General Tso’s Chicken

After watching The Search for General Tso’s on Monday, I was inspired to make my own, semi-healthier, version.

I began by researching recipes. Most of them had a recipe for a very thick, sugar-heavy sauce. This was the complete opposite of what I wanted. My goal was to find a lighter sauce and also figure out how to sweeten the sauce without using flat out sugar.

Ultimately, I found what I was looking for: apricot jam. It had just enough sugar to give the sauce a sweet taste, but was not too overwhelming.

This is the recipe I used:

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

3 large egg whites

1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs (but you can use any bread crumbs you have)

1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 2/3 cups of water

1/4 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of apricot jam

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

small pinch of red pepper flakes

Breaded Chicken

Breaded Chicken

I began by preheating the oven to 475 degrees. I took a pan and lined it with aluminum foil and sprayed it with vegetable oil (I need to look for a better alternative in the future). Then I cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. I poured out the flour, egg whites, and Panko breading into three separate bowls. Then I dipped the chicken in the flour, then egg whites, then Panko. Then I put the pieces of chicken on the tray and sprayed it with my cooking spray. I let the chicken cook for roughly 14 minutes, and flipped them over halfway through.

As the chicken was cooking, I combined the water, soy sauce, apricot jam, and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Then I poured the mixture into a saucepan. I brought it to a simmer and then let it sit until it began to thicken. Once it was thick enough, I turned the heat off and covered it with a lid.

Sauce

Sauce

Once the chicken was done, I took the pan out of the oven and placed the chicken into the sauce. I coated the chicken and then it was time to eat!  I had already made some rice and was ready to see how this dish came out. The smell of the sauce was already amazing, so I had a feeling this one was going to be good!

Well it turns out it was good, really good. Definitely something I would make again and it uses far less ingredients than an average General Tso’s.

With sauce

With sauce

Without Sauce

Without Sauce

Grades:
Taste: A. Amazing. While it is a little different from “conventional” General Tso’s, it really is pretty great.

Health: A-. What can I say, soy sauce is extremely salty, but otherwise everything is pretty healthy.

Price: A. I had all of these ingredients already (besides the chicken), but this can serve multiple people and is probably even cheaper than buying it from a restaurant if you shop at the right places.

Overall: A. I really enjoyed both making this dish and eating it.

Macaroons

I basically figured out this recipe on my own after looking at many different recipes for inspiration. I wanted to make macaroons with the least amount of ingredients as possible and cut down on the sugar.

Ultimately I used this recipe:

2/3 cup of sugar

5 Egg whites

6-8 oz of shredded coconut

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

That’s it! Pretty simple!

I started by combining the egg whites, sugar and coconut, stirring periodically until the coconut was completely covered. Then I put the coconut into the bowl added the almond extract and vanilla extract. I stirred the coconut together and then put the bowl into the fridge. It is important to put it into the fridge so it’s easier to work with when making the macaroons.

I came back a couple of hours later and preheated the oven to 325 degrees. Then I prepared the baking sheet with parchment paper. Then I put small balls of the mixture onto a baking sheet and baked them for about 25 minutes. My recipe yielded 24 macaroons.

I am very happy with how they came out. They were my most successful dish this week and tasted delicious. Next time I would probably use even less sugar. When they were warm, they were divine.

Grades:

Health: B. Compared to regular, store bought macaroons these are healthier. But still, they are a dessert and contain a lot of sugar.

Taste: A. Not much to say except I absolutely love these. I tried them side-by-side with store bought macaroons. The difference is huge!

Price: A. So much cheaper than buying store bought ones. The bag of shredded coconut I purchased was 2 dollars. The other ingredients are pretty inexpensive as well.

Overal: A-. I not only would make these again, but I definitely will!

Week 3

This week is going to be a little different. I am going to be focusing on more of a variety of dishes. Because this week is passover, I am going to try to make some of my favorite Passover foods. I am interested in matzo balls and a kugel. I have found some recipes already that I think are possibilities. This recipe for  matzo balls seems great, and I liked that the author wrote that the matzo balls were “light and fluffy.” In my opinion, that is the most important part of matzo balls, and I want to make sure if I am making a recipe of matzo balls they will also be light and fluffy.

I am also interested in making the classic macaroons. I have been looking at many different recipes, and have found many that are not only healthy, but some only use 2 or 3 ingredients!

Lastly, I have been having a bit of a chocolate craving, and therefore found a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake that looks interesting.

Now that I have my recipes ready, I am off to the farmers’ market and store again.