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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad
1 LB split chicken breasts, with skin
1/2 Cup cilantro leaves
1 Jalapeno, halved
1 Inch fresh ginger root, peeled
2 Cloves garlic, smashed
2 Green onions, roughly chopped
1 Lime, halved
Salt and pepper
Cooked soba noodles
Cucumber, sliced thin
Carrots, julienned
Red pepper, julienned
Snow peas
Green onions, sliced thin
Bottled Asian dressing for serving, such as Annie's Shitake Sesame

The heat is not letting up anytime soon, so I want to make sure I don't have to spend the rest of the week slaving over a hot stove.  Poaching (or roasting) chicken early in the week ensures you'll have healthy and delicious meals for at least the next couple of days.  Infusing the poaching liquid with aromatics like cilantro, hot peppers, ginger, limes will make the perfect chicken for this salad and a number of other dishes.  Use the leftover meat for tacos, BBQ sandwiches, or add to a curry dish.  

Place chicken breasts in a single layer in a large pot.  Add water until it covers chicken by at least half an inch.  Add cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, green onions, lime to the pot.  Season with plenty of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then let simmer on low heat until chicken is fully cooked (about 30-45 minutes for 2 large split chicken breasts).  Remove chicken and allow to cool.

Arrange the soba noodles, lettuce and veggies on a plate.  Shred the cooled chicken meat, and place on salad.  Serve with your dressing of choice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tofu Tuesday

Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Salad
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 TBS fresh mint
1 TBS fresh oregano
1 TBS fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
14 OZ tofu, sliced into 1/2 inch slabs
1 Small zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 Small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 Red Pepper, sliced
2 Cups kale, sliced into thin strips
1 Tomato, sliced

Tahini Dressing
1/3 Cup tahini
1/3 Cup warm water
2 TBS lemon juice, plus more for serving
1 Clove garlic, grated finely
1 TSP sugar
Salt and pepper

A heat wave is sweeping across the country, so this week's edition of Tofu Tuesday is all about salads.  Crisp lettuce and a cool and creamy dressing are the perfect combination for a balmy night.  While I could easily eat a salad everyday in the summer, it can get boring with just plain old lettuce and vinaigrette.  I'm switching it up with hearty Tuscan kale and a tangy tahini dressing for a little variety.  Selecting nutritious and delicious ingredients are key for an entree salad that's not heavy, but still filling.

Heat grill over medium high heat.  Mix oil, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Toss the tofu, squash and peppers in the marinade.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Grill the tofu and veggies until veggies are soft and tofu has nice grill marks.  Set aside and allow to cool.

For the dressing mix the tahini with water, lemon juice, garlic.  Stir until smooth.  If the dressing is too thick, add more liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange kale, tomatoes, tofu and veggies on a plate.  Top with dressing and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Panko Chicken With Watermelon-Tomato Salad

Panko Chicken With Watermelon-Tomato Salad
Adapted from  Bon Appétit
  • 1 Cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Cup cucumber, cubed
  • 2 Cups (lightly packed) baby arugula
  • 4 OZ feta cheese
  • 1/4 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard, divided
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice plus
  • 1/2 TSP kosher salt
  • 1/4 TSP freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 4-OZ chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8" thickness
  • 6 TBS vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 Lemon wedges for serving

This dish was inspired by a Bon Appétit recipe which actually uses pork cutlets, but chicken will work just as well instead.  I love the pairing of a crispy-breaded cutlet with a refreshing salad for a summer dinner.  Watermelon may seem like an unusual ingredient, but it's mild flavor really lends well to savory dishes - especially salads (you can even grill it too).  While the combination of watermelon and tomato with the arugula is delicious on it's own, I'm adding feta cheese and cucumber to put this salad over the top.  

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil, 1 tbs mustard, and juice in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Set salad and dressing aside.

Whisk eggs and 1 tablespoon mustard in a medium bowl. Combine panko, salt, and pepper on a large plate.  Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Dip in egg mixture to coat, then in panko (patting down to adhere).

Working in batches, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 tablespoon vegetable oil after turning. Drain on paper towels. Repeat for remaining cutlets.

Toss salad with dressing; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm chicken with salad and lemon wedges for squeezing over. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Best Ever

Blueberry Pancakes
3/4 Cup wheat flour
1/2 Cup white flour
1 TSP Baking powder
1/2 TSP salt
2 TBS sugar
1 Egg
1 1/4 Cup low-fat milk
2 TBS unsweetened applesauce
3/4 Cup blueberries, plus more for serving

I guess I out did myself this morning, because Rich said these pancakes were the best pancakes he ever had...ever!!  That's a bold statement to make since I'm always making pancakes on the weekends and I've probably made dozens of different kinds.  I have tried many recipes from scratch, experimenting with different ingredients and toppings.  I have even been guilty of using pancake mixes. But these may just be the best (and healthiest) I've made to date.  I love the texture of whole wheat pancakes, but adding some white flour keeps these from becoming too dense.  While you can certainly use oil, applesauce is an excellent substitute and reduces the fat content (then you can splurge on the butter and syrup). 

In a large bowl mix the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Beat the egg, milk and applesauce in a separate bowl.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries.  Cook in batches on a griddle or hot pan. 

I like to serve with fresh blueberries and bananas (I love the combination of the two) and a healthy dose of pure maple syrup.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Salt & Pepper

Vegan Chinese Salt and Pepper Tofu
Adapted from Veggie Belly
1 Block extra firm tofu, drained
4 TBS corn starch
1/2TSP or to taste freshly cracked black pepper
Sea salt
Peanut oil for frying

Salt and pepper are essentials in every cook's kitchen. These basic seasonings should be at the base of every savory dish, but can easily stand on their own.  Amazingly, just a little bit of fresh cracked pepper and good sea salt transforms a usually bland ingredient like tofu. This simple preparation can be enjoyed with a dipping sauce, but they are quite delicious on their own hot off the pan. Frying in vegetable or canola oil is fine, but using peanut oil adds a nice nutty flavor.
Pat dry the drained tofu. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Place the tofu cubes in a large bowl. Add corn starch, salt and pepper. Gently toss till the tofu pieces are very well coated.

In a skillet, pour enough oil so that it comes up 1/2 inch. Heat over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the tofu in batches. If you fry too many at once they won’t crisp up. Fry the tofu pieces, flipping them around, so that all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately with stir-fried veggies, rice and a dipping sauce of your choice.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Star-Spangled Dinner

Saucy and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
2 LBS chicken breasts and thighs, bone-in and skin on
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 Red onion, diced
1 Green bell pepper, diced
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1 7 OZ can chipotle chilies in adobo
1 14 OZ can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 Cup BBQ sauce
1 Cup of water
Whole wheat buns

In celebration of our independence I'm making an all-American feast, and what is more American then BBQ and coleslaw?  I'm putting a twist on pulled pork sandwiches by slow cooking chicken in a spicy and smoky sauce.  A classic, creamy coleslaw is perfect to balance the heat from the chicken.  For a little sweetness, I'm making baked sweet potato fries.

Heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Generously season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Brown in batches and set aside.  Lower the heat and add the onions, peppers and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and cover.  Let the vegetables cook down for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the chilies, tomatoes, BBQ sauce and water.  Put the chicken back in, making sure its completely covered, and bring to a boil.  Cover, then reduce the heat and let cook for 1-1/2-2 hours. Remove chicken (bones too) and turn off the heat.  Let the sauce cool down, then puree in a blender until smooth. Once the chicken has cooled slightly, shred the meat.   Return the sauce to the pot, add the shredded chicken.  Keep on low heat until ready to serve.

Pile the meat high onto toasted buns.  Serve with extra BBQ sauce and all the fixin's.   

Leftover Alert:  Use the leftover chicken in a soft taco with avocado and pickled onions!

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About Me

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.