Category: Chicken

Drunken Noodles with Chicken

Like I mentioned before, I’m kind of on a Thai food kick thanks to Sen Yai Noodles. It’s even got us talking about going back to Asia next year. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s really fun to think about.

When I go to places like Sen Yai, Chiang Mai, or Tarad, I’m ordering something out of the ordinary from a typical Thai restaurant menu. I’ll eat kuaytiaw khua kai [wide rice noodles stir-fried in rendered pork fat with chicken, cuttlefish, egg, and gren onions served on chopped lettuce] or pad naem woon sen [naem sour pork sausage and marinated ground pork stir-fried with woon sen noodles, egg, tomato, garlic, Thai chili,onion and green onion topped with cilantro]. Other places? Pad kee mao or drunken noodles. 97% of the time that’s what I’m going to order. Medium spice. Unless it’s from Baan Thai downtown. Then it’s mild plus at best. They use the freshest, hottest chilies I’ve ever had in a Thai dish which can be a death sentence if you’re not careful. Luckily they vet you pretty hard if you order anything above a medium.

I never make drunken noodles because I can hardly find the wide rice noodles without going to a specialty market. It’s always pad thai or vermicelli. I gave into the call to make it even with the wrong noodles though. Blame the bag of frozen shrimp. It made me do it. It still tastes like drunken noodles despite the smaller noodles. I think I’m mostly okay with it, but I still prefer the wider ones. If I ever get my hands on some again, I’m stocking up. I couldn’t find the thicker soy sauce the original recipe recommended, so I picked up hoison for the first time. I couldn’t even describe to you what it tastes like before I bought it even though I’m pretty sure I’ve had it a few times. Even still, it’s hard to describe. It’s like soy but more complex. That’s about as descriptive as I can get.

PS – I’m in the market for a new wok. Any suggestions? I’m looking at something like this or this.

Inspiration: Lollipopsicle

Ingredients

  • 12oz rice noodles soaked in warm water for 10-12 minutes until tender then drained
  • 2 tablespoons hoison or thick soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
  • 1 large chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed

Preparation

Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. While it heats up, whisk together the hoison, soy, oyster, fish and Sriracha in a small bowl. Add the canola oil to the hot skillet. Add the garlic and shallot, stirring to coat in oil and cooking until lightly browned. Add the chicken and cook until mostly cooked through. Add eggs and stir to scramble. Stir in the shrimp. Cook for about two minutes before adding the remaining ingredients, including the noodles. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are reheated and starting to get crispy in spots.

Pesto Chicken and Grape Tomato Skewers

I have to say I’ve never made pesto. I’ve always wanted to. I bookmark recipes for it all the time, especially when they’re non-traditional with things like arugula and pistachios. Yet, I never make it. They sit on the list, then I eventually delete them because I know deep down that I’m probably not going to make it. The fridge New Seasons makes fresh stuff for me, so why would I bother?

It’s almost just as surprising that I made my own skewers when New Seasons has those, too. I buy them more often than not when we’re on a “grill something served with salad” dinner spree. I make skewers so often that I forgot I already bought a package of bamboo skewers. They were buried in the back of the pantry. I guess one can never have too many skewers.

Have you ever had a grilled tomato? Specifically a grilled grape tomato. They get soft and sweet and are ready to burst [assuming they didn't already] on the grill. Then, when sandwiched between chunks of juicy chicken covered in pesto, they are elevated to some god-like level. It’s unexplainable, so don’t try. Just eat.

For the side, I sautéed some zucchini ribbons in a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Finished it with drizzle of truffle oil. YUM. 

PS – I soak my bamboo skewers while I’m making up the other ingredients. Supposedly this helps them from catching on fire. I thought about buying metal ones, but that seems like a recipe for me burning the hell out of myself.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of pesto
  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 8-10 bamboo skewers

Preparation

Soak your bamboo skewers in water. Cut up your chicken breasts into uniform, bite-sized pieces. This will help them cook better. Place the cut pieces into a bowl and pour the pesto all over them. Use your hands to make sure every piece is coated. Let them sit for approx. 10-15 minutes [or more if you have the time]. I sliced my zucchini ribbons in the meantime.

Set up a station that to put all of this together. Thread a piece of chicken onto the skewer followed by a grape tomato. Repeat until the skewer is full. I was getting four pieces of chicken and three tomatoes. Highly dependent on the size of your chicken pieces. Repeat until you use up everything. Try not to lick your fingers. Y’know, raw chicken.

Preheat your grill to a medium high heat. Lay them on. Don’t touch for about four minutes before rotating. Cook for an additional four minutes. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve.

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Valentine’s Day wasn’t nearly as awesome/awkward as those gone by. A delicious burger and fries from Killer Burger and baked brie with fig jam for dessert at home washed down with one of the most complex and incredible Brunellos I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. AKA – dinner. We followed up the following night at Mextiza. I was a tiny bit skeptical. Fancy Mexican food. It was totally worth it in the end. The flavors here are incredible. Molotes [fried dumplings, stuffed with black beans and spicy chicken, topped with cream and avocado chile sauce], enchiladas blancas [wild boar and spinach stuffed enchiladas, simmered in a spicy almond cream sauce, fried garlic and pickled onions], and cabrito [slow roasted goat, roasted yellow potatoes, grilled onions, served over a chile vinegar sauce, and pinto beans]. Yum. I highly encourage washing it down with a house margarita.

Did I mention that I have a copy of Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller? It’s a killer Christmas present [thank you!], and was originally suggested to me by my lovely friends at Radar. They make some of my favorite food in the city, so if they start suggesting things, I listen. The book is a lot little intimidating. These are mostly time commitments and have multiple parts, but are totally worth it for the finished product. I really really really really want to make the braised beef short ribs for the stroganoff, but when do I really commit myself to something that I have to start the previous day? I’m lazy. Someday, though.

In the meantime, I did make the Chicken Soup with Dumplings. It’s stellar. There is seriously something magical about making your own dumplings for the soup. I’d never done it before [I usually cheat and just use gnocchi or something], and it does make all the difference. The other part about straining out your vegetables that sweat together for nearly a half hour and then bathe in the stock for another half hour from your stock is something that’s so “duh” but not done enough. You’ve literally cooked out all the flavor from those vegetables. They’re shells of their former selves, and are just mush. Get ‘em out of there and add fresh for the finish. Huge. Difference. The only thing I couldn’t really get right was the thickness of the soup. I don’t exactly know what I did wrong, but it wouldn’t stop me from eating it again, if only to try and perfect it. It’s not a bad problem to have. Oh, and prepare to use every single pot and pan in your kitchen. It’s one of those.

Inspiration: Ad Hoc at Home (pg. 122)

Ingredients

[this is list broken up into the order that you'll use things]

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup leeks, coarsely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup roux [4 tablespoons butter melted into 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour and cooked until nutty brown]
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish

 Preparation

Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and leeks. Add a healthy pinch of salt, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook very slowly with a little stirring for about 30 minutes. The vegetables will be super tender. Turn off the heat if you’re not done with the dumplings yet.

To make the dumplings, fill a wide, deep pot with salted water and bring it to a simmer. Set up a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. On medium high heat, bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat a little and add the 2/3 cup flour all at once. Stir quickly with  a stiff spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan. The pan will be nice and clean when you’re done. It’ll be smooth but moist still. Now you’ll work your arm out. For another 5 minutes, continue stirring the combined dough around the hot pan so it can dry out. You don’t want the dough to brown, so keep stirring. Once it starts to stick to the bottom or sides of the pan again, you’re good. Transfer the dough to the bowl of the mixer, and add the mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix for a few seconds so the heat can disperse. Add the eggs one at a time while the mixer is on the lowest speed. Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of chives and mix. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Shape the dumplings using two soupspoons to make a quenelle shape. It took a bit to get them actually into that shape, but I ultimately did. Drop the dumplings into the simmering water. Cook them in smaller batches, like five or six, to avoid crowding. Cook they rise to the surface, it takes about five minutes for them sot cook through. This takes a bit, but again, worth it.

To finish the soup, add the chicken stock to the vegetables you cooked earlier, and bring it all to a simmer. After 30 minutes, strain the vegetables out. Cut the remaining stalks of celery on the diagonal. You want about 1 1/2 cups of celery. Blanch the celery until tender, and submerge in an ice bath. Cut the carrots into small pieces until you get a cup and a half. Cook them in a small saucepan with the honey, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with cold water and cook on a simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Drain the carrots. Bring the chicken stock back to a simmer, and stir in the roux a little at a time until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming often. I never thought that was a big deal, but it’s pretty gross. Add the dumplings, chicken, and vegetables to the soup so it can cook through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Chicken and Mushroom Soba Noodle Soup

Are you adept at eating with chopsticks? Do they intimidate you? I don’t know at what point I became okay with them. I never remember eating with them when I grew up. I’m pretty sure we didn’t. The hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant I grew up with [which remains my favorite to this day] doesn’t have them I’m pretty sure. They’re not a Chinese thing anyway, are they? Seriously, though, I have no idea when I started eating with them, and I sure as hell don’t have any idea how I learned how. I’m certainly not a pro. I don’t like to use them while eating soup with mixed company. There is always that irrational fear that I’m going to fling a piece of pork out of my bowl of pho into my neighbor. Maybe that’s what keeps my skills in check. I know better than to eat soup at work as it is. I always leave with equal parts of the soup on my top as I do in my mouth. I accept defeat immediately.

At home is fair game. I finally got a bunch [thanks, mom!] to use to my hearts content, and since I’m not making sushi anytime soon, I’ll make soup. At least then I can wear my pajamas apron to prevent any messes. Roma will wait patiently on the couch for the second we’re done so she can come slurp up whatever made it to the floor. There’s always something.

This soup is easily my favorite soup to date. I’m particularly proud of my poached egg skills [again, thanks mom] as they were the perfect texture. No complaints as I gulped down three bowls of the stuff. Sometimes that just has to happen. If you don’t mind throwing down, the more exotic the mushroom, the better. I couldn’t justify rehydrating a ton of porcini, so I picked up a bag of frozen mixed mushrooms and a bunch of fresh sliced crimini mushrooms. It’ll do. Between the mushrooms and the poached eggs, the chicken is a total after thought, but keeps the soup filling. Loved this stuff.

Inspiration: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10oz frozen mixed mushrooms
  • 32oz chicken stock
  • 8oz soba noodles
  • 6 green onions, green and white parts sliced
  • 4 eggs, poached
  • salt and pepper
  • chili flakes

Preparation

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Bring your soup pot to a medium high heat before adding the chicken in a spread out, even layer. Let it brown on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to low and sliced shallot, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir to coat in remaining olive oil and chicken drippings. Cover with a lid and cook 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms are softened.

Add the chicken and stock the pot. Bring everything to a boil and add the soba noodles. Cook until the soba noodles are cooked through. Add all of the green onions. Taste the broth and add salt, pepper, and chili flakes accordingly. Ladle out soup into individual bowls and top with a poached egg and more chili flakes.

Chicken Gumbo Soup

I looked up the difference between gumbo and jambalaya because I always get them confused. Gumbo is served with rice. Jambalaya is made with rice. Weird. Going by that minor detail, then this soup most definitely isn’t gumbo. I’m just going to go with it though because it’s just easier to throw the rice in the soup and let it cook up.

I don’t think I’ve had either one since the cooking class two years ago. Has it really been that long? I haven’t been to Montage since? Wild. I need up my Cajun food game.

Regardless, this soup hits the spot to break up the normal array of soups. It’s bright from the tomatoes and smokey with the bacon. I laid down some chili flakes with a heavy hand because I opened the wrong end of the container I like it.

Inspiration: Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 1/2lbs of chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning [or a mix of cumin and paprika]
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 32oz chicken broth
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes

Preparation

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Add the chopped bacon once it’s hot. Cook until crispy and brown. Remove to a plate covered in a paper towel. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery [trinity!] to the remaining bacon grease. Cook for about five minutes; you want the veggies nice and soft. Season the chicken with salt and pepper before adding it to the pot. Add the cajun seasoning.

Cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the garlic. After a minute, sprinkle the whole mixture with the flour. Stir until everything is coated and turning a nice brown color. Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and a pinch or two of the chili flakes. Bring everything to a boil.

Add the rice and cover. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes or as long as it takes the rice to become tender. Stir in the bacon and take the pan off the heat. Taste for additional salt or pepper. Let it thicken for 10-15 minutes before serving. It’ll be even better tomorrow.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables

Three Christmas holiday parties in three days. Ex. Hausting. The first for job #1 with the menu I gushed about in the last post [I totally ordered exactly what I thought I would, and I loved it]. The second was for job #2 at a fancy-pants country club. The third was for Andrew’s soccer team at Aalto Lounge. All were completely different from one another, but my little black dress put in a lot of work. I’m glad I picked up something new this year.

I wish I could say I spent most of the day napping, but it really became all about Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels with salmon cream cheese, an Americano from Half Pint Cafe, soup making, baked oatmeal making, and a lot of cleaning and laundry. Sundays are good for that sort of thing.

Is it possible for braised chicken to actually look appetizing? I apologize if it utterly grosses you out. You can’t win them all. It still tastes good, and if I hadn’t dumped a ton of braising sauce all over it, maybe it wouldn’t have washed away all of the spices I had coating every square inch of the bird.

The total appeal to this is making it all in one pan. Laziness reigns supreme. A true cast iron pan would probably kick so much ass for something like this, but considering mine never stays seasoned, I went with the porcelain coated one. Again, lazy. You could use just about any sturdy vegetables you want in something like this. Something that holds up to heat and a steady deluge of liquid. I ultimately went for something equal parts comforting and variety—red potatoes, carrots, and brussels. These were the bottom of the barrel at the store, but totally salvageable when you peel off the first few layers and quarterly accordingly. You’d never know.

Paprika and vermouth play so nicely with the chicken. I’m surprised I had both, but totally and utterly worth getting just for a new flavor profile on the usual chicken standby.

Inspiration: William Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Red onion, chopped
  • 1lb red potatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size. Bite sized.
  • 3 or 4 carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 6 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Season the chicken with a heavy coating of salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat a two tablespoons of olive oil in your large pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken in one even layer. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes on each side until nice and browned. Remove to a plate to keep warm.

In the same pan, add the onion. After 5-6 minutes, add the potatoes, carrots, and brussels. Season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally as they brown. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, and once it turns brown, slowly pour in the broth and the vermouth. Bring the liquid to a boil, and really scrape the browned bits off the bottom of your pan. Add the chicken.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for about 25 minutes so the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the mixture with the thyme and taste for additional salt and pepper. Serve.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

How much pumpkin have you consumed already? Tis the season. I made pumpkin smoothies all last week, and I was really underwhelmed. I don’t know if it’s because I might just be tired of smoothies for once or the pumpkin just wasn’t doing anything for me. Pumpkin cookies from Cougar Mountain Baking Company and a Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter from Oakshire Brewing were had last week, too. It could be that I still don’t feel adequately prepped for fall. I feel like I missed the transition while I was in Thailand. How’s that for rationale? 

While it wasn’t pumpkin, I did have a heavenly parsnip squash puree at A Cena last week with three giant scallops, roasted delicata squash, and brussels sprouts. That was much more fall in my mouth than any pumpkin thing I’ll have in the next month or so.

More than pumpkin season, it’s soup season. I use season loosely because I’m game for a bowl of piping hot soup any time of the year. I’ve probably eaten at least six bowls of soup in the last few weeks [you try going to Southpaw Deli and not eating their soup]. This little number came from a little slow cooker action.

Okay, timeout. Am I the only one who bounces between the term slow cooker and crock pot because I can never settle on one? I swear it just depends on my mood.

Regardless, the result was a deliciously thick soup, especially after a day camping out in the fridge. Leftover soup is the best. Since fresh corn has disappeared from the markets, I switched over to frozen. I prefer the texture 100x more than canned. Instead of getting some sour cream for garnish, I opted on a high quality white cheddar cheese. I couldn’t bring myself to splurge on the avocado, but it would have been dang delicious. Try out the bone-in chicken thighs if you can. It’s cheaper and the bones will impart even more flavor. The chicken will be so tender when all is said and done that you really won’t be doing much more than fishing them out. It’s easy. 

Inspiration: The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, optional [or whatever neutral oil you have on hand]
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped [someday I'll weigh these things]
  • 1 large jalapeño, diced [keep the seeds if you want to spice things up]
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced [I've been storing peeled cloves in the freezer]
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican-style chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, liquids drained
  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 10oz bag frozen corn
  • 15oz can black beans, drained
  • 3lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • salt, pepper

Preparation

If you want more flavor, sauté the onion and jalapeño in the canola oil until it’s soft. It should take 5-7 minutes depending on how crowded your pan is. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Stir until all the veggies are coated with the seasoning paste. Your house will smell delicious, and the flavor later will be leaps and bounds better. I did this the night before so I didn’t have to worry about it in the morning.

Pour the veggies into the bottom of your slow cooker and top with the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken stock. Add the corn, black beans, and healthy pinch of salt and pepper and thoroughly mix before nestling the chicken thighs into the tomato mixture. Cover and set on low for for 6 to 7 hours minimum. Mine cooked for nearly 10, and was so fall off the bone tender. Shred the chicken and remove the bones before serving.

Topping options: shredded cheese, avocado slices, cilantro, sour cream, yogurt, tortilla chips, etc.

Crockpot Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches

We lost another loved one this weekend. This time from Andrew’s side of the family. His grandpa was a great man. I’m glad I had the pleasure of getting to know him over the last few years whenever we’d make it down to San Diego. Losing people never really gets any easier, does it? You can only focus on the great memories, and the lasting imprint they’ve had on your life. I will never be able to look at a case of Corona the same again. He was that kind of awesome.

 

The rest of the weekend was mellow and reflective. A birthday BBQ that was bowed out of early because of the siren call of sleep, a rather uninspiring Timbers game, shopping for the Thailand trip [less than a month!], and a trip through the Blue Sky Gallery.

This crockpot action was something from last week. Having something ready to eat right after work makes the temptation to go out and eat that much easier to avoid. Leftovers for the next day’s lunch aren’t so bad either. Every time I bust out the crockpot, I wonder why I don’t use it more often. This time wasn’t any different. The original recipe called for your favorite beer, which I really didn’t have in the house. I used ginger ale instead, but I wished I’d gone with beer in the end. There was only a hint of sweetness, but I missed the savory notes of the beer. Next time.

Inspiration: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lbs chicken breasts
  • 8oz beer/ginger ale/chicken stock
  • 2 walla walla onions, sliced
  • 2 green peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • 4 hamburger buns

Preparation

Layer the onions, peppers, and garlic along the bottom of your crockpot. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Nestle them into the vegetables. Pour over your liquid of choice. Set on low for 6-8 hours.

The chicken will be tender and shred easily with two forks. Stir in the shredded cheese, and allow the chicken to soak up any of the remaining liquid [mine still had some, but that's alright]. Toast your buns before topping with chicken.

Pad See Ew with Chicken

After gorging myself on delicious wedding eats [not mine] all weekend in Spokane. I needed something easy, light[er], and with vegetable[s].

There was a serious spread at Stella’s, where the rehearsal dinner was — a cheese plate, a mixed green salad, a delectable cassoulet, airy gougères, roasted vegetables, Coq au Vin, and simultaneously the lightest and richest chocolate mousse of all time. It was comfort food heaven. 

The next night, at the reception, A Couple of Chefs had no problem continuing my food coma with pesto pasta salad, three cheese macaroni, zucchini, sun-dried tomato, and goat cheese lasagna, pulled pork [which I promptly smothered all over the macaroni], roasted asparagus, and chicken and vegetable skewers. I channelled my inner fat kid and just kept eating. Wearing a stretchy dress has its perks.

So back to the meal at hand. I really wasn’t feeling coconut milk in the typical curry I’ll make up. A stir fry seemed much more the thing that I craved. This is ridiculously simple, and made even more simple by using frozen broccoli. Did I mention I’m tired from the six hour drive? This recipe was made even better by using up some more of the oyster sauce that’s been sitting in the fridge. Not having to buy more condiments for the dwindling real estate in the fridge is always a win.

Inspiration: A Beautiful Mess

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb chicken breast, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 10oz bag of frozen broccoli crowns
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 6oz rice noodles, uncooked
  • 1-2 pinches of chile flakes
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish

Preparation

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. It usually involves boiling some water, removing it from the heat and tossing in the noodles for 8-10 minutes until they’re the desired doneness. Drain and set aside.

Whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir in the chile flakes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the broccoli, garlic, and chicken. Stir occasionally. Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the noodles, and pour in the sauce. Stir until everything is fully incorporated and mixed in. Cook for a few more minutes while the sauce thickens.

Serve topped with chopped cilantro. Add more chile flake or hot sauce as you see fit.

Grilled Chicken Fajita Nachos

Are you noticing a theme with these titles? I am. The grill is just too easy. It’s my oven substitute, perfect for those summer days.

But first, let’s talk about Ox. If you’re following my stomach on Instagram, you saw the deliciousness already. We went to this hugely popular restaurant for a friend’s birthday, which I’ve decided is the best birthday party ever. An excuse for a super good meal? Count me in. I’ve been itching to go since it opened, but there is always a ridiculous wait. You can only get a reservation for groups of six or more.

The fare is Argentinian inspired, which means an emphasis on grilled meats, but I can assure you that they do amazing, amazing things with vegetables, too. I had the hardest time narrowing down what I wanted. Highlights included — the cauliflower bisque amuse bouche [served in an espresso mug!]; bruschetta of dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber, shiso; maple-brined pork loin chop; heirloom hominy, braised pork belly, fava beans, chiles, cilantro, olive oil-fried duck egg; cocoa-braised lamb shoulder, sautéed spinach, chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms, peaches, cilantro. It was way more delicious than a piñata, and arguably just as fun.

So nachos.

We eat nachos a lot. There is a taco shop down the street that has them for practically no dollars, and they’re the best thing on the menu. I wanted to use up the two avocados on my counter make my own, though. I could sneak on a few more vegetables, use less oil, and throw them on the grill. Win-win. In a fit of laziness, I threw chicken fajita fixins into a big pan on the grill so they could roast and marinate together. Hot Hatch chilies are so good [and they make me think of my grandpa]. They lose a lot of their heat in the cooking process, though. I had to add more chili flakes of my own, and a bottle of Tapatio was polished off in the devouring of these nachos.

They’re easy enough on your stomach that you can, in fact, make it to a restorative yoga class an hour afterward without any severe consequences to you or your fellow mat mates.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4oz can fire roasted roasted chilies, drained
  • 15oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • tortilla chips
  • 4oz shredded jack cheese
  • avocado, hot sauce, cilantro

Preparation

Preheat your grill to medium [approx. 400°]. If it has three burners, turn off the middle one. In a 13″x9″ baking pan, layer the onions, green peppers, chopped chicken, tomatoes, and chilies. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili flakes. Place the pan, uncovered, on the grill. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes to prevent burning.

In a large rimmed baking sheet, create a layer of tortilla chips. Sprinkle on half of the cheese. Spoon the chicken fajita topping over the chips. Cover with remaining cheese. Return to the grill for approximately 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Top with your favorite garnishes. Enjoy straight from the pan or use a spatula to break them apart.