Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe Contest Winner! Cashew Chicken with Brown Rice

Let me tell you, it was SO HARD choosing a single winner, not only because I received so many delicious submissions, but also because I had to get used to a new kitchen this week! What timing I have!

Anyway, after several taste tests and having Lily and Paul help me weigh in on which was best, we finally chose Devon Riesenberg’s Cashew Chicken with Brown Rice recipe. CONGRATS, DEVON! Devon has a lovely blog called The Zucchini Diaries that’s full of awesome recipes, from salads to main courses to even baby food! She also has another cute blog called The Jack Chronicles all about her day-to-day adventures with her family, full of lots of pretty pictures. Devon just happened to stumble across my blog apparently and decided to submit a few of her favorite recipes, and I’m sure glad she did :) You have an avid new follower, Devon!

Besides having her recipe featured on my blog today, she is also the winner of a 1 year subscription to EatingWell Magazine!

Like I said, it was very hard to choose just one recipe, so here are some honorable mentions that made the top cut:

Diablo Potato Salad from Ashley Nunez at Healthy Mom for Junk Food Kids

Simply Simple Granola from Susan Osborn at Little Shack on the Hill

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms from Jessica Licciardello

I will most likely feature these tasty recipes in future posts since they were very good as well- thanks for participating, ladies!

Now, without further ado, I present the winning recipe:

Cashew Chicken with Brown Rice
(makes approximately 4-6 servings)


1 1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped   into about 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
3 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
6 scallions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup of raw crumbled cashews (optional: toasted)
Brown rice for serving (enough for 6 servings)

Cook brown rice accordingly and leave in pot until ready to serve. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or large Ziploc bag, toss the chopped chicken with the cornstarch, salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken, tossing often and then transfer to a plate. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and repeat with the other half of the chicken. Once the second batch is 3/4 of the way cooked through, lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, being careful not to burn it. Cook the garlic for about 1 minute, and then add the rice vinegar. Cook until evaporated, for about 30 seconds. Add the Hoisin, water and all the chicken to the pan, and stir together. Cook until the chicken is done and the sauce is slightly thickened, for around 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and add the cashews and the scallions. Serve over brown rice.

it was good with the steamed broccoli
Lily's and Mommy's plates
giving it a try

DELISH! Paul really liked this one especially, and although Lily turned her nose up at it initially (like she does to so many “unknown” food these days), she ate it all up once I got her try the first bite. I added extra scallions and the only thing I would alter is adding twice the amount of water and Hoisin sauce to make it saucier! But, that is a personal preference since I just love Hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is a salty sweet and slightly spicy Asian sauce made from soybean paste, garlic, chilies, sesame, and other spices and goes great on just about any meat. It’s great in stir-fries and makes an amazing marinade for grilling. In fact, I plan to use thia very recipe on the grill this summer!

Although this recipe is Cashew Chicken, the cashews are optional if you or someone you’re serving this to has a nut allergy. There are no other nuts in the recipe, with the exception of sesame in the Hoisin sauce (check label as some may not contain sesame depending on the blend). I felt it was the vinegary garlic, Hoisin sauce, and scallions that really made this chicken great, but the subtle crunch of the cashews were a really unique addition to the tender chicken.

Cashews, like all nuts, are very good for you. They contain high amounts of many nutrients, such as manganese, copper and magnesium. Nuts are heart-healthy, help to lower cholesterol, provide an abundance of natural energy, help maintain a healthy weight, and so much more! Cashews provide an especially high amount of calcium to support strong and healthy bones. Try some cashew butter on your PB&J instead next time and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

This recipe is fine for toddlers and kids, but not for baby. Baby can enjoy some brown rice cereal with milk or formula while the rest of the fam chows down on this tasty Asian-inspired dish!

Thanks again to everyone who sent in submissions! I will probably hold another contest in the future since this was so much fun, so stay tuned! Have a great weekend, and hopefully I will get back to my normal posting schedule soon enough! Next week I will post pictures of the new house, as well as a new Family Favorite recipe I cooked up for the first actual meal in the new kitchen. 

Wish me luck with getting my life back in order! 


  1. AWESOME Jessica! Makes me so happy to see your family love this recipe as much as we do! Thanks again for all the shout-outs and praise and keep up the awesome work on your healthy food adventures!

  2. I may just have to try this one. I love Asian food and love cashew chicken. Not much of a cook though so when I have pictures it helps :) Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you will come back and link with On Your Heart Tuesday.
    I'm your newest follower on all sites.


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