Tag Archives: chicken

Asian inspired stone fruit chicken

It’s stone fruit season and our CSA is overflowing with it, as usual. We try to eat a lot of it raw, but I still have to freeze quite a bit, make cobblers, and try to find other uses.

I had 6 nectarines sitting in my fruit bowl and they were starting to get really fragrant so I knew they’d be getting near their end soon. Sure enough two down at the bottom were half moldy. I make this peach chicken recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook that my husband loves. I don’t really love it, or at least I didn’t use to because it had canned peaches in it and I had a problem with the textures. At one point I came up with a more sophisticated version of the recipe, but I think it may be sitting in a Word document on my computer in the aftermath of one of my blog shut-down freak-outs.

So tonight for a little twist on that recipe, I decided to try an Asian-inspired, stone fruit version of orange chicken. As I put the plates down I said, “This could be really good or really bad. Complete experiment.” I have confidence issues. I think you could probably use peaches, nectarines or even plums. Anyway, it was good and blog worthy, so here goes…

Asian-inspired stone fruit chicken

Ingredients
-1 egg
-1/2 cup flour
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
-Chinese Five Spice powder
-sesame oil
-high temp tolerant oil for stir frying
-salt
-4 medium nectarines, skin and stone removed, chopped
-soy sauce
-white wine (I used some two buck Chuck I bought today and I didn’t even get carded, sad face)
-thumb size piece of ginger root, grated
-2 cloves garlic, pressed

In a low bowl, season egg with salt and a dash of Chinese Five Spice powder and then whisk to scramble. In another low bowl mix flour and 1 tsp of Chinese Five Spice powder. Coat each piece of chicken in the egg mixture and then in the flour mixture and put on a plate while you finish doing the whole batch.

In a wok add a half-dollar circle of your high temp oil and a dime circle of the sesame oil. Add half the grated ginger and pressed garlic. Heat over medium high heat until fragrant and then add chicken stir frying here and there to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a smaller pan or wok repeat the oil process with the rest of the ginger and garlic, over medium heat. Add in your nectarines (or fruit of your choice) a dash of Chinese Five Spice, a few glugs of wine and couple glugs soy sauce (sorry no exact measurements, I just pour what seems right) and simmer while stir frying your chicken. Sprinkle a little flour over the nectarine mixture and stir it in to help it thicken. When chicken is no longer pink inside, add the nectarine mixture to the chicken and stir fry a few seconds more.

Serve over steamed rice with a lightly steamed vegetable like green beans or asparagus.

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Orange Chicken

Prior to Finding out about Bean’s food allergies and also changing our diets to have drastically less processed food, TJs orange chicken or orange chicken from a favorite Chinese restaurant was a staple in our diet. We love orange chicken, even if it isn’t “real” Chinese food.

Problem is that most recipes have wheat and egg in them for the crispy battered pieces. I have been craving this dish and decided I would attempt a version our whole family could enjoy.

I was successful. Sort of. Bean is in a really picky phase again so she didn’t eat much. Boo! Everyone else loved it though.

I will note that my orange chicken is very orange flavored. I think the TJs version has a different ratio of soy sauce to orange. So if you make this and think my version is too orange, reduce the orange and up the soy.

This is the second recipe I have mentioned gluten free flour mix. I am not using a specific brand. I just recently decided to combine all my gluten free flours because I was tired if pulling a little from each bag. If you typically use a mix like Pamela’s, I am sure that would work fine.

I looked at a few different recipes yesterday before experimenting with this one last night. Most recipes called for dipping the chicken in egg before coating it in a mixture of flour and spices. If you can have wheat and eggs, you might try that. Another trick I used to use when making fried chicken was the self rising flour which I believe has baking powder and baking soda in it. The combination of eggs and this will probably produce a more crispy chicken if that is what you are going for.

Ingredients:
• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
• zest of one orange
• 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
• crushed red pepper flakes
• Chinese five spice powder
• 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
• 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 cup gluten free flour mix
• salt and pepper
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp sesame oil
• oil for frying
• rice and green beans to serve with

So first thing I did last night was throw my rice with the amount of water the package said in the rice cooker. Then I trimmed up my green beans and put them in the steam pan that goes on top.

Then I made the sauce. I opened up the orange juice concentrate and scooped approximately three tablespoons into a small saucepan. Then I added the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, a couple dashes of red pepper flakes, lemon juice, a couple dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder (that’s a Jamie Oliver trick right there) and about a teaspoon of the orange zest (reserve the rest). Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Note to mom: we all know how you feel about spicy food, and since you were one of the people that specifically asked for this recipe, to reduce the spice in this dish, skip or reduce the ginger, the red pepper, and the Chinese Five Spice powder. Note to everyone else: if you like your orange chicken on the spicy side, increase all those things.

While that was simmering, I cut up my two chicken breasts into bite sized cubes. Then in a ziplock bag I combined the flour, remaining orange zest, a few dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder, and a few cracks from my salt and pepper grinders.

The sauce was looking pretty good at this point so I turned off the heat and set the pan aside to cool and thicken.

I tossed the chicken in the zip lock bag, sealed it and then shook it up to coat in the flour mixture.

Then I got out my wok and put about a half inch of vegetable oil (which if you look at the label is just soy bean oil, probably not the best stuff for you) and then I also added about a quarter teaspoon of Sesame oil. I turned my heat up to medium high and when it got fragrant I added in the chicken in small batches turning each piece once until they were gold and crispy on the outside and firm. I did not cut them open to see if they were no longer still pink. I just knew, but if you are paranoid about that sort of thing or don’t just know, you may want to employ that test. You can drain the chicken on paper towels or flour sack cloths if you want.

I put all the cooked chicken in a bowl. Then I added in the green onions and the sauce. I stirred it all up until it was evenly coated.

At this point the rice and green beans were done. In another bowl I dressed the green beans with some olive oil and salt.

Then I plated everything together in one big pile. It was super yum.

This made enough for all four of us, but Stephen and I had large portions and the kids did not.

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Saucy Chicken and Peaches

Back when I was first learning to cook at the very beginning of our marriage, I made this dish on a whim from the Pillsbury Best Chicken cookbook we had received as a wedding gift. I’m not sure what drew me to it, perhaps that it was something different. It was instant love for my husband. Me, not so much. He would beg me to make this dish all the time.

I have since tweaked it quite a bit. I use fresher ingredients and I definitely like my version a lot better. I hope you will too.

For the chicken, when we made the Caprese Chicken the other night we grilled a bunch of breasts at once and have been using them throughout the week. We seasoned them all the same with garlic powder, salt and pepper. I’ve seen pre-cooked chicken everywhere, but you could just as easily cook your own ahead of time.

Saucy Chicken and Peaches

Ingredients

-1.5 to 2 breasts of chicken, cooked and cubed (It depends on the size, how much you think you can eat or will need. We used 1.5 because I can usually only manage 1/2, but Stephen likes a whole one. Plus, we bought a package with 4 breasts for 3 meals.)
-1 large peach, sliced
-3 basil leaves, julienned
-1/2 cup white/blush wine or sherry
-1 tsp corn starch
-olive oil

Heat oil in a medium skillet and then add peach slices and chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until chicken pieces are heated through and peach slices are browned.

Combine corn starch and wine until smooth. Add to skillet. Cook until it becomes bubbly and thickens. Stir in basil for last minute or so of cooking.

Serve over a steaming pile of white rice. Serves 2.

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Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been much Gourmet Lisa around here lately. That is because I haven’t been feeling that well (darn morning sickness) and the worst time of day for me is almost always around dinner time. Since I wasn’t cooking, Stephen is not very confident in his cooking skills, he was dang tired after work each night, and he’s also been filling in my gaps in housekeeping duties, we ate out. A lot. Hundreds of dollars were spent. It was quite ridiculous. After looking at where all our money went last month Stephen said, “This has to end. We’re throwing our money away. Either we have way more expensive tastes in food or I need to step it up and be a better leader in this area.”

So yesterday we spent a good portion of our holiday planning our menu for the week and grocery shopping. It was quite the challenge coming up with meals that incorporated the organic produce from our AH box and were very simple to make in case I wasn’t up to cooking.

A couple days ago I made what I was pretty sure was Caprese Salad as a side for our lunches using tomatoes I had recently harvested from our garden. Stephen didn’t believe that what I had made was Caprese Salad because of the episode of The Office where Michael tries to frame Toby and the cops said, “This isn’t weed, it’s Caprese Salad!” What was in that bag did not contain tomatoes or mozzarella. Of course The Office is an authoritative source on all things gourmet and Italian. After lunch I looked up Caprese Salad and found that I had indeed made what I thought I had made.

So what is Caprese Salad? It is a salad of tomatoes, mozarella cheese and basil. It is usually dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. However, there are many variations on the recipe. Sometimes it is served hot via arranging the ingredients on some kind of cooking stone and broiling them and there are variations in the dressing of the salad such as adding Balsamic vinegar or Italian dressing. The salad I made the other day was truthfully not very gourmet at all. I simply cut the 10 cherry sized tomatoes we had in half, sliced a couple sticks of mozzarella string cheese, tossed in some basil and then dressed the whole thing with olive oil, salt and Balsamic vinegar. Despite the humble ingredients (ahem… string cheese?), it was quite tasty!

Using that as inspiration, I brainstormed a meal that is very simple to make and a little more substantial than your traditional Caprese Salad. It was quite the team effort, though my husband did have his doubts going into things about whether you could have pasta without sauce. In the end though, he said it looked very good and upon eating said it was delicious. I will freely admit that this recipe is likely to get me into trouble with those of you that like exact amounts for things, but I hope you can figure it out and enjoy this delicious summer meal.

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients
-1 large chicken breast
-garlic powder to taste
-salt to taste
-pepper to taste
-olive oil to taste
-Balsamic vinegar to taste
-3 large basil leaves
-2 or 3 tomatoes
-1 1/2 cups dry Farfalle pasta
-shredded mozzarella cheese to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook pasta according to package directions. Ours said it would be ready in 11-12 minutes. I do NOT recommend just going off what the time on the package says. We set our kitchen timer for 10 minutes so as not to forget about it among our other kitchen duties this evening and then began taste testing the pasta every minute or so after that until it reached perfection.

Meanwhile, season the chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. If you are pregnant like me and the thought of touching raw meat is absolute repulsion, it would be a good idea to get your husband involved in this step lest he hear you screaming from the kitchen, “Ew! Ew! Ew! I just got chicken juice all over me when I opened up the package! Ugh!” Then, have your husband grill the chicken until it is no longer pink and juices run clear.

While pasta and chicken are cooking, cut up tomatoes into 1/8 wedges. Salt to taste.

Chop basil leaves. I learned a really good way to cut up the basil from a cooking show once. Stack the basil leaves and then roll them lengthwise as if you were making a cigarette out of them (maybe this is where the producers of The Office got their idea for the sketch). Make thin slices across the roll and you will wind up with perfectly julienned confetti-like basil for your meal.

Drain pasta and place in large bowl. Cut chicken breast up into bite sized pieces and add to bowl. Add tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese (I used about two handfuls). Drizzle with olive oil and Balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste and then toss all ingredients together.

Serves 4 (Yay! Leftovers aka less cooking for us!).

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Herby Chicken and Veggies

About a month ago I heard about an organic produce co-op through the homeschool group I started to get involved with in Bakersfield. I checked it out and the prices were very reasonable. I was also excited because they not only had drop locations in Bakersfield, they also had one in Simi Valley which is really close to where we were going to be moving.

Of course I couldn’t keep my excitement to myself and so I told Ruth and Cara about it too. We decided to work it out so that we would take turns picking up the produce each weekend.

This weekend was my first weekend picking up the produce. However, Cara was getting ready to go on a vacation so she actually gave me some of her extras from the week before as well. Saturday morning I steamed a few of the carrots and put them in the food processor for Bean. It was quite the task restraining myself from eating the whole lot of it myself. I seriously have never tasted better carrots in my life.

Among the veggies that Cara gave me was one of the biggest leeks I have ever seen! So tonight I combined a bit of it with some of the carrots, some potatoes I already had and a couple chicken breasts I got at Whole Foods.

Stephen is SUCH a meat eater normally, but we actually wound up splitting a chicken breast and mostly eating veggies. He said, “I have never really liked veggies, but those were some of the best tasting veggies I’ve ever had.” Freshness seriously makes all the difference.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for what we had tonight. Hope you enjoy them!

Herby Chicken and Veggies
Ingredients
-2 chicken breasts
-3 red potatoes
-2 large carrots
-about half of a giant leek
-4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
-1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.

Chop your veggies and herbs. Layer chopped veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper over them. Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Place on bed of veggies. Drizzle olive oil over the entire dish.

Place in oven and bake 1 hr 15 min or until chicken is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.

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Gourmet Lisa: Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

This recipe shows a blatant disregard for my husband’s slight lactose issues. If you like hot spinach artichoke dip I think you will appreciate this dish.

Ingredients
• 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 12 oz frozen artichoke hearts
• 1 onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed
• 20 oz brown rice
• 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 chicken breasts
• shredded cheese blend of mozzarella, jack & cheddar

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°.

In a medium saute pan, cook onion & garlic in oil over medium high heat until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms, chicken & artichokes. Salt and pepper. (Pretend that you see artichokes in the picture below)

Cook until chicken is brown on all sides. Remove from heat. Cut chicken into cubes. It will probably still be slightly pink inside, but that is OK because it is not done cooking.

Place chicken, cooked vegetable mixture, parmesan cheese, sour cream, and rice in a large bowl. 

Stir until well combined. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

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