Four years ago on January 24, 2012, I challenged myself to a game where I would make a different meal each night for my family. The rules I set for myself were simple. I had to post a picture the next day of our meal and give a recipe or in the case of old family recipes that don’t translate well – pour a bunch of salt into a pan… at least give the steps I went through. I could repeat dishes with different ingredients ie. chicken tacos and ground beef tacos did not count as the same meal. I went through starts and stops in the beginning but little did we know life was about to make a drastic change.
A wedding, two moves (the first that would take us 550 miles from our closest family and friends), new schools, homeschooling, virtual schooling, the death of my mother-in-law and our kids growing up were all suddenly thrown into the mix. I didn’t blog much the first two years but I kept going and finally found my stride the past two years.
I have had to change the game a bit such as I only play the game during the week now so that we can repeat some of our favorite meals on the weekends if we wish. Also, everyone in the family is allowed to create the menu for their birthday dinner, even if it is a repeat meal, and I won’t change the menu.
I have also started posting more about our family and our adventures in everyday life. The food is an extension of what is happening in our lives. Disney is a love of all of ours so it had to be added into our the mix. Food is the main focus of my blog but why we eat what we do has to do in large part with our cultural heritage, up-bringing and where we live that is part of our story.
This has been a wonderful journey for all four of us. My children feel more confident in the kitchen, as do I. They are fearless tasters of new foods. They seek out new things to try at restaurants. They may not like all of them, but they are now able to say what they don’t like and how they would recreate the dish in a better way for them to enjoy it. Even my autistic son has let some of his texture issues go and can tell us why he doesn’t like certain meals such as creamy soups are not a pleasing meal for him because he wants to chew his meals. Just for him to be able to articulate that thought is so far ahead of where we thought we would be now with his food issues. I have let many of my food issues go. I now eat raw baby spinach, feta and stuffed grape leaves. If you had offered me any one of those years ago I would have turned up my nose and looked for the Wonder bread.
For my Bloggaversary I have changed up the format of my blog. There are now links to all my recipes and Disney posts at the top right of my blog. Also there is a print function for all recipes going forward. I am hoping to slowly fill in the gaps on the older ones but that will happen over time. Hopefully it is easier to read and navigate for you.
For this meal I have recreated my first dish, with a new recipe of course! I am still learning to take photographs of food but I have come a long way. Thank you to my followers for joining me in this journey and I hope we can continue it for many years to come!
We did some research on Moo Goo Gai Pan to find out if what we were making was correct. Everything we read said that as long as you have chicken and mushrooms as the main ingredient in a light sauce you can add whatever vegetables you like to the dish. Some recommended water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bok choy, cabbage, etc… We decided to use what we had in our refrigerator.
This dish had a good flavor and the extra sauce made the brown rice palatable to everyone. We made our dish extra “saucy” because the kids (and I) like our rice to have plenty of sauce over it. If you do not like as much sauce I would recommend cutting the sauce in half.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 8 drops sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, no salt added
- 6 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 16 oz. sliced mushrooms
- vegetables of your choosing: I used pea pods, red pepper and carrots
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- oil for stir frying
- Place the cubed chicken in a bowl. Add all of the marinade ingredients and stir well to coat the chicken. Let chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
- Prepare sauce in bowl and set aside for later.
- Heat wok or large skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until just about cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.
- Add another tablespoon of oil if needed and add garlic to pan. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Add the vegetables that need the most cooking first – such as carrots and let them start to cook before adding vegetables that need less time such as mushroom, pea pods and peppers.
- Once vegetables are cooked just about to your liking push all the vegetables to the outer edge of the pan. Stir the sauce well and then pour into the center of the wok. Stir with the vegetables and then add the chicken back in to finish cooking.
- Once chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened remove pan from heat. Serve with rice if desired.