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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cedar Plank Grilled Trout - 2 Ways

Well, I finally did it, I forced Chris to give a different type of a fish a shot.  And wouldn't you know it, he actually liked it!! YAY!  Once again, it just goes to show you that sometimes it pays to try new things :)

Now, since I had convinced him to try something new, I thought it would fun for me to try something new too.  I have been wanting to grill some fish on cedar planks for a while now, so I thought that would be my "something new".

I think I might do things a little differently next time, because I believe it did not get the "cedar" flavor that it should have.  But for my first time, the fish really turned out fantastic!  What I really liked about the plank was the the trout had skin still on it, and when it was finished, the meat pulled right away from the skin and the skin just stayed right on the board.  It was less messy then any other way I was thinking of preparing the trout.

I created two types of sauces for these, since I had to fairly nice sized pieces.  I knew Chris would be the happiest with just butter and garlic, but I wanted something a bit more flavorful.  Since I've been on this Asian flavor kick as of late, I figured why not do something with a bit of Asian flair!  And, wouldn't know it, I was right:  Chris preferred the fish with the butter/garlic/lemon sauce and I definitely preferred the hoisin sauce.

Now, you don't have to grill these on cedar planks.  You don't even have to grill them at all.  You can do the same thing with your broiler....just don't put the planks in there or you'll have a mess :)  If you do use planks (for the grill NOT the oven), make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before putting them over the fire.  And please, be careful, keep an eye on the plank if you grill these over direct heat, you don't want them to catch fire!

Cedar Plank Grilled Trout - 2 Ways
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 red mountain trout fillets (about 1 lbs total - and really, any fish will do here)
For the Garlic Butter -
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
For the Hoisin Sauce -
1 Tablespoon Hoisin
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
Special equipment -
Cedar plank (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)

Directions:
Preheat grill to 350 degrees F.  In separate bowls, mix together the ingredients for the individual sauces.  (I took about 1/4-1/2 of each sauce and set it aside for dipping.)

Remove planks from water and place on grill.  Close grill lid and let the planks sit on the grill for 5 minutes.  Flip the plank and allow to sit for another 5 minutes or until just starting to smoke a tiny bit.  Place the fish, skin side down, on the plank.  

Brush one fillet with the butter sauce and one with the hoisin sauce.  


Move the plank to indirect heat (on my gas grill I had all three burners on, at this point I turn the middle on off and had the plank right over it), close the lid and allow to grill about 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Remove plank from grill and allow to sit for a few minutes.  The fish should come right off, leaving most of the skin on the plank.  Serve with reserved sauces.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Key Lime Glaze

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A small break...

I have decided to take a much needed break from blogging this weekend....but not to worry, I'll be back with fresh new recipes on Tuesday.

For now, I leave you with a few of my favorite recipes that I think would be the hit at any Memorial Day BBQ....in case you are looking for some last minute ideas, that is :)

Be safe out there and enjoy the holiday weekend!!











Friday, May 27, 2011

Balsamic Steaks with Roasted Jalapeno Aioli

The best meal, in my book, is any meal where every part is fantastic on it's own, but when brought together, something absolutely magical happens.

This meal was just that.

The steak had a wonderful balsamic flavor to them.  They were tender cuts of meat.  It would have been absolutely wonderful all by itself.

The aioli....well, come on... we all know my love for sauces and I think you can also figure out that I am a HUGE fan for aioli.  There is just something wonderful about aioli.  And this one is no different.  The roasted jalapenos not only added a little spice, but they added a fantastic bit of flavor.  Again, it was wonderful on it's own.  Seriously, I could have just spooned it into my mouth.

Put the two amazing pieces of this meal together and, like I said, something magical happens.  Taste buds will go wild with this one!

Balsamic Steaks with Roasted Jalapeno Aioli
Steak marinade adapted from About.com; Aioli created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 pound top sirloin steak
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
For Aioli -
1 large jalapeno, seeded and cut into quarters
1 large garlic clover, quartered
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
3/4 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more for a bit more bite)

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the balsamic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, salt, and pepper until well combined.  Place the steaks in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over it.  Seal the bag and allow to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.

To make the sauce:   Heat your grill to medium high.  Place the jalapeno over the flame and allow it to blacken on all sides.  (you can always heat a skillet over high heat and add the jalapeno to the dry skillet, allowing all sides to char)  Remove from the grill and place in a bowl and over with plastic wrap, of place in a Ziploc bag and seal.  Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.  When cooled enough to handle, peel the charred skin, remove the stem and seeds and cut into quarters.  Add the garlic to a bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Add the jalapeno and parsley and pulse until minced.  Add the lime juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Pulse until just combined.  Pour into serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.  Remove the steaks from the bag and discard the marinade.  Place the steaks directly over the fire and allow to cook for 4-10 minutes per side depending on desired doneness.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it.  Serve with roasted jalapeno aioli.  Enjoy!

One year Ago:  Thai Peanut Tilapia
 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Greek Penne

It's funny to me how life works sometimes.  Take this recipe for instance.  I found this recipe (or one similar to it) about 8 or 9 years ago.  I made it a few times and it was a hit no matter who was eating with me.  Then one day, I just didn't make it again.  I think the recipe I first found got lost or something, but whatever the case, I just didn't make it again.  Fast forward 8 or 9 years to present time.  I'm skimming through recipes on the internet and you would never guess what recipe I came across - yep, the same recipe - Greek Ziti.  I new I was going to have to work this into my menu list and soon.  I remembered how much I loved it.  The creaminess of the melting feta cheese, the wonderful flavor of the oregano, and of course it's ease of putting it together.  The only problem I thought I might have, would be Chris.  I wasn't exactly sure if he liked feta cheese or not.  I did worry if I asked him that he might tell me no but only because he's only eaten it a certain way.  I wanted to make sure he gave this a fair shot.  So, I didn't tell him what kind of cheese it was until he finally asked me when we sat down to eat.  He took a bite, I blurted out "Feta".  That was it.. and guess what?  He loved it!!!  Another successful meal... YAY!!

The only real thing I would do differently next time I make it would be to add some kalamata olives.  That would have just made it that much more "Greek-ish" for me.  But that's it.. I'd change nothing else.  If you like Greek flavors, you will definitely dig this pasta!

Greek Penne
Adapted from Cooking.com
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 cup chicken broth or homemade stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
13.5 oz box whole wheat penne pasta
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

Directions:
In a large skillet, simmer the chicken broth and the oregano until 1/2 cup of liquid remains, about 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken cubes, cover the pan and remove it from the heat.  Let the chicken steam in the hot broth until just done, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and toss with the chicken mixture.  Add the feta, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Stir until the cheese has melted.  Toss in the cherry tomatoes.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Penne alla Vodka

****I've been informed by a few people that my comment section is not working all the time, so I apologize if you are trying to comment and blogger will not allow it.  There seems to be a glitch in the system, hopefully it will be fixed soon!!  As always, thanks for visiting!****

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spicy Stir Fried Pork with Garlic and Chiles

Well, now, here's something you don't see every day here on Jenn's Food Journey - Stir Fried Pork.  Now, you know there are plenty of stir fry recipes on my site, but with pork?  I think not!  So, I thought it was time to step outside of the box - and lo and behold - spicy stir fried pork showed up on our table!  And I'm so glad it did.  This stir fry was delicious!  Spicy, flavorful, and oh so tender.  Yes, folks, by using pork tenderloin you not only get a tender texture, but you get a wonderful, meaty dish.  This is definitely one to try!

By the way, to make slicing the tenderloin easier, freeze it for 15 minutes before cutting.  This will help firm up the meat and make it easier to cut.

Spicy Stir Fried Pork with Garlic and Chiles
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons backed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and cornstarch until everything is dissolved and well combined.

In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the pork and quickly stir fry; stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through and the veggies have softened just a bit.  Add the garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the sauce to the pan and as soon as it boils, reduce heat to low, making sure to stir to coat the pork, until sauce has thickened.  Take off the heat and stir in the basil.  Serve over rice or noodles.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Island Chicken

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Pasta

I know a poor soul who cannot eat bacon.  I know, I know, I feel for her too.  So I made a promise to myself... I said that since she can't eat it, I must do my duty to eat more of it.  I mean, there has to be a balance, right?? :)  And for me, what better way to enjoy bacon then with pasta??!!

This dish is very similar to the bacon and tomato pasta I've posted, which is of course, one of our favorites!  I think this one ties it for first place.  And how could either one of them not be a favorite?  Didn't I mention it has bacon??  You see where I'm going with this right?

I LOVE BACON!!!

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Pasta
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
4 strips bacon, diced
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
8 oz dried spaghetti
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
6 basil leaves, chopped

Directions:
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined place.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoons of the drippings.  Add the sliced onion and sugar to the skillet and turn the heat down to medium low.  Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized, about 25-40 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, increasing the heat; simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated.  Add the remaining broth, vinegar, and pepper flakes.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and simmer another 5 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

Add the spinach and cooked bacon to the tomato mixture.  Add the pasta and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped basil.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Honey & Hoisin Grilled Trout with Orzo Pasta, Zucchini, and Peppers

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lemon-Habanero Tarter Sauce

Let me apologize for the picture.. it's not the greatest.  Most of the pictures I took were out of focus or too dark... BUT.. despite how it may photograph this is an intensely wonderful tarter sauce.  Granted, this is not for the faint of heart (or maybe I should say the faint of taste buds)... Oh, no, no, no.. you must be a brave soul to even consider trying this.  But for those that choose to step into this realm of heat, they will be rewarded with a wonderfully, spicy new tarter sauce that will become an instant favorite.  Who knows, you may never go back to that plain old tarter sauce again!

Lemon-Habanero Tarter Sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Printable Recipes 
Ingredients:
1 Habanero pepper, seeds removed, roughly chopped
3 snack'mms sized dill pickles, cut in half
1 small garlic clove, quartered
6 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper

Directions:
In a food processor add the habanero, pickles, and garlic.  Pulse until well minced.  Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Pulse until well combined.  Pour into a serving bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Tequila Garlic Lime Steaks

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: Yikes!! I forgot to set one up!!!

Sorry folks, I have been so busy with work that I completely forgot to get a guest blogger set up for today.  Guess all you get now is my Fire Day Friday post!  This is definitely one you need to go check out - all I'm going to say is "Fight Night Ribs"!!  Oh, yea, and I'm going to tempt your palate with this photo:

Now, wait, just because I don't have a guest blogger doesn't mean that I don't have important things to talk about!

First - Some of you might know that I work for a marketing/advertising agency here in Arizona, but what most of you probably don't know is that we also have a blog.  Unfortunately, when certain people within my office found out I had a blog myself, they immediately thought of a way to incorporate what I do with what they do.  Confused yet? :)  In layman's terms:  I had to write a post for our company blog and if you are interested, please check it out.  It's all about how marketers can better reach out to bloggers.  Here's the link: 5 Tips for Pitching to Bloggers

Second - Chris at Nibble Me This is hosting another great giveaway.  Just in time for the grilling season too!  If you are the winner of this great giveaway, you will receive a Bush's Baked Beans Grilling Kit.  But hurry up, the giveaway closes May 28th.  Don't forget to tell him Jenn sent you :)  Click Here for all the details. 

Third - last week (or maybe longer, geez, the days are all melding into one) I was awarded The Versitle Blogger award from Denise at The Bread Fairy.  The best thing about winning this award is that I got to find a brand new blog to follow!!  Of course, this comes with certain rules, but as always, I'm breaking the rules.  I haven't had a lot of time this week, so I'm just going to thank Denise very much for the award... I'm honored that you would choose to give it to me and am flattered you enjoy my blog so much.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And finally - if you are at all interested in doing a guest post here on Jenn's Food Journey, contact me through my email jennsfoodjourney@gmail.com and we can discuss up coming dates.  No pressure, just thought I would put it out there if you are feeling "guesty" :)

Now....go check out my post for Fight Night Ribs.... you won't be sorry :)  And don't forget to have a Foodie-tastic weekend!  Ciao!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heath Bar Ice Cream

It's getting pretty warm here.  Summer is upon us and soon our evening/morning lows will only be about 90 degrees.  I'm serious, once it starts registering over 105 consistently, day after day, our nights and mornings will be as warm, if not warmer, then most of your daily highs.  Aaaahhhhh... it's the life of the city desert dweller, what can I say.

So, how do we beat the summer heat around here?  With ice cream of course!!

I won't lie to you, not only could I eat pasta every day, but I could eat ice cream every day too.  I can be bought with ice cream, by the way, just in case you are in need of something from me.

But, enough of me, let's talk ice cream.  One of our favorite ice creams so far has been the Vanilla Ice Cream I posted last year.  It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!  But this one... I have to say, this base ice cream, was really, really, REALLY good.  It gave the vanilla ice cream a run for it's money, that I can safely say.  Then again, this one did rank a little higher in my book because of the Heath Bar pieces.  I do love me some chocolate coated toffee in my vanilla ice cream.....put a little chocolate syrup on top and, well... I've said this before... BUT... Heaven!!!

Heath Bar Ice Cream
Adapted from Food.com
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 cups half and half
2 cups whipping cream
30 miniature Heath candy bars, chopped

Directions:
Combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, half and half, and cream in a large bowl and mix well.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Pour chilled cream mixture into a bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufactures directions.  Add the chopped Heath bars in the last 5 minutes of churning.  Scoop into plastic containers with a lid, seal, and freeze for a few hours before serving.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Homemade Steak Sauce

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Apple Butter Glazed Chicken

I think I may have told you before, but I'm not absolutely sure, so I will tell you again - I adore apple butter.  When I was a kid, my mom would make her own and jar it.  There was always apple butter in the fridge and my favorite thing to do with it was put it on toast.  I even remember the day my mom handed me the very last jar of it.  I was in college at the time and remember thinking how lucky I was to have the last of it.  Then, in a short period of time, it was gone.  A sad day, of course, and wouldn't you know, I couldn't find a commercially sold apple butter that could compare to my mom's.

Flash forward quite a few years to present time - Chris and I are at this small farmer's market and there, we just happen upon a booth with a gentleman selling ..... yep, you guessed it.... apple butter!!  And not only was he selling apple butter, but, after properly taste testing it, he was selling an apple butter that could actually compare to mom's!!! (I said compare, not out do!!)  Of course, I did the only thing I could do: I purchased a jar!!

Although I still love it on toast, I thought that I would try and incorporate it into some of my cooking too.   What better way to use it then on wonderfully grilled chicken!  This is a simple glaze that might sound a little odd, but trust me, it's tangy and sweet and delightful to the palate.  A must try in my book!

Apple Butter Glazed Chicken
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons apple butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
garlic salt
pepper

Directions:
Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel and season with garlic salt and pepper on both sides.  In a small bowl, mix together the apple butter, mustard and soy sauce until well combined.  Evenly spread mixture over both sides of each piece of chicken.  Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour (recommend 4).

Preheat grill to 375 degrees.  Oil the grill grates.  Place the chicken directly over the fire and grill 7-10 minutes per side (depending on thickness) or until the chicken registers 165 degrees F.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 3 minutes.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Garlic Cheese Bread

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spaghetti with Red Pepper Almond Pesto and Grilled Chicken

As most of you know, I just recently went through a boss change.  I wish I could tell you everything was going superbly, but alas, they are not and unfortunately, I am to blame for most of that.  I can't stop myself.  I can't stop myself from comparing him to my last boss.  It's not fair to him, I know this.  It's not fair to me, I know this.  I feel like a petty little child.  Like a kid who just got introduced to a step parent and immediately dislikes that person for no other reason then it's not their real parent.  He's not my real boss!!  But he is and I need to get over it.  I'm hoping that announcing it out loud to you and everyone else that is reading this, that I will see how ridiculous I am being and I will snap out of this child-like state.  This is not a pretty side of me, I will admit.  I mean, it's not like I'm mean to the guy or anything, but I'm not my helpful outgoing self around him either.  So, my pledge to me today is:  I will NOT compare my new boss to my old boss....not even once.....today!  There...it's been said.......on to the better side of me: Food!

I could tell you this was such a wonderful dish...and it was....but I say that about all pasta dishes.  I love them all.  I do not lie when I say I could eat pasta morning, noon, and night, seven days a week.  Red sauce, white sauce, pestos, vinaigrettes.  Top it however you feel fit.  Eat it plain with butter and salt and pepper.  Does not matter to me, I will eat it all day, thank you very much.  So for me to tell you how wonderful this dish was, would sort of be a repeat of the last pasta recipe I shared with you.  What I will tell you is this - Chris normally does not like "nuts" in his food, even crushed, but he did love this pesto.  He claimed that the nuts made the dish, gave it depth and texture - think that sums it up nicely!

Spaghetti with Red Pepper Almond Pesto with Grilled Chicken
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 large chicken breast, grilled and sliced thin or cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup almonds
1 garlic clove, skin removed and quartered
1 red bell pepper, roasted, skin, stem and seeds removed
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, add the almonds and garlic to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until roughly chopped.  Add the roasted red pepper and pulse until pepper is roughly chopped.  Add the parmesan cheese, basil, and lemon juice.  Pulse a few times.  Now, with the processor running, slowly add the olive oil until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken and pesto to the drained pasta and toss to combine.  Add reserved pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce.  Season again with salt and pepper and serve warm.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Pasta Carbonara

Monday, May 16, 2011

General Tso's Chicken - My Way

So here's something you should know about me, I love Asian foods.  What?  That surprises you?  Well it shouldn't....ok so here's another surprise - I secretly love fast food Chinese cuisines.  Ok, it's not a secret really, but it is true!  Now I know I told you just recently that I adore orange chicken.  I also love, love, love kung pao chicken.  Another of my top picks...General Tso's Chicken.  I try very hard not to order it when I go out as it's usually just deep friend chunks of chicken and that is it.  Well, folks, you know I've got to find a way to enjoy that flavor at home but without all those extra (yet oh so wonderful) fried fat calories, so I found a recipe for General Tso's chicken and tweaked it ever so slightly.

I wouldn't say that this was the best duplication of this delicious dish, but it is still really good.  Frickin' delicious if you ask me.  Yes, it would have been better if the chunks of chicken had a nice breading for the sauce to stick to, but honestly, I didn't miss it at all.

General Tso's Chicken - My Way
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Recipes
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
Velveting Marinade -
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon chicken stock or white wine
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon oil
For the Sauce -
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water or chicken broth (plus any additional for thinning out the sauce if needed)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts), cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:
Place the cut up meat in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and add chicken stock, stirring to combine.  Add the egg white and gently mix to coat each piece of chicken making sure not to froth the egg.  Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss to coat.  Add the oil and stir one last time.  Let the meat marinate for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the chicken; set aside.

When the chicken is done marinating; bring a pot of water with one tablespoon of oil to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.  Scatter in the marinated chicken, stir to separate and keep stirring gently until the coating turns white.  Remove the chicken pieces quickly, with a slotted spoon or strainer.  Set chicken aside.

In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring every 15-20 seconds, until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the sauce and turn the heat down to medium.  Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring to coat chicken in sauce.  Serve over steamed rice and vegetables.  Enjoy!

 

One Year Ago:  Pork Chops with Carolina Rub

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chinese Barbecued Pork

When I first moved to Arizona, a group of friends and I would go to this Asian noodle place every other Sunday.  One of my favorite things to order was the Barbecued Pork.  It was a simple dish...consisting of only the barbecued pork and rice.  But this pork was no ordinary pork.  No, not even close.  It was tender, it was chewy, it was sweet, it was sticky, it was AMAZING!  When I happened to stumble across this recipe from America's Test Kitchen, I knew I had to try it.  I have not always had the best of luck with ATK recipes in the past, but lately, they have really been spot on.  This one was no different.  This was the perfect recreation of the dish I so fondly remember.  It was tender, it was sweet, it was sticky, it was AMAZING!  So even if you have never experienced barbecued pork from an Asian restaurant like I have, I believe you will still completely fall in love with this recipe.  This was one of those dinners where no words were spoken as the food was just so good, nothing really needed to be said :)

Chinese Barbecued Pork
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Recipes Collection
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast cut into strips and excess fat removed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clover, finely minced
2 Tablespoons ketchup
3 Tablespoons honey

Directions:
Prick the pork with a fork about 10 to 12 times on each side.  Place the pork in a large zipper lock bag.  Combine the sugar, soy, hoisin, rice vinegar, pepper, five-spice, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in a medium bowl.  Measure out 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.  Pour the remaining marinade into the bag with the pork.  Press out as much air as possible; seal the bag.  Refrigerate for at 30 minutes or up to 4 hours (recommend 4 or more for best results).

Meanwhile, combine the ketchup and hone with the reserved marinade in a small saucepan.  Cook the glaze over medium heat until thickened, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack in the pan; spray the foil and the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the pork from the marinade, letting any excess drip off, and place it on the wire rack.  Pour 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the pan.  Cover the pan with heavy-duty foil, crimping the edges tightly to seal.  Cook the pork for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to cook until the edges of the pork begin to brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

Turn on the broiler.  Broil the pork until evenly caramelized, 7 to 9 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and brush the pork with half of the glaze; broil until deep mahogany color, 3 to 5 minutes.  Flip the meat and broil until the other side caramelizes, 7 to 9 minutes.  Brush the meat with the remaining glaze and continue to broil until the second side is deep mahogany, 3 to 5 minutes.  Cool for at least 8 minutes then cut into thin strips and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tilapia Dynomite

Ma, what's for dinner?  Well, let me tell you.. this KICK AS....err.....butt fish is what's for dinner.  But seriously, have you visited Ma What's for Dinner? website?  If not, go there....especially if you have children.  Alex will give you all sorts of pointers on how to get your picky eaters to not only eat different foods, but to help you in the cooking process.  I love her picky eater pointers... some of them even work with my picky eater :)

Alex claims she has an unhealthy addiction to sushi.  I think I could safely say the same thing.  Other than price, the biggest thing that keeps me from eating it more than I do is the fact that Chris does not like it.  And, although, he always says we can go have sushi anytime, it's hard to take someone to a restaurant when you know they are not going to enjoy it.  I'd rather just wait and go with my friends who enjoy it as much as I do.  So, when I saw Alex's recipe for Salmon Dynomite, I thought.. YES!  I can have the same flavors as one of my favorite sushi items and still please Chris with something he will enjoy just as much!  Sometimes compromise is good :) 

Tilapia Dynomite
Adapted from Alex aka Ma, What's for Dinner?
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 Tablespoon mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
4 tilapia fillets 

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Rinse the tilapia and pat dry; place in prepared pan.

In a small bowl mix together the mayo, sesame oil, mirin, and Sriracha until smooth.  Spread half of the mixture evenly over each fillet.  Place baking dish in oven and cook for 6 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully spread remaining mixture over each fillet.  Returned to oven and continue to bake another 7 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Enjoy! 

One Year Ago:  Tilapia in Olive Oil and Garlic

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Super Spicy Chili Mac

I don't know if I would call this SUPER spicy, but it definitely was spicy!  Now I say that knowing that I have a pretty high tolerance for heat.  My mouth was a tiny bit fiery by the time we were done, but not so much that I couldn't enjoy it.  So if you make this, I'm giving you the warning now...if you don't like super spicy, stay away from this recipe... well, no, that's not right....just don't add any chipotles to the dish and you'll be just fine!

This recipe reminds me a lot of one of Chris and I's favorite dishes, Hamburger Buddy.  It's made in almost the same way, but believe me, they are definitely different.  Believe me also when I say, both are worth trying.......you will not be sorry!

Super Spicy Chili Mac
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 lbs 93% lean ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped - Plus 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
2 cups elbow macaroni (I used whole grain)
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook beef over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet with a lid, about 3 minutes.  Add the onion and cook another 3 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 more minutes.  Stir in garlic and chipotles and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the broth, water, adobo sauce, and macaroni to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and incorporated.  Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with warm crusty bread and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Chicken and Veggie Pasta