Sweet Cilantro Lime Chicken Kebabs – ★★★★★

10389603_10205765390272086_5517173262006650960_nI have finally found a way to get Chance, our 4-year-old, to eat chicken that isn’t pressed into a patty with who knows what else. I’m learning that Chance takes interest in things that are not “ordinary.” We usually eat dinner with a fork, so handing him chicken on a stick was the hook (and he bit!). I’ve made this recipe a number of times since our initial trial and can attest to how easy this is to make. I suggest marinating the chicken all day if you can. Throw it in the marinade first thing in the morning then string them onto kebab sticks right before grilling. I would liken the flavor to teriyaki but it isn’t sticky-sweet like teriyaki can usually be. It has a nice zesty zing because of the lime and am looking forward to warm summer nights grilling these puppies out on the patio. Perry gave 5 stars and this is why:

These kebabs are tasty. There is no other way to describe it… Just absolutely tasty. There are three distinct flavors – sweet, salty and sour. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t overly sour just a subtle zing at the end, like how pineapple is sweet yet sour also. They have a lightness to them that had me going back for more.. and more. I give these five stars because they are so delicious and our little guy, Chance, even had a few.”

Serves: 4     Calories: 199/serving     Time: marinade time: at least an hour     cook time: 8 mins 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, we use reduced sodium
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, we use the tenders as I find it easier to trim and cut into little pieces
  • Bamboo skewers

Directions:

  1. Combine soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey, oil, garlic, lime juice, pepper flakes and 1 tbsp of cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Trim chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Place the chicken into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. We let ours sit for about 7 hours.
  3. If using wooden skewers soak in water for at minimum 10 minutes before letting them sit on the grill.
  4. String the chicken pieces onto the skewers (getting rid of the remaining marinade) and grill on each side for approximately 5-8 minutes.
  5. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp of cilantro.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe found at http://www.budgetsavydiva.com 

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Rosemary Dijon Pork Chops – ★★★★★

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When I say I am terrified of cooking pork chops I mean “I’ve been married to a man who loves pork chops for 5 years and this is only the second time I’ve ever made them for him” terrified. I over cook meat. Ask Perry and he will gladly tell you how many times I’ve ruined a recipe because I just cannot stomach the thought of eating possibly undercooked meat. For real you guys I could survive an apocalypse off jerky and be happy as a clam. Perry kept dropping hints that he was craving the comforts of a home-cooked pork chop so I turned to my trusty sidekick, pintrest. I found the original recipe at http://www.kitchen-concoctions.com but adapted my own little recipe from theirs. The only reason I adapted my own for this one is because with a cross-country move and 2 kids (one of which is only 3 months old) it’s not very feasible to buy a 6 pack of nice brown beer to dump only one in a sauce. We’ve been sipping on coors light for the past few months, if the mood strikes, so thats what I had in sorts for beer. That being said, the sauce was still amazing with the cheap-nowhere-near-brown-hued-or-robust and I would suggest using any beer you can get your hands on so long as it isn’t banana bread or chocolate pretzel infused etc. The recipe was simple enough that even I was able to pull it off (with coors light nonetheless) and the flavor was fantastic! Perry gave 5 stars and here is why:

I enjoy pork chops, Dijon, and beer. This recipe sounded like a score to me, except that it was pork chops. Kelsey has some sick fear of cooking pork chops and I have a sick fear of eating pork chops that she cooks. Last time she did pork shops she “slow cooked” them. Basically she made pork chop jerky in her slow cooker. However this dinner was a pleasant surprise. The pork was succulent and the sauce…. The sauce is what deems this dinner worthy of 5 stars. Be warned that the sauce is really rich, so don’t go dumping it on the steamed veggies and rice you may be having on the side. Imagine having a perfect chop with a velvet Dijon sauce herbed with pungent rosemary. Yeah that’s exactly how it is.”

Serves: 4-5     Calories: approximately 334 calories per chop with nice ladling of sauce    Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, I used boneless about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup of beer, brown ale is recommended but coors works too.
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (+ more for garnish)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and black pepper. Place on a greased 9×13 baking dish
  3. Whisk together beer, Dijon, honey, butter, rosemary and garlic. Pour this mixture over the pork chops.
  4. Bake pork chops for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove pork chops from sauce and roasting pan
  6. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and the add juices from roasting pan. Stir in the whipping cream and boil until reduced consistently stirring.
  7. Serve the chops with cream sauce drizzled overtop.
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.kitchen-concoctions.com 

Sweet Fire Chicken Tenders (Fake-out-take-out) – ★★★★✩

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Sweet fire chicken, I adore it but I hate to spend 12.00 on a meal at Panda that will not produce left overs. Problem solved, friends, as I’ve scoured the darkest ends of the internet and got some ideas that birthed this wonderful copy cat recipe. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating sweet fire chicken at Panda Express : firstly I’m sorry and secondly prepare yourselves to be turned on to the “tangy yet sweet and spicy all at once” temptress that is this dish. Another thing that makes this recipe so awesome is that it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. Sometimes even I don’t enjoy cooking for hours. I did find room for improvement and think this may go better with a panko crusted baked chicken. I’ll be honest, I suck at pan frying chicken. From now on I’ll stick to the oven (and don’t worry I’ll post the revisions if I think the oven baked chicken turns out better). Besides the chicken (and my terrible efforts at pan frying) everything else was worthy of 5 stars. Perry gave a 4 star rating and here is why:

” The sauce, peppers and pineapple were out of this world. They were an exact reproduction of our Panda Express favorite. My issue was with the chicken. For whatever reason, Kelsey thinks it takes a long time for chicken to cook stove top leaving it with a rough texture. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t worth 5 stars. She said next time she would work different with the chicken and I’m looking forward to it because everything else was delicious. This one has a lot of flavor and texture with the crunchy peppers, soft sweet pineapple and spicy chili sauce. I could just eat the topping and sauce over rice it’s that good!”

Serves: 5     Calories: 523 per serving    Time: 30-45 mins 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, if you have high cholesterol like Perry they make cholesterol free canola oil which is what I used.
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, I added some salt and a lot of pepper to the flour as if this dish needed any more flavor
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 2/3 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim chicken. Once the chicken is clean bread it by rolling each tender first in the flour then dip in eggs and roll in flour once more. Working one tender at a time set those already breaded aside.
  2. Once all the tenders have been breaded heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium high heat. Once hot add 4 tenders at a time. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Continue to do this until all the chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
  3. In a separate pan heat an additional 1 tsp of oil (olive or canola) over medium heat and add the bell peppers and pineapples. Cook until peppers are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chili sauce and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly, an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. Serve the pepper and pineapple sauce over the chicken tenders and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me. 

*Recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com 

Coconut Rice – ★★★★★

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I sincerely think that every bride-to-be should put a rice cooker on her wedding registry before the Kenmore electric mixer in tiffany blue. I use my rice cooker at least 3 days out of the week. It is good for grains, pasta, veggies and in some instances even meat. This one kitchen appliance makes my cooking experience so easy. While I’m focused with the main dish my rice cooker is taking care of the side dish. We are like the perfect pair in my kitchen. So ladies and gentlemen take my advice and register for the rice cooker 🙂 PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS RECIPE USES A RICE COOKER. IT IS A NECESSARY TOOL FOR THIS DISH. This recipe is absolutely divine. You may be turned off by the idea of a rice flavored with coconut but please believe me when I tell you that this rice has only the slightest “taste” of coconut. It has more fragrance then anything else. This rice is cooked in coconut milk giving it an ultra creamy texture, and that is the gimmick here. This is not a sweet dessert rice, but a silky savory side dish that goes great with just about anything. We’ve had it with satay, pork chops and tonight we had it with a copycat recipe of sweet fire chicken. I would imagine this rice to pair well with spicy shrimp and all variations of curry as well. With my handy rice cooker it is super easy to throw together and will probably become my staple side. Perry gave 5 stars and this is why:

When Kelsey told me she was making coconut rice I immediately thought of the sweet rice and mangoes that is offered as a desert item at our local Thai joint. I didn’t understand how she was going to serve it with satay, but I thought it smart to keep my mouth shut and go along with the program. I was surprised when I took the first bite because it was not at all what I expected. It looked like normal rice, it smelled like coconuts and it tasted like smooth restaurant steamed rice. I will say that there is a VERY subtle coconut aftertaste but it is not overbearing at all. I quite liked this rice and Kelsey has made it 3 times since the first go. I’ll give 5 stars for taste, texture and shock value.”

Serves: 4     Calories: 136 per serving     Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to your rice cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Set cooker to cook and when it is done your appliance should automatically switch to “warm” (approx 15 minutes).
  3. Let sit for a few moments than fluff with a fork.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from Melissa d’Arabian over at http://www.foodnetwork.com

Peanut Sauce – ★★★★★

11029640_10205879874614123_4164395445143186072_nI know people who are extremely picky and almost snobby about their sauces. I hate to admit that I have become this way with my peanut sauce. I used to love going to the local Thai Restaurant to feast on chicken and beef satay with a few extra sides of peanut sauce. However, once I learned to make my own peanut sauce I developed a hate for the recipe offered by our local spot. Once you get your hands on a recipe that has a beautiful base and you learn to tailor it to your own tastes it is extremely difficult to have anything but your own. This stuff is good with satay (naturally), egg rolls, rice, veggies, pita and of course on its own by the spoonful. A batch of this stuff doesn’t last long in our home. It is savory and creamy with a nice finishing kick. There are a few ingredients that can be a bit pricey (sesame oil and rice vinegar) but think of them as pantry staples because I guarantee you’ll be making more of this sauce. Perry gave 5 stars and here is why:

Kelsey has been developing her peanut sauce since she learned how to make chicken satay years ago. It feels as though every time she makes this stuff it gets better and better. I asked her to write down the exact ingredients and measurements because it was so excellent. She advised me that this time she finely chopped peanuts in our blender to mix in giving it a crunchy texture and an even nuttier taste. The spice at the end is great. It isn’t too overwhelming but it does heighten the experience that is this sauce. I call it an experience because I cannot stop eating it until I dip everything I can find in the fridge in it. Creamy perfection!”

Serves: 12+     Calories: 102 per 1 tbsp serving     Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of peanuts, unsalted if you can help it
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili sauce (add more or less to your taste. I you don’t like heat don’t add it. If you like a little kick add a fraction of this amount. Tailor it to your taste.)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Grind the peanuts in a blender or food processor so that they are finely chopped. It will feel like a paste to the touch but look like grainy sand to the eye. Remove from the blender/processor and set aside
  2. Blend/process the peanut butter, ginger, chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, and chili sauce until smooth.
  3. Hand mix in the chopped peanuts until evenly mixed.
  4. Garnish with red pepper flakes and serve.
  5. Enjoy with anything you can get your hands on 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me