Tag Archives: chicken

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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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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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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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In my efforts to eat healthy some days are more successful than others.  This meal was probably the healthiest one I made all week, and definitely one of the tastiest as well.  It was a huge hit with the kids too.

If you don’t like it spicy, you will want to reduce or eliminate the Thai or serrano peppers.  Made according to the recipe, these definitely have a bit of a kick!

One note on ground chicken:  I typically don’t like to buy it.  For some reason it seems to always have a bit of a mysterious gritty texture that I don’t enjoy.  Unless you are close friends with the guy at the meat counter, there is no way to know exactly what is ground up in there.  Instead I buy chicken thighs and grind them up myself in my food processor.  A few pulses is all it takes.  It results in a coarser, juicier texture which I like, and no weird grit!  Plus you have the advantage of choosing exactly what parts of the chicken you want to eat.  I usually opt for thighs since I find them a bit more flavorful. That being said, if you’re in a hurry or just don’t want to mess with it, by all means buy ground chicken instead.

Not a fan of lettuce wraps?  Admittedly they are a little messy but I love them.  However, once you’ve made this mixture there is no reason you couldn’t put it in a wrap, tortilla, rice paper, pepper half or pita pocket.  Or just dig in with a fork.  Whatever conveyance you choose, these are just plain yummy!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  Delicious!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Delicious!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(adapted from Cooking Light)

4 tsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup (or more) thinly sliced red bell pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chicken thighs (or ground chicken)
2 Thai or serrano chiles, minced (less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
1 tbsp. lime juice
Lime wedges
Large lettuce leaves (I like to use butter lettuce for this since the leaves are sort of bowl-shaped)

Cut chicken into chunks and add to a food processor.

Making ground chicken.  I prefer this to buying ground chicken.  It only takes a few extra minutes!

Making ground chicken. I prefer this to buying ground chicken. It only takes a few extra minutes!

Pulse until coarsely ground.

A few pulses and voila!  Ground chicken.

A few pulses and voila! Ground chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper; sauté one minute.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove shallot mixture from pan and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add chicken.  Cook and stir 5 minutes or until browned, crumbling with your stirring utensil as it cooks.  Drain well if there is extra juice in the pan.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add chiles; cook one minute.  Add shallot mixture back in.  Stir in fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and black pepper.  Cook one minute or so until everything is heated through and combined well.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in basil leaves and lime juice.

There is nothing stopping you from just eating this with a fork if you're no fan of lettuce wraps.  Dig in!  Otherwise, load up the wrap of your choice with this yummy concoction!

There is nothing stopping you from just eating this with a fork if you’re no fan of lettuce wraps. Otherwise, load up the wrap of your choice with this yummy concoction!

Serve in lettuce leaves with lime wedges or just dig in with a fork!

 

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Blackened Chicken Salad

I’ve been doing a fair amount of yoga lately.  Which is a wonderful thing.  It feels great and it’s good for me.  My mind and body and spirit are all thanking me.  But that also means I’m spending a lot of time looking in large mirrors at myself in yoga clothes.  And that leads me to this post, which is about eating MORE SALAD!

But this is not just any salad.  If you are going to eat salad, it should be a magnificent salad.  This qualifies.  The chicken has so much flavor it’s practically jumping off the plate and the homemade dressing is simply divine.  Full of flavor (and easier on the waistline than the stuff out of a bottle) and has a cooling effect on the heat of the spices on the chicken.  All together, it just works beautifully.  You won’t even notice you’re eating something healthy.

Blackened Chicken Salad.  Incredible!

Blackened Chicken Salad. Incredible!

Blackened Chicken Salad
(from canyoustayfordinner.com)

2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pound chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2″ cutlets
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
8 cups mixed salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and whatever else you like)

Buttermilk Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can sub light sour cream in a pinch)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. fresh chives
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
3/4 – 1 cup low fat buttermilk

Combine the first 6 ingredients (seasonings through salt) in a small bowl.  Rub all over chicken cutlets on both sides.

Spice mix to "blacken" the chicken.  I would rub this on just about anything.

Spice mix to “blacken” the chicken. I would rub this on just about anything.

Add 2 tsp. olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the cutlets to the pan.  Cook cutlets for 5 minutes on each side.  Remove to a plate and repeat with the other 2 tsp. olive oil and the other half of the cutlets.

If this looks freaking fantastic, just wait until you taste it!

If this looks freaking fantastic, just wait until you taste it!

While cutlets are cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic powder, chives, parsley, dill, salt & pepper.  Whisk in vinegar, then 3/4 cup buttermilk, add a bit more buttermilk until it’s the consistency you like. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Lighter buttermilk ranch dressing.  So much better than the stuff in a bottle.

Lighter buttermilk ranch dressing. So much better than the stuff in a bottle.  And isn’t that the cutest little pig whisk you’ve ever seen?

Combine salad ingredients and divide among 4 plates.  Slice chicken cutlets and add to the top of each salad.  Drizzle with dressing and serve more on the side.

Where's my fork?

Where’s my fork?

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