This is one of the easiest chicken dishes you can make. My local grocery stocks jars of black bean garlic sauce, but you can also find it in Asian food stores. Black bean sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. It’s made from fermented black soy beans and is really delicious, though extremely salty so use it sparingly. A little does go a long way with black bean sauce. It’s best to start with a tablespoon at a time, tasting and adding a little more at the end if you need to.
STIR-FRY CHICKEN IN BLACK BEAN SAUCE
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in cubes
½ small onion, cut into a half-inch dice
1 bell pepper, cut into a half-inch dice
3 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce, or to taste
Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Add chicken and 1 tablespoon black bean sauce and stir fry until chicken is half cooked.
Add onions and 1 more tablespoon black bean sauce, continuing to stir fry for another minute.
Finally add bell pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon black bean sauce, and stir fry until bell pepper is crisp-tender.
Taste for seasoning, and stir in a little more black bean sauce if desired.
My friend, Pooh, was at Trader Joe’s when they were handing out samples of these rolls. She loved them so much, she asked the lady how she made them, then wasted no time picking up all the ingredients to try making them herself once she got home. She then came over to my house and taught me how to make them.
These rolls make a great appetizer for parties or family gatherings. All the ingredients to make them come from Trader Joe’s but you could really buy them anywhere (except for the green dragon sauce). You can cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make so many rolls.
GREEN DRAGON CHICKEN ROLLS
1 bag (1 lb. 12 oz.) frozen breaded chicken
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled
1 cup sour cream, plus extra to use as “glue”
2 – 8 Tbsp. Trader Joe’s Green Dragon hot sauce
½ small head of lettuce, very thinly sliced
1 pkg. (6 sheets) lavash flatbread
Bake breaded chicken according to package directions.
Let cool completely, then chop into little pieces.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream and green dragon sauce. Start with two tablespoons green dragon sauce and keep adding, a tablespoon at a time, till it’s as hot as you like. Three tablespoons is plenty hot for me.
Toss chopped chicken, crumbled bacon, sour cream mixture, and lettuce together in a large bowl.
Place a sheet of lavash bread down on your work surface.
Mound 1/6 of chicken mixture down one long edge of lavash.
Smear about an inch wide of sour cream along opposite edge. This acts as the “glue” to seal the roll closed.
Roll lavash up tightly beginning at side with chicken mixture and ending at side with sour cream, pressing edge to seal well.
Repeat with remaining lavash and chicken mixture.
Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Slice into 3/4-inch thick slices and serve.
NOTE: If you can’t get Green Dragon sauce, substitute some other hot sauce like Sriracha. You can also substitute tortillas for the lavash.
I always wanted to go to Spain. I mean who wouldn’t want to see the Sagrada Familia, or take a stroll along La Rambla in Barcelona? I would love totour the Alhambra in Granada, go tapas bar hopping in Madrid, watch the tapping of a flamenco dancer in Seville, admire the moorish architecture of Toledo, or relax on a sunny beach in Ibiza. And the food! I would love to eat paella, jamon serrano, churros con chocolate, turron…. Alas, it’s all still just a dream for me. Maybe someday I’ll finally make it to Spain. For now, the closest I can get is to prepare Spanish dishes like this one.
POLLO BASQUAISE (BASQUE CHICKEN)
12 small new potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (your choice)
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 – 4 dried Spanish chorizo sausages (like chorizo de Bilbao), cut diagonally into ¾-inch pieces
10-12 jarred piquillo peppers, drained and halved lengthwise
1 jar (5 ozs.) pimento-stuffed green olives, drained
1 can (15 ozs.) garbanzo beans, drained
Boil potatoes until cooked, drain, and set aside.
In an 8-quart Dutch oven or large, high-sided, cast iron skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned.
Transfer cooked chorizo to a large plate and set aside.
Add remaining olive oil to the pot and raise heat to medium-high.
Season chicken all over with salt and pepper, then add skin side down to pan.
Cook until skin is browned and chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally.
Transfer cooked chicken to the plate with the chorizo.
Lower heat to medium and add onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf.
Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent.
Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes with the juice.
Cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Return the chorizo and chicken to the pot.
Add the wine and chicken stock, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes, piquillo peppers, olives, and garbanzo beans.
Continue to cook, stirring well, until vegetables are heated through.
Serve hot with white rice.
Buy boneless, skinless chicken or remove the skin if you prefer not to eat it.
If you can’t find piquillo peppers, substitute 1 chopped fresh red bell pepper, and add it in when you add the wine and chicken stock.
You don’t have to use the whole jar of olives or the whole can of garbanzo beans. Feel free to use only as much as you want. Or omit them entirely if you prefer. Old Goat loves garbanzos and my kids love olives so I throw them all in.
This dish is a Tex-Mex favorite. In fact, I hear you can’t go to a church social or potluck down in Texas without seeing one version or other of this dish on the table. It’s not surprising because not only is it delicious, but it can be made ahead of time and it travels well.
You can make a low-fat version of this dish by substituting reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, reduced fat cream of chicken soup, and reduced fat cheese. It turns out just as yummy.
I like to serve this dish with some sour cream and salsa on the side. I never have any leftovers when I make it. Try making this easy recipe for your next weeknight dinner or office potluck and you’ll see what I mean.
KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (can substitute red bell pepper)
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or use your favorite – I like Mexican blend)
2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Sauté onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper until onions start to become translucent.
Stir in chicken, soups, Rotel, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Remove skillet from heat.
Tear 4 tortillas into 1-inch pieces and scatter on bottom of prepared baking dish.
Top with 1/3 of chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese. NOTE: It’ll seem like you don’t have enough chicken mixture to fill the layer to the edges of the dish, but don’t worry. Just spread the filling really thin. It’s okay to have some empty spots. Once you bake it, it’ll all fill in and be just fine.
Tear 4 more tortillas into pieces and make a second layer of tortillas, 1/3 chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese.
Tear the last 4 tortillas to make a final layer with the last of the chicken mixture and top with 2 cups of cheese.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is browning at the edges.
If desired, garnish with chopped green onion before serving.
NOTE: This casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook from frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.
Summer has kicked in with a vengeance! Boy is it Hot!….. with a capital H! We’ve been experiencing some triple digit days these past couple of weeks. Believe me, 108 degrees is no picnic! This kind of heat makes me think of long, tall drinks, big bowls of ice cream, and cool refreshing salads.
This salad is a play on my friend Cyndi’s winter fruit salad. I thought why not do the same thing for the summer except using fresh berries? I had some leftover shredded rotisserie chicken so I added it in for some healthy protein. The salad made a great lunch served with some of No. 1’s homemade french bread and a cool glass of crisp white wine. Mm… mm… mm…..
SUMMER BERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING
⅓ cup lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
⅔ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
Combine lemon juice, sugar, onion, mustard and salt in the container of a food processor or blender; process until smooth.
With the machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream and process until thick and smooth.
Add the poppy seeds and pulse a few times to mix.
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup quartered strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup pineapple tidbits (or pineapple chunks cut in half)
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
Place the lettuce, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and nuts in a large salad bowl.
My Mom often made Chicken Spaghetti for us when we were growing up in the Philippines. I don’t remember what she put in her Chicken Spaghetti, but this is my version created from the faded recollection of a much-enjoyed childhood dish. The ingredients don’t sound very “native” to the Philippines, but Filipinos love cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta cheese which were brought over by the Americans during World War II and which have remained Filipino favorites to this day (along with the ever-popular Spam, of course). LOL!
This recipe makes a really big casserole so it’s perfect for a party or a church potluck. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if you’re feeding a smaller group of people.
1 lb. spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded (about 3-4 cups)
1 lb. bacon, diced into ½-inch pieces
½ medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 small cans (4 oz. each) sliced mushrooms, undrained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. velveeta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook just until al dente.
Pour into a colander to drain.
Put bacon in the same pot you used to cook the spaghetti and fry until crispy.
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pot.
Sauté onions in the bacon grease until they start to become translucent.
Add red bell pepper and sauté until crisp-tender.
Stir in the mushrooms with juice, mushroom soup, velveeta cheese, and water.
Cook, stirring, until velveeta is completely melted.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Remove from heat, then stir in shredded chicken, cooked spaghetti, and bacon.
Pour into an extra large casserole dish, or two medium size ones.
Sprinkle top with shredded cheddar cheese, then grated parmesan cheese.
Oh my gosh, is it HOT outside! We hit 104º today! Whew! It’s even too hot to expend the energy fanning yourself! I needed to prepare something cool and refreshing for dinner but I didn’t want to work hard making it. Something quick and easy was in order. Enter my “Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken Salad.” What I love best about this salad is there’s very little prep needed if you buy pre-shredded rotisserie chicken, pre-cut lettuce, shredded carrots, and bottled dressing like I did! Then you literally just need to stack the water chestnut slices to cut them in half, and chop up the cilantro. Easy, peasy!
The dressing recipe I have here is a pretty simple one to make but if you really want to save time and effort, there are a lot of excellent bottled Chinese Chicken Salad Dressings out on the market. Just buy yourself a bottle and skip making it from scratch. Trust me, it’ll turn out just fine.
QUICK AND EASY CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD
For the Salad:
1 rotisserie chicken, or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
¾ cup shredded carrots
1 small can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and cut in half
1 small can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup canned crunchy chow mein noodles (can substitute ⅔ cup slivered almonds)
2-3 tbsps. toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
For the Dressing:
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup rice vinegar (plain or seasoned)
3 tbsps. soy sauce
1½ tbsps. sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
½ tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
If using rotisserie chicken: Remove chicken meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces. (I buy it already pre-shredded at Costco.) If using boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Drizzle chicken with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and bake at 350ºF until chicken is just cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.
Make dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
Place chicken, lettuce, carrots, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, cilantro and chow mein noodles in a large salad bowl.
Pour dressing over everything and toss together gently.
Serve in individual salad bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
Note: For those of you who’ve asked me, one of my favorite bottled chinese chicken salad dressings is “Joey D’s Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing & Marinade.” It’s really good, but I’m sure there are others just as good out there. Use your favorite one.
I felt like having Chinese food for dinner tonight and started thinking about P.F. Chang’s restaurant. We haven’t eaten there in years, but I remember how much I loved their chicken lettuce wraps. Well, I didn’t have any chicken, but I did have some ground pork so I thought, why not? Couldn’t I create something using pork as a substitute? Here’s what I came up with. The family loved it! I called the dish “Asian” because it was inspired by the wraps from a Chinese restaurant, but teriyaki marinade is Japanese, the noodles are Filipino, the peanut sauce is Indonesian, and the Mae Ploy sauce is Thai. LOL! A delicious blend of Asian flavors!
ASIAN LETTUCE CUPS
Prepare the Meat:
1 lb. ground chicken or ground pork (I used ground pork)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki marinade & sauce (or use your favorite brand)
Brown ground meat and garlic in a medium saucepot.
Drain excess oil, if any.
Stir in 1/2 cup teriyaki marinade and let cook for 2-3 minutes, then taste the meat. If it seems lacking in flavor, add more teriyaki sauce, a tablespoon at a time, until the flavor is to your liking. Be careful not to add too much or it will be too salty! I like Soy Vay teriyaki marinade but you could really use whatever brand you like.
Stir in grated ginger, cook for a minute more, and then taste the meat again. Just like with the teriyaki sauce, you can add more grated ginger, a teaspoon at a time, till the flavor is to your liking.
Stir in the water chestnuts, green onion, shitake mushrooms and jalapeño. Depending on how big your shitake mushroom caps are, you can add more or less, or omit them entirely if you don’t like them at all. Same thing with the jalapeño. You can add more than one if you want the dish spicier, or omit it altogether.
Make the Peanut Sauce:
1 can coconut milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1½ tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. grated ginger
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepot and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wire whisk until well blended.
The sauce thickens as it cools. If it becomes too thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, till it reaches the consistency you want.
Prepare Remaining Ingredients:
1-2 heads butter lettuce
1 pkg. bean thread or cellophane noodles
1 carrot, julienned
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 bunch basil leaves, chopped
1 bunch mint leaves, chopped
1 cup peanuts, finely chopped (optional)
Mae Ploy sweet chilli sauce
Carefully separate larger, outer lettuce leaves and wash and dry them well.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and let boil just until softened, about 2 minutes or so. Drain into a colander, run cold water over them, then allow to drain and cool completely.
Place all the condiments in separate little serving bowls.
Have everyone assemble their own wraps.
Place a lettuce leaf on your plate.
Top with some noodles, then meat, carrots, and herbs.
Pour a little peanut sauce over the top.
Add a little Mae Ploy sweet chilli sauce.
Then finally, sprinkle top with chopped peanuts if desired.
If your lettuce leaf is big enough, you can roll it into a little log and call it a lettuce wrap. If not, just serve it open-faced with a fork and knife and call it a lettuce cup like I did! A rose by any other name, right?
NOTE: If you don’t like ground chicken or ground pork, you can make this dish with whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Mix the teriyaki marinade and grated ginger together (omit the rest of the ingredients). Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki-ginger mixture for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Grill the chicken or bake it in the oven. Slice cooked chicken into thin strips. Then continue with the recipe.
These are general instructions for how I make my roast turkey. I learned the method of first cooking at a very high heat before lowering the oven temp from Alton Brown. I don’t usually stuff my turkey. I prefer to serve the “stuffing” on the side. I guess that means it should actually be called “dressing.” But I do brine my turkey every year. I’ve found that brining adds a lot of flavor and keeps the turkey moist. These instructions are for an unstuffed turkey. Brining is completely up to you. The directions will work for both brined or unbrined turkeys. The only thing that will change is how long it takes to cook.
14-16 lb. turkey, thawed if frozen
– 1 onion, peeled and quartered
– 2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
– 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
– 2 lemons, cut in quarters
– 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
– 6 fresh sage leaves
Place oven rack on lowest position and preheat oven to 500°F.
Rinse turkey under cold water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
Place turkey, breast side up, on V-rack in roasting pan.
Cut a long piece of foil and fold it in half making a double thickness big enough to cover the turkey’s breast. Mold foil to breast making a sort of shield. Set foil shield aside.
Fold wings behind turkey’s back.
Stuff cavity loosely with the aromatics. Don’t pack it tight.
Tie drumsticks loosely together with kitchen string to secure them together. You could also leave them untrussed if you like but it’s not as pretty.
Rub turkey skin all over with softened butter.
Pour a little over 1/4 inch of water into bottom of pan so drippings don’t burn.
Roast at 500° for 30 minutes.
Remove turkey from oven and lower heat to 325°F.
Spray inside of foil shield you made with cooking spray and lay lightly over turkey breast. Insert a thermometer through foil into thickest part of breast. Return turkey to oven and bake at 325° until internal temperature of breast reaches 165°F. Ideally, the thickest part of the thigh should reach 175°F.
If the liquid at the bottom of the pan starts drying up while roasting, just add some more water.
When turkey is done, transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes.
Make gravy with the drippings from the roasting pan.
Carve turkey and serve.
NOTE: The general rule of thumb for roasting a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. But certain factors like whether your turkey is brined, whether it’s unstuffed, and whether the legs are left untrussed, will make your turkey cook faster. Brined turkeys cook 20-30 minutes faster than un-brined ones. So use the 13-minute-per-pound rule as a starting point to give you a general idea of how long your turkey could take to bake, but I would still recommend using a thermometer for best results.
Thanksgiving is coming so I decided it was high time I posted my brining recipe. I’ve been brining our Thanksgiving turkey for years now because we think it’s the best thing to do for a turkey. Brining involves soaking your turkey for several hours in a salt water solution which guarantees a moist and juicy turkey every time. You add sugar to balance out the salt, plus a bunch of spices and aromatics which infuses your turkey with delicate flavor. If you have someone like my brother-in-law, Anthony, who can fry the turkey after brining, whoo-ee! You’ll think you’ve died and gone to turkey heaven.
I find that using a brining bag or turkey-sized oven bag is a huge help. Put the turkey and brining solution into the bag, then squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing it which ensures the turkey is fully immersed in the brining solution. Then the whole thing goes into the fridge or if you don’t have room in the fridge (I never do), you can put it into a cooler filled with ice or ice packs where it brines for the required number of hours. Just keep replacing the ice as you need to. If you can’t find a brining bag, you can brine your turkey directly in a large bucket or in a cooler that’s just large enough to fit the turkey. I’ve heard it said that it’s best to brine fresh turkeys because frozen turkeys are usually injected with a salt water solution, but I’ve brined frozen turkeys and Butterball turkeys and they’ve turned out just fine.
TURKEY BRINE (For 14-16 lb. turkey or any poultry)
1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup sea salt
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. crushed dried rosemary
2 tbsp. dried sage
2 tbsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. dried savory
1 gallon ice water
In a large stock pot, combine broth, salt, sugar, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
When broth mixture is cool, pour into a brining bag or a large, clean bucket.
Stir in the ice water.
TO BRINE TURKEY
Wash and dry turkey. Make sure to remove the innards.
Place turkey breast side down into brining bag, making sure cavity gets filled.
Squeeze as much air as you can out of brining bag before sealing tightly.
Place brining bag in refrigerator or in a cooler filled with ice or several ice packs.
Brine for 1 hour per pound; turn bird halfway through brining.
Remove turkey carefully, draining off excess brine. Discard brine.
Rinse bird inside and out with cold water.
Place on roasting rack and pat dry very well.
Remember brined turkeys cook 20-30 minutes faster so watch the temperature when roasting.
NOTE: Thaw turkey 3-4 days in refrigerator before brining.