Tag Archives: entree

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Always a family favorite, this stir-fry comes together quickly for a last minute dinner.

Because the dried peppers are left whole in this recipe, it is not spicy. If you like a little more heat, simply cut up the peppers on your plate and eat them along with the stir-fry.

Szechuan peppercorns and Chinese black vinegar can be found in Asian markets or online. The peppercorns usually come whole. You can use any pepper mill/grinder to crush them. You can also use a small coffee grinder to grind the peppercorns.

RECIPE:

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

3 chicken breasts, diced
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sherry
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns

2 Tbs oil
8-10 dried small red chilis (Arbols)
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
½ cup roasted peanuts
1 bunch green onions, sliced diagonally into 1 ½” pieces

Sauce:
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sherry
1 Tbs Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
1 ½ Tbs cornstarch (or scant 1/8 tsp xanthan gum)
1 Tbs sugar (or low-carb sweetener)
1 Tbs sesame oil

Combine chicken with 2 Tbs soy sauce, 1 Tbs sherry, ginger, garlic, and ground peppercorns. Marinate 1 hour.

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in large skillet or wok over high heat. Add whole dried chilis to hot oil and cook until they just begin to blacken. Remove chilis from oil and place in serving dish. Add vegetables to the hot oil in pan and cook over high heat until crisp-tender. Remove from pan and place in serving dish. Add additional 1 Tbs oil to pan. Add chicken to pan and cook over high heat until chicken is cooked through. Reduce heat to medium, add sauce to pan, and cook until thickened (2-3 mins). Stir in peanuts, green onions, vegetables and chilis. Heat for 1 minute.

Serve over rice.

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Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken is an easy and delicious way to grill chicken. You can also broil it in the oven if summer storms roll in just as you are getting the grill ready.

I like to use boneless chicken thighs when I make this. They are moist and tender and less likely to dry out when grilled.

RECIPE:

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

6-8 boneless chicken thighs or 4 boneless chicken breasts

Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs sherry (or rice vinegar)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp fresh ground ginger
½ tsp cornstarch + 2 Tbs water

Combine all sauce ingredients, except for cornstarch/water mixture, in a Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute, or until sugar completely dissolves. Cool.

Place chicken in a Ziploc bag. Add about 1/3 cup of the sauce to the bag and let chicken marinate for 1 hour to overnight. Grill or broil chicken until cooked through.

Stir cornstarch/water mixture into remaining sauce and mix well. Heat in a small saucepan, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.

Brush cooked chicken with glaze and serve with rice.

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Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

After spending the month of February with temperatures in the 70s, we are having a brief cold snap. Perfect weather for a bowl of hot Thai Green Curry. Although around here, any temperature is good weather for a delicious curry.

Curry pastes vary widely in their spiciness. My favorite green curry paste is this variety from Maesri. It is, however, extremely spicy. As you are adding your curry paste to the broth, add in small amounts,  tasting before adding additional paste, until you reach your desired spice tolerance.

Green Curry Paste

RECIPE:

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

about 3 Tbs coconut oil, divided
3-4 Thai eggplant, cubed (or 1 medium zucchini, cubed)
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
3-4 Tbs green curry paste (divided)
1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup water (or Swanson Thai ginger broth)
1 tsp fish sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 red chilies, thinly sliced
1 package firm tofu, cubed
¼ cup Thai basil leaves, sliced
Lime wedges
Hot cooked rice

Heat 1 Tbs coconut oil in a large pot. Add eggplant to hot oil and cook for 3 minutes (eggplant will not be completely cooked). Remove eggplant from pan and set aside. If necessary, add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook mushrooms and asparagus for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Set aside in a separate bowl from the eggplant. Add 1 Tbs coconut oil and 1 Tbs curry paste to the pot. Cook until fragrant. Add chicken to pot and cook until outside is no longer pink, but chicken is not completely cooked.

Add coconut milk and water to the pot with the chicken and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in partially cooked eggplant, fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, red chilies and tofu. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken and eggplant are cooked through.  (If using zucchini, instead of eggplant, do not return to the curry until just before serving).

Add additional curry paste until desired level of spiciness is reached (add in small amounts and taste after each addition). Return asparagus and mushrooms to the curry. Add additional water if curry is too thick.

Stir in sliced basil leaves just before serving. Serve with lime wedges over hot rice, if desired.

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Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas 2

Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce. These are a definite kid pleaser, and so much better than the frozen variety.

These are also perfect for make-ahead dinners. Prepare the individual enchiladas and freeze on a baking sheet. Put the frozen enchiladas into a Ziploc bag and return to the freezer. Then pull out as many as you want to cook on a busy night and bake them frozen (no thawing needed).

Beef Enchiladas 1

RECIPE:

Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas 2

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 ½ Tbs homemade taco seasoning (recipe below)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt (omit if taco seasoning is very salty)
8 flour or 12 corn tortillas (heat or fry corn tortillas to soften)
3 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar Jack cheese (save 1 cup for top)
Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)
Toppings: Diced avocado, sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13” baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare Enchilada Sauce.

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet until cooked through. Stir in taco seasoning, garlic powder, salt and ½ cup of the prepared Enchilada Sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes over low heat.

Spread about ½ cup of Enchilada Sauce on bottom of baking dish. Place about 1/3 cup (for corn tortillas) – ½ cup (for flour tortillas) down the center of each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese. Wrap the tortilla around the filling and place seam-side down in the baking pan. Pour remaining Enchilada Sauce over filled enchiladas.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Top with additional 1 cup cheese and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.

**TO FREEZE: Prepare filled enchiladas, but do not top with sauce. Place enchiladas, not touching, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then place in Ziploc bags. Freeze sauce separately in a Ziploc bag. Enchiladas do not need to be thawed before cooking.

Enchilada Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs chili powder
1-1 ½ Tbs Homemade Taco Seasoning (recipe below), or use substitution below
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
½ Tbs brown sugar
½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir constantly until flour just begins to brown. Whisk in chili powder and taco seasoning. Whisk for 1 minute and then stir in tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Taco Seasoning Substitution: 1 Tbs chili powder, ¼ tsp each: ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 ½ cups chili powder
4 Tbs paprika (Spanish smoked or regular)
2 Tbs coarse kosher salt
2 Tbs black pepper
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs Ancho chili pepper
1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes
½ Tbs ground cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Use about 2 Tbs of seasoning per pound of meat. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Note: Adjust amount of crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to make milder or spicier

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Apricot Glazed Chicken

Apricot Chicken 1

You know those days when you run from one activity to another, and before you know it everyone is starving and you haven’t thought about dinner yet? Apricot Glazed Chicken is made for those days. This recipe is one of my favorite go-to last minute dinners. And it helps that it is always a hit with the kids.

The glaze is a simple mix of apricot jam, soy sauce and a few spices. Brown some chicken breasts or tenderloins in a skillet, pour on the glaze and cook for 5 minutes. Add a little rice and dinner is served!

A perfect meal for the dinner procrastinator!

I have also made this chicken with this homemade Peach Vanilla Jam or Mango Jalapeno Jam.

  Mango Jalapeno Jam 1 

Apricot Chicken 2

RECIPE:

Apricot Glazed Chicken

Apricot Chicken 1

2 Tbs olive oil
4 chicken breasts, or 1 lb chicken tenderloins
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
Hot cooked rice

Glaze:
½ cup apricot jam
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or ¼ tsp ground ginger)
½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp crushed red peppers
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken to skillet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until well browned.

Combine glaze ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and glaze thickens slightly.

Serve over hot steamed rice.

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Roasted Greek Chicken Salad

Greek Chicken 1

Looking for a lighter dinner that isn’t bland and boring?

This roasted Greek chicken with onions and peppers and homemade tzatziki is sure to please everyone in the family. You can eat it over a bed of lettuce or stuffed inside of pita bread.

I like to roast the chicken, peppers and onions in the oven to get nice crispy charred edges, but you could also cook them in a skillet.

Greek Chicken 3

Homemade pita bread and hummus is great served with this salad. Instructions can be found HERE.

Tzatziki is a garlic yogurt dip with grated cucumber and dill. It is a great topper for this salad.

Greek Chicken 2

RECIPE:

Roasted Greek Chicken Salad

Greek Chicken 1

Marinade:
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Greek seasoning (or 2 tsp oregano + 1 tsp thyme)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

4 boneless chicken breasts, diced
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
Feta cheese, crumbled
Tzatziki
Hummus
Pita bread, cut into wedges

Mix marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Add diced chicken to marinade in bag. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. Drain chicken in a colander; discard marinade.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken and sliced onion and red pepper on the baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables just begin to char. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end of cooking time, if needed.

To cook in a skillet: Sauté in large skillet for 5 minutes; drain any excess liquid. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Heat 1 Tbs oil in skillet. Add peppers and onions to skillet; cook until tender. Return chicken to skillet and heat through.

Serve over lettuce with feta cheese, tzatziki, hummus and pita bread wedges. Chicken can also be eaten inside of pitas with hummus, tzatziki and feta cheese.

Tzatziki
½ large seedless cucumber (or 2 mini cucumbers)
2 cups whole-fat plain Greek yogurt (Fage Total 4% brand is great)
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dill
Dash white pepper
Salt

Grate cucumber (unpeeled), sprinkle with salt and drain in a colander until most of the liquid leeches out. Pat dry with a paper towel. Combine yogurt and cucumber with remaining ingredients. Add additional salt (about ¼-½ tsp) to taste. Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors.

Pita Bread
2 ½ tsp instant yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Additional flour for kneading, if necessary

If you have a baking stone, place it (ungreased) in the oven while preheating (if you are using a regular baking sheet, place in oven only 1 min before adding bread). Preheat oven to 475°F for at least 15-20 minutes.

Combine all  ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well and then knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour if needed until dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 small balls. Leave in covered bowl. Roll 1 or 2 dough balls into circles about 6-inches across and ¼-inch thick. Place on hot baking stone, one or two at a time. Cook 2 minutes, or until dough puffs up. Turn over and cook about 1 minute longer. Remove from baking stone with a spatula. Place on a plate and flatten pita slightly with spatula (don’t completely flatten, or insides will stick together). Cover with a towel while other pitas are cooking.

Cut in half and fill to eat. Or cut  into wedges and serve with hummus and/or tzatziki for dipping.

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