Bella’s Table — April/May 2016

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Estella Tullgren with her lighter version of Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Estella Tullgren with her lighter version of Sweet and Sour Chicken.

By Estella Tullgren

The holiday celebrations coming up over the next few months are good reasons to gather family and friends—perfect occasions to cook together and try new recipes. This version of Sweet and Sour Chicken is so good. I sometimes double the sauce so I can set some aside to drizzle over each serving. Croissants add a little something extra to a bread pudding recipe, and the caramel sauce is divine—you will love it!


Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken
Serves 4

This is a yummy version of the famous sweet and sour chicken without all the calories—actually I thought this was tastier than other recipes I have tried. I think you will like it a lot! It looks a bit labor intensive—just have all your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. Serve with white or brown rice.

1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth,
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Veggie Mixture
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 cup bell peppers, diced into 3/4-inch pieces (red, yellow and green)
1 small onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)

Sauce: Heat oil and sauté garlic and ginger for a minute. Remove from heat, stir in 1/4 cup chicken broth. Add rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper. In small bowl whisk cornstarch with 2 tablespoons chicken broth. Pour this into sauce, return to heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Set aside.

Chicken: Whisk cornstarch, egg whites, and salt and pepper until frothy. Toss in chicken pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden brown—about 7 or 8 minutes. Remove to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set aside.

Veggies: While chicken is cooking, add oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions. Sauté 6-8 minutes. Add pineapple during the last minute.

Return chicken to pan with veggies. Add sauce to mix. Toss evenly and serve over rice.


Fresh Corn Bake
Fresh Corn Bake

Fresh Corn Bake
Makes 8-10 servings

Once the summer corn season starts, this an absolute must to try. I tried this once with frozen corn and it just was not the same. The fresh corn really makes a difference.

8 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and diced
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Combine the corn, bell pepper, and jalapeños in a bowl. Add the cream, milk, and salt and pepper. Pour into a buttered baking dish. Cut the butter in about 8 pats and lay over the top of corn. Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Delish!


7 Up Biscuits
7-Up Biscuits

7-Up Biscuits
Makes 9 biscuits

Over the past few years, I have been asked several times to try this 7-Up Biscuit recipe to share with Marvelous! readers. I tried the recipe and I am here to tell you these are very good, and best when they are right out of the oven.

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up
1/4  cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450. Cut sour cream into Bisquick mix, add 7-Up. This makes a very soft dough. Sprinkle some Bisquick on counter and dump dough on top. Pat out dough. Use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Put melted butter in a 9×9 square pan. Place cut biscuits in pan on top of melted butter. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Apple and Cranberry Croissant Bread Pudding with Caramel Drizzle.
Apple and Cranberry Croissant Bread Pudding with Caramel Drizzle.

Apple and Cranberry Croissant Bread Pudding with Caramel Drizzle
Serves 10-12

Oh my—what a great dessert this has turned out to be! I even made it one time with fresh ripe peaches instead of apples.

Caramel Drizzle
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in saucepan, add sugars, water, and salt, and stir together over medium heat. Allow mixture to boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and carefully stir in cream and vanilla (mixture could bubble up—so be careful). Set aside and cool until ready to use.

Bread Pudding
6 (slightly stale) butter croissants, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large Gala apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup dried regular or orange-flavored cranberries
1 1/4  cups light brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled, and divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Brush 9×12 baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter until well coated; set aside. Place croissant pieces, apples, cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar into a large mixing bowl; set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar, milk, cream, eggs, 4 tablespoons remaining butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until light and fluffy.

Pour egg mixture over croissant mixture and toss together until well coated. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish and allow mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. Bake bread pudding for 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and drizzle. M! April/May 2016






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