(Ashlee) Welcome to Ashlee Marie. I’m so excited today. I have a guest. This is Alyssa from TheRecipeCritic.com. She’s an amazing food blogger. Thank you so much for coming! (Alyssa) Thank you for having me. This is absolutely amazing. (Ashlee) It’s so much more fun to cook in the kitchen with a friend than it is to cook by yourself. This is a series I’m starting. You are the first. Thank you for being my guinea pig. (Alyssa) Yay! (Ashlee) And today, we have a treat for you. These are 6 different chicken dishes, all different sauces but with the same base chicken recipe. These are awesome. The top recipes on your site are super popular. (Alyssa) Better than takeout. (Ashlee) Better than takeout. (Ashlee) So, to begin with, we’re going to make the very first sauce that you ever came up with and that was the sweet and sour chicken, right? (Alyssa) Yes. (Ashlee) Now, is this the easiest out of all the sauces then? (Alyssa) Well, it only uses 6 ingredients, so it comes together in just a matter of minutes. Okay, so we’ve got our sugar right here, soy sauce, garlic salt, white vinegar, cider vinegar, and the ketchup. And people sometimes are a little- (Ashlee) I was going to say, this all seems pretty Asian. And then, all of a sudden, the ketchup. (Alyssa) Yeah. So, people are a little hesitant about the ketchup. But, I promise, once you try this sauce, it’s a key ingredient to making this sweet and sour. And it’s just amazing. So, don’t be hesitant- (Ashlee) Well, it is sweet. (Alyssa) -about the ketchup. Just- (Ashlee) Just go with it. Okay. (Alyssa) Just whisk it all together. (Ashlee) Just don’t spill. (Alyssa) Yeah. This is the baked sweet Hawaiian chicken. And this is the newest to all the recipes. I really love it because it has the pineapple juice in it that adds a sweetness to the sauce and is just absolutely amazing. This one has more texture to it with the red pepper and the pineapple chunks. I usually start with the brown sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, and get that all whisked together. Add the garlic powder. And then, the cornstarch helps it- (Ashlee) I love garlic. That smells so good. (Alyssa) The cornstarch helps to thicken it up as it bakes. Add the chunks in last, then you’re ready to go. (Ashlee) This one is your orange chicken. I will say, this has probably the most ingredients that we’ve worked with so far. (Alyssa) Yes. This one has a little bit more ingredients. And it also has some sriracha in it to give it- (Ashlee) A little kick! (Alyssa) A little kick for this one. (Ashlee) This is enough heat for flavor, but not enough heat to be scared or clean out your sinuses or anything like that. (Alyssa) Yes. You’ll love it. (Ashlee) Okay. Perfect. So, we have the sugar- traditional, a little sweetness- and the vinegar. What else is everything here? (Alyssa) There’s our sriracha. We’ve got our soy sauce, the cornstarch to thicken it up, the garlic salt, orange peel, and our orange juice. (Ashlee) So all to really care about is the cornstarch chunks being broken up, right? (Alyssa) Yeah. (Ashlee) So what’s this one? (Alyssa) This is the baked honey sesame. (Ashlee) Alright. So how are you getting the sesame flavor when I don’t see sesame seeds? (Alyssa) Well, you are going to use sesame seeds at the end for garnish. (Ashlee) To be pretty. (Alyssa) But, you’re also using sesame oil inside the- (Ashlee) Is sesame oil hard to find, or can people get it anywhere? (Alyssa) People can get it anywhere. Sometimes, I do have trouble finding it. But, it is just on the Asian section. You’ll see the little bottle. (Ashlee) I went looking in the oil section and didn’t find it. The Asian section. Alright, so what is everything? (Alyssa) The brown sugar, ketchup- (Ashlee) Like the other one. (Alissa) Like the other. But just trust. It’s one of the best. Rice wine vinegar this time. Our cornstarch to help thicken it up. There’s our sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, and our honey. (Ashlee) I think I’m going to stir this a little bit before the cornstarch, because this is looking a little bit full. Maybe use a bigger bowl when you’re not going for looks. We’re going for the pretty factor here, people. (Alyssa) We’re just basically seeing if you can’t spill it as you cook. (Ashlee) Right. A lot of people do those challenges on their YouTube channel like taste the beans and stuff like that. This is my challenge- see if you can whisk a full bowl without spilling, right? Oo, that was close! (Ashlee) And now, this one is? (Alyssa) The firecracker chicken. (Ashlee) So, is this one super spicy then? (Alyssa) This one, I’m able to eat. So, it’s not too spicy, but you are going to love the kick. Even my kids are able to eat this. It’s not too spicy. (Ashlee) One of my favorite things is to get wings with Buffalo sauce. That’s the base for this, right? (Alyssa) Yes. And that’s what’s going to give it that little bit of a kick. (Ashlee) This has a lot of sugar, a lot more than the rest. So, is it super sweet? (Alyssa) This is what’s going to help to cool down the Buffalo sauce. (Ashlee) I’m going to have to use that excuse, “This has more sugar because I’m cooling down.” (Alyssa) Yes. We’re kind of making it a little more sweet. (Ashlee) Alright. Sounds good. So, the flakes. (Alyssa) Okay. And then you’ve got the buffalo sauce. (Ashlee) And this one is? (Alyssa) That is apple cider vinegar. (Ashlee) Apple cider vinegar. And this one uses water and salt, which the other recipes didn’t call for either. (Alyssa) Yeah, so this one’s a little different than the other ones that we’ve been doing. (Ashlee) Alright. So, is this also thicker than the rest? (Alyssa) Yes, that one is thicker. That’s why we don’t need cornstarch for this. (Ashlee) Oh, because it’s already thick. That makes sense. (Ashlee) Alright, this is our final sauce of the 6 in your series. What’s this one? (Alyssa) Kung pao. (Ashlee) Kung pao. That sounds spicy? Flavorful? (Alyssa) Yes, we have a little kick to this. Obviously, you can adjust red pepper flakes, things like that. Garnish it with red pepper flakes if you want more of a kick. I try to keep it a little family friendly. You know, don’t burn the kids’ mouths. (Ashlee) It depends what your kids are used to, or your husband, depending on who the whimpy one in the family is. (Alyssa) Yeah. So, I usually do all of the soy sauce- I’ll start with the soy sauce first. (Ashlee) And leave the chunky stuff- (Alyssa) Yes, for the end. (Ashlee) Okay. (Alyssa) So you’ll whisk this, just like you’ve done with all the other sauces. The brown sugar to that. White vinegar. (Ashlee) No spatula for that one. (Alyssa) Our garlic. And we’ve got sriracha, cornstarch. The expert whisker here. (Ashlee) Actually, a couple of my videos, I have made some pretty big spills. I’m just going to knock on wood. I’m waiting for it. So now this is all together. Then? (Alyssa) Then just add in your- (Ashlee) Add the chunky stuff? (Alyssa) Chunky. Red peppers. (Ashlee) See? I totally just splashed. And then the peanuts? (Alyssa) Yep. And then that’s ready to just pour on top of the chicken. (Ashlee) Now it’s time for the chicken. And this part is the one that you get asked questions about the most, right? (Alyssa) Oh yeah. (Ashlee) And this technique that we’re about to do now is the same for all the sauces that we just made, right? (Alyssa) Yes. And trust me on the technique, because this is what’s giving it that better than takeout breading. (Ashlee) This looks really simple. I’m expecting sugar, and salt, and some flour, and maybe some baking soda, or something. Because when I fry food, I make this big ol’ batter and actually complicate things. But this is super simple? (Alyssa) Yes. (Ashlee) Okay. So we have big chunks of chicken. Now what? (Alyssa) Now we’re going to take the big chunks of chicken, and I found it easiest, since I’ve made this so many times- (Ashlee) How often do you make these? (Alyssa) My family would want this every night of the week, I swear. (Ashlee) So a bag of cornstarch. (Alyssa) Yes. So you’re just going to place your chicken in the bag. (Ashlee) Slimy chicken. Blegh. (Alyssa) This makes it the easiest to get it all coated in there. (Ashlee) Alright. (Alyssa) And if for some reason you’re shaking up the chicken and you need to add a little more cornstarch, just make sure that all the pieces are covered. (Ashlee) So, the cornstarch mixture isn’t super written in stone. You just kind of have to eyeball it. (Alyssa) Yeah. I started out with, I believe, half a cup. (Ashlee) Alright. They’re all covered in cornstarch. It looks good. Now what? (Alyssa) This is the one I get the most questions about, because people are like, do we have to coat it in the egg and then the cornstarch? But no, you want to coat your chicken in the cornstarch, and then you simply just dip it in the egg and then put it into the frying pan. (Ashlee) Yeah, because for me, when I fry foods, I dip in some kind of liquid- butter, egg, whatever- and then back into something dry, right? (Alyssa) That’s how [indecipherable] But as you see, as it’s cooking in the oil, it’s creating that breading around the chicken with the egg on the outside. (Ashlee) We did about half a cup of oil because my pan is so big. But, at home, you said you usually have like a quarter of a cup of oil, right? (Alyssa) Yeah. So, you just want to- as you can see- to just coat the bottom of the pan. (Ashlee) Now, when I fry my chicken, it’s like floating. (Alyssa) That’s usually how it is. (Ashlee) This is really just enough oil to cover the bottom. So, we’re not trying to float the chicken. (Alyssa) No. (Ashlee) Now, we’re not completely cooking the chicken in this, right? Because that’s why it’s called baked chicken. (Alyssa) Yes. This is just what’s giving the breading to the outside. Of course, you can always skip this part and just bake the chicken with the sauce. That’s fine. But- (Ashlee) You just dip them in the cornstarch and egg and just go straight to baking. (Alyssa) No. If you didn’t want the breading, you could just bake the chicken with the sauce. (Ashlee) Oh, gotcha. So just a saucy chicken. But if you want the coating- (Alyssa) The breading and the extra time that it takes is far worth the results of getting that same authentic better than takeout. (Ashlee) Well, plus, the breading helps hold the sauce. And I don’t know about you, but I like a lot of sauce with my chicken. Oop, that was a little baby piece. So, we have all of the chicken in, the whole batch. This is about 3-4 breasts, right? (Alyssa) Yes. (Ashlee) And we had it at 300 or medium temperature if you’re cooking it on the stove. And now we turned it up to 325. And at home, you just turn it up a couple notches? (Alyssa) Yeah. You’re going to want your oil- you’re not going to want it to splatter, but you’re going to want to be able to brown the chicken. So, as you see, our chicken right here- -is ready. It’s starting to brown. So, these are all ready to turn. (Ashlee) Okay. (Alyssa) And you can use a tong, or even tongs, or- (Ashlee) You could use a spatula. (Alyssa) A spatula turns them a little faster. So, as you see, they’re browning perfectly. Just the way we want them. Some of the chicken pieces will be stuck together. You easily just break them apart like that. Just let the other side fry for another couple of minutes. And then it’s ready to go into our pan. So, our chicken is just slightly brown on the edges. It’s ready to go in. And like I said, you’ll still notice maybe some of the chicken is pink, but that’s okay. We’re just lightly browning it to bake in the oven. (Ashlee) So don’t completely cook it at this point, or you’ll end up with dry chicken, right? (Alyssa) Yes. (Alyssa) So there’s your chicken. And then all you do, pour the sauce right on top. (Ashlee) And this is the same for all the recipes and all the sauces. You just pull the chicken out, sauce it up, give it a good stir, right? (Alyssa) Yes. So, ready to go into the oven. (Ashlee) Now, we’re going to put it in at 350? (Alyssa) 325. (Ashlee) 325. (Alyssa) So, it’s going to bake at a lower temperature. (Ashlee) Okay. So low heat, long and slow, just like a cheesecake. (Alyssa) Yes. So that give is time to thicken up the sauce and brown the chicken. About every 15 minutes, just give it a stir and you’re good to go. In about 45 minutes, depending on the oven- usually, mine’s ready after about 45 minutes. You’ll be able to tell because the chicken will be nice and brown. (Ashlee) Well, you might have to take a big ol’ bite and test it. (Alyssa) Yeah, you might have to do a little testing. (Ashlee) Like, oh dang, you guys. I’m going to have to have like 4 more pieces to make sure this is okay. (Alyssa) Oh, I know. Trust me. This recipe is my weakness. (Ashlee) And, we’re done. Thank you so much. You guys, you are missing out. This smells amazing! (Alyssa) Oh, it is so good! (Ashlee) My tummy is grumbling so loud as we have been making all of these recipes. You guys, this is like feast for days. And I think I might just eat these all. (Alyssa) Oh, I know. (Ashlee) Like nope, I’m not going to share with anybody. (Alyssa) They’re so good. (Ashlee) So thank you, again, so much for coming. Don’t forget to check out Alissa, TheRecipeCritic.com. I’m going to have a link down below to all 6 of these recipes. You can go, you can print, you can make, you can enjoy, you can share. (Alyssa) I have a better than takeout fried rice recipe that I usually make with these, because the rice tastes like takeout. It’s awesome. (Ashlee) You always need rice as a side. We have some buried underneath all of this chicken. But let’s face, the chicken is really the star here. (Alyssa) Oh, for sure. (Ashlee) Alright. So, don’t forget to subscribe. Leave me a comment if there is a food blogger out there that you want me to have on as a guest. Don’t forget to give Alissa some love and let us know which is your favorite of all of your Chinese foods. And for my favorite part! Now, we get to eat it. I’m going to take my fork, and let’s dig in. (Alyssa) Where should we start? (Ashlee) I’m going to start at this one. Sweet and sour. Classic. (Alyssa) Let’s do the firecracker. And this isn’t too spicy. (Ashlee) You guys. (Alyssa) Better than takeout! (Ashlee) Very. (Ashlee) I don’t think I’ve ever had a takeout that was this good. (Alyssa) It’s amazing. (Ashlee) Why bother with takeout? (Alyssa) This is why this is my favorite recipe on my site. (Ashlee) Oh, my word. This orange. It just blooms in my mouth. The citrus flavor. Okay! (Ashlee) I can see why you guys make one of these every week. Seriously, I think we’re going to have a new Tuesday night Asian night or something. (Alyssa) That’s what we do! (Ashlee) This is so good. I feel like my pompadour is falling. (Alyssa) As the day goes on. (Ashlee) My hair just starts falling. Big Hero 6, right? She’s like, “Melt Your Face Off Wings!” (Alyssa) Oh yeah. (Ashlee) That’s the recipe that I make. I like the melt your face off heat. (Alyssa) That is so funny.