Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garlic Ginger Chicken Wings & Fresh Broccoli Salad

I love chicken wings!  I'm so excited to be picking up my fresh box of them next week (courtesy of wagjag grocery) so I thought I'd clear out my last portion in the freezer to make room for the new - yay!

Wings aren't always the healthiest choice but you can make choices with your cooking that help a little - like no skin, and bake instead of fry.  I have to admit I usually fry them (and bread them in an amazing breading - see my "The Absolute Best Fried Chicken Wings" post) but this time I chose to bake them.  They were served with a broccoli salad that is always a favorite in my home.  Enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Chicken Wings
3 lbs chicken wings
1 tsp 5-spice powder
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
2 T brown sugar
3 garlic chopped
4 tsp chopped ginger
4 tsp veg oil
pinch black pepper
1 small hot pepper chopped (I used a thai pepper, but you can use anything)
3 scallions chopped

Put chicken, 5-spice powder and soy sauce in a large ziploc bag - toss & kneed so that spices are evenly distributed.  Let marinate as long (or short) as you want - mine was overnight.  Arrange chicken on a foil lined baking sheet & bake at 425, turning once, until golden and crispy, 40-45 minutes.  In a large bowl stir together remaining ingredients.  Add wings and toss to coat.

Fresh Broccoli Salad
2 heads fresh broccoli
1 red onion (I used half)
1/2 lb bacon (I used President's Choice Extra Thick)
3/4 c raisins (I used golden)
1c mayo (I used 1/2c fat free, 1/2c regular)
1/2 c sugar (I used splenda)
2 T white wine vinegar (I used regular vinegar)

Cook bacon (I microwave mine on a paper towel-lined plate with more paper towel on top to get rid of as much grease as possible).  Cool & crumble or chop.  Cut broccoli into bite size pieces & onion into thin bite size slices/  Combine with bacon and raisins and mix well.  Mix liquids together until smooth & stir into salad.  Let chill and serve.

I have also added shredded sharp cheddar to this in the past (so good!) as well as honey roasted peanuts (also delicious)


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Steak With Chimichurri Sauce & Chickpea Salad

We eat a lot of steaks at my house, and I never really get tired of them.  Sometimes though, it's nice to switch things up and add various sauces.  Thanks to Melissa D'Arabian, I found this simple chimichurri sauce published in a recent Food Network Magazine.  It looked interesting, and easy enough, so we gave it a try.  Everyone loved it!  I added a chickpea salad that I turn to often for a quick & healthy side dish.  You can find that recipe (and a picture) on my previous posting, "Fish Tacos And Chickpea Salad".


Simple Sirloin Steak With Chimichurri Sauce
2 10-12oz sirloin steaks
Salt & pepper
2 T veg oil
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c chopped parsley
1 T chopped onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
1/3 c EVOO

Prepare steaks - slice in half crosswise & pat dry with a paper towel.  Season all over with salt & pepper.  Set aside for 15-30 minutes to bring to room temperature.  Meanwhile to make the sauce add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.  Grill steaks to your preference over medium and serve with sauce.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Franks & Beans And Mix & Match Cornbread

When I saw this "Frank's & Bean's" recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine, I was looking for a dish to clean up some leftover canned goods and this seemed to fit the bill.  I had a pack of hot Italian sausages in the freezer, a couple of cans of white kidney beans, and thought, why not?  I am so glad I tried it out because this will definitely be a go-to meal for us in our home.  It was a deliciously comforting dinner and I can't wait to make it again.

As for the cornbread, I just about died when I saw a feature in a recent Food Network Magazine called "Mix & Match Cornbread".  How genius!  They provide a list of mix-ins, cheeses, a basic batter recipe, seasoning choices, and then baking instructions.  Brilliant!  I can make a different cornbread every time and it will always come out perfect!!

Franks & Beans
1 onion chopped
6 garlic chopped
6 Italian sausages (I used hot)
2 cans white kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
1 c white wine (I didn't have any so I used beef broth)
10 parsley stems
10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2c chicken brother (I used beef)
1 T butter
1 T flour
3 T chopped fresh herbs (oregano, parsley, tarragon, etc)
salt & pepper

Heat 2 T oil in a large pot over medium.  Add onion & garlic and cook until softened, 8 minutes.  Remove and discard the casings from 2 sausages; add to pot.  Cook, breaking up with a spoon until sausages and onions are lightly browned, 5 minutes.  Add beans & wine to pot & cook until wine is reduced by half, 8-10 minutes.  Using twine, tie parsley & thyme into a bundle, add to pot along with bay leaves & broth.  Cook on medium-low heat, partially covered & stirring often until liquid thickens, 45-50 minutes.  Mix butter with flour to form a paste and stir into bean mixture along with 2T of chopped herbs.  Meanwhile, after the beans have been cooking 25 minutes, heat remaining 1T oil in large skillet over medium heat and cook remaining sausages, turning, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes (I baked mine in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes).  Slice the sausages.  Divide the bean mixture among bowls and top with sausage slices & remaining 1T chopped herbs.

Now here is the kicker...I'm telling you once you make this cornbread you will never use another recipe again.  It was so moist and delicious, I couldn't believe it.  For my mix-in I used chopped bacon.  For my cheese I used old cheddar.  For my seasoning I used chopped jalapenos.  So good!!!

Mix & Match Cornbread

1. Prep your mix-ins - choose up to 3 of the following, 1/2c each:
  • chopped scallions
  • broccoli florets blanched & chopped
  • dried fruit chopped
  • zucchini grated & sprinkled with salt
  • unsalted nuts chopped
  • carrots grated & sprinkled with salt
  • onions chopped & sauteed
  • canned hominy, drained
  • kale chopped & sauteed
  • chopped tomato
  • corn kernels
  • bacon or pancetta cooked & crumbled
  • sausage cooked & crumbled
2. Choose a cheese - grate or crumble 1/2c (optional):
  • gruyere
  • cheddar
  • pepper jack
  • mozzarella
  • fontina
  • parmesan
  • goat
  • havarti
  • swiss
  • gouda
3. Make the batter:
Preheat oven to 400.  Grease 9" square baking dish.  Whisk 1/2c cornmeal, 1/4c flour, 2T sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt in large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk 1 egg, 1c milk, 1c sour cream or plain greek yogurt (I used fat free Astro yogurt), & 2T melted butter.  Whisk into the dry ingredients until combined.  Fold in the prepared mix-ins and cheese.

4. Add seasonings - stir in 1 of the following (optional):
  • 1/4c chopped fresh parsley, basil, chives, cilantro, or a combination of all
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, sage or rosemary, or a combination of all
  • 1 minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1 minced jalapeno
5. Bake the bread
Pour into prepared dish.  Bake until it springs back when pressed in the center, 25-35 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes in a dish then loosen edges and slice.

I can't say enough about how moist this bread was.  I can't wait to try it again and again with various combinations.