Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bible Lesson #12: General Tso's Chicken... A-Ten-Hut! (Healthy Version)

What is it about Chinese food that I love so much? The salty, savor explosion of flavor in my mouth? The fact that no matter how much I stuff myself with those empty carbohydrates, I can still eat more of it again in 30 minutes? Or that it's still delicious cold from the refrigerator in a take-out carton? While there are many reasons why I love it, there is one overall reason why I do not. It has to be one of the unhealthiest type of foods out there, with the battered and deep-fried meats, to the MSG count skyrocketing through the roof. Luckily - for all of you out there with these concerns like myself, I have discovered this healthier, and cheap, version that you can make in your own kitchen. I borrowed this from Ms. Martha herself and I've attached at the end of this post the link to her website/webpage of this recipe. 

I made this recipe the other night after craving something salty and delicious. My friends said it tasted the same as if they had ordered it at a restaurant. Both in preparation and while in the skillet it smelt sooo yummy! It is also quite simple to make substitutions of veggies. I didn't have any snow peas (and they were pretty expensive at the market), so I used some asparagus I had on hand. I also used white rice and ground ginger instead of fresh, because its all I had.So easy to make substitutions where you need to. Still turned out so flavorful and scrumptious!

General Tso's Chicken (Healthier):


  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice (I used white rice - it's all I had on hand)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise (I used asparagus & green beans)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled (I used ground ginger - worked great)
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower


  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
  4. Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

Serve on/with Rice

Bible Lesson #11: Nutella Cupcakes... No words needed...

Yes, you read correctly. I said Nutella Cupcakes. And yes, your world just got a whole lot better. Magic in a jar is the first thought that comes to mind when I think of Nutella. It's a creamy spread of cocoa (chocolate) and hazelnuts that can be spread onto breads, fruit, anything you could think of. I have a fairly strong sense of self control, however when it comes to this tempting spread from the devil himself (or possibly God just loves us that much!), your will is weakened to the strength of a limp noodle, and like me, you eat it straight out of the jar - spoon optional. If I really let myself go - this is what would happen... pure joy.

My first encounter with this life-changing, has-its-own-food-group-on-the-pyramid, staple, I was a freshman in college. I had never heard of it before (which let's be honest, was a miracle for my chubby little self growing up) and had become a skeptic. It took me about a month until I gave in and tried it. And I've never looked back. 

I make these often, especially when I'm asked to bring something. They are relatively easy, huge crowd pleaser, and just yummy. I made this batch for one of my good friend's birthday. It's all she dreams about at night... 

This recipe is one that I've played around with. I went through somewhat of a cupcake phase, and this magic was created. Please enjoy - the cake is moist, and stays that way for days; the Nutella buttercream frosting is sinful; and the smile that comes from it all is just the sprinkles on the cupcake.


Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
½ cup oil
¼ cup milk
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
24 teaspoons Nutella (1 per cupcake)

Nutella Buttercream:
¾ cup Nutella
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½ -2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffins tins - I like the foil ones - double lining, but looks classy.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, milk, water and vanilla.
3. Sift in cake mix and stir in sour cream.
4. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and then place a teaspoon of Nutella on top of each one. Using a toothpick, swirl the Nutella into the batter.
5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the sides spring back. (The tops will stay gooey because of the Nutella.)
6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, let cool on rack about 5 minutes.  Place  into airtight containers so seal in moisture.
7. Buttercream: Beat the Nutella and butter for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, then alternate between adding powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Taste the buttercream until you reach your desired sweetness. You may need to refrigerate the buttercream before piping it onto cooled cupcakes.

Frosting - I don't like frosting, like at all. Unusual for someone in the kitchen? Possibly. However, I like to just frost mine with a thin layer (like in the picture), but you can do however much or little you prefer.