22 February 2015

Slow-Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps


  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 c finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 c hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c cooked brown rice (I used minute rice, and added it without cooking first!)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce

  • Place ground chicken and garlic in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave mixture, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 - 6 minutes. (I just cooked on stove instead of microwaving). Drain off liquid and pour mixture into a 5 - 7 quart slow cooker. Add bell pepper, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss mixture. Cover and cook on low heat 2 - 3 hours until chicken is tender.

  • Stir in water chestnuts, cooked rice, green onions, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, cook until heated through 3 - 5 minutes. Season with additional salt as desired. Separate iceberg lettuce leaves and serve with chicken filling.

Original recipe found here.

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing

This is one of those recipes where I wish Will could tell you how awesome it is. I made a HUGE bowl of this stuff. He ate the entire thing, except for my bowl I had with dinner. I am going to have to make this pretty frequently... I can tell.

2 large bunches curly kale, center ribs discarded, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups)
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper
2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c salted peanuts
2 tbsp packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 c salted peanuts

Toss 2 large bunches curly kale, center ribs discarded, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups); 1 bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, halved crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise; and 2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise, in a large bowl. I used matchstick carrots & pulsed a few seconds in the food processor.

Puree 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup cider 
vinegar, 1/4 cup salted peanuts, 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in a blender until smooth. Pour dressing over vegetables just before serving. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped.

Original recipe found here.

Skinny Shrimp Scampi

OMG. So good. So delicious. So easy!! Hard to believe this is a "skinny" version.

  • 12 oz whole-wheat pasta noodles (I used linguine)
  • 1 tbsp butter (I used 2 tbsp)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled with tails removed and patted dry
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 c chicken stock
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • toppings: chopped fresh parsley and (optional) freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.

  • Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and immediately season (sprinkle) with crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Continue sauteing the shrimp with the garlic for about 3-4 minutes, or until pink on both sides and no longer opaque.

  • Add in the chicken stock, wine, lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir to combine. Let the mixture continue cooking for an additional minute to boil down, then remove from heat.

  • Drain the pasta, and serve topped with the shrimp scampi. Sprinkle with desired toppings.

  • Original recipe found here.

Honey Lime Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls with Chipotle Lime Cream

These were AMAZING. I loved how everything looked marinating in the bags (see below). There was definitely some prep work involved with this, but once you get everything marinating and ready to go, it's quick and easy.

  • Chicken Marinade
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breasts (3-4 chicken breasts)
  • ¼ c lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lite soy sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • Fajita Vegetables
  • Reserved marinade
  • 1/3 c honey
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced then cut into thirds
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced then cut into thirds
  • 1 ½ c sweet corn (fresh, canned or frozen-thawed)

  • Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ c red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 c long grained rice
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • ½ c cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

  • Chipotle Lime Sour Crema
  • 1 c light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 - 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of cayenne (optional)
  • ¼ - ½ c cilantro, finely chopped

  • Monterey Jack cheese

  • Marinade: Place chicken in a large freezer bag and pound thin with meat mallet (or with the side of a large can or rolling pin). Mix marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add half of the marinade to the chicken in the freezer bag, place in refrigerator. To the remaining marinade, whisk in 1/3 cup honey. Add this marinade to another freezer bag and add fajita vegetables. Marinade chicken and vegetables separately 6-10 hours.

  • Rice: When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add red onion and saute 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cumin and saute 30 more seconds (adding more oil beforehand if necessary). Add rice and saute for a few seconds. Add beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for approximately 20 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring at 15 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

  • Chipotle Lime Crema: While the rice is cooking, prepare Chipotle Lime Crema by mixing together the sour cream, lime juice, salt, cilantro and just 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, adding more to taste. After adding desired chipotle powder, add cayenne if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

  • Chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once skillet is very hot, remove chicken from freezer bag, discard marinade and add to skillet. Cook, undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-8 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 3-5 minutes before slicing.

  • Fajita Vegetables: While chicken is resting, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same skillet chicken was cooked in and heat over medium heat. Discard marinade from fajita vegetables and add to skillet. Cooked just until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

  • Assembly: In bowls, layer rice, cheese, fajita vegetables, and chicken. Top with Chipotle Lime Crema.

    Original recipe found here.

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Will smoked some chicken, and we added it to the pasta. It was awesome! We were both so full after this. I don't cook like this often, but it was Valentine's Day and we were going with a pasta & wine theme. ;)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
(15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I also used some cherry tomatoes)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes
pepper to taste
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 oz light cream cheese
¼ c grated Parmesan
½ lb penne pasta
½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.

While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes). 
Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce. 

Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.

Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Original recipe found here.

Zoodles with Creamy Avocado Sauce

We had smoked chicken along with these zoodles, and the avocado sauce was also amazing on the chicken. You might think it would turn brown as leftovers the next day? Nope! Easy, creamy, delicious!

1 large avocado, pitted
1-2 tbsp lemon juice 
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
large handful fresh basil, 8-10 leaves (plus extra for garnish) 
salt and pepper, to taste

Pit the avocado and put avocado, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and basil in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Original recipe found here.