thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing… (oh, wait, yes I can)

On busy nights, I like simple dishes.  I also try to make things that my chickadee will eat (maybe not every component or spice, but generally so – I’m not making 4 different meals for 2 people, every night).  Last evening was a Cooking Light recipe that I just happened to have all the ingredients for (well, I thought I had frozen spinach, but since I didn’t, I just used spinach pieces out of a salad-mix instead).

Tonight was a Chicken-Quinoa Marsala bowl.  I about-halved the recipe, which turned out to be ~1.5 chicken breasts (I always keep some frozen in ziplocs), a handful of spinach, and 1 prepared cup of quinoa.  That made two nicely sized bowls for me (without completely overdoing it…kinda sorta…ok, maybe a little) and left plenty of poultry for the little one (she loves cous cous, but is not a fan of quinoa – much to the babysitter’s distress, I’m sure, when I pack it in her lunch).

You can make everything but the quinoa in one pan, which is pretty handy – and you can prep most of the ingredients as you go along and something else is cooking (quinoa can fend for itself).   In this picture you also see a pan of spiralized squash.  I wanted to do baked chips, but ran out of time, so this was a quick sautee.  I tried to convince the kiddo they were noodles – and to her credit she tried them – but was not a fan.  I, however, thought they were great and ate her portion.  (This is why I run.)

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Overall, the dish was a winner (and chickadee loved the chicken – she asked for seconds!).   I did have too much liquid in the chicken pan, so I had to pour some into a cup (saved it in case it got too thick and needed thinning), but the flavor was really good.  I only had two real edits –  I added poultry seasoning to the quinoa batch instead of cooking it in chicken broth (was trying to flavor it for kiddo) and it was still really good; and I rarely (if ever) cook with chicken thighs – they’re good, and I love dishes with the crispy skin, but chicken breasts are more versatile and I keep them on-hand.  Since it’s a Cooking Light recipe you know it’s (mostly) healthy and pretty tasty – I haven’t found too many of theirs to be unpalatable (which is why I’m still a subscriber!).

 

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Hope you guys enjoy!

Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

http://www.myrecipes.com/m/recipe/mushroom-chicken-marsala-bowls

Ingredients
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
Hands-on: 35 Minutes   Total: 35 Minutes

  1. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add 1 1/4 cups stock; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until beginning to wilt. Remove spinach from pan.
  3. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove mushroom mixture from pan.
  4. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add shallots, thyme, and garlic; sauté 1 1/2 minutes. Add wine and remaining 1/4 cup stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by two-thirds and becomes slightly syrupy. Remove from heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring constantly until butter melts. Stir in mushrooms and spinach. Serve over quinoa.
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Chicken Dumplings in Green Curry (also known as “YUM!!”)

So, nothing like making dinner at 8:30 at night – but I would like to think this one is worth it.  But it was not without effort – I went to the grocery store, got everything I needed for the week (minus one thing…I forgot), and the one thing I forgot turned into the main ingredient for dinner.  Oops.  Couple that with some other things I needed and back out I go!!

A few years ago I bought some cookbooks at the store – they were in the “el cheapo” section of the store and I got them for $2-3 each.  One issue – they’re European, so sometimes I have to do some conversions – nothing major 🙂  Tonight I tried (from the Asian book) Chicken Dumplings in Green Curry.  Wow.  It could use a little more…oomph (salt?) …but so easy to make and so very tasty.

Ingredients
1 lb. minced/ground chicken
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves
1 lemongrass stem, white part only, finely sliced
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1.5 C jasmine rice (cooked)
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
2 tsp oil
2 Tbsp Thai green curry sauce
2 cans coconut milk
4 fresh lime leaves
2 handfuls basil leaves
1 Tbsp lemon juice

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I didn’t have any ground chicken, so I thawed out some chicken breasts I already had and ran them through a few rounds on the food processor – works perfectly.  Mix the chicken, onions, cilantro, lemongrass (oops, didn’t have any), 2 Tbsp of the fish sauce (nope, didn’t have that either – that probably would have enhanced the flavor I was missing), bouillon powder, and some pepper in a bowl until well combined (use your hands!).

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In another bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the egg and egg white (I used egg whites in a container, since I had them; I think they worked out fine).  Beat until thick and creamy then fold into the chicken mixture.  When I did this, it looked almost too runny, but eventually combined well.  Take Tablespoon-sized portions of the chicken mixture and roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet (might want to flour your hands).  Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours (or in the freezer for about 25 minutes) until the rolls are firm.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the curry paste.  You *will* want to lick the spoon after getting the paste out of the jar – wow, that is incredible flavor.  Stir over medium heat, but be careful – like anchovies, this will pop out when it gets hot, and will splatter everywhere.  Gradually add in the coconut milk (I only used one of the 2 cans) then reduce heat.

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Add the lime leaves (nope, didn’t have those either, but no big deal, since the flavor was in the curry paste), and the chicken dumplings, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Stir in the basil leaves and the lemon juice – serve (with rice if you have extra!!).

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Spatchcock Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes – it’s so easy to make, and yields a ton of leftovers.  I made it because I was having company, so I fixed this ahead of time (that morning) and by the time company arrived, I had a lunch dish prepared (a chicken salad-type meal), with plenty of leftover chicken for the next meal.  The best part about this – besides being incredibly easy – is that the flavor is great and the chicken is never dry.  Perfection!  (It’s a Martha Stewart recipe!!!)

Take a whole chicken, and turn it over, breast-side down.  Using kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone and remove it.  Flip the chicken back over (breast-side up) and press down in the center, flattening the chicken on a baking sheet.  Drizzle a little oil over the skin of the chicken.  Slice up two lemons and place under the chicken, under the skin, and a few on top of the chicken in various places.   Roast the chicken in the over (@425) for about 20 minutes.  When the chicken comes out of the oven, toss a few sliced shallots with oil and add to the pan, then return to the oven to cook for another 30 minutes.

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While the chicken was cooking, I made hot tea.  Thankfully, I had one lemon slice left over so I had delicious lemon tea while I waited 🙂

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When the 30 minutes is up, remove the chicken from the oven and let it set a few minutes before cutting into it.  I promise – this is a recipe that will not leave you disappointed!!IMG_20130831_113224_464

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Bread Salad

So, I opened up my Blog to post for the first time in a while…and I realize it’s been a year, to the day, since my last post!  Talk about odds.  I finally found some time to sift through my recipes (though my actual recipe collection hasn’t gone through it’s overhaul…yet).  I try to get foods that match with the seasons – comforting, heavy foods in the winter, and light, veggie-filled foods in the summer.  So today, not only did I pick a great summer recipe (at least, I think so ;-)) but I picked one that is perfect for summer – you can grill it!!

The Ingredients are simple –

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Day old Baguette
Chicken Breast
Cucumber
Tomato
Basil
Olive Oil
Red Onion
Feta Cheese
Black Olives
Lemon Juice

Cut up the chicken breast into two or three pieces, season with a little salt and pepper, and grill until cooked through (20-30 min).  Take a chunk of the baguette, slice it in half, drizzle a little oil on it, and put on the grill for about 5 minutes (just enough to char it, like croutons).

*Note – I’m not a griller, so I cooked my chicken on the stove, and broiled the bread in the oven – worked perfectly.

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While the meat is cooking, thinly slice up the red onion, cut the tomato into quarters then into small pieces, dice up the cucumber, and toss it into a bowl with the feta, olives, and basil.   Drizzle a little olive oil over the veggies and mix.   Top with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice.  Stir.

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When the chicken is done, cut into bite-sized pieces; do the same for the bread.  Spread the veggies on a plate, top with the chicken and the bread.   Ta-da!!!  I’m telling you, this is crazy-good.  Thankfully, I had enough for lunch leftovers tomorrow – cause I was not done enjoying this for dinner.

Enjoy this summer sensation.  And…it’s good to be back 🙂

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Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry

So I try to only go to the grocery store and buy enough fresh ingredients for 3 meals or so – knowing that along the way we’ll go out to eat for dinner, not be hungry, eat with friends, etc. and my fresh goodies won’t last.  And I hate throwing out food just because it spoils.  So last weekend I bought enough for three meals…and I have no idea what we did, but the chicken made it all the way to Friday night.  When I opened it up it smelled like vinegar (I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to smell…).  So out went the chicken, out went the veggies, and out went the backup meat that I had, because it smelled bad, too.   So out to dinner we went!! 🙂

Anyway, the meal I was going to make was a Pampered Chef recipe – it reminds me of something I always eat in the Manchester, NH airport (sad that I have a favorite meal in a particular airport?).  I’ll post the original recipe (from PamperedChef.com) with some of my notes on the sides…

It was really easy to make, and we had a 3rd person here to help eat all the pasta.  Definitely a keeper!!  (And yes, we totally ate with chopsticks :-))

 

Chicken and Noodle Stir-Fry
http://www.pamperedchef.com/recipe_search/recipe.jsp?id=86074

Ingredients

Stir-Fry
12 oz uncooked linguine
1 medium red bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
1 tbsp Asian Seasoning Mix
1 bag fresh stir-fry vegetable mix
1/3 cup chopped cashews (optional)

Glaze
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup orange marmalade (more to taste, if needed)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot (I used the paste in a tube)

Directions

Bring salted water to a boil in covered pan. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain in large Colander. [I used an entire box of linquine and cooked very al dente – as an Asian food it tastes better a little crunchy]

Meanwhile, using Santoku Knife, slice bell pepper into strips and onion into thin wedges. [I was lazy and bought a pack of fresh veggies already cut up, but did slice them a little thinner – definitely saved on prep time!]  Heat oil in Stir-Fry Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Slice chicken on a bias into 1/2-in. (1-cm) pieces. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in mixing bowl.

[I didn’t have any of the special Asian seasoning Pampered Chef has, so I made my own:  mixed white pepper, ground red pepper, onion flakes, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and coriander – don’t add too much red pepper or it will be overly-spicy]

Add chicken to Skillet; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until centers of chicken are no longer pink. Add stir-fry veggie mix to Skillet; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Whisk together glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Move chicken and vegetables up sides of the Skillet, making a well in center; add glaze and bring to a boil. Add pasta to Skillet; toss with chicken, vegetables and glaze. Garnish with cashews, if desired. [I don’t use cashews – I don’t like to put nuts in my food]

[Also, I drained the pasta and put it in a bowl, then added the chicken/sauce mix over it instead of in the pan – didn’t have enough room]

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Summer is here – time for easy dinners!

Ok, so summer isn’t quite here…yet.  But it’s getting close.  With my lawn boy (aka: the Mr.) mowing the green, green grass; with my car covered in pollen; the windows open letting that fresh air in.  Ahhh!!! (choo!!)

Since the weather is getting warmer, I’m slowly (albeit, grudgingly) getting away from my heavy comfort foods and back into the lighter, simple foods of the spring and summer season.  I’m also trying to use up whatever is in my fridge and pantry so when I move it will be much easier 🙂

Tonight’s dinner was a good one – the Mr. and I were both pleased with the way it turned out, and super full.  Always a good sign!

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadilla

Ingredients:
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1-oz package of goat cheese
1.5 C of shredded mozz/italian/provolone/white cheese
jalapeno
cilantro
salt
pepper
cumin
chicken (optional – but delicious!)
tortilla shells

 

I tried this recipe once before, and this time we added the chicken to it.  Made for a slightly heartier meal, and stretched the other ingredients a little farther.
Put the goat cheese in a bowl and crumble with a fork.  Add in the white cheese, the spices, and the black beans.  Meanwhile, slice up the jalapenos and set aside (note: this is only because I didn’t want any in my meal; I added it to the top layer after all the filling had been placed).

In a pan of hot oil (~1 Tbsp) brown the chicken. When the outside is cooked, you’re out of oil, and things are starting to maybe smoke a little, add about 1/4 cup of water.  Have the vent ready as this will cause a lot of steam.  When the water cooks off, add a little more oil and repeat.  This water keeps the chicken nice and moist while it continues to cook.  When the chicken is done, remove and cool, then chop (with scissors, that’s really the easiest way) and add to the bean and cheese mixture.

Spray a non-stick pan with some Pam and put in the first tortilla shell.  Layer the bean/meat/cheese mix on top of it, keeping a 1/2″ border around the edges, and smoosh it down with your hands (the cheese will stick together so this part is easy).  Add jalapenos, if you’re going to, then add the next tortilla shell.  Turn the heat on high and cook, flipping once.  When it’s done, slide onto a plate and cut with a pizza slicer.

I had a very ripe avocado so I made a little guac on the side – which made it (yum, yum) that much better.

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