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Kick Menu Boredom to the Curb with these Savory Entrees

savory entrees

Since this is a food blog, I’d like to talk about becoming more adventurous when it comes to meal preparation. Read on…

bored with foodI don’t know about you, but way too often, I get in a cooking rut and it’s hard to escape. It is far too easy to fall in the routine of preparing the same meals over and over again. While familiarity and habits can be good things, life is just too short to not explore options.

Let’s take entrees for example. When I was a kid, we regularly had fried chicken for Sunday dinner. It was always superb since Mom was a fabulous cook. Every now and again, if the budget allowed, she would switch it up and make pan-fried chopped round steak. Now that was truly a memorable treat (no wonder it was the meal I wanted for my birthday dinner, along with mashed potatoes and flavorful pan gravy). All of those Sunday dinners stuck with me as being very special, even though they were predictable. Repetition can be a good thing for that very reason. But I can’t tell you what we had for dinner any other day of the week!

That being said, I’m of the belief that variety is the spice of life when it comes to food. Thanks to the internet and cooking shows, we now have access to an array of recipes and ingredients that my mother could not have dreamed of! No doubt, if she were around today, she would have kicked some of those fried chicken dinners to the curb and given some rather unique recipes a go.

Savory to the Rescue!

What about you? Are you tired of making the same entrees over and over again? If so, I challenge you to give these recipes for savory entrees some consideration. They are loaded with so much lip-smacking taste, your family will thank you! Some of them are inspired by cuisines from the Far East, a trend that has been mainstream for years. These savory entrees will knock your taste buds out, thanks in part to the rich umami taste provided in part by a combination of seasonings.

Hope you enjoy all of these recipes that offer more savory goodness! (and yes, when you see MSG in the recipe it means More Savory Goodness!)

"Kentucky Fried” Pork Chops

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick top loin pork chops
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. unseasoned meat tenderizer
  • 1/2 tsp. MSG
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. “copycat” seasoning see recipe below
  • Deep frying oil

Instructions

  1. In a flat baking dish, mix together the water, meat tenderizer and MSG.
  2. Add pork chops to this mixture, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, turning meat as needed; marinate 36 hours for the most tender, flavorful pork chops.
  3. Place the flour and the copycat seasoning in a quart-size plastic food storage bag; seal the bag and shake mixture well until thoroughly combined.
  4. Fill a large bowl with very warm water; remove pork chops from marinade and place in the water for a minute. Two at a time, add the chops to the seasoned flour mixture (still in the plastic bag) and shake to coat the chops evenly. Repeat with other chops; allow chops to rest and absorb the breading for a few minutes before frying.
  5. Fry the chops on the stovetop in oil, using a heavy frypan. Cook until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. If desired, use a deep-fryer, following manufacturer’s instructions. Note: Cook pork to an internal temperature of 145°F.
  6. Drain cooked chops on paper towels before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, bionicgrrrl

“Copycat” Seasoning

Course Seasoning
Cuisine American
Servings 5 tablespoons

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. MSG

Instructions

  1. Stir together seasonings. Use as indicated by a specific recipe. 
  2. Store leftover seasoning mix in a sealed plastic bag.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Food-hacks.wonderhowto.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, Jeremy Keith

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. large shrimp raw, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup walnuts can use more if desired
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. MSG
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Rinse the walnuts, then boil in water, changing water several times until water is clear; once clear, add 1 cup sugar and boil until sugar dissolves. Drain walnuts well.
  2. Heat 2 cups oil in heavy duty frypan until almost smoking, lower to medium heat and deep fry walnuts until they're shiny brown (no longer golden). Place walnuts on cookie sheet to let cool. Do not discard the oil; it will be used for cooking the shrimp later.
  3. To make the shrimp coating, mix cornstarch and egg whites together in large bowl; it will form a thick, sticky texture. Do not overmix. If liquid becomes too watery, add more cornstarch. Add peeled, deveined shrimp and toss to coat the shrimp well. (Note: The coating will still be a bit runny and produces a tempura-type, crispy coating on the shrimp.)
  4. To prepare the sauce, stir together the honey, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, MSG and condensed milk. Set aside.
  5. Place the shrimp in the same oil/fry pan used to cook the walnuts; add more oil to make sure the shrimp are covered. Fry on medium-to-high heat until tempura-like batter cooks and gets crispy. Do not cover when cooking.
  6. Drain the fried shrimp on paper towels before stirring them into the honey-based sauce. Top the coated shrimp with cooked walnuts before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, jordanmit09

Chicken Katsu

Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese

Ingredients

  • 6-8 pieces boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. MSG
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 - 3 tsp. hot pepper sauce to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, garlic salt, pepper and MSG. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs well; set aside.
  3. Spread panko crumbs on large plate or flat dish; set aside.
  4. To prepare the chicken, first dredge the thighs in flour mixture to evenly coat. After coated, dip each thigh in the egg wash, then coat with panko bread crumbs, making sure all of the chicken is covered with crumbs.
  5. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large fry pan on medium heat. Carefully place coated chicken in heated oil, turn when panko turns a golden brown (about 5-7 minutes per side). Note: Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  6. After chicken is cooked, drain on paper towels and season with salt (if desired) before serving.
  7. For dipping sauce, mix together the ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Justapinch.com.

Photo credit: Flickr user, Alpha

Filipino Pancit

Pancit are noodles in Filipino cuisine.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 8 ounce package rice noodles
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup carrot sliced
  • 2 cups cabbage chopped
  • 1 cup onion sliced
  • 1/16 tsp. MSG
  • 1⁄8 cup + 3 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1⁄4 cup + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup green onion optional
  • Lemon slice optional

Instructions

  1. In a zip lock bag, marinade the cubed chicken with the teriyaki sauce and 2 cloves of minced garlic, preferably overnight.
  2. The next day, in a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15-30 minutes, drain completely.
  3. Remove chicken from the marinade; discard marinade.
  4. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium high heat; brown the chicken; drain well and set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat; sauté remaining 3 cloves of minced garlic and MSG for 30 seconds.
  6. Stir in carrots; cook for about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, onions, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce; stir until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Add the browned chicken to the vegetables and continue stir-frying; add noodles to the meat/veggie mixture along with 1/8 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  8. Stir and continue cooking until the noodles are tender and cooked thoroughly.
  9. Serve with the green onions and/or lemon juice from the lemon slices.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, ennero

Find more delicious, savory recipes in the MSGdish Savory Cuisine Corner.

 

About Kaye Taylor, MS

Kaye is an author and consulting nutritionist with more than 15 years’ experience representing clients in the food industry, providing strategic leadership and consulting on meal planning, recipe development, consumer-focused educational materials relating to food and nutrition, science-based communications, and media relations. Read more about her background on the About page.

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