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Chicken

Chicken with asparagus in wine & butter

I love cooking with wine.  Most of it makes it in the pan.  Here’s another dish, great for entertaining or just dinner.  This took me about 20 minutes to make and five seconds to eat.  You can make a healthier version by grilling, but we’re talking spring in the Pacific Northwest people.  It’s in the 40′s out there!  For today, we are pan searing indoors.

Ingredients: 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed.  2  cups white wine (I used pino grigio, but any white wine will work, even riesling). 4 tbsp butter.  1 tbsp olive oil.  1 bundle or about 1 lb. asparagus.  About 1 tsp salt.  About 1 tsp pepper.

Wash the asparagus, cut the bottom off.  To know how much to cut off, take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks.  Discard the bottoms and cut asparagus in half, place in a dish where you can soak it in 1/2 cup of wine.

Cut up chicken in strips.  Size and shape is up to you.  The smaller the pieces, the quicker it cooks.  Set heat to medium high.  Place chicken and 1 & 1/2 cups wine in pan and cover.  It should start boiling in about 5 minutes.  Mix it around and add salt and pepper.  I don’t measure.  I use rock salt and peppercorn and crank the grinder over the pan to sprinkle some on the chicken.  So 1 tsp. of each may not be enough, or too much.  Use your best judgement according to your taste and health requirements.

Mix, then cover for another 2 minutes.  Chicken should be cooked by now and wine should be almost gone (if the pan is dry and the chicken is not yet cooked, add another cup of wine for the chicken to cook in).

Increase heat to high.  Add the butter, olive oil and asparagus (with the wine it soaked in).  Mix around and cover for about 2 minutes.  Take lid off.  Sauté to mix flavors around and burn off the wine while charring parts of the chicken and asparagus (takes less than 5 minutes).  That’s it.  Plate, serve and manja!

I’ve used this as an appetizer, but I’ve also used it as a main dish with some pasta, pesto and marinara.  Either way, everyone enjoyed it.

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Roasted Chicken with Chili and Corn bread

Sometimes you want to get creative but have no time to do everything from scratch.  I have several “semi home-made” methods with store-bought roasted chicken.  Here’s what I did with it today.

My daughter and I would play “Top Chef” at home.  She would pull ingredients from the refrigerator and the pantry, then I have 30 minutes to come up with a meal… not just a dish, but a whole meal.

Unlike Top Chef, my ingredients are pretty normal.  I don’t normally have eel, black licorice or exotic mushrooms around the kitchen.  Today, she pulled these ingredients, along with some left overs from the roasted chicken we had the other day.

For those who don’t know my food blogging style, I am not as detailed as a real food blogger.  I just slap things together most of the time but feel free to ask me anything if you need more detail.  The ingredients are, corn bread mix, 2 cans of chili, 2 tbsp steak sauce, 4 tbsp bbq sauce, Baja mix veggies and roasted chicken (I normally get the herb flavored roast, but you can choose any type that will go with the sides).  Let’s get started!

  1. Cook the corn bread following the package instructions, but add 1 cup of the Baja mix veggies for every 7 oz bag of corn bread mix.
  2. Follow heating instructions of chili, adding the steak sauce and bbq sauce – depending on how you like your chili, adjust the amounts of steak sauce and bbq sauce you add.
  3. Heat up your roasted chicken in the oven, microwave or pan.
  4. Plate it up.

My favorite was how the corn bread turned out.  That was a pleasant surprise and that I was done plating under 30 minutes!  Have fun with it if you try this!  Happy cooking.

For this recipe,


Moist & Tender Chicken Ranch BBQ

Flaming Chicken1 whole chicken (Large).  Cut it up in 10 – 12 pieces.  Marinade Sauce: 1 cup Ranch dressing  and 1 cup Italian dressing (Do not use fat-free dressing).  2 TBSP sea or kosher salt.  2 TBSP garlic powder.  2 TBSP onion powder.  2 TBSP Paprika.  2 TBSP Mesquite seasoning liquid smoke.

In a pot, put all ingredients of marinade sauce and use a hand egg beater to mix well.  Piece by piece, dip chicken piece and massage in the sauce mixture until all pieces are well coated.  Now put all the chicken in the same pot and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes, covered.

Use smoking hickory chips on top of your charcoal right before placing the chicken on the grill.   Best results if charcoal is about 5 inches away from grill and if grill has a cover.  Make sure the grill’s air vents are closed before placing the chicken.  Immediately cover your grill and keep closed for at least 8 minutes.  Manage your flames to ensure you don’t burn your food.  Bring the pot you cooked in with you so you can use the juices to brush on while you BBQ or dip the chicken in there every time you turn it.  Best with the chunky & moist corn breadand a spinach salad with tomatoes and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing topped with glazed walnuts and candied cranberries.  Enjoy!


Refreshing Salsa Chicken Salad

Ingredients:  2 cups Chicken strips (1/2 X 2 inch – Baked, grilled, fried or roasted chicken breast), 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 cup chopped yellow onion, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 lime, 1 romaine lettuce, 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (Not finely crushed) and ranch dressing.  In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onions and cilantro.  Squeeze the lime over the mix and add 2 pinches of kosher salt.  Mix and set the salsa aside.  Cut up the lettuce in 1/2 inch strips, wash to clean and put in a bigger bowl.  Put in 1/4 cup ranch dressing (Depending on the size of the lettuce you may need less or more.  But use enough to coat the lettuce lightly).  Add the chicken strips and drizzle a bit more ranch to very lightly coat the chicken.  Add the salsa, and mix everything together.  Before serving, add the crushed tortilla chips and mix/toss.  Serve and enjoy!  This goes great with the garlic cheese bread.

The picture shown is a variation of this recipe.  The ranch dressing was blended with pico de gallo instead and was served without the tortilla chips because of this no carb diet I’m on.  I bought an 8 ounce tub and slowly added the ranch dressing (about 1/2 a cup).  I used a whole roasted lemon pepper chicken, de boned and cubed the meat.  I cut 2 whole romaine lettuce in 1 inch strips.  Cut up a lemon into 8 wedges.  I put all the ingredients in its own bowl and set up the assembly line.  Took less than 10 minutes to prepare, made 10 servings.


Easy Oriental Noodle Recipe

Picture by CJ Sternfels

This took me 20 minutes to prepare, using left over grilled steak.  Servings 6-8

Inspired by the Filipino dish called Pancit lomein (I think I spelled that right).  Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack.  Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked.  Follow the instructions on the package on how to cook the noodles.  I just boiled some water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 3-5 minutes and placed the cooked noodles in the strainer.  I used two forks to spread them out a bit.  Still in the strainer, I put about two tbsp Maggi seasoning, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp sesame oil and mixed it around.  Because the noodles are still hot, it sucks in the flavors.  Set aside uncovered.

If you don’t have cooked meat, you can stir fry some chicken pieces.  I’ve used de-boned and skinned thighs and used 4 to 5 thawed and fully defrosted thighs.  Slice it in stir fry size (1/2 x 1/2 X 1 inch).  Heat 1 tbsp. sesame oil on high.  Sauté 3 cloves (crushed) of garlic. 3 chives chopped (in 1/4 inch pieces) with the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until meat is cooked and browned.   Flavor with 2 tbsp oyster sauce.  Then mix in 3 bunches of bokchoy or one small Chinese cabbage (Cut in 1 inch strips) and stir for a minute.  You can use any meat and add more vegetables.  This recipe is very forgiving.  While sautéing the meat and vegetables, slowly add the noodles in until all are in the wok or pan.  Add Maggi as needed, scoop some up in a bowl and enjoy!

If you have cooked meat, prepare the same way, just takes less time to cook.


Pop’s Fried Chicken

Inspired by the Filipino fried chicken, goes great with banana ketchup!

Serving: 2-4

1 Game hen, cut in half.  Thawed, washed and patted dry.  In a ziplock bag (One with a seal and big enough to fit your meat), squeeze 1/2 small lime, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. sea salt, 4 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. cummin, 1 tsp. garlic powder.  Place meat in the bag of marinade and massage for a minute.  Place in the freezer for 20 minutes before cooking.

Cook in a skillet.  Set heat to medium high, place meat skin up with marinade in the skillet, cover for 10 minutes.  Take lid off, turn the pieces around, cover for another 10 minutes.  Take lid off (keep it off) and put heat on high.  Pan starts to dry and have some oil from the marinade.  Feel free to add a bit more oil if you have to.  Just enough to pan sear until cooked inside and the skin is a combination of gold and brown.

Great with a spinach and tomato salad with sesame ginger dressing and some steamed rice.

Enjoy!


Chicken Chutney Pita

Quick and easy.  Makes 6 servings. 5 minutes to prepare.

3 Breast Patties.
3 pieces Pita bread.
1 tomato
3 TBSP chutney
3 TBSP mayonnaise.

I purchased the cooked chicken breast at Wal-mart, but I’m sure it’s available at any grocery store in the frozen food section.  The Deshi chutney can be found in the Asian section by the Indian food, I got mine at a mediterranean grocery store.  There are several kinds of chutney, this is the green one (Coriander).  Hot is good, it gives a bit of a kick.  Pita you can get at the bread or frozen food section as well.

Heat up the chicken according to the product instruction.  While I had the 3 patties in the microwave for 3 minutes, I was heating up the pita bread on my non stick skillet, stove on high at 30 seconds each side.  Slice the tomatoes thinly.  In a bowl, mix mayo and chutney.

Spread the mayo and chutney mix on each pita bread.  Cut the pita and chicken patties in half.  On one half of the pita, place a layer of tomatoes, 2 half patties, then top it with another half pita, cut it in the middle and serve.

You can add cucumbers and lettuce if you want.  That’s it!  Easy to make and great for entertaining.


Empanadas

The Philippines has such a variety of foods, but the ones I favor most are those influenced by Spanish cuisine.  This is one of them.  I remember watching my mom make these when I was my daughter’s age.  While CJ and I were making them yesterday, memories came rushing back and it felt good.  I felt like a child again, but this time I was the mom cooking with my daughter.

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and the south of Europe. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits among others.  CLICK HERE to read more from Wikipedia.

I normally sauté  ground pork with raisins or olives for the filling.  This recipe is the “American Empanada”.  I used pre cooked Tyson chicken breast patties.  I cut each in half, placed it on the rolled dough, folded, sealed and cooked.  It’s like having your fried chicken and roll all in one.  The dough was pretty easy to make.

Ingredients:  3 cups all-purpose flour.  1 teaspoon salt.  1/4 cup lard, cut into small pieces.  1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces.  2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 cup water.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Work in the lard and butter, using your fingers. Work the egg mixture into the dough and knead until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While waiting, grab your yoga mat and do 100 sit ups and push ups.  If you’re too tired or lazy, grab a drink and the remote control and channel surf or watch Oprah.  Ok… now we’re ready to cook!

Take the pre-cooked chicken patties and cut in half.  Take the dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then place it on a floured surface and roll in 6 inch rounds.  Place the half patty on one side of each round (with the straight side facing the center – see picture),  fold it in half, and press the edges together. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork to seal.

In a deep-fryer or large skillet, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Fry in batches until golden brown (About 4-5 minutes in the deep fryer). Drain on paper towels before serving.  Serve these chicken empanadas with dipping sauce like Bbq sauce, catsup or honey mustard.  Or you can eat it commando (naked – the empanada, not you).

Making honey mustard is so easy. The ingredients are 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional). Mix and refrigerate. You can play with the measurements as we all have different preference, some like more honey, some don’t add the lemon juice.

Before serving, you can cut it in half so you don’t get yelled at for double dipping!  So take a piece, dip, open mouth and take a big bite of crunchy, juicy goodness.  Then run five miles so you can have more.  Enjoy!


Cab Sauv Swirls


This took me 30 minutes to make, using left over wine from a gathering before the holidays. Had we been home for Christmas it would have probably been consumed by now.  Servings 6-8 if served as a dish. 18-24 if served as an appetizer.

What you’ll need are a package of oriental style noodles, 1 stick of butter, 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced lengthwise (not chopped or crushed), 4 defrosted medium-sized skinned and boned chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes, 2 tbsp seasoning (looks like soy sauce and can be purchased at all Asian stores and most groceries in the Asian aisle), 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (normally used as lumpia or crab rangoon dip and can be purchased at all Asian stores and most groceries in the Asian aisle) and 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon.

LET’S COOK!

Start with the noodles. Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack. Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked. Boil 6 to 8 cups of water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 2 to 3 minutes then transfer the noodles to a strainer.  Remember, you will be adding the noodles to the rest of the ingredients later, so cooking it a little less than al dente is ok.  Using cooking shears (Or you can use any scissors, make sure it is clean enough to cut food with), I cut each clump of noodles twice (Once horizontally, once vertically) before I transfered it.  Use caution, don’t burn your hands!  Once the noodles were in the strainer, I ran it under cold water while loosening them, then I set it to the side.  In a frying pan on medium high heat, put these ingredients in this order: Wine, butter, chicken and garlic. Cover until the butter is completely melted. Mix every couple of minutes. While not mixing, keep it covered. Once the chicken is cooked, put the heat on high then add the seasoning and sweet chili sauce. Keep uncovered and stir once in a while. Once all the liquid has been reduced and the meat is starting to sizzle in the butter oil, add the noodles and mix well. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan for 5 minutes. Stir before serving.  It will look like a mess but honey, I promise you it is a delicious mess!

LET’S EAT!

If this dish is for dinner, simply serve in a bowl.  Using a fork, swirl the noodles and serve.  If you’re serving it as an appetizer, use those little disposable bamboo forks you can find in culinary stores or most groceries in the baking aisle.  Using the bamboo fork, swirl the noodles while in the pan and serve it on a small dish or a banan leaf square.  You can also serve it in a take-out Chinese food box and swirl it with chopsticks.  Just have fun with swirling it, but most of all, enjoy eating it!


Juicy Roasted Chicken Salad

Ingredients:  Store bought roasted chicken (herb, traditional, lemon goes best), ranch dressing,  1 romaine lettuce , 2 tomatoes, 12 branches cilantro and 4 plain tandoori bread.  Prep time:  10 minutes.  Take the chicken off the bone and shred or cube.  Cut lettuce to palm size.  Slice tomatoes to thumb nail size.  Pluck cilantro off its stem.  Cut tandoori in half and heat up by toaster or microwave.  Assemble:  Take a leaf of lettuce, put 2 tbsp of chicken, sprinkle tomato and cilantro, drizzle ranch dressing and place on top of tandoori.  Fold in half and bite in!

You can get creative and try spreading butter and garlic on the bread before toasting it.  You can use an oven or toaster oven for that.  As for the toppings, you can add cucumber, not include cilantro (Not everybody likes that), add cheese and olives or even change the dressing or type of chicken.  It all depends on your taste.  I’ve found the combo I put together is  simple in preparation, in the pocket and flavor.


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