Ground Chicken Bowl

It’s not a surprise we love Japanese food. We are always looking for new recipes that everyone in the family enjoys. This is a great one that is easy enough for a weeknight and filled with protein and our daughter’s second favorite vegetable, peas.

Photo of oboro Don Ground Chicken Bowl by Aurora Meyer on Dispatches from the Castle

Ground Chicken Bowl

This is a revised version of Soboro Don a delicious, easy protein filled Japanese dish.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

For Ground Chicken

  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • ½ to 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tsp ginger We use the ginger in the squeeze bottle, it can be hard to find good fresh ginger here.
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce Dark soy adds a great depth of flavor to this dish

For Scrambled Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil

To Serve

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, and cook the chicken until cooked through. Tip: cook without breaking until browned, then flip and cook until browned again. Then break it up.
  • Add sake, sugar, and mirin.
  • Add the ginger (Be careful! The ginger may pop!)
  • Cook until the liquid is almost gone. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add sugar. Mix well until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Heat oil in the frying pan over medium-low heat and pour in the egg mixture.
  • Break the egg into small pieces. When it’s cooked through, transfer to another bowl.
  • To serve add some rice to a bowl. Then add the chicken, egg and peas. You can use sesame seeds as a garnish.
Keyword chicken bowl
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Crockpot or Instapot Chicken Tostadas

Sometimes we need a super easy, customizable dinner that can include as many veggies as possible. This is a dish we eat regularly.

Photo of Easy Chicken Tostadas by Aurora Meyer on Dispatches from the Castle

Crockpot or Instapot Chicken Tostadas

This a super easy weeknight dinner that we make regularly. Even the preschooler loves it!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

For the chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts Frozen is fine, see notes.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced or powdered
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Garnishes

  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 cup lettuce shredded
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 avocado diced
  • salsa We like the green salsa for this dish.
  • pickled jalapenos
  • 1 cup cheeses shredded, Monterey Jack is great in this.
  • Tortilla chips or tostadas

Instructions
 

CrockPot Instructions

  • Turn the crockpot to medium. Add half of the olive oil to the crockpot. Add the chicken and chicken stock. (Note: if using frozen chicken, set the crockpot on high). Top with the rest of the olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic and cumin. Let cook for six hours.
  • Remove chicken from crockpot and shred with a fork.
  • Add the refried beans to a pot on the stove top and heat or use a microwave safe bowl and cook following the can directions.
  • On your favorite chips or tostadas add the cooked refied beans followed by the chicken and cheese and then your favorite toppings.

InstaPot Instructions

  • Add half of the olive oil to the crockpot. Add the chicken and chicken stock. Top with the rest of the olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic and cumin. Set the venting knob to Sealing Position. Set to Poultry for 10 minutes (if you are cooking from frozen you may need more time). Make sure the chicken internal temperature is at least 165 degrees before you shred. Follow steps 2 through 4 above.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Gluten-Free Banana Oatmeal Bread

Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Bread By Aurora Meyer on Dispatches from the Castle

Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Bread

Super easy gluten free Banana Oatmeal Bread.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Butter Can substitute shortening or magerine if you prefer.
  • 1 cup sugar If you prefer caramel flavors feel free to add some brown sugar we like half cup of each.
  • 2 tbsp
 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten free flour We like the Krusteaz all purpose gluten free flour the best.
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats These work the best but in a pinch you can use Instant.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1/4 cup milk We use vanilla almond milk because we don't have regular milk in the house but your favorite milk or milk alternative would work in this recipe.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon In our opinion Penzy's cinnamon is the best.
  • 2 Ripe bananas We wait until they are mostly brown to make this recipe.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside (we use olive oil spray for this and it works well).
  • Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla; beat until fluffy.
  • Add the flour and mix. Then add the bananas and oatmeal and mix. Then add the baking soda and mix. Add the salt and cinnamon to the milk, pour in slowly and mix. Mix until blended.
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; remove from oven and cover for 5 minutes. (The middle might fall in but a tooth pick or butter knife should come out clean.)
Keyword banana, banana bread, banana oatmeal bread, oatmeal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever

We recently went apple picking and picked a five-gallon bucket full of apples. Apples from the local orchard by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com After making two rounds of the easiest apple sauce ever, I tried my hand at a gluten-free apple pie adapting an All Recipes recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever had an apple pie that was this delicious and I’ve eaten a lot of apple pie. Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever fork tender in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
Best Gluten-Free Apple Pie by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com

Best Gluten-Free Apple Pie Ever

After making two rounds of the easiest apple sauce ever, I tried my hand at a gluten-free apple pie adapting an All Recipes recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever had an apple pie that was this delicious and I’ve eaten a lot of apple pie.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 slices

Equipment

  • stove
  • oven

Ingredients
  

  • 1 gluten-free pie crust we used the KINNIK brand from our local grocer
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour we used Krusteaz Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 -10 pounds apples peeled and cored (we used about 2 pounds of the locally picked apple

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (we used our convection feature which automatically reset the temperature to 400 degrees).
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer, continue stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever Caramel sauce by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  • Place the bottom crust in your pan. Place the crust on a baking sheet to catch drips.
  • Fill the pie crust with apples, mounded slightly. Carefully pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not runoff.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever mounded apples in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  • Bake 15 minutes in the preheated 425 (or 400) degree oven.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever Baking by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (our oven reset the convection temperature to 325 degrees).
  • Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are fork-tender.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever fork tender in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
Keyword apple, apple pie, dessert, gluten-free, gluten-free apple, gluten-free apple pie, pie
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5 Pro Tips To Lower Your Utility Bills For Free

5 Pro Tips To Lower Your Utility Bills For Free by aurorameyer.com

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

Utility bills are usually accompanied by a sinking feeling in your heart and the inevitable lamenting that it’s getting more and more expensive to keep your lights on. What’s more, COVID-19 has had everyone locked inside for weeks, forcing you to use more electricity and gas at home than you would normally do. No wonder that one in three US households struggles to pay their monthly utility bill.

Is there a way to reduce the costs without compromising on feeling comfortable at home, especially when your home is also now your office? The obvious solution would be to install solar panels or buy energy-efficient appliances, but they all cost money.

Fortunately, there are a few budget-saving techniques for you to try – completely for free.

1. Reduce your Hot Water Temperature

No one likes cold water when you shower. But if your water heater thermostat is set at 140ºF by default (which they often are!), you might not only be burning through $61 annually in standby heat losses but potentially also facing a safety hazard—scalding. Reducing your water heater temperature to 120ºF will not only save you money but will slow mineral build-up and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.

2. Insulate Your Water Tank

While you are in the bathroom, make sure you also insulate your water tank. When on standby, your uninsulated water tank is responsible for 25% to 45% energy losses. One of the clever and surprisingly cheap ways to save energy is wrapping a blanket around your tank to stop the heat from escaping.

3. Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes

This one might very well blow your mind. Most of the newer model dishwashers have pre-built sensors to check how dirty your plates are to determine how long a cycle is needed to clean them. By pre-rinsing your plates beforehand, you might be tricking the sensor into using lighter than optimal cycle and additionally, you might be wasting 6000 gallons of water annually.

4. Switch Electric Suppliers

There are currently 18 U.S. states with competitive energy marketplaces, driving the electricity rates in these deregulated states below the U.S. average. Residents are free to switch electric suppliers and reduce the price they pay for electricity. Switching suppliers is easy, secure and it often involves only a few clicks of your computer mouse. In addition, most suppliers offer additional perks to win you over – attractive rewards programs, complimentary smart home devices, or 100% renewable energy.

5. Use Free Electricity

Speaking of perks, many electric suppliers offer incentives and discounts to customers willing to switch their power usage to off-peak hours. By making small adjustments to your daily routines, like running your washing machine or a dishwasher at night, instead of during the day, the energy you use in those hours might come with a zero-price tag. Get in touch with your power company to see if they offer free-nights or free-weekends electricity plans. Since we are stuck home all day anyway, we might as well save money, right?