Mariel here. For the past two months, my kitchen has been under construction. When we moved into this house last spring, we knew we had several projects that needed to be addressed…with the kitchen and bathrooms being at the top of the list. “Oh, it’ll be so fun to make our home exactly like we want it,” we mused naively.
I now fully understand why people put such a premium on turnkey – especially when they have an infant. That being said, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I loved the crew that worked here – and actually kind of missed them when they packed up – and I fully enjoyed “having” to eat takeout for almost every meal. I ordered from the local Asian place at least three nights a week so when I was expected to man the stove again in late December, one of the first things I felt like making was…shocker…something I could’ve cherry-picked off a menu.
This takeout fake-out is a last-minute meal through and through and it can easily be prepped ahead. In fact, I made all of the components in the morning – while my little monsieur cat-napped – then did the actual cooking after I put him down for the night. Or correction, my mom did the cooking since that’s how we roll these days. Pair this dish with a (tall) glass of chardonnay, some pretzel M&M’s and your favorite Real Housewives, and you’re pretty much living my dream.
Toasted Cashew Chicken with Scallions & Fresh Cilantro
Adapted from Ladies’ Home Journal
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (about 1½ lbs) – $4.50
3 tablespoons dry sherry – stock
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger – $0.69
2 cloves garlic, minced – stock
4½ teaspoons cornstarch, divided – stock
¾-cup low-sodium chicken broth – stock
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce – stock
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce – stock
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar – stock
2 teaspoons brown sugar – stock
2 teaspoons canola oil – stock
¾-cup unsalted toasted cashews – $3.00
3 scallions, thinly sliced – $0.89
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped finely – $1.69
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $10.77
Cost per serving: $2.69
1. In a bowl combine chicken, sherry, ginger, garlic and 2 teaspoons cornstarch – toss, coating the chicken well. Chill at least 30 minutes in the fridge and up to 12 hours. In another bowl whisk together the broth, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar, sugar and 2½ teaspoons cornstarch; set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, once the oil is hot, saute chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in broth mixture and bring to a simmer; cook until sauce thickens, about 1 min. Toast the cashews then sprinkle on top and serve with scallions and cilantro.