Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites

Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites on a plate
Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites

Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites are super simple to make and an ideal appetizer or game-day snack. Who doesn’t love the flavours of cheese, garlic, onion, tomato and bacon wrapped in a crispy wonton wrapper?

I enjoy making wonton dumplings, fried dumplings or steamed Sui Mai dumplings but often a package of the wrappers is more than we can eat. Rather than freeze the remaining wrappers it’s often fun to use them in different ways. Making these Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites is just one of many alternatives.

Leftover Wonton wrappers bake up really well in the oven so these snacks are not greasy and a low carb option compared to using flaky pastry dough or a flour-based batter. You can keep them light by not overstuffing them but that also makes them easy to eat so pace yourself LOL!

This recipe is a guide and you can add more or less of the ingredients. But, be sure not to overstuff them as they make break open or leak melted cheese out when baking. Baking time in the oven may vary but as long as the Wonton wrappers are golden brown and crispy they will be done.

Makes 12 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Wonton wrappers
  • 6 tsp tomato salsa
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese (or your favourite cheese) cut into 1/4” cubes
  • 2 – 3 slices pre-cooked bacon cut into strips about 3/8” wide
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green onion chopped into 1/4” segments

Tips: Pre-cook bacon on a plate in the microwave sandwiched between two layers of paper towel. Four slices of bacon are done in about 4 minutes (flipped halfway through) set on high. Remove and allow to crisp up on a plate.

Brush them lightly with vegetable oil for more even browning and to eliminate external flour from wrappers.

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Lay out the Wonton wrappers on a flat surface.

  • Spoon in 1/2 tsp of tomato salsa into each one.
  • Add 3 to 4 cubes of cheese on top of the salsa.
  • Place 2 to 3 strips of bacon on top of the cheese.
  • Divide and sprinkle the chopped garlic and green onion into each wrapper.
  • With a small bowl of water, dip your finger in and moisten two edges of one corner and fold over the wrappers, pressing them to make them stick together.
  • Place them onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes until done. Be sure to check them to prevent burning.
  • Cool and serve.

 

Tip: If you have more wrappers remaining, brush them lightly with olive oil on both sides, use convection bake, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 F for about 8 minutes (turning half way through). Monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt, cool and serve these crispy chips as is, or with salsa.

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Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites

Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites on a plate

Easy Cheesy Bacon Bites are super simple to make and an ideal appetizer or game-day snack. Who doesn’t love the flavours of cheese, garlic, onion, tomato and bacon wrapped in a crispy wonton wrapper?

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 Wonton wrappers
  • 6 tsp tomato salsa
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese (or your favourite cheese) cut into 1/4” cubes
  • 23 slices pre-cooked bacon cut into strips about 3/8” wide
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green onion chopped into 1/4” segments

Tips: Pre-cook bacon on a plate in the microwave sandwiched between two layers of paper towel. Four slices of bacon are done in about 4 minutes (flipped halfway through) set on high. Remove and allow to crisp up on a plate.

Brush them lightly with vegetable oil for more even browning and to eliminate external flour from wrappers.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Lay out the Wonton wrappers on a flat surface.
  • Spoon in 1/2 tsp of tomato salsa into each one.
  • Add 3 to 4 cubes of cheese on top of the salsa.
  • Place 2 to 3 strips of bacon on top of the cheese.
  • Divide and sprinkle the chopped garlic and green onion into each wrapper.
  • With a small bowl of water, dip your finger in and moisten two edges of one corner and fold over the wrappers, pressing them to make them stick together.
  • Place them onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes until done. Be sure to check them to prevent burning.
  • Cool and serve.

Tip: If you have more wrappers remaining, brush them lightly with olive oil on both sides, use convection bake, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 F for about 8 minutes (turning half way through). Monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt, cool and serve as is, or with salsa.

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Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Tandoori Chicken Thighs on a plate
Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Tandoori Chicken Thighs are super favourable and an ideal easy meal that bakes up perfectly. My wife Vicki found this recipe and she could not recall where it came from, but we’ve made it a few times and really enjoy it. So, we decided to share it with you and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

We’ve found that although it’s the type of meal you might typically make with Indian side dishes, it really can be served with almost anything. That’s likely because the “stand-alone” flavour of the chicken is the star of the recipe and the side dishes take a back seat.

Personally, we are not fond of perfumed rice so we suggest serving it with white or brown rice, or even fried rice like Nasi Goreng. Oven roasted vegetables would also pair well as they can be done in the oven at the same time. Another side dish I often enjoy with Tandoori Chicken is Savoury Corn Fritters! Whatever you decide will be fine–enjoy!

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Makes 4 Servings 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Tandoori spice blend (see below)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 chicken thighs, skinned if desired
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

Tandoori Spice Blend:

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) coriander seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken in chunks
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each ground ginger & turmeric
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper
Tandoori Yoghurt Marinade in a bowl
Tandoori Yoghurt Marinade
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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large glass bowl, stir together yoghurt, Tandoori Spice Blend, ginger and garlic.
  • Add chicken pieces, turning to coat all over.
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Tip: Make-ahead and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

  • Arrange on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; drizzle oil over top.
  • Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 40-45 minutes or until internal temp is 165F. Turn over halfway through.
  • Turn off oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Tandoori chicken with Cole slaw and tomato
Serve with whatever you like but be sure to check out our savoury corn fritters that pair so well with the chicken

Tandoori Spice Blend:

  • In a small heavy skillet, toast cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant and slightly darkened, (about 2 to 3 minutes), then allow to cool down.
  • Transfer to a spice grinder; add ginger, turmeric, salt, garlic and cayenne pepper.

Note: Using a dedicated spice grinder/coffee grinder is recommended as spice flavours linger and can affect the taste of any coffee beans processed in the grinder afterwards. Even cleaning the grinder does not ensure untainted coffee flavour the next time you grind some coffee beans.

  • Grind and blend together. 

Tip: Make-ahead and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 6 months.

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Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Tandoori Chicken Thighs are super favourable and an ideal easy meal that bakes up perfectly. They are not too spicy and even kids will enjoy them.

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Tandoori spice blend (see below)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 chicken thighs, skinned if desired
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

Tandoori Spice Blend:

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) coriander seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken in chunks
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each ground ginger & turmeric
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • In a large glass bowl, stir together yoghurt, Tandoori Spice Blend, ginger and garlic.
  • Add chicken pieces, turning to coat all over.
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Tip: Make-ahead and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Arrange on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; drizzle oil over top.
  • Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 40-45 minutes or until internal temp is 165F. Turn over halfway through.
  • Turn off oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Tandoori Spice Blend:

  • In a small heavy skillet, toast cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant and slightly darkened, (about 2 to 3 minutes), then allow to cool down.
  • Transfer to spice grinder; add ginger, turmeric, salt, garlic and cayenne pepper.
  • Grind and blend together.

Notes

Tip: Make-ahead and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Using a dedicated spice grinder/coffee grinder is recommended as spice flavours linger and can affect the taste of any coffee beans processed in the grinder afterwards. Even cleaning the grinder does not ensure untainted coffee flavour the next time you grind some coffee beans.

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Easy Sausage Patty Supper

Easy Sausage Patty Supper on a plate
Easy Sausage Patty Supper

My Easy Sausage Patty Supper is a quick way to get dinner on the table without sacrificing quality or flavour. Sometimes we all get busy and need to speed up preparing meals but don’t always have the time to shop for the needed ingredients. At such times, we all pretty much do the same thing: we look in the fridge and freezer and try to find something that will do the trick.

If you’ve tried or made my simple sausage patty recipe before, you already know that they are terrific in a breakfast sandwich and even make a great pork burger for lunch. So, I decided to try making them for supper with onions and mushrooms and a nice wine sauce and I’m glad I did!

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Making a batch of these patties and freezing them for later use is a great way to be prepared for breakfast, lunch or dinner—who knew? LOL! In any event, that’s how I thought of dealing with supper one day when we did not have much in the fridge or freezer to prepare. Let me know if you give this a try and what you thought of it. Personally, I enjoyed it so much that I might even freeze more sausage patties the next time we decide to make a batch.

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Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 to 6 sausage patties (click here for recipe)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 6 large button mushrooms, sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup unsalted (or low sodium) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • S & P to taste
  • 1 stalk of green onion, chopped, or fresh chopped parsley to garnish
Sliced Mushrooms and Onions on cutting board
Sliced Mushrooms and Onions

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high.
  • Add the sausage patties and brown on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).

  • Transfer patties to a plate and add the onion and a pinch of salt to the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce blending them into the sauce and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned.

  • Deglaze skillet with the red wine and chicken stock stirring to remove any fond from the bottom of the pan.

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  • Return the patties to the pan with their juices and continue cooking until the sauce is reduced by 50%.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, garnish and serve.

Optional: For a richer, creamier sauce, stir in a 1/4 cup of cream or even cream cheese.

Served with Mac & Cheese and Steamed Broccoli

Serve with Mac and Cheese, steamed broccoli or any of your favourite sides.

Note: I used KD Mac & Cheese with this dinner–it’s something that I’d not eaten in many years, so I thought I’d try their latest version which claims to have no artificial flavours or colour. All I can say is I was very disappointed–did you experience the same thing? I found it to be bland and lacking in cheesy flavour–I’ll have to post a scratch recipe soon!

 

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Easy Sausage Patty Supper

My Easy Sausage Patty Supper is a quick way to get dinner on the table without sacrificing quality or flavour. Too busy and need to speed up preparing meals but didn’t have the time to shop for the needed ingredients? Well, this recipe might help with that.

Makes 2 Servings

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 sausage patties (click here for recipe)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 6 large button mushrooms, sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup unsalted (or low sodium) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • S & P to taste
  • 1 stalk of green onion, chopped, or fresh chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions

  • In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high.
  • Add the sausage patties and brown on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).
  • Transfer patties to a plate and add the onion and a pinch of salt to the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce blending them into the sauce and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned.
  • Deglaze skillet with the red wine and chicken stock stirring to remove any fond from the bottom of the pan.
  • Return the patties to the pan with their juices and continue cooking until the sauce is reduced by 50%.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, garnish and serve.

Notes

Optional: For a richer, creamier sauce, stir in a 1/4 cup of cream or even cream cheese.

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Taking a Break

I’m Taking a break from blogging right now as I’ve too many things on my plate right now. There are times when we all take on too many tasks at the same time and try to juggle them. Something has to suffer and always does. So, the only thing I can do right now is to take a step back, stop, breathe and create a new action plan.

That’s where I find myself right now and the gears are turning (or is that wood I smell burning?). 😁  Yes, I’m procrastinating and much like those getting into the zone repeating their mantra I am pretty much doing likewise since I’m repeating myself like a fading echo in my brain. Now that I’ve made the first decision to take a step back, I feel like I’ll be able to establish some new objectives and move forward.

Taking a break from blogging

What does that mean?

What it means is that I can devote some time to testing our some ideas, wrapping up some loose ends, and doing some research. Not all of these things are related to writing my blog. If it were that simple, I’d be zipping along without a care in the world but life does not work like that LOL! Taxes need to be filed, recipes need to be tested, family members need assistance and boxes need to be packed. Boxes? Yes, boxes. Let me explain: on top of everything else going on, we’ve sold our house, bought another one, and are packing boxes, researching and buying new appliances, and doing all the necessary evils that this generates.

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That entails notifying utility companies, insurance companies, and finding the movers that we will entrust with our stuff. On that note, I’ll refer you to the humour of the late great George Carlin who did a fantastic routine on “stuff”.

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Taking a break is also the best thing to recharge one’s batteries and mine feel like they need a big boost right now. I will be back soon, so thanks in advance for bearing with me and following my blog as I continue on my journey of Cooking, Eating and Guitar!

Check out my latest blog on products that I’ve tested and use–I endorse them because they work and I like them.

 

Products That I’ve Tested And Use

Products That I’ve Tested And Use: 

Over the years we all buy products that have delighted us or disappointed us. Well, today I’d like to talk about a few of them and let you know if they are good or bad or if I’d buy them again. I hope you find this helpful since it can save you time and money. If you are considering purchasing any of these products I hope my experience can help. Or perhaps you are looking at some similar products and need more detail?

For your convenience, I’m also providing links to these products so you can check out current prices and determine who has the best deals. My pet peeve is shopping in stores that often seem to be “out of stock”. I do prefer to examine products “hands-on” whenever I can. It’s very frustrating and wastes both my time and money when there’s no inventory. Consequently, I do a lot more online shopping nowadays and seek out sellers who make it simple and easy to return unsatisfactory goods.

Sadly many retail businesses have gone bankrupt because they forgot the most important rules of selling products. “The Customer Is King” still applies in my book!

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes:

I’d like to begin with a simple product that despite searching my local grocers I was unable to find—namely salt flakes. Now you make think “What’s the big deal it’s only salt?” and that might be true for some, but if you like to cook, the ingredients you use are of paramount importance.

Recently I bought a box of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes. They shipped from the UK and are exactly what I was looking for. These are salt shavings used for seasoning food at the time of serving. They are also useful for general seasoning as you have better control over the amount of salt applied. However, coarse Kosher salt crystals work fine for general seasoning and are more readily available.

Try the Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, and you’ll likely not go back to using a salt shaker. Using these flakes, I never over-season and get a perfect hit of saltiness where needed. Sprinkle a little on top of your steak and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

Disposable K-Cup Filter Papers:

We have a Keurig coffee maker and use refillable coffee pods. As such, we purchase disposable paper filters that are biodegradable and can be tossed into our composite bin. We’ve bought these a number of times and our current favourite are Estilo 0017C 300 Disposable Replacement K-Cup Filters manufactured by Greenco. They fit perfectly, filter the fine grains of coffee and get the job done every time!

FROZ-CUP 2.0-6 Refillable/Reusable K Cups:

The reusable K-Cup pods we purchased are also holding up very well. They work in many of the Keurig machines. Ours is a 500 series machine and we’ve had no problems using these. But, we found that by using them together with the paper filters (see above) we could eliminate the coffee grains in the bottom of our cups. They are fairly well made and should last quite a long time. We use them daily and have had them for about 2 years.

UGREEN Car Phone Holder Gravity Phone Mount:

Virtually everyone has a cell phone nowadays and we all need a way to mount it “hands-free” in our cars. I found a model that works really well and mounts on the horizontal centre air vents in our older model Honda Accord. We find it ideal when using our phone as a GPS. It fits a variety of mobile phones and many different vehicles.

Messermeister EGS-08C 8-Inch Chef’s Edge Guard

I recently did a review of these knife guards and you can read about them at this link.

Digital Kitchen Scale

This is an interesting product but well worth having if you do a lot of cooking. I discovered this one had more than one brand name which is not unusual in today’s global market. However, it also means that it will sell at different prices so you do need to shop carefully. The Gourmia GKS9190 Nutrition Scale Tempered Glass Kitchen Scale with Calorie Counter & Digital Touchscreen Display is identical to the one we purchased last year and is very simple to use. It’s a clean design and provides both metric and imperial measurements and nutritional data.

There are many digital scales on the market but for the price, we are happy with this one and it does the job well.

Summary:

So, of the above Products That I’ve Tested And Use, I can honestly recommend all of the above. I would not hesitate to buy them again. I apologize if this post seems like one big page of ads because largely it is. But, I’m also giving you my honest opinions on these products and I do use them, like them, and endorse them for that reason.

 

 

Japanese Chow Mein

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Japanese Chow Mein: My wife Vicki has been making this dish for many years following her mother’s recipe and tweaking it now and again. Mainly this is because it’s the kind of meal that you can easily augment by adding or deleting ingredients. Depending on what you have available in the refrigerator you toss in some leftover lettuce or Napa cabbage. Bean sprouts are a possible addition but generally, we won’t include them as that’s typically better suited to Chop Suey.

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I can recall eating Chow Mein at the Japanese United Church in Montreal during their fundraisers and enjoying the dish as much as I would have at home. That’s primarily because of the different type of noodles used in the recipe that set it apart from the Chinese Chow Mein.

Is It Better Than Chinese Chow Mein?

Some people might argue that it’s better than Chinese Chow Mein, but I would never say that since they are both great. Their flavours differ, and to me, that’s terrific because as the saying goes “Variety Is The Spice Of Life”. When Vicki and I are in the mood for Chinese Chow Mein we always desire Chicken Chow Mein Cantonese Style. But, at home, we’ll often make Japanese Chow Mein. This is similar to Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles) but does not use a cooking sauce and it is not sweet.

That being said, this recipe can use any type of noodles, but we get the best result using Chow Mein wheat noodles made by a company in Mississauga  Ontario called Marufumi Foods.

They are located at: 2410 Tedlo St, Mississauga, ON L5A 3V3                          Tel: 905-273-6699

Note: If you can’t find these, you may have to use another type of noodle and pre-boil them as differing noodles may not soften the same way as the ones produced by Marufumi Foods. We have been eating these noodles for more than 40 years and they are popular with the Japanese community. So much so that they are purchased and sent to locations coast to coast by special request. Even Vicki’s relatives in British Columbia will ask for them if they know somebody is travelling to the Greater Toronto Area.

Alternatively, you can use buckwheat noodles (Soba) which are commonly used in Japanese noodle soup recipes. Or, try brands like “Farkay” which are more readily available:

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Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) peeled, minced ginger
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) boneless chicken breast or thighs, chopped
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 5 stalks celery, julienned
  • 1 carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 5 cups chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
  • 150-gram package deep-fried chow mein noodles. See note about noodles above.
  • Salt + pepper to taste
Chicken chopped to 3/4" (20 mm) size pieces in a bowl
Chicken chopped to 3/4″ (20 mm) size pieces
Chow Mein Noodles from Marufumi Foods in a bag
Chow Mein Noodles from Marufumi Foods
Other ingredients on a cutting board
Other ingredients

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add the vegetable oil to a large pot set to medium heat. 
  • Add the ginger and garlic; cook briefly stirring rapidly; then increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken.

ginger and garlic in vegetable oil bring in pot on stove topchicken added to the pot to fry

  • Stir-fry and brown the chicken until just cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. 

chicken almost cooked in the potvegetables being added to the hot pot

  • Add the mushrooms, onion, celery carrots, Napa cabbage and stir-fry until softened. 
  • Sprinkle in the sugar, and stir fry for a couple of minutes more.
  • Add the noodles, mix, cover and cook until noodles are softened (about 5 to 6 minutes).

sugar and soy sauce added to the vegetablesdried noodles added to the pot wit the steaming hot vegetables

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve family style with bowls of white rice and soy sauce.
  • Optional Condiments: Pickled Ginger (Beni Shoga) or Dried Seaweed (Aonori or Wakame).
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Served up Family Style In A Decorative Bowl

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Japanese Chow Mein

Japanese Chow Mein in a serving bowl

Japanese Chow Mein: My wife Vicki has been making this dish for many years following her mother’s recipe and tweaking it now and again. Mainly this is because it’s the kind of meal that you can easily augment by adding or deleting ingredients depending on what you have available in the refrigerator.

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) peeled, minced ginger
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) boneless chicken breast or thighs, chopped
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 5 stalks celery, julienned
  • 1 carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 5 cups chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
  • 150-gram package deep-fried chow mein noodles. See note about noodles.
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the vegetable oil to a large pot set to medium heat.
  • Add the ginger and garlic; cook briefly stirring rapidly; then increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken.
  • Stir-fry and brown the chicken until just cooked through, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, onion, celery carrots, Napa cabbage and stir-fry until softened.
  • Sprinkle in the sugar, and stir fry for a couple of minutes more.
  • Add the noodles, mix, cover and cook until noodles are softened (about 5 to 6 minutes).
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve family style with bowls of white rice and soy sauce.
  • Optional Condiments: Pickled Ginger (Beni Shoga) or Dried Seaweed (Aonori or Wakame).

Notes

We obtain the best results using noodles from Marufumi Foods of Mississauga ON. Canada. Alternatively, you can use Farkay Steam Fried Noodles available at most grocers or Soba buckwheat noodles used for soups like Udon, but they will require pre-boiling before being added to the pot.

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Review of Recipes In A Jar

Recipes In A Jar label
Recipes In A Jar

Review of Recipes In A Jar may sound odd to you and in a way, it is. LOL! I recently received a jar as a gift that contained all the prime ingredients to make a batch of cookies. The product is called “Recipes In A Jar” and is made by a company in the province of Quebec known under the French name “Recettes En Pot“. Yes, you guessed it, that’s the translation from English to French.

Note: This Montreal, Quebec, Canada based company produces products for fundraising campaigns and 50% of the sales are pledged to the cause. For this, they should be highly commended.

So, today I decided to try out one of their products, (this one for dark chocolate cranberry cookies), and document it in my blog. As consumers, many of us will look for kitchen shortcuts because it’s human nature to be lazy at times. 😄  Upon first glance, having all the ingredients in a single container looks inviting and I’ve seen this done for soups as well. Thus, I was very curious if it was worthwhile buying these and making them?

Recipe In A Jar (a reusable Mason's Jar) with label of contents
Recipe In A Jar (a reusable Mason’s Jar)
Instructions on back of the label on counter
Instructions on back of the label

What’s In The Jar?

The jar contained flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, as well as ingredients any home cook would not add: i.e hydrogenated palm kernel oil, and soy lecithin. See photo of the label below.

Nutritional Data and List of Ingredients label
Nutritional Data and List of Ingredients

Note: There was also a notation that the baking powder included in the ingredients did not contain aluminium. I raised an eyebrow at that and found myself questioning “just what the heck is in baking powder anyway?”.

In the link above you’ll find this statement: Sodium aluminium phosphate and sodium aluminium sulfate are also slow reacting acids which generate gas when heated. While these compounds are used, most bakers prefer aluminium-free baking powders due to the unpleasant flavour the aluminium can cause in the baked good.

Wikipedia’s Info.

From my perspective, I was glad to see that the baking powder did not contain aluminium. The jury is still out on whether or not it is safe for human consumption and some studies have suggested a link to Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Was It Easy And Convenient?

Was it easy and convenient? You bet! Only two items to be measured out: the water and the butter. One egg had to be added as well which is also no big deal. They even included a little measuring cup at the top of the jar for your water. The only thing with that was that it holds more than the 45 ml of water (3 tablespoons) needed for the recipe. I could not readily see a “fill to” line anywhere. I carefully measured out 3 tbsp of water to be certain that I had measured correctly.

However, once all the ingredients were mixed in a bowl, I found the batter to be quite dry. The instructions said to use 18 “heaping tablespoons” of batter for each cookie and to space them about an inch (25 mm) apart. I elected to use a small ice cream scoop that was equal to 1 1/2 tablespoons and that resulted in 17 1/2 cookies. I figured that would be fine and proceeded to bake my first batch of 12.

This Is Where Things Did Not Go As Well As I’d Hoped:

Things did not go as well as I’d hoped after baking them at 375 F for the 8 to 10 minutes as directed, they never flattened out, nor were they fully baked. In fact, they still looked raw and only a little dried out. Given the thick batter, the instructions should advise pressing them down with the back of a fork. I  ended up doing just that and baked them for another 4 minutes.

Cookies out of the oven after flattening and baking 4 minutes longer on coming rack
Cookies out of the oven after flattening and baking 4 minutes longer

For the remaining cookies, I immediately pressed them down and baked them for 10 minutes. This seemed to do the trick (although they were very pale and unappetizing in appearance). So I baked them for an additional few minutes to give them some colour.

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What’s My Final Opinion?

My first impression was positive once I got them baked to what I believed was the proper level of doneness. They looked pretty appealing and inviting but sadly I found them to be a little too dry. Were it not for the fact that they included an ample amount of cranberries and chocolate chips, they would have been far too dry to enjoy.

If you have a “sweet tooth” you might find these cookies lacking sweetness. They are not overloaded with sugar and personally, I don’t mind that. Over-sweetened baked goods can be “sickly sweet” and unpleasant. That’s not the case with this “Recipe In A Jar” product and the flavour is okay.

Are They As Good As Homemade?

In my humble opinion, no. I would rather make cookies from scratch. Will they save you a bit of time in the kitchen? Yes, but the key advantage is having all the ingredients together so you don’t need to shop for them nor store them in your pantry. Given the Philanthropic nature of “Recettes En Pot” I certainly would like to support them and try some of their other products. However, this particular cookie mix won’t be high on my list.

Here are some links to our recipes for homemade cookies. These happen to be Gluten-Free but you’d never know the difference (the first one is a huge favourite of mine:

Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Oatmeal-Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

or if you don’t like oatmeal:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies

and if you like Maple Syrup:

Gluten-Free Lactose-Free Oatmeal Maple Cookies

Review of Messermeister Knife Guards

Messermeister Knife Guards fitted to some knives
Review of Messermeister Knife Guards

I decided to blog my Review of Messermeister Knife Guards because I was sure there were other home cooks out there who had the same questions about them that I did. I purchased their Edge-Guard series knife protectors this year in January. The reason was simply to protect our knives and to prevent accidental injuries when reaching into the drawers where we store some of them.

Why not use a knife block?

We could certainly use a knife block. We have one but it’s already full, and it can only accommodate a limited number of knives, plus, the slot sizes only permit one chef’s knife. In addition, some knife blocks can actually damage the finely honed edge of a well-sharpened knife. This is because the knife sits on the cutting edge in the block. To prevent this one has to reverse the knife to rest on the non-cutting edge of the blade which is not natural for us to do and may cause injuries when we remove them.

Review of Messermeister Knife Guards was done using these knives on countertop
Review of Messermeister Knife Guards was done using these knives

What About Magnetic Holders?

Magnetic knife holders are a better option but having the blades exposed allows for the possibility of something knocking them and chipping the cutting edge as well as accidental injuries. Considering the limited amount of counter space most of us have in the kitchen, it also means we usually won’t have clear access to the holder without having to move something out of the way whether it’s a toaster or a rice cooker, etc.

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What Was Our Solution?

So, for our solution, Vicki and I felt it best to store them in a drawer and buy some edge guards. That led me to my search for practical and affordable products to suit our knives. That’s where you first begin to realize that there’s more to it than just comparing materials and prices. Dimensional consideration topped the criteria. This means you need to examine both length, width and the shape of your knives. Some will fit better than others. If you look at the photos below, you’ll notice that the differing knife designs resulted in portions of the blade being exposed for more than one of them.

Messermeister Edge-Guard Knife Guard on Shun knifeMessermeister Edge-Guard Knife Guard on Shun knife

Edge-Guard Knife Guard on a knife with a plastic bolsterEdge-Guard Knife Guard on a knife with a plastic bolster

Knives have different bolsters and some have none at all or only a portion that does not extend the full width of the blade. Consequently how the knife guard fits onto the blade will be affected by the bolster or lack thereof. It may be a problem, or of no consequence depending on your knife’s design and if you desire full edge protection or not.