Sweet and Spicy Crispy Chicken Thigh Sandwiches

Sweet and Spicy Crispy Chicken Thigh Sandwiches

Sweet and Spicy Crispy Chicken Thigh Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1-½ lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat

1 egg

⅔-¾ cup corn starch

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsps honey

2 tsps chili sauce or sriracha (more or less to your liking)

1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips

½ red onion, finely diced

4 handfuls baby spinach or spring mix

4 wraps or sandwich rolls

Salt 

Method:

Heat the oven to 400.  Place the egg, whisked, in a bowl, and the corn starch, with about a tsp of salt, into another.  Line a baking sheet and then place a cooling rack onto it. Dip each thigh into the egg and then dredge it through the corn starch.  Place the coated thighs onto the rack/tray set up. Put this into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and return to the oven for another 15/20, until the thighs are cooked through and the coating is lightly browned and crispy.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the mayo, vinegar, honey and spicy sauce.  

To assemble the wrap or sandwich, start with a pile of greens, then the chicken. Top with the pepper strips, onions, and sauce.

Speedy Weeknight Bolognese

Speedy Weeknight Bolognese

If you know anything about bolognese, you know it is usually a long cooking, time intensive endeavor. This one is quicker cooking, meant for quick get-it-on-the-table nights, but no less flavorful. Courtesy of my daughter, Charlotte Kilroy, the master of wing-it cooking.

Ingredients:

1 lb long pasta – spaghetti, fettuccini, etc

1 lb ground beef

2 cloves garlic

1 small/medium onion

1 carrot

1 stalk celery, peeled

1 bay leaf

¾ cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup tomato paste

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

⅓ cup wine (optional)

salt

Method:

Process in a blender or food processor the garlic, onion, carrot and celery to a coarse puree, or finely minced.  Heat a saute pan over medium. Give the beef a generous sprinkle of salt and cook until almost cooked through but still a bit pink.  Remove from the pan and add the minced vegetables. Cook these until soft and aromatic, about 5-7 minutes. Add beef back in as well as the ½ cup chicken broth and the wine, if using.  Cook this down for a few minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, herbs, cream and the rest of the broth. Simmer this for 20-25 minutes on low heat. While it is simmering, cook the pasta.  When it is done, remove the bay leaf from the sauce, then use tongs to move the pasta from the water to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat well.

Chicken and Broccoli Honey Sriracha Quinoa

Chicken and Broccoli Honey Sriracha Quinoa

Ingredients:

1-½ lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces

5-6 cups broccoli florets

1 cup quinoa

2 tbsps butter, melted

2 tbsps honey

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsps (or more, to taste) sriracha

Oil for the pan

Salt  

Method:

Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water into a pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, heat a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until the florets are tender but still have a hint of crunch left.  Remove these to a bowl then return the pan to the heat. Add a little more oil, followed by the chicken pieces. Give these a generous sprinkling of salt and a stir. Cook the chicken for as little as 5 minutes or as much as 10-12, depending on how large or small you cut your pieces and how crowded or not they are in the pan.  When they are cooked, turn off the heat and return the broccoli to the pan.

In a bowl that can fit all components, mix the butter,honey, soy sauce, and sriracha.  Add in the chicken, broccoli, and quinoa. Toss until it is all well coated. Taste to make any flavor adjustments before serving.

Curry Lentil Balls

Curry Lentil Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 cups stock, divided

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp grated ginger

4 tsps curry powder, divided

2 tsps cumin, divided

1 tsps garlic powder

½ cup rolled oats

1 egg

3 tbsps tomato paste, divided

2 tbsps yogurt

Large handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped

½ cup almonds, whole, slivered, or sliced

2 tbsps butter

Salt

Oil

3-4 cups cooked rice

Method:

Place the lentils and 2 cups of the stock, as well as ½ cup of water, into a pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until they are tender but not mushy.  Scoop about ⅔ of these into a blender or food processor. Add to this 1 tbsp of the tomato paste, 2 tsps curry powder, 1 tsp cumin, the garlic powder, oats, egg, and a large pinch of salt. Pulse this until it is mostly smooth but not totally.  Remove all but about a tbsp of this into a bowl and mix in the rest of the lentils. Heat the oven to 375. Roll the mixture into about 2 inch balls and place onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. While they bake, start the sauce by heating a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add to this the remaining 2 tbsps of tomato paste, 2 tsps curry powder, 1 tsp cumin and a large pinch of salt and cook another minute or two. Pour in the remaining cup of stock, then add all this to the blender with the reserved tbsp of lentil mixture.  Add the yogurt and almonds. Blend until smooth. Return this to the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the spinach and butter. Once the butter has melted, take off heat and taste to adjust salt level. Serve the lentil balls and sauce over the rice, topped with more almonds, if desired.

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit…

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit…

…the more you eat, the better for you, and the planet. A bit ago I ran across an article that was extolling the virtues of increasing bean consumption and reducing intake of red meat. Most of us at this point know about the health benefits of keeping meals of lean red meat to only once or twice a week at the most. Increasingly, however, it is being talked about as a choice for the planet,as well. Raising livestock for food contributes to environmental troubles in various ways, including increased methane, forest clear cutting, and transportation resources. Reducing consumption and/or switching to small production, local, grass fed beef can have a positive impact.

Though my family does not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, I see the appeal and benefit and we do try to limit our meat intake. For boosting protein intake as well as satiety and overall nutrition, I try to cook with beans as often as my family will put up with. Lentils, garbanzos, black, white – we love them all. It is hard to pick a favorite bean dish, but today I choose to share one way I love to prepare black eyed peas. If you want to up the bean level in your life, this is a good start.

Black-Eyed Peas With Tomatoes and Capers

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced

4 large tomatoes (one 28 oz can if making this off season)

2 cans black eyed peas, drained mostly but not totally

2 tsps dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh

2 tbsps capers

Olive oil

Scant salt

Pepper

2 cups of your favorite cooked grain/grain-like food

Method:

Heat a skillet over medium and coat lightly with olive oil.  Add the onions and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook another 5 minutes. Toss in the black eyed peas and capers and stir in until just heated through.  The dish likely will need very little or no salt, due to the capers, but add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve over your grain of choice.  I prefer whole wheat couscous but this is equally delicious over rice, orzo, farro, riced cauliflower, etc, etc, or scooped onto crusty bread.

Shake off the Winter Doldrums With Spring On a Pizza

Shake off the Winter Doldrums With Spring On a Pizza

Welp, there it is. My first grass covered sneaker Saturday morning – the first of plenty. Cutting the grass is one of those chores that I not only don’t mind, but actually kind of enjoy, especially at the beginning of the season. I get so tired of the gray by the end of the winter. When all the green starts returning I kind of turn into this

(Just ignore the fact that these were taken in winter – dogs just get excited all the time – they don’t know any better.)

The spring air and the influx of color definitely give me an energy boost.

I feel the same way in the stores at this time of year. New green abundance shows up – asparagus, watercress, fiddleheads (here in the North East, anyway – idk about other parts of the country), artichokes, peas. So yum and inspiring! There are so many great ways to use these, in salads, pastas, dips, sandwiches. Today, though, calls for pizza. It’s a weekend afternoon, we’ve worked hard and now it is time for some tasty, healthy comforting spring on a plate. When you try this out, feel free to use your favorite pizza dough recipe,or alternative – cauli-crust, gluten free, etc – or use this one that I like. Hopefully you can eat it surrounded by green and flowers and with your grassy sneakered feet up.

Spring Fling Pizza

Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ pizza dough recipe

12 oz ricotta cheese

About 10 thin or 8 large stalks of asparagus, woody ends cut or snapped off, stalks shaved or cut thinly

1 ½ cups watercress

2-3 oz prosciutto

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1 scallion, sliced

Several tbsps chopped fresh dill

Olive oil

Pepper

Method:

Heat oven to 450.  Stretch and/or roll out the pizza dough into a circle or rectangle and place it onto a lined or oiled pan.  Brush some olive oil over the pizza then spread the ricotta over it. Crack some pepper all over the cheese.  Next, pile on the asparagus and watercress. Place the prosciutto around on top of the vegetables then sprinkle on the dill.  Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned in spots. Remove from the oven and scatter the radishes and scallion over the top before serving.

Note: I have written this in a way that is meant to work in any kitchen with any supplies.  If you have a pizza stone and peel or backyard pizza oven or some other perfect set up, then by all means use your best available method.  This pizza (as any, imho) would be delicious on the grill.

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