Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos..#recipesfromtheheart

Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita's Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen's Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honor of Momzie, Kim's Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.

Like Kim, I too lost a parent, my father, to heart disease when I was 15. I like to think that with advances in medicine, he would have had a much better chance of surviving today. Recently, I was told that I had really high cholesterol levels. I realized then, that no matter what kind of advances there have been in medicine, the best chance for avoiding heart disease was going to have to come from myself. So, when Kim asked if I would be interested in being part of her effort to raise awareness for heart disease I did not hesitate to say yes.

I've been modifying my eating habits for several weeks now, but it took awhile for me to really get serious about it. In fact, it was last October that I told my doctor I was intent on dropping some pounds and getting my cholesterol back down to normal levels....of course I had to get through the holidays first. The Cooking Light magazine that I picked up right after my doctor's appointment sat on my nightstand gathering dust. Until now. Holy cow, there are some great recipes in there! I chose my favorite one to share with you today, but I did make some minor changes.

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos (slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine)


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons lightly salted dry roasted peanut, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (or chile paste)
1 large garlic clove, minced
8 (6") corn tortillas
2-3 green onions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Place the chicken in a large zip-lock plastic bag. Add one tablespoon soy sauce and 1/4 cup corn starch; shake the bag well to coat the chicken. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, swirling to coat. Add the chicken and saute for 6 minutes, or until done. About 2 minutes before the chicken is done, add the peanuts and the celery to the pan.

While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the remaining soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, honey, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, and garlic. Add to the pan, stirring to coat the chicken and cook for an additional minute.

Heat the tortillas under a broiler, turning after about two minutes, until the tortillas are lightly blistered. Place two tortillas on each of 4 plates; divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas. Top with the green onions and the bell peppers.

To be honest, I've never made Chinese food before...I didn't know what I was missing.

The hubby gave these a thumbs up!

I saved enough to make one taco for lunch the next day....

Joost Stapelbroek  (The Dutch Baker) 1917-1974

Three brothers--all died very young, from heart disease. 

Please visit these other fabulous bloggers for more stories and heart healthy recipes:


  1. Oh my! I love this recipe. I'd like try it now. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Looks delicious! Going on the menu for next week.

  3. Cathy thanks so much for joining us today. It's an honour and privilege to have you. I am so sorry you lost your dad. It's tough losing a parent when you're young. I love the photo of him.

    It means the world to me that you hopped on board today. Big hug and big thank you. xx

  4. Cath...I'm so touched by your post and I wish you luck in your journey. I need to jump firmly on the bandwagon myself, which means I get to eat food like this!

    Thank you SO much for sharing.

  5. That's kind of sad but I know she can go through because she have good people around here. This food is a great way to share the story.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. What a fantastic recipe - I am so glad you shared it. And those pictures of your Dad! Especially the one with his brothers - priceless.

  7. This looks delicious! I love Cooking Light Magazine and their cookbooks. When I use them I get good feedback from my family and they have no idea that it is lighter fare. I lost my Dad when I was seventeen, there is no good time to lose a parent, but there are definitely worse times! Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. I'm so sorry you lost your dear father at such a young age...but his baker spirit obviously lives on in you! These tacos look fantastic...you'd never guess they were healthy or light...just delicious!

  9. How proud your father would be of you that you named your blog after him! I'm so sorry for your loss, and I think it is wonderful that you're taking your health into your own hands by eating healthier rather than expecting medicine to take care of you. Good for you!

    And the tacos look wonderful, truly. I ditto what Liz said--no one would guess that they are healthy and light. It's a bonus that they are, of course, but flavor is goes a long way, and just reading your ingredient list made me so ready to eat! :)

  10. So sorry for your loss!
    These tacos looks amazing though! I remember seeing them in Cooking Light, and wanting to try them.

  11. Eating these tacos will surely help her ease some pain she feels right now.

  12. Cathy,
    What a touching and wonderful post. And great recipe, too--I just made Mu Shu Chicken Burritos and I love the idea of Kung Pao Chicken tacos!

  13. Sorry you lost your dad and uncles because of heart disease. Take care of yourself and get serious about lowering your cholesterol. Start today and get as healthy as possible.
    Very colorful and delicious looking tacos too.

  14. I love, love, love this recipe and have made it before. What a great recipe to share. You can have low fat and full on flavor!!

    So sorry that you too lost a parent at a very young age. My husband lost his father at 10 and it must be so incredibly hard. Thanks for sharing your story!!

  15. I wish you good luck with improving your health. Your tacos sound terrific.

  16. What a great idea for a blog post! Love the recipe too!

  17. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your loss... losing a parent is never easy, but it's so much harder when it's so young. I'm sure he'd be very proud of your determination to take care of yourself!
    I have a huge soft spot for Chinese take-out, but I've really cut back in the past year because it's so full of salt and fat. So you can imagine how excited this recipe makes me, especially because it combines my beloved take-out with tacos, which are my other weakness. Can't wait to try this out.

  18. I'm so sorry about the loss of your dad but so happy that you are working to control your own health.

    As for the tacos, they look amazing. Cooking Light is a great magazine for tasty good for your recipes!