Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tequila Lime Chicken

*From The Pioneer Woman Cooks but unfortunately the link no longer works. (Thanks, Dani, for sharing this new recipe with me!) mmm...

3 whole limes, juiced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 whole jalapeno, sliced
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup tequila
5 Tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Combine lime juice, garlic cloves, sliced jalapeno, salt, cilantro, and tequila in a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined. Turn on the blender/food processor and drizzle in the olive oil until it’s all combined.
Slightly flatten chicken breasts with a mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Place in a plastic bag and pour in marinade. Seal bag and marinate for several hours or (preferably) overnight.
When ready to cook, remove chicken from bag and place on the grill. Cook until completely done. Toward the end of cooking, top chicken breasts with grated Monterey Jack and allow to melt. (You can also top chicken with cheese and melt under the broiler.)
*Note for myself: consider adding 1tsp cumin to the marinade.
Serve topped with pico de gallo or salsa, alongside refried black beans, Mexican rice, sour cream, avocado slices, fresh flour tortillas…and whatever other garnishes make you smile!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Curried Rice with Shrimp

*Adapted from Real Simple magazine. View the original recipe here.

PREP: 45 minutes

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. curry powder (use 2 tsp. if you prefer more spice)
1 cup long-rain white rice
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and curry and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
3. Add the rice, 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Season the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the basil and serve.

NOTES: You can easily use frozen raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp--just thaw using the instructions on the package while rice is cooking.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chicken-Berry Salad

*From Better Homes and Gardens magazine, March 2009. View recipe online here.

PREP: 45 minutes (+1-4 hours to marinate)

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. total)

3 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 8-oz. pkg. Mediterranean mixed salad greens
2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (3 oz.)

1. In small bowl stir together orange, lime, and lemon juices, 1 tablespoon oil, basil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken in resealable plastic bag set in large bowl. Pour juice mixture over chicken; seal bag. Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.

2. For dressing, in blender combine 1 cup of the blackberries, vinegar, sugar, mustard, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly add 1/2 cup oil in a thin steady stream until well combined. Transfer to serving container. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

3. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. For charcoal grill, place chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until done (170 degrees F.), turning once. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken to grill rack. Cover and grill as above.)

4. Slice chicken. Divide greens among 4 serving plates. Top with chicken, pears, and remaining 2 cups berries. Top each with some of the dressing and feta cheese.

Denise's Notes:
This is one of my new favorite recipes! I can see why it was the $2,500 grilling winner of a BHG recipe contest. I recommend replacing feta cheese with gorgonzola cheese crumbles. Grill on a George Foreman grill, if no outdoor grill is available. Serve with or without the additional fresh berries. The dressing was still delicious with frozen berries instead of fresh (they were out of season when I made this.) I will try making this dressing with blueberries or even pomegranate in the future...I think they'd be tasty alternatives.
*Alteration: I tried the dressing with blueberries instead of blackberries and it wasn't as good. I'll only make it with blackberries in the future.

Grilled Chicken with Vegetables

*Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, April 2008. View the original recipe here.

PREP: 45 minutes

1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
4 chicken breasts (or 8 boneless chicken thighs)
4 slices bacon
12 oz. baby carrots
3/4 lb. sugar snap peas
8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut in 2-inch lengths
1 Tbsp. small fresh mint leaves

1. For sauce, in small bowl stir together the ketchup and hoisin sauce; set aside.

2. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake at 450 degrees in a baking dish for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and brush with sauce. Bake another 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. (Reduce time for chicken thighs.)

3. Meanwhile, for vegetables, in 12-inch skillet cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Add carrots to drippings; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add peas and asparagus; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Crumble bacon. Stir in mint and bacon. Serve with chicken.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Salmon & Noodle Bowl

*Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, April 2008. There's a video showing how to make this recipe here.

PREP: 30 minutes

9-oz. pkg. refrigerated fettuccine pasta
olive oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless 1" thick salmon, cut into 2-4 pieces
salt and ground black pepper
6 cups packaged fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup bottled roasted red or yellow sweet peppers
1/2 cup reduced-calorie balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the water to keep the noodles from sticking together.
2. Meanwhile, brush 1 tablespoon olive oil on salmon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat an extra-large skillet over medium heat; add salmon. Cook 8-12 minutes or until salmon flakes, turning once. Remove salmon and flake into bite-sized pieces (discarding scales if attached).
3. Add 1 tablespoon to the skillet along with spinach and sweet peppers. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes, until spinach is just wilted. Drain pasta; add to skillet. Add dressing and return salmon to the skillet; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among four bowls and serve.

For Asian flavor, substitute wheat soba noodles instead of the fettuccine and hoisin sauce instead of the balsamic vinaigrette dressing.