Chicken Satay Skewers

Chicken Satay Skewers
So, just trying to find more quick dinners that are great. Here’s one that I found in Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes, though I only used the skewers from the full menu outlined there. But they are good and easy and fast, and I love that he doesn’t ask that the chicken be marinated, because I’m never on the ball enough to do that! I paired this chicken with sticky rice and peanut sauce and lemon-cucumber salad, soaking the rice first, then putting it on, then salting the cucumbers, then cooking the chicken, and finally the peanut sauce and some cut fruit. The recipe, of course, is Oliver’s language, not mine, but I love it.

Chicken Satay Skewers

½ a small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 fresh red chili
½ a clove of garlic
3 heaped tablespoons good-quality crunchy peanut butter
soy sauce
a 2″ piece of fresh ginger
2 limes

4  skinless chicken breasts
runny honey, for drizzling

1.Turn the grill on to full whack. Lay 4 wooden skewers in a tray of cold water to soak (if they float, use a plate to weight them down). Put the standard blade attachment into the food processor.

2. Put the cilantro (stalks and all) into the food processor with the chili (stalk removed), peeled garlic, 3 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter and a lug of soy sauce. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and add. Finely grate in the zest of both limes, then squeeze in the juice from 1 of them. Add a couple of splashes of water and whiz to a spoonable paste. Season to taste. Spoon half into a nice bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, put the rest aside.

3. Line the chicken breasts up on a plastic board, alternating ends, and close together. Gently and carefully push the skewers through the breasts. Slice between the skewers to give you 4 kebabs. Thread any stray pieces on the ends of the skewers. To make the chicken crispier you can score it lightly on both sides. Scoop the rest of the satay mix from the processor into a roasting tray, add the chicken skewers and toss with your hands to coat, rubbing the flavor into the meat. Clear away the board and wash the knife and your hands. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt. Put on the top shelf of the oven, under the grill, for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.

4. Turn the skewers over, drizzle with a little runny honey and put back under the grill for 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Take the chicken to the table with a bottle of soy sauce and a few wedges of lime for squeezing over.


Mitzi’s Chicken Fingers

Mitzi Chicken 1I like dinners that cook relatively quickly, and I like using chicken breasts, because it seems like all stores really just want to sell boneless chicken breasts, so it’s great to have many uses for them. This recipe is a great one for both those reasons, and because it really is terrific tasting. I don’t know that I will want to buy chicken fingers again, because I can’t imagine them being better than these! I also love the simple instructions, and the fact that they work! Incidentally, don’t double the seasoning–it turns out to be way too strong. From Saveur Magazine, September 2011 (there’s a dipping sauce on the original recipe, too, but we just make a honey mustard, use ketchup or barbecue sauce).

Mitzi’s Chicken Fingers

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3″-long-by-1″-wide strips
1 T. sugar
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
1½ t. garlic powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard powder
1 c. flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. finely ground fresh breadcrumbs or panko
Canola oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, toss together chicken, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and mustard; set aside. Place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes; set aside. Pour oil to a depth of 2″ into a 6-qt. Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat until deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Working in batches, coat chicken in flour, shake off excess, and dip in eggs; coat in breadcrumbs. Fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken. Serve with dipping sauce.

Coconut-Lime Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe, from Martha’s March 2012 Everyday Food, is so easy and so lovely. I can’t find it on Martha’s site yet (?!!), so I’m typing it up. The ingredients

A very white soup--the cilantro helps!

came together quickly, and the taste has the Thai sweet, salty, and sour combo. Really, really good. I served this soup with little chicken sandwiches with cucumber, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, and shredded green onions. Kind-of a mix of cuisines, but a fun dinner. And, if it matters for you, this soup is gluten-free.

Coconut-Lime Chicken Noodle Soup

6 oz. dried flat rice noodles
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4″ rounds
1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
6 T. lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 T. fish sauce
2 t. light brown sugar
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
3/4 c. packed fresh cilantro leaves

1. Soak rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain.

2. In a large pot, bring broth and ginger to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk to broth and return to a simmer. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, and 1/2 c. cilantro; cook one minute. Stir in noodles and serve immediately, topped with 1/4 c. remaining cilantro.

Serves 4

Quick, Flavorful Chicken Tacos

With cilantro, avocado & tomatoes

Here’s another great recipe from the Best of ATK 2011 Annual. If you’re looking for something easy to prepare tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo, here’s the ticket. The sauce comes together fast, but is so great, my husband was licking the skillet. Really. This recipe is a perfect weeknight meal.

Quick & Flavorful Chicken Tacos

2 T. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 t. yellow mustard
salt and pepper
12 (6-in.) flour tortillas, warmed
Toppings for serving: shredded lettuce, grated cheese, diced avocado, tomato, and sour cream

1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chipotles and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 c. cilantro, the orange juice, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until the chicken registers 160-165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 c., about 5 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and return it to the skillet. Add the remaining cilantro to the skillet and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the tortillas (and other toppings, if desired).

Spicy Chicken and Cheese Tamales with Jalapeno

These tamales may be my most favorite food of all-time. I love them, but I remember them to be time-intensive, which frequently puts me off from making them. However, yesterday I

actually timed myself, and they don’t take nearly the time I had remembered. In fact, although I had tripled the recipe, the tamales were all steaming within 1 1/2 hours. So, not a quick and easy meal, but definitely do-able when the occasion calls for it. And, oh my, I think these are amazing. This recipe comes from an older copy of Joy of Cooking.

Note: I have ceased using corn husks when I make these because they are a lot more time consuming. Rather, I wrap them in aluminum foil, and they work perfectly. Not a beautiful

presentation, but very functional, less leakage, and clean-up. So I’m a fan. You should try both, but I would actually suggest using foil if you have never made tamales before.

This recipe makes 8 tamales. So definitely double it. (They freeze really well, if for some strange reason they don’t all get consumed.) I should also add that although the chicken has a little kick to it, the tamales are actually quite mild.

Spicy Chicken and Cheese Tamales with Jalapeno

For Tamale dough
4 medium ear fresh corn or 1 can corn (app. 1 1/2 c.)
2/3 c. instant grits
2/3 c. yellow cornmeal [you can substitute the grits and cornmeal for 1 1/3 c. Instant Corn Masa, an import product which is easily found in Latin American markets and even some larger grocery stores. I have had far fewer problems using the Instant Masa than the grits/cornmeal scenario, so I prefer it]
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. boiling water [if using Instant Masa, the water just needs to be warm]
6 T. butter or lard, softened
2 T. minced, seeded fresh jalapeno

For Chicken
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
1 T. butter
1/2 c. slivered onions
1/2 c. grated Monterrey Jack cheese

If using dried corn husks, soak them in boiling water for 2 1/2 hours before using. If using fresh corn husks, soak them in boiling water for 1/2 hour, as you prepare the other ingredients.

1. In a pie dish or on a plate, mix cumin, salt, chili powder, and red pepper. Coat chicken breast in this seasoning. Set aside.

2. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a skillet (that has a lid). Add the onions, stirring, until they are tender but not browned. Add the seasoned chicken breast and brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Cover the skillet and cook chicken until it is done (reaches 165 F on an instant read thermometer), about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Puree 1 c. of corn in a food processor. In a medium, heat-resistant bowl, combine grits, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine, then add the water and stir until smooth. At this point, the tamale dough should be stiff-ish, like polenta or cooked oats (if it’s runny, you haven’t reconstituted the grains sufficiently and this will be a problem later. I suggest microwaving the mixture for a minute or two until it stiffens]. Add the butter (or lard) and beat until incorporated. Stir in the pureed corn, the 1/2 c. remaining corn, and the jalapeno, and combine well.

4. Shred the chicken by pulling it in opposite directions with two forks. (And definitely snitch some–I love this stuff!)

5. Remove husks from water (if using), pat dry, and tear 16 thin strips from 2-3 pieces of husk to tie the tamales. Arrange two husks, slightly overlapping, side by side and alternating the tips and stem ends to form a rectangle about 9 x 7 inches. Repeat until 8 rectangles are arranged (or just make 8 rectangles of foil and proceed).  In the center of the husk, spread about 1/3 tamale dough into a 4″x 5″ rectangle with the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t worry about being a perfectionist here. Then, in the center, lay 1-2 T. chicken and 1-2 T. of cheese. Repeat with all eight. Fold the long edges of the cornhusks over the filling, slightly overlapping the edges. Twist the ends and tie each end tightly with a trip of cornhusk to form a packet. (If using foil, fold the foil in half lengthwise, fold the top edge over and continue to fold until it is close to the tamale, but leave a little room for expansion. Also crease the two sides in so tamale doesn’t spill out.)

6. Place a steaming rack large enough to hold the tamales in a single layer over 1 inch boiling water, use 2 racks and pans as necessary. Cover and steam, adding more boiling water as needed, until the corn filling is puffed up inside the cornhusks, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm. (I do this in my electric skillet. I place a cookie rack in the skillet, fill the skillet with water below the rack, then heat it at 400. It works well.)

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Balsamic Chicken & Vegetables (Crock Pot)

We just moved and I finally cooked this past weekend.  Since the kitchen wasn’t completely pulled together yet, and it’s been incessantly hot and muggy here, I made two crock pot recipes.  The first is Balsamic Chicken with Spring Vegetables from one of my favorite sites A Year of Slow Cooking.

We’re doing the Farm Share again this year and I have become adept at using whatever vegetables are at hand.  Into the crock pot with about 5 boneless and skinless chicken breasts went two chopped pattypan squash, two chopped summer squash, two chopped onions, and a whole bulb’s worth of whole garlic cloves.

I served the whole thing over polenta and sprinkled with an Italian cheese mix. 

Light Chicken Parmesan

I first tried this recipe years ago, and I keep coming back to it. It’s not a typical thing for me to make, but I like it, and it

from Everyday Food

from Everyday Food

comes together really quickly, so I definitely recommend it. And I must confess to using a whole egg, because I’m just not that concerned about taking the yolk out, and it’s still great.

Click here for Martha’s recipe: Light Chicken Parmesan

I served this with polenta (essentially 1 c. cornmeal to 4 c. boiling water, cook until thickens, and then add salt and olive oil and parmesan to taste). Surprisingly, even the kids ate the polenta.

Chipotle Chicken and Rice

Natalie was gone most of Saturday and so it was up to me to conjure up something tasty for dinner. Well, actually, it wasn’t left up to me since Natalie knew I would probably wander aimlessly around the kitchen without her guidance, so before she left she pointed me in the direction of this terrific recipe from Everyday Foods. I’m a sucker for anything “adobo sauce” and this turned out to be delicious. I would say it’s definitely a keeper.

You can find the recipe here.


the folks over at Martha's sure take nice pictures

Restaurant-Style Quesadillas

The first time I made these, I was amazed at how something so simple could taste complicated and felt satisfied that this quesadilla recipe had reached perfection. These are easy enough to be a go-to recipe, and yet extremely wonderful. Enjoy!


8 flour tortillas
1 8-oz. bottle roasted red peppers, liquid drained and chopped, or 1/2 c. favorite bottled salsa
1 chipotle chile from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. cilantro, sprigs removed and roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 c. shredded chicken (optional)
2 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 T. vegetable oil

Combine chile, garlic, cilantro, and red peppers (or salsa) in a small bowl. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Brush one side of a tortilla with vegetable oil, place oil-side down in the skillet, then spread 1/4 of the chile mixture on the top of the tortilla, place a few rings of onion on top, then top with chicken and cheese. Place another tortilla on top, then place a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet on top of the quesadilla (to flatten it down and even it out during cooking). Cook for 3-4 minutes, take the pan off the quesadilla, brush the top tortilla with oil, and flip with a large spatula. Place the large skillet/pan on top of the quesadilla again and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and using a pizza cutter, slice into six pie pieces. Repeat process 3 more times to make 4 quesadillas.

Top with sour cream, quacamole, etc.

Note: These are absolutely terrific with homemade tortillas!

Crock Pot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

This winter I discovered the joys of the crock pot.  My husband and I both work until anywhere from 6:45-8:30 at night and it’s so nice to know I don’t have to come home and still figure out what we’re going to eat.  And then cook it.

One of my favorite recipe blogs is Crock Pot 365.  The author cooked something in her crock pot every day in 2008, and then wrote a recipe book.  As you do.  I haven’t tried nearly all the recipes I want to from her site, but there’s a standby that I keep coming back to again and again: Crock Pot Rotisserie-Style Chicken.

The chicken is juicy and amazingly tender and flavorful.  Jason (the husband) proclaimed it the best chicken ever! (We’re all about hyperbole in our house.  See my previous broccoli post.)

Like the author, I skin my chicken because the idea of the chicken skin bubbling away in the crock pot for 8 hours gives me the willies.  In fact, I recently discovered that skinning chicken is pretty darn easy and will no longer pay extra for The Man to skin my chicken.

Crock Pot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

–1 whole chicken, skinned (4-5 pounds)
–2 tsp kosher salt (if you’d like it as salty as the ones in the store, add another 1 tsp.)
–1 tsp paprika
–1 tsp onion powder
–1/2 tsp dried thyme
–1 tsp Italian seasoning
–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
–1/2 tsp black pepper
–pinch of chili pepper (probably not necessary)

–4 whole garlic cloves (optional)
–1 yellow onion, quartered (optional)

Skin the chicken and get rid of the neck and other stuff from the cavity.

In a bowl, combine all of dried spices. Rub the spice mixture all over the bird, inside and out. Plop the bird breast-side down into the crockpot.

If desired, shove 4 whole garlic cloves and a quartered onion inside the bird.

Do not add water.

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8. The meat is done when it is fully cooked and has reached desired tenderness. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat.