Archive for the 'chicken' Category

Coconut Curry-Marinated Chicken

Yes, chicken. For the first time on this blog in over a year. I didn’t eat it, but I wanted to surprise Mike on Valentines Day and chicken was definitely a surprise. (Vegetarians…don’t abandon me yet, this marinade would be FANTASTIC with tofu!)

Only good things in the marinade: coconut milk, curry powder, turmeric, garlic, fish sauce (vegetarian fish sauce is obviously a great choice if you’re making this for tofu), and cilantro. Perfection.

I would like to take a moment now to show you once again why I live in California. I know this is obnoxious. This is a picture from my run on Saturday morning, when we were in San Luis Obispo.

And here’s another:

The giant downside here is that I planned to run 16 miles but Mike had to come pick me up after just over 8 because my stupid IT band was not cooperating. Only 8.5 weeks til Boston… I’m starting to get a little nervous. But I’m also starting to be WAY more militant about doing my exercises and stretches and icing every single day.

We went back to our old house (it’s actually 9 apartments) for a double birthday party this weekend and it was fantastic.

Clearly they had all the essentials, and I definitely ate more than my fair share of chips. It’s a good thing I never buy chips.

Happy Birthday Darryl!

My friend made a blueberry-topped cheesecake, and left one candle in it for good luck (I’d never heard that tradition before).

Okay so back to the chicken. I bought a package of 3 leg-thigh pieces. I’m not sure how much it weighed, but this was plenty of marinade. I would think it would be enough for 4 bone-in breasts as well, and it’s definitely easy to multiply if you’re making more.

I started it on the grill pan and finished it in a 425 degree oven until it was 165 degrees F (about 35 minutes). If you have a real barbecue it would be GREAT grilled, but this worked well too and Mike LOVED it. He said it had great flavors that reminded him of Thailand. Exactly what I was going for! I served it with Papaya Salad and Thai-Style fried rice made with onions and tomatoes.

Of course it all had to be served with sweet chili sauce!

(adapted from allrecipes)

3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or vegetarian fish sauce if you’re cooking tofu…soy sauce might be OK too)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
2-3 lbs chicken pieces

Mix the coconut milk, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, turmeric, and curry powder together well, the pour over chicken and turn to coat. Marinate covered in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours.

Preheat a grill or grill pan (if using a grill pan, also preheat the oven to 425 F). Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, then transfer to an oven (or keep on the grill) until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Tempeh (or chicken) Tacos with Habanero Salsa Fresca

Sometimes I like making dinner so much I get to do it twice in one night. Or, more realistically, Mike is a whole lot more excited about chicken than he is about tempeh, so I end up figuring out how to make a recipe two ways. (Although he did end up admitting that the tempeh was really good!)

If you’re looking over the recipe thinking that soy sauce seems out of place in a marinade for tacos, I can relate. I had the same thought, but forged ahead anyway and the results were delicious. Of course you don’t have to make this salsa to go with these, but I think fresh homemade salsa is so much better than store bought that I always make it from scratch.

1 8 ounce package tempeh, cut in 1/2″ thick slices OR 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon

nonstick spray
corn tortillas
sour cream
shredded cheese or crumbled queso fresco
habanero salsa (below)

To make the marinade, mix all ingredients except tempeh or chicken.
If using tempeh: Put the slices in boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, then drain and toss with the marinade. Put in a ziploc bag in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Heat a skillet and spary with nonstick spray. Cook the tempeh for a few minutes on each side, or until slightly browned.

If using chicken, just put the chicken in a bag, pour in the marinade, and chill at least 2 hours.
Bake the chicken in a foil packet in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until done.
Let cool slightly, then shred with a fork.

Heat the corn tortillas in a 300 degree oven (I just put them directly on the rack) for a few minutes, or until warm and pliable. Assemble tacos with desired accoutrements.

3 large, ripe Roma tomatoes
1 habanero pepper
juice of half a lime
a few pinches salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 white onion, chopped

Soak the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes, then drain in a mesh strainer.
Stir all ingredients together and adjust salt and lime juice to taste. I don’t bother peeling or seeding the tomatoes, I just cut the little area around the stem out and go to town!
I like to let the flavors mellow in the fridge for about an hour before I eat this, but that part is optional.

NOTE: Habaneros are pretty spicy. If you’re not up for that, this salsa can be made milder with half a diced jalapeno, seeds removed.

Asian Spa Salad


There is a mediocre (at best) restaurant in the town where I went to college, and I’m now ashamed when I think about how often I ate there. I always ordered the Asian Spa Salad which, in retrospect, was really pretty terrible: a bunch of iceberg lettuce in a fat free, chemical-laden, overly sweet dressing with chunks of rubbery chicken.

I realized that the idea of the salad was great – light and healthy with lots of lean protein, vegetables and a nice orange-soy flavored dressing – but the execution left a lot to be desired. To say that this is a big improvement on that horrendous salad is a gross understatement!

Weekends are my cooking project time. Last weekend it was vegan arroz con leche with brown rice (still working the kinks out of that one), and this weekend it was the Asian Spa Salad (new and improved). I started with Napa cabbage, but realized it looks a little anemic on its own.

I added some spinach because it’s just so healthy and beautiful and green.

There are also some thin slices of green onion in there.

For the dressing, I boiled some orange juice, soy sauce, and mirin until it was nice and syrupy (and finally broke my streak of adding sugar to salad dressing!) I marinated some chicken in soy sauce and chopped garlic and let it sit for about 8 hours. If you think marinades need to be fancy, complicated affairs with multiple spices, vinegars, oils, and fruit juices, think again! This 2-ingredient marinade was absolutely perfect.

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts*
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups shredded spinach (cut the leaves into strips)
3 tbsp thinly sliced green onion
1 medium carrot, shaved into strips with a vegetable peeler
2 tsbp sesame seeds

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

*I prefer bone-in, skin-on because I think the meat cooks up nicely and I love having bones around to use in stock. But if you prefer, boneless skinless will be fine – they will just cook faster.

Put the soy sauce, garlic, and chicken in a shallow bowl and turn the chicken pieces to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
Cook the chicken in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes (check after about 20 if you’re using boneless-skinless) or until the internal temperature is 165 F.
Remove and set aside to cool.

While the chicken is in the oven, boil the orange juice, soy sauce, and mirin together until thick, syrupy, and reduced by half. Remove from the heat to cool, then stir in the sesame oil.

Pull the skin off the chicken and cut the meat off the bone. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Toss together the cabbage, spinach, carrot, green onions, and add the dressing.
Toss in the chicken, then sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Brown Rice Salad with Spinach and Balsamic Chicken


I read a LOT of food blogs on a regular basis, and I’m starting to see a trend: I gravitate towards blogs with a) fantastic, beautiful pictures and b) original recipes. This is because my blog usually has c) none of the above (but I’m working on it! I really am) and I’m hoping that I’ll learn a thing or two from the blogs that inspire me so much.

A few months ago my husband challenged me to come up with one (or more) new, original recipe each week. Because we were traveling the last 5 months, I couldn’t stick with it, but now that I’m back to cooking daily, I’m taking up the challenge once again.


Today’s recipe was inspired by the bag of brown rice I recently purchased, and the beautiful bunches of spinach at the market. Since I pack my lunch every day, I knew I wanted to make something filling and nutritions, that could be eaten straight from the container without needing a spin in the microwave. I marinated some chicken in a little balsamic vinegar, cooked it up with some browned onions, and tossed that with citrus-scented brown rice, some raw spinach, and toasted walnuts. I know that sounds like a jumbled mess of flavors, but they come together really well.

1 cup brown rice
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups washed spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Combine the brown rice, water, and orange juice and cook (on the stove top or in a rice cooker).
Toss the chicken with the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat (shake the pan to keep the nuts from burning) and remove when fragrant.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Over low heat, cook the onion, stirring minimally, until translucent. Add the sugar, give the onions one good stir, and continue cooking until onions are browned (about 15 minutes).
Add the chicken to the onions and turn the heat up. Cook, stirring, until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Put the chicken and walnuts in a serving bowl and top with the spinach.
Put the cooked rice on top of the spinach and let sit for a few minutes so the spinach wilts slightly.
Toss, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Broccoli-Almond Chicken

Home ec class, Hollywood Senior High School, Nedlands, Western Australia.
That’s where, in the fall of 1997, I fell in love with cooking. I had cooked periodically before that, but that was the first time I got to do everything myself, start to finish. I was in heaven.
One of the first things we made in that class was stir fry. And for months, I stuck with the recipe I learned. It was good, but basic, and it got pretty old. That’s one of my gripes about stir-fry. Too often, it’s just the same mix of vegetables with the same flavor of sauce.
But with my extraordinarlily limited batterie de cuisine, stir fry is one of the things I can actually make, so I have made it my personal mission to come up with more interesting stir fry. Like this one.
I love the broccoli and almond combination, and I dressed it up with a lemon-based sauce. It’s a great, simple stir fry, and it’s just crying out to be served over brown rice.
A little note about lemon zest… I do not have a zester. I don’t even have a grater. But I improvised a little and came up with passable zest using just my knife. Check it out!
Cut thin pieces of peel, avoiding the white part as much as possible
Cut those pieces into thin strips
Chop the strips into little pieces. It doesn’t look as pretty as lemon zest, but if you chop the pieces fine enough, you get the flavor and don’t notice that you’re eating lemon peel.

Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbps broth or water
1 tsp cornstarch

Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.

Stir Fry:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb boneless-skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 a small yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1/3 cup almonds, cut in half lengthwise

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken, onion, and ginger, and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through.
Add the broccoli florets and a few tablespoons of water. Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender.
Add the sauce and almonds, and stir until sauce has thickened and coats the chicken and broccoli.
Serve over brown rice.

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Bacon

As I try to become a better cook, I look for recipes with techniques I haven’t tried.  This one called for braising, which I had never done, and included bacon, mushrooms, red wine, and pearl onions.  I love all of those things!  The dish has amazing flavor, and is a perfect hearty dinner for chilly fall nights.  You’ll dirty a few dishes, but it’s definitely worth it!

Since you can make this in a braising pan as well, I’m submitting it to the November Tasty Tools at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

(adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider)

8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed and chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
black pepper

20 pearl onions, peeled
2 thick slices bacon, diced
3 tbsp flour
1 3-lb chicken, skinned and cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup port
1 1/2 cups dry red wine

To make the mushrooms:
Heat the oil in a skillet until hot.  Add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and thyme, and saute for about 3 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the wine, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 or 15 minutes.  

To make the chicken:
Cook the bacon in a small skillet over low heat, for about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon grease.
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper
Spread the flour on a plate and dip each piece of chicken in it, shaking off any excess.
Heat the bacon grease over medium-high in a dutch oven or other large, heavy pan.  Saute the chicken in batches until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a platter.
Add the port and wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced slightly.  
Turn the heat to medium-low.
Stir in the bacon and pearl onions and add a few pinches of salt.
Add the chicken pieces and cook, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces to a serving dish and keep warm.  Simmer the sauce until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms during the last 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Chicken Peanut Stew and Injera

I have wanted to make this recipe for awhile, and it definitely did not disappoint!  While the cookbook says to serve it over rice, I really wanted to make injera.  For those not familiar with Ethiopian food, Injera is a large, spongy flatbread used to scoop up stew.  

This injera recipe is quick and good, but the product is not identical to what you find in Ethiopian restaurants.  It uses buckwheat flour instead of teff, and isn’t as sour.  However, it still works really well and is a nice stand-in for the real thing

Chicken Peanut Stew

(adapted from Discovery of a Continent by Marcus Samuelsson)
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 jalapenos
1 2″ piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 by leaf
a few pinches white pepper
2 cups water
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz spinach, washed well and stems removed
Combine the onion, carrot, jalapenos, ginger, bay leaf, white pepper, and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken thighs, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  
Add the chicken and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is simmering, toast the peanuts in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden brown.  Let cool, then grind 1/2 cup of them in a blender to make a smooth paste.  Set aside.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and set aside.  
Transfer the vegetables into a food processor (remove the bay leaf) and puree until smooth.  Set the broth aside.
Heat the oil in a medium frying pan.  Add the potatoes and saute until they are golden brown (about 15 minutes).  Add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides.  
Stir the vegetable puree into the broth and bring it to a boil.  Add the peanut paste and the remaining whole peanuts and stir to combine well.  Add the tomatoes, chicken, potatoes, and salt,  and simmer about 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings, then stir in the spinach until it is wilted.
Serve over rice or with Injera 
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2-2 cups club soda
Combine flours and baking soda in a medium bowl.
Add club soda, and stir to form a thin batter.
Heat a large well-seasoned skillet until hot, then brush lightly with oil.
Using a ladle, pour a circle around the edge of the pan and tilt to cover the middle.
Cook for about 2 minutes, until the surface is covered with bubbles and no longer looks wet.  Do not flip – just slide off onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter.
And…just because this is an African dish… here are two of my favorite pictures from when I was in Uganda in 2007:

Crispy Yogurt Chicken

The rumors are true! Pioneer Woman’s Crispy Yogurt Chicken is awesome.  Beyond awesome.  Someone, please help me find a new adjective.  My sixth graders so gently reminded me today that you have to vary the adjectives you use, and I overuse that one.

Anyway, about this chicken.  I loved it.  Mike loved it.  It was simple, it was really delicious, and it photographs surprisingly well, which is always a bonus.
I used plain bread crumbs instead of panko because I had them on hand.  I also skipped the butter on top (forgive me!) because it honestly seemed like overkill… and fortunately it was still plenty crispy without it.  Served with roasted broccoli and cheesy grits (you know, because I left the butter off the chicken), this was a nice hearty dinner.
(adapted from Pioneer Woman)
about 8 drumsticks
2 cups plain yogurt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
juice of one lemon
about 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Spray a glass baking dish with nonstick spray.
Mix together the yogurt, garlic, and parsley.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper liberally over the drumsticks.
Dip each drumstick in the yogurt, then breadcrumbs, coating well.  
Place in the baking dish, cover with foil, and put in the oven.
After 45 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, until nice and golden brown.

White Bean-Chicken Chili with Tomatillos

Our pantry is FULL.  We went on a few too many shopping trips to ethnic grocery stores so I am now fully stocked on a TON of spices, all kinds of dried grains and legumes, and noodles from several different international cuisines.  My challenge for this week is to use up as much of that stuff as possible to make room for fun new finds.  One of the ingredients I had to choose from was a partially-full bag of dried white beans.  With those in mind, I perused the rest of the kitchen to see what I could come up with.

I also happened to have a produce drawer full of tomatillos and and jalapenos, and two chicken breasts in the freezer.  I had seen a few recipes for white bean chili over the past couple days, and decided to try coming up with my own version.  I defrosted the chicken, and cooked up some white beans (but canned would work fine too).  It’s a pretty healthy recipe, as long as you stay away from excessive amounts of cheese or sour cream as garnish!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and chopped
3 jalapenos, stems removed and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked white beans, drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup frozen corn
In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. 
Add the onion and garlic, and cook for several minutes, until the onions are soft.
Stir in the jalapenos and tomatillos and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
Add the cubed chicken, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cumin and stir well.
Stir in the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. (The chicken should no longer be pink on the outside).
Stir in the beans and tomato paste, turn the heat down slightly, and simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes.  
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Just before serving, stir in the frozen corn and let it heat through.
Serve with sour cream or a sprinkling of grated cheese.

Donburi style chicken

This is a great way to cook chicken without adding any fat, and it gives the meat great flavor while keeping it tender.  Served over rice, it’s a delicious and simple meal with a nice amount of protein to keep you going. I added a lot of broth to my bowl, as you can see in the picture, but you can decide how you want to serve yours.

(from Japanese Home Cooking by Shunsuke Fukushima)
1 cup water
5 tbsp soy sauce
5 tbsp mirin
1 tsp instant dashi
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 oz chicken thighs, skin removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 tbsp chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
2 cups steamed rice
1 scallion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Place water, soy sauce, mirin, dashi and sugar in a shallow frying pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Bring to a boil, then add onion and chicken.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is opaque and onion is soft, 8-10 minutes.
Add parsley and gradually pour eggs over liquid in pan.  
Tilt pan so eggs cover bottom. 
Cover and cook a little longer until eggs are almost set, about 1 minute.
Remove pan from heat before eggs are completely set.
To serve, place rice in individual serving bowls and top with egg, chicken and stock mixture.
Garnish with chopped scallion.


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