Weeknight Spicy Chicken Soup

Spicy Chicken Soup

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Weeknight Spicy Chicken Soup
As the weather cools, we start eating more and more soups. I would never have tried this without the urging of J. It doesn't sound delicious.  Plus when he told me it was a Bon Appétit recipe, I thought it would be way too complicated and complex. Turns out, it's super simple and  does taste delicious. It's definitely a new favorite. We've used leftover turkey and rotisserie chicken and both have been wonderful. The recipe says it serves four, but it can stretched to serve more, or cooked down longer to serve less.
Courses Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Courses Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pick meat from chicken, shred, and place in a small bowl (you should have about 4 cups); discard skin and bones.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8–10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add shredded chicken, broth and cayenne and bring to a boil.
  6. Turn heat to low.
  7. Add spinach and divide soup among bowls.
  8. Top with scallions and serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.
Recipe Notes

My opinion:
That's it, really. It takes a total of between 15 and 20 minutes to prep everything and about 40 minutes to cook per the recipe.  This recipe is easy enough to be a weeknight dinner. If you let it cook down longer or reheat it for lunch the next day, the flavors intensify and meld together even more. If I am planning to eat it the next day, I leave the spinach out and add it in right before eating.  I adore this dish!

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Crockpot Alton Brown Pork Loin

AB Crockpot Pork Loin
I haven’t been shy about my love for all of AB’s recipes (for example our Christmas ham, gyro meat and a peach buckle). This one started out as a delicious grilled summer meal, but quickly morphed into a scrumptious year round crock pot meal. Extra bonus, we make it ahead and freeze it so it’s super simple to just pop into the crockpot!

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Crockpot Alton Brown Pork Loin
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the lime juice, honey and garlic powder in a ziptop bag and shake to combine.
  2. Add the chipotle pepper (s) and squish together to combine.
  3. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and squish to coat the tenderloin. (At this point, we usually freeze this mixture together.)
  4. If not freezing, marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours (we like overnight).
  5. When you're ready to cook, dump the entire mixture into the crockpot, marinade and all. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. (Always double-check your specific crockpot settings for correct cooking times).
  6. If you can, flip it once, but if you can't it's ok.
  7. When you're ready to eat, remove the pork loin. Make sure to reserve the juices! We enjoy pouring it over rice to go with the pork.

My opinion:
Like I said above, this is great year round. It’s just as good with a salad as it is over rice. Enjoy!

p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the chipotles in adobo sauce, our toddler eats this up! We just add the chipotles and adobo sauce to our plates. 

Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac


As the arrival of our daughter gets closer, J and I have started perfecting some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home. We finally got this dish perfect and couldn’t be happier. The original recipe can be found here.

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Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac
Servings
people
Ingredients
Beef Marinade Ingredients : makes the gravy
Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part it really brings the whole dish together!)
Non-sauce Ingredients
Servings
people
Ingredients
Beef Marinade Ingredients : makes the gravy
Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part it really brings the whole dish together!)
Non-sauce Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hours let marinate in the refrigerate. (Note: If you're thinking ahead (like we occasionally do), feel free to combine the beef and the marinade and freeze the mixture. Then you can just take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator when you leave for work.)
  2. Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. It should look something like this:
  3. Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4tablespoons tablespoons the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes (longer is better here too!). Prepare bed of lettuce and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.
  4. Heat a large wok or pan over high heat.
  5. Add about 2 tablespoons cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary. This will sear the beef so it looks like this:
  6. Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes.
  7. Drizzle another 3-4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions.
  8. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small bowl and use for dipping the beef, or feel free to just drizzle it on.
  9. The dipping sauce should look like this:

My opinion:
This has to be in my top 10 favorite dishes of all time. I love the veggies and the balance of all five flavors. I also love that the rice isn’t even really necessary for this to be a filling meal. Plus even if you do all the prep work right before dinner, the whole start to finish time is only about 30 minutes.

Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad
Summer finally arrived about a week ago and it’s been too hot to cook. Too hot for heavy meals and just generally too hot. My favorite thing about this dish adapted from this Shape.com recipe is it’s served chilled and for a light dinner, it is really filling.

Ingredients:
Well-marbled New York steak or a skirt steak, grilled (we broiled and pan-seared a couple of times when it was too hot to grill) to your liking, but preferably no more than medium rare
1 small red onion, sliced into skinny wedges
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped, no stems
Large handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or 1/2 vine-ripened tomatoes cut into wedges)
1 green pepper, sliced thin
2 limes (or about 1/4 to 1/3 cup lime juice)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (you may need more. Note: the original recipe called for palm sugar, but we’ve had a hard time finding it)
1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
Thai chili powder to taste (we found a blend at Penzy’s Spices that we love for this dish – Bangkok blend)

Directions:
Grill, pan-sear or broil the meal as directed above and slice into thin strips after allowing to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Put the brown sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl, add some of the lime juice and mush into a thick liquid form. Add the rest of the lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar.
When the steak has cooled, Add it to the sauce mixture. Toss with your hands to incorporate all over the steak. Add the rest of the veggies, toss and taste. Tasting as you go is the most important part. Add more fish sauce if it needs more salt, or more sugar if it is to lime-y.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so to let the flavors meld. Then serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish cilantro.

My opinion:
You can add the cilantro into the sauce mixture, just give it a rough chop. If you want to quick sautee your veggies in peanut oil (or your favorite cooking oil), feel free it adds another layer of flavor. This is the perfect dish for a hot summer evening.

Avocado Chicken Salad

There’s a dish at one of the best places to eat in town, but unfortunately it is only on the spring and summer menu, which isn’t out yet. With the extra warm weather this weekend, we decided to try our hand at making the same dish at home. We seriously lucked out. With a few modifications, this recipe is a near exact copy and was amazing.

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Avocado Chicken Salad
Servings
people
Ingredients
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Roast the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees, spiced with your favorite Mexican seasoning, we like chili lime.
  2. Cook at least 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Dice the onions and the celery in a food processor.
  4. When the chicken is cooked and slightly cooled, shred it with a fork or in the food processor. If you prefer your chicken salad a bit chunky, feel free to dice it instead.
  5. We added the shredded chicken to the food processor and then added the avocados and spices. If you prefer it a bit chunky, just mix everything together in a bowl.
  6. Taste and add lime juice and salt as needed.
  7. When ready to eat, toast the bread.
  8. We brushed both sides with olive oil and toasted each side until browned.

My opinion:
I was starving, so we didn’t wait for this to chill. In the summer, we will definitely chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Also, next time we’ll add a bit more cumin and maybe some more lime juice. This would be equally delicious with cucumber slices and bread. If you’d like it a little spicier, feel free to add a jalapeño. We will probably add some serranos from the garden this summer.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: Our toddler adores this dish. we just have to shred the chicken instead of cutting it into chunks and she gobbles it up!