Sunday, October 18

Green Chicken Chili Ramen

The last couple of weeks I've been craving something gingery for dinner. And as last night was the first frost warning of the season, it seemed like a great night to try to put something together with the fresh noodles I had sitting in the fridge and the finger of ginger I had purchased earlier in the week. Something soupy and hearty, perfectly suited to warm up on a cold night.

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what ingredients I wanted to combine and in what order. I loosely based this recipe off the Wagamama Chili Beef Raman recipe I found and made last year (which is also very delicious!).

We had some garlic (and I mean GARLIC) haricot verts left over from dinner earlier in the week which I thought I could use up along with a small head of Napa cabbage I had recently purchased. Fresh cilantro ties the flavors together perfectly. So hence the name of Green Chicken Chili Ramen.

In the ingredient list you'll see ginger and garlic twice. It's not an error; there is some garlic & ginger used for the marinade and then some used in the base of the broth. I suppose you could simplify it and only add it at one place but I think that you get some more complexity of flavor having it layered. That part is totally up to you.

And of course, you can play with veg and spiciness to your tastes as well. Give it a try.

Green Chicken Chili Ramen

  • 1 lb. chicken (I use breasts or tenders because I prefer white meat)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, grated finely (I like to use a fine microplane)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 4 TBSP teriyaki sauce
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 big handful haricot vert or green beans, diced or whole
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 18 oz fresh or dried asian Noodles (I used something called "Chinese noodles" that I found in the refrigerated section at my grocery store, but this is a good list of different asian noodles that could work
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 3-4 slices of jalapeno or other fresh chili
  • 1/4-1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1) Marinate chicken in 1-2 grated garlic cloves, 1 TBSP grated ginger, and 4 TBSP teriyaki sauce
2) Add 2 TBSP oil to a dutch oven/pan you'll use for making the soup. Once heated, add chicken and marinade. Once cooked, take out chicken (cover & set aside), leaving any garlic & ginger in pan.
3) Add butter, sliced shallot, 2 minced garlic cloves and minced ginger. Saute for 3-5 minutes.
4) Add 3/4-1 small head of Napa cabbage that has been shredded/sliced and good handful haricot verts or green beans and saute until cabbage is slightly softened.
5) Add chicken stock and then salt, pepper, red pepper flake, sriracha, and optional chili pepper slices to taste. Bring to a boil.
6) Meanwhile make noodles according to directions on package & set aside.
7) Dice chicken that had been set aside and add it and the cilantro to soup. Check seasonings and make any adjustments. Simmer for 10 minutes.
8) Place noodles in bowl for serving. Top with soup. Garnish with more cilantro & enjoy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, September 16

Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki

When you want something fresh and healthy, a great choice is choosing the gyro. Often mispronounced (proper pronunciation here), it's a great way to get protein and vegetables. Served with tzatziki, a yogurt-based sauce, it's also full of flavor.
The word gyro literally translates to turn in Greek. Typically the dish is made of meat (usually beef, veal, mutton, pork, or chicken) cooked on a vertical rotisserie served in a pita with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

A couple months ago I discovered a gyro food truck near a job I was working. The next day I was on the web seeking out a gyro recipe to try at home. I don't have a rotisserie or spit on my grill so it needed to be something I could do easily.

I stumbled across Tide & Thyme's recipe and gave it ago. DELISH! I even followed her recipe for tzatziki. I've now made it a few times and really the only changes I've made is what I put into the sandwich. As you can see in the photo, I included some shredded red cabbage to the shredded lettuce, and omitted the cucumber since there was already a good amount in the tzatziki. I warmed the pita on the stove (as you would for tortillas for tacos) to help wake up the bread (you could even toss it on the grill for a couple seconds). The other trick I did was to tear off a square of foil and build the sandwich on it and then use it to roll the gyro up nice and tight. It makes eating it a lot easier, plus you get that food truck feel.

Listing this here for posterity, but check out Tide & Thyme's blog - there are some other great things there too!

Tide & Thyme's Chicken Gyros

  • 1 lb. chicken (I use breasts or tenders because I prefer white meat)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • tzatziki sauce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded red cabbage (if desired)
  • sliced cucumber (if desired)
  • 4-6 pitas
1) Combine garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt & pepper with whisk or fork in bowl or ziplock bag. Add chicken, thoroughly coat with marinade, and place in fridge to marinate for at least an hour.
2) Grill or cook in pan until browned and cooked through. After resting, slice into strips or shred.
3) Warm pita then top with chicken, tzatziki, and veggies.
4) Enjoy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Tide & Thyme's Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 32oz. container of plain greek yogurt
  • 2 regular cucumbers or 1 english cucumber, peeled & seeded
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed (use a garlic press or microplane)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill or fresh (I use fresh)
  • salt & pepper to taste
1) Shred or grate cucumber (I like to use my food processor). Then place them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible.
2) Mix yogurt, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, dill, salt & pepper together and refrigerate to let flavors blend together.
3) Enjoy. It makes a lot, but if you have leftover from gyros, it's a great dip for veggies too.

Monday, July 27

Pesto Chicken Orzo

I've been trying to bring my lunch to work and eat less frozen, packaged meals. Granted the ones I tend to eat are organic, GMO free, etc. But still. Cooking food gives me control of what I'm eating. Sunday as I was making my list for the grocery store this week, I tried to think about what would be good to bring. Pesto popped into my head, which it tends to do this time of year when the basil in the garden is abundant (I didn't make fresh pesto for this, instead I purchased some, but either works!)

I looked at Pinterest for some ideas and created my own dish that works hot or cold. Rather than cooking up chicken breasts, I "cheated" and grabbed one of the roast chickens from the store, which allowed me to simply pull off the white meat and not have to dirty another dish while cooking. Zucchini have looked good and are healthy and easy, so I picked up a few of those that were locally grown from the grocery store (mine have yet to produce more than flowers, so far). Mushrooms seemed like a nice pairing with the zucchini. And of course onion and garlic had to go in.

As I was cooking, I realized I had some shredded mozzarella and I added a handful of it which helped give the dish an almost risotto-like consistency. I kept the seasoning simple since pesto flavor was what I was after. I'll definitely even try this with rice as well. Because, pesto is good on EVERYTHING.

You can play with the veggies you include as well to suit your tastes or clean out your fridge.

Chicken Orzo Pesto

  • 1 cooked chicken, shredded or cut in bite size pieces (for this I got a oven-roasted one from the store to speed up time)
  • 3-4 medium zucchini cut in bite-size rounds
  • 1 package orzo
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • about 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded (optional)
  • about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1 package (7oz) pesto (or make your own fresh)
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
1) Cook orzo according to box instructions/al dente.
2) When done, reuse pot. Add olive oil, onion, garlic. Saute until onion starts to soften.
3) Add garlic, mushrooms. Cook down a little.
4) Add zucchini, salt & pepper to taste, and cook until veggies are tender, browned and water is evaporated.
5) Turn off heat. Taste for seasoning & adjust as needed.
6) Add cooked orzo.
7) Add cheese. Stir.
8) Enjoy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, June 14

Garlic scapes

Today I cut the first of the garlic scapes from the plants that were the first to emerge after a most snowy winter. They're huge and looking good. At one point about a month ago, I noticed some of the lower leaves of the garlic plants was looking a little yellow.

I did some research and found that it could be due to low nitrogen levels in the soil. So I got some bat guano to try which is very high in nitrogen. It seemed to work. I spread a small amount around the plants in the soil, used the edge of my trowel to turn it in a little and then watered.

Typically by now the leaves start to dry up and the garlic is ready for pulling. But, we had such a late spring here that I have a feeling we might not be pulling the garlic out until July this year.

Now that I have the scapes, Hubs wants to make some scape pesto. I've recently gotten him on the pesto wagon (finally!), and I'm sure they'll be delish.

Monday, March 9

Cupcake recipes on my "to try" list

I love these interesting flavors. Now I just need a reason to make them. Lemon Meringue Cupcakes reminds me that spring is coming. Tiramisu Cupcakes because I love coffee and chocolate. Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are inspired by one of my favorite cookie flavors. Smore's Cupcakes sound like they'd be great for upcoming BBQs. Samoa (aka Caramel Delights) Cupcakes because I've resisted buying Girl Scout Cookies for the past 3 weeks at the grocery store where they have a table set up. Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Butter Pecan Cupcakes inspired by one of my favorite ice cream flavors. Mmm.

Wednesday, February 25

Cooking Shows I'm Watching

While roasting some cauliflower and brussel sprouts I was watching WGBH Create and for the first time stumbled upon a show called The Victory Garden: Edible Feast. Now I grew up being tortured by my mom making me watch The Victory Garden with her. I really disliked it when I was a preteen and teenager. But as I got older I didn't mind it so much. The cooking segment was always more interesting to me than the flowers or whatever they were showing.

Today, I was excited to see another evolution of the show. This one combines Edible Magazines with The Victory Garden and the focus on is less about flowers and ornamentals and more about growing food and cooking it. I did a little digging and it seems to be two seasons in. Not bad. You can watch all the series on vimeo too. I started with Season 1, Episode and think I'll work my way through them in order while I burn some calories on the elliptical.

Another PBS series I highly recommend is Mind of a Chef, produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain. In its third season, it's almost hypnotic to watch and some of the personalities that come forward from interviews or from the chefs highlighted are just fantastic. Prior seasons are on Netflix.

And of course, the one other show that I'm hooked on is The Great British Bake Off (yes in the US they changed the name to The Great British Baking Show (why??? I have no idea). Anyway, what we are seeing on PBS is the 6th season. I started to take a look and then realized that the final aired in the UK in the autumn, so I stopped to keep me from running into any spoilers. After the final next week, my goal is to see if I can track down any of the prior seasons to watch as well. Any tips or info is appreciated.

Wednesday, February 18

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice

A few weeks ago, broccoli at the supermarket looked great. I had to buy some. But then what to do with it? My hubs only likes it if it's smothered in cheese. And that got me to thinking about broccoli & cheese with rice and chicken for some protein. Topped with a crust that provides a little crunch in contrast to the savory cheesy center.

In my head it sounded more simple but when I made it it did take a bit because all the pieces need to be cooked together. If I figure out a more efficient way to cook everything, I'll definitely update this recipe. But it's good, freezes well and is worth sharing now. Plus, if you do some of the parts in stages, it's totally manageable.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds of chicken, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds broccoli (fresh or frozen), cut in bite size pieces (could also mix with roasted cauliflower)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 TBSP djon mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk (add a little at a time until consistency reached)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
1) Boil broccoli in water until cooked and tender.
2) Start water to boil in another pan for rice. Once at a boil follow instructions on package.
3) In another pan (do this while broccoli cooks), add butter, onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant.
4) Add chicken and brown (doesn't have to cook all the way through).
5) Add oregano, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and djon mustard and stir well to coat.
6) Sprinkle flour over everything and stir well until combined.
7) Add cheese. Stir.
8) Add milk a little at a time until a good consistency forms for the cheese sauce.
9) When broccoli is done, drain it and set aside in large bowl.
10) When rice is done, add to same bowl as broccoli.
10) Add chicken and cheese sauce to broccoli and rice, then stir well to combine.
11) Pour/place mixture into 13x9 casserole dish.
12) Top with grated parmesan or pecorino romano and breadcrumbs. (can also add French's onions, etc)
13) Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, February 16

Kale, Garlic & Bacon

How depressing that it's nearly been a year since I last posted. What a shame. Things got busy I guess and I just never got around to getting some things posted.

Anyway, let's work on fixing this.

We've been battling feet of snow this winter here in the Greater Boston area. And I've been trying a few new recipes. Lately I've been using more kale. Yes, it's a superfood and all that. But I've also been trying to find other ways to incorporate it.

One simple way is to use it in salad and mix it with romaine or other greens. Just make sure to remove the thick stems.

Another idea I had was to make it into something akin to a collard greens type of dish. Garlic, caramelized onion and bacon come together for a lip-smacking delicious side that elevates the kale from something nutritious to something delicious.

Kale, Garlic & Bacon

  • 1-2 bunches of kale, leaves only, no thick stems
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and then crumbled (you can be fancy and use pancetta)
  • 5-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced in half moon pieces
  • 1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Peperoncino or red pepper flakes - pinch or to taste
  • salt
  • pepper

1) Cook bacon. (When I made this I had cooked about 10 slices, some of which were consumed for breakfast).
2) When bacon is done, take it out of the oil and place on paper towels or paper to drain.
3) While bacon drippings are still hot, add onion and saute until transparent. You might need to add a little oil (olive or vegetable).
4) Then add bacon and garlic and saute until fragrant.
5) Add kale, a handful at a time. Stir once the kale on the bottom starts to wilt.
6) Add salt, pepper, peperoncino and balsamic vinegar.
7) Cook until all kale is sauted and tender to your taste, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Eat it as a side or use it to dress up a sandwich like below. YUM!
A photo posted by Jane G (@caff) on


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