Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shrimp Pasta in a Butter Sauce

Daren whipped something up while I was in the shower so this was a pleasant surprise to emerge to. Very simple, very tasty. Enough said.

  • 4oz. of shrimp, thawed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 9oz. of penne pasta
  • 1 Tbl. vegetable oil
  • basil
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • cayenne
  • skillet
  • skillet lid
  • boiling pot
Add water to the pot to let boil on high heat. When at a full boil, add the penne pasta to cook.

Put the vegetable oil in the skillet on medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to start cooking. About half way through the cooking process, add the butter to melt it down. Combine the milk with the butter in the pan. Sprinkle in the spices to taste. When all the ingredients are completely melted down, place lid over the top of the skillet and turn the stove down to about a 5 to simmer for about 5-10 minutes based on how much longer the shrimp has to cook.

Strain the water from the penne pasta and serve with the buttered shrimp.

  • shrimp 2.00$
  • butter 25¢
  • milk 43¢
  • pasta 63¢
The grand total for this delightfully light pasta with enough for three people is $3.31.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Orange Chicken

We had been wanting to try to make our own orange sauce for a long time but never really realized how easy it would be with the right ingredients. While we didn't have the exact ingredients used in a traditional orange sauce, what we did ended up being quite good and even a little better than what your average Chinese restaurant serves up.

  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 Tbl. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbl. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbl. white wine
  • 1 Tbl. water
  • 2 Tbl. brown sugar
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • breadcrumbs (see below)
  • 1 egg
  • flour
  • frying oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • rice
  • small sauce pan
  • large skillet or fry daddy
  • sauce pot
Fried chicken
If the chicken you are using is frozen, place it in the sauce pot to boil, to cook it. High heat with enough water to cover, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic. When it is completely cooked, remove from the pot and cut into smaller, bite sized pieces.

In a small bowl, crack the egg. Lay out a small pile of flour on a plate, alongside a pile of breadcrumbs. For the breadcrumbs, I make my own. I take any combination of crackers and mash them up into very fine particles. For this particular breadcrumb mixture, I used a handful of Ritz crackers and Target's brand of cornbread crackers, mixed with salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne. I leave a container of it sitting in my cupboard for later usage.

When the chicken has cooled, dip the pieces into the flour, coating it evenly. Then dip them into the egg. Then into the breadcrumbs. Set aside each piece.

In the skillet, add enough oil so you can fry the pieces of chicken. To save on oil, I put just enough to do one side of the chicken at a time and flip it half way through. Either way, heat the oil on medium, about a 6. You don't want it to flash fry if you're using the skillet method (as opposed to a fry daddy) because they will burn very quickly. Once hot enough, put in a couple pieces at a time and let sit for a few minutes. Turn occasionally to get a nice golden-brown color. Since the chicken is already cooked, you only have to worry about getting it as crisp as you'd like. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to soak up the excess drippings.

In a small skillet, add all the ingredients. If you find that it is extra thick, add a little more water to thin it out. If you find it is too liquidy, a sprinkle of cornstarch will thicken things up. Let simmer on low heat until it's evenly formed. Taste to make sure it's to your liking. It should be a little sweet and a little sour. If you find it doesn't have quite the right kick, a little more white wine should do the trick.

Follow the instructions on your bag/box of rice.

Serve the chicken on a bed of rice, drizzled with sauce. I found that this particular orange sauce was good in smaller doses and not saturated like a normal Chinese restaurant's orange chicken. However, Daren thought differently and soaked his chicken pieces in it. Also, unlike Chinese restaurants, this chicken stayed crisp the entire meal instead of going soft like we normally find.

  • marmalade 25¢
  • soy sauce 5¢
  • white wine 3¢
  • brown sugar 15¢
  • chicken 1.15$
  • breadcrumbs 50¢
  • egg 11¢
  • oil 16¢
  • rice 29¢
The grand total for this sweet and sour little mix-up which afforded two large helpings for two people with a little left over for a second helping is $2.69.