Szechuan Chicken and Snap Peas

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Szechuan Chicken and Snap Peas
courtesy of the book Good Fast Eats from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. snap peas
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 (8-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • cooked white rice, for serving

Method

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin, honey, and chili garlic sauce, Set aside.

Heat oil in large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add ground chicken, cook until browned and no pink remains, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in snap peas, onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the rice wine vinegar; when it is mostly evaporated, give the soy sauce mixture a stir and add it to the pan, along with the water chestnuts. Sauté for another 3-4 more minute. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve over cooked white rice.

NOTES

Gotta admit – I knew this one would be good, but I did not expect it would become one of my new favorite stir fry dishes. SO GOOD! For all its simplicity, it is just packed with flavor – and, bonus, it comes together lightning quick. Going to blast this one on repeat on my weekly menu for a while!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Sweet and Sour Chicken
courtesy of Good Fast Eats from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 (8-oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • cooked white rice, for serving

Method

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and water, until combined. Whisk in the rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and reserved pineapple juice.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Toss the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, and season with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes. Mix and continue to sauté for another 6-7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes until vegetables soften and get a bit charred. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the sweet and sour mixture, along with the pineapple chunks. Cook for another 1-2 minutes to warm through and allow sauce to thicken. Add chicken back to skillet and stir to combine.

Serve over cooked white rice.

NOTES

I cannot remember how many years it’s been since I had takeout sweet and sour – mostly because it was usually so greasy and goopy that it no longer had any appeal.

But THIS one. This is way, way better – light and fresh, easy, delicious. Big thanks to Belly Full for making me remember why I loved this dish in the first place.

One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

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One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
slightly adapted from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes with herbs, julienne cut, in oil, drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (or sub 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz) grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Method

Heat oil over medium-high in a very large skillet with a lid. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and saute until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add mushrooms and garlic to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened. Raise heat to high; add in white wine and allow to reduce by half. Pour in broth; bring to a boil.

Stir in the pasta, cover, and cook for about 9 minutes, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed.

Uncover and mix in chicken, sun dried tomatoes, and lemon zest. Season with the red pepper flakes and a few grinds of salt and black pepper, to taste. Add in cream and warm through. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, and parsley.

Serve immediately.

NOTES

This was AMAZING. Pictures do not do it justice. Nothing I could say about it could do it justice. All I will say is that of the 29 recipes I have posted so far this year, this might top the list as my new favorite of 2016. Go. Make. This.

Chipotle Cheddar Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

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Chipotle Cheddar Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
with recipe inspiration from Thyme for Cocktails

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz medium shells
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Method

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, sauté 2-3 minutes. Mix in garlic, chipotle peppers, adobe sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for another minute.

Stir in stock and pasta, bring to a boil and simmer 7-8 minutes. Add broccoli and water, then cover and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Uncover, reduce heat to low. Mix in half and half and cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in reserved chicken. Serve.

NOTES

Sooooo proud of this one. I came up with the meal idea on my own (with inspiration from a tumblr friend who posted about the evol brand chipotle mac and cheese) and, with very few reference points to start from on the internet, made a one-pot wonder that combined this gal’s Chipotle Chicken Mac and Cheese Skillet flavors with the methods and ratios of my tried and true Skillet Chicken and Broccoli Pasta.

The result is SPECTACULAR. Saucy, spicy, cheesy goodness, without at all being too heavy. Another recipe I will be making for life.

 

Creamy Salsa Chicken

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Creamy Salsa Chicken
adapted from Dinners, Dishes & Desserts

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Method

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add seasonings, salsa, water, and corn to the pan and stir to combine. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

NOTES

My kind of meal: one pan, 20 minutes, simple, totally delicious. I served it over Spanish rice with a warmed, rolled up corn tortilla on the side. This one is definitely going on repeat!

General Tso’s Chicken

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General Tso’s Chicken
gently adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1-1/4 lb bonesless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into about 1-1/2″ chunks
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, for frying

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

For the rest of the dish:

  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I use a tablespoon of the oil I used to fry the chicken)
  • 10 whole dried red chile peppers
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Scallions, for garnish (optional)
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Method

For the chicken:

Combine sesame seeds, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Pour flour in a shallow dish; dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and set aside.

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium high. Fry the chicken in small batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Set aside.

For the sauce:

In a small bowl, stir together shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. In another small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.

For the rest of the dish:

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Alternatively, you can cook the broccoli in a large pot with a steamer insert, about 5 minutes, until nearly cooked through. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

Heat a clean wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil along with the dried chiles. Cook the chili peppers for about 10 seconds, then add the sauce, along with the chicken stock or water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then stir in the cornstarch slurry until it thickens to a sauce. Add the chicken, toss a few times, then add the broccoli and stir until everything is well-coated.

Serve immediately with steamed rice. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

NOTES

One of those recipes on my list that I’ve been meaning to try for years and wow, this is unbelievably delicious. Steve and I agreed we could eat a bowl of the chicken alone, no vegetables, no rice. Happiness in a bowl. The funny thing is, with its typically gloppy and/or sweet appearance, I’ve never actually bothered to order this at a Chinese-American restaurant – and I imagine now I never will!

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Risotto

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Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Risotto
adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or water)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Method

Heat the stock over medium heat.

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add the other 1/2 tablespoon oil, then add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and saute until barely translucent, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir until the rice absorbs it. Add 1/2 cup of stock, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the stock; repeat until all stock has been added and the rice is al dente. This process should take about 25 minutes. During the last addition of stock, add the asparagus to cook until tender.

Stir in the scallions, lemon zest, parmesan, basil and parsley. Taste and season with more salt or pepper, if needed. Add the tablespoon of butter along with the reserved chicken, and toss to melt the butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

NOTES

During the last three Aprils (i.e., the last three good asparagus seasons), I have attempted to create a one-pot dish involving chicken, lemon, and asparagus with rice, but I couldn’t quite get a final dish to match up to exactly what was in my head. Then my friend Sarah posted this Lemon Chicken Risotto, and I realized – *smacks forehead* – that the answer was making an all-in-one risotto rather than a one-pot served over rice. It seems so obvious now because this is IT. This is what I’ve been aiming for all this time. Spring in a bowl and a recipe for keeps.