Chicken and Asparagus Stir-Fry

2013-09-07 19.01.33Last weekend I saw some delicious-looking asparagus at the grocery store and decided to come up with a creative way to use them in a recipe. I have never been a huge fan of steamed asparagus because I think it makes it too squishy; I really love the natural crunch that asparagus has when it’s sautéed. So, since I always enjoy an occasional Asian night, I decided on a simple stir fry with chicken, asparagus and rice. The result was simple, colorful, and nutritious; it was a great week-night meal with more than enough leftovers to take to work and school the next day.

Chicken and Asparagus Stir-Fry

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2013-09-07 19.05.16In a small bowl or in a ziplock bag, combine soy sauce and honey. Add chicken, and stir to coat. Set in the refrigerator until ready.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, and saute until cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

Remove chicken from marinade, and add to skillet. Saute until nearly cooked through (with the insides still slightly pink), about 5 minutes. Then add garlic, scallions, and the reserved marinade to the pan. Saute for an additional 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Serve immediately over white or brown rice.

Namas-tasty!

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Curry Lime Chicken

DSC02040Occasionally, a craving for curry hits me. I am a huge fan of spicy food, and Indian curry typically hits the spot. This recipe, as with most of my good finds, comes from Pinterest, and was a huge hit. The flavors from the marinated chicken are phenomenal, with a bit of spicy kick from the curry but also a sour kick from the lime. Another great aspect is the rice, which is rich and creamy and delicious. I found that just the smells in the kitchen while I was cooking inspired a feeling of calm and comfort, and, of course, excitement to dig in!

Curry Lime Chicken

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (the original recipe calls for coconut milk; because of the super high fat and calorie content I switched to soy, which has a very similar texture and flavor but is much healthier)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh limes, cut into wedges
Rice:
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, salt, sugar, curry powder, milk, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

For the rice, bring the dry jasmine rice, milk, water and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-16 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated. remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.

2013-09-18 18.59.25-1Preheat a grill (as always, I used a Griddler) to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (actual time will depend on the thickness of the chicken). While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade into a small or medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the grilled chicken on a serving platter or plate. Drizzle with sauce (reserve the remaining sauce to serve separately) and sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top. Serve with lime wedges and additional sauce.

Namas-tasty!

Creamy Cilantro Shredded Chicken Tacos

Last weekend was one of the craziest and most stressful in a while. As a part-time gig (as well as part-time obsession) I work for Major League Baseball, and after working a game at Wrigley on Friday night I volunteered to drive down to Milwaukee to work the next night. I am always up for seeing new ballparks, of course, and was excited about the opportunity. The only problem was, I had no idea the kind of time commitment I was making; I also ended up getting roped into working another game on Sunday. Long story short, I worked three baseball games in three nights, and drove a total of seven hours to do so. This left practically no time for homework, working out, or hanging out with friends, making me feel pretty guilty and horrible.
 
I am a firm believer in the power of food to bring people together; I feel that there is no better time for a family to connect, a couple to reestablish their romantic bond, or a pair of friends to catch up than over a meal of some sort. This is probably one of the reasons why I get so much satisfaction out of cooking, because I know that I am, in some way, bringing people together with my food. In all of the craziness of last weekend I decided that I somehow had to figure out a time for my friends and I to get together for a meal (that “how” turned out to be at the expense of this week’s homework).
 
2013-09-22 14.10.40-1So, this was our Sunday lunch. I prepared some easy and delicious shredded chicken tacos in a spicy cream sauce, which we enjoyed over a couple of beers along with the view from my balcony. The weather could not have been more beautiful; it was just what we needed to reconnect and decompress, and it made me glad that I had made the decision to set everything else aside for a little while. How lucky am I to have found some people in my life worth cooking through crazy for!
 
Creamy Cilantro Shredded Chicken Tacos
Adapted from Taste and Tell Blog

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 (4 oz) can Old El Paso diced green chiles
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 box (4.6 oz) Old El Paso® taco shells (12 shells), heated as directed on box
  • Lettuce, avocado, salsa and additional cilantro, for serving

Prepare the chicken to your preference. I grilled it on my Cuisinart Griddler and then shredded the chicken with two forks. If you prefer, cut it into bite-size pieces and sauté it in a pan with some olive oil.

DSC02046In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, constantly whisking to avoid lumps. Cook until it starts to thicken, a minute or two. Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted and combined. Stir in the green chiles. Add the chicken back in and stir to coat.

Fill the taco shells with the chicken mixture and top with shredded lettuce, salsa, diced avocado and additional cilantro.

Namas-tasty!

Caprese Chicken

One thing that you should probably note about myself and my cooking is that I’m not huge into red meat. Actually, I would stay away from it entirely if it weren’t for a certain gentleman in my life who does, from time to time, need some cow in his life. But I am definitely more of a chicken girl. For some odd reason, I simply find piece of mind in the idea that boneless, skinless chicken breasts have much less fat than, for instance, a steak. That being said, there are actually cuts of beef and pork that are just as lean as chicken, and sometimes even more so. In fact, tons of research has been done about the pros and cons of eating red meat that it seems like nobody can really come up with a clean cut answer about whether or not you should include red meat in your diet. But despite all the reading I have done on the subject, I still like to tell myself that chicken is better.

DSC02020Also, I just love the ease of cooking with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I usually buy frozen ones wholesale from Costco, then whenever I need them in a recipe I just pop a couple in the fridge for the day to let them defrost. Then I throw them on the Griddler for a few minutes on each side and zip, bam boom! They’re good to go. I find this to be much more cost-effective than buying fresh meat every week at the store.

So, here you go, another chicken recipe. This one both Nick and I enjoyed because it was relatively easy to prepare, but the ingredients were so fresh and vibrant that they added a different twist on just a simple grilled chicken dish. Plus, we just got back from Italy, and loved digging up memories of all the delicious tomatoes and fresh mozzarella we enjoyed (literally all you have to do is stick me in a room with a mountain of Caprese salad and I will die happy).

Caprese Chicken

Adapted from The Novice Chef Blog

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella (I always recommend using fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, which is made and used in Italy and the flavor and texture is to-die-for; but it is so expensive in American grocery stores that I only use it in recipes as a rare treat)
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste

DSC02021Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and cook them according to your preference. As I said, I prefer using a Griddler. You could also sauté them in a pan with some olive oil over medium-high heat, or on a an actual grill. Whichever method you choose, cook the chicken until browned and cooked thoroughly, or has reached an internal temp of 165°F.

While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until soft and skin starts to wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.

Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top each chicken breast with shredded mozzarella (if using fresh, cover with two thin slices). Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Lastly, drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

Namas-tasty!

Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

The other day I ran across some fabulous-looking fresh pineapples at Trader Joe’s. Of course I knew I had to figure out a recipe to utilize those bad boys! I decided on a grilled burger because the pre-fall weather has been so nice lately, and I figured we could enjoy them on our balcony.

Pineapple

In the end, we didn’t actually grill the burgers outside, nor did we eat them on the balcony (there was a baseball game on ESPN, these are my priorities). But they turned out absolutely delish! Even though it can be sticky, I love using ground chicken for burgers  because it cooks great, always super moist, and is a healthier alternative to beef. The grilled pineapple added the perfect juicy tang along with the spiciness of the paprika and chili powder.

Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

(adapted from Home is Where the Holmans Are)

  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 pineapple, cut into rings or slices
  • 6 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Griddler

Combine the ground chicken, soy sauce, 1/2 the paprika, 1/2 the chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Lightly mix with your hands and divide into 6 even balls. The mixture will be very moist, so you might want to rub a little bit of olive oil on your hands before working with it. Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle and sprinkle with remaining paprika and chili powder. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

DSC01983

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Again, I used my Cuisinart Griddler for this recipe and, as always, it worked just great! Before putting the burgers on, spray the plates lightly with cooking spray. Grill burgers over medium heat about 6 minutes per side. The burgers should flip easily when they are ready to turn, if they want to stick, give them another minute. Top with cheese for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time to melt. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest. Put the buns on the grill while the burgers are resting.

For the pineapple, grill over medium/high heat and carefully turn after 3 minutes.  Assemble burgers and enjoy! I served them with some Salt and Pepper Ridge-Cut Potato Chips from Trader Joe’s, and, of course, Pumpkin Cider. The leftovers were great the next day with some chips and fresh salsa to add some more spicy kick.

DSC01990

Namas-tasty!