Tag Archives: entree

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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Create-Your-Own Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry 3

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Little J.

JGS0917162

For a class assignment, Little J had to make a Family Favorite Recipe all on her own. This included planning, shopping, cooking and clean-up. This is my very favorite type of homework assignment! She chose to make a chicken stir-fry. Definitely one of her favorite meals.

My favorite thing about stir-fries is how adaptable they are to whatever you can find in your freezer and produce drawer. Little J chose to use chicken, fresh green beans, celery, carrots and onion in her stir-fry.

The recipe below is for a basic stir-fry that you can customize to your family’s taste. I also included Little J’s customization.

JGS0917161

I look forward to more amazing creations from this amazing daughter!

RECIPE:

Create-Your-Own Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry 3

1-2 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts OR thinly sliced beef (flank steak, skirt steak, or leftover roast beef) OR thinly sliced pork tenderloin

3-4 cups chopped fresh vegetables (onions, broccoli, green beans, carrots, celery, mushrooms, pea pods, asparagus, cabbage, red or green peppers, green onion—whatever is in the fridge!)

2-3 Tbs oil

Sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp sesame oil

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir until cornstarch and honey are completely dissolved. Place sliced meat in a Ziploc bag and add ¼ cup of the sauce to the bag with the meat. Close bag and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté vegetables over high heat until crisp- tender. Work in small batches, removing vegetables from the pan when they are cooked (add additional oil if needed). Place cooked vegetables in serving dish.

Add 1 Tbs oil to pan; heat until hot. Add meat to pan and cook over high heat until meat is cooked through (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and add sauce to pan. Cook until sauce thickens (2-3 mins). Stir in cooked vegetables. Cook 1 minute to heat through.

Serve over rice.

Little J’s Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken Stir Fry 3

4 boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh French green beans, cut into 1-2” pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
2-3 Tbs olive oil
Hot cooked rice

Sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs honey (or golden low-carb sweetener)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp sesame oil

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir until cornstarch and honey are completely dissolved. Place sliced chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and add ¼ cup of the sauce to the bag with the chicken. Close bag and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté vegetables over high heat until crisp- tender. Work in small batches, removing vegetables from the pan when they are cooked (add additional oil if needed). Place cooked vegetables in serving dish.

Add 1 Tbs oil to pan; heat until hot. Add chicken to pan and cook over high heat until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and add sauce to pan. Cook until sauce thickens (2-3 mins). Stir in cooked vegetables. Cook 1 minute to heat through.

Serve over rice.

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

It might not be traditional American Labor Day BBQ food, but it is a favorite around here. If there is soy sauce involved, my kids will always eat it. Add some peanut butter, and Little J is in heaven!

I like to serve this with either grilled zucchini or asparagus. Set aside a little bit of the marinade before you add it to the pork and use it to marinate your vegetables for about half an hour before grilling.

Pork tenderloins almost always come two in a package at the store. Our family at home keeps shrinking, so now I usually divide the marinade in half and freeze one tenderloin in the marinade to cook another day. This also makes a good freezer meal to prepare ahead of time and have on hand for busy days.

RECIPE:

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

2 (1-2 lb each) unseasoned pork tenderloins (usually sold 2 per package)
Optional: vegetables to grill: zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus
Hot cooked rice

Marinade:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil or peanut oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili paste
1 tsp lemon pepper

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili paste
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter

Place pork tenderloins in a Ziploc bag. (**See note below if planning to freeze one or both)

Combine Marinade ingredients. If you will be grilling vegetables as well, set aside ¼ cup of the marinade. Add remaining marinade to the bag with the pork tenderloins. Place the meat in the refrigerator and marinate for 4-6 hours (up to several days). Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Slice squash lengthwise (or trim asparagus ends) and place in a Ziploc bag with reserved marinade for about 30 minutes.

In a Pyrex measuring cup, combine all of the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients except for the peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick or too strong. Heat for an additional 30 seconds, just before serving.

Prepare and oil grill. If you are using a gas grill, leave one burner of the grill unlit so that you can cook the tenderloin with indirect heat (so it doesn’t burn).  Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place on the unlit side of the grill. Close grill cover. Grill the tenderloin for about 5 minutes per side (4 sides) until the internal temperature registers 145-150°F in the center. Remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

While meat rests, grill the marinated vegetables over direct heat for about 3 minutes per side.

Slice pork diagonally into ½ – 1” slices. Serve the pork and grilled vegetables with peanut sauce and hot steamed rice.

**FREEZER NOTE: If you do not plan to eat both tenderloins (or just want to prepare a freezer meal ahead of time), place tenderloins in separate freezer bags and add half of the marinade to each bag and place in the freezer until ready to cook. The peanut sauce can also be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. Do not freeze raw vegetables.

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Grilled Beef Kabobs

Beef Shish Kabobs 2

Summer may be ending for school kids, but it is still perfect grilling weather and fresh corn and zucchini are still plentiful at the farmers’ markets.

You can alternate the beef and vegetables on the same skewer, or separate them into meat skewers and vegetable skewers. I usually grill them separately so that I can better control the rareness of the beef (we like it medium) and how cooked the vegetables are.

I made these with fresh corn, mushrooms and zucchini, but you can use any combination of fresh vegetables that you like (including peppers, yellow squash, onions, cherry tomatoes). I especially like these with fresh rosemary in the marinade. It pairs really well with the beef, but you can also use other herbs like thyme or oregano.

RECIPE:

Grilled Beef Kabobs

Beef Shish Kabobs 2

Marinade:
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh (2 Tbs) or dried herbs (2 tsp): Rosemary, thyme and/or oregano
Kabobs:
2 lb top round or sirloin beef steak, cut into cubes
Vegetables: Choose a combination of: fresh corn (cut into 1” rounds), onions, peppers, whole mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes
Hot steamed rice

Combine marinade ingredients. Place the beef cubes and half of marinade in a Ziploc bag or lidded container and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours (or up to 3 days). Set remaining marinade aside to marinate vegetables later. Add vegetables to reserved marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours (don’t over marinate the vegetables).

Place meat and vegetables on skewers, discarding meat marinade and saving vegetable marinade. Grill skewers until cooked to desired temperature.

Heat vegetable marinade to boiling. Set aside. Serve over rice with heated marinade.

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Chinese Chicken & Eggplant in Garlic Chili Sauce

Chicken & Eggplant

One of our favorite dishes at a Pittsburgh Chinese restaurant is their Chicken and Eggplant. Here in Baltimore, we haven’t yet found a restaurant that serves quite the same dish. But we do have a fabulous Asian grocery store not too far away, so I went about recreating it at home.

When using eggplant in a stir fry, be sure to use a small variety of eggplant.

Nasu

Chinese/Japanese Eggplant (Nasu)

Sicilian striped eggplant

Sicilian Striped Eggplant

The skin on the larger eggplants is often too thick to chew in a quick stir fry. The texture of the eggplant in this dish will also be a lot better if you can cut the eggplant so that each slice has skin on one side. If all you can find are the large eggplants, you can use it, but you should peel it first.

Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil when it is cooked, so to keep this dish from being too oily, sear the eggplant with just a small amount of oil in a very hot pan until it just begins to char. Then remove it from the pan while you cook the remaining ingredients.

The sauce is a little spicier than a normal teriyaki sauce, but you can tone down the spice if you don’t like it quite soo hot. One special ingredient that I also bought from the Asian market is this Spicy Bean Sauce, which has a garlic chili base:

Spicy Bean Sauce

RECIPE:

Chinese Chicken & Eggplant in Garlic Chili Sauce

Chicken & Eggplant

Sauce:
2 Tbs spicy bean sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine or cooking sherry
2 Tbs garlic chili sauce or 2 tsp chili paste
1 Tbs sugar (or low-carb sweetener)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns

Other ingredients:
4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs oil, divided
3-4 small Asian eggplants (or other small variety eggplant), cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
(use 6 cloves of garlic if using chili paste instead of garlic chili sauce)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
Hot cooked rice

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. In a Ziploc bag or small bowl, combine chicken, 1 Tbs oil, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 Tbs oil until very hot. Add eggplant to hot skillet and stir  over high heat until eggplant begins to char, about 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pan; cook in two batches, if necessary. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside. Add additional 1 Tbs oil to pan. Add chicken to pan and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add green onions and cooked eggplant slices. Stir in sauce and heat through. Serve over rice.

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