Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This Sweet & Sour Chicken is exactly what I remember from home. Lightly crispy chicken breast is coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce. Serve it with sticky rice and skip the take out. You’ll love it.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I know I talk a lot about the differences between America and Britain, but friends, they never stop. Yes, I realize that American Chinese food is nothing like the food in China. I lived in Taiwan for two years, so I’ve seen for myself. What I wasn’t prepared for was how different Chinese food would be in the UK. They have a lot the same dishes we have in America, but the way it’s prepared is so weird.

When I order Sweet & Sour Chicken from a Chinese takeaway, what I expect to get is bite-size pieces of chicken coated in egg and corn starch so it has a thin crispy coating on the outside. Then, it should be liberally tossed in the sauce so that it’s well coated but not swimming in sauce. That’s how I like it.

When I order Sweet & Sour Chicken from a Chinese place in the UK, I either get pieces of plain, possibly boiled chicken or little bits of chicken encased in a thick pancake-like batter served as big balls. Then there’s like a lake of sauce. I mean, I really like sweet and sour sauce, but what am I supposed to do with that? Swim in it? I can’t get into it.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Thankfully I found this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker that reminds me exactly of Sweet & Sour Chicken from home. When I first made it, I didn’t read through the entire recipe, which obviously you should never do. I just looked at the ingredients list, thought yeah, that looks good. Turns out it takes over an hour to make, but the wait is totally worth it.

How do I make Sweet & Sour Chicken?

After we chop and season our chicken (we like chicken breast, but you do what you want), we’re gonna coat it in corn starch, then dip it in beaten egg before pan frying it in a little oil just to brown the outside. Don’t worry if it’s cooked all the way through at this point because like I said, it’s going in the oven for an hour. At this point you might be thinking, if I cook this for an hour in the oven after frying it, won’t it be horribly dry? I thought that, too. The answer is no, it’s perfect.

Before it goes in the oven, we make up our sauce with sugar. There’s lots of it. Be prepared. The word sweet is in the title. Then we add ketchup, rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar would also work, or a combination if you’re low on rice vinegar like I was the first time) soy sauce, and some garlic powder. Stir that all together, pour it over the chicken before it goes in the oven, and toss the chicken in the sauce ever 15 minutes as it bakes to coat it in the sauce.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

You can also add some veggies, either on the side or right in with the dish. I used red bell pepper and added it to the baking dish along with my chicken pieces. Then I topped it with some sliced green onions for a little hit of something fresh and green at the end. You could use onion, pineapple, whatever you love. And of course, serve it over a bed of sticky white or brown rice. I think you should eat it with chopsticks, but I’m a weirdo.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We all like a bit of comfort, and to me, this Sweet & Sour Chicken takes me back to my childhood, where I was an even more picky eater than I am now. Make your own take out, so you can get it exactly the way you like. It’s gonna be awesome.

Looking for more chicken dinner ideas? Try this Teriyaki Chicken.

Buck’s Bar

Hey folks, Geoff here with another ‘guest post’! As part of Renee’s birthday present in December I made a few tokens, redeemable by her at a time of her choosing. The time has come for her blog post token to be redeemed!

I thought it would be fitting to write my post on one of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow, Buck’s Bar. Buck’s is literally 50 feet away from my office and is one of the places I regularly grab lunch. It also happens to do the BEST buffalo chicken sandwich in the country!

Buff Chick
The Buff Chick

The Buff Chick, as it’s named, is simple. Juicy chicken, smothered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese, and slipped into a brioche bun. You can get it with regular fries or sweet potato fries (I always go for the sweet potato).

“What makes it so good?”, I hear you cry! Well for me, a buffalo sandwich needs a LOT of buffalo sauce, and this burger has it in spades. The chicken is always so tender and falls apart to the touch. I’m drooling just thinking about it…

Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and waffles

Renee had the chicken and waffles this time around. As with my sandwich, the chicken was so tender and there’s always so much sauce (that’s where the flavour is at, right?). As a waffle connaisseur, Renee can be quite particular about her waffles but had no complaints here!

It’s not just the food, Buck’s also does shakes (and boozy shakes), has American beer on tap, has a brunch menu and has a variety of entertainment on in the evenings. I’ve been meaning to head to the ‘Office Pub Quiz’ on a Monday evening straight after work!

Buck’s is VERY popular. If you are coming here, make sure that you make a reservation, especially at the weekend. We’ve just found out that Buck’s is opening another location in Glasgow which should show you how popular this place is.

So don’t just take my word for it. Head down and try the country’s best buffalo chicken sandwich!

Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings

Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Um… hi. Remember me? Yeah, I’m still here. I know I disappeared for a while. It was unplanned but absolutely necessary as we’ve been crazy busy being alive. My baby was here and we ate and played and watched a lot of Parks and Recreation. It was awesome. I missed you, but not enough to look away.

We also spent a weekend in England catching up with an old friend to a fantastic Beatles soundtrack. Then we had different friends stay at our house for the weekend. In your reader’s world, this has already happened. In my writer’s world, I’m still anticipating. I predict it will be full of good food and tons of laughter. Life is good.

I’m sharing a recipe that I never dreamed I’d love as much as I do. This Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings is seriously awesome. Due to my vegetable aversion, I’d actually never eaten chicken and dumplings before, but now that I’ve tried this recipe, I want to eat it once a month. It’s the sage in the dumplings that really make this addictive.

Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve called this Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings because I took some shortcuts that made this simple enough to make any day of the week. I used store bought chicken stock and pre-cooked chicken, so all you really have to do is chop some vegetables and mix up a batter. Everything else happens in the pot while you check Instagram or something probably better. I hope you have leftovers because you’ll be sad if you only get to eat this for one day.

Life moves fast, but you still have to eat. You might as well make it awesome. Weeknight Chicken & Dumplings is a great place to start.

Burgerology: Bread Meats Bread

Burgerology: Breads Meats Bread

Burgerology: Bread Meats Bread

I always forget about Bread Meats Bread. From it’s front door you can see Five Guys, which is my absolute favorite. While recently browsing Yelp, I got the urge to visit again, and after this visit, I’ll definitely be making a point to go back again.

Burgerology: Bread Meats Bread

I went for the Royale with Cheese, which features two thin patties, rather than one fat pub style burger. I was definitely happy with this choice because this means you get even more of those crunchy, caramelized bits that are absolutely packed with flavor. It was dressed simply with ketchup and mustard, and of course, pickles and onions that I left on the side. I’d very happily eat this again.

Burgerology: Bread Meats Bread

Geoff, of course, went for the Angry Chicken Burger, which is loaded with jalapenos, crushed chilies, and buffalo sauce. He reported that the chicken was crisp and flavorful, the burger, overall, was spicy, but he would have liked a lot more buffalo sauce.

Burgerology: Bread Meats Bread

We also shared a side of chips. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. There were lots of tasty sounding sides that I want to try. And that’s not even taking into account the poutine menu.

Bread Meats Bread won’t be forgotten about anymore. I can’t wait to get back in there and have some buffalo chicken poutine. If you haven’t been to Bread Meats Bread yet, and you’re a burger lover, you should give it a try.

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chicken and Ham Pie

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’ve had a dog for seven months now. Everybody said I would fall in love with her immediately, but by the end of the first week, she had eaten my diary, and a cookbook, shattered the glass in our living room door, and peed on the rug where I do my yoga. We did not hit it off early.

Since then, her behavior has improved, but she still can’t be trusted to be left alone within reach of our food. Once I spent a half our slicing cheese for an epic cheese board. Turns out I didn’t latch the kitchen door all the way. By the time I realized it was entirely too quiet in the living room, about a third of the cheese was gone. 

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The first time I made this Chicken and Ham Pie, we left the leftovers out on the counter to cool down a bit before stashing them in the fridge. Who left the kitchen door open? We’ll never know, but Eevee, naturally, did not fail to notice and took advantage of this opportunity to eat about half of the remaining pie. My complete disappointment at the lack of leftovers confirmed how much I really liked this pie. It’s unusual for me to love a recipe that’s loaded with vegetables and doesn’t have any cheese, but this Chicken and Ham Pie was crave worthy, so I had to make it again for you.

This is definitely a weekend dinner project. Nothing is complicated, but there are a few different elements, and the prep work is a little time consuming. I used store-bought shortcrust pastry to make things a little more simple, but if you want to really go all out, you could make your own. 

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Chicken and Ham Pie will be closely guarded from marauding dogs. It’s just too good to share. But even though she’s mischievous sometimes, I think we’ll let the dog stay. I have to admit, she’s sorta awesome.

Chicken & Ham Pie
Serves 4
This Chicken & Ham Pie is so good, you won't want to share it with anyone.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
  2. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  4. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 850 ml chicken stock
  8. 50 grams butter
  9. 3 green onions, thinly sliced from the bottom up to the point where the green leaves split off
  10. 50 grams flour
  11. 300 ml whole milk
  12. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  14. 150 grams thinly sliced ham, chopped
  15. 500 gram pack shortcrust pastry
  16. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Chop your carrot, potatoes, celery, and chicken and add it to a large pot. Add half your fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken stock and place your pot over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a colander over a large bowl, and drain your chicken and veg mixture, reserving the stock. Set the chicken and veg aside, and strain the stock into a large measuring cup. You'll need 600 ml, so either top up with water, or discard any excess.
  3. To the pot you were just cooking in, melt your butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook for a few minutes until tender.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and onions, and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or so until it starts to smell nutty.
  5. Slowly whisk your reserved chicken stock into your flour mixture a little at a time, making sure the mixture is lump-free before adding more. Add your milk, bring the mixture up to a simmer, and cook for two minutes.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice, remaining thyme, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add your chopped ham, and your reserved chicken and veg to a pie plate or casserole and give it a little toss to mix it together. Pour your sauce over this. Mine went right up to the top of the pie pan.
  8. Allow this mixture to cool ever so slightly while you preheat your oven to 200C or 400F.
  9. When your oven is hot, unroll your pastry, and give it a light roll to make sure it will cover your pie pan. Cut a few thin strips off the end your your pastry, and press them around the edge of your pie pan. Use a pastry brush to brush a layer of your beaten egg onto the strips of pastry, then lay the rest of your pastry over your pie. Trim the edges, and press them into the rim of your pie plate to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg, and cut a few slits into the pastry to vent steam.
  10. Bake your pie for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
  11. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Adapted from BBC Good Food
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/



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