Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Salmon with Coriander Rub and Lime Cream

* Gluten-Free * Healthy * Weeknight Meal *

I love salmon any which way I can get it, but it’s so expensive where I live we just don’t eat it much. Fortunately for my fish-loving family, my local grocer had some wild salmon on sale last week and I caved … literally. I bought ALL of it. Salmon freezes really well – just love it up with some freezer paper and tape. So anyhow – get ready for some wild and crazy salmon recipes to be popping up with a bit more frequency.

I have been ogling this recipe for more than a year and could not wait to make it. I love the exotic spices and flavors that are thrown together – they don’t mask the flavor of the salmon, they complement it. This is delightful and I’d highly recommend trying it out on your family, even if they aren’t fans of salmon. They just might be converted!

(If you want to make it even healthier - substitute low-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream.)

Recipe for Salmon with Coriander Rub and Lime Cream:

We loved this served with rice and green beans dressed with a little olive oil and pepper.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oxtail Machaca with Poached Egg

* Slow-Cooker * Weekend Winner *

Every once in a while, you stumble upon a recipe that makes you stop, take a step back, take a step forward, and go, “Ohhhhhhhh.” Making this machaca was my first time cooking oxtails – and ohmygoodnessgracious are they good eating! You may want to plan the day so you are out of the house while this is cooking – I was tempted to lick the slow cooker several times and I almost burnt my nose shoving my face closer, closer still to get a good whiff.

We have absolutely no changes or variations whatsoever to recommend for this recipe. It is sumptuously perfect as is … be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Recipe for Oxtail Machaca with Poached Egg:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Korean Braised Short Ribs

* Slow-Cooker * Weekend Winner*

I have been having a love affair with Korean-style short ribs ever since my neighbor introduced me to the cut a few months ago (see Grilled Korean Short Ribs). I was begging my husband to grill them almost every weekend until he finally rebelled, forcing me to find a way to create the tantalizing taste without the grill. Then the helpful man actually helped in his own demise – he bought Slow Cooker Revolution for me. Lo and behold, inside was a recipe for slow-cooked Korean Braised Short Ribs. And he doesn’t understand why I mock him so often. (Nothing but love baby, nothing but love!)

I almost drooled while reading the recipe, which is usually enough to get me to make something. The addition of pears and microwave-browned bones piqued my curiosity so much I decided to make it immediately. I can’t recommend this recipe more; it’s packed with depths of flavor and is the perfect, hearty winter meal. Make it for people you love – the rest of them don’t deserve it!

Korean Braised Short Ribs
Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution
Serves 4

2.5 lbs bone-in English-style short ribs, meat and bones separated
1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped coarsely
½ cup soy sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, sliced thin
4 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp instant tapioca
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp minced, fresh cilantro

Arrange beef bones in a dish and microwave until well-browned, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Process pear, soy sauce, garlic, scallions, ginger and vinegar in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, then transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth and tapioca.

Season short ribs with salt and pepper and nestle in slow cooker. Cover and cook until tender, 9-11 hours on low, or 5-7 hours on high.

Transfer short ribs to serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon. Remove bones and season sauce with salt/pepper to taste. Stir in cilantro. Spoon sauce over ribs and serve.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Meatloaf

* Healthy * Weeknight Winner *

This is a rather Italian take on meatloaf, but I swear I channeled Julia Child when I sliced into this, revealing the spinach and mozzarella deliciousness in its depths. “Quelle surprise!” I shouted joyously from the kitchen, startling the man, boy, and two rather ornery cats. Now we just needed to impress the judges.

My husband, who is leery of anything served sans potatoes, sniffed at it, smiled, and dived in (I served this over mashed cauliflower to fool the husband - I'm sneaky that way). Then the boy toddled over to his plate with plastic blocks in both hands. He gazed longingly at the slice of meatloaf, presumably contemplating whether to drop his toys and use his hands or utilize his patented “face to plate” approach. The latter won out in this mental dilemma and he happily buried his face in his plate. The only time I saw him happier that evening was when he discovered pulling on the mozzarella filling created strings of gooey cheese he could drag all over the house.

Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Meatloaf
Courtesy of Bakin’ and Eggs
Serves 6 to 8

1 pound ground chicken (We tested this with ground beef and it was delicious. Try it with classic meatloaf mix, turkey, chicken etc.)
1 cup marinara sauce, divided
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, diced
½ large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze all the water out)
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil, shiny side down.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, ¼ cup marinara sauce, bread crumbs, herbs, fennel, garlic, onion, eggs and parmesan cheese and mix well.

Press half of chicken mixture into loaf pan, creating a one-inch indentation down the center. Leave one-inch thickness on all sides. Mix together spinach and 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and spoon into the indentation. Cover with remaining chicken mixture and seal edges.

Top with remaining ¾ cup marinara sauce and ¾ cup cheese and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160˚. Let stand for 10 minutes and then lift out of loaf pan using foil edges. Slice and serve with additional marinara sauce, if desired.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thai Shrimp-and-Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

* Gluten-Free * Healthy * Weeknight Winner *

This soup will knock your socks off. And even though it’s so darned easy to throw together, I have listed a few shortcuts you can take. Now go! Get to the store before the snow starts to stick and buy ye some Asian staples to make this immediately. It will warm your belly on this chilly winter’s night!

Thai Shrimp-and-Coconut Soup with Lemongrass
Courtesy of Food & Wine
Serves 4

5 Thai chiles, seeded and chopped (see Editor’s Note)
4 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner bulb only, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
3½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
¼ cup Asian fish sauce
¼ cup tamarind concentrate
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves (I can’t find these where I live – so I sprinkle some lime zest from the lime I’m already using over the top of the soup when I serve it. It’s pretty and tasty!)
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
Cooked rice vermicelli

In a blender [or food processor], combine the chiles, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallot and ¼ cup of water and puree until smooth.

Editor’s NoteHere’s the deal. Don’t waste time chopping stuff that is going into a blender or food processor. Just give it a whack and toss it in.

What? Oh, you want to save more time? Ok – instead of whacking at garlic, lemongrass and ginger, pick thy up some of these gems from Gourmet Garden. They’re in the produce section of the grocery. You’re welcome.

In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil. Add the lemongrass puree and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, lime leaves and 1½ cups of water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is flavorful and slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir the lime juice into the soup and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and simmer until slightly curled and just cooked through, about 1 minute. Ladle the soup into bowls, add the rice noodles, sprinkle with lime zest if using, and serve with copious amounts of napkins. And then try to figure out if this should be eaten with a fork or a spoon. My son prefers the mouth-to-plate approach and I think he's on to something.

See? I told you it was easy!

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Michael Symon's Mom's Lasagna

* Weekend Winner *

If you have ever wondered how Michael Symon became such an amazing cook, here is the answer. If I grew up on food that tasted like this, I’d be a chef, too! (And probably 300 lbs but I digress.) Before you start searching for the hidden healthy foods in the ingredients, let me stop you. There aren’t any. This is a meal to save for a special occasion. I test recipes like this because we all want a treat every once in a while, and we all know nothing is worse than whipping up an amazing looking meal only to have it taste like dog food. You eat it anyways, because after all you put so much time and energy into it, right? Don’t do that to yourself!

This is just spectacular – I kept putting off making it because I have been so disappointed in lasagna in the past. It takes so long to make and it invariably looks and tastes like mush. But alas, Michael's mother has created the perfect lasagna. I have no other words!

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna
Courtesy of TheChew
Serves 8

½ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1 pound pork neck bones*
1 pound veal
1 pound beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage (loose or removed from the casing)
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (or 1 - 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes) with their juice
3 bay leaves
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
2 large eggs
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese (grated)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

* If you can’t find pork neck bones, don’t panic. I used 3 turkey necks I had stored in the freezer and the results were still fantastic. Use your imagination.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they're translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings

* Healthy * Weeknight Meal *

I have recently become a huge fan of Asian cooking (Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Chinese – you name it!) and am diving head-first into unchartered territory. Although I lacked the requisite bamboo steamer and wok this recipe calls for, I had delightful (if not delightful looking) results using my rice steamer’s vegetable tray. Because these dumplings were so amazing, I will be investing in the appropriate cookware sooner than later. They really are like a party in your mouth – fabulous!!

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings
Courtesy of Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen
Yields 36 dumplings

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ pound ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus some for dipping
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Wrappers:
1 (10-ounce) package round wonton wrappers
Canola oil, for brushing the steamer
Savoy cabbage, for lining the steamer, optional
Micro Arugula, for garnish

For the Dipping Sauce:
½ cup mirin or sake
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 shallot, cut in paper-thin circles
1-inch piece of ginger, grated

Special equipment: wok, bamboo steamer

To make the shrimp filling: Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed. It should have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble dumplings: Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand. Dip a spoon in cold water and then drop 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of a wrapper (dipping the spoon in cold water first will make the filling come off easier). Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling and squeeze the sides slightly with your fingers. The sides will naturally pleat, leaving the filling slightly exposed. Tap the dumpling on the table so the bottom is flat and it stands upright. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. (You can freeze the leftover filling for 2 or 3 weeks.)

Lightly oil the bottom of a 10-inch bamboo steamer and line it with the whole cabbage leaves. Stand the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and don't let them touch. You should be able to get 12 siu mai in the steamer at a time. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot. Set the bamboo steamer over the pot, then cover it with the bamboo lid. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until the filling feels firm and is cooked through.

Meanwhile, warm all the dipping sauce ingredients together in a pot for a couple of minutes until heated through.

Serve in the steamer basket and garnish with micro arugula and dipping sauce.

I’ll show you what these should look like:

And what mine looked like:

Although mine weren’t as pretty, they sure tasted spectacular!

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Balsamic Roast Chicken

I was too busy this weekend to finish up Chicken Week so I'm sneaking in the last recipe today! Enjoy!

* Healthy * Low-Carb * Weekend Winner *

This is one of my all-time favorite roasted chicken recipes. I love the incredible flavor and the fact it makes its own balsamic roasted onions!

Balsamic Roast Chicken
Adapted from Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on Fabulous Food
Serves 4 to 6

1 5- to 6-lb whole chicken (organic, hormone-free is best)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp sea salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red table wine (the better the wine, the better the flavor)

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

To clean the chicken, remove any fatty pieces. Pull out the neck, giblets, and liver and reserve. Rinse the bird and pat dry.

Editor’s Note: A little tip I learned from Ruth Reichl – place the excess fat under the skin of the chicken over the breasts – the chicken will self-baste!

In a small dish, combine the rosemary, sea salt, garlic, and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the raw chicken inside and out. Let sit for at least 1 hour. You can do this step up to 24 hours in advance so the flavors take hold. Cover the chicken and place in the refrigerator.

Place the neck, giblets, and liver on the bottom of a roasting pan. Sprinkle the chopped red onions on top. Then place the whole chicken on top of the onions. Pour the balsamic vinegar and wine over the chicken.

Roast the chicken in the oven for approximately 2 hours (20 minutes per pound).

Carve the chicken and serve with the balsamic and onion mixture from the bottom of the pan.

Editor's Note: We recently tweaked this recipe to add roasted Brussels sprouts. Simply trim or halve the sprouts and toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Then we tossed the sprouts with the balsamic onion mixture from the chicken. AMAZING!!!

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Spicy Chicken Breasts

* Gluten-Free * Healthy * Make-Ahead * Weeknight Meal *

This is a fantastically simple, incredibly forgiving, and delicious dish from Jacques Pépin. I had never cooked with juniper berries and after tasting this dish I became mesmerized by their flavor. It’s an intangible spice that is beautifully complemented by yogurt-mashed potatoes.

Spicy Chicken Breasts
Courtesy of Essential Pépin
Serves 4

½ tsp juniper berries
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
1½ tbsp olive oil

Combine the juniper berries, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds in a small skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder or coffee grinder, add the salt, and process for 20 to 30 seconds, until finely ground.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the spice mixture and rub it gently into the meat. Brush the breasts on both sides with the olive oil. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 12 hours ahead. Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.)

Preheat the oven to 180˚.

Heat a very large nonstick skillet until it is hot. Add the chicken breasts and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side.

Arrange the breasts on an ovenproof platter and place them in the oven for at least 10 minutes to finish cooking. (The chicken can be kept warm in the oven for up to 45 minutes.)

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken Fricassee (Fricassée de Poulet à L’Ancienne)

* Weekend Winner *

Welcome to Chicken Week, Day 4 at The Helpful Husband! Join us as we share our favorite chicken dishes from 2012!

So, enough of the easy chicken dishes. Roll up your sleeves, prep the ingredients in advance and dig into this gorgeous fricassee this weekend. I love preparing this on a chilly weekend day, while the boys sit and drool in anticipation of this luxuriously rich and satisfying meal.

Chicken Fricassee (Fricassée de Poulet à L’Ancienne)
Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
Serves 4

1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 lbs), cut into 11 pieces (Have your butcher cut the breasts in half, keeping the wings attached but removing the wing tips. Reserve back and wing tips for another use, such as stock.)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (1 cup)
1 carrot, cut into ¼-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1 celery stalk, cut into ¼-inch dice (1/3 cup)
8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Season chicken on both sides with 1 tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Preheat a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil to pot. When butter melts and foam subsides, add half the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer; do not crowd pot. (If butter begins to blacken, lower heat.) Fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Reduce heat to medium, and add mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) to pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Saute mirepoix, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms darken, become glossy, and begin to release liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible, about 1 minute.

Add wine to pot, and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 45 seconds. Add broth, and stir.

Place chicken, skin side up, in a single layer on vegetables; pour juices that have accumulated on plate into pot. Tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially. Cook until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken registers 165˚, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard herbs.

To make the liaison (sauce thickener), whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour 1/2 cup cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, into liaison to temper it. Stir tempered liaison into pot.

Return chicken to pot. Add tarragon, lemon juice, and the remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

* THH Favorite Meal *

Welcome to Chicken Week, Day 3 at The Helpful Husband! Join us as we drool over our favorite chicken recipes from 2012!

If you are looking for the perfect roast chicken, look no further. I have made about 4711 roasted chickens and this. Is. The. Best. Ever. I dare you to make this and tell me otherwise.

You don’t even need to make the croutons – although if you’re splurging or having company they are magnificent. Serve this up with a ton of roasted vegetables and garlicky spinach and don’t forget the pan juices – they are out of this world without any tweaking.

I literally expected someone to throw me a parade after I made this chicken the first time. Your family may start worshiping your cooking skills – go ahead and gloat a little bit. You deserve it!

Here is the link to the recipe from my favorite culinary site - you may want to block out some time to explore the other amazing recipes at Leite's!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gluten-Free Shake and Bake

* Gluten-Free * Healthy * Weeknight Meal *

Welcome to Chicken Week, Day 2 at The Helpful Husband! Join us as we drool over our favorite chicken recipes of 2012!

We love Shake'N Bake. When I was pregnant I think we ate it twice a week … probably explains why the kid is crazy about it, too, eh? Here is a version that is not only healthier, it’s gluten-free and turns the skin into crispy-crunchy goodness. Keep an eye out for upcoming variations – I’m on a mission to tweak this into versions with extra kick, herbs, etc!

Gluten-Free Shake and Bake
Serves 4-6

1 to 2 cup rice flour (1 cup for 6 or less pieces, 2 cups for up to 12 pieces)
¼ cup good-quality sweet paprika
½ tsp red pepper
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp toasted onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
4-12 chicken thighs or drumsticks

Preheat the oven to 375˚.

Add all the ingredients but the chicken into a plastic or brown bag. Add chicken pieces, 1-2 at a time, to bag and shake. Place onto a foil or parchment paper lined large baking sheet. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Five Spice Roasted Chicken

* Weeknight Meal * Gluten-Free * Healthy *

Welcome to Chicken Week at The Helpful Husband! Join us as we drool over our favorite chicken recipes of 2012!

We make this decadent meal a few times a month and it never ceases to grace my family's faces with goofy grins. It is perfect for a weeknight dinner and tastes so rich and delicious your family will have no idea they’re devouring healthy food!

While chicken legs are a flavorful and inexpensive choice, we love thighs the best. I buy them in bulk and freeze them in family-size portions. You can do this with any part of the chicken.

Editor’s Note: This is listed as a weeknight meal, but remember to throw it in the marinade the day before!

Five Spice Roasted Chicken
Courtesy of skinnytaste.com
Serves 6

6 cloves of garlic
1 large shallot
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp agave (or sugar)
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free.)
½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs (6) chicken legs (thighs and legs attached), fat trimmed or 12 chicken thighs

In a blender combine the marinade ingredients; blend until smooth.

Place the chicken in a large, resealable zip-top bag or container and pour in the marinade. Toss the chicken inside the bag to cover evenly with the marinade and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°. Place the chicken on a rack in a foil lined roasting pan. Create a loose tent over the chicken with foil.

Roast the chicken in the center of the oven 30 minutes; remove foil and continue to cook, basting occasionally until the internal temperature is 165°-170°, about 45 minutes longer (Insert thermometer between the leg and the thigh).

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Slow-Cooker Chicken Black Bean Tacos

* Slow-Cooker * Healthy *

This is a 2-hour slow cooker meal – it does not require you to get everything going in the morning. And don’t skip the red cabbage as a topping – I was delighted with how well it paired with the rich chicken and beans. Even my husband, who I usually have to force feed healthy food, was throwing it on his tacos. We served this with a ton of toppings – sour cream, spicy guacamole, pickled cabbage, shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo – throw on whatever makes your mouth happy!

Slow-Cooker Chicken Black Bean Tacos
Courtesy of skinnytaste.com
Serves 4-6

12 oz raw skinless chicken tenders or breast
15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed (I used Goya.)
10 oz can tomatoes with mild green chiles (I used Rotel.)
1 1/8 tsp chili powder
¾ tsp plus 1/8th tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp oregano
1 medium scallion, diced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)

For the Slaw:
1 1/3 cups shredded red cabbage
1 tsp red wine vinegar (or lime juice)
salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Taco:
12 crisp corn taco shells
Optional toppings: Pico de gallo, avocado, etc.

Season chicken with pinch of salt, garlic powder, oregano, 1/8 tsp of the chili powder and 1/8 tsp cumin.

Add the beans and tomatoes to the crock pot and season with the remaining chili powder and cumin. Place chicken in the crock pot and cover. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine shredded cabbage with vinegar (add more to taste), season with salt to taste; set aside.

Remove chicken from the crock pot and shred with two forks. Drain beans and transfer to a platter, or back to the crock pot to keep warm. Top with shredded chicken, scallions and cilantro.

To serve, warm the taco shells according to package directions. Fill with equal amounts of bean and chicken mixture. Top with cabbage and your favorite toppings.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs

* Gluten-Free * Healthy * Weeknight Meal *

When I saw the ingredients for this recipe, I literally started drooling. Chicken is a healthier alternative to ground pork or beef, but you run the risk of having dry, tough meatballs ... these are jam-packed with flavor and dry isn't an adjective they've ever heard of.

You can do anything with these little jewels, but I think they’re best tucked into lettuce wraps with some chili sauce, or served plain over rice noodles. Properly cooked, rice noodles are marvelously fun to slurp up for kids and adults alike.

Special thanks to my friend Sofia for teaching me how to properly cook rice noodles - boy does that make a world of difference!!!

Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
Serves 4 (in my house these served 2)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1½ -inch pieces (or buy 1 lb ground chicken)
3 tbsp Asian fish sauce
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
3 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
1 tbsp finely chopped mint, plus 1/3 cup leaves for serving
1½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup granulated sugar

7 oz rice stick noodles
Soy sauce

Garnish: Asian chili sauce, cilantro, Boston lettuce

Preheat the oven to 400°. Position a rack in the top third of the oven. If using chicken thighs, place them in a food processor and pulse the chicken until coarsely ground. Transfer ground chicken or thigh meat to a bowl. Add the fish sauce, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper and mix with your hands.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sugar on a plate. Using slightly moistened hands, roll the chicken mixture into 1½ -inch balls. (For best results, refrigerate the meatballs at this point for 1 hour.)

Roll the meatballs in the sugar until they are evenly coated.

Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through. (You may want to turn them halfway through.)

Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles, if desired. Transfer the meatballs to the platter and serve with chili sauce and lettuce, rice noodles or rice.

Rice Noodles
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few shakes of soy sauce and turn off the heat. Add the rice noodles and let soak until ready to use, at least 10 minutes. Drain immediately before serving.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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