Tag Archives: rice

Chicken with Almond-Garlic Saffron Sauce

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Saffron Almond Sauce

Saffron is an unusual flavor that I’m not totally sure about. On one hand, I associate it with delicious Spanish dishes like paella, but on the other hand, it has a strange essence. The turmeric color it releases is beautiful, but that earthy flavor easily overwhelms my palette, so I have to be careful how I use it.

This Spanish-inspired dish uses saffron along with a bunch of garlic and almonds to create a rich, creamy sauce served with chicken. It is quite similar to a curry, so I am calling it Spanish Chicken Curry. The almonds puree with fresh bread crumbs to thicken the sauce without the aid of dairy products. I love that trick.

While I only used a small pinch of saffron threads (get these at Trader Joe’s – way cheaper!), I still found the flavor a bit strong. Grant loved it and ate all the leftovers, so perhaps the problem lies with my pickiness. My senses have been much more acute lately…

I made this with an easy rice side – simply cooking a little tomato in oil in your rice pot, then stirring in the uncooked rice and proceeding as normal. The tomato broke down into a nice light-red tinge gently coating the rice, providing a sweet bed for my chicken and sauce.

This recipe has a few steps, but the sauce can be made in advance and simply added in where the recipe calls for it. Note that I used boneless skinless chicken because it’s just so much easier to eat!

Adapted from Bon Appeit:

Chicken with Almond-Garlic Saffron Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless white bread
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup dry Sherry or white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 chicken legs (I used 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method:

  • Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add almonds and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes; transfer to paper towels. Place 1/3 cup almonds in a blender or food processor. Set aside remaining almonds for garnish.
  • Add bread cubes and garlic to same pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until bread is golden brown and crisp, 4–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to blender. Add broth, wine, 1/2 tsp. pepper, saffron, and a large pinch of salt; process until almost smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pot and cook, turning down heat if needed to prevent burning, until chicken is golden brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  • Add onion to pot; cook, stirring often, until onion is caramelized around edges, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and chicken to pot, pushing down chicken to submerge. Bring sauce to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until chicken is just cooked through, approx. 10 minutes for me, but depends on the thickness of your chicken. Bone-in chicken will take 20 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Divide chicken and sauce among bowls. Garnish each serving with reserved almonds and chopped parsley.

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Almond Saffron Sauce

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Crock Pot Spicy Thai Peanut Pork

It just occurred to me that all of my Crock Pot dishes look the same. Especially the Asian ones – braised meat, thick sauces and topped with my favorite type of onion: green onions! This dish adds another layer of flavor with peanut butter, a rich and creamy finish to a deeply flavored meat.

Unlike many pork Crock Pot meals, this one uses the lean pork tenderloin, resulting in a much less greasy dish.

Warm and comforting on chilly nights like these, this meal is easy to put on in the morning while you do you last-minute holiday shopping (and other merriment).

I love how bits turn dark and extra caramelized in the slow cooker. Deeply satisfying and comforting to every one of your senses.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Crock Pot Spicy Thai Peanut Pork

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  • 2 lb. boneless pork tenderloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 c. teriyaki sauce (I didn’t have this, so just mixed up some oyster sauce, ground ginger, soy sauce and brown sugar)
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • Cooked rice
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Place pork in slow cooker. Stir teriyaki, vinegar, pepper flakes and garlic cloves in small bowl and pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. (Note: if you want more juice, I would add some chicken stock to the mix – next time I will add at least 1-2 cups of stock along with the spices).

When cooked, remove pork and coarsely chop. Whisk peanut butter into slow cooker to combine. Stir in pork.

Serve over cooked rice, with green onions on top. Squeeze lime over to serve – the lime juice is a nice balance to the richness of the dish, so I highly recommend it.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Crock Pot Beef with Broccoli

I love Crock Pot days because the aromas wrap around you like a blanket as soon as you enter the house. The perfect welcome from cold nights and long days at work.

Asian flavors are my secret to creating interesting dishes with the Crock Pot. Otherwise, the typical pot roast or beef stews just get a little old. But soy! Sugar! Sesame oil? Now you have something different.

This slow-cooker version of the classic cheap Chinese dish recreates the thick, dark gravy but doesn’t give you the chewy texture you get from beef strips stir-fried with broccoli. Instead, the beef is fork tender and full of hours worth of flavor.  Warm and satisfying from your nose to your toes.

I ended up cooking the broccoli separately and serving it over the rice, but the recipe has you cook it with the beef. I simply didn’t get home in time for this step.

Crock Pot Beef with Broccoli

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thick strips
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 heads worth of broccoli florets
  • Cooked rice (I used brown rice)

Place beef in Crock Pot.

Combine in small bowl the stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil and garlic. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low, 6-8 hours.

In a cup, combine cornstarch with 2 T cooking liquid until smooth. Pour over beef and stir to combine. Add broccoli, cover and cook on high an additional 20-30 min. or until broccoli is cooked.

Serve over hot rice.

I topped mine with chopped scallions for an extra bite – highly recommend it. And a few sprinklings of sesame seeds.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Turkey Fried Rice with Potato Chips

When you see a recipe that includes potato chips as a garnish, you don’t have a choice. You make it. And I don’t even like potato chips.

There is, however, something trendy about using junk food in gourmet or (like mine) normal weeknight meals. This trend continues on shows like Top Chef and inside the doors of Momofuku Milk Bar.

Here, the potato chips add two key elements: crunch and salt. Sprinkled on top of your lean meat mixed with rice and seasonings – egg to hold it together, green onions for color – it’s a nice first flavor as you bite down. Honestly, it doesn’t dramatically change the dish, but it’s fun. And you better bet your kids will try this if they see potato chips are involved.

Adapted from a former Top Chef himself, Angelo Sosa…

Turkey Fried Rice with Potato Chips

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 3 T canola oil
  • 2 T minched fresh ginger
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T minced lemongrass bulb
  • 4 oz. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 C. cold cooked rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. chopped mint
  • 1/2 c. plain potato chips, crushed
  • Sriracha hot sauce, for serving

Heat large saute pan or wok until very hot. Add oil, ginger, garlic and lemongrass and saute 1 min. Add turkey and salt and stir-fry until turkey is just cooked through, about 3 min.

Push turkey to side and add eggs, cooking until just set. Add rice and stir-fry until heated through, 3 min. Add soy sauce and stir until absorbed, about 2 min. Stir in sesame oil and transfer fried rice to bowls.

Top with green onions, mint, crushed potato chips and Sriracha to taste.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Cajun-Spiced Skillet Shrimp and Rice

I’m not really one of those 30-Minute Meals people, or people who are good about thinking ahead so meal-prep is a cinch. But once in a while I’ll be inspired, or bored, so I’ll think ahead enough to make tasty, quick-and-easy weeknight meals like this Cajun-spiced skillet shrimp and rice.

I saw it featured on the Food Network website, which I rarely visit unless I’m searching an Ina Garten recipe. The reviews were glowing, and now I can add mine to the mix!

It’s easy because the shrimp cooks in no time, and you make the rice beforehand, adding at the end to warm through. Despite it’s speedy preparation and cooking time, it’s not semi-homemade at all, using fresh tomatoes, lots of green onions and my home-made Emeril’s Essence (you can use any Cajun seasoning on hand).

I doubled the spice in mine, so it was very peppery, which we liked. Adjust to your tastes.

Cajun-Spiced Skillet Shrimp and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (original recipe calls for 2)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (or one really big heirloom tomato)
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (can be made day ahead)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Heat the butter, olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, then Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, until the shrimp begin to curl, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and scallions to the skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Taste for seasonings.

Add the rice (might want to heat in microwave for 1 min, if made day before) and 1/4 cup water (if necessary – I didn’t because my tomato was so juicy) and continue to cook until the rice is warmed through and the shrimp are opaque, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve with lemon, if desired.

I just realized it’s also pretty durn healthy!

Per serving: Calories 357; Fat 11 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 176 mg; Sodium 537 mg; Carbohydrate 40 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 23 g

Hearty enough for any hungry man or woman, with a nice spicy kick and fresh taste and texture of good shrimp. I think next time, I will also add some sort of spicy sausage, so it tastes like jambalaya.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Korean-style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg

Toasted rice is usually what happens when I lose track of time and remove my rice from the burner too late. But here, the rice is intentionally toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and crunch that sticks to your teeth. It’s a good sensation, along with the thin strips of beef, wild mushrooms and wilted spinach.

And oh, let’s not forget the fried egg on top. We all know I have a soft spot for any recipe that incorporates this beauty (I have breakfast pizza in mind for the weekend).

This dish is lovely in preparation and presentation. It’s quite a show – quickly frying, then transferring to bowls warming in the oven, then back to fry something new. All the while you’re building layers in your rice bowl. Layers that the egg yolk will soon soak in to. And you’ll top it all off with a crunchy little pickled salad that adds an acidity and freshness you need to balance the other flavors. Genius!

I adapted mine from the Cook’s Illustrated “Cooking For Two” magazine.

Korean-Style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then peeled into ribbons or grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine the above ingredients, pressing veggies down so submerged in vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Drain vinegar before serving.

For beef bowls:

  • 1 c. rice (I used long-grain), rinsed
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. flank steak, or any other steak good for a stir-fry, sliced against the grain into 1/8 inch strips
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 oz. (one box) baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil

Place two oven-safe serving bowls on baking sheet in oven and heat to 200 degrees.

Bring rice and water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 min. Uncover lid and crank heat to medium-high and cook until rice is golden brown in spots and emits a toasty smell, about 7-9 min. Divide rice between two warming bowls and return bowls to oven.

Wipe out pan and heat 2 tsp oil until just smoking. Meanwhile, toss beef with soy sauce, then add to hot skillet. Add mushrooms immediately and cook until beef is cooked through, 3 min. Divide into bowls; return bowls to oven

Add 1 tsp oil to skillet over medium heat and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 1 min. Season with S&P to taste, then divide into the bowls.

Wipe out skillet again and add last 1 tsp oil. Return to medium-high heat until hot, then crack in two eggs on opposite sides of the pan. Sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook until the whites are set, 2 min.

Remove bowls from oven and slide one egg on top of each. Drizzle each with sesame oil and top with pickled vegetables.

When you pierce the yolk, it runs down through all the layers of goodness and is just lovely.

While I spent time reading a book, drinking wine and making this, Grant slaved away outside making the giant trellis pictured below, which will soon be covered with hummingbird vines, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle. Handyman. And gardenman.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Green curry shrimp

Chinese New Year is coming up, so you’re going to see a plethora of Asian-inspired dishes here. Not necessarily to mark the occasion, but because those complex, spicy dishes have always been my favorites. Even when I was a picky-eater child who only ate Top Ramen and Pad Thai (true story).

So sit back and get comfortable – you’ll get three new shrimp dishes in the next few weeks because I’ve been doing all sorts of yummy things with them after discovering that the frozen shrimp at our local Harris Teeter provides crisp and fresh shrimp when cooked just right.

Shrimp curry is an easy weeknight meal that will give you plenty of leftovers for dinner and lunches the next night and a half. I skimmed down this Bon Appetit recipe to be even easier for the home cook, so feel free to improvise and make even better (and let me know!).

Green Curry Shrimp with Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 bunches broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 T prepared green curry paste (I use Thai kitchen)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • Lime wedges

Cook broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add curry paste; cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; bring to simmer. Add shrimp; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli; stir to heat through. Season curry with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and ribbons of basil, if you have it.

The shrimp maintain their delicate flavor amid the creamy curry, with coconut milk giving it just the right texture (note: I used one full-fat and one lite coconut milk can for this) and the spicy curry adding elements of kaffir lime, lemongrass, basil, garlic and ginger. I might even add tomatoes and bamboo shoots next time. If you have anything like kaffir lime leaves or galangal root, please add during the shrimp-cooking process for extra flavor.

I served mine with steamed rice.

Enjoy your curry nights, friends! xoxo

Chicken and chorizo paella

Making this dish, I had one of those “if only I had known …” moments. Spanish chorizo. It is expensive and difficult to find around here, even though Mexican chorizo is everywhere. But it is sooo delicious, whether you are slicing it for a cheese plate (perhaps with some manchego and marcona almonds?) or chopping it for the quintessential Spanish dish: paella.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Spain, where one of my goals was to have paella. It was yummy, full of fresh seafood and cooked so that the rice was crunchy on the bottom and soft on the top.

Paella Marisco

Paella de pollo

Bon Appetit had a recent article about paella that made me hungry for it. I just love the idea of cooking with saffron, and I happened to have some from when I made chicken scallopine. It turned out really well. Instead of buying bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, I goofed and bought boneless skinless thighs. No matter – I just watched them to make sure they didn’t overcook. I also didn’t add peas, because I don’t like peas. However, if you want a bit of green in the dish, feel free to add peas or a sprinkling of chopped parsley. I also omitted the roasted red peppers, which you can chop and mix into the rice, if desired.

Of course, I don’t have a real paella pan, but I do have a large nonstick skillet that is oven-safe. However, it doesn’t have a lid, so I just covered it with tin foil and placed my biggest lid on top … it worked just fine, I only added a little extra chicken stock to account for the increased evaporation.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 large chicken thighs (2.5 lbs)
  • 8 oz. smoked Spanish chorizo, sliced
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 large chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain rice
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes in juice

Preheat oven to 400. Mix wine with saffron and set aside.

Combine salt, paprika, black pepper in a small bowl and rub all over chicken.

Heat large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo and saute until fat renders and sausage browns, about 3 min. Transfer to a large plate and add EVOO to skillet. Add chicken thighs and cook until browned on all sides, 4 min. per side. Transfer chicken to plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, cooking until translucent, 5 min. Add minced garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine-saffron mixture and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in chorizo. Place chicken atop mixture in skillet. Cover tightly with foil, then lid, and bake until rice is almost tender, 25 min.

Transfer chicken to plate, stir rice, season to taste with salt and pepper. If chicken is done, leave it out. If not, return it to the skillet and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 10 min. longer.

The chicken thighs are so much more tender than chicken breasts, and the chorizo is a nice, spicy addition. I think there should always be more chorizo!

Spoon big servings on your plate and dig in! Enjoy, friends. xoxo

Curried pork chops

This dish is so easy, you can make it after coming home from the bars late one night. Not that I would know….

It is basically a curry marinade that would work awesome with all meats, including chicken, shrimp, tofu, whatever. You marinate the meat and then bake it and serve it over rice. Easy! Just be sure to adjust the cooking time so you don’t overcook your meats. The taste is really yummy.

I got this recipe from my Thai cookbook.

Curried Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T red curry paste (I used Taste of Thailand)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 pounds pork chops
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving.

Whisk oil, soy sauce, curry, honey and salt in large bowl. Add pork and toss to get the curry all over. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Or not…

Preheat oven to 350. Place chops in baking dish, pouring sauce over the top. Bake for 20-30 min., until tender but cooked. Serve over rice, spooning over more sauce and garnish with lime wedges (squeeze over the meat, if you wish).

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken teriyaki

When my sister and I were growing up, we naturally followed mother on her regular Costco trips. Costco has helped moms feed their kids for years, and one of our favorite treats was what we called “Costco Chicken.” It was a recurring stand in which some lady with a hair net cooked chicken bites with that Yoshida teriyaki sauce on it. We were totally those annoying kids who just hang out around the food, begging for more and blocking others.

Up until this year, I still loved Costco Chicken and would cook it up over white sticky rice. Yum! However, my gentle roommate wasn’t so thrilled. In fact, I think the word he used was “hate.”

Which brings me to earlier this week, when I had a craving for Costco Chicken but was too tired to go to the store after work to buy the sauce. So I used whatever was in my cupboard and I must say it was deeeelish! It tasted restaurant-quality. Gentle roommate LOVED it, and I happily gobbled up leftovers at work the next day.

Write Gal’s Chicken Teriyaki:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 c. soy sauce

1 c. water

1/2 tsp ground ginger (sure, you could use fresh!)

1/4 tsp garlic powder (duh, you could use fresh, but who cares?)

5 T brown sugar

1 T honey

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 c. cold water

Red pepper flakes

Cracked black pepper

toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients – soy sauce through cornstarch mixture – until combined. Add red and black pepper to taste. In a large skillet over medium, heat a dash of oil. Stir-fry chicken until slightly browned, but not cooked through. Add the sauce mixture and stir to cook. Bring to boil and simmer until thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook a pot of brown rice.

To serve, on a bed of rice, spoon over chicken and top with sesame seeds and more scallions, if you have them.

This dish has a nice combination of sweet and spicy, but feel free to add more garlic or pepper as you wish. But remember that this is a convenience food meant to mimic that craving you have for cheap Asian take-out. Don’t spend more time or money than you would at the local Panda Express.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo