Friday, July 12, 2013

Margarita Chicken

During the summer I am always looking to make dishes with a lighter feel, and ones that don't take long are even better so I don't have to be in the kitchen for longer then necessary on a hot day.  This recipe fits perfectly on any summer menu.  And an extra bonus for me, since I can't enjoy a nice cold margarita this summer, I do get a little of that flavoring in this dish.

The one thing about this dish (which I've questioned with other dishes as well) is it says to serve it with a warm tortilla.  What is the purpose of this???  My husband cut up his chicken and made it into a taco which he said wasn't bad.  I ate the tortilla plain on the side.  If anyone has other ideas as to why they tell you to serve it with tortilla, please let me know.

The glaze on this chicken in so light and delicious, I could put this on the menu a few times a month and not tire of it.

Margarita Chicken (from Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of 30-min Dinners)

1/2 tsp finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp tequila
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb total)
4 flour tortillas, warmed
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled and cut up
lime slices, cut in half (optional)

- For glaze, in a small saucepan stir together lime peel, lime juice, tequila, honey, cooking oil, cornstarch, garlic salt, and pepper  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 min more.
- Rinse chicken; pat dry.  Place on the unheated rack of a broiler pan.  Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 6-7 minutes, turn once, broil for another 2 or so minutes.  Brush with some of the glaze and broil for an additional 5 minutes (chicken should be tender and no longer pink).
- Arrange chicken, warmed tortillas, tomato and avocado on 4 plates.  Drizzle chicken with the remaining glaze.  If desired, garnish with lime slices.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

S'more Bites

The summer is always full of barbeques and other outdoor get-togethers, and I'm always searching for the perfect dish to bring to the party.  When this month's issue of Self magazine showed up, it had a section of "fresh, easy, fun" dishes that don't take a lot of cook time.  The recipe for the s'more bites immediately jumped out at me because, well, who doesn't like s'mores?!

I made these for a 4th of July barbeque and they were a big hit.  And according to the magazine they're not too unhealthy

They were pretty easy to make, though I had to make sure I was spreading things out evenly.  The rice crispy layers I ended up just using my hands to break it apart and make sure I filled in any holes.  And I had spread the chocolate a little too thin and in some pieces the graham cracker didn't adhere to the chocolate, so next time I'll make sure that I leave it a little thicker so it can fuse together a bit better.

What's also great about this is that you mix the butter, marshmallow and rice crispys on the stove, and you have to melt chocolate, but there's no oven used in this and it's served at room temperature, so I was able to make this shortly before we walked out the door and didn't have to make it in advance enough to cool down, etc.

S'more Bites (recipe from Self magazine)

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 bag (10oz) marshmallows
6 cups rice-crisp cereal
1 cup melted, semisweet chocolate chips
rectangular graham crackers (approx. 15 squares)
1 cup marshmallow crème (such as Fluff)

- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in marshmallows and cook, stirring until smooth, 2 minutes; remove from heat.
- In a bowl, combine marshmallows with cereal; mix well.
- In the bottom of a 9x13 in pan, spread half of the cereal mixture into a thin, even layer.  Top with warmed chocolate.  Place graham crackers in a single layer over chocolate, breaking crackers as needed to fit; top with crème.  Spread remaining half of cereal mixture over crème; press lightly to cement layers together.
- Let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 min before cutting and serving.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cold Chicken Satay Noodles

I've mentioned in the past that my husband and I like to cook together.  Well, sometimes he takes over in the kitchen and makes dishes entirely on his own (or maybe with me as his sous chef chopping, etc as needed like he does for me).  The following is his first guest blog post, featuring one of our favorite summertime dishes - Rachael Ray's Cold Chicken Satay Noodles.....

This is a great recipe because the hardest part of it (the rotisserie chicken) is already made.
The rest is just simple ingredients that require very little prep work.  It is also a great summertime
 dish because as delicious as it is warm, it tastes even better when served cold as leftovers. 
The peanut butter and whole wheat pasta are a very flavorful combination and the vegetables add a 
nice freshness to it.  Just slice the vegetables, cook the pasta, combine all of the ingredients, 
dig in and enjoy!

Rachel Ray’s Cold Chicken Satay Noodles (recipe from Rachael Ray)
Salt 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 to 1/3 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup tamari
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp hot sauce
3 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
Handful of shredded carrots
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 cup spinach, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 cups shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken
2 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley 

- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water liberally, then add the pasta and cook to al dente.
  Run the pasta under cold water to cool.  Drain well. -  While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, heat the peanut butter in the microwave in 10
second-intervals until softened.  Place in a large bowl with the honey and warm water.  Whisk in the
tamari, garlic, lime juice, and hot sauce, then whisk in the oil in a slow stream.  Add the noodles,
veggies, and peanuts to the bowl and toss until the ingredients are well mixed.  - Serve the noodles in shallow bowls topped with the chicken and cilantro