Monkeying Around The Kitchen: Pretzel Chicken, Pad Thai, Homemade Bread & More!

Last week’s menu went over surprisingly well as far as my audience was concerned. Feeding my kids can be tricky, especially when all they really want is dessert, but I planned a mix of favorites and takes on previous successes and come up with a series of meals that everyone seemed to enjoy. Hit the jump to check out links to not only the original recipes but also Amzaon pages where you can order the ingredients or equipment! I get a little scratch if you buy through those links which would be great, but you might be able to find them in your local market.

One Hour Honey Wheat Bread

Baking’s not really my thing, but I’ve been getting more and more interested in making basics from scratch. I figure it’s the best way to eat and, since I’m home and have the time, why not give it a whirl? After some Googling, I came across and it seemed right up my alley, in other words, simple! I followed this one almost to the letter, but went with half a cup of honey instead of 2/3 of a cup partly because I didn’t know if I had that much honey and partly because I didn’t want the bread to be too sweet. The results turned out great! I froze one loaf and we’ve been eating the other all week plain, with butter as a side for meals and on sandwiches for both grown-ups and kids alike. I will say that it feels a bit thicker and just generally different from the wheat bread you buy in the store — which took my daughter a little while to get used to — but otherwise it’s an easy, not overly involved way to make your own bread!


Air Fryer Pretzel Chicken

The other week I borrowed my parents’ Power Air Fryer and the first recipe I wanted to try was my world famous (if you ask my kids) Pretzel Chicken. Usually, dredge chicken chunks in eggs, cover in ground-up Utz Sourdough Specials Extra Dark Pretzels (so good, you guys) and fry in vegetable oil, but wanted to try something different. So, I used Show Me The Yummy’s Air Fryer Chicken Nugget recipe as a base and went from there. I chose this one because you soak the chicken in milk (I didn’t have buttermilk on hand and forgot about the vinegar trick) and pickle juice. I wound up doing 1/3 a cup each of milk, pickle juice and chicken stock for a little extra flavor. Then I worked in batches with the Air Fryer.

The results were super tasty nuggets — that pickle trick really added a lot of flavor — but not as crunchy as we’re used to. I’d guess that this way took about the same amount of time as the standard frying method, but there’s a lot less hand’s-on time. Once you put the chicken in the basket, you’ve got  8 minutes to work on other things — like making a quick salad or side — instead of watching over your previous chunks of meat bobbing around the bubbling oil. Even if I don’t use the Air Fryer again, I’m definitely going to try the pickle method again next time.


Pork Pad Thai

I tried looking around for a pork pad thai recipe that I could cook in the Instant Pot, but instead stumbled upon a more traditional one on Garnish And Glaze that I spring-boarded off of. I followed the basic recipe and method, but used boneless pork chops that I cut into thin squares, Blue Dragon Soba Noodles and honey instead of brown sugar. I also added fresh ginger, fish sauce, lime zest, rice vinegar as well as chopped cucumbers and mint from the garden. I also tried building on the flavor of the pork by marinating it in about a quarter cup of the sauce and about half a cup of chicken stock. I put all of that in the pan, but next time I’d 86 the marinade because I wanted to get the pork a bit more brown. I’d also like to try actual pad thai noodles, but couldn’t find them at the store. Soba worked nicely in a pinch, though!


Instant Pot Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Still wanting to try something new with my new favorite kitchen toy, the Instant Pot, I did some very general searching that landed me on Food Network’s take on Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with cole slaw. I fully followed this recipe as written and it was super easy, though the saute function on the IP does heat the room up just as much as my stove. The benefit of using it, though, is that you’re only using one pot, so clean-up is super easy. Actually, now that I think about it, I didn’t use pineapple pure. Instead I got an actual pineapple and tossed in about a cup of the actual fruit and whatever juice came out. Aside from that, though, I followed the recipe! For the cole slaw, I just went super simple and mixed the pre-made slaw bag with 1/3 of a cup of mayo and the two tablespoons of vinegar. The combination of the citrus-y chicken with the tangy slaw and the perfect sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian Rolls made for one of the tastiest meals I’ve made in a while. The kids agreed too, even asking for seconds (even thirds) before feigning fullness and asking for dessert!



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