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Nashville Hot Chicken

Think delicious fried chicken, made even more deliciouser because of the spicy oil sauce you paint over the top when it’s done - and yes I know ‘deliciouser’ is not a word.


Chicken Brine

4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup hot sauce (I used cholula but almost any will do)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika
6-8 pieces of chicken - legs, breasts, thigh, up to you

Flour Dredge

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

 

Hot Oil Sauce

1/4 cup cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika (regular is fine)
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (regular is fine)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Vegetable oil, for frying

 

Chicken – In a large bowl put the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, pepper and paprika – whisk well to combine and add the chicken and make sure it’s well covered. Refrigerate up to 4 hours, even overnight is fine


Flour Dredge - In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined

To Cook - Remove the chicken pieces one by one from the buttermilk and let any excess drip off

Put the pieces, one by one into the flour making sure each is well coated, shake off excess then back into the buttermilk and then into the flour again and put on a plate or a rack on a baking sheet – repeat with al the chicken

Fill either a deep fryer with oil, or a large cast iron pan about 1/3 of the way up the sides and heat to 325 degrees 

Slowly add 3 or 4 pieces of chicken at a time and cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides (turning pieces over about halfway through) and the chicken reaches 160 to165 degrees, approximately 12-14 minutes

When done, move the chicken pieces to a rack covered baking sheet and place in a 250 degree oven while you finish cooking the remaining pieces

Hot Oil Sauce – When all the frying is done, combine the oil ingredients in a medium bowl and add 1 cup of the hot frying oil – stir well to combine

 To serve, brush the cooked chicken well with the sauce, or dunk the pieces - serve hot

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HOMEMADE RANCH

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HOMEMADE RANCH

Is this like the ranch that comes out of a bottle from the supermarket? Hell no. But it is lighter, delicious and has a ton more flavor and is perfect for a lot of things - including a fried chicken sandwich, salads and even on fries.

1/4 cup each buttermilk, mayo, & sour cream

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice from 1/4 lemon

3 tablespoons each parsley, dill & green onion - all finely chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well to combine - refrigerate up to 4 days

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The Last Lasagna Recipe You'll Need

Ok, so it takes a bit to make…but it’s totally fricking worth it.

16 ounces cottage cheese

15 ounces ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound baby spinach

9 ‘no boil’ pasta sheets

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

6 deli slices mozzarella cheese

4 cups Bolognese sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375

  • In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta, parmesan, garlic powder, red pepper flakes & olive oil - mix well and set a side

  • Cook spinach in a large pan with a little oil until totally wilted - and when it’s cooled squeeze with your hands to get rid of any remaining moisture, then add to the cottage cheese mixture and stir in well

  • Build lasagna in a 9x12 baking dish like this: 1/3 of the bolognese covering the bottom, 3 pasta sheets on top, 1/3 of the cottage cheese mix on top of that and the Monterey Jack on top, then another layer of the bolognese, pasta, cheese mix, and repeat once more

  • Top the final layer of cheese mix with the mozzarella sheets and finally a little of the bolognese for color

  • Cover with foil and bake for one hour, then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes uncovered

  • Let sit 15 minutes before serving

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Bolognese

This crazy delicious meat sauce can be used for almost anything…and should.

1 tablespoon neutral oil

1 yellow onion, diced fine

1 carrot, diced fine

1 stalk celery, diced fine

1 pound 80/20 ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth

1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups beef broth

1 bay leaf

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 ·       Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil and add onion, carrot, and celery - cook until soft about 5 minutes

·       Put in garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute then add beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up as you go

·       Add wine (or vermouth) and bring mixture to a simmer, and cook until wine is mostly reduced

·       Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock and bay leaf – mix well, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour

·       Remove the bay leaf and add milk – stir well, bring to a simmer & simmer, stirring occasionally, until milk about 45 minutes

·       Season with salt and pepper and serve…or put into a syringe and inject

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Teriyaki Sauce

Your own, deliciously thick teriyaki sauce is a wonderful thing to have.

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 large clove of garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons cornstarch

  1. Put one cup of water in a small pot and add brown sugar, soy, honey, ginger & garlic - stir well to mix and bring to a simmer

  2. Mix remaining 1/4 cup water with cornstarch well, then stir into simmering sauce

  3. Stir well and it’ll thicken over a couple minutes

  4. Let cool and refrigerate - will keep a couple weeks

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Teriyaki Burger

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Teriyaki Burger

Ginger, garlic, pineapple & teriyaki make this one damn fine burger. If it wasn’t obvious - don’t eat the same thing the same way all the time.

Makes three 1/3 pound burgers

One pound ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 teaspoon soy

1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 pineapple rings

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, store bought or make your own here

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sriracha

3 slices Monterey jack cheese

1/2 cup crispy onions

Leaf or butter lettuce

3 buns - something good like brioche would be perfect

  1. Put ground beef, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and soy in a large bowl and mix to combine then shape into patties - just don’t over mix or pack patties too tight cuz they’ll be juicier if you don’t

  2. Heat a small pan, add a tablespoon of neutral oil and cook mushrooms until softened - season with salt & pepper, keep warm and set aside

  3. Heat grill and put on patties & pineapple slices - cook burgers until desired doneness (about 5 minutes each side) and pineapple until good grill marks appear - brushing both with teriyaki sauce once flipped

  4. While they cook, combine mayo, a couple tablespoons teriyaki sauce and sriracha - mix well and set aside

  5. When patties are almost done, add cheese, close lid and allow to melt and toast buns

  6. Build burgers: bun, sauce, lettuce, patty, mushrooms, crispy onions, top bun

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Cauliflower Mash

Love mashed potatoes? Well then you’ll definitely love cauliflower mash with less fat & calories but all the creamy deliciousness.

  • One head cauliflower, florets removed and cut into even sized pieces

  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  1. Steam cauliflower until soft enough to poke through easily with a knife or fork

  2. Put into a processor and whiz about a minute - add cream and Parmesan and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes

  3. Add salt & pepper and blend until perfect

  4. Transfer to a pot on the stove and keep warm until ready to use.

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Guiness Braised Short Ribs

If you look up ‘comfort food’ in the dictionary - there should be a picture of this crazy, effing delicious slowly braised short rib. You’re gonna love it :)

  • 4 pounds bone in short ribs (about 8)

  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

  • Neutral oil, like avocado

  • 4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into a medium dice

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Guinness stout

  • 6 fresh thyme stalks

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees

  2. Season short ribs well with salt & pepper

  3. Heat a heavy oven proof pot (like a Dutch oven) and sear short ribs until browned on all sides - (except bone side) until golden brown - about 3-4 minutes total then remove & set aside

  4. Add carrot, celery & onion to the pot and cook until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and stir in to combine - cook another 2 minutes

  5. Add tomato paste and flour to vegetables - stir well to combine and cook another minute or so

  6. Put in beef broth & Guinness, stirring well and bring to a boil - turn off heat and add ribs back to the pot long with the thyme

  7. Cover with lid, put in the oven and cook until fork tender - 2 1/2 to 3 hours

  8. Serve with the vegetables and some of the gravy/broth on anything, though cauliflower mash would be ideal.

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The Best Breakfast Sandwich

Makes One

¼ thinly sliced red onion

Butter

Olive oil

2-3 ounces thinly sliced pastrami

1 egg

1 large slice of cheese, I used smoked chipotle gouda

2 cup fresh spinach

2 sourdough bread

Shoestring fries, optional, wait – not optional

Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons garlic aioli, see recipe below

 

  • Cook onions in about 1 teaspoon each butter & oil over low-medium heat cook beautifully softened and beginning to color – about 10 minutes

  • Transfer onions to a small dish, add a little more oil to the pan and add spinach – cook over low/medium heat stirring well until completely wilted, about 3 or 4 minutes – season with salt & pepper and set aside

  • Toast or grill bread until golden brown

  • While bread toasts, cook egg & pastrami separately until egg is cooked the way you like it (over easy is ideal) and pastrami is warmed through, adding cheese to the top when you flip it over

  • Build: spread aioli on both pieces of bread, then to one piece add spinach, onions, cheesy pastrami, egg, fries and top with 2nd piece of toast

  • Eat :)

 

Garlic Aioli

Makes about ½ cup

 

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon avocado  oil

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

 

  • Combine all ingredients and mix really well to combine

  • Cover and chill

 

 

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Perfect Mashed Potatoes

There are times to question, and times not to question - and this is a ‘not to’ time. Just make these and all will be well. And yes you can use russet potatoes, but they just won’t be as good :)

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup whipping cream

Kosher salt & pepper to taste

Optional things to add…just because

Blue cheese & sautéed red onion

Bacon & diced green chilies

Minced chipotle peppers and shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  1. Put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and add a pinch of salt

  2. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered until tender enough to poke a small knife through, about 15-20 minutes

  3. While they cook, melt butter with cream and warm through

  4. Drain potatoes and using a potato rice (preferred) or potato masher get them back into the pot mixed

  5. Add butter cream mixture and season to taste with salt & pepper

  6. If you’re going to add anything optional - now’s the time

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Chorizo Crema

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 ounces pork chorizo

  • 1 pint whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook chorizo in a small sized saucepan until chorizo is done, about 5 minutes

  2. Add cream and let simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes

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Meatball Sliders

Makes 8 slider sandwiches


Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

½ lb Italian sausage (casing removed)

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ cup chopped fresh parsley

¾ cup bread crumbs

¼ cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 cup tomato sauce (store bought or make Sam’s Everyday Tomato Sauce)

8 Hawaiian Rolls, sliced

Butter

½ cup prepared pesto sauce (store bought or make Sam’s Fresh Basil Pesto)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • In a large mixing bowl add beef, sausage, garlic powder, parsley, bread crumbs, ricotta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper - mix well and form into 2 inch meatballs (should get about 8 meatballs) and place on an edged baking pan

  • Bake meatballs for about 20ish minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees in the center

  • Heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan on low heat then add cooked meatballs to the tomato sauce until all the meatballs are coated

  • Lightly butter rolls and cook in a non-stick pan until golden brown on cut sides

  • Build: grilled bun, pesto, “sauced” meatball and top bun - boom!

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Fish Stick Burrito

Makes 1 Burrito

And before anyone criticizes...you just gotta make it.

Ingredients:


6 frozen fish sticks (regular size)

1 burrito size flour tortilla

¼ cup refried beans, warmed

2 tablespoons chipotle lime sour cream (see recipe)

1 slice bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled

2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese

¼ cup prepared Mexican style rice, warmed

2 tablespoons prepared salsa fresca or pico de gallo

2 tablespoons shredded fresh cabbage


Directions:

  • Bake fish sticks according to package directions

  • Heat the tortilla just a bit o make them a little more pliable - micro or pan is fine

  • Build burrito: spoon beans on tortilla, then sour cream, bacon, layer cooked fish sticks, cheese, rice, salsa and fresh cabbage

  • Then roll up restaurant style - bottom over the filling, sides in then roll away from you


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Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream

1 chipotle pepper from a can (about a tablespoon) minced fine - but notice it’s not ‘one can of them, it’s just one’ as they're hot

1 lime

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro


Directions:

  • Mix well sour cream, chipotle, lime juice and cilantro in small bowl

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Kung Pao Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken

Damn I really love this, and not just cuz it’s crazy delicious - though that definitely makes a difference. It’s about the heat, cuz some Kung Pao is so over the top all you taste are peppers. But for me at least this is the perfect level that gives a nice warming to the forehead.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken - either breasts or thighs are fine, cubed

  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil

  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper

  • 5 green onions, white & light green parts, sliced into 1 inch pieces

  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 12 dried hot red chiles - 6 left whole and 6 each cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Put diced chicken in a large bowl, sprinkle evenly with cornstarch, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the soy - mix well to combine everything and set aside for 15 minutes

  2. While it marinates, combine remaining soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chicken stock, vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl - mix well and set aside

  3. Heat wok until just beginning to smoke, add a tablespoon of oil then marinated chicken - cook stirring often until almost cook through - about 3 minutes, remove to a bowl

  4. Return wok to heat, add another tablespoon of oil and put in red pepper, yellow onions, green onions and chilies - cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes then add garlic & ginger and cook another minute or so

  5. Add back in chicken, stirring to warn through then add the sauce - stirring constantly to mix through chicken until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.

  6. Serve with/on rice or noodles


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How to Season & Clean a Carbon Steel Wok

Before you can use your wok, you need to ‘season’ it. This helps build up a black, non-stick surface that makes wok cooking so great.

  1. Wash the wok inside and out with hot soapy water. Do not use an abrasive cleanser on the inside of the wok
  2. Rinse and dry the wok well
  3. Place the wok on high heat turning it and tilting it up to the rim and back until it starts to turn an even yellow-brown color
  4. Remove from the heat, turn down to medium-low
  5. With a basting brush or tongs holding a paper towel, add a thin film of neutral oil (avocado oil is perfect for this), just enough to coat the inside surface of the wok. Too much oil will clump and burn.
  6. This part can get smoky, so turn the ventilation fan on and put the wok back on the heat for about 5 minutes - again moving it around to get even heat coverage
  7. Then turn the heat off and let wok cool back down to room temperature before the next round of seasoning. When it's cool, wipe out any excess oil with a paper towel
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 three to four more times. You'll notice that each time the wok will get darker and darker.
  9. Your wok is now ready to be used and at this point I like to throw in a big handful of chopped garlic, green onion and ginger to cook for a few minutes. And you wok will continue to darken each time you use it, and that’s good. Now go make something
  • Remember when cooking, FIRST heat the wok until almost smoking, THEN add the oil

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR CARBON STEEL WOK

  1. Let it cool down first, but Do Not cool down with cold water - cold water could damage the wok and undo all your hard work seasoning it. Plus, the steam and spitting oil could easily burn you.
  2. Then, using water clean it with a soft sponge, dish-rag or bamboo brush - do not use soap or something scratchy inside as they can remove the seasoning. But it’s ok to use a more abrasive sponge on the outside of the wok to remove grease and anything stuck on
  3. When it’s clean, dry it really well because allowing a wok to air dry may cause rusting. Or you can dry the wok completely by setting it on the stovetop over low heat
  4. After cleaning, I add a very light coating of neutral oil again to further eliminate any chance of rusting

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Salami & Egg Sandwich

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Salami & Egg Sandwich

Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, like avocado
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 6 slices thin salami
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices sourdough bread, buttered
  • 2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise) -regular mayo is fine too
  • 2 slices Colby cheese

Directions

  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Cook onions until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, move to the side to make room for the others.
  • Next add salami to the same skillet, flip after about a minute on each side.
  • Crack your egg, smash yolk move around a lil bit and flip.
  • Place one slice of bread on the same skillet (if not enough room just use another heated skillet), top with Monterey Jack slices then spread Kewpie. Next, layer salami, egg and colby cheese. Top with second slice of bread, flip and cook until bottom side gets a little golden and cheese gets melty.

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Grilled Veggie Fajitas (using a grill basket)

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Grilled Veggie Fajitas (using a grill basket)

 Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes 4-6 tacos (depending on size of tortillas)

Ingredients

  • 10 asparagus spears, 1'' pieces
  • 1 medium size yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium size red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1-2 tablespoons Neutral oil, like avocado
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • tortillas
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons Adobo sauce (optional)

Directions

  • Heat grill basket on medium/high
  • Add asparagus, both peppers and 1 tablespoon of oil, saute for 5 minutes until they begin to soften
  • Add onion and continue for another 5 minutes or so mixing well, then add zucchini
  • Saute all for another couple of minutes, then the Napa cabbage
  • Season with salt, pepper and cumin
  • Turn down heat, and warm tortillas
  • Place a little sour cream, a tiny bit of the adobo sauce (it can be spicy) and some vegetables on each cooked tortilla and roll up

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Quick Chicken Stir Fry

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Quick Chicken Stir Fry

I know, I know - I love a stir fry. There... I admitted it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼-½ cup cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil, like avocado
  • 4-6 green onion sprigs, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sambal Chili Garlic sauce (depends how spicy you like)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • In medium bowl add chicken and ¼ cup cornstarch, coat the chicken well but shake off excess using a sifter - set aside.
  • Heat pan or wok until almost smoking - add 1 tablespoon oil and chicken
  • Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes then stir in green onions and cook for  a minute or so; remove chicken and set aside
  • Place same pan/wok back on medium heat, add a touch of oil, garlic and ginger - cook until fragrant about 30 seconds, then add soy sauce, honey and Sambal
  • In a separate small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup water then stir in with soy sauce mixture, cook until sauce starts to thicken
  • Add the chicken back in, stir and coat with sauce, cook for a few more minutes
  • Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds and serve

WATCH ME MAKE THIS

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Rotisserie Chicken Sauce

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Rotisserie Chicken Sauce

Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes approximately 1 cup sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Directions

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine

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