Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
crockpot pepperoncini beef sandwiches, Kaiser rolls, fruit
basil panko chicken tenders, corn on the cob, cucumber salad
out to Capital Grille
chipotle chicken pasta, pao de queijo
French bread pizzas, salad
cooking class at Quattro
creamy tortilla soup, tomatoes with cilantro pesto

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Sheet Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sheet CakeI want to make nearly everything on easy.everyday.eats. When I saw the Cookie Sheet Cake, I was certain I had to make it straight away. And send the majority of it with C to work, or else I would have eaten the entire cake. When I started making this, C asked "What is that awful smell?" I told him I was heating up chocolate. And he replied that he hated the smell of chocolate. Add it to the list of smells he doesn't not like: bread baking, garlic sauteing and chocolate. He cannot be serious. This cake comes together so quickly. In the time it takes to mix it up, the oven preheats and you are set to bake it. In the time it takes to bake, you can make the frosting and clean up the dishes from the cake making. And then you have cake~ warm, gooey, chocolate peanut butter cake.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Sheet Cake and Frosting

1 stick butter
3 ½ tablespoons cocoa
½ cup oil
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda

Melt the butter and cocoa in a pan. Add oil and water. Bring it to a boil. Pour it over flour and sugar and mix until blended. Add the eggs, milk, and baking soda. Pour batter into a greased cookie sheet pan and bake for 19 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

1/3 cup milk
1 stick butter
3 ½ tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Bring the milk, butter and cocoa to a boil. Remove from heat. Add in the peanut butter and stir until melted. With an electric mixer add the powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy, do not overbeat. Spread on warm cake.

Source: Easy.Everyday.Eats
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Garlic Cheddar Chicken Pot Pie

Garlic Cheddar Biscuit Chicken Pot PieC loves my chicken pot pie, I think it is one of his favorite things that I cook. Sadly, puff pastry is running nearly $5 a box and I was looking for a more cost effective topping for the chicken pot pie. I really love these Garlic Cheddar Biscuits and thought they might work. And they did! C says he prefers the usual puff pastry crust, which means I probably need to try and attempt to make homemade puff pastry at some point soon. C has dubbed this the "Bernanke Pot Pie" since I made it to try to combat rising grocery prices.  Bernanke and the Federal Reserve believe that inflation should be measured by Core Inflation, which excludes both food and energy prices.  Even though food and energy are two commodities that we need to have.  "I can't eat an ipad"
Galric Cheddar Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

½ cup butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
¾ to 1 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
¾ lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 russet potato, cut into bite sized pieces
12 ounce package of mixed frozen vegetables
1 ½ cups Bisquick mix
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup shredded cheddar
½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400. Boil potatoes in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Melt ½ cup butter in a Dutch oven with the garlic and shallot. After the shallot has softened, whisk in the flour a ¼ cup at a time (you may not need all of the flour). When completely mixed in, add the chicken broth, whisking more to incorporate into the roux. Add the half and half. Continue whisking; add the bay leaf, the parsley, the tarragon, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and chicken, let cook for 10-15 minutes on the stovetop to cook the chicken and thicken the sauce, stirring the whole time. Add the package of frozen mixed veggies (I use the peas, carrots, corn, green beans and lima beans mixture) and stir to incorporate. Pour entire mixture into a large, round casserole or soufflé dish.

Combine Bisquick, garlic powder and cheese in medium bowl. Stir in milk until just combined. Form into 3” disks and lay overtop of the prepared casserole. Place a cookie sheet under the casserole to catch overflow and make it easier to remove the pot pie. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes until the mixture starts to bubble and the biscuit topping is golden brown.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Recipe Swap: Chicken Bruschetta

Chicken BruschettaThe theme of this recipe swap was an easy weeknight meal. This recipe is from Christine's Kitchen Chronicles.  I made a couple minor changes, but I pretty much stuck to the recipe.  No complaints from C about the vinegar, that aversion comes and goes, so that was good.  When he saw the dish he said "I don't like squash."  I told him that is not a problem, this is zucchini (technically a squash, but whatever.)  He picked off the tomatoes (expected) and zucchini.  He did like what was left, so that was nice.  I thought this dish was amazing, the flavors are bright and it would be a perfect summer meal after a long day of work, the whole thing took about 20 minutes to prepare, start to finish.
Chicken Bruschetta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
4 minced garlic cloves, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, quartered length-wise and sliced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped plum tomatoes
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Remove chicken breasts from package and lightly season with garlic salt and pepper. Rub 2 cloves of minced garlic onto the chicken. In a large sauté pan, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the sauté pan and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, and keep warm. Heat the additional tablespoon of olive oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add salt, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions. Sauté 2-4 minutes (until zucchini is tender). Add black pepper, tomato, remaining garlic, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Sauté 5-7 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and warm through. Serve the vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Adapted from Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stromboli

StromboliI have wanted to make Stromboli for the longest time. I had seen it years ago on my favorite cooking show, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton. I watched this show nearly every night when I got home from work.  The show is no longer on the air, but thankfully, the Food Network archives everything. I made a ton of changes to the original recipe. I made a pepperoni stromboli for C and Miss F and a veggie one for me. They were both so good. C actually enjoyed it, though not as much as a DoubleDave's  Pepperoni Roll. Miss F at two slices! You can get as creative as you like in the fillings, which is part of the fun.
Stromboli

Pizza dough, recipe follows

5 ounces pepperoni, sliced thinly
10-ounce box button mushrooms, quartered
1 large bell pepper, chopped
¼ onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup baby spinach leaves
¾ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
¾ cup shredded Provolone cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven (with pizza stone inside ) to 450 degrees F. (If do not have pizza stone, can use a baking sheet). Arrange the mushrooms, bell peppers and onion on a sheet pan. Toss with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into two 10 by 14-inch rectangles. Cover the rectangle with layers of your desired toppings, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides and at the top. Mix the three cheeses and the herbs together in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of the toppings.

Starting at the end closest to you, roll the stromboli into a log. Seal the dough by pinching firmly with fingertips on sides and ends.

Make sure the seam is on the bottom. Use a pastry brush to brush the top and sides of the stromboli with a little olive oil. Carefully place the stromboli on preheated pizza stone. Turn down oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice with a serrated knife.

In a small saucepan, warm crushed tomatoes and olive oil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve alongside stromboli slices.

Pizza Dough

¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix yeast and 1/4 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The yeast will dissolve and become foamy.

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle.

Mix the dissolved yeast mixture with 1 cup lukewarm water. Turn the mixer on. Pour the water and yeast into the bowl and mix until the dough makes a ball. If the dough is too sticky to make a ball, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it forms a ball. Swap out the paddle for the dough hook and knead until smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a medium bowl and swirl it around until the bowl is coated. Place dough ball into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place. The dough should rise until it is twice as big as when you put it in the bowl. This should take about 1 hour.

Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl. Using your fist, press all the air out of the dough and use for stromboli recipe. (NOTE: You can wrap your dough in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before making pizza

Adapted from Cooking Live
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Hoisin Braised Short Ribs

Hoisin Braised Short RibsOnce again, there was a short rib recipe and I just had to try it. Even better, it was specifically for boneless short ribs and it was a Top Chef recipe. I first saw this on Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations. She got it from the How to Cook Like a Top Chef cookbook and made some adaptations. I made some more adaptations and here you have it.  This recipe was Hosea's creation, I was never a huge Hosea fan from the show, but this recipe swayed me to his side a bit.  As per usual, short ribs are a hit in this house.  The Hoisin and orange juice adds a pleasant sweetness to the dish.
Hoisin Braised Short Ribs

1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¾ cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
½ cup Hoisin Sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup water
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Pat the short ribs dry and season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Sear the short ribs to brown them on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, and then remove them from the pan. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the onions and carrots; sauté until caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Push aside the onion mixture, add the tomato paste, and brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the onion mixture, add the red wine, and stir to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce the sauce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, Hoisin, brown sugar, orange juice, water, thyme leaves, and bring to a simmer. Put the ribs back in the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise the ribs until they are very tender, about 3 hours, checking the pot and stirring every hour. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, serve the ribs with the sauce over top.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Strawberry Cream Cheese MuffinsIt's strawberry season! The strawberries at our local grocer are no longer coming from Florida or California, they are coming straight from Froberg Farms just down south of Houston in Alvin. Last week, Froberg opened up to the public for strawberry picking. I cannot wait to head down there and fill up a bunch of buckets. Miss F is excited as well. These muffins are delicious, the cream cheese is such a wonderful combination with the fresh berries.  I am so happy that strawberry season is here!  I adapted this recipe from Bo's Bowl.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 24

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix until just combined. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be thick, almost like cookie dough. Fold in the strawberries. Spoon batter into a paper lined muffin pan. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Cool on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.

Adapted from Bo’s Bowl
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe Swap: Chicken with Artichokes and Feta

Chicken with Artichokes and FetaI participated in a Chicken Recipe Swap. I submitted my Chicken Artichoke Pasta to the swap and in return, I got Chicken with Artichokes and Feta. I totally admit I have cheese issues.  I like very few cheeses that are not warm, a triple creme is yummy, but other than that...not for me.  And Feta isn't for me either.  So I decided to do two breasts of chicken, one with Feta for C and one without for me.   C picked the Feta off straight away...which is nothing new.  Total waste of $5.99 for the Feta cheese.  Then he told me he doesn't like lemon in his food, this is a new one for me, especially considering I cook with lemon quite often.  I guess obvious lemon slices are what her doesn't prefer.  This dish was very nice, you cannot go wrong with the lovely combination of artichokes and chicken.  
Chicken with Artichokes and Feta Cheese

6 ounce jar of marinated artichokes, quartered (I used plain canned)
½ cup sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
6 skinless, boneless chicken tenders (I used 2 chicken breasts)
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
6 thin lemon slices
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized baking dish scatter the artichoke hearts, pearl onions, and sun dried tomatoes over the bottom. Arrange the chicken tenders on top of the vegetables in a single layer. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top of the chicken breast tenders. Top each tender with a lemon slice. Slowly pour the wine and chicken broth into the dish. Bake for 40 minutes, checking on the chicken in the middle of baking and spooning the pan juices over top of the cooking chicken. Remove from oven and serve over rice (I added ½ cup dry orzo pasta halfway through cooking), spooning the pan juices over everything.

Source: Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cream Cheese FrostingMy favorite dessert that my mom makes is Chocolate Cheesecake. I could eat the whole thing myself. Regular cheesecake? I can take it or leave it, but if you add chocolate, I am in.  I was making another favorite childhood dessert, my grandma's Lazy Daisy Cake and I had some cream cheese that was needing to be used.  I have my mom's chocolate buttercream recipe and her friend's cream cheese frosting recipe (which calls for Oleo)...and I knew there was a happy marriage there.  And there was.  I am a cake person, I could take or leave the frosting.  Miss F loves the frosting, we make a good duo.  She eats all the frosting off a cupcake and I take the remaining cake when she is done.  This frosting puts me firmly on the frosting side of things.  It is that good.  I ate it with a spoon.  It really is that good.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and cocoa powder until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time making sure to incorporate it fully before you add the next ½ cup. Makes enough for 1 two layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Lomo Saltado

Lomo SaltadoWhen I saw this on Nicole's Cooking Spot, I was intriqued.  C and I went to Peru a few years back, my biggest memory was cheaping out and not buying tickets to the bus that runs from Aquas Calientes to Machu Picchu.  We looked at the map, it was a far walk, so off we set.  Too bad the map didn't tell us the walk was completely uphill and the bus traversed an unimagineable number of switchbacks.  Needless to say, we took the bus back down.  Foodwise, I remember the steaks and the ceviche, I don't remember trying anything like this.  It was delightful!
Lomo Saltado

½ pound flank steak
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1 small lime
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium red potatoes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Cut beef into strips 1 inch in length and ¼ inch in width. Combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium bowl add beef. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After beef has been marinating for approximately 30 minutes, sauté tomatoes and onion over medium high heat in one tablespoon olive oil until tomatoes begin break down and onions are translucent. Add beef mixture, including marinade. Turn the head down to medium low and let the mixture cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces and thickens. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees; cut the potatoes into eighths and toss in one tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Combine the cooked potatoes and beef mixture and serve immediately with rice.

Adapted from Nicole’s Cooking Spot
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mustard Tarragon Pork Chops

Mustard Tarragon Pork ChopsI loved the Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce so much that I really wanted to try brining again. Since C rejected them, I needed to come up with a new sauce. I always love the way mustard works with pork and this sauce was no exception. C said these were good, but he had pushed all the sauce off the top.  The brining kept the chops so moist and tender, it is the only way I will make pork chops from here on out.  It is so easy and provides such a big benefit.
Mustard Tarragon Pork Chops

2 brined pork chops
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan. Liberally season both sides of the pork chops with salt and black pepper. Sear for 3 minutes, flip pork chops and sear for 3 minutes more. Remove to a baking sheet and finish in the oven to an internal temp of 150 degrees. Remove and let rest on the pan for 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the wine, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream, broth, tarragon, and mustard in until reduced to 1/3 cup, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season sauce to taste with pepper. Serve pork topped with a generous spoonful of sauce.

Pork Chop Brine

6 cups cold water
¼ cup of kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pork chops, 1 ½ - 2 inches thick

Add salt to water in a large Tupperware container. Add peppercorns, rosemary and thyme and pork chops. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from the brine and pat the pork chops dry before preparing.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Cups

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla CupsI must really like muffin tins, just like Melissa d'Arabian does. I love making her Potato Gratin Cups, they are so cute and cook up so quickly. So when I saw her make Huevos Rancheros in muffin tins, I was inspired. I took the wonderful Crockpot Chicken Soft Tacos and converted them muffin tin style. I really need to figure out how to make my own chicken taco seasoning. Does anyone have a great recipe to share?  C was skeptical of these, he said he only wanted one...he ended up eating three!
Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Cups

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotel
1 package chicken taco seasoning mix
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon oil

12 tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Add the chicken breasts to a crockpot, add Rotel, seasoning, water and oil. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken, return to the crockpot and cook on low for 30 minutes more. Stir in the beans for the last ten minutes of cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin pan. Cut the tortillas into circles small enough to create cups in the muffin tins, pressing each into the muffin tin. Fill each cup with the chicken mixture and top each with cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

ABCLTs

ABCLT SandwichThere was this fantastic chicken sandwich at the Nordstrom Cafe. I first had it in high school when Nordstrom finally arrived in the Annapolis Mall. It was such a big deal! The sandwich had avocado, alfafa sprouts, bacon and chicken. And it was served on a super soft focaccia. It was so good. They don't serve it any longer (at least not at the Nordstroms here in Houston.) I think I may try this again with focaccia and add some sprouts to it. But it is one of those things where the food memory is probably way better than the actual food itself.
ABCLTs

4 slices bacon
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 small avocado, sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
½ cup baby spinach
4 slices crusty bread

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Increase heat to medium. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sauté in the bacon grease, turning after 5 to 7 minutes and cooking 5 to 7 minutes more until cooked through. Set aside and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken breast into ¼” slices. Assemble the sandwiches with the avocado, tomato, spinach, chicken and bacon.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moo Shu Chicken Wraps

Moo Shu Chicken WrapsThis recipe was inspired by a meal plan I saw. The original recipe called for tortillas, cole slaw mix and plain boiled chicken, I heavily adapted it.  I picked up a package of actual Moo Shu pancakes instead. I had debated trying to make my own, but it was really daunting. The next time I make this, I will try my hand at the pancakes, having the pre-made ones as a back up. This dish was amazingly easy and would be just as nice with pork. If only I could wrap the pancakes as well as they do at Kam's.  That being said, these cost way less than $10.95 to make and I didn't have to leave a tip for the stellar pancake rolling.
Moo Shu Chicken Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup sliced cabbage (I used a mix of green and purple)
¼ cup bean sprouts
2 carrots, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
8 Moo Shu pancakes

Place chicken in a small sauté pan, add just enough water to cover the chicken. Add the ginger, garlic and Sesame oil to the pan. Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and shred the chicken. Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts and carrots, cook for about 2-3 minutes (just until slightly softened but still crunchy). Add the chicken pieces and cook to heat through for another 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Remove from the heat. Serve filling rolled into pancakes.
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