Category Archives: Recipes

Michigan Style Almond Boneless Chicken

Growing up in Michigan I always thought that one of my favorite Chinese food dishes, Almond Boneless Chicken was a Chinese take-out staple. Nope. I moved to Orlando 20 years ago and searched in vain for this awesome dish. I always ended up finding chicken and vegetables with almonds mixed in. Not what I had in mind. Then on a visit up my dad says he was making it. I was so happy. He got the base of this recipe from a Test Kitchen. He modified it suit his tastes and it turned out wonderful.

Thanks to this article I learned that Almond Boneless Chicken is Cantonese Style! In Michigan we call it ABC for short and it’s a yummy endulgent fried breast of chicken served over lettuce and sometimes rice and covered in gravy. Ingredients for gravy include low-sodium options as the usual versions make the gravy way too salt forward.  This recipe serves 3-4 people. Enjoy!



  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken flavor
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules


  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons Water

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 3 cups of Jasmine rice
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds (toasting is optional)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped (both green and white parts)
  • Oil for frying chicken, as needed


  1. Toast slivered almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until they are golden.
  2. If preparing rice in a rice cooker add equal amounts of Jasmine Rice and water to your cooker and start the machine. It should cook for about 20 minutes and rest for 10. You can also make rice on the stove top. I recommend against Minute Rice as it doesn’t have the texture to compliment the dish .
  3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and sherry and marinate on a plate for 15 minutes.
  4. While chicken is marinating, prepare the gravy.  Mix together the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan until smooth.  Gradually mix in the chicken broth, butter, soy sauce, Better Than Bouillon, and bouillon granules.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Let boil for 1 minute, then turn down the heat to very low and keep warm.
  5. Pat dry chicken with paper towels, then drop them into a plastic bag with a small amount of flour.  Coat chicken, then shake off excess flour and place floured chicken on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.  A hard flour glue will harden on the chicken (it later helps the batter stick).
  6. Heat large skillet and add oil to a depth of 1/2-inch.  Heat on medium-high to 375 degrees.
  7. To prepare batter, beat together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, egg, and enough water that the batter is smooth and looks like pancake batter. Coat each piece of chicken with the batter individually and drop them gently in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan with too many pieces at once.
  8. Be careful as some pans require a lower heat setting. Check the oil temperature with a thermometer to be sure.  Drop chicken into batter and cook coated chicken pieces in oil until they are golden, turning them once.  This should take about 5 – 7 minutes.  Drain the chicken on paper towels. If making a double batch you can keep the chicken warm in a 200 degree oven.
  9. Cut the chicken diagonally into strips.  Reassemble the strips into chicken breast shapes and place on a bed of lettuce covered with rice.  Spoon the gravy over the chicken. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and green onion and serve immediately.

Laura’s Kielbasa Pasta

With Polska Kielbasa and a few simple ingredients, you can make a quick and delicious dinner that everyone will love. At one point in life I was in between houses and my BFF was kind enough to let me crash on the futon in her spare room. During this extended sleepover, my bestie Laura introduced me to her Kielbasa Pasta and I’ve been a fan ever since. A simple fresh meal that tastes great and makes awesome leftovers.


1 13 oz. package of Polska Kielbasa

Large Onion (chopped)

2 cloves of Garlic minced

Large Green pepper (chopped)

Large Tomato (chopped)

One box of dry Pasta (Rotini works best)

Colby jack cheese shredded

Slice sausage on the bias and chop onion into medium sized pieces. Heat a large frying pan or dutch oven with a bit of olive oil. Cook sausage, onion, garlic, covered until onion is translucent. Add chopped up green pepper. Start the water for noodles. Add diced up tomatoes to the sausage pan when you add the pasta to to the water. Stir sausage mix while pasta cooks. When pasta is finished, drain and add to the sausage mix and remove from heat. stir to coat pasta. Plate pasta and sprinkle cheese on top. (I’m a cheese hound and get generous with it).

Sometimes you gotta go with whatever pasta you have on hand. Bowties are OK but Rotini is better.Also fresh mozzarella works great in lieu of shredded cheese. Laura says you can swap out pasta for potatoes too. This is just one of those great recipes you can make your own.

Kristmas Krak

Kristmas Krak was my dad’s favorite Christmas snack. He would make a huge batch and bring it to every party and give it out as gifts. Enjoy your new addiction!


1 box of Kellogg’s Crispix cereal (12 oz.)

12 oz. (2 – 6 oz. tins) of cashews

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter (do not use margarine!)

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

½ cup light Karo syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon baking soda



  1. Pre-heat oven to 250 °
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a very large bowl.
  3. In a large sauce pan, slowly melt butter then whisk in Karo syrup, and finally, the brown sugar.
  4. When well blended, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
  5. Add vanilla and baking soda
  6. Beat vigorously until light and frothy.
  7. Pour Saucepan mixture over the cereal/nut mixture and gently stir to thoroughly mix together all the ingredients .
  8. Spread mixture onto two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper; gently breaking up the large clumps until you have a fairly uniformed layer on each pan.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes.  Swap the rack position of the pans each time you return them to the oven. Not doing so may result in one tray over-baked and one tray under-baked.
  10. When mixture is completely cooled, transfer to the Krak to air-tight storage containers.

I’m thinking about doing cute mason jars full of the stuff as gifts for my UPS guy, folks at work and other friends. Merry Christmas everyone!

How To Host A Mongolian BBQ

So every year my lovely and talented friend Tasha throws a Mongolian BBQ for her boyfriend Mike on his birthday. The party is always a hit and every year it gets bigger and bigger. Let me preface this instruction with the notion that this party takes a lot of prep! I only help dice and slice and my hands still smell like garlic. But the result is always amazing. You can base the amount of food you prep depending on the number of party goers. I would suggest starting small, a dozen or so people and work your way up to Tasha and Mike’s level of 50-100. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • An outdoor wok or a grill with a flat tray to grill up your food
  • A meat slicer – otherwise you’ll be doing it all by hand
  • Disposable bowls for raw ingredients
  • Bowls for finished product
  • Clothespins for identifying whose bowl is whose
  • Utensils for cooking and eating including chopsticks for fun


Sauces:  Make as many as you can for diverse tastes. Garlic water is always the biggest hit so make plenty. Add boiling water or chicken broth to ingredients to bring out the most flavor and let cool. Water is what makes the food cook quickly and evenly. So be sure to have plenty of flavored water on hand. Here are some of the ones Tasha offered.

  • Garlic Water
  • Garlic Lemon
  • Sweet and Sour
  • Hoisin Wasabi
  • Mushroom and Eggplant
  • Ginger and Black Pepper
  • Hot Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar water

Meats and Noodles: Slicing can be done days in advance and frozen until the day of the party. Soba noodles can be cooked the night before and left in a drizzle of sesame oil to keep them from sticking together.

  • Sliced Beef
  • Slice Chicken
  • Sliced Pork
  • Large Shrimp
  • Diced Tofu
  • Soba Noodles

Vegetables: Be sure to dice in similar sizes so that the food cooks evenly. Include anything you would enjoy in a stir fry type meal. Some of these can done the day before but most are best when done the day of the party.

  • Bok Choy
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Celery
  • Pea Pods
  • Peppers
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Green peas
  • Baby Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts

Guest Prep: Making signs with instructions is the easiest way to let guests know how the process works. We got inventive with our list:


Be sure your wok or grill is nice and hot before you begin. Here in Florida, the chef gets pretty warm in the outdoor kitchen so be sure to keep the cold beverages coming. It’s best to have 2 chefs so one can cover for the other so everyone can enjoy the party. It also helps to have a sous chef of sorts to help keep bowls in the order they were turned in.

Bowls cook really quickly. Add oil to the wok before adding a bowl. Constantly stir to get an even cook on all pieces. Be sure to cook chicken and pork thoroughly. Beware of any guests with allergies. We couldn’t do shrimp or pineapple for this reason. Be sure to clean your wok with water occasionally to get out old pieces of food that may burn and effect future bowls. Also clean after your friend who likes things spicy has theirs done. You don’t want a 5 year old getting residual heat in their bowl.

A constant stream of bowls will be coming in so it’s best to have the prep chef not be the same as the chef that cooks the bowls. Because, well… exhaustion. Be sure to have a pitcher of plain water on hand for guests who didn’t add enough liquid to their bowl. Bowl should be filled to the brim with water after meats and veggies are added.

And this is me, a happy girl with a bowl of Mongolian! Enjoy your Mongolian Barbeque!



Vikki’s Turkey Frame Soup

Prep time 10 minutes. Cook time 1-1/2 hours.

  • Turkey frame
  • Water
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 stalks of diced celery
  • 1 cup carrots diced
  • 3 cups of long grain and wild rice

(I use fresh herbs from my garden, if you use fresh triple these amounts)


(I adjust all ingredients based on the size of the pot, amount of turkey meat, etc. It always turns out good so go forward fearlessly)


First, remove all decent pieces of white meat from the bird for your other dishes, the dark meat actually makes a better soup. I try to set aside the legs for making soup. If you’re left with mostly bones your soup will still be good. Try to remove as much stuffing as possible. Try to refrigerate the frame as soon as you have finished your turkey meal. A turkey frame will keep for a few days in the fridge before you need to make your soup. Set aside a day when you’re working around the house as this is a slow recipe done in stages.

Next, Pull out the biggest pot you own.

If your turkey frame is bigger than your pot break it with kitchen shears and fill pot with water to cover most of the frame. Add onion and garlic. (You’ll notice I don’t add salt at any point, this is low sodium by design – if you do add salt do it at the end after you’ve had a taste, a lot of salt comes naturally from the turkey since you basted it in butter no doubt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover and simmer for 1 and a half hours.

Remove turkey frame carefully from pot and set on large dish or cutting board. Use a slotted spoon to go through broth looking for bones that fell off.  If you like you can strain broth through a sieve and return broth to the pot.

Let frame cool to a temperature you can handle. Meat will be easy to remove from frame. Carefully go through frame pulling off pieces and set aside and return small bits directly to pot. Chop larger pieces into bite sized pieces and return to pot.

Be leery of rubbery cartilage bits, skin and tiny bones. It’s best to feel your way through the turkey meat looking for unsavory bits. 

Stir in tomatoes, bouillon, herbs, celery, carrot and rice. Return to boiling, reduce heat cover and simmer 25 minutes.

Time to taste! I love to throw in whatever is needed, maybe salt, more thyme or whatever you feel is needed. I grew up on a turkey farm and mom always said “Turkey takes Thyme”

Your soup is ready! I like to serve it with a nice crusty chunk of buttered French bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.