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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

What’s for lunch? This is a question that Mr. J and I ask ourselves everyday. And do we have as options? McDonalds. Wendy’s. Taco Bell. Burger King. KFC. Pizza Hut …. and countless other fastfoods. These are what confronts us as we contemplate on what to eat for lunch at work everyday.

I have nothing against fast foods. They are convenient and delicious! But the fact remains, they do you no good, especially when eaten on a daily basis. I’m sure you are aware of this, so I don’t have to elaborate on the reasons why. Suffice it to say that if you indulge on fastfood often enough, your buttons will have to eventually explode while your wallet implodes! Hah! (I was alluding to your physique expanding sideways and your wallet being empty, get me?). Not a pretty picture, huh?

This is exactly the reason why we cook a lot at home. The same reason why I made this dish today especially for Mr. J. I wanted to give my dear hubby a good but healthier alternative to his lunch. This pasta, coupled with a piece of fruit for dessert is definitely a much better option.

Bow Tie Pasta With Roasted Chicken Salad
Adapted from: Cooking Light

3 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta), about 8 oz.
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp stone-ground mustard
2 tbsps sugar
1-1/4 tsps salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 2 pcs)*
1-1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1 cup celery, thin cut diagonally
1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
3 tbsps fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsps fresh parsely, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Omit salt and fat. Cool.
2. Combine orange juice and the next 7 ingredients (thru vinegar) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine.
3. Add cooled pasta, chicken, grapes, celery, red onion, walnuts, chives and parsley. Toss gently to combine.

*NOTE: For an even quicker preparation, use rotisserie chicken from the deli like i did. I made it the night before and threw in the dressing in the morning before hubby leaves for work. This is an excellent way to use left-over chicken from dinner.

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“Siopao or baozi” is a staple food in China that dates back to almost 1,800 years, about three kingdom periods (220-280) ago. According to history, some military soldiers caught a plague while traveling to South China. Zhuge Liang (181-234), the military strategist at that time, invented this food which is to be offered as a sacrifice to the gods for healing . They are buns shaped like human heads and are made of flour stuffed with meat filling. Interesting, huh?

Overtime, this food has become typical in Chinese households. They are usually served as dim sum, or those fingerfoods served with tea.

In the Philippines, siopao, along with mami (noodle-soup) and siomai (steamed dumpling) came from a tale of triumph by a Chinese immigrant named Ma Mon Luk. Ma Mon Luk is said to be a grade school teacher in China who was in love with a girl name Ng Shih. But the girl’s family objected to their love, because Ma Mon Luk financially is not good enough. As a result, Ng Shih’s father forbid her to marry Ma Mon Luk. Ng Shih had no choice but to obey her father regardless of her feelings for Ma Mon Luk.

Heartbroken, Ma Mon Luk decided to quit his teaching job and traveled to the Philippines in 1918. His purpose was to earn money, and be able to prove to Ng Shih’s family that he was worthy of her.

It was not an easy feat for Ma Mon Luk. He was jobless and broke when he got to the Philippines. But he decided to use what he had – his rich culture and knowlege and did what he knew best, prepared the food he grew up with and began peddling them in the streets. With determination and hardwork, Ma Mon Luk succeeded in introducing dishes that were to become an indelible part of the Filipino’s history, culture and diet – the mami, siomai and siopao.

Today, these remain to be among Filipino’s favorites. And they are found in many Chinese restaurants in the country, as well as in most little eateries that dot the busy streets of the Philippines.

Bola-bola filled (meatball & egg) siopao

Chicken-filled siopao

As for me, Siopao is still one of my favorite snack food. Whenever I go back to my homeland, I never fail to have some of them. I love the soft, slightly sweet, almost cake-like dough. To me, the dough is what makes this dish.

I can always buy them frozen from every Asian grocery here in the U.S., but there is nothing like a home-made, fresh-from-the-steamer-siopao goodness. It may be bit time consuming to make, but the result is very rewarding.

Here I made two of my favorite filling, the meatball and the chicken. But there’s a whole lot of other fillings for Siopao. You can substitute the chicken with pork. Or you can use Tofu and add some vegetables for a vegetarian siopao (using carrots, green beans, bean sprouts,cabbage). Another one of my favorite filling is using mashed Mung beans.

The food coloring on top is nothing but for me to identify the filling within. Here, the yellow is for the meatballs, and red is for the chicken.

Hmmn.. I’m glad I took the time make this. Even my husband enjoyed it. Hope you will too.

Siopao ready for steaming

SioPao

Dough:
1 cup warm water (about 100-110 degrees F)
3 tbsps sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2-1/4 tsps)
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsps canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
wax paper, cut into 2″x2″ squares (about 12-20 pcs, depending on size of dough ball)

1. Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. DO NOT stir.
2. Spoon flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife. Add flour, oil and 1/4 tsp salt into yeast mixture. Mix well until soft dough forms.
3. Turn dough out into a floured surface. Knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Form into a ball.
4. Lightly oil/coat with cooking spray a large bowl. Place dough in the bowl, turning to coat top.
5. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees F), for 2 hrs or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If identation remains, dough has risen enough.)
6. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a clean surface; knead in baking powder. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
7. Divide dough into two equal portions. Form one portion into a 10-inch log, and then cut into 5 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time roll ball into a 4-5 inch circle. Make sure to cover remaining dough to keep them from drying.
8. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the center of dough circle. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top.
9. Pinch and seal closed with a twist. Repeat procedure with rest of the dough.

Meatball Filling:
1 lb ground pork*
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 med carrot, grated
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 eggs, beaten slightly
6 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and quartered

1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the ground meat and hardboiled eggs.
2. When mixed well, add ground pork to mixture. Mix by hand, only until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Do not over work the meat.
3. Place about 1/4-cup of meat filling in the center of dough circle. Put quarter of the hard-boiled egg on top of the meat.
4. Proceed with #8 and #9 above.

Siopao in the steamer

Chicken Filling:
1 lb chicken breast, boneless & skinless*
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 c green onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsps hoisin sauce
2 tbsps rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
pinch of salt (be careful as soy sauce is already salty)
2 tbsps vegetable oil

1. Place chicken breasts in a pot. Add enough water to cover. Add dash of salt and pepper. Bring to boil. when boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer until chicken is tender. Remove from water and let chicken cool.
2. When chicken is cool enough to handle, take two forks and shred the chicken into strips. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a skillet. Saute onion till tender, then add garlic. Then add the cooked, shredded chicken and the rest of the ingredients.
4. Stir to mix and simmer for 2 minutes, or until bubbly.
5. Remove from heat to cool.
6. When cooled, add 1/4 of chicken to the dough circle. Do #8 and #9 procedures above under Dough.

Steaming:

1. Arrange bun in your steamer, 1 inch apart. Place wax paper on the bottom of each bun, seam side down (with me, I prefer to have the seam up, as it looks prettier).
2.If you are doing 2 or more fillings, I suggest that you color top with a food coloring to identify the filling in your buns.
3. If you are using a 2-tier bamboo steamer, stack tiers and cover with lid.
4. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Place steamer in pan; steam for 15* minutes until dough is puffed and set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

*NOTE:

For meatball filling, steam 25 minutes since the meat is not pre-cooked.
If you are doing both fillings like I did, reduce the amount of the filling to half. Or, double the amount of your dough. Also, I added a 1/4 tsp vinegar to the steaming water. Vinegar has a bleaching effect on the dough when steaming, so you’ll get whiter buns. For a gluten-free version, you may substitute the all-purpose flour with rice flour.

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One Sunday morning, Mr. J and I found ourselves at home. This is not normal for us since our Sunday mornings are usually spent in church. Nope, we didn’t skip; we just went a day earlier. We were invited to a Saturday night service to one of Mr. J’s friend’s church (that’s a mouthful). We went and boy, was I thankful that we did because their guest speaker was awesome and spoke about a challenging and thought-provoking message on missions.

Anyway, before I digress here way too much, since Mr. J and I were home, I thought that it would be a good time for us to visit a local Farmer’s market which I heared, takes place every Sunday from morning until noontime. We’ve never been able to go because by the time we’re done with church, the market would already be over, or just about to be over. So off we go. I was so excited as I’ve never been to a Farmer’s market here in Miami and this would be a first for me… Farmer’s market, here we come!

Unknowingly, I was in for a great disappointment. When we got there, nobody was around – well at least the place where the market should be was empty. Where is everybody??? Well, to make a long story short, I learned that the market ended the week before. Apparently, the Farmer’s market here only takes place during spring, from February to April, mid-April to be exact. The heat this year came a little to early so they decided to end the market earlier as it was getting to be too much for the farmers here in South Florida. My oh my… so much for the Farmer’s market.

What now? Well, the next best thing to do is to go to Wild Oats (owned by the same company as Whole Foods). We were there for maybe a couple of hours. Going around the store made me feel a little bit better. So, my Sunday didn’t totally suck…

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Here’s a dish that is remembrance of that fateful Sunday. The sausage you see is something that I got from Wild Oats that day. It is a roasted-pepper with apple organic chicken sausage. Hmmn… even the sound of that already tastes good, doesn’t it? And you bet, it is… The sausage is a little spicy and sweet, hmmn.. perfect for the gnocchi and fennel. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should add the red bell pepper since the sausage already has roasted-pepper in it. But I added it in the last minute anyway because fresh pepper would add a different taste to the roasted one. And of course, the red color just made this dish that much more attractive to the eye, don’t you think?

As for the sausage, you can always change it up according to your preference. It’s up to you, the sky’s the limit.

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Gnocchi With Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper And Fennel
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces chicken sausage*, casing removed and sliced
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Pecorino Romano* cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter*
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Omit salt and fat. Drain the gnocchi but reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Mix till butter is well incorporated. Add parsley for garnish.

*NOTE: As I mentioned above, you can always change up the sausage. Original recipe suggested basil and pine nut chicken sausage. For the cheese, you can also use Asiago cheese or Parmesan if you like. As to the butter, you can omit it. I just added a tad bit to mine for a richer flavor.

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I am always interested in educating my palate, that’s why I was eager to try this recipe that I happen to find when scanning an issue of Cooking Light magazine – chicken and cucumber done Korean style.

Kimchi is pretty much all I know about Korean food, and I’m sure that there’s more to it than kimchi. It is one of the least familiar cuisine to me among the Asian countries, so I’d be glad to get to know a bit more of Korean cooking.

So here’s something that resembles that of a korean dish (I hope). The chicken calls for ingredients common in Asian cooking, of course. As for the cucumber salad, it’s some kind of a kimchi-type accompaniment, very similar to your cucumber salad with vinaigrette but with a slight difference in the prepartion. Find out how…

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Cucumbers
1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp shallots
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp season rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

1. Place cucumber slices in colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing well. Drain 1 hour.
2. Place cucumber slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
3. Combine cucumber, shallots, and next 6 ingrediets (thru chile) in a large bowl; toss gently. Cover and set aside.
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Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast*, about 1-1/4 lbs
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 c green onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

1. Place the chicken between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness.
2. Combine soy sauce and the next 5 ingredients (thru garlic) in a large zip top plastic bag.
3. Add chicken to soy sauce mixture in a bag, seal. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.
4. Heat grill pan over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray.
5. Remove chicken from the bag; discard marinade. Cook chicken for 6 minutes on each side or until done.
6. Serve chicken with 1/2 cup of cucumber; sprinkle salad with green onions, and chicken with sesame seeds.

NOTE: Recommended meat is chicken thigh (boneless,skinless), but we prefer the breast. You may certainly use chicken thigh if you want, which is actually a juicer and more tender meat.

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No, I didn’t. Though by the time I was done cooking, it seemed like the house was on fire. The smoke got so thick in the kitchen that my husband had to open up the windows!

Why? Because I decided to do Chicken Satè (satay) for dinner tonight. And as you know, satès involve grilling (meats are broiled, traditionally). We couldn’t grill outside as today was a particularly wet day. It had been raining for the most part of the day until evening. But come rain or shine, we’re having chicken satè for dinner; hence I grilled on the stove top — and our exhaust sucks, that’s what it is! LOL…

I was just going through an old issue of my Cooking Light magazine when this recipe caught my attention. I marked it for future reference, but then my hubby wanted to eat a light chicken dish for dinner tonight. And so I decided, now would be a good time as any to have this dish. Most of the ingredients are already in my pantry / fridge, so I only needed to get a couple of things. I made a trip to the Asian store to pick up rice noodles, and to our regular grocery to get the chicken.

Satè:
1 lb skinless/boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp bottled ground fresh ginger
1 tsp grated lime rind
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
Sauce:
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1-1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Directions:
1. Prepare grill.
2.To prepare sate, combine chicken and next 6 ingredients in a med bowl. Let stand for 10 mins.
3.To prepare sauce, combine 1 tbsp brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves.
4. Thread chicken strips onto each of the skewers. Place chicken on grill rack coated with
cooking spray; grill 5 mins on each side or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with sauce and rice noodles.For the noodles, just cook according to package directions.


I had to make my own changes of the above recipe due to what I have on hand. First, I used regular soy sauce. Second, I have a natural peanut butter – not chunky but not as creamy as Smucker’s for instance. Third, I added the lime juice to the satè marinade as I wanted a stronger lime flavor. Fourth, I used fresh ginger instead of a bottled one.

This was a nice light dinner that my husband really liked. I served it with a Spicy Cucumber Salad, recipe of which you’ll find in my next post.

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By the time I was done cooking, it seemed like the house was on fire. The smoke got so thick in the kitchen that my husband had to open up the windows!

Why? Because I decided to do Chicken Satè (satay) for dinner tonight. And as you know, satès involve grilling (meats are broiled, traditionally). We couldn’t grill outside as today was a particularly wet day. It had been raining for the most part of the day until evening. But come rain or shine, we’re having chicken satè for dinner; hence I grilled on the stove top — and our exhaust sucks, that’s what it is! LOL…

I was just going through an old issue of my Cooking Light magazine when this recipe caught my attention. I marked it for future reference, but then my hubby wanted to eat a light chicken dish for dinner tonight. And so I decided, now would be a good time as any to have this dish. Most of the ingredients are already in my pantry / fridge, so I only needed to get a couple of things. I made a trip to the Asian store to pick up rice noodles, and to our regular grocery to get the chicken.

Chicken Satè With Peanut Sauce
Sate:
1 lb skinless/boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp bottled ground fresh ginger
1 tsp grated lime rind
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
Sauce:
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1-1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:
1. Prepare grill.
2.To prepare sate, combine chicken and next 6 ingredients in a med bowl. Let stand for 10 mins.
3.To prepare sauce, combine 1 tbsp brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves.
4. Thread chicken strips onto each of the skewers. Place chicken on grill rack coated with
cooking spray; grill 5 mins on each side or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with sauce and rice noodles.

For the noodles, just cook according to package directions.

I had to make my own changes of the above recipe due to what I have on hand. First, I used regular soy sauce. Second, I have a natural peanut butter – not chunky but not as creamy as Smucker’s for instance. Third, I added the lime juice to the satè marinade as I wanted a stronger lime flavor. Fourth, I used fresh ginger instead of a bottled one.

This was a nice light dinner that my husband really liked. I served it with a Spicy Cucumber Salad, recipe of which you’ll find in my next post.

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Left-over Do-Over

Chicken carbonara is one of my favorite dishes. And I had the opportunity to make this for dinner recently because we had some left-over roasted chicken. I’ve tried making this dish before using the fresh skinless/boneless chicken breast. It was good too, but using roasted chicken just makes a whole lot of difference in the taste.

Carbonara, as you might know, is made from whipped cream and cheese – so it’s not a dieter’s food. To balance the richness of the sauce, I thought that I should use the healthier organic whole wheat pasta – which I already had in my pantry. (I’m just trying to play some tricks with my own mind, you know ;oD )
I had to cut down the recipe that I had for this as I’m cooking only for 2 people. Problem was, I overlooked the fact that whole wheat pasta absorbs more liquid than the regular one. So as you can see, the pasta didn’t have the desired amount of sauce as it should have. But inspite of this, the pasta still came out tasty (thank God!). The roasted chicken, creamy sauce with parmesan cheese, the hint of lemon in the background plus the crunch of walnuts were a nice balance of flavor.

If you want to try this dish, pls. check out the recipe here. I followed most of what the recipe calls for except that I added shallots to the garlic, used bacon instead of pancetta, and like I said, I had to cut it down and used whole wheat instead of the regular pasta.

So remember, if you want to use whole wheat pasta like I did, increase the amount of liquid so you’ll have a good amount of sauce in your dish. I promise you, it’s going to be yum’oh!

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