelization before you flip it. Also and more importantly in my opinion PLEASE DO NOT SMASH OR FLATTEN THE BURGER, smashing or flattening the burger with your spatula can lead to a dry burger. Continue to cook your burger checking for desired doneness. Once it’s done, remove it from the pan and drain on paper towels. (If you are fortunate enough to have a grill by all means use that.)

5.     Build you burger adding any toppings that your heart might desire. Serve immediately.
Finished product, final plating topped with my beloved,  I mean with caramelized onions. YES!
Random picture of one of the new craft burgers  available at Chili’s its the Smokehouse Burger. Its topped with cheddar cheese, panko onion rings, lettuce, and tomatoes. Normally it come with apple-smoked bacon I got mine without. The burger comes with your choice of sides I  chose sweet potato fries to fool myself into thinking I was eating healthy, and each burger includes a side of these wonderful house-made pickles. I really enjoyed the burger overall it was well seasoned and perfectly cooked.  * Not my drink, I had water, see healthy*
Random shot of a burger I had at a local restaurant “Louie’s” it near LSU’s campus. The burger was just your normal ground beef patty, I ordered mine well done. I topped it with mayo, tomatoes, and sprouts ( see healthy). The serving size was really big, the burger itself was really delicious, juicy and flavorful.  The fries were perfectly fried and salted. I also had some of the famous hash browns and they were delicious as well. 

Close up of the onions as they caramelize in the Le’ Creuset pan I found at the thrift store while shopping with my wonderfully stylish sister who writes a blog about her adventures in life and fashion  check her out at http://richfunk.wordpress.com/ . Whoop Whoop


I called this burger “Clutch” burger because it comes through every single time. There are a million ways to prepare a burger, endless ingredients and toppings but this is my personal favorite, my old stand -by when I just need a good burger.  Do you have a favorite burger recipe?  Are there any recipes or dishes that you fall back on as a stand-by when you need a dish that you know won’t fail? Comment below

Hot Sandwich for a Cold Day (Italian Inspired Beef Dip Sandwich)

 Hot Sandwich for a Cold Day ( Italian Inspired Beef Dip Sandwich) 

Ok say this post is about a marvelous sandwich that I had the pleasure of consuming on a cold Saturday Afternoon.  It pretty cold today by Louisiana’s standards at least so I’m creating a mental list of things I can eat that would warm me up so of course this sandwich is on the menu. The recipe is my take on a video that I watched on the Food Wishes channel on YouTube. Don’t you just love the title “Food Wishes” I don’t know about you but I frequently have food wishes. The recipe is for a hot beef sandwich that is made up of beef stew meat pieces that have been simmered until it falls apart, and then placed on hot crusty ciabatta bread, which I topped with aged Swiss cheese, and slathered in peppers and onions. Well I’m sure you didn’t click the link to hear me go on and on about being cold and eating sandwiches so I’ll get to what you came here for… the Food.
Ingredients
1 ½ Pounds of beef stew meat cut into chunks
1 Yellow onion (diced)
1 Green bell pepper (diced)
6 Cloves of garlic (diced
1 Tablespoon of each dried spice: Oregano, Thyme, Basil, and Rosemary
2 Bay leaves
2 Tablespoons of white vinegar (surprise, surprise)
2- 2/12 Cups of chicken broth ( Or use hot water and a bouillon cube, whichever you have on hand, you need enough liquid to cover the meat by an inch)
Crushed red pepper flakes (I put this on just about everything, love this stuff)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
4 crusty ciabatta rolls
Directions  
1)    Season your stew meat; I usually go with a basic blend of salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. I sit this aside on the counter to marinate for about 30 minutes. ( while this is marinating I chop my veggies)
2)    Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat; add to this pot your two table spoons of vegetable oil. When the pot is heated, add in your stew meat.
3)    Brown your stew meat until you get a nice bit of color on it, then toss in your vegetables, cook until your onions become clear.
4)    Once your meat is browned, you add all of your dry herbs, spices, white wine vinegar, and your broth.  Bring this mixture to a boil then turn down the heat and allow the post to simmer for about 1 –  1 ½ hours  or until fork tender.
5)    Once the meat is ready it’s time to build your sandwich. Warm your ciabatta rolls in the oven until warm and crunchy. (I put my Swiss cheese on my rolls before I put them into the oven that way my cheese was melted before I built my sandwich.
6)    When the bread is warmed, add your beef, top with some of the onions and peppers from the broth. Slice diagonally. Serve immediately with a cup or ramekin of the broth.  

The only picture I have for this post. This is the final plated dish. Nothing fancy I served  the sandwich with some Ore-ida fries, but boy this was delicious. 


     I mentioned before that this post was my take on a video that I watched on Youtube, I’ll add the link to this post so that you can go and watch it. Chef John is awesome I love his sense of humor, and he always gives really simple useful tips in his videos. This meal was simple yet satisfying what more can you ask from a sandwich.  Are you a fan of Youtube? Who are some of your favorite Youtube personalities? Do you ever try out the things you see in the videos? Comment Below.

xx- Toya










Seven Minute Meal: Spinach Tortellini Pasta

Butter, Lunch, Pasta, Trader Joe's | December 16, 2014 | By

Seven Minute Meal: Spinach Tortellini Pasta



Sometimes you just want something good to eat without all the fuss, those are the times when having some pre-cook options come in handy. I made a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some hair care staples (that Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner), however whenever I go to Trader Joe’s I try to make a point to try a different food item. This particular shopping trip I picked up the Trader Joe’s pre-packaged Spinach Tortellini pasta in the refrigerated section of the store. The next day I decided to have it for lunch. Well I’m sure you didn’t click the like to hear me go on and on about my adventures to Trader Joe’s so I’ll get on what with you came for the food.

Plated pasta served with brown butter, dried herbs, and garlic, garnished with fresh parsley.

Ingredients

1 Half of a package of Trader Joe’s Spinach Tortellini Pasta ( I used half a package because was just cooking for myself but feel free to use whole package, I believe it contains two servings.)

 * Note* If you are unfortunate enough to live in a city that doesn’t have a Trader Joe’s yet you should probably relocate immediately… just kidding (not kidding) No seriously if there isn’t a Trader Joe’s in your area you might try substituting the brand of pasta with Brallia pasta or what ever your favorite fresh pasta is.

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Clove of garlic (diced)

Dried Basil and Oregano (to taste)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Fresh parsley ( to garnish)

Directions

1 Prepare your pasta according to package directions. Set aside

2.In a pan add butter, garlic and herbs, cook for about two minutes until garlic has soften. Add pasta to pan, coat pasta in the butter garlic sauce and cook until heated thoroughly.

3. Plate pasta garnish with fresh parsley. (feel free to top with some Parmesan unfortunately for me I didn’t have any on hand.

Another shot of final plating, simple but delicious

I would have to say pasta looks best in natural light.

I have to admit it took me longer to type this post then it did to prepare this dish which is just fine with me. What are some of your favorite quick fix meals? Comment below. 

That Fish Stew…

That Fish Stew…


I was going to title this post lonely girl’s fish stew but then I decided against it. Have you ever seen a bag or a pair or shoes and exclaimed “that bag though!” or “those shoes though!” Well in my part of the world it is rather common to express your delight with something by adding a “though” when describing it. It is sort of like saying the thing you are describing takes the cake or is really nice. Any-who i’m sure you didn’t click this link to read a post where go on and on about regional colloquialisms, I’ll get to the thing you came here for the food.  

Tilapia Fish Stew
Tilapia Fish Stew over brown rice.



Ingredients

3 Pieces of Tilapia (cut into bite sized pieces) 
4 Red potatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)   
1 Half of a diced yellow onion

1 Half of a diced green pepper

3 Cloves of garlic diced

1 Can of diced tomatoes( around 8- 12 ounces would do) 

3 Cups of hot water 

1 Cube of bouillon (cook’s choice on type, feel free to use broth instead) 

Dried Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano

Olive oil

Cooked Brown Rice

Directions

  1. In a medium pot heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated add your onions, pepper, and garlic, stirring repeatedly cook until softened.
  2. To this pot add your three coups of hot water, or your stock, 1 cube of bouillon ( if you use stock don’t add the bouillon), add your diced potatoes, add your diced tomatoes , your dried herbs, season with salt and pepper,(I’m in Louisiana so we put Cajun seasons on almost everything) I usually add a couple shakes of Cajun seasoning for good measure. Cook on a medium- low heat for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally so the stew won’t stick.  
  3. When the potatoes are just about done maybe ten minutes before you turn your stew off add your tilapia. Allow the stew to simmer until the fish is thoroughly cooked and flaky.
* I served my stew over brown rice, because that’s how I roll, but feel free to have it own its own, or with some crusty bread and a nice white wine that would be as the French say ” C’est Magnifique” 
The flavor of this stew was so bold and delicious, that when I tasted it I exclaimed “That Fish Stew Though…lol”

Check out those beautifully flecks of crushed red pepper
One more picture for good measure.





I mentioned that I was going to titled this post “Lonely Girl’s Fish Stew” the reason being is that I was at home by myself on a cold Saturday when I got the idea for this recipe, but the taste of the stew deserved a much better name than that. I find that when I’m alone at home or when I’m cooking just for me I’m much more creative with my meals. I know some people who live alone say that they don’t cook because it’s just them at home. I think that the perfect time to be adventurous with food, if it comes out bad there is no one there to taste it and if it comes out good you get to eat it all by yourself, basically a win-win.  How do you feel about cooking for one or two? Comment below.  









Salt & Pepper Chicken (Homemade Takeout)


Salt & Pepper Chicken


You may have noticed a recurring theme on the blog I love Asian inspired dishes and I also love to make my own versions of things I’ve had in restaurants or as takeout at home. Today’s post will be in the same tradition.  I was making some shrimp fried rice and I had some chicken breast on hand. In the past I have made Chicken & Broccoli, Honey Chicken, and Sweet and Sour Chicken at home, wanting to try something different I thought I would try Salt & Pepper Chicken. Well I’m sure you didn’t come here for me to go on and on about the types of chicken dishes I have prepared so I will get to the main attraction… the food.
Ingredients
3 Chicken breast  (cut into bite sized chucks)
1 Half of a yellow onion (diced)
1Half of a red pepper (diced)
1 Half of green pepper (diced)
3 Cloves of garlic (minced)
2 eggs (for egg wash)
4 Stalks of green onion (sliced)
1 cup of All-purpose flour (for batter)
Salt
Pepper
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Vegetable oil (enough for frying)
Directions

1.     Preheat your vegetable oil over medium high heat to about 350 degrees.

2.     Diced your chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Season those chicken pieces, set aside.

3.     Prepare your egg wash, using two eggs and ½ cup of milk, whisk together until fully blended. (I usually add a little salt and pepper to this mixture just to ensure the dish is seasoned throughout.)

4.     Pour your egg-wash  mixture  over your chicken and set aside to marinate.


5.     Prepare your flour for batter; pour you 2 cups of all-purpose flour into a bowl or bag. ( cook’s choice)  Once you have prepared your flour mixture, begin coating the chicken pieces in the flour mixture a few pieces at a time.

6.     Fry the chicken piece in the vegetable oil until golden brown. Once golden brown remove the chicken from the oil and drain the excess oil by placing the chicken on paper towels. Fry the remainder of the chicken, and then set aside.

7.     Preheat your frying pan or wok with 2 -3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

8.     Add in your onions, garlic and peppers, cook for 3-4 minutes, and then add your chicken.
My diced veggies.

My diced veggies.



9.     Continue stir-frying chicken for another 4-5 minutes add in your soy sauce (to taste), sesame oil (about two caps full) and two tablespoons of honey. Continue stir-frying until chicken is thoroughly mixed.  Serve immediately.

Close up of the chicken in the wok.

Close up of the chicken on the plate.

Here is a shot of the entire meal plated. Yummers 

Look at that color.

This dish came together really nicely. I tried to recreate it from memory; I added the honey at the last minute because when I tasted the chicken it was missing something. The addition of the honey gave it a beautiful glazed look, and added a touch of sweetness which I enjoyed.  Have you ever tried to recreate a dish from memory? Do you sometime find yourself adding things to your dishes that are included in the original recipe?  Comment below.

Shrimp Fried Rice ( Secret Ingredient)

Shrimp Fried Rice ( Shh with the Secret Ingredient) 

People who have had my shrimp fried rice comment that it is some of the best they have had outside of a Chinese restaurant, which thrills me to no end to hear. I am one of those people that  if I like something or if I enjoy eating it I will try to recreate and eventually prefect that dish at home. I have scoured the internet and peeked into various kitchens to get the secrets (yes with a “s”) that I’m going to share here with you today only because I am in a generous mood. My family doesn’t even know these tips so I am showing yall major love by telling you out there in internet land. But you didn’t come here to hear me talk about the secrets I keep from my family so let’s get to the food.


Ingredients


3 cups of cold cooked rice (Secret number one: use cold rice. If you try to fry hot rice it will get sticky, gummy and gross overall. Use cool to cool rice. It works every time)
1-1/2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp
1 whole yellow onion diced
2 Eggs
4- 5 Stalks of Green/ Spring Onion chopped  (I like a lot of green onion but feel free to use your discretion, cooking is an art not a science)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Soy Sauce (to taste) 
1 Tablespoon Sesame oil (Secret number 2, sesame oil give my fried rice the authentic flavor that people comment on. The stuff is pretty strong so I recommend adding a little to start off with then adding more if you like)
Directions
1.     Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, add yellow onions, stir and cook until onions are translucent, take about 3 to 4 minutes.


2.      Stir in rice and fry, if rice starts to stick add a bit more oil and stir continuously cooking for 3-4 minutes.


3.     Add your shrimp they should be peeled and deveined to your pan/ wok continue to stir and fry.


4.     Prepare your eggs the same way you would if you were going to scramble an egg then you have cooks choice, you can either scramble the egg in a separate pan then add it to you frying rice or if you are lazy daring and don’t want to use multiple pan- then push your still frying rice to the side and scramble your egg in the same pan. Once your egg is scrambled mix it thoroughly into your rice




5.     Add in your green onions and soy sauce cook while constantly stirring for two minutes or until heated thoroughly.







6.     Garnish with green onion and serve immediately.



* This recipe is really a stripped down version of fried rice. One you master the basic recipe feel free to add things such as different meats of veggies. 

What are some of your favorite takeout dishes to make at home? Do you have any tips or tricks you have picked up that make your take on the dish more authentic? Comment below.