Category Archives: Poultry

CSA Week 1: Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

I like to eat seasonally, and when possible, locally as well. In my opinion, veggies taste best when they are fresh and ripe, not shipped halfway around the world or grown against their will in the middle of a different season. We’ve all eaten tomatoes in winter and there is a reason they don’t taste like much, they really aren’t supposed to exist! Eating seasonally is also more economical. It’s pretty simple, if you buy whatever is coming out of the fields at any given time, it’s more plentiful, and perishable, so it’s going to be cheaper. A nice side effect in addition to being more tasty and more nutritious.

Every year, I make a sad, mostly unsuccessful go at growing some sort of garden. I like to try. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and seeing things grow and eating veggies fresh off the plants. But reality is harsh. I am a terrible gardener. I am neglectful and ignorant and ungifted in this area. For the time and money I invest, I get a very low yield in return. So this year I wised up and joined a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you sign up with a farm for the growing season and receive a weekly share of whatever happens to be getting picked that week.

When I did the math, it added up to a lot less than I would normally spend at farmer’s market or planting my own veggies. Another positive was that I would receive a variety of things that maybe I wouldn’t normally choose. I think most of us tend to get in food ruts where we eat the same things over and over. This will force me to try some new things and get creative and it will also require me to actually eat a lot of vegetables, which is something I’m always trying to do. Plus it’s hard to justify eating out all the time when you have a kitchen full of fresh produce that needs to be used. So many good reasons, and you can probably tell I’m just geeking out over my weekly mystery boxes. It’s going to be like Chopped in my kitchen every week!

So I thought I would share my CSA boxes with you and a few of the things I’m making with mine. Maybe you are a member of a CSA yourself, or maybe you are a good gardener, or maybe you just like to shop seasonally at your local farmer’s market. If so, then you’ll probably be coming across some of these same ingredients.

In my week 1 package from Sun Gold Farm, I received a huge head of leaf lettuce, kale, spearmint, a stevia plant, cabbage, fava beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas. Most of this I’m pretty familiar with, except the fava beans (tried them once before) and the stevia plant (not really sure what to do with that – for now I just planted it).

Want other week 1 recipes? Check out Rice bowls with slow cooker short ribs and snap peas, or Bowties with fava beans, morels and mascarpone.

 

Week 1. I was told this was going to be the "lightest" week, both in quantity and weight.

Week 1. I was told this was going to be the “lightest” week, both in quantity and weight. It was still a lot of stuff!

I started off with something easy and familiar that would use several ingredients. I find that the kids (and myself) are more likely to eat kale when it’s mixed with other things, and cut small. Slicing it into thin ribbons here worked very nicely! I tried to chop just about everything a similar size so when you scoop it up you get a little bit of everything on your fork.

Asian Chopped Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

6-8 cups chopped cabbage
6-8 leaves of kale, sliced or chopped into thin ribbons
1 pound chicken thighs
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup snow peas (remove strings and chop into bite sized pieces)
1 can mandarin oranges (drain but reserve juice)
2-3 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup crunchy chow mein noodles (optional)

Combine chicken thighs and teriyaki sauce in a zip lock bag or small bowl and let marinate at least 30 minutes.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup reserved mandarin liquid, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine cabbage, kale, snow peas, carrots, oranges and almonds.

Heat a large skillet or grill pan to medium high. Cook chicken thighs 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from pan and dice into bite sized pieces. Add to the big salad bowl. Pour in dressing (start with about half of it and add more as needed) and toss together until everything is lightly coated. Top each serving with crunchy chow mein noodles for garnish.

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Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

I love curry in just about every incarnation I’ve had the pleasure to experience it. Thai, Indian, spicy, mild, you name it, I will probably eat it. Curry doesn’t have to be spicy or taste any certain way. Curry is not even a spice unto itself. It can be any mixture of spices, sometimes just a few, or up to 20! This curry recipe came from Jamie Oliver, one of my favorite celebrity chefs. This is an Indian version that has perhaps been slightly Americanized. There are no unusual ingredients, and the preparation is not complicated. It’s packed full of flavor without being spicy. If you like more heat, use a bit more chile, or a spicier curry powder. For less heat, use less chile or leave it out. I found to be mild as prepared here.

If you don’t like dealing with whole pieces of chicken in sauce, you can substitute boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces. But using the whole pieces not only makes for a pretty presentation, but also makes this very quick to throw together and easy on the budget too! Since the meat is braised in the sauce, it’s quite tender and comes off the bone easily with a fork.

Pukka Yellow Curry

Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas
(slightly adapted from jamieoliver.com)

2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 yellow pepper
1 cup fresh green beans
1 tsp. chicken base or bouillon
1-2 fresh red chiles
½ a bunch of fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder (any kind)
8 chicken drumsticks or thighs
olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice
1 lemon
Plain yogurt for garnish, if desired

Peel the onions, garlic and ginger and deseed the peppers. Put 1 onion, yellow pepper, the garlic and ginger into a food processor. Add the bouillon and add the chili (deseed it first, if you prefer a milder curry), the cilantro stalks, honey and spices, then blitz to a paste.

Place a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat and fry the chicken (pull the skin off first, if you prefer) with a splash of oil for 10 minutes, or until golden, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat. Roughly chop the remaining onion and add to the pan to cook for a few minutes, then tip in the paste and let it cook down for around 5 minutes. Pour in two cups of boiling water. Drain the chickpeas and add along with the tomato paste and a pinch of salt and pepper, then stir well. Return the chicken to the pan, add the green beans, pop the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 45 minutes, or until the sauce darkens and thickens.

While the chicken cooks, boil a pot of water, as if you were making pasta. Add rice. Boil for 8 minutes. Drain. Put the lid back on and let sit until you are ready to serve. This helps give you that wonderful texture you see in Indian restaurants where the grains of rice are separate instead of sticking together.

Serve the curry with a few dollops of yogurt (if using) and a scattering of cilantro leaves, with lemon wedges for squeezing over and the fluffy rice on the side.

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Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Well, it’s that time of year again, where I think about putting myself in detox after all my holiday sugar intake and eating just a tad more healthy, and perhaps shedding a few pounds to welcome in the new year. I was thinking along these lines this month when I came across this recipe in Cooking Light.

I like lettuce wraps. They make me feel like I’m eating healthy even when I’m reaching for a third or fourth leaf of lettuce. How can that possibly be bad for you? The rice in these make them more filling and they were quite satisfying. Choose a head of Bibb lettuce that has nice big leaves for a little bit less mess. Count on some sticky fingers in any case and serve with extra napkins.

I’m all for eating light if it doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. The chicken in these lettuce wraps packs a nice punch, without being spicy. The sauce for this includes a new ingredient for me – Gochujang sauce. I looked for it in the grocery store and didn’t have any luck. After searching the shelves at my Asian market, I gave up and asked for help, and the kindly employee pointed it out…right in the middle of the shelves I was looking at. If you can’t find this stuff, you can make something similar by mixing equal parts of Sriracha and white or yellow miso paste.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(from Cooking Light)

2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon gochujang sauce (I found this at the Asian market, but some grocery stores probably carry it, or in a pinch you can mix equal parts Sriracha & miso paste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 Bibb lettuce leaves
1 English cucumber, sliced
4 green onions, diagonally sliced
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Cook rice according to package directions.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Do this in batches if needed so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Tear leaves off of head carefully so they stay whole. Gently wash and pat dry.

A tower of lettuce

A tower of lettuce

Place a big spoonful of rice in each lettuce leaf; top with some chicken slices, cucumber slices, and green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. If, like me, you forgot to pull some out before you stuck the chicken in the bag, just mix up a little extra.

So delicious.

So delicious.

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Nothing Fancy Chicken Soup

Cold season is upon us…again.  Everywhere you turn someone is sneezing and sniffing and hacking.  There’s ice on my windshield and my toes are perpetually cold.  You all know by now what this means.  Soup, soup and  more soup!

Normally I play fast and loose with my soup recipes, getting creative, adding pesto or orzo or this and that.  But when I have a cold, sometimes what I really want is just simple, no frills, nothing fancy chicken soup.  I can practically make this in my sleep (or cold-medicine induced brain fog).  It’s warm, tasty and oh so satisfying.  It also freezes well if you want to make a double batch so you’re prepared for the next go ’round.

I normally use leftover chicken (or turkey) or rotisserie chicken from the store, or you can cook up a couple of chicken breasts or thighs.  Whatever you have on hand will work fine.

Wow, I feel better already!

Wow, I feel better already!

Nothing Fancy Chicken Soup

1 cup onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4-5 carrots, sliced thinly
8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 cup green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 cup dry noodles (I used rotini but any smallish shape will work)
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt & pepper

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion and celery for 2-3 minutes.  Add carrot and cook another couple of minutes.  Add chicken broth and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add chicken and green beans.  Bring to a boil again.  Add pasta and stir.  Turn down to medium and simmer another 15 minutes or so, until pasta is tender.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  For added richness, I like to add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream at the end but if you’re watching the calories (or you don’t do dairy), feel free to leave it out.  It’s delicious either way!

If you want to get a tiny bit fancy with it, or you just want an excuse to eat a whole loaf of bread by yourself, serve it in a bread bowl!

There's soup in there somewhere, soaking into my yummy bread.

There’s soup in there somewhere, soaking into my yummy bread.

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Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken

When I was a kid, every once in a while we’d pick up a bucket of chicken for dinner.  This was a real treat.  I liked the chicken and LOVED the mashed potatoes that always accompanied it.  I’m not such a fan anymore.  It’s been this way for a number of years, ever since that fateful day as a teen when I dived into the bucket for my favorite piece – the drumstick – and came away with a drumstick…and a gnarly, extra crispy chicken foot still attached.  Yikes.

These days, I would probably be less squeamish about the foot, but more so about the quality of the food and the unhealthy way it’s cooked at most fast food places.  Besides, I always felt shorted on the drumstick front.  A whole bucket of chicken and most of it not what I wanted.  It makes so much more sense to cook it myself.  I like to buy the “family pack” of chicken legs and cook that whole sucker up all at once.  It usually makes enough for 2-3 meals for my little family, or it’s great if you’re feeding a crowd.

This is an easy recipe and it turned out so pretty!  I recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours (or all day) but you don’t have to if you don’t have time.  I wanted the texture to be similar to a roasted chicken so I packed them all together in a roasting dish.  For quicker cook times and more crispy chicken, you can lay them out on a baking sheet instead.  But this made for a pretty presentation and the chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken.  So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken. So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken
(slightly adapted from thecomfortofcooking.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12-20 pieces chicken drumsticks (and/or thighs)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried or fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add marinade to a large plastic bag or baking dish (I prefer to use a plastic bag for marinated since it’s easy to rotate and get the marinade on all the parts equally.  I set the bag inside a baking dish just in case it leaks).

Place chicken in a large casserole dish.  Since my pan was the deeper sort, I placed my chicken so the small ends were down in the bottom and the larger ends poked up (think chicken leg bouquet). Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour marinade all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.

All ready to pop in the oven.

All ready to pop in the oven.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour – hour & 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. (If you use breasts for this recipe, the cooking time should only be around 40 minutes). Remove to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

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