Sticky Sesame Wings

I always know a recipe is good when Ron requests that I make it again as soon as we’re done eating… and I know it’s especially awesome when he requests I make it for his birthday dinner! This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is one of those awesome recipes. In my book Deb over at Smitten Kitchen can do no wrong… I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that she’s writing a new cookbook! This dish is so simple, pretty much foolproof, and perfect for a weeknight dinner, or birthday feast!

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Sticky Sesame Wings

Serves 4 (in theory……)

Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken wings (I used the small party wings from Whole Foods- in my opinion they are the perfect size)
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp honey (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of sriracha
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 scallion, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with baking foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or oil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and cayenne or sriracha. Add the wings, and mix until well covered with sauce. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet, and pour any sauce that remains in the bowl on top.

3. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning once.

4. When cooked through, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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Braised Chicken Tacos

I’m in a taco phase right now… Anything I can stuff into a tortilla, I want to devour. Lately I’ve made a multitude of breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and then these braised chicken tacos. If I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner I would… well, I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that, other than the fact that I want to make every recipe known to man, and that includes recipes that aren’t tacos… but seriously, tacos are the best. Maybe I’ve told you this story, but when I was a kid, my brother Jeremy was not a taco fan. Whereas I would be ecstatic when I heard it was taco night, he would moan and groan and complain about tacos being boring and not filling. He said they were the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches… which I guess he also found boring. Weirdo! Luckily he has now changed his tune, otherwise I might have to disown him.

Onto the tacos… these are so simple, spicy and flavorful. They are a perfect and quick weeknight meal, which as you know are my favorite! Served alongside some rice and beans, you’ll have a complete (and filling) meal that no one should consider boring.

Braised chicken tacos

Braised Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 large bone-on, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1 cup chicken broth

1 12-15 oz can tomato sauce (mine was 15 oz)

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Kosher salt, to taste

12 corn tortillas

For topping:

Cilantro

Scallions, thinly sliced

Radishes, thinly sliced

Avocado slices

Cojita cheese (optional)

Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and jalapenos are browned and have started to soften.  Add chicken broth, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add the chicken breast to the pot, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, so that the fat has a chance to render.

3. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and chili powders and stir to combine. Flip the chicken over, and place the lid on to cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, flip chicken over and cook another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken breast, and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot, and throw away the bone and skin. Season with salt to taste.

5. Heat up the tortillas- to heat mine, I place a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add as many tortillas as can fit (my 12-inch skillet can hold 3). When the first side is starting to brown and puff up, I flip and brown the other side.

6. To serve, top the warm tortillas with the braised chicken and sauce, cilantro, radish slices, scallions, avocado, cojita cheese (if using) and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside rice and beans.

Source: heatherchristo.com

Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Hello friends!! Long time no see! I’m sorry for my absence lately. Things have been so busy in my neck of the woods- my best friend got married this weekend, and me being the maid of honor I have been super busy with that! The wedding was beautiful and I was so excited to be a part of all the festivities.  In a couple of weeks I have another bachelorette party to attend as my brother is getting married in a couple of months… and the holidays are drawing closer and closer too! Luckily all this stuff is fun, but it’s been busy nonetheless. That is why I figured I’d bring you and nice and simple dinner tonight for those busy times in your own lives.

As you all know, I am a fan of easy dinners. These Tex-Mex “pizzas” fit that description to a tee! Toast some tortillas, top with deliciousness, and devour. If you buy a rotisserie chicken, this meal is even easier! I made this a few weeks ago on a super busy night, and had it for the next few days because it was so delicious. This is one of those meals that I wish I always had the ingredients on the ready because they are the perfect lazy person’s dinner.

Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Makes 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, divided

2 Tbsp lime juice, divided

Salt and pepper

1 (16-oz) can refried beans

1 tsp chili powder

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

8 tsp vegetable oil

2 cups shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken, or you can cook and shred a couple chicken breasts)

1 cup pepper jack, Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped (or sliced)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, add the sour cream, 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 Tbsp lime juice, and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a seperate bowl, stir together the refried beans, remaining lime juice, and chili powder.

2. Line  two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Brush each tortilla with vegetable oil- use about 1 tsp per each side of a tortilla. Lay on the baking sheets, and bake about 5 minutes until golden, flipping halfway through. Check frequently, as the tortillas can go from golden to brown fairly quickly.

3. When the tortillas are done, spread each with about 1/4 cup of the refried bean mixture. Leave about 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top the refried beans with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture per tortilla, then 1/4 cheese, and then 2 Tbsp jalapenos. Transfer to the oven, and bake about 6-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. Serve with sour cream mixture, cilantro and salsa if desired.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen: 30 Minute Suppers

Chicken Adobo

So I mentioned recently how much I prefer chicken breasts to chicken legs or thighs. Every once in a while though, I try to convince myself that I actually do like dark meat, because there’ll be an awesome sale on it that I just can’t resist, and it’s regular price is always sooooo much cheaper! A couple of months ago there was an awesome sale on thighs and legs, and I picked up a bunch. The price was just too good to resist. I used a few, but the remaining chicken went into my freezer where it has lingered for a while now. Since I am still on “Operation Clean Out the Fridge” I knew I needed to use up those thighs and legs… but what should I make? Chicken adobo popped into my mind. I made it probably over a year ago, and it was delicious, so I decided it was the perfect recipe to make. It’s one of only a few ways I’ve actually enjoyed eating chicken thighs…. and bonus, I had all the ingredients!! It’s amazing how only a few ingredients which are already staples in my pantry, can make such a flavorful and delicious meal. Soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, water, garlic, and pepper, and of course the chicken, are all you need.  I served my chicken over rice to take advantage of the delicious sauce! Yum!

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Abobo

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium soy sauce)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3 lbs chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and legs)

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet or crockpot over medium-high heat, and add all the ingredients except for the chicken. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken in a single layer, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, turning chicken halfway through.

2. Preheat the broiler, and place one of the racks 3-4 inches from the heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the chicken is done, place on the baking sheet, leaving the sauce in the skillet or Dutch oven. Broil the chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, place the skillet or Dutch oven with the sauce back on the stove over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil, and cook until the sauce is reduced to about a cup. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Source: All Day I Dream About Food

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

I swear this week has been one of the most tiring ever!  Do you ever have weeks like that? When you just feel like you are walking around in a perpetually foggy state? I think that I’m still recovering from this cold-type illness I had, and am stuck in a cycle of not being able to get completely better because I’m so tired, and vice versa. Good thing it’s the weekend, and especially good because I only have a week until vacation. Not having to set an alarm to wake up in the morning is one of the best feelings in the world! I have a few things to do this weekend to get ready for vacation- make a packing list, shop for a couple things I need for my trip (i.e. sunscreen!!!), and decide what I will be cooking/freezing for Ron while I’m away.  Burritos would actually be a great thing to make and freeze… but I am already planning on making taquitos and enchiladas, so maybe that would be too much Mexican food. Wait… who am I kidding?! One can never have too much Mexican food!

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Serves 3-6 (depending on hunger level)

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup onion, chopped

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tsp canola oil

3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 (10-inch) flour tortillas

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Cooking spray

Pico de gallo or salsa, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. Swirl to coat. Add the chicken mixture, and cook about 8 minutes, until chicken is cook through, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and garlic, cook until heated, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

3. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas, and top with cheese. Roll up burritos.

4. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray both sides of burritos with cooking spray. Cook burritos about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Cut in half, and depending on your appetite, eat a whole or half burrito! Serve with pico de gallo or salsa, and sour cream.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2012

Roast Chicken Diavolo

It’s pretty unbelievable to me, but I have less then 2 weeks until I go on vacation! It seems to me that the summer just started, and it’s already the end of July… incredible! Part of me says SLOW DOWN!!!!!  but of course I’m also looking forward to vacation. Just being able to relax for 2 weeks, away from work and all the daily stresses will be awesome. In these two weeks of crunch time one of my major goals is to use the food that I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer before I leave. Ron won’t be going with me, and since he doesn’t know how to cook (other than grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, eggs, chicken, and microwavable meals), I really want to make him some meals for the 2 weeks I’m away. I did this last year too- made and froze a bunch of meals, and just wrote the instructions on the outside of the containers so that he would have some good home-cooked meals, and not eat fast food for 2 weeks straight. It really worked out so well, and made me feel a little better about leaving. Also, since he didn’t eat every meal, it was wonderful to come back from vacation and have a few pre-made meals I could pop in the oven, and not have to worry about going grocery shopping immediately!

This is the first meal in Operation Clean Out the Fridge. I bought a whole chicken about a month ago when there was a great sale going on at the supermarket and kind of forgot about it. When I was perusing my Everyday Food Special Summer Issue this roast chicken recipe caught my eye. I love roast chicken- it’s economical and can be used for multiple meals. I especially love using the flat-roasted (or spatch-cooked) method as it doesn’t take quite as long for the chicken to cook, and it cooks more evenly. The first time I butterflied a whole chicken I was really intimidated, but it’s super-easy!! Nothing to be scared of at all! This roast chicken was great! I loved the herby, lemony, slightly spicy flavor to it, and I was really excited to use herbs from my garden. Wonderful!

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped

2 whole dried chiles de arbol, crumbled, or 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish

1 whole chicken (3.5-4 lbs), rinsed, patted dry, and butterflied (cut out backbone, turn chicken over and open, and press down firmly!)

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 large yellow onion, root end intact, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges

1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one rack in middle of oven, and the other in the upper third. Mix together the rosemary, oregano, chiles de arbol or red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (use more if you’re brave- the recipe actually called for 1 Tbsp).  Coat a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil, and place the chicken in the pan, skin side up. Spread the herb mixture under the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Place chicken in the oven, on the upper rack and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the bell peppers, onion, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil together on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper. After the chicken has roasted for 10 minutes, add the wine to the baking pan with the chicken. Also, put the baking sheet with the peppers and onions in the oven on the center rack. Roast for 20 minutes.

3. Remove both of the pans from the oven, and using tongs, transfer the peppers and onions to the baking dish with the chicken, arranging them around the edges of the chicken. Place back in oven (on middle rack), and roast for 20 minutes more, or until chicken is done (the thickest part of the thigh should be 165 degrees). Let rest for 10 minutes, and then carve. You can serve this warm, or at room temperature.

Source: Everyday Food (Special Summer Issue, 2011)

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

We’ve made it halfway through the week guys!! Aren’t you excited?! I know I am… but I’ll be even happier when tomorrow is over. The hardest days of my week are always Tuesday and Thursday, and I always feel such a sense of relief when Thursday is done with. If only there was a way to fast-forward through the work day… but alas, that has not been invented yet. I discovered something this week though that is making the work week infinitely better, and that is the amazing fact that you can watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” on Amazon instant watch… for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. Oh yes, this was one of my favorite childhood shows, and it is still extremely entertaining. We didn’t have cable until I was in middle school, so when we would visit my Grandparents, one of the things I looked forward to was watching Nickelodeon, and the show I most looked forward to (and always wished would be on) was “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” That and “Clarissa Explains It All” were my two top shows I loved as a kid… and incidentally, “Clarissa Explains It All” is available to watch as well. My life might just be complete now!!! Oh, and they have “Hey Dude”…. now if only they would add “The Secret World of Alex Mack”.

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

So now that you’ve waxed nostalgic over old Nickelodeon shows with me, it’s time for the recipe! When I saw this buffalo chicken Cobb salad over on Iowa Girl Eats it screamed for me to make it because as you know,  I love all things buffalo. This is a great way to add excitement to a salad, and an awesome variation on the classic Cobb salad. I love the addition of the buffalo deviled eggs, and they would be great on their own as well for an appetizer! This is also a boyfriend-approved salad, so like the classic Cobb salad, make this if you are trying to get more vegetables into your significant other!

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1/4 buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s)

Salt and pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Ranch dressing (optional)

For buffalo deviled eggs:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing

1 Tbsp buffalo sauce

Directions:

1. To make buffalo deviled eggs: Place eggs in medium saucepan, and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. When vigorously boiling, turn off heat, and let eggs sit for 15-18 minutes*. Drain, run under cold water until you can handle them. Peel the eggs, and remove the yolk to a small bowl. Add the ranch or blue cheese dressing and the buffalo sauce to the yolks, and mash together until smooth. Cut the egg whites in half again, so that you have quarters, and stuff with the egg yolk mixture. I like to put my egg yolks in a ziplock bag, snip a small hole at the end, and pipe the filling into the eggs. *If you have your own foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, please feel free to use that instead of this method 🙂

2. To make the chicken: Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes place in medium bowl. Mix with buffalo sauce.

3. To assemble salad: To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the buffalo chicken, deviled eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows. Drizzle ranch dressing on top if desired.

Source: barely adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and my Chicken Cobb Salad