Marinated Veggie and Tomato Chicken

I was bored. That’s a dangerous thing around dinner time in my kitchen. I was not only bored and hungry, but I was also bored with what I’ve been eating lately. Therefore, experimentation gets to running rampant.

We have a marinated olive and vegetable mixture that we got from our honeymoon, and I’ve been itching to try and find another way to use it. I took my vegetable mixture and threw it in my food processor. Then I did the same thing with a can of stewed tomatoes.

For the rest of the meal, I sauted garlic in olive oil just until it was fragrant, and then put in some cubed chicken thighs. To balance out the tangy flavors of the vegetables, I made the chicken a little on the spicy side. I added in chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, basil, salt, pepper and just a pinch of cinnamon to balance it out. Once that was mostly cooked through (it doesn’t take long), I added in the veggies and most of the tomatoes – I tried to avoid using the liquid and mostly used the meat of the tomatoes. Let that all work together, and I also threw in some frozen corn to, again, help balance out the flavors. I served it over some linguine with a side of garlic bread.

Of course, I’ve never tried this, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. The spice only came through a little bit on the back-end, and otherwise it was just a very tasty blend of a lot of flavor.

What kind of kitchen experimentation have you done lately? How did it turn out?

 

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Weekly Girlfriends Cooking Night #3

This week, Lady Luck and I visited Thailand! Although our version of Thai seemed to involve a lot of coconut. Not that that’s a bad thing, as I’m a huge fan of the fruit.

On the menu tonight: Swimming Rama, Coconut Rice with Mango, and Coconut Jasmine Tea. For dessert, Coconut Sorbet.

So Swimming Rama has the potential to be ridiculously spicy if you want to make it that way, but for what we like, mild is good. The sauce is essentially a peanut butter reduction, and I love it – seeing how peanut butter almost trumps cheese on my list of favorite foods. The chicken is cut into little strips and put into a pot of boiling water that is then covered and removed from the heat for 5 minutes. Apparently, it’s like when cooking rice on the stove. DO NOT uncover it or it won’t work. It’s magic. A method I’ve never tried that worked amazingly well.

The peanut sauce is a mixture of onion, garlic, peanut butter, fish sauce, paprika, red pepper, coconut milk, cornstarch, water and lime juice. Is it just me or does that sound like the absolute strangest combination in the world? Maybe it’s my previous inexperience with cooking Asian themed foods…but I was blown away by the delicious-ness. The recipe is here, and the cookbook I got it from is here.

Once the chicken is mixed with the sauce, it’s served over spinach. The recipe says steamed spinach, I prefer sauteed spinach, basically just wilted.

Lady Luck made this amazing coconut rice and she topped it with mangoes! I asked her for the details and she said that she has a little bit of an unconventional way of making it. Instead of measuring out the one part rice to two parts liquid, she eyeballs it and then adds more if it’s not the consistency she wants. It’s a cooks trick that you can get away with that kind of stuff when you’ve been making the same dish for a while. She uses coconut milk and coconut juice – which she says looks like lard coming out of the can, but only because it’s pureed coconut meat and much more hearty. By the way, this rice will be turned into rice pudding this weekend because it was that good.

Our drink of the night (after the shot of pear sake! That stuff is POTENT) was a jasmine coconut tea. I improvised a little bit, not being a big fan of straight flowery teas. I brewed together a couple of bags of jasmine tea and a couple of bags of green tea, and then chilled it until we were ready for this drink. Then you pop open a can of coconut milk (which you can see on the right in the picture) and pour a cup into each glass. A tablespoon of sugar is mixed into the milk and then the tea is poured over top. I’m apparently not a mixologist because pouring tea over the back of a spoon didn’t work for me to get it to pool over the milk and create the prettiness that’s in my cookbook. But once it was all stirred together, it was super tasty! I plan on keeping these teas and milk on hand just for this drink!

On the menu next week? Sushi! I got this cool little contraption for Christmas that you load the innards of the sushi into and then it pushes it all out nice and compact on to the seaweed paper and this is my excuse to try it.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

The perfect end to a hectic week!

So my apartment has been torn apart for almost a month now – but we’re not going to go in to that. Basically, my kitchen is in a shambles, there are a ton of things in boxes, and it makes it hard to cook a really scrumptious meal. But, take one pan, one casserole dish, a spoon and knife…Oh my goodness the possibilities.

This is hearty, makes a lot, tastes DELICIOUS and is somewhat healthy. What’s not to love?

So, I used chicken thighs. I’m sure you could use chicken breasts. But I like dark meat. Wait. I need to back up. Start by chopping up garlic, onions and bell peppers. Add in a small handful of chopped sweet yellow peppers (like the kind they put on your sandwich at Subway), and saute together for a bit. Add in the chicken, that’s been all chopped up pretty. Then goes in a bunch of paprika, some cilantro, garlic powder, a dash of red pepper flakes and a couple tablespoons of hot sauce. (No it’s not spicy it’s delicious!)

So all this gets cooked up together until the chicken is done and it’s all bubbling away in the sauces. Then goes in some salsa, a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of corn and of course cheddar cheese. Proceed to bubble.

Get a big casserole dish, and put some tortilla chips in the bottom. Smush them all up so they are semi flat. Then pour the hot, bubbly, yummy goodness over top and level it out. Pour more cheese over top, cover with tin foil, and bake 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Let rest 5 minutes and enjoy!!

If I had sour cream in the house, I’d probably put some on top. But I didn’t.

Please do try this and please tell me how it is!

Chorizo Chicken Pasta

Two bowls and there was still plenty of leftovers

I had chicken on hand and I needed something to do with it that I haven’t done a hundred times already. So thinking about what I had in my freezer, I browsed for chicken and chorizo recipes. Then adapted one that I found. It turned out really really good, and had just enough bite to it to not be extremely spicy that no one could eat it, but enough to give it a little memorable kick.

What makes this meal even better is that it is budget friendly and filling! Even with just the little bit of pasta that I used, it could have fed more than the three people that it did.

Tortilla Soup

So I went to a friend’s apartment the other night, and had this amazing tortilla soup. He even fried up his own tortilla strips! He won’t tell me how to make it, but I did find out what’s in it. I may have to do some experimentation and try and figure it out.

-boiled, spice-rubbed chicken breast
-hominy
-refried beans
-spices (cayenne, paprika, garlic, and some other ones)
-chicken broth (from boiling the chicken)
-canned tomatoes
-tomato paste
To top it all off were the tortilla strips and cheese and sour cream. A-Maze-Ing!

Tortilla Soup

This is what it looked like finished. Though once I got through with it all you could see was the bowl.

Masterful Creation – Spicy Sausage and Penne

So after not cooking for a long, long stint, I’ve finally picked up my wooden spoons and pans again…and the result was amazing. Born of necessity (the best inventions always are), my Spicy Sausage and Penne was delicious and my loyal “guinea pigs” (roomie and boyfriend) begged for more.

Pasta

This is the pasta in the best serving bowl - the pot it's made in.

The ingredients were simple and versatile, it just took a little time and knowledge of what flavors work well together. I think it probably helps that I have experimented so much. I think this meal could probably be made for under $15 – the most expensive part are the spices (oregano and sage). Most of the ingredients can be bought at the dollar store.

The recipe for this yummy, scrumptious pasta is on my recipe page. Adjust to taste, as always.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fingers, Tempe, AZ

This place is a little mom-and-pop kind of establishment, but it is so good! The atmosphere is quaint and very rock and roll, considering LP’s act as a border for the room, there are pictures of Elvis, Jim Morrison and U2 on the walls, and let’s not forget their logo, the rock and roll chicken. He reminds me of Rockadoodle.

This is a map to their location. They are on the SE corner of Broadway and Rural, sitting next to the FYE.

This is a map to their location. They are on the SE corner of Broadway and Rural, sitting next to the FYE.

We went there just because I had seen it from across the street, and I’m in love. They make a special mayo-based sauce for their chicken, homemade Texas Toast,¬† and a tasty spice on their french fries. And the best part, you can get enough chicken for a hearty lunch for less than $10. Yay!!