WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Salt Sauce April 26, 2011

Filed under: Asian-inspired,Chicken,Products — WannaBe Chef @ 2:25 pm

So I bought this bottle of sauce at Trader Joe’s in hopes of recreating a Thai steak wrap I had at a restaurant not long ago.  Well, it wasn’t the right sauce, so I decided to just use it in a stir-fry of sorts.

Then I turned the bottle around and took a peek at the nutrition label….

Do you SEE the sodium content?!  Holy crap!  My slightly swollen ankles screamed in protest, but I used the sauce anyway.  It tasted good, but I didn’t use as much as I would have liked.  Lesson learned:  look at label before buying, duh. 

The finished meal-in-a-bowl contained:  brown rice, chicken, stir-fry veggies, “salt sauce,” peanuts, and lots of fresh cilantro.  Definitely tasty but did require copious amounts of water during the night!


Hodge Podge February 23, 2011

Filed under: Asian-inspired,Chicken,Salad — WannaBe Chef @ 8:02 pm

Good evening!  So I have like four things backed up on my camera at this point.  Here are two really good dinners I made last week…

Kung Pao Chicken
Recipe from Cooking Light magazine, December 2010


  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil (I used less)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, diced (I used breasts)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (I used closer to 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh, minced ginger (I used powdered ginger)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 2 Tbsp chopped peanuts


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and saute until softened.  Add garlic, saute 30 sec, stir constantly.  Add chicken, saute until cooked through.
  2. Combine the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, whisk to combine.  Add mixture to pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Add bell pepper and peas to pan, cook for 2 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender and sauce thickens.  Sprinkle with peanuts. 

Greek Salad with Seasoned Naan
Recipe from Martha Stewart cookbook Great Food Fast


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups feta cheese
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • I also added banana peppers and chicken that I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper for an hour. 


  • Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl – whisk to combine.
  • Toss dressing with the rest of the ingredients.

Seasoned Naan

Get some wheat naan, pita bread or lavash at the store.  Brush it with a mixture of:  1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp dried oregano, and salt/pepper.  Bake at 400 for a few minutes until heated and slightly browned. 


OMG, this salad was simply amazing.  I’ve been craving sour things lately, so the vinegar and lemon and salty feta was just perfect.  I even got some fancy olives from the deli.   Mmmm!!


For Waynie January 17, 2011

Filed under: Asian-inspired,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 11:07 am

Apparently Wayne goes to a certain Chinese place for lunch quite frequently with a coworker.  He has asked me more than a few times if I knew how to make hot and sour soup.  I had heard of it, but had never seen it or eaten it.  I thought he would just forget about it, but he was persistent.  He wanted some hot and sour soup!  So, I googled a recipe and bought my first ever can of bamboo shoots haha. 

It definitely has a random list of ingredients, but trust me, it works.  Maybe I’m the only one who’s never had this stuff at a restaurant, but I’m definitely a believer now.  It had the perfect balance of hot and sour, and I loved all the different textures between the chewy chicken, soft tofu, and crunchy green onions. 

Easy Hot and Sour Soup
Recipe from HERE


4 cups chicken stock or broth
3 Tbsp soy sauce (I recommend low-sodium soy sauce)
1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken or pork (I used more than a measley 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 Tbsp garlic chili sauce (I used Sriracha – start with 1 tsp and add more to taste) 
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, julienned
3 oz block of tofu, cut into 1/4 inch dice (I used extra firm tofu and pressed the excess liquid out beforehand by cutting the block into slices and pressing it between a clean towel)
2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water
1 egg, beaten
2 green onion stalks, diced (including tops)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil


1. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan.

2. Add soy sauce, shredded meat, mushrooms and garlic red chili paste.

3. Simmer for five minutes.

4. Add white pepper, white vinegar, bamboo shoots, tofu.

5. Simmer for five minutes.

6. Combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water in a cup. Stir until mixture is smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.

7. Simmer for five minutes until soup is thickened.

8. Beat egg in a cup until yolk and white are combined. Pour beaten egg slowly, in a fine stream into soup. Stir soup several times.

9. Wait 30 seconds.

10. Add green onions and sesame oil to soup. Stir well. Remove from heat.

11. Serve hot. 


Meat-uh-balls October 7, 2010

Filed under: Asian-inspired,Beef — WannaBe Chef @ 6:36 pm

Good evening!  Tonight I bring you just another dinner.  I hope my posts haven’t been too boring lately.  I kinda feel like they have.  Maybe I’ll show you my breakfast, lunch and dinner next time (as if that’s so much more exciting!).  So anyway, tonight I made some meatballs.  Who doesn’t like meatballs?  Oh, and I came across this fun new ingredient at Walmart of all places.  You all know my love of cilantro, so I just had to pick this up!

Look how cute and tiny the little cubes are!  You just crumble them into whatever you’re making.

So my meatballs were based on THIS RECIPE , but I made some changes. 

Slowcooker Coconut Peanut Meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cilantro cubes, crumbled (or just some fresh chopped cilantro)
  • seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • bread crumbs – approx 1/4 cup
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Form into small meatballs (I got 28 meatballs).  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 until cooked through – about 15-20 minutes (although I did not time it, so just keep an eye on them).  Let cool and place in fridge until later.  You can also just use precooked meatballs.

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • scant 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped peanuts, optional, or you can use chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tsp Sriracha hot chile sauce – more or less depending on taste
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small crockpot (or you could use a small sauce pan).  If using a crockpot, let sauce cook for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.  If using a pan, I would probably bring it to boil, then cook it on low for awhile until it thickens and reduces.
  2. Add the meatballs to the sauce and let cook on low for another 45 minutes – 1 hour until sauce is thick and meatballs are heated through.  If using a pan, this would not take as long. 
  3. Serve meatballs over white rice if desired.

Mmm, these were really good!  They are a little on the sweet side, so if that’s not your thang, I would suggest going a little lighter on the sugar and/or peanut butter.