SHRIMP PAD THAI

This recipe is the PERFECT downsized recipe for 2! This flavor combination offers a complex salty AND sweet yet spicy AND pungent flavor with just enough acidity from the lime for balance in the sauce. Add in the sauteed shrimp, the scrambled egg, salty peanuts and crunchy bean sprouts and scallions that balance out the texture and flavors for a complete meal.

SHRIMP PAD THAI
SAUCE
2 LARGE limes, juiced, about 3 +/- tablespoons
3 tablespoons water
2 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
3 teaspoons rice vinegar (I often use seasoned – flavor of choice)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Whisk all together and set aside.

NOODLES & SHRIMP
4 ounces WIDE rice noodles
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 shallot, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons crushed dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped cilantro (for garnish – optional)

  • Bring 4 quarts of water to boil.Remove from heat, add rice noodles and let stand 10 minutes until noodles are tender. Drain noodles and set aside.
  • Pat shrimp dry.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add shrimp and a pinch of salt, sauteing 2-3 minutes until shrimp are opaque.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Add remaining oil to skillet.
  • When oil is shimmering add shallots and garlic, sauteing until light golden brown.
  • Add in egg and cook 20-30 seconds until scrambled.
  • Add noodles, tossing to mix.
  • Add sauce, tossing continually to coat for 1-2 minutes until well blended and coated in sauce.
  • Add bean sprouts, peanuts, scallions and shrimp, tossing to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTE: As a quick cheat I use pre-prepared yakisoba noodles from my butcher to replace the rice noodles.

PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY & THYME ROAST CHICKEN

Every now and then I crave an old fashioned roast chicken, you know, like grandma used to make. Well, that’s easier said than done. Do you know how hard it is to find a decently priced WHOLE chicken these days? A few weeks ago my butcher actually had some gorgeous whole chickens and they were priced reasonably too.

PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY & THYME ROAST CHICKEN
4 pound WHOLE chicken
6 tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped sage
1 LARGE lemon, quartered
1 bulb garlic, cloved
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rustic chunks
2 pounds baby Yukon potatoes, halved
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Whisk the chopped herbs into 3 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Rub chicken inside and out with herb oil mixture.
  • Place lemon pieces and garlic cloves into the chicken cavity.
  • Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
  • Roast and baste every 30 minutes for the first hour.
  • Add veggies at the beginning of the second hour.
  • Whisk FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper into remaining oil and toss with onions, carrots and potatoes.
  • Baste ever 20 minutes for the next two hours or until chicken is cooked through and the skin is a crisp golden brown.
  • Rest 10 minutes before carving.

RUSTIC CASSOULET (slightly updated)

RUSTIC CASSOULET
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces**
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, diced
1 pound Johnsonville beef sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, diced
4 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
1/4 cup FRESH minced Italian flat leaf parsley
28-ounces whole peeled tomatoes (seasoned, if you can find them)
14-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme
1 cup Moscato white wine
1 +/- cups chicken stock
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (fresh are best – I make them from baguettes )
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper
2 cups pasta of choice (optional)
Crusty French Bread (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Brown the bacon until browned and crumbly in large saute skillet/dutch oven. 
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Add chicken and sausage pieces to bacon fat and brown on all sides.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove from fat and set aside. 
  • Add the shallots, cooking 3-4 minutes until softened.
  • Add garlic, sauteing a few minutes more until fragrant.
  • Add white wine and chicken stock, bringing to a boil. Turn heat off.
  • Add tomatoes and beans. 

  • Add meat back in.
  • Mix together crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, thyme and 1 tablespoon melted butter together until well blended.
  • Spread crumb mixture over the top and bake covered for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake 5-10 minutes more until browned.

NOTES **

  • I sometimes cook the chicken thighs whole and then shred them – just depends on my mood.
  • You can change this into a thick soup/stew by eliminating the bread crumbs and adding 8 ounces (2 cups) of macaroni during the last 10-15 minutes. I then serve it with crusty bread for dipping.

PAN FRIED PORK STEAK & POTATOES

PAN FRIED PORK STEAK & POTATOES

2-4 criss cross cut boneless pork steaks
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
2 cups chopped Yukon potatoes
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 SMALL bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Generously season pork steaks with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Rub pork steaks on both sides with oil.
  • Heat heavy skillet over medium high heat with remaining oil.
  • Sear steaks 3-4 minutes each side and then keep warm in oven while you prepare the potatoes.
  • Add onions to skillet and saute 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  • Add potato and carrot pieces, frying until fork tender and crisp on the edges.
  • Add in Italian herbs and sprinkle with paprika, stirring to coat and blend well.
  • Add water and heavy cream, simmering a few minutes until thickened.

PISTACHIO CRUSTED CHICKEN STEAKS

PISTACHIO CRUSTED CHICKEN STEAKS
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons avocado oil
4-6 thin chicken steaks
1/2 cup FINELY crushed pistachios
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons FRESH minced tarragon or basil
2 cups Panko crumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup all purpose flour, seasoned
2 LARGE eggs, beaten

  • Combine the pistachios, Parmesan cheese and tarragon or basil in a food processor and pulse until well mixed.
  • Set up a dredging station with 3 shallow bowls. Add the pistachio mixture to one shallow bowl, the eggs to another and the flour to a third.
  • In a large skillet melt butter and avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Generously season the chicken steaks with the FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken in flour first, shaking off excess followed by the egg and then the pistachio mixture.
  • Add breaded chicken to hot oil mixture, searing 3-4 minutes per side. Nuts burn easily so keep a close watch! REDUCE HEAT IF NECESSARY! DO NOT CROWD PAN!

BEER BRAISED CHICKEN

BEER BRAISED CHICKEN
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (preferably brown ale) I used MGD
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 pound small red-skinned new or gold potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard (optional)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.
  • Add the avocado oil to the drippings in the pot.
  • Add the chicken in batches and cook over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, 4-5 minutes, then flip and sear the other side, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the beer, onions, potatoes, mustard, sugar, thyme leaves and 1 cup chicken broth to the pot and stir, making sure the chicken is fully submerged.
  • Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the bacon and parsley. 

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with RUSTIC TOMATO GRAVY & FLUFFY BUTTERED MASHED POTATOES

I got this recipe from Jet Tila and have used it ever since to make the fluffiest, lightest and tastiest mashed potatoes.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with RUSTIC TOMATO GRAVY & FLUFFY BUTTERED MASHED POTATOES

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with RUSTIC TOMATO GRAVY
3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced THINLY
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme leaves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained, but juice reserved
chicken stock
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
3 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese

  • Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts.
  • Add enough chicken stock to the reserved tomato juice to equal 1 3/4 cups. Whisk in chicken bouillon.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken breasts in flour.
  • Sear chicken breast on each side 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  • Add onions and garlic, sauteing 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and thyme leaves, simmering 10 minutes until tomatoes are cooked through.
  • Stir in Mascarpone cheese until creamy.
  • Add chicken breasts to sauce, turning to coat.
  • Serve over fluffy mashed potatoes.

FLUFFY BUTTERED MASHED POTATOES
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 pounds SMALL Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into half (2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 tablespoons FRESH grated sea salt
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt

  • Add potato pieces into a large saucepan and cover by 1 inch with COLD* (see notes) water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
  • Bring to a boil over HIGH heat.
  • Reduce heat to MEDIUM heat and simmer for 15-18 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes well in a colander and then return to the pan over LOW heat.
  • Warm the half and half in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Rice or mash potatoes with a masher until lumps are gone.
  • Fold in half and half with a rubber spatula.
  • Add butter 1 piece at a time, folding it gently into the potato mixture.
  • Season to taste with remaining salt and pepper.

NOTES:

  • Using the COLD water makes the starches in the potatoes cook slower and more evenly so that the outsides are not more done when the centers are ready and they become creamier.
  • Give your potatoes a kick with a bit of roasted garlic, chives or even some wasabi for some variety.

BUFFALO CHICKEN SLIDERS

BUFFALO CHICKEN SLIDERS
12 pack of Kings Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
2 1/2 cups chopped Costco rotisserie chicken pieces
1/2 red onion, THINLY sliced
8 slices Havarti cheese
1/3-1/2 cup Frank’s Original Buffalo Sauce
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon powdered Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • LIGHTLY spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Stir together chicken pieces and buffalo sauce until well coated.
  • Cut entire package of Hawaiian rolls in half so you have a top and bottom.
  • Place roll bottoms in pan.
  • Place half the cheese in a single layer on top of rolls.
  • Top with chicken pieces in an even layer.
  • Evenly layer onions on top of chicken pieces.
  • Layer remaining cheese in a single layer.
  • Place tops on rolls.
  • Whisk together melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.
  • Brush roll tops with butter mixture.
  • Cover LIGHTLY with foil.
  • Bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more.

NOTE: You can use regular rolls, but the Hawaiian rolls are a much sweeter roll that lend a great profile to this recipe.

BACON RANCH CHICKEN SLIDERS

BACON RANCH CHICKEN SLIDERS
12 pack of Kings Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
2 1/2 cups chopped Costco rotisserie chicken pieces
1/2 red onion, THINLY sliced
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
8 slices Havarti cheese
1/3-1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon powdered Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • LIGHTLY spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Stir together chicken pieces and ranch dressing until well coated.
  • Cut entire package of Hawaiian rolls in half so you have a top and bottom.
  • Place roll bottoms in pan.
  • Place half the cheese in a single layer on top of rolls.
  • Top with chicken pieces in an even layer.
  • Evenly layer onions on top of chicken pieces.
  • Sprinkle with bacon pieces and top with remaining cheese in a single layer.
  • Place tops on rolls.
  • Whisk together melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.
  • Brush roll tops with butter mixture.
  • Cover LIGHTLY with foil.
  • Bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more.
  • Serve warm.

NOTE: You can use regular rolls, but the Hawaiian rolls are a much sweeter roll that lend a great profile to this recipe.

ORANGE CHILE CHICKEN

ORANGE CHILE CHICKEN

SAUCE
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces orange juice
3 ounces rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed into the rice wine vinegar as a slurry
2 tablespoons BRAGG’S liquid aminos
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 drop red food coloring, optional 

  • Add the oyster sauce, sugar, orange juice, vinegar-cornstarch slurry, liquid aminos, hoisin sauce, paprika and food coloring into a 1-quart saucepan, bring the heat up to medium.
  • Whisk gently as it comes to a simmer.
  • Allow to simmer, keep whisking for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat and reserve.

CHICKEN
1 1/2 quarts neutral oil, for deep frying
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups tempura flour  

  • Heat the oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven to 375°.
  • Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup tempura flour over the chicken cubes and toss to lightly dredge, shaking off the excess.
  • Mix the remaining 1 1/2 cups of tempura flour with 1 cup cold water to make a thin batter, it should look like pancake batter.
  • Coat dredged chicken pieces in batter.
  • Fry in batches until golden brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels. 

ASSEMBLY
2 tablespoons neutral oil, I use avocado
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
Fried chicken pieces, from above
2 to 3 scallions, cut on the bias into 2-inch lengths
1/2 yellow onion, cut into large dice
Orange Chicken Sauce, from above
Fried Rice, recipe follows, or steamed rice, for serving

  • Heat a large skillet to high and add the oil.
  • When you see the first wisps of white smoke, stir in the garlic, ginger and chicken pieces, cooking and stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the scallions, onion and reserved sauce turning to coat and simmer to heat through, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve over chow mien or fried rice or steamed rice. 

ASIAN CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD

ASIAN CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD

2 chicken breasts

MARINADE
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped

  • In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients.
  • Add chicken into the bowl, coat the chicken, and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Fully cook chicken and cut into cubes.

VINAIGRETTE
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger

  • In a mason jar, combine ingredients for the dressing.
  • Shake and set aside.

SALAD
2 romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup red cabbage
½ cup carrots, grated
¼ cup green onions, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup almond slices
¼ cup fried wonton chips

  • Add all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl and add the cubed chicken and dressing.
  • Toss and enjoy!

NOTES: Get creative and add in ANYTHING you’d like; tomatoes,diced celery, red onions, hard boiled eggs, mandarin oranges…

SWEET & SPICY ORANGE CHILE CHICKEN THIGHS

SWEET & SPICY ORANGE CHILE CHICKEN THIGHS
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons avocado oil 
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (see note)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper 
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
1 cup chicken stock 
1/2 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup cream sherry 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
2 tablespoons sesame oil 
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1 small crown of broccoli, cleaned and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally 

2 tablespoons chili paste 
2 tablespoons minced ginger 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
4 scallions, sliced thin
Prepared Yakisoba noodles

  • Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add carrots and broccoli pieces, sauteing 7-8 minutes until softened. With a slotted spoon remove from pan and set aside as you prep chicken.
  • Add remaining butter and oil to skillet.
  • Generously sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  • LIGHTLY dredge in WONDRA flour, shaking off the excess.
  • Sear chicken until golden on ALL sides.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, hoisin sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the onions, chili paste, ginger, garlic and scallions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the sauce and deglaze the pan.
  • Add noodles, stirring to combine.
  • Return chicken and veggies to pan, simmering 4-5 minutes until heated through and sauce begins to thicken.
  • Spoon sauce over and around the chicken and noodles.

NOTE:

This recipe originally called for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but I changed it out to make a more user friendly dish 😀