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

Bean and Corn Salad

Hello all! I hope that everyone has been having a great long weekend! It was a fun one for me- especially since I went to a party on Saturday to celebrate my best friend’s 30th birthday!! It was so much fun just hanging out, eating yummy Mexican food (she had it catered by a local Mexican place), and even trying my hand at busting open a pinata! That’s something I don’t think I’ve ever done- even when I was a kid. It was totally disorienting, and I’m sure that I looked like a fool as I awkwardly stumbled around swinging a bat.

I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things, and I definitely need to get back to regular posting on the blog, and sharing yummy recipes with you! This bean and corn salad was something I threw together for one of our potluck nights on vacation. I had an idea in mind of what would be going in it, as I’ve had similar salads in the past. I debated whether or not to cook the corn, or leave it raw, and you can definitely do either. The salad is very versatile, so you can work with what you have! Don’t have scallions? Use red onion! Don’t have lime juice? Use lemon! Have red or green bell peppers you want to use up? Chop them up, and throw them in there! Want it spicier? Leave in the jalapeno seeds! Whatever floats your boat 🙂

 

Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

3 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. When hot, add corn kernels to skillet, and saute, stirring frequently, until cooked, and starting to char a bit- about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rinsed and drained beans, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, and scallions. When cooled down, add corn. Mix in lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let sit for a little while to let flavors meld together!

Source: Original Recipe

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

 

A few years ago, in The New York Times dining section, there was an article all about how to cook chicken breasts in a way that would make them non-boring. Now, I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I actually favor the taste of chicken breast over chicken thighs and legs. I guess I’d have to say I prefer milder meat in general, and so the stronger flavor of dark meat can be off-putting to me sometimes. I was excited about this article, because, while I cook a lot of recipes with chicken breasts, these promised to appeal to even the non-white meat chicken lover. My plan was to try them all (which I have yet to accomplish), and this is the first one I decided to try, and have made several times since. This dish is a winner! It’s pretty simple- just make a flavorful chicken broth, gently cook your chicken in it. Blend together your garlic-chile-ginger sauce. Assemble your dinner with your chicken, veggies, herbs and sauces topping some rice, and you are good to go! The garlic-chile-ginger sauce is fantastic! I love this stuff, and find myself adding more and more to my dish… but beware, eating a lot of it can cause the garlic to radiate from your pores the next day. I may or may not know this from experience. It’s worth it though!

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 5-inch long piece ginger root, peeled

8 large garlic cloves

4 jalapeno peppers

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

Cooked rice, for serving

Sesame oil, for drizzling

1 bunch roughly chopped basil, for serving

1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, for serving

1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, for serving

1 European cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut each chicken breast in quarters, lengthwise and crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Take peeled ginger root, and thinly slice about an inch of it. Add to a large pot or dutch oven. Coarsely chop the rest and put into a blender. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot. Coarsely chop the rest of the garlic, and add to the blender. Thinly slice 2 of the jalapeno peppers, and add to the pot. Halve the remaining jalapenos, remove the seeds, coarsely chop, and add to the blender.

3. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the ginger, garlic and jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Check for doneness, and if not cooked through after sitting for 10 minutes, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat once more, and let sit for a couple minutes more. When done, transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice. Strain the broth if desired.

4. Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl, and stir together to combine, and to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the broth in which you cooked the chicken, to the blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add a little more broth. Taste. and season with salt and more lime juice to taste.

6. To serve: ladle cooked rice into a bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, a few tablespoons of broth, a drizzle of the soy sauce-sugar mixture, and a little bit of sesame oil. Top with desired amounts of herbs, cucumber slices, and scallions. Serve the garlic-chile-ginger sauce on the side, along with more sweet soy sauce and sesame oil if desired.

Source: The New York Times Dining Section, January 2010

Zucchini-Scallion Fritters

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who have a problem with too much zucchini… that’s one of my goals in life. I always hear people complaining about the abundance of zucchini when it’s in season- whether they grow it themselves, or have neighbors who are dropping it off on their doorstep in the middle of the night. It seems to me that it would be a great problem to have. I’ve never grown zucchini myself, but I’m thinking that next year I’m going to give it a try. I love zucchini so much… and it’s just so versatile! You can have it simply sauteed, or steamed, boiled, or roasted. Add it to a stir-fry, stuff it with a filling, put it in bread or a cake. Or make fritters! Yesterday Ron’s mom reminded me that a couple of years ago Everyday Food Magazine put out a special summer issue which was filled with great seasonal recipes. I flipped through it yesterday and remembered just how many of those recipes I wanted to try. Needless to say, I put a few on my menu for this week. She had mentioned that she made the zucchini fritters, and I just had to make them immediately. Fritters are amazing… vegetable pancakes, latkes… I love them all. Have you seen the fritters on Smitten Kitchen?! These, and these, and these are calling my name! These zucchini-scallion fritters are awesome- quick, simple and delicious. My kind of food. Have them as a side dish, or eat them for your dinner, like I may have done. The sour cream is a great accompaniment, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Make these when your zucchini comes in, and I don’t think you’ll be complaining about the abundance anymore. I wouldn’t 🙂

Zucchini-Scallion Fritters

Zucchini-Scallion Fritters

Serves 4 (Makes about 10-12 fritters)

Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), coarsely grated

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

2 scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Sour cream, for serving

Directions:

1. Place grated zucchini in a colander, and mix with 1 tsp salt. Place in the sink (as liquid will be dripping out), and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain as much liquid from zucchini as possible. (I placed my zucchini in a clean sackcloth towel and wrung it out, but you could use cheesecloth, or press down on it in the colander to get the liquid out.)

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg. Add the zucchini, scallions, flour, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Mix together until well combined.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry fritters in two batches. Drop  about 2 Tbsp of the batter per fritter. Press down with the spoon or a spatula to flatten a bit. Fry about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and sprinkle with salt. Serve with the sour cream.

Source: Everyday Food: Special Issue (Summer 2011)

Thai Ginger Chicken Stir-fry

I hope everyone has had a great start to their weekend! It was a beautiful warm and sunny day here in Connecticut- a perfect day for the beach, a picnic, a barbecue, or for just being lazy and doing nothing (my preferred activity)! I needed a nice relaxing day, and other than doing my grocery shopping for next week, relaxing is exactly what I did. I woke up late, made breakfast for Ron and myself (omelets and bacon), did some meal planning, and watched some TV…. very exciting, I know 🙂 I’m hoping tomorrow will be even more relaxing, as I don’t have any reason to have to go anywhere. I’m thinking catching up on my magazines and reading books will be my big plans for tomorrow. I am in a book club which I love, and just started our next monthly book- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I’ve heard great things about it, and even though it is a young adult book I’ve heard it’s worthwhile reading for adults as well. I’m trying to prepare myself for it though, as it is about kids with cancer, and I’m a little afraid I will be crying while reading this book. I’ll be keeping some tissues handy.

Anyhoo… onto the recipe.

Like this broccoli and shrimp stir-fry, this chicken and ginger variation is super-simple and super-flavorful! I feel like once you have some pantry staples (at least things that I would consider staples) like oyster sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, chile-garlic sauce, and so on, a stir-fry is only a few moments away. Pretty much any kind of protein works (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, tofu), many vegetables (peppers, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, onions, etc), and then some flavorful additions like garlic and ginger, and you are good to go! It takes only a few minutes, and you have a healthy and tasty dinner on your hands.
Thai Ginger and Chicken Stir-Fry

Thai Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp grapeseed, canola or other high-heat oil

8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 scallions, trimmed, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 a small onion)

2 Tbsp fresh ginger, cut into matchstick-size pieces

Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Directions:

1. Mix together the fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar in a small bowl.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and swirl pan so that it coats the bottom. Add the chicken, and cook in an even layer, about 1-2 minutes, without moving. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the scallions, red bell pepper, onion, ginger and sauce and cook for 2-4 minutes more, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Source: The Kitchn

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I think a recurring theme on my blog seems to be a love for quick and easy meals. Most of the meals I cook are weeknight meals. Meals that have to be pretty simple to put together since I am usually exhausted when I get home from work. I love meals that have simple ingredients, easy prep, but are still full of delicious and exciting flavors. I love to cook the more elaborate meal from time to time (usually this can only happen on the weekend), but I’d estimate that probably more than 75% of the things I cook are of the quick and easy variety, and this is something I have no problem with. Stir-fries are one of my go-to weeknight meals. I’m always on the lookout for a good one. I love that stir-fries encompass both protein and veggies, eliminating the need for multiple side dishes, and other than the prep work of slicing and dicing your ingredients, the actual cooking part is very quick. I also love the flavors that go into a stir-fry- soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey in this one for example, chile sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce in others… This shrimp and broccoli stir-fry makes for a wonderful weeknight (or weekend) meal. It comes together quickly, is healthy, and most importantly, is very tasty! I loved the slight sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the red pepper flakes, the saltiness from the soy sauce, and the tang from the rice vinegar. A great balance of flavors!

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided

1/4 cup scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the cornstarch and toss together. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the shrimp from the pan (place in a bowl or plate).

2. Add 1 1/2 tsp of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic, and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the scallion mixture to the same dish that the shrimp is on.

3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, and add the broccoli. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp/scallion mixture, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute more until the shrimp are cooked through and the broccoli is tender. Serve over rice if desired.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2013