Chicken

Red & Green Enchiladas

red-green-enchiladas

Ah, the age old question. Green or red sauce on your enchiladas? Does that decision haunt anyone else? It’s been a thorn in my side for years and it rears its ugly head nearly every Friday when we order Mexican food for dinner. When ordering out, why not get an enchilada trio, you ask? Well, because my husband and I get the same thing every week. We split chicken fajitas, an order of guac, and we each get one a la carte item. Usually one crispy beef taco and one enchilada. It’s a perfect order, and we’ll never change it. But I never quite feel comfortable with the enchilada piece. I want some red sauce and some green sauce; it’s that simple. And when my husband asked for enchiladas for dinner this week, the same decision haunted me all day long. Until I realized I could take control of my life and make a pan of enchiladas that had a little bit of both.  I created an aluminum foil barrier to separate the two (just fold it over into a 2 or 3 inch little panel and stand it up in the pan width-wise), but if I were braver I would have thrown caution to the wind and seen what happened without the barrier. Because there’s a good chance that some of the sauces would have meandered into the other’s side and it could be a super delicious green-red combo sauce. Up to you if you want to be adventurous. I don’t have that luxury in my life right now.

Onto the recipe. Guys, this is such an easy dinner. I bought boneless skinless chicken breasts but these would be incredibly delicious using a rotisserie chicken (might need two if you like them meaty like we do). But with the jarred salsa verde and red sauce this comes together in minutes, and tastes great for days. I toyed with the idea of making my own sauces, but then realized that if I wasn’t super excited about that idea then someone busier than me certainly wouldn’t embrace the thought. Easy and simple is my theme these days.

Recipe

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I just boiled for 20 min)
  • One ~15 oz jar red enchilada sauce
  • One ~15 oz jar salsa verde (make sure it’s one you like-love Happy Tomato in TX)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 12 corn tortillas (flour works too)
  • 1.5 cups shredded jack/cheddar cheese blend (or mexican blend, or just cheddar)
  • S&P

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the salsa verde with the sour cream in one bowl. In another bowl, pour the red sauce. In another bowl, place your shredded chicken.  Put your foil sauce divider into a 13×9 inch pan (if using), and ladle one big spoonful of red sauce on one side, and green on the other. Wrap the tortillas in paper towel and microwave for 40 seconds. Keeping them warm throughout this process makes them more pliable so they won’t rip, and you may need to reheat them a few times (I did at least 3 times).  When heated, dip each tortilla in one of the sauces, fill with chicken, roll it up and place seam side down in the pan. Do six of each kind (I laid 4 next to each other side to side, and the final 2 had to be perpendicular to stay on their side). So you should have about 12 enchiladas, 6 red and 6 green.  Pour the remaining red/green sauce over the enchiladas on either side. Top with cheese, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the cheese a bit. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving (with sour cream, of course).

chicken-lettuce-wraps-a-la-p-f-changs

Has anyone found the news to be extremely boring lately? I’m so bored with the news I’m almost hoping for another Kardashian family scandal to break.  No really though…the news is just filled with noise noise noise. Riots and protests, the latest Trump tweet, the latest person who’s been offended by something, the Emmy’s speeches which were just more of the same.  Even Hurricane Irma and Harvey which were HUGE news stories died down after the ‘drama’ was over. Can’t the media cover the real aspect of anything? How are those communities recovering from the hurricanes? What does it look like? What activities are going on in the country to help these cities? And if it is possible that global warming is responsible, then can we see some sort of special on it that discusses the data and historical facts? Seriously, I would like to be educated. I’m not trying to be controversial but it just seems like the media is consistently consumed by the latest drama that will get the biggest reaction, but that aggressive coverage and ‘investigative journalism’ stops short of actually educating people and bringing them real, useful information. And please, for the love of God, FIND MH370. That mystery has me so intrigued I’m almost ready to volunteer to help in the search (not sure what skills I would bring to the table other than curiosity).

Anyway, I used to really like reading the news but because I’m so bored with it now I have to eat my way through the week with delicious recipes.  Last week I wrote about strategies for avoiding Chinese takeout with my Mongolian Beef recipe.  If you want to understand why anyone would do that, you’ll have to read the post (and even then, you might still be confused).  But in order to really corner the Chinese market with my husband I needed to figure out how to replicate P.F. Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps. He LOVES them. There are lots of copycat  recipes out there that inspired me (like this one), but I made several changes to get it exactly how I wanted it (less hoisin sauce, more soy sauce, add brown sugar, Sriracha instead of garlic sauce, no green onion, etc). I’m not really a lettuce wrap person because I love rice with anything Chinese, but these are definitely worth it. And so, so easy to throw together.

Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 lb ground chicken, S&P
  • 1 sweet/yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1-3 teaspoons sriracha (I used about 1.5-2, just a touch of heat)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, finely minced (I did just two)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ~1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger (I don’t love a strong ginger taste, start with 1/2)
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced small
  • 1 6 oz can mushrooms (I used straw mushrooms from Asian section), drained & chopped
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed
  • Special Sauce from here (optional, but highly recommended. I halved recipe, omitted mustard and used about 1/2 tsp sriracha)

Brown the chicken in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper. When chicken is almost done cooking, add in the diced onions. Cook another 5 minutes or so until onions are soft. Transfer Chicken/onions to a bowl. Add in the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil, then the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar and ginger. Cook for several minutes to combine and thicken. Add back in the chicken, and the water chestnuts and mushrooms. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve on lettuce leaves with special sauce.

Chicken Paillard (ish)

chicken-paillard-ish

Chicken paillard is one thing I see on a menu and always just keep on scrollin’.  In most circumstances, I don’t really want a pounded-thin breast of chicken atop ‘lightly dressed’ greens when I’m out to dinner. Lightly dressed? I LOVE RANCH. The full fat kind.

But recently, I’ve been trying to cook more simply during the week. Simple stuff. Relatively healthy. Not 7 million sides. And I opened my eyes and heart to chicken paillard and you know what? It’s just lovely. I breaded mine, but you could easily skip that step. I’m just trying to make sure I hang on to those last 4 pounds of baby weight.

Recipe

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin or butterflied
  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • s&p
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag butter/bibb lettuce
  • sunflower seeds
  • This lemon vinaigrette

Start by coating each of the chicken breasts in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Coat a large nonstick pan with olive and heat to medium high.  Working in batches, cook the chicken breasts about 3 minutes per side.  While the chicken is cooking, toss the lettuce with some sunflower seeds and lemon vinaigrette (I like to ‘heavily dress’). Serve the chicken ‘atop’ these greens.

marinated-grilled-chicken-sandwich

Today is one of those days I feel like I just can’t go on. It is just too hot. When your face starts sweating literally the second you step outside, it’s too hot. Add in 75 trips to the car loading babies in/out and I might just lose it. Add in – getting your eyebrows threaded and your baby B throwing a fit for keeping him strapped down for more than 3 minutes, grabbing a vase and breaking it, having to leave halfway through (yep, one brow done), and going back OUT into the 100+ degrees, and quite frankly I’m surprised I’m here to even tell you about it. I really never get my eyebrows done anymore because it’s too much of a hassle, but I thought it might be a good idea since we’re having our one year photos done tomorrow. Oh well, at least I got one done.

Instead I’ll talk about what we ate last week (in between two bouts of the stomach flu).  Super flavorful grilled chicken sandwiches. I ate this a couple ways – with honey mustard, with pickles, with tomatoes, with a couple different buns, and I landed on the simplest version. The chicken is so tasty that it tastes great on its own, with a buttery toasted ciabatta bun. Of course add what you want, but this is a great simple dinner.

Recipe

  • 3 thick boneless skinless chicken breast halves (~1.5 lb)
  • 6 ciabatta rolls, halved and lightly buttered
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • black pepper

Prepare the chicken breasts by cutting their thickness in half. You can also pound them thin, but our Central Market chicken breasts are so thick that halving them is best. Mix the marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag; season the chicken with black pepper and add to marinade. I marinated for about 8 hours for extra flavor, but if you only have a couple hours that will be fine.  Heat the grill to medium high and grill 3-4 minutes per side.  Butter the ciabatta rolls and toast in the oven.  Top with what you want, but you won’t need it!

pineapple-jalapeno-bbq-chicken-kabobs

I would have added more words to the title of this recipe, but they didn’t fit. I would have added ‘spicy,’ ‘soy sauce,’ ‘veggie,’ and maybe even ‘amazing.’  I have to admit I’m not a total kabob person.  I can’t really explain why…except that I maybe feel like they’re pointless. Generally you can eat the exact same thing without having to chop everything up and put it on a stick. BUT, these are different. Because with these, in each bite you get a burst of super flavorful BBQ chicken, sweet juicy pineapple, and spicy jalapeno – a bite that’s hard to achieve anywhere else (except maybe a pizza).  It’s worth it here to chop it into bits and put it on a stick. The flavor combo is perfect and it screams SUMMER’S HERE!! Always a nice reminder.

Recipe

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sweet BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Kabobs

  • 2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped into large piece
  • 2 jalapenos, cut into rings, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 pineapple, cut into large chunks

Season the chicken with pepper. Prepare the marinade in a ziploc bag, add the chicken and marinate for at least 1 hour (I did about 3). Heat the grill to medium high. Place all the veggies (bell pepper, jalapeno and onion – not pineapple) in a bowl, splash with a couple tablespoons of water and S&P, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, cover and microwave for 3 minutes. This is important, because otherwise the veggies won’t get done by the time the chicken is done on the grill. A fatal flaw of kabobs.

Prepare the kabobs, alternating chicken, pineapple, jalapeno, bell pepper and onion.  Discard marinade. Lightly oil grill grates.  Grill kabobs about 4 minutes per side or until done.

 

pineapple-jalapeno-salsa

Happy Friday! Favorite day of the week. I’m so original! My kids are getting soooo close to turning 1, and every day it seems they have a new skill. Bax is running around, Price is taking a few steps and trying sooooo hard to copy his brother. This might be the cutest thing ever, by the way. Bax will fly past him on his feet and poor Price gets almost panicky and starts launching himself off of stuff. He can take a few steps and I’m sure he’ll be walking any day now, little cutie. He could use a few more steps to add some definition to his knees/thighs (so far I’ve seen no concrete evidence that he actually HAS knees). Other skills? Price loves taking off his diaper and Bax loves poking people in the eye. Like really hard.

On to food. This pineapple salsa goes on anything. Anything. Use it as a dip, but I highly recommend it as a topper for your grilled fish or chicken of choice. We had it on top of blackened salmon and it was perfect. Talk about a perfect summer dinner party recipe!

Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cup pineapple, diced into small 1/4-in. pieces
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons canned green chiles or diced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped white or sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste

I used fresh pre-cut pineapple from the grocery store, then chopped it up even smaller and used 1 tablespoon of the extra pineapple juice from the container. Place the pineapple and juice in a bowl, then add in remaining ingredients. Mix together, then let marinate at least 30 minutes before serving.

1239