Creamy Garlic Basil Chicken and Asparagus

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Creamy Garlic Basil Chicken and Asparagus
slightly adapted from Diethood

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil

For the sauce:

  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated or finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Method

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon dried basil. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Flip the chicken and cook for about 8 more minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Combine evaporated milk, flour, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined.

Add the prepared sauce to the hot skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in prepared asparagus, place the chicken back in the pan, and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and chicken is heated through.

Remove from heat. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice, pasta, or potatoes.

NOTES

HOLY MOLY THIS WAS GOOD. Almost unexpectedly so. This is immediately going on the menu again for next week. And every spring/asparagus season forever and ever amen.

Carne Guisada

IMG_3010Carne Guisada
with thanks to My Cocina, My Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin or chuck steak, cut into strips or small chunks
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 serrano pepper, slightly toasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups beef broth

Method

Dredge the cubed meat in flour, coating well.

In a heavy, deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the cubed meat and brown thoroughly, stirring often.

While the meat is browning, in a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds and then add them to the molcajete (mortar and pestle). Use the same pan to toast the serrano pepper.

In a molcajete which already has the cumin, add the garlic, and black peppercorns. Grind into a paste. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir (this is to make sure you remove all the paste from the molcajete) and set aside.

Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, comino and peppercorn paste and liquid from molcajete to the pot. Add the onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano, oregano,  paprika, chili powder, and salt and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add beef broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and the mixture has cooked down to a thick sauce.

NOTES

THIS DISH. This dish is a distinct food memory of my younger years. Steve’s sister used to make this from time to time when we were young and dating and we were living with his family. She used pork instead of beef but essentially it was this dish. WHY OH WHY did I wait so long to make this myself??

This was even better than I imagined it would be. Savory, spicy, and near-addictively good. I made it with relatively lean chuck because it’s what I could find, but I think you could use almost any kind of beef. I also can’t wait to try it with pork shoulder. Served with rice, tortillas, and avocado for dinner and with rice and a fried egg for lunch the next day. Dreamy, all the way around.

Pad Kee Mao Gai

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Pad Kee Mao Gai
(Drunken Noodles with Chicken)

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped Thai bird’s eye chiles
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into strips or small chunks
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup black soy sauce
1/4 cup Golden Mountain sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
32 ounces fresh wide rice noodles

Method

Heat oil in wok over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add garlic, onion and Thai chiles. Stir fry until golden, no more than a minute.

Add chicken, fish sauce, black soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce and palm sugar (note: it will seem very saucy; don’t worry, the noodles will soak it all up later). Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add red and yellow bell peppers. Continue stir frying for 2 to 3 more minutes until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.

Turn off heat, add basil and stir until just wilted. Add the rice noodles and toss thoroughly to coat. Serve immediately.

NOTES

This recipe. This was one of the top recipes of all time when I was over on Blogger as Alosha’s Kitchen. When I posted it nearly seven years ago, I had this to say:

Oh man, it was awesome. No pretense here, no beating around the bush. This kicked ass. One bite and I was jumping for joy. I just couldn’t believe it: my pad kee mao tasted like pad kee mao!

And as far as I remember, it did. But I also remember I wasn’t very good at working with the rice noodles. So after making this all of once, I never went back to it again. I actually transformed the recipe into a stir fry over rice and let this recipe lie.

Until last night. The bag of fresh rice noodles went in the microwave… and then I spent maybe a mere 15 minutes pulling them apart one by one. Huh. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought. Or maybe my cooking skills have just gotten so much better in the last 7 years, everything feels easier than it used to. I’m going with the latter.

Either way, this recipe is not going back into obscurity. It was SO. Damn. Good. Not only does it taste like restaurant Pad Kee Mao, it tastes like Thai Nakorn‘s Pad Kee Mao. And for me and Steve, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Actually, success with this recipe means that I now have three out of our five favorite Thai Nakorn dishes – Pad Kee Mao Gai, Tom Kha Gai, and Panang Curry with Beef – down pat. Now if I could just nail down Beef Basil and Satay, we’d be all set. (Already working on it!)

Sausage, Tomato, and Pea Pasta

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Sausage, Tomato, and Pea Pasta
very slightly adapted from Good Fast Eats from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 12 oz small shaped pasta, like rotini or small shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (bulk or links, casings removed) (I used my homemade version)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (15-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Grated parmesan for serving (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes for serving (optional)

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and sausage; saute, breaking up the pork into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains and the onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Season with a couple grinds of salt and pepper, the crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Add in the tomatoes with their liquid, and chicken broth. Turn heat down to medium and gently simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the pasta is done cooking. Add the peas along with the half and half; mix and warm through.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sausage mixture until thoroughly combined. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately, with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes, if desired.

NOTES

Another winner from my dear friend Amy. Really, it was a no brainer, since I never met a sausage pasta I didn’t like. This was awesome – and, as with all the recipes from her book – quick and easy as well.

Chicken Chow Mein

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img_7175Chicken Chow Mein
courtesy of recipetin eats
serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz chow mein noodles (I HIGHLY recommend these;  you can also buy them at Target or on Amazon)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 cups green cabbage (savoy/green), finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2″ pieces, whites and green separated
  • 4 eggs, scrambled, cooked in a single layer, cut into bite-sized pieces (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Chow Mein Sauce (recipe below)

Chow Mein Sauce

  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (ordinary all purpose soy sauce OR light soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (or sherry)
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • White pepper

Method

Combine chicken and baking soda in a small bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate, then rinse chicken well and pat dry.

In the meantime, make the Chow Mein Sauce: mix together cornstarch and soy sauce, then mix in remaining ingredients. Pour 2 tbsp of Chow Mein Sauce over the chicken and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.

Prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Heat oil in wok or large fry pan over high heat. Add garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds until the garlic is golden brown and you can smell the garlic in the oil. Add chicken and stir fry until the skin is white but the inside is still raw – about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, carrot, and the white pieces of scallions. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the cabbage is just starting to wilt and the chicken is cooked through.

Add the noodles, Chow Mein Sauce, and water. Stir fry for 1 minute, tossing to coat the noodles in the sauce. Add bean sprouts, remaining scallions, and eggs. Stir through quickly then remove from heat. Serve immediately.

NOTES

Nothing to say except that this was perfect, savory, Chinese noodly goodness. 10/10 will make again. Often.

Note about the eggs: I am terrible awful not good at doing the scrambled eggs in the wok thing. If you would rather do it that way, just add them after the cabbage and chicken are cooked: make a well in the pan, pour in the eggs, scramble, let cook fully, toss with other ingredients, and continue on with the recipe. Or, you can omit them altogether.

Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole

img_7161Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole
with thanks to The Saucy Southerner

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups frozen tater tots, thawed (I weigh out about 6 servings from the bag)

Method

Heat oven to 400°F. Prepare a small casserole dish with a light coat of cooking spray.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Drain bacon fat from skillet.

In same skillet, add the beef, onion, and garlic and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain if necessary.

Stir in ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, salt, pepper, 1/4 of the crumbled bacon and 3/4 of the cheese.

Spoon into prepared casserole. Top with tater tots.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until bubbly around edges and potatoes are golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

NOTES

When I saw this, I knew immediately Steve would go crazy for it, and he did. I’ve made it three times in the last five weeks and don’t plan on putting it off the menu anytime soon. So easy, so good!

Note: the original recipe was exactly double mine, but since I only needed four servings, I cut it right in half. It scales perfectly.

 

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos

img_7025Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos
(courtesy of Belly Full, serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (16 ounce) salsa verde
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

For serving:

  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado, diced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Limes, sliced

Method

Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Season the beef with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, per side, to a nice golden brown.

Transfer meat to the slow cooker; add the salsa, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred the meat with 2 forks and stir with the liquid.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place some of the meat in each tortilla, topped with some cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

NOTES

Amazing tacos with just a few ingredients and a few minutes of effort. I was genuinely blown away by how good these were. Totally going in my back pocket for future party menus!