Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Cashews

After yesterday’s risotto, I decided today should be an easy and simple dinner. I found this recipe on Food and Wine. For once I think I actually followed the recipe without adding or deleting anything. My creativity was lagging I guess or maybe it was that the recipe just looked perfect that way it was for a Thursday dinner. I think I start to burn out a little as the week goes on…

Anyway, the dish in all its simplicity was just right. The hubby and kiddo both seemed to like it and one of them even had seconds, so I think it went over well. Happily tomorrow is Friday, dinner out night. As much as I enjoy cooking and creating new dishes, I need a creative break sometimes.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Cashews

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple and easy Thai chicken stir-fry. Great for a weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil of choice (today I used Safflower oil because it has a high smoke point, low saturated fat and is high in healthy fats.
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 pound asparagus, sliced on the diagonal, 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the cashews on a pan and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken in an even layer (I made two batches so I didn’t overcrowd the pan) and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned and just cooked throughout, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a clean bowl.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to the pan along with the stock, oyster sauce, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken pieces and sliced asparagus to the pan and toss to heat through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cashews, basil and chives. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately over fresh brown steamed rice.
  5. Food and Wine suggests serving with a spicy, full-bodied Syrah. We drank a full-bodied white Burgundy with this dish and it was delicious.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 23, 2017

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Mise en place. This was emphasized excessively at the Culinary Institute of Arts (CIA) program that I recently undertook. They are so right! Get everything prepped ahead of time.
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Browning the chicken

 

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Reducing the sauce
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Finished product. Yum!

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Same basic recipe with shrimp, broccoli, mixed mushrooms and bell peppers.
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Shrimp version – Yum!
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Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

What a wonderfully warming and hearty Winter dish, that truly exceeded my expectations (and I think my husband’s as well)! I haven’t attempted risotto in years, but I came across a roasted butternut squash risotto recipe and decided that it would be a fun project to make today. Be warned, this takes time, but not the traditional standing over the pot and stirring for hours kind of time. For much of the time the dish was minding itself in the oven baking, which is not too bad for risotto! I based this off of a recipe by Cookie and Kate, but I made a few changes: I added a little more water, I added shiitake and cremini mushrooms in the risotto, added crispy mushrooms as a garnish and I skipped the butter. I also roasted the squash whole before cutting it because I really dislike cutting into hard squash – so worried about cutting off a limb! Risotto with only a cup of cheese and no butter, as well as brown rice for added nutrition! Pretty healthy and still so creamy and comforting.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

  • Servings: 4 mains or 6 sides
  • Difficulty: medium
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Healthy and savory vegetarian risotto that bakes in the oven.

Credit: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto by Cookie and Kate

Ingredients

Risotto

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • small yellow onion or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (plus 2 more below for the garnish)
  • olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups brown arborio or short-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thyme

Crispy Mushrooms and Crispy Sage

  • 2 cremini mushrooms, paper thin slices (if you are short on time skip this, it will still be delicious)
  • 20 sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place washed whole butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until skin starts to brown and shrivel. Turn once or twice while baking. Let cool until you can touch it long enough to peel it.
  3. While squash is baking, heat a large dutch oven or pot on medium heat with some olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes or until mushrooms begin to shrink and soften. Add some salt and pepper while cooking. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the onion mix, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake in the 375 degree oven for 60 minutes. It may seem pretty dry when you remove the lid but don’t worry you will add more liquid soon!
  5. While the risotto is baking peel the cooked squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into a small dice. Place the diced squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes or until the squash begins to brown around the sides. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
  6. To make the crispy mushrooms and sage place the paper thin slices of mushroom and the sage leaves on a baking sheet sprinkled with olive oil and a little salt. Bake the sage for 5 minutes or less, you just want them a little crumbly.  Bake the paper thin mushrooms for around 30 minutes, turning once, until they become crispy but not burned. Check them often. When crispy remove from oven and set aside.
  7. Remove the risotto from the oven after one hour and place on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in the wine and stir for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth, thyme  and parmesan and stir vigorously for 3 minutes. Add more water if needed. You can keep it on low heat at this point if not ready to serve, adding water periodically to keep it from drying out and to keep the consistency creamy.
  8. Serve in shallow bowls with a pinch of cheese, crispy mushrooms and sage. Tastes great with a dry chablis.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 22, 2017

 

 

 

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Creamy and rich risotto in the pot!
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Garnished and ready to eat.

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Kale Salad with Miso and Pistachios

This is pretty much a straight-up Food and Wine/Andrew Zimmern recipe. Really easy and really flavorful! Original recipe included 2 scallions, thinly sliced and did not include the mushrooms or avocado (or sometimes tomatoes) that I added. I think some grilled shrimp or hardboiled egg would be really good in this as well.  I served this with Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil and some simple brown Jasmine rice. Very easy and delicious meal. My son could not get enough of the salmon and the salmon’s savory sauce.

Kale Salad with Miso and Pistachios

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick and savory kale salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds kale – stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon brown miso
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, thinly slices
  • 1 cup of baby tomatoes, sliced in thirds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, roasted  and chopped

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the sesame seeds, miso and sugar. Gradually whisk in the oil.
  3. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the kale and then add the dressing and toss. Add the pistachios on top and serve.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 21, 2017

kale-raw-1kale-cut

 

Here is it with the tomato and as a side dish with salmon.img_3976IMG_4552

 

Kale Chips

img_3421What to Make for Dinner…

Note: This is actually an older post from my original Medium Blog site.

My daughter has gone back to boarding school and my husband has a work dinner, so tonight I am cooking for just my son and myself. I wandered up and down the aisles of Whole Foods for a while drawing a blank. I almost never go to the store without a list or at least a plan in my head for what I need. Today was different for some reason, I was just completely drawing a blank! After running into a friend who suggested I grab something in the meat department that is half-way prepared since there are only two of us (great idea!) I settled on a lemon-herb marinated piece of salmon (the hubby is not really a fish fan so this is a good thing to eat without him) and some really big and beautiful looking organic Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale). I decided I will also make some plain jasmine rice in my rice maker, to make things easy.

Below is the recipe for kale chips that I made out of the kale. They are a really yummy way to eat kale and my kids love them (but another thing my husband doesn’t care for). They are crunchy, a bit salty (depending on how salty you like them) and tangy from the vinegar. Yum, flavor explosion! Sometimes they are almost gone before the rest of dinner is made (but I have no idea where they go?).

Kale Chips

  • Servings: varies
  • Difficulty: medium
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Such an incredible crunchy way to eat kale. Delicious and healthy alternative to a potato chip when you are craving some crunch and savory flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of Lacianto Kale (aka Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced (Recently I have been leaving this out)
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Wash kale thoroughly and pat dry. Remove the center ribs so you just have the dark green leafy part. Slice the kale leaves in half.
  3. Place sliced kale leaves in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice to coat the leaves. Add the salt and using your hands massage the ingredients into the leaves so they are all covered.
  4. Spread the coated kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes to start. I often use a silicon baking mat (Silpat) to bake these on.
  5. After 7 minutes check to see if any leaves have become crispy (but still GREEN), if so remove them from the baking sheet and put in a serving bowl. Turn over the leaves that are still wet (most will still be wet) and return them to the oven and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Every 3 minutes (or so) re-check for crispy pieces, removing them from the baking sheet and putting the rest back into the oven. This may seem tedious, but the kale can burn quickly and then it is ruined (even slightly brown kale tastes burnt), it took me a few tries before I understood I needed to keep the heat LOW and check on the kale constantly so I don’t burn any of it. When it is all crispy you are finished!
  7. May be served warm from the oven or at room temperature, but don’t make it too far ahead of time as it may lose its crispiness over time.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 9, 2017

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Remove the hard ribs.
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Ready to start baking.
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Baked to perfection!
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Close-up of a perfectly crispy piece of kale. Mmmm!
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I originally made this in the late summer when tomatoes were at their peak.
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The pre-seasoned salmon from Whole Foods. Can’t always make everything from scratch.

Ginger Soy Lobster Tail

I haven’t written for over two weeks and I am feeling bad about that. Sorry! Life has been quite busy, so that is part of the reason but the other reason is that my dear husband gave me a week-long class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa as a holiday gift and I went to my classes last week. Such an amazing program! I went to the Basic Training Boot Camp and I feel like I learned a lot about the “why” we do certain things when we are cooking. I also learned many traditional French techniques, that I still need a lot of work to master and I am interested in tweaking to make the dishes more healthy.

Unfortunately I didn’t use my new skills/knowledge for today’s dinner. It was a very spontaneous choice as I was at the Grocery store and saw lobster tails on sale and decided that it was hard to pass up lobster, so I bought a few and made up a simple Asian-style sauce to put on them. Very simple and quick. I served it with some kale chips (which I thought I posted here but apparently I have not so you can get the recipe on my Medium site-I will have to post it on Word Press in the future) and a little leftover chicken soup from yesterday. Yum!

Ginger Soy Lobster Tail

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Very flavorful and simple lobster recipe that can come together quickly on a weeknight.

Unfortunately I didn’t really measure my sauce ingredients so they are very approximate – use your judgement with the quantities.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated or minced
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons light sweet miso

Lobster:

  • 4-8 lobster tails (their size can vary so much!)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • small drizzle of olive oil (or sesame oil for a stronger flavor)

Procedure

Sauce:

  1. In a very small sauce pan mix the Mirin, soy sauce, and ginger and then bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down to simmer and reduce the sauce in half so it is thickened.
  3. Take sauce off the heat and stir in the miso. Set aside.

Lobster:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  3. With kitchen shears cut the lobster tail shells lengthwise through the top cutting through the shell but not through the lobster meat. Gently pry open the shell exposing the meat and gently loosen the lobster from the shell (but keep the meat in the shell).
  4. Place the tails on the baking sheet meat side up. Sprinkle a little pepper and sauce on the tails and then cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes for very small lobster tails and up to 15 minutes for larger ones, or until the meat turns opaque and feels firm.
  5. Serve the lobster with additional sauce and vegetables. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 9, 2017