Sweet Thai Chicken

 


Hey there– It’s been a week.  I’ve been on jury duty in Santa Ana– about an hour commute during traffic times.  I have to say, I’ve had jury duty so many times over the years and never been picked to be on the jury!  So spending the days in the courtroom was fascinating, learned so mucy–and working with the other diverse jurors from all over the county was just great.

So in honor of jury duty– and long days out, here’s a quick flavorful dinner, ready in about 25 minutes.  Add a bright salad.  Done.

SWEET THAI CHICKEN
1 cup brown (or white) rice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in chunks
3 tab. olive oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 5 tsp. Thai Sweet Chili Sauce*
garnish: sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cilantro

Put the rice on to cook according to the directions on your package.  I did plain brown rice– about 20 minutes simmered with 2+ cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Put in the pieces of chicken and saute, stirring now and then until they are cooked through and slightly browned, about 4 or 5 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, in a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and sweet chili sauce.  Pour the mixture in with the chicken and stir for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve the rice and chicken on a platter, and garnish with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and cilantro.
(My pictures are just half a recipe, since it’s just Larry and me).

*You can use more of less Chili sauce, depending on the hear you like.  Add Sriracha sauce if you want to kick it up.

Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

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Hello all–  I’m up in San Francisco, spending some stormy days with the new grand-girl Lois, while her mom is off to work.  It’s been quiet and cozy in the house.  Today we baked a birthday cake (actually Lois mostly just looked on from her little chair!).  So this has nothing to do with maple chicken– just wanted you to know how much fun I’m having!!

The Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes came out of the kitchen last week– made it for a friend who is having shoulder surgery next week, after a bad fall.  Praying she comes through this all strong and back on the run.  Love her so.

The coating is sweet and peppery, makes the chicken bright and tasty– with those smoshey sweet potatoes, a good winter evening meal.

MAPLE CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes:
2 large-ish sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 to 3 tab. steak seasoning (such as Montreal)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 green onions, sliced to small bits

Pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes and set them on a baking dish lined with foil (for easier clean up). Put them in a 350 degree oven fro 50 to 60 minutes, until the sweet potatoes feel tender when poked with a fork.

Let them cool for a bit, then peel off the skin.  Put the sweet potato flesh in to a mixing bowl along the the milk, salt and vanilla.  Beat it all with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and fluffy. (You can reheat these easily in the microwave when the chicken’s done).

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to cut each of them into two thinner cutlets.  Coat the chicken with a sprinkling of the the steak seasoning.  Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken cutlets 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium high heat– unitl they are nicely browned and cooked through.

Take the chicken from the pan and add the maple syrup to the chicken drippings.  Let it all simmer on low for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan to coat the pieces in sauce.

On a platter heap the sweet potatoes next to the chicken cutlets.  Scrape the extra sauce from the pan onto the chicken and then sprinkle the green onion slices over the chicken.  Enjoy!

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Golden Chicken Tortellini Soup

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Hello all–  Tucked in the house tonight.  It’s been raining–again!!  Do I keep talking about the rain??  Well, after years of drought, we’re just all soaking it up here!  My yard is so happy!

And here’s a good chilly weather supper– just add a sturdy loaf of bread and a bright green salad.  Warming, savory, noodle-y soup.

GOLDEN CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP
2 tab. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled & sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tab. fresh thyme leaves)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. cheese tortellini (about 3 cups dried)
1/3 cup cream (or half & half)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup baby spinach leaves, stems removed, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Stir in the onions until they have wilted.  Add the carrots and garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

Cut each chicken breast in 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the pot along with the chicken broth, thyme, salt and pepper .  Let it simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut to small bite size pieces.

Put the cut chicken and the tortellini into the pot and simmer according to the directions on the tortellini package (my tortellini from Trader Joe’s said to cook it 15-17 minutes).

Turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir in the cream, bell pepper and spinach.  Let it simmer a couple more minutes to heat through and it’s ready to serve!

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Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

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Hello all–  Up in San Francisco with our kids and new little Lois (did I mention baby Lois??!!) and it’s chilly and rainy!  Love the actual weather up here.  So if you are managing to have a real fall where you live and want something warming and flavorful on your dinner table, you might try this pretty plateful.  Just a little spice (although if you are not a spice wimp like me, you can heat it up with more ginger and cayenne!) and a little sweetness from the sweet potatoes.  It’s a rainy day, cozy in the house kind of meal.  I hope you try it…

CHICKEN & SWEET POTATO CURRY
1 large sweet potato
4 chicken thighs*
3 tab. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cumin
a couple shakes of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tab. tomato paste
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
garnish: yogurt, cilantro

 

Pierce the skin of the sweet potato a couple times with a fork (to avoid microwave explosions!).  Then pop it in the microwave for 6 or 7 minutes until it’s tender.  Cut it in half horizontally and set aside to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then drop in the chicken thighs.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is nicely browned.  Take it out of the pan.

If the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil.  Then drop in the onions and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the onion begins to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook a minute longer.  Then stir in the chicken broth, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder and tomato paste.  Blend it all up in the pan, set the chicken into the mixture and put on a lid.  Let the chicken cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes.

While that’s happening, peel the sweet potato skin off and cut it up into smallish chunks.

Raise the heat on the chicken to a rolling simmer.  In a container with a closed lit, shake together the cornstarch and water until it’s completely blended.  Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce around the chicken until the sauce thickens– just 2 or 3 minutes.  Drop in the chunks of sweet potato and simmer on low a couple minutes more.

Serve the curry over a bed of rice and garnish with yogurt and cilantro.  Spicy good!

*I used boneless chicken thighs, because they were on sale at our market.

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Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

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Hey there– Dinner time.  When our kids were growing up, it was everyone in their place, sitting around the table, talking through the day–the one time in the day we were all together.  Now it’s just Larry and me.  Sometimes we just grab a plate and sit in the kitchen, sometimes pull up to the coffee table and watch tv.  But it’s still a time to connect.

And the best connects are with friends who come in and sit down to the table with us.  Last week it was with Esther, an amazing young woman we’ve gotten to know.  Heard her heartwarming story of an encounter with a young shepherd boy on her trip to India for a cousin’s wedding.  Talked about her future plans…  It was more about the conversation than the food.

But- we did eat!  And dinner was centered around this Lemon Rosemary Chicken.  Easy to pop in the oven so you have time to pull up a salad and a pot of rice. It’s savory and fresh tasting.  I think you’ll like it– and I hope it comes with good talk around your table…

LEMON ROSEMARY BAKED CHICKEN
6 chicken thighs
2 tab. live oil
2 lemons
3 tab. honey
2 tab. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
garnish:  a little more rosemary/thyme

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Brown the chicken thighs in the skillet, cooking on medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

Cut one lemon in half and juice half of one lemon.  Slice the remain 1 1/2 lemons into thin slices.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and garlic.

Then spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  On the bottom of the dish lay out half of the lemon slices. Top them with the browned chicken thighs and spoon the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Then layer on top the remaining lemon slices and the rosemary and thyme sprigs.  Finally spoon the honey/lemon juice mixture over the top of the chicken.

Pop the baking dish into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Then lay the chicken out on a serving dish, top with the juices from the baking dish and the lemons, plus a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary.

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Kale Salad with Chicken, Peaches and Pecans

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Hello there– We’re enjoying the last hot summer days with salads like this flavorful bowlful.  We liked it so much I made it again when our kids came down this past weekend.  Add a sturdy loaf one whole grain bread and some iced tea.  Set it all out on the backyard table and you’ve got lunch.

KALE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, PEACHES & PECANS

1/2 cup farro, cooked*
4 cups kale, chopped fine**
1 chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 ripe peach, pitted and cut to chunks
1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tab. thick Balsamic vinegar
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer all the salad ingredients into an ample bowl.  Shake the dressing ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lit until it’s well blended.  Pour on the dressing.  Done.

*The package of farro I bought said simmer in water for 10 minutes– then I rinse it with cold water to cool it for the salad.
**I like the packaged kale from Trader Joes– nice and tender

P.S. The good thing about this salad is that it’s sturdy enough to pour on the dressing and set it into the fridge for a a while while you get everything else on the table and it won’t get soggy.  That’s helpful.  Enjoy!

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Citrus Chili Chicken

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Hello all– It’s been been fun to sit down to dinner this week.  My sis, Luanne and her husband are staying with us for a couple weeks, on their summer home from Kosovo.  Mostly we’ve been cooking together and working on a couple sewing projects and watching a whole lot of the Olympics.

So here was dinner a couple nights back.  Citrus flavor with a bit of spice glazing the chicken, and toasty roasted potatoes rounding out the plate.  Add a bright salad and a couple congenial houseguests.  Just great.

CITRUS CHILI CHICKEN
12 red potatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
6 chicken thighs
1 lime
1 orange
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
25 good olives
1 cup chicken broth
1 tab. cornstarch

Cut the potatoes into wedges.  Put them in a glass bowl with an inch of water and cook for 5 minutes in the microwave.  Drain the water from the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the garlic salt over the top.

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs (You can leave it on if you don’t mind the fat).  Set them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Juice the lime and pour the juice over the chicken thighs.

Grate the peel from the orange and save.  Juice the orange and then in a mixing bowl stir together the orange juice, orange peel, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.

Pop the chicken in the baking dish and the baking sheet of potatoes into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Take out the chicken and baste the chicken with the juices in the baking dish.  Cook the potatoes and chicken 20 minutes more.

When they are done, lift the chicken thighs  and potatoes onto a platter.  Sprinkle the olives over the top. Cover to keep warm.

Pour the juices from the chicken baking dish into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the chopped cilantro, chicken broth and cornstarch until it is all well blended.  Pour into the sauce pan with the juice and stir until the sauce thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve it up warm with a crispy salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Enjoy!

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