Cool Outside Warm in the Kitchen

November 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Wow, it’s been an amazing week.  I had to travel to Northern Kentucky for a meeting on of all days, my 14th. wedding anniversary.  The good thing is, I was able to have dinner with my mom.  She served an amazing dinner: Roast Beef, Sweet Carrots, Green Beans, and New Potatoes with gravy.  The salad was her signature dish and my favorite – homemade Caesar Salad. She makes the most amazing Caesar Salad Dressing full of anchovies and garlic. It reminds me of the Caesar you can get at restaurant we used to frequent in Atlanta called Houston’s.  Be careful with this one. If you plan on kissing after the meal, make sure your partner has some too! Mints won’t cover up the delicious garlic.

My mom sent me home with a mason jar full of dressing and I was able to recreate the garlic explosion at home on Friday night.  The picture is my version with some shrimp sauteed in garlic and a dash of olive oil and Mediterranean sea salt.

Camille’s Caesar Salad

3  Juice of fresh Key Limes
6  Garlic Cloves
¼  Cup Olive Oil
1  Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
1  Tablespoon Worcester Sauce
5  Anchovies
5  Capers
½ Teaspoon Cracked Pepper

Blend all ingredients in food processor.  Add oil if you desire a thinner consistency.
Dress Romaine Salad with dressing and croutons if desired. Sprinkle with more fresh Parmesan and cracked pepper on top to taste.

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Since I was traveling for my anniversary, Hubby and I celebrated this weekend.  Well, since we’ve moved to a very small Southwest Georgia town, our restaurant selection is limited.  In lieu of driving quite a distance or settling on the local fare, we decided to pull up our favorite recipes from our favorite restaurant and make them at home for each other.  I chose PF Chang’s Garlic Noodles and he chose my favorite PF Chang’s Orange Peel Beef. Both are spicy which kept us warm as the temperature outside has fallen dramatically.  Our prep time together was fun. We listened to music and enjoyed each other.

My cell phone takes horrible pictures, so I pulled these off of the internet so you could get an idea of what the finished product is supposed to look like.  P.S. Can you guess what I’m hoping to get for Christmas? A NEW CAMERA – hint hint hubby!

PF Chang`s Garlic Noodles CDKitchen

9 teaspoons minced garlic
9 teaspoons sugar
6 teaspoons white vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
6 teaspoons canola oil
3 pounds fresh Chinese noodle or vermicelli
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
12 ounces Cantonese stir fry sauce (see recipe below)
3 Japanese cucumber or English cucumber
6 teaspoons chopped cilantro

***Cantonese Stir Fry Sauce***
2 1/4 cups water
3 teaspoons chicken base powder (no MSG)
3 teaspoons sugar
6 teaspoons shaohsing wine or sherry
3 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Cook pasta. Rinse and cool down. Set aside. Toss in red chili flakes and cilantro.
Wash cucumber. Slice diagonally into 1/4″ thick slices. Slice into strips. Set aside.
Heat wok thoroughly, add oil, then minced garlic. Stir fry briefly.
Add sugar and vinegar.
Add noodle to wok, stirring and tossing to mix until noodle is heated through.
Place on plates and surround with cucumber strips.

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P. F. Chang’s China Bistro Orange Peel Chicken

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ cup vegetable oil
4 chicken breast fillets or beef
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
peel from ¼ orange, julienne (into 1/8″ thick strips)

Prepare sauce by heating 1 tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sliced green onions. Add tomato sauce and water quickly before the garlic burns. Add sugar, chili garlic sauce and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until sauce thickens, then turn off the heat.

Prepare the chicken by heating ½ cup oil in a wok over medium heat.

Slice chicken breast fillets into bite-size pieces. Combine beaten egg with milk in a medium bowl. Pour the flour into another medium bowl. Coat chicken pieces by dropping them into the flour a few at a time, then intoduce the egg/milk mixture and back into the flour. Arrange coated chicken on a plate until all chicken is coated. When oil in the wok is hot, add about half of the chicken to the oil and cook for a couple minutes or until brown on one side, then flip the chicken over. When chicken is golden brown, remove the pieces to a rack or paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When all of the chicken is cooked rinse the oil out of the wok with water and place it back on the stove to heat up.

When wok is hot again add julienne orange peel and chicken. Heat for 20 to 30 seconds or so, stirring gently. Add sauce to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir dish a couple times but do it gently so you don’t knock the coating off the chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens then serve up the dish with white or brown rice on the side.

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For dessert, he made a special request for my sugar free Sweet Potato Cake.  The cake is a hit in our house. It doesn’t last long.  When I first went sugar free, I was dying for a rich and moist cake that didn’t taste like a cardboard box.  I was flipping through a mailer and saw a carrot cake recipe and thought I make a few twists and turns with it to create a cake I could enjoy.  I remember visiting my husband’s grandmother when we were dating and she made a carrot cake that was to die for.  I’ve never been a carrot cake fan because of the slivers of carrot in the cake.  Hers didn’t have those slivers.  When I asked her what the secret was, she revealed using carrot baby food in the mix.  So along those veins, I remixed the recipe to use sweet potato baby food instead of carrots.  And replaced the brown sugar with Splenda brown sugar blend.  I can tolerate about 10 grams of sugar per serving, so I’m limited to a half a slice at a time.

Sweet Potato Cake – Sugar Free

¾ Cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
4 Eggs
4 Jars Sweet Potato Baby Food
1 Stick Salted Butter
2 ¼ Cups All Purpose Flour
2 ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt

3 oz package Cream Cheese
½ Stick Salted Butter
1 Cup Splenda
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350oF. Grease 13×9 inch baking pan.
Beat brown sugar and eggs in large bowl until fluffy.  Add sweet potatoes and softened butter. Mix well.
In a separate bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add to sweet potato mixture; beating well until mixed.

Pour into prepared pan (heavily greased or nonstick). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool.

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add Splenda.  Adjust amount of Splenda to desired sweetness.

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Before making our anniversary meal, I prepared two other dishes for the week. I’ll post those recipes and hopefully better pictures later.  Stay warm!


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Sandwichlicious Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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I'm Natalie and so glad you stopped in.

January 29, 2008 changed my life forever. Before that day I weighed a whopping 292 lbs. Today I'm at a very slender 145 lbs. (in a size 6 jean!). The gastric bypass I received that day gave me a new lease on life. With that new lease came a commitment to a new eating lifestyle; moderation and plenty of protein. One of the neat side effects is my very low tolerance for sugar.

I've always loved food and knew I would be challenged to find satisfaction without the sugar. Over the past three years I've created some masterpieces of both savory and sugar free foods. Guests to our home are always asking for my recipes.

On this blog I plan to share many recipes I've found and in many cases modified. Some are high-jacked others are creations or family recipes. I will do my level best to give credit to the originators of any high-jacked recipes.

All recipes are sugar free. None are fat free! I have a saying, "If you can't have sugar, bring on the butter!"

I will also share awesome restaurant discoveries as I find them. Many times I attempt to recreate them at home.

So feel free to high-jack recipes from my blog. Recreate the magic in your home, and enjoy the food with family and friends. Cherish the moments with them because tomorrow is not promised.


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