Asian Chicken Lettuce Cup-Rice-Bowl

Asian Chicken Lettuce Cup-Rice-Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Asian Chicken Lettuce Cup-Rice-Bowl
If you have followed me, you know I really like Asian Fusion foods and crave them several times a week. My lovely, on the other hand, doesn’t share my enthusiasm. She likes it but doesn’t crave it like I do. I’ve made chicken lettuce wraps more times than I can count and I love them. The cool lettuce with the spicy salty ground chicken It’s such a simple, flavorful, quick and fairly healthy depending on what you put into it (or don’t). My suspicion with jill’s tepid interest in the lettuce cup lies in the lettuce as a vehicle. It’s messy, or at least mine is messy.

As I mentioned in my last post, Jill bought me Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook at her book fair. As with all my cookbooks, I go through every page and tag the ones I want to try. So I took her base sauce and added some extra veggies and will toy with making a rice lettuce bowl like you would get at Chipotle and add the chicken on it to see if I can move Jill’s needle or determine if the lettuce cup is the culprit of indifference.

Results: So I made this recipe this week and used Chrissy Teigen’s sauce recipes but added some additional vegetables and instead of serving it atop a lettuce cup, I just added it to a bowl for my wife. Flavor was good but I like my recipe a little better due to the peanut sauce but I loved the spicy notes. I didn’t like the bowl idea and would go back to the lettuce wrap. I also didn’t like the mushroom addition and I thought there was too much ginger. But I will be making lettuce wraps in future but using my recipe with a few tips from Chrissy’s book on the sauce.

Ingredients:
Sauce
3 Tbsp. GF Thai sweet chili sauce
3 Tbsp. GF hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp. light GF soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Sriracha
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1½ Tbsp. GF unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

Filling
1 lb. ground chicken
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens kept separate
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. of minced jalapeno
4 tbs of minced carrots
4 tbs of diced mushrooms
½ cup finely diced water chestnuts
3 tbs finely diced red bell pepper
Fresh Cilantro
Prepared Rice
Butter Leaf Lettuce (torn)

Directions:
1. Prepare the sauce by mincing everything and then mixing with the wet ingredients. Set aside 2 tbs for browning the ground chicken. img_1051

2. As with most stir-fry type dishes, they go really quickly so go ahead and cut up all your veggies and put them into three different bowls. (hard= carrots, bell pepper, ginger, medium jalapeno, white parts of scallions, mushroom and garlic, soft= cilantro, green onion parts). img_1049

3. Mix in 2 tsp of the sauce into the ground chicken. In a medium heated wok or skillet add some oil and your ground chicken and cook until brown. 5-6 minutes. and remove from the pan.

4. Now for the veggies. Add some oil back to the pan and start by adding the “hard” veggies first and stir and cook for about a minute. Then add your medium and stir for another minute. img_1052

5. Add the chicken back into the pan with the “hard” and “medium” veggies and pour in the rest of the sauce.

6. Right before plating add the cilantro and green onions.
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7. Remove from heat and give it one more stir. To plate the dish, I tore up the lettuce and put it on the bottom of the bowl and then layered on the rice and topped it with the chicken mixture.
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John’s Lemon Brick Chicken

John's Lemon Brick Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 2hr 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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John’s Lemon Brick Chicken
I have been on a diet, or better yet a fast, of “stars / famous people”. When you have an opinion that differs, they seem to immediately place a label on you and try to shame or bully you into their views. Most of these intolerant disconnects get millions for simply pretending to be another character on screen/stage. How can they relate to me and expect to know how I should live and think? I am soo tired of lectures, politics, social justice bullies. So when Jill bought me Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, I took it in with tepid interest.

That said, I was actually really surprised when I leafed through it and saw really great looking food. I’ve never seen her on a cooking show or anything so had no idea of her kitchen talents. It’s not a lecturing cookbook with a single focus on popular food trends ( paleo, whole30, GF, or Vegan) but instead features just great food she likes to make. It’s written in a very relaxed conversational style. I am trying two recipes this week.

So tonight I am going to try her John’s Lemon Brick Chicken and a play on her garlicky green beans. The chicken is very much like my 420 Chicken, chalk full of herbs, but with crispy skin and lemon.

Side note: Speaking of chicken skin, In my adulthood I was also told to not eat skin or fat but ran across a dietician, Dr. Marlene Merritt, who talks about how good fat is for us. When you think about the bone broth craze and you read really old cookbooks they are constantly adding fat/lard not only for flavor but for health. I guess everything in moderation. But her points have helped relax my stand on some intake of natural fats.

Result: Chicken was terrifically juicy with lemony herb notes. My chicken skin probably was over done and I should have kept my pan at medium. I turned it on to heat up the oil and left it on screaming high accidently. I pulled the temp down but should have waited for the pan to come down in heat. It didnt impact the chicken itself. I also should have roated the potatoes for about 15 minutes before adding the beans but I actually like my green beans well done.

Ingredients
2 Free Range Bone in, skin on chicken breasts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbs chopped fresh sage
4-5 minced and smashed garlic
Zest of a lemon
1 tbs of Kosher salt
1/2 tbs of Black Pepper
2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes


For Potatoes and Green Beans

Butter
Oil
Salt and Pepper
Squeeze of Lemon


Directions

1. At least 2 hrs before cooking (up to 24 hrs) mix your oil, minced garlic, rosemary, and sage into a bowl. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Rub that all over the chicken. Cover and let it rest for 2hrs.

2. I used a large cast iron skillet and instead of wrapping a brick in foil, I just used another smaller cast iron pan for the weight necessary to get the chicken skin nice and crispy. I also am going to finish mine in the oven to roast with my green beans and potatoes. 7-9 minutes on each side of medium to medium high heat. As she states, don’t peak let the heat do its thing. Flip it bone side down, skin side up and cook for another 7 minutes (no weight) and then into a 400-degree oven until done (mine took about 35mins).

3. As for the beans and potatoes. I preheated an oven to 400-degrees. I cut my potatoes into large bite size pieces. Then I cleaned and trimmed my green beans. I cooked them in a pot over the stove in boiling water flavored with salt, stock, and miso. I let em rip for about 10 minutes and then removed and drained them.

4. Then on a cooking sheet, I added my beans and potatoes and coated them in butter and garlic and squeezed lemon juice over them. Tossed around until coated and then into the oven until tender.
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Chicken Curry Garden Stew

Chicken Curry Garden Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Curry Garden Stew
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Indian food flavors are some of the most advanced and interesting in the world. A touch of curry can transform a chicken salad or even a deviled egg. Today is one of those chilly and dank days that is worthy of a hearty stew. Instead of a vegetable rich chicken soup, I am going to add some curry, soy, and coconut milk to make something a little different than the standard chicken stock or tomato based soup.

Ingredients:
Add the veggies and amounts that you have on hand or that you suits your palate
2 air chilled free range chicken breasts
1 onion diced
4 diced celery stocks
4 diced carrots
cherry tomatoes
broccoli
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbs of red curry paste
1 tbs of turmeric
1 cup chicken stock
1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
1 tsp Fish Sauce
Cayenne pepper
Turmeric
Dry Curry
Kosher Salt to taste
olive oil

Directions:
1. In a large pot add your carrots, onion, and celery to some oil and the curry paste and heat to medium to have them sweat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Cube your chicken and add it to the pot to cook through and then add the rest of the vegetables. Stir for about 5 minutes to soften the broccoli up.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk and season with the rest of the ingredients. About 5 minutes before serving, tear the basil and add it to the stew. Enjoy.
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Happy 2017! (18 days late)

My last post was June 2016. Frankly, I just didn’t feel like posting much this past summer and fall. While I don’t write much on my posts I find it more laborious than rewarding. Even my photography was getting stale, and I love photos.

I have been cooking a bit and certainly busted out a killer Thanksgiving spread but was spared from cooking during Christmas. I seem to always want to make more and more stuff and it gets out of hand. The feedback from those feasts is worth the labor and planning.

There is a great series on NetFlix called “Cooked”. Author Mike Pollan explores various aspect of cooking from the themes Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. He gives a sort of history of various cultures and how the invention of fire, pots, fermentation, bacteria, stews and air changed food forever. It was pretty inspirational to think about how far our foods have deviated from their basic forms. Shortcuts come at the expense of nourishment. The idea is to consume as few ingredients as possible. For example, last night I made a simple marinara using only tomatoes, garlic, basil, and onion. Look on the label of a store-bought jar of sauce and it has 30 ingredients.

This year I am going to try to stick to the butcher, produce, and dairy sections of the grocery store and spend a little more time with the fewest amount of ingredients as possible.

Thai Noodle and Beef Salad

Thai Noodle and Beef Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Thai Noodle and Beef Salad
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We often frequent our local Houston’s on Sunday evenings and enjoy sitting at the bar enjoying a drink and dinner. They have this Thai Noodle Salad that is really good. It has a lot of veggies with a pop of mango. What really pushes this salad over the top is the beef. It’s high quality, super lean and tender. The other night she encouraged me to try her beef and it was so good that it encouraged me to try to make it on my own. I poked around looking for Thai Noodle Salads and found one I like that served as my base and then made adjustments.

It turned out really delicious. The zing from the dressing along with the sweet mango and savory meat makes for a really harmonious meal. I used udon noodles so this would satisfy as gluten free as long as your soy sauce is also GF. If you are looking to try something fresh, colorful, healthy and delicious give it a try.

adapted from Savorybites
Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Dressing
3 tbs fresh lime juice
3 tbs of soy sauce
3 tbs Sriracha
1 tbs fish sauce
Dash of sesame oil
1 tbs of grapeseed oil
1 large clove minced garlic
1 tbs light brown sugar

Marinade for the Beef
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs Sriracha
Dash of sesame oil
1 tbs of grapeseed oil
1 large clove minced garlic
3 tbs of minced ginger
1 tbs light brown sugar

Salad Ingredients:
10 oz of beef filet Mignon
Udon egg noodles for two (30%-40% of package)
1 large handful of spinach
Handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of finely diced red onion
1 large handful shredded red cabbage
1 large handful of cilantro
1 small julienned carrot
1 diced mango
A handful of pistachos

Directions:
1. Mix your dressing and marinade ingredients separately. Dice your beef into large bite sized pieces and add your marinade to a zip lock baggy and let it rest for 6-12hours. Place your dressing in the refrigerator.

2. Cut all you salad ingredients accordingly and set them aside. (don’t dress it yet)

3. Cook your noodles according to the package. These cook quickly (4mins) and you don’t want soggy noodles. Pull them immediately and rinse with cold water until the noodles are cool. Set them aside.

4. Lastly the steak. In a Medium-Medium High heated cast iron skillet you want to take your beef from the marinade and shake it and remove any of the ginger and garlic. This is a nice piece of meat so don’t over cook it. The goal is to sear it for a nice crust. I had to remove some of the liquid once in the process because if the pan is wet it wont get that sear you will want.

5. Assembly. So now you have your cooked noodles, cut veggies and seared steak. In a large bowl slowly spoon your dressing into the veggie mix. Stir or toss your dressed veggies and then add your noodles. Stir/Toss until coated. Taste and add dressing until you get it right(not over dressed or soggy). Plate your dressed veggies/mango and noodles. Place the steak on top of the salad and garnish with pistachios or peanuts.
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Knock off Chuys Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sauce

Chuy's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chuy’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas
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We take our TexMex or Texican food pretty seriously. When I first started going to the funky little joint, they had a Wednesday special they called “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which is a pulled chicken burrito covered in a spicy queso sauce served with rice and beans. I used to make sure that when I traveled to Austin, TX I did so around Wednesday’s because I loved it so much.

Chuy’s has expanded and also put the popular dish permanently on their menu so you can always get it. It is spicy and some have commented on some of my recipes that they were too spicy. This is a recipe you will need to alter if you are heat sensitive.

Ingredients
10 corn or flour tortillas
1 1/4 lbs cooked chicken (poached in stock)
Chicken Stock

Boom Boom Sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup beer
1/2 oz lime juice
3/4 lb roasted poblano’s
4-6 roasted tomatillos
1 1/2 ounces cilantro
4 bunches of green onion
3/4 oz serrano pepper
1 1/4 lbs American cheese

Directions
Prep: Cut and clean your tomatillos, poblano’s, onion, serano pepper.

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your onion, peppers and tomatillos on a sheet pan and blister them.
2. You can either buy a roasted chicken or take your chicken and poach it in a pot on medium heat in chicken stock. Almost covering it completely. When done, shred chicken.
3. Add all your peppers (seeds removed), tomatillos and onions into a blender with the liquids. Give it a spin until smooth.
4. Now pour that mixture into a pot and heat it up on medium low heat until simmering slowly. Remove from heat and slowly add your cheese while continuing to stir to blend it. Don’t let it seize up on you. IMG_0974
5. I took my tortilla and stuffed it with chicken and then rolled it and hit it on the stove to mark it. Then I covered in the boom boom sauce. IMG_0976
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Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus

Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 60mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus
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Apologies for the infrequent posts lately, but I have been traveling a lot so haven’t been able to cook much. The other night I was in the mood for some good Middle Eastern food. We have a place locally that makes this crave worthy shish tawook where the chicken is perfectly moist and full of flavor with little burnt parts from the flames.

I decided to roast mine in the oven versus over the flames on skewers. Roasting does allow you to keep it nice and moist because it simmers in the juices imparting more and more flavor as it cooks. Another note is I used chicken breast because my lovely wife hasn’t come around on the greatness of chicken thigh meet. When I make dishes where she can’t tell I will slide a few thighs in there.

I’ve made hummus several ways… garlic, roasted pepper, jalapeno etc..but I spotted a recipe from a local joint called the Cosmic Cafe that used cucumber and cilantro which sounded good due to the freshness they would add. It was different and a good compliment to the tangy and spicy schwarma. I used store bought Naan bread and also a box of Rice a Roni. The rice and pasta combo just works. Don’t use the package seasoning in those boxes but instead make your own mix with high quality spices.

Ingredients:
Chicken Schwarma
2 free range air chilled chicken breasts
1 white onion sliced
stems of cilantro (leftover from hummus)
4 cloves of smashed garlic
2-3 lemons juices
squirt of Sriracha
1/2 cup of olive oil
splash of pickle juice
1 tbs of paprika
1 tbs of turmeric
2 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Cosmic Hummus
2 cans of Garbanzo Beans
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 pealed cucumber
handful of cilantro
2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tbs of paprika
Pinch of cumin
Kosher salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Prep: wash your cilantro, peel your cucumber, cut your onion, juice your lemon and smash your garlic. Score your chicken breast. Also for the cilantro rip off a handful for the hummus and put the rest in the marinade for the chicken.

1. Marinate your chicken. Add everything into a Zip-Lock bag and let it marinate over night or at least two hours. The lemon will help tenderize the chicken and the spices get an opportunity to be absorbed into the chicken.

2. Make your hummus but rinsing your garbanzo beans and pull out some of those shells you will find. Personal preference. Add the beans, cucumber, cilantro, garlic into a food processor and pulse. Slowly add your lemon juice and then your olive oil. I put 1/2 cup of olive oil in my ingredients but eyeball it and add as much as you like or until you get the hummus to the consistency you like (thick or thin). Add your spices and let it blend for 5 minutes more.

3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you like dryer chicken use a larger pan like a 9 x 13 or go with a smaller dish or pan if you want it more juicy. Add all the contents into the pan and roast the chicken for about 40 minutes. Check on it about thirty minutes into the roasting and turn it or move things around. I flipped mine because I was going to a “wetter” chicken. When your chicken is cooked, remove the cilantro and discard, Remove your chicken and slice it into the bite sized pieces and add it back into the pan and move it around to coat it in the sauce. Serve the chicken and onions with your sides…

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a guy with a skillet, cooking his heart out

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