Category: Chicken

Chicken Fajita Salad

I picked up the weirdest, most inedible avocado for this recipe. It should be no surprise that finding a ripe avocado on demand is damn near impossible around here. Your best bet is to plan ahead, since they’re usually rock hard, and age them on your counter. If you happen to find one that isn’t rock hard, odds are that it has dents from every person who came before you to squeeze it in hopes that it was the one avocado in the pile that wasn’t hard as a rock. Don’t be lured into a false sense of security. If it feels ripe, it’s not. It’s an unripe avocado bruised to high hell. Poor thing.

I thought I found something between rock and mush. It actually gave a little to the touch. I could still deal with a mostly unripe one. Desperate times call for desperate measures. When I got home and tried to cut it open, the two halves wouldn’t come apart. At all. I felt like I was hacking into a mango. After working it for a few minutes—twisting and pulling, pulling and twisting—the pit finally split in half letting me not only a half of an avocado in each hand but the pit too. As if I weren’t already thoroughly freaked out, the texture of the avocado flesh felt like plastic. It felt like a Barbie with avocado green flesh. Bizarre. A fork’s tines would barely puncture it without some serious effort. I was thoroughly creeped out. I should have just bought the guacamole that New Seasons makes. I should have known better [fyi, that wasn’t New Seasons that sold me the weird avocado, I’m pretty sure they’re better than that].

At least this salad was good without it.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Inspiration: Buzzfeed Tasty

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes [or two if you’re me]
  • 1 head of romaine, chopped
  • 1 avocado, optional for serving

Preparation

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken, red and yellow peppers, onion, salt, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir well to coat in oil and mix in all the spices. Cook, stirring often, for about 7-10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, the peppers and onions will be soft. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl or a mason jar with a lid, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and chile flakes. Whisk together if in a bowl or seal the lid on the jar and shake. Add the romaine to your serving plate or bowl before topping with the fajita mixture. Drizzle with dressing and top with avocado if you actually live in a world with good avocados.

You can mix it all together in a bowl first and serve from there, but I find that all the heavy stuff just goes to the bottom, and if you aren’t eating it in one sitting, the lettuce will inevitably get soggy. The method above avoids all that.

 

One Pan Chicken Tikka

Food lately:

  • The Wednesday farmers market is back. That means Tastebud pizza! It meant that I ate a leftover veggie burrito for breakfast in order to not waste the burrito but still have pizza for lunch. Priorities.
  • Hat Yai. Hat Yai. Hat Yai. Southern Thai food is so good.
  • I’m finally getting into this whole rotisserie chicken craze. Pollo Bravo and Chicken and Guns. Each different and so good. Pollo Bravo makes me miss Spain all over again. Tapas for days.
  • Still obsessed with Tehuana Oaxaca Cuisine. The guys at this cart continually blow my mind with their specials — housemade chorizo and some spicy camarones? Yes please.
  • Brunch at Ya Hala is pretty stellar. No wait. Interesting options. Fried chicken and cheesy couscous for breakfast. Enough said.

This one pan meal comes together as easy as a one pan meal should. The highlight of the whole thing is the marinade for the chicken. It is a deliciously spicy yogurt mixture that I left on the chicken for only the minimum amount recommended because I was impatient and hangry hungry. If I could have the foresight to leave it on overnight or at least since that morning because I imagine it would be that much better. Looking at it now, it’s not the prettiest thing I’ve made [beige!], but since when has that stopped me? We nearly ate the entire head of cauliflower in one sitting. Roasted cauliflower is so underrated, especially when it’s roasted in chicken fat and the residual marinade.

Chicken Tikka

Inspiration: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2lbs chicken pieces, bone in and skin on
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 jalapenos, depending on spice preference [two!]
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into same-size chunks
  • 1 3/4lbs cauliflower [basically one head], cut into florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Preparation

Use a small food processor to mince the ginger, garlic, and jalapenos together. If that doesn’t exist in your world, feel free to mince. Mix this delicious mixture with the yogurt, 1 teaspoon of salt, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, sugar, paprika, and garam masala in a large freeze bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Toss the chicken in the mixture and massage it into the skin. Marinate it in the fridge for at least the time it takes you to prep the vegetables, or longer if you have the time.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, cauliflower, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cumin seeds with the olive oil. Spread the vegetables on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Nestle the chicken in with the vegetables. Roast for 20 minute. Stir the vegetables and roast for another 15-20 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and the chicken cooked through. I like to use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken is in the 165° range internally before allowing it to rest.

Allow to cool before serving.

Quick Chicken Spinach Bolognese

I had a cooking fail. It’s amazing how much of a rage something like that sends me into. I was trying my hand at a Spanish tortilla. Finally. Finally because I stopped being so scared. Something about it intimidates me. It’s really easy. Maybe it’s because stewing potatoes and onions in olive oil isn’t probably something you should do regularly. No, it’s not that. It’s because it’s intimidating. It’s a perfectly pillowy, yet dense, cake of eggs, potatoes, and onions. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, so if you fuck it up [and I did], it’s obvious. I was doing well until I got to that whole “slide a plate over the top of your pan and flip it over” thing. Yeah, that wasn’t happening. My non-stick pan is losing its non-stick properties. It’s given up on me. I’ve been eyeing this one [but probably an All-Clad], but I’ve been holding out. The one I have was a perfectly good non-stick pan, but once eggs start sticking–even with boatloads of olive oil–you’re dead to me. Needless to say, the tortilla became a scramble. It tasted fine. It tasted just like it was supposed to, but it wasn’t what it was supposed to be. It made me want to throw things. Sigh. I’ll try again someday. Probably not until I get a new pan.

Until that happens, there is this really good chicken spinach bolognese that doesn’t take much time to throw together, and pretends to be super healthy with all that spinach. I wanted something to take to work the next few days, which really turned into the next day only because I ate that much of it for dinner. Pasta is a weakness. I bought a little block of Pecorino Romano to grate on top. Deliciously salty.

I’m starting to understand the whole ‘reserve some pasta water’ thing; it makes all the difference to the consistency of a bowl of al dente pasta. It elevates it from becoming a congealed mass of starch with toppings. It keeps better in the fridge so I can steal multiple bites any time I open the fridge door [read: all the time]. The original recipe called for turkey, but I was hesitant to recreate the feeling of thanksgiving. Every time I cook with it, browned turkey just smells like thanksgiving. Chicken was the easy and obvious substitute. Pork would have been equally delicious, especially of the hot Italian sausage variety.  This is a lot more mellow in flavor that way. Feel free to add tons of red chile flakes. I did.

Quick Chicken Spinach Bolognese

Inspiration: Fuss Free Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 250g frozen spinach
  • 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1lb pasta of choice
  • Parmesan
  • Red chili flakes

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil on medium high heat. Brown the chicken. Add in the frozen spinach and roasted tomatoes. Don’t drain them first. Stir until well mixed and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let it simmer together and unthaw the spinach.

While the sauce simmers away, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, retain 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, and possibly some red chili flakes.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir well and add pasta water to get the desired consistency.

Before serving, add a healthy dose of shaved parmesan.

Massaman Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s hardly soup weather anymore. Tax season ended with 80+° weather, and it’s hovered in that range ever since. Despite it being pizza week [think burger week, but y’know, with pizza], I made Thai basil pork my first meal back in the kitchen. Surprise, surprise. I have grand plans, but I’m easing back into it. Besides, pizza week.

This soup was stellar in that way that making something from scratch can be. I had a Massaman curry paste container in the fridge, but I went with the directions. Fresh lemongrass? Check. Fresh ginger? Check. Thai chilies? Check. It’s really, really simple in that way. It makes for a more complex chicken noodle soup, a soup that I normally avoid for its plainness. I spent way more time julienning carrots than I care to admit. My knife skills aren’t THAT good, and I don’t have time space for some fancy peeler. It left me with a ridiculous satisfaction though. Worth it.

Massaman Chicken Noodle Soup

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce + more to taste
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4″ piece of ginger root, peeled
  • 2 Thai chilies
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 large carrots
  • 10 small baby potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 3 scallions, greens and white parts sliced and separated
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 12-14oz udon/rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • Lime juice

Preparation

Heat the chicken stock and fish sauce in a large pot on medium-high heat. Remove the tough, outer shells of the lemongrass stalks. Cut off the root, and then into 6″ pieces. Cut those pieces in half. Add the lemongrass pieces to the stock. Cut the ginger into slices and add to the pot. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and add those. Slice the tops off the chilies and then cut them in half. Scrape out the seeds, or leave them in for more heat. Add to the stock. Increase the heat if the stock hasn’t started simmering.

Cut the carrots so they’re close to a uniform diameter the whole way. You can julienne those pieces for garnish. Slice the remaining carrots into thin medallions and set aside with the potatoes.

Taste the stock for salt or more fish sauce.  You want it to be fairly salty to stand up to the chicken and vegetables it’s about to cook. Add the chicken breast. Simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before shredding.

Skim the stock to remove the lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the curry powder and add the carrots, potatoes, and peanuts. Cook until tender. Slice up the scallions, leaving the sliced dark green parts for garnish. Stir in the coconut milk, shredded chicken, and remaining scallions. Once the noodles are cooked through, the soup is ready to serve in bowls topped with the remaining scallions. Taste for more fish sauce or lime juice.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Another rapid fire update and a recipe during busy season:

*Prince Coffee is a new coffeeshop in the ‘hood and they make stroopwafels. STROOPWAFELS. Yes.

*Speaking of coffee, our office now has Water Avenue espresso and Stumptown drip coffee. My caffeine intake is at an all-time high.

*Vitamix is sending me a new container. The old one has died after four years of heavy use. That warranty is the best.

*Amazing chicken sandwiches and waffle fries can be had at CHKCHK.

*Tickets to Germany have been purchased. Let the countdown begin. We’re flying in and out of Frankfurt, but have yet to solidify any other plans. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

*Spring appears to be short lived. It’s supposed to be in the 80s next week. WTF.

*Reading for fun again — making my way through the Wildwood series. I really like them.

This recipe is my first of what will probably be a ton over the summer. Tasty by Buzzfeed, if you aren’t familiar, is a video series that breaks down really simple and delicious sounding recipes. Andrew sent me this one and I think we made it same-day. Cheese stuffed meatballs will do that. Stuffing the meatballs are time consuming in the scheme of how long this recipe takes, but it’s worth it. Besides the obvious reasons why one would like a meatball stuffed with cheese, the addition of fennel seeds are key. I can’t get enough of that flavor. Also, using chicken instead of ground beef or pork seemed to make a more sturdy meatball. Less grease. Seriously good stuff. They’re fried to a golden brown before baking the cheese to ooey-gooey perfection.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Inspiration: Tasty by Buzzfeed

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 1 container small mozzarella balls [or a big ball chopped into 1/2 inch pieces]
  • oil for frying

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400º. In a large bowl, add the chicken, onion, parmesan, parsley, fennel seeds, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Take a golf ball sized scoop of dough and stuff a piece of mozzarella into it. I found it was easier to flatten it out and wrap the meat around it. Once all of the balls are made, set up a station with the whisked egg and a plate full of the breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in the flour, coat the them in the egg mixture and then dredge them in the bread crumbs.

Fill a skillet with 1/4″ of oil. Heat on high. Fry the meatballs on all sides before placing them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.