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Craisin Almond Chicken Salad

3 Sep

I like to make a big chicken salad at the beginning of the week so I can A) make lunches off of it, and B) eat it cold while standing in front of the fridge looking for real food to eat. I typically will make between 4-8 chicken thighs if I’m doing it this way, or if I’m just making it for one meal I’ll just use one breast. This recipe is just my best guesstimate – I change it up every time I make it. Just a heads up – this makes a large amount of food! You can always scale it down to be a more… manageable? appropriate? not-so-ridiculous amount? Whatever. Have fun.

 

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What I used:
8 chicken thighs
2 green apples, cored/seeded and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 oz craisins
4 oz slivered almonds (any nuts will do, but I like almonds)
¼ cup greek yogurt
¼ spicy mustard (or regular… but I like to live adventurously)
salt, pepper, basil – I tend to do it to taste

Cook the chicken thighs in slow cooker until cooked through – usually 3-4 hours or so. Pull off the bone and discard any remnants of fat or bone. Pop in the fridge until it’s cool. You can really cook it any way to your liking – especially if you’re scaling down. I think it’s a little ridiculous to slow cook one thigh!

Combine chicken, apples, celery, craisins, and almonds. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, mustard, and spices. Pour over the chicken and mix in. If you find that you do not have enough sauce for your liking, you can always add more! That’s just the amount I like to start with.

I like putting this chicken salad on wraps or on a sandwich (especially if the bread is toasted… yum).

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

14 May

I know it’s been a while since I posted – life has been pretty nuts over here. I finished my clinical, somehow managed to graduate (ha-ha), have been studying for the boards, AND have been preparing for a couple vacations. But don’t worry, I still have enough free time to concoct a delicious dinner or two a week for my ever-appreciative roommates.

A few months ago Nick’s Aunt Marianne came to visit and made a delicious Pad Thai. Between that and the increasing stack of Chinese/Thai cookbooks in our kitchen, we have developed a constant hankering for any type of asian food. We decided to make our own “alternative” pad thai, which uses spaghetti squash instead of asian noodles.

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I really thought that everyone knew what spaghetti squash was, but it recently became clear to me that it’s apparently not as common as I thought. For those of you who don’t know, when you bake this kind of squash, it pulls apart into strands (much like spaghetti). The best part is that it’s healthier than regular pasta – weighing in at around 30 calories a cup it’s a guilt-free substitution to any meal.

This is kind of a long one, so hang in with me here.

What we used:
1 spaghetti squash, whole
½ white onion, diced into big chunks
3 stalks of celery, diced into chunks (or slivered)
about 7 baby carrots, slivered
1 orange pepper, sliced thin
2 scallions, chopped
2 eggs, whisked
½ cup peanuts
olive oil

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For the sauce:
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoon peanut butter
½ lime, juiced

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Optional:
I served with chicken and shrimp, but you can easily sub out for other meats/tofu/ whatever
2 raw chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 handfuls of shrimp, de-tailed

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Alright, here we go:
Preheat the oven to 350. Using a large fork, poke some holes in the squash. Wrap it up in a wet paper towel, and microwave for five minutes – make sure that you let it sit for a while when it’s done, it’ll be super hot. Once it’s cool enough to handle, put it in the oven whole for about 10 minutes or so. (I did my microwaving before I prepped my veggies and meat, and then threw it in the oven right after my chicken hit the pan.)

Coat a large frying pan in olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and add the celery, carrots, onion, and pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While that was going, I started my sauce – using a small saucepan, I combined the fish sauce, juice of ½ a lime, and vinegar together, and brought to a high heat. (I also added some scallions into the sauce, but that’s optional). Once it was warm, I added the peanut butter and let simmer, stirring occasionally until combined. I left it on simmer while the rest of my food was cooking, which was probably about 5 or so minutes.

At this point I recommend starting whatever meat you’re gonna use – I used a medium sized frying pan, some oil, medium heat, and cooked the chicken. I heated the shrimp in my veggie pan once they were done cooking. Nothing crazy.

(Now is the time to put the squash in, if you hadn’t already)

After the veggies have been frying for about 5 minutes, push them to the sides of the frying pan (see picture). Slowly pour in the eggs, and let sit for about 30 seconds. Proceed to cook as if they were scrambled eggs with a bunch of stuff in them – stir, when the eggs are cooked the veggies are done.

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The squash will be VERY HOT. I held it with a towel during these steps – cut in half, remove the seeds with a fork, and then gently scrape the walls of the squash to pull all the stringy stuff off. I put it in the (now empty) large frying pan on HOT with some oil and fried for a minute or two, just to make them a little less tender.

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I threw some peanuts in the oven on broil and pulled out when they started to roast – just a few minutes. I then put the veggie combo (top with the scallions), chicken, shrimp, sauce, and peanuts in a separate bowl and let everyone serve themselves. Use the spaghetti squash as your noodle base and dig in!

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Tequila Lime Chicken

9 Apr

No special background story for this one – we just had a bunch of leftover cilantro, limes, and jalapenos, and I needed to figure out a way to use them all up. I was thinking about making this into a pasta, but we’re trying to “eat healthy” so that wasn’t going to happen. I served the chicken breasts along with some avocados and a side salad, which served for a pretty filling meal.

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Just a warning, this ended up being a pretty spicy dish – if you’re spice-sensitive I would only use ½ a jalapeno, and de-seed/de-rib it before blending. I did make a pretty kick-ass barbecue sauce last week, so we threw some of that on here.

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What I used:
For the marinade:
⅓ cup tequila (the cheap stuff)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped (or a couple tbsp if still whole)
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno, stem removed
The juice of one lime

3 chicken breasts
½ cup white wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 avocado, sliced
BBQ sauce
Side salad – greens, onions, bacon, cheese, sour cream….

Using a food processor, combine the tequila, olive oil, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime and blend until well combined. Place the chicken breast in a ziploc bag (butterfly it if you’d like, I didn’t), and dump the marinade in. Put it in the fridge for a few hours before eating – I refrigerated mine for about 4 hours.

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When you’re ready to cook, set a large frying pan on medium heat. Pour in the chicken and all of the marinade from the bag. Cover, and cook on medium until done all the way through – it was about 8 minutes each side.

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While that’s cooking, combine the white wine and cornstarch. Pull the chicken out of the pan when it’s finished cooking, a pour the wine/cornstarch mixture in, and turn the pan to low. Whisk for a minute or so, until the sauce starts to thicken. In the meantime, slice or cut up the chicken so it’s in easier to manage pieces. Serve on top of a salad along with avocado, bbq sauce, and plenty of sour cream.

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Pretty easy and fast meal if you have the time to set the marinade up!

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Chicken Pot Soup

4 Apr

It’s been a little chilly (and rainy) up here the last few days. Whenever it is crummy out, I always crave hearty soups or stews – or really any warm food. As I was sharing this sentiment with Nick, he told me that he has been craving chicken and dumpling soup, and thus, an idea was born.

I had some trouble right off the bat – I didn’t know what he was talking about. I thought he meant dumplings that you get with chinese food. Apparently, from what I understand, it’s basically a ball of dough that cooks in your soup. I thought the challenge of making something I’ve never heard of could be fun, right? WRONG.

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I tried making the soup following a couple recipes and managed to absolutely screw it up – and make something even better. My end product was a chicken pot soup (like chicken pot pie, but more soup like). If I were to make this again, I would probably double the amount of chicken and veggies and keep everything else the same – that way it would have more of the feeling of actual chicken pot pie.

What I used:
For the soup
2 tbsp butter
1 white onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup white wine
2 lbs chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
6 cups chicken broth
⅓ cup 1% milk
salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder
3 bay leaves

For the topping:
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cup 1% milk
2 tbsp dried parsley

I started by making my normal chicken soup – If you have a recipe you love, feel free to use it, but this is what I usually use.

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Melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add the wine and cook down until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken, chicken broth, bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Turn down and let cook for about thirty minutes on low, covered.

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For the topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and parsley, sifting to get rid of any clumps. Add the milk and stir well to combine.

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Carefully and slowly spoon the mixture on top of the soup, being sure to cover the whole surface with dough (my dough expanded when cooking, so this wasn’t a problem for me at all).

Bring the soup to a boil (again), partially cover, and let cook until the top of the dough turns hard and browns.

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Let sit for a few minutes (it will be hot!) and then enjoy.

Barbecue Chicken Spent Grain Pizza

22 Nov

So it turns out we have way way more than grain than we even know what to do with. The other day Nick made some beeeeer and so we had a fresh batch of wet grain. With it we decided to make some grain-y pizza dough for the next night’s dinner. This would be hard to replicate without the spent grain, but it could be done using wet barley or some other type of large-husked grain.
I definitely jacked the dough recipe from Spent Grain Chef because their stuff is friggin incredible.

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What I used
For the dough
1 package active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (hottest faucet setting)
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ wet spent grain
2 teaspoons salt
sprinkle of white sugar
olive oil
garlic powder

For the toppings
~10 oz mozzarella cheese
2 lb of chicken
½ onion, caramelized
1 cup barbeque sauce
red pepper flakes

What I did
I combined the warm water with about two pinches of white sugar. Once that fully dissolved, I added the yeast and gently mixed it in together. It took about 10 minutes, but it started to bubble and get pretty big.

I added the flour, grain and salt into the bowl and mixed well. Once it almost resembled dough I kneaded it for a few minutes until it became a good dough-y texture. I covered it in a light layer of olive oil on top of the dough, put it back in the fridge, and let it sit overnight.

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The next day we took it out a few hours before we wanted to use it. We let it rise and come to room temperature (about 4 hours). We then packed it down again and made it into a tight ball, and let it re-rise for another 30 or so minutes. At this time we pre-heated the oven to 500 and made the toppings.

We pan fried the chicken on medium until it was cooked through and then cut it up. We tossed it with ½ cup of barbecue sauce.

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I took a small cookie sheet, lightly dusted it with flour, and stretched out the dough until it covered almost the whole thing. I drizzled olive oil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes right onto the dough. I topped with cheese, chicken, onion and the rest of the sauce. We baked for about 12-14 minutes, at which time the cheese started to brown.

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It was really good – I’m planning on making it soon using a lager yeast instead of active dry. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to be topping it with… any ideas?