Chicken & Broccoli

Dave and I always say we would probably pick Asian food if we only could have one type of food for the rest of our lives.  It’s too hard to decide within that realm… we LOVE spicy Thai food, Szechuan, good old Chinese takeout, Vietnamese, Sushi… it’s all so good!  I try really hard to not order takeout during the week, so sometimes I end up picking recipes during my menu planning that are healthier versions of some of our favorite takeout dishes.  And subsequently needing to buy a Costco size jug of low sodium soy.

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Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys today.  This recipe is the first (of many) that I’ve made from one of my new favorite bloggers, Emily Bites!

She is ah-mazing.  Emily writes about lightened up fun comfort food, often with a twist on the original.  She is so super creative and I love that she lists the Weight Watchers point values on each recipe- one less step for me!

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Stir-Fried Lemongrass Chicken

Happy New Year everyone!  Yesterday, Dave and I started a two-week Food Lover’s Cleanse.  The Cleanse is from Bon Appetit- it’s all about getting back in the kitchen and cooking healthy whole foods.  They limit refined starches, sugars, saturated fats, and dairy.  After eating like pigs over the holidays, we could use the cleanse!  If you feel like taking the challenge and joining in… let me know!  The cleanse and all recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks can be found here.  I’ve already been cooking up a storm making fresh sauces and dressings to get ready for the next few days.  It’s been a lot of work but it’s been fun so far!

Meanwhile, another goal for the new year besides getting back on track with eating is for me to continue to blog!  It’s been so hard with my new job, planning our wedding, and now it’s even more difficult with our new puppy, Snoop!

Our puppies!!

Our puppies!!

Stir-Fried Lemongrass Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (or Sriracha)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemongrass Paste (or sliced peeled fresh lemongrass)
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Garlic (or 2 cloves)
  • 1 cup sliced Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced thin
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, shredded
  • 8 oz Haricot Verts, trimmed
  • 1lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Cashews
  • 1 Thai Chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds to garnish

Preparation:

1. Combine brown sugar, chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sambal oelek.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add lemongrass and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a small bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, carrots and haricots verts to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; add to lemongrass mixture. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken in a single layer; cook 2-3 minutes or until browned. Add cashews and chile to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in stock mixture and vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until sauce begins to thicken. Serve immediately and top with sesame seeds.

Adapted from:  Cooking Light

Still lovin' my Gourmet Garden herbs.  I use the garlic with everything and it's great to use the Lemongrass when needed so I don't have to buy it fresh and take the time to peel it!

Still lovin’ my Gourmet Garden herbs. I use the garlic with everything and it’s great to use the Lemongrass when needed so I don’t have to buy it fresh and take the time to peel it!

Such a nice RED on that bell pepper...

Such a nice RED on that bell pepper…

Yummy Cashews!  I love the  buttery crunch they add to this asian dish.

Yummy Cashews! I love the buttery crunch they add to this asian dish.

Everything ready to be stir-fried!

Everything ready to be stir-fried!

Finished product!  Usually, Dave and I like our asian stir-fries to be a little saucier, but this one is so flavorful, it's okay that it's not drenched, I promise!

Finished product! Usually, Dave and I like our asian stir-fries to be a little saucier, but this one is so flavorful, it’s okay that it’s not drenched, I promise!

Something I have always loved about Stir Fry recipes is that you can customize it so easily according to what veggies you have available and what you and your family enjoy!  Try it with broccoli, spinach, peanuts, or really anything!

What is everyone doing for the New Year?  Any good recipes to try?  I am saving some good ones to make after our cleanse!

 

 

 

Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

A really great way to be “good” on a diet or on your healthy-eating kick is to change things up.  Make interesting food and don’t get stuck with the same old.  Experiment with spices and flavors.  You’ll be surprised at how many different things there are to try and how pleased you will be eating healthy when it’s exciting.

Something I like to do is to change up the sauces I use when I cook simple things like Chicken.  I had this recipe saved for about a year in my books and was really intrigued to try it.  Honestly- it seemed a little weird but I had everything in my fridge already so I figured why the heck not?

Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
Cooking spray 
1/2 chopped or sliced red onion 
6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Water
1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried (I used 1 tsp of Gourmet Garden)
1 teaspoon Grated Orange Rind

Preparation:

  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium.  Combine the syrup, mustard, water, dill, and orange in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add onion to pan; cook 1 minute. Add sauce; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce with chicken.

Very slightly adapted from: Cooking Light 

Makin' the sauce!

Makin’ the sauce!

P1020026

The one thing I wanted to do for this recipe was make it only for two (original was 4) but keep the same amount of sauce.  Dave loooooves lots of sauce with everything, so I thought it would be best for us.  It really worked out and I think the amount of sauce was perfect!

Served this with tons of veggies:  Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach :)

Served this with tons of veggies: Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach 🙂

maplemustardchick

I also have to mention that I recommend using REAL maple syrup.  Not the Aunt Jemima sugary crap.  If you haven’t yet, spend an extra couple of dollars and buy yourself the real stuff- it will work better in the recipe and then you’ll have plenty leftover for some life-changing pancakes.  This is also like, the bagillionth time I’ve used my Gourmet Garden tubed herbs… I cannot stress how awesome they are.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier… I totally get that the maple-dill-mustard-orange combination seems a little strange.  I thought the same thing.  Get past it.  This sauce rocks- the flavors just work.  Don’t ask any questions, just do.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Now let me go watch this show on Sci with Dave about King Crabs and how they are destroying their ecosystem!  AHH!  #HowISpendMyNights.

KingCrab

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

I was driving through Silver Spring, Maryland where I was stationed during my training for the new job when I came to a HAULT.  Is this for real?

tumblr_m0d5h5tw9E1r17icbo1_400

Am I driving around with nothing to do and did I really come across a Korean Supermarket in the process?  Yes!!!  Now, I know we have lots of these in Philly and I could easily go to one any day, but after stops at Trader Joes, Superfresh, Giant, Whole Foods, etc… who wants to go to another market?!  This was meant to be.

After walking around aimlessly in awe of all of the new produce, types of kimchi and rices, I stopped and literally just stared at the noodle section.  I was in heaven.  I decided that I had to buy some, and good ol’ Soba was the winner.  While Soba Noodles are available at some markets, they certainly aren’t abundant and certainly aren’t affordable.  I’m talkin’ I got a 2lb package for $2.99.  Awesome.

Now that I’m back home and busy as a bee trying to start my business in my new job… I’ve had little time (and cash flow) to go food shopping for us.  I’ve been making some pretty creative things, but last night I just was craving something warm… and spicy.  The soba noodles popped into my mind and I just could not get them to go away.  So, soba noodles it was!

I modified a recipe I’ve saved from Cooking Light and whipped up some pretty delicious (warm and spicy) Soba Noodles.

Okay, if you’re sitting here and you’re all like… “wtf is Beth talking about, what are Soba noodles?!?!” … take a second and check this out  or just be happy with my explanation:  they are really pretty and delicious buckwheat noodles that take like two seconds to cook and taste extra nutty and work well in most Asian dishes.

Soba Love

Soba Love

Oh, and I do of course have to mention that one cup of cooked Soba is over 100 calories less than one cup of cooked spaghetti.  BAM.

photo from Gourmet Garden

photo from Gourmet Garden

Another star of this quick and easy noodle dish that I absolutely HAVE to tell you about is my new Gourmet Garden herbs!  You’ve probably seen these in the refrigerated section in your produce aisle, but have you used them yet?  They are a lifesaver! These tubes are jam-packed with fresh herbs that are pre-washed, chopped, ready to use and will NOT go bad as fast as regular fresh herbs (my downfall when using herbs).  In this recipe, I used Chunky Garlic, Chili Pepper, and Ginger.  No spicy, garlicky, smelly hands… no peeling, no chopping.  Ah-May-ZING!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

Ingredients:

2 bundles Soba Noodles

2 Chicken Breasts

Green Beans, Carrots, Broccoli, or other Veggies as desired

1/3 cup Water

1/3 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon peeled, chopped Ginger (Gourmet Garden)

3 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Honey

1-2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper

1 pinch Ground Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped Garlic (or Gourmet Garden)

Green Onions, sliced (I used my Freeze-Dried Chives)

1/4 cup chopped Dry Roasted Peanuts

Directions:

1.  Boil the chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks or strips, whichever you prefer, and set aside.  Cook whatever vegetable you want to use too.  Set aside.

2.  To cook the Soba Noodles, bring salted water to a rolling boil.  Drop the noodles in and lower the heat a little.  Boil for 4-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse under very cold water.  This will help prevent the noodles from clumping up and sticking together.

3.  Meanwhile, stir the water, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, peppers, and garlic together in a medium-sized bowl with a whisk until well combined.  Taste and re-season according to how hot you prefer.

4.  Combine the noodles, chicken, veggies, and sauce.  Top with crushed peanuts and green onions.  Serve and enjoy.

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

Mix up that sauce

Mix up that sauce

Crush some peanuts

Crush some peanuts

Combine everything together...

Combine everything together…

Voila!

Voila!

I don’t think there’s any better sauce than one that’s sweet, spicy, and has peanut butter.  I mean, really… how can it get better than that?  The Gourmet Garden herbs were kick-ass in the sauce and saved me so much time.  And needless to say, I am in Soba love!  MMM!

Check out Gourmet Garden on Twitter @FreshMadeEasy

Find Soba Noodles Here

and while you’re at it, look at these other sweet n spicy recipes from yours truly!

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Peanut Butter Soba

Peanut Butter Soba

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Dak Bokkeum w/ Spinach (Korean Stewed Chicken)

com·fort food
noun
  • 1.  food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.

What’s so great about comfort food is that it can really be anything.  It’s all personal.  Comfort food is about what makes YOU feel good.

It might be warm and gooey like home baked chocolate chip cookies.

It might be cheesy and creamy like a mac and cheese.

It could even be crispy and crunchy like deep fried chicken.

For my boyfriend Dave and I… comfort food is Asian Takeout.  Thai, Indian, Szechuan, or plain old Chinese… any type will do the trick.  It’s just so darn comforting.  Add some spice and you’ll probably make something that we’ll consider our “favorite meal ever”.  We just love the stuff.

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you not only because it’s delicious, but because I found it on a Cooking Light Comfort Food collection.  I couldn’t believe this was on there… right up our alley.  This unique Korean chicken dish is on the same list as some pretty soul-soothing recipes like Chicken Noodle Soup, Pot Roast, Meatloaf, and so many more.  It was just sitting there on the webpage screaming for me to make it.  So I did.

Dak Bokkeum w/ Spinach (Korean Stewed Chicken)

Recipe Makes:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup gochujang (Korean chile sauce)*
  • 1/4 cup (1/2-inch) slices green onion bottoms
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice (I used Wegman’s Aztec Blend: Ancient Grains, Red Rice, Brown Rice, and Split Peas)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup slices green onion tops
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in chicken. Cover and marinate 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  3. While rice cooks, bring 1/3 cup water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken mixture; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in green onion tops and spinach. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

Recipe from:  Cooking Light 2012

*Note about Gochujang: Gochujangis an indispensable Korean sauce based on fermented soybeans and chiles. You’ll find it in Asian markets, or seek out Annie Chun’s brand, which is more widely available.  Or just use some Sriracha like I did!

**Note about serving size:  Dave and I like everything we eat to be super saucy.  This recipe above will make four servings.  I halved the chicken and the rice but kept the rest the same.  This way, there was a ton of spinach and extra sauce.  If you want to make four servings and have it be extra saucy like me… just double the sauce/marinade section.

Sweet lookin' marinade we've got here!  Whisk it up and add the chicken.

Sweet lookin’ marinade we’ve got here! Whisk it up and add the chicken.

What it looks like after a half hour.  Give it a good stir or two.

What it looks like after a half hour. Give it a good stir or two.

I really like Wegman's Ancient Grains blends.  They are hearty, healthy, and more interesting than boring old brown rice :)

I really like Wegman’s Ancient Grains blends. They are hearty, healthy, and more interesting than boring old brown rice 🙂

This recipe gets a few bonus points for asking me to use my dutch oven

This recipe gets a few bonus points for asking me to use my dutch oven

Ta-Da!!

Ta-Da!!

What was really exciting to me about this recipe is that it calls for Chicken Thighs.  This might seem normal to most people, but I have a hard time getting Dave to eat anything but white meat when it comes to chicken.  I decided to just go for it and the sauciness and sweet/spicy smell permeating through the house would convince him to eat it.  And it did.  And he liked it.  Go figure.

Now, what I want to know is what is your favorite comfort food?  Leave me a comment, I’d love to try some of your favorite feel-good recipes!  

Here are a few of my personal most comforting recipes on the blog so far…

Crabcake Mac & Cheese

Crabcake Mac & Cheese

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Blue Cheese & Spinach Orzo

Blue Cheese & Spinach Orzo

BBQ Deviled Eggs

BBQ Deviled Eggs

Falafel-Crusted Chicken w/ Hummus-Slaw Pitas

Life would be so much easier if I had three sous chefs helping me cook dinner every night.  Is that so much to ask for people?
Last week, Dave and I cooked up a delicious new dinner with our friends  Dave and Betsy.  (I do have to mention that they are actually Dave & Elizabeth just like we are… weird!) They are foodies just like us and we absolutely love trying new things with them (Check out our spectacular meal at Modo Mio).  I was happy to have lots of help in the kitchen- especially since the other Dave was the only one who could find the Falafel mix we needed!  You may have to visit more than one grocery store like we did, just a heads up.
This recipe was so tasty and really different than anything else I’ve tried before.  It could also be easily made and put over a bed of lettuce as a salad or stuffed into a wrap too!

Falafel-Crusted Chicken w/ Hummus-Slaw Pitas​

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 packages of Chicken Breast Tenders (pre-cut saves time and is inexpensive!)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix (We used Casbah brand)
4 whole-wheat pitas, halved
1/4 cup Hummus (I made some homemade real quick first, but you can use store-bought if you want!)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 package shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

​​

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a foil-lined backing sheet with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. (It will stick, I promise!) Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mix the hummus, lemon zest and juice, Sriracha and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix, radishes and parsley to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt and pepper.  Add more Hummus, seasoning, or Sriracha to taste.  (This part was Dave’s job so I’m sure a little extra Sriracha slipped in! 😉 )

3.  Stick some slaw, two chicken tenders, and a drizzle of the reserved sauce into a pita and serve warm.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Food Network Magazine
I couldn't believe how evenly the falafel mix coated the chicken without any egg!

I couldn’t believe how evenly the falafel mix coated the chicken without any egg!

Slaw it up!

Slaw it up!

Ready to eat... nom nom

Ready to eat… nom nom

Delish!  We made some simple sauteed zucchini and onion on the side.

Delish! We made some simple sauteed zucchini and onion on the side.

Miss Stelly lookin' pretty as usual

Miss Stelly lookin’ pretty as usual