Sunday, August 11, 2013

Let's Go Nuts

We are a nuts kind of family, as in we love eating nuts and we are a little nuts.  We spend our weekends doing goofy things at home, like the kids trying to pick my husband up and carry him or the kids doing goofy, nerdy things on the trampoline or trying to learn to do the Dougie or the Twerk or the Pin Drop.  You should see the four of us in the living room trying to do those dance moves.  One of my favorite things to do is have the "most annoying noise ever" contest.  I usually win at that, although our son comes in at a close second.

But the real reason for this post is to actually talk about eating nuts.  In this case, cashews.  My family loves Chinese food and it is requested often.  So I wanted to make Cashew Chicken.  It's an American Chinese dish found pretty much everywhere.  But (here it goes again) I wanted to change it up a little.  It's usually made with soy sauce, chicken stock, and oyster sauce.  But we love Hoisin sauce around here, so I decided to try my hand at homemade Hoisin.  And my Texas tastebuds urged me to throw in a couple of serrano peppers to add some heat.  I served it over my husband's new favorite pasta, rice noodles.  And we all even ate it with chopsticks.  That's just how we roll.

Can you do the Dougie?  I know Blake Shelton can't.

1 lb boneless chicken, cubed
2 T butter
1 C cashews
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red, but any color will do)
1 head fresh broccoli (use the florets only)
2 green onions, sliced in 2-inch pieces
One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, chopped
2 serranos, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sesame seeds

1/2 C soy sauce
1 T smooth peanut butter
1 T garlic powder
1 T molasses
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 C ketchup
A few drops of oyster sauce
1/2 to 1 C brown sugar (to taste)
Chili paste (to taste)

For the sauce, put all of the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until it's thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the chicken, melt the butter into a dutch oven or a large skillet.  Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes or until done.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.  Add the broccoli, garlic, green onions and water chestnuts into the same dutch oven.  Cook and stir until the broccoli is tender.  Add the chicken back into the dutch oven and add in about 1 to 1 1/2 C of the Hoisin, as desired.  Serve over cooked rice noodles or rice.

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