My Signature Dish {Good Cook Build Your Kitchen Drawer}

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

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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

Sauce:

  • 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

  1. Mix honey, Thai chili peppers, water, and chili oil. Set aside.
  2. Cut up chicken in to 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl add the corn/potato starch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (optional), and mix well, then chicken.
  4. Coat well and shake off any excess corn/potato starch.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  9. Serve over white or brown rice.
  10. 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:306(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…

New ImageI 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!

309This is what my drawer looks like (minus the liquid measuring cups and prep bowls!)

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.

c1989-addmeBe sure to check out the other bloggers and their Kitchen Drawers!


This post was sponsored by Good Cook as part of the Blogger and Kitchen Experts programs.

#goodcookcom #kitchendrawercontest #goodcookblogger

Peppermint “Hot Chocolate” Cookies {Good Cook Virtual Cookie Exchange}

The awesome bloggers and kitchen experts at Good Cook are hosting a Sweet Creations Virtual Cookie Exchange. Each of us that participated received a huge box filled with two cookie sheets, a cookie turner, sweet mixing bowls, cookie dropper/scoop, high temp rubber spatula, and a set of 12 cookie cutters pretty much everything you need to bake some delicious cookies. We were asked to use at least one of the items listed above in our recipe…I chose to use the cookie turner, cookie dropper, and cookie sheet…all of which were awesome! these sheet trays are some of my favorites and that cookie scoop is perfect – so easy to use, nothing got stuck to it, and the cookies came out pretty uniform.

964334_10151833454178848_1596390271_oI’m not going to lie…I am not the best baker due to the fact that measurements really do have to be precise, hence why I cook. I find that my creativity comes out more in cooking rather than baking and I utilize my other senses of smell, sight, and touch with cooking if I can’t taste something (basically in school if something isn’t gluten-free). When it comes to come up with an original recipe without looking at others for inspiration. I have to say thought I think I did rather well with this recipe. I just looked at some “regular” cookie recipes just to see what the ratios are and these came out pretty darn good.

As part of our virtual cookie exchange our readers are entitled to receive 5% off goodcook.com for any sweet creations products by entering the code: COOKIES during check out. Also be sure to check out the Good Cook to like these cookies (or any others) and be entered to be one of 10 lucky winners that will receive a great gift prize from Sweet Creations/Good Cook! Be sure to head to Good Cook on December 18th to vote for your favorite cookie(s) and be entered to win one of 25 Sweet Creations Cooking Making Kits! Contests ends on December 31, 2013!

Peppermint “Hot Chocolate” Cookies

(Think of all the delicious goodies you put into hot chocolate – chocolate, peppermint, marshmallows and wrap those up into one delicious cookie)

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Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Sugar (granulated)
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup/stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Blanched Almond Four
  • 1 cup Gluten-free All Purpose Flour (Cup4Cup) (if your mix does not have xanthan gum in it add 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Marshmallows (or mini ones, cut in half)
  • 1 cup Chopped Peppermint Chocolate (I used Chocolove, you can always add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract instead)
  • 2 Candy Canes – crushed

Method of Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add granulated sugar, brown, sugar, butter, and egg. Mix on low-medium until creamed together.
  3. While the sugar, butter, and eggs are creaming together, add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and mix until there are no lumps (a fork works just fine for this).
  4. Turn mixer to low and gently add dry ingredients. The dough will be a bit stiff.
  5. Add chopped marshmallows and chocolate chunks, mix until incorporated.
  6. Place unwrapped candy canes into a zip lock back and using a rolling pin, crush the candy canes until they are in small bits.
  7. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Using the cookie dropper scoop 6 cookies on to each tray, gently press down each cookie.
  9. Top each cookie with a sprinkle of candy cane bits
  10. Bake for 12 minutes – turning half way through.
  11. Let cool on pan for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  12. Serve warm with a glass of soy milk (or which ever milk you prefer).

Chef’s Note: the addition of the almond flour and marshmallow gives these cookies a nice little chew to them…they are a great mixture of crunchy and chewy cookies with a delicate peppermint flavor.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review – I was provided products for review from Good Cook. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources of any kind.

#goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexpert #goodcookblogger #sweetcreations

Turkey, Apple, and Cheddar Fritters {Good Cook}

IMG_8420_7995I hope you guys were able to attend the Good Cook Twitter Party that happened last Monday evening! There were so awesome prizes given out. The wonderful people behind Good Cook came up with an idea to share Thanksgiving leftover recipes (101+ recipes! Check them out HERE) with all of you, and I am excited to take part in this. I traveled this year for Thanksgiving but still made a delicious meal for Bryan and I. The sad part is, I wasn’t able to travel with any of my awesome goodies from Good Cook so I made sure to bring home some leftovers in order to make this recipe.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love cooking a huge meal for family and friends. Someday when I have a house, my door will be open to those in need. It make me upset to think of those without, especially on days like Thanksgiving. Growing up my family wasn’t rich by any means, but we always had each other. My grandfather was a member of the Knights of Columbus and I remember getting a Thanksgiving meal from them every year. It had the works…a turkey, stuffing, canned goods, etc. They even gave us Christmas presents every year. I will forever be grateful to my grandfather and the KoC for their charity.

Last year for my internship at school, instead of opting to take the traditional route and work in a kitchen, I chose to work with the community service department on campus and spent my days cooking for people in need. My favorite days were those where I got to cook at the Providence Ronald McDonald House and a local soup kitchen in Providence. Food makes people happy and everyone deserves food. In addition to that the community service department each year puts on a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need at the school – it was amazing being part of something like that and was sad I wasn’t able to help out this year.

I was trying to hard to figure out what to make with my leftovers – trying to be creative isn’t easy I tell ya. I finally came up with an idea to do fritters. I had taken home turkey and cranberry sauce (all I could really fit in my carry on). I had some extra sharp cheddar cheese, and an apple so thought I would throw those in as well. These little fritters are mighty tasty and awesome fall flavor to them. Check out the recipe below:

Turkey, Apple, and Cheddar Fritters

1/2 cup diced Turkey Meat

1/4 cup shredded or diced Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/4 cup diced Apple (granny smith, fuji, etc.)

1 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or Pancake batter (both work great)
1/2  teaspoon Xantan Gum (only if your mix does not already have it in there)
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder (only if your mix does not already have it in there)
2  Eggs (or 1/2 cup Eggbeaters)
6  tablespoons Milk (Cow, Soy, Nut, or Hemp)
1  tablespoon Feiny’s Veggie Rub
1/2 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper

Cranberry Sauce – homemade, canned, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat fryer to 350•F or in a medium skillet add 1/4-1/2 cup oil and heat over medium heat to shallow fry instead of deep frying.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Drop batter by the spoonful and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  7. Do not over crowed the fryer or pan.
  8. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined dish.
  9. Repeat process with remaining batter.
  10. Serve warm.
  11. Hold in a warm oven in a Good Cook Brownie Pan or Cookie Sheet at about 200•F if needed.
  12. Serve in a Good Cook Pie Pan lined with parchment paper.
  13. Serve with cranberry sauce.