If you read Creative Cooking Gluten Free on a regular basis you could probably guess that my signature dish would include something Asian…and you have probably seen this dish on here before and possibly on TV! It is of course my Sweet and Spicy Chicken. It is simple, delicious, and easy enough for the beginner cook to make. It consists of few ingredients and takes only about 30 minutes to make (including prep time).
As part of the Good Cook Build Your Kitchen Drawer event bloggers were asked to choose 15 items to build their drawer. When picking the items I took the approach of “what would a beginner cook need” and went from there. My reasoning behind that idea was during this time of year students are graduating from high school and college and moving out on their own, so why not help them (or any other beginner cook) with suggestions on what they need to get started. There are so many awesome kitchen tools and gadgets out there (trust me I have quite a few), but there are essentials as well, and are often overlooked. Little did I know that I would be asked to use as many as these items as I could to create my signature dish…but I did it and used 9 out of the 15 items! At the end of the post you can read more on how YOU could win some amazing items from Good Cook, but for now, check out my signature dish…
Sweet and Spicy Chicken
- 2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless
- 1/4 cup corn or potato starch
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Garlic Powder (optional)
- 4 tablespoon veggie oil
- 1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half honey and half agave)
- 3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) *Dried or fresh chili peppers work well in this recipe
- 2 Tablespoons of Water
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Oil (optional)
Method of Preparation
- Mix honey, Thai chili peppers, water, and chili oil. Set aside.
- Cut up chicken in to 1 inch cubes.
- In a medium bowl add the corn/potato starch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (optional), and mix well, then chicken.
- Coat well and shake off any excess corn/potato starch.
- In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.
- Heat the sauce in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok
- In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color.
- Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over white or brown rice.
- Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.
Chef Note: For a vegan option, used firm tofu that has been drained and 1/2 cup of agave nectar in placement of chicken and honey.
Now for the drawer items…I named this drawer “The Beginners Guide to Kitchen Tools & Gadgets”. Again, I had the beginner cook in mind when picking these items. In 2012 I graduated from Jonson & Wales University with my associates degree in Culinary Arts and last week graduated with my bachelors degree in Culinary Nutrition. I began cooking at a very young age and haven’t stopped since. I love food and making people happy with it. I remember getting my fist place by myself, I was 17 years old and my grand mother and grandfather gave me my first set of pans and knives along with a few other essentials. So if I was to do the same for some one this is what I would give them to build their kitchen drawer…remember I had to pick 15 items (I could have picked more, but that was my requirement)…
The Beginners Guide to Kitchen Tools and Gadgets…what you need to get started:(The image above shows both the 5 items provided to bloggers from Good Cook and then 15 items that I chose)
Measuring Cups, 5 Piece – The five piece set includes 1/4, 1/3, 1/2. 3/4, and 1 cup measuring cups, which is perfect for those recipes that call for an odd number measurement and all you have are even-numbered measuring cups. They are all connected on a ring and are color coordinated measurements. These measuring cups are designed to be used for “dry” ingredients – flour, sugar, etc.
Measuring Spoons, 6 Piece – Like the measuring cups, these also have additional handy measurements that are often found in recipes including: 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 teaspoon along with 1/2 and 1 tablespoon. This helps take out a lot of the guess-work for the beginner cook or baker! Also connected on a ring and color coordinated measurements.
Measure From Above, 3 Piece – This set comes with a 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup liquid measuring cups to be used for liquids such as water, oil, etc. You can read the measurement line by from the side and from above…makes life pretty easy to read it from above and not have to hunch down to make sure it’s correctly measured. Very sturdy and stack well inside each other for easy storage.
Prep Bowls, 5 Piece Set – I love these little bowls – they stack inside one an other, and have measurements inside of them…the top is the larger measurement and part way down is the second measurement (ex. 1/4 and 1/8 cup) – even if you do not use them for measuring they are perfect little prep bowls and make your mise en place nice and neat! AND they are made from a BPA free plastic.
Peeler – This little guy is often overlooked, but can be a huge help, especially if someone does not have great knife skills to peel vegetables and fruits. Can be used for potatoes, apples, mangos, kiwis, zucchini, pears, and can even be used to peel the zest of citrus fruits or ginger! The tip of the peeler is great for removing the “eyes” of the potatoes as well.
Meat Thermometer – I never owned one of these until I went to culinary school, but this is a very important little gadget that everyone should have. This instant read thermometer comes with a case. Thermometers are used for precise cooking – for example poultry and leftovers should be cooked to an internal temp of 165*F and beef , pork, roasts, seafood, lamb, and veal steaks should be cooked to an internal temp of 145*F and egg dishes and ground meats (beef, pork, lamb, and veal) should be cooked to an internal temp of 160*F (for more information visit this handy information sheet from JWU).
Fine Grater – Everyone needs a grater…or two! I chose the fine grater because I think it is pretty versatile. You can use this to grate hard cheese (like Parmesan) or citrus zest. This is a great product and I’ve been using it quite a bit since receiving it. It come with a protective cover so you don’t scrape you hand while reaching into your drawer looking for something. The cover can also be clipped to the back so when you grate, it catches it!
Tongs – Stainless Steel and Silicone tips – great for non-stick pans, as it won’t damage them. They lock, which prevents them from flipping open in your drawer meaning you can fit more items in there.
Ladle – I again chose a lade that was both stainless steel and silicone based because it works so well in both stainless steel AND non-stick pans. This ladle is 12 inches, which means you can use it in your big stock pot and get everything out.
Silicone Whisk – This 10 inch whisk is great…can be used to bake and cook with. It is a silicone whisk which makes it great for non-stick pans, but also gets a great scrape when whisking in a bowl, its light, and feels good in your hand, and easy to clean (who doesn’t love that!). The head of the whisk is heat-resistant and can withstand heat up to 400*F.
Large Nylon Flex Turner – This turner is a great size and very sturdy. Perfect for if you have non-stick or stainless steel pans. Everyone needs at least one turner/spatula: flipping pancakes, making eggs, etc.
Silicone Spatula: 2 piece – Heat resistant silicone, the heads remove for even more detailed cleaning. Great for scraping bowls when baking. Great for many uses like using the smaller one for getting the last bits out of a jar!
And now there are three remaining items…I just want to take a second to talk about these as a whole. If you have noticed that so far I have been going in order of the picture above and the three remaining items all happen to be knives. I love knives and I have quite a few of them. However, what it really boils down to is when you are starting out (or in general) you REALLY only need to own two knives, you just have to work on your knife skills! So many get boggled down by buying these huge blocks of knives, but when they really stop and think about it there are two, maybe three knives that they ALWAYS use from that block and those are: a paring knife, a chef’s knife and possibly a bread knife. The two main ones are paring and chef knives…those are your two basics and you should become very familiar with them. I chose three knifes for this drawer, a paring knife, a 7″ chef knife, and a bread knife…
One additional note about knives – keep them sharp! A dull knife will do more damage than a sharp knife.
Paring Knife – This knife has a non-slip handle that feels great in your hand. A paring knife blade is usually between 2 1/2 – 4 inches in length. It can be used for peeling fruits, zesting citrus fruits, dicing garlic, ginger, or shallots can be used while holding the item instead of always having to use a cutting board (like you would with a chefs knife). Again, this is an underrated and underused item in most people’s homes, but I suggest getting to know it a bit better.
Santoku Knife (Chefs Knife): 7″ – I have several typical chefs knives and over the years I have fallen in love with the Santoku style of them. I love how they feel and cut and this one is no exception…actually it has made its way into my knife kit. Santoku knives have these little indents in them which make the remove of food easy. This knife has the same handle style as the paring knife and is a great starter side. There are many different lengths of these knives, but this is a good middle ground, especially if you are not used to handling a larger knife.
Bread Knife – The Bread and Bagel knife is a serrated edge knife, which is ideal for cutting breads and delicate ingredients such as tomatoes as it helps the knife glide through without having to put a lot of pressure on the item and in turn squishing it. While you won’t use this as much as the other knives, it is still a very useful knife and tool to have on hand.
So there it is…my picks! I hope that this list helps those just getting started. I know there are a million and one other tools and gadgets out there but these are what I consider the basics to get you going to make some delicious dishes!
So what did I use? Check out the photo below…
I used the Silicone Whisk, Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups, Santoku Knife, Paring Knife, Ladle, Silicone Spatulas, Liquid Measuring Cups, AND Silicone Tongs! Yes I used all of that to make one dish…I did not have to but I wanted to show you these items. They are awesome and I have really enjoyed working with them.
Build Your Kitchen Drawer Contest!
Starting on June 1, you will be able to build your kitchen drawer with 15 Good Cook tools and gadgets from goodcook.com, all you have to do is choose up to 15 items from the official list of products, and you might just win what you choose! If you are a bit suck on what to choose, you can always choose the same tools and gadgets that I did or any of the other participating bloggers…more info will be provided when the contest begins.
From June 2 – June 7th, Good Cook is hosting a 5-day product giveaway on their Facebook page, plus there will be instant winners. For each drawer that you build, you have a chance to be an instant winner and you can enter once daily for more chances!Read more:
Wondering which products are available? Look for the “ADD ME” icon below on the Good Cook website! Additionally, during this contest, all items on GoodCook.com are 25% off – there is no code needed…just head on over and start shopping. The “Build Your Kitchen Drawer” Contest will run from June 2nd – July 14th.
This post was sponsored by Good Cook as part of the Blogger and Kitchen Experts programs.
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