This easy and spicy chicken recipe from Food 52 is the perfect weeknight dinner for those nights when you are craving an Asian inspired dish. Because the chicken needs to marinate for one hour it falls outside of the parameters for my Fast Friday meals but it is fast just the same. If I know I’m going to be pressed for time I mix up the marinade in the morning then toss the chicken into it the minute I walk in the door in the evening. By the time I’m ready to start cooking the chicken is ready for the wok.
The original recipe uses boneless skinless chicken breasts but I am partial to boneless chicken thighs. I think the meat is more flavorful and juicier as well. If you like your food spicy as I do, add in a bit more of the fiery sriracha sauce. Serve the chicken over your favorite grain–I prefer brown rice– and dinner is ready. Enjoy!
SPICY ORANGE & GINGER CHICKEN
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/4pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Brown rice for serving
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, sriracha, vinegar, brown sugar, orange zest, and pepper.
- Place chicken in a large ziploc bag; pour 1/3 cup marinade over chicken. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
- Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the remaining oil.
- Working in 2 batches, add chicken and cook each batch 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and has lost its pink color throughout, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
- Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining marinade to the wok and heat to boiling.
- In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the marinade, and boil 1 minute.
- Return the chicken to the wok; cook 1 minute or until heated through.
- Serve over rice sprinkled with green onions.
I’ve always been a fan of chicken pot pie. It is the ultimate in comfort food and is the perfect use for both left over chicken as well as those chicken breasts in your refrigerator that need jazzing up. And because I’m a fan of pot pies, I naturally gravitate to them when they appear on a restaurant menu. So when I spotted something called “Queen’s Pie” on a restaurant menu recently I just had to inquire as to what it was.
My inquiry was met with a chuckle from the waiter who went on in broken English to describe a dish that contained chicken, meatballs and vegetables in a creamy broth. To me it sounded a lot like chicken pot pie and that is exactly what it was and it didn’t disappoint.
Back at home I set out to recreate this dish. Because I made this for a weeknight dinner, I used pre-made meatballs and puff pastry shells that just needed to be heated in the oven but if you have the time, could make both of these from scratch if you prefer. I augmented the meat with a generous amount of vegetables–in this case peas and corn–since they are favorites in my house and combined in all in a creamy sauce. The results were a hit. After all what isn’t to love about a chicken pot pie with meatballs!
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small coins
1 stalk celery, diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
24 – 1/2 inch meatballs
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup canned corn
6 puff pastry shells
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, leek and salt and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
- Add in the garlic and saute for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in the flour and the sherry, scraping up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the broth, cream, and bay leaves and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Gently stir in the chicken and meatballs.
- Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Discard the bay leaves and stir in the peas and corn, heating until the vegetables are hot.
- Cook the pastry shells according to package instructions.
- To serve, generously fill the pastry with the meat mixture.
It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
I really love Chinese and Chinese inspired food but here in my little corner of Belgium it imply isn’t as ubiquitous as it is in the United States. Yes there are restaurants that serve Chinese food and a few of them are actually pretty good but if you want home delivery for a cozy winter evening at home, think again. Virtually impossible. So my solution is to make it myself.
This recipe comes from Food 52 and I’ve tweaked it a bit to include more vegetables but the flavors remain true. Small pieces of chicken cook up quickly and by using pre-made oyster sauce as a base, this meal comes together in a snap. Do check the potency of your black pepper though and adjust accordingly. The over whelming response in my house is that this recipe is a keeper. And it’s fast; faster than take-out any night of the week.
CHINESE CHICKEN w/ BLACK PEPPER SAUCE
1 pound boneless chicken thigh
1 cup chopped green onion, white and light green parts only
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark sweet soy sauce
2 teaspoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon black pepper
- Combine the sauce ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
- Place the cornstarch in a large plastic bag.
- Dice chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add the chicken to the cornstarch, seal the bag then toss to coat.
- Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a wok set over medium-high heat and heat until it shimmers.
- Working in batches, fry the coated chicken pieces in hot oil until golden and cooked through.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the chicken has been cooked.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the wok and add the green onion, cooking until translucent.
- Stir in the mixed vegetables and toss to heat.
- Return the chicken to the wok then stir in the sauce, cooking until everything is hot.
Serve with hot steamed rice.
With our busy schedules, weeknight dinners need to be fast. From refrigerator to table and yes even clean up, during the week I don’t have a lot of time to fuss over preparations. There are bonus points for dishes that are truly delicious and loved by everyone in the family. And as the cook and pan washer it is even better when the entire meal can be cooked in a single pan. And that is why this super fast and tasty dish from Cooking Light has quickly become an all around family favorite.
Preparation is fast and when I use my cast iron skillet cooking and clean up is a breeze. The chicken is seared on the outside then it finishes cooking in the oven ensuring that the meat is juicy and flavorful. And my family loves spicy flavors so the peppers and cilantro are palate pleasers. You can adjust these seasonings to satisfy your own palates. Any way you cook it, this is a delicious midweek keeper.
AVOCADO SKILLET CHICKEN
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
2 small ripe avocados, halved and pitted
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the oil to pan, swirling to coat.
- Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and the chili powder.
- Add the chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over; cook 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan.
- Coat pan with cooking spray and increase the heat to high.
- Sprinkle the avocados with the sugar.
- Add the avocados to the pan, placing them cut side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until charred. Remove avocados from pan.
- Re-coat pan with cooking spray. Add the red onions; cook 3 minutes or until charred. Turn the red onions; add green onions and poblano, cooking for an additional 3 minutes.
- Separate the red onions into rings and toss with green onions and poblano.
- Stir in the lime juice and the soy sauce.
- Return the chicken and the avocado to the pan, nestling it between the onion mixture.
- Place the pan in oven and bake for 7 minutes or until chicken is done.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine sour cream and water in a small bowl until thinned to a saucy consistency.
- Drizzle sour cream mixture over chicken and avocados.
- Garnish with the cilantro and lime wedges as well as the remaining salt and paprika.
Not all winter cooking needs to be heavy in order to be satisfying. Case in point is this lemon filled chicken dish from Cooking Light. Because the boneless chicken breasts are flattened slightly before cooking this is a quick meal that is perfect for a mid-week dinner. It contains some of my favorite pantry staples–mushrooms, green beans, potatoes and lemons. The lemon brightens the dish which the potatoes and green beans mean you have an entire dinner in a single dish. Simply put, it is delicious and has become a family favorite.
LEMON SKILLET CHICKEN
12 ounces baby potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
8 ounces fresh been beans, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to pan. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Add chicken and thyme sprigs to pan; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is browned.
- Flip the chicken. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Remove the chicken from pan.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet.
- Add the potatoes, cut sides down, the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon thyme; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring once.
- Combine the milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Add the remaining salt, remaining pepper, flour mixture, stock, lemon, and beans to the pan and simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.
- Return the chicken to the pan, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
For me, this stew is comfort in a bowl. The recipe is adapted from Cooking Light, and it has quickly become a family favorite, making regular appearances on our dinner table and in lunch thermoses the next day. The dish starts simply enough with cubes of boneless chicken thighs which are moister and more flavorful than white meat. A combination of butternut squash and parsnips take the place of the customary potatoes and bring both a sweet and nutty flavor to the dish. But it doesn’t end there. Both sage and ginger add complexity to the dish which is finished off with crisp cider and a generous amount of tart apples which ups the flavor quotient. There are a lot of flavors in this dish but they complement each other with no two bites tasting the same. It encourages you to go back for more. And more…. And more…..
CHICKEN, APPLE & BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup diced peeled parsnip
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry Normandy cider
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
- Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
- Add one tablespoon of the oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add half of chicken to the pan and sauté 6 minutes or until browned.
- Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pan.
- Add the onion, sage and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the squash and parsnip then cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and cook for one minutes.
- Stir in the cider and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.
- Stir in the chicken, the remaining salt and the remaining pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes.
- Stir in the apples and cook for 5 minutes before serving.
Chicken braised in wine is called coq au vin. The dish is a class and a favorite in my house. But what about switching out the wine for beer? I say why yes and it especially makes sense here in Belgium where your choices of delicious beer is virtually unlimited. So when I came across this recipe from Cooking Light I knew I had to try it.
This recipe cooks up quickly yet you have all of the rich flavors you would expect in a dish that cooks for a longer period of time. I’ve adapted it by adding additional spices and switching out porter beer for a spicy and flavorful Belgian winter brew. Choose your favorite beer or experiment until you find one that you like. As is the case with cooking with wine, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.
BEER BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved
3/4 cup dark porter beer, or other beer of your choice
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Combine 3 tablespoons of flour, the thyme and the paprika in a large zip topped plastic bag.
- Sprinkle half of the salt over the chicken then add the chicken to the bag, ensuring that it is coated on all sides.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to pan and swirl to coat.
- Remove the chicken from flour mixture, discarding the remaining flour mixture.
- Add the chicken to pan and cook for 4 minutes or until browned.
- Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the remaining flour , the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the beer, stock, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil; cook 2 minutes.
- Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve with polenta, noodles or rice.