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Chinese Chicken Salad
This recipe from Joey Altman is insane. I’ve figured out how to cut a few corners (like using meat from a store bought roasted chicken) so you can turn this into a weeknight meal. Also, don’t freak out by the list of ingredients! It’s mostly for the salad dressing, and if you don’t have everything, you’ll still be OK. In the morning, I like to make the dressing, throw all of the salad ingredients into a salad bowl, and then keep everything in the fridge. Then when I come home, I add the peanuts and the dressing and dinner is served.
- 1/4 cup sesame oil, dark (toasted)
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (natural style)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp shallot, finely minced
- 1 tsp sambal oelek or red chili paste
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 3 green onions (scallions), sliced
- 2 cups shredded chicken
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Combine the sesame and peanut oils, vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, the 1 tablespoon grated ginger, the garlic, shallots, sambal oelek, and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend, then add pepper and additional salt to taste. Set the dressing aside. (To make ahead, cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to 24 hours.)
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut off and discard about 1 inch at the bottom. Remove and discard the core. Rinse the leaves and spin dry, then cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into slices 1/8 to ¼ inch thick.
Just before serving, put the cabbage in a large salad bowl along with the peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro, the sliced scallions, and the shredded chicken. Pour about two thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss gently, adding dressing as needed to lightly coat everything. Mound the salad on dinner plates to serve.
Cook Time: none
Honey Lime Chicken
I had been messing around with these ingredients for months and at 9:30 one morning I finally got it right! (Yes, I was grilling at 9:30 a.m. and eating chicken as my second breakfast.) This chicken tastes great with a romaine salad and a side of corn, or sliced and turned into tacos with rice and beans.
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 boneless, skinless half chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
- 1/2 tsp lime zest
- cooking spray
Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus 4-24 hours to marinate
Combine 2 tablespoons honey and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat grill to high heat.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon honey and lime rind. Remove chicken from bag, discarding marinade. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes on each side, basting with honey mixture during last 2 minutes of cooking time. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Serving size: 1 chicken breast half
CALORIES 239; FAT 4g (sat 0.8g, mono 1.7g, poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 39.5g; CARB 9.4g; FIBER 0.2g; CHOL 99mg; IRON 1.4mg; SODIUM 232mg; CALC 24mg
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Mrs. Inada runs the after school program for kindergartners at my son’s grade school. She is nothing short of magnificent. On top of keeping 50 kindergartners entertained for hours on end, she manages to cook with them regularly! This pumpkin muffin recipe is a hit with kids and parents alike since she has managed to use some whole wheat flour as well. The recipe makes 4 dozen muffins, so feel free to cut it in half if you don’t want that many around. Otherwise, freeze them and then microwave them for 20-30 seconds to defrost.
- 5 1/4 cups flour (or 3 cups whole wheat flour and 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour)
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups canola oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 29 oz can pumpkin puree
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (or 325˚ if using a convection oven). Line 4 muffin or cupcake pans with paper cups, or spray with vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a very large bowl, using an electric mixer or a whisk, blend the eggs, sugar, water, and oil until fluffy. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and blend just until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans and bake for about 30 minutes (or 20 minutes with convection), checking about 5 minutes prior to suggested bake time for doneness. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, they’re done. If not, give it a few more minutes before checking again.
Remove the muffins from the oven, allowing them to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before placing them on a rack. Allow them to cool completely before freezing in airtight bags or containers, or serve immediately and watch them disappear!
Note: If you’d prefer to make pumpkin bread instead, this batter yields enough for 4 large loaves or 8 small loaves. Simply spray the loaf pans with vegetable spray before adding the batter, then bake the large ones for 60-70 minutes and the small ones for 45-50 minutes.
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes, including cooling time
Serves: makes 4 dozen muffins
Salmon with Lentils and Herbed Yogurt
Lentils get a bad rap as hippie food, but they are delicious. With this recipe, you can turn a 5 year old skeptic into a lentil fan! Skip the fish if you’d just like to make a delicious vegetarian dinner.
- 1/2 lb French green lentils, such as du Puy
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups leeks, well rinsed and chopped (white and light green parts)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 6-oz salmon fillets
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour over lentils in a heat-proof bowl. Let sit for 15-25 minutes, then drain.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the leeks, 1 tsp of the thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the leeks are soft. Add 2 tsp of the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring. Add the drained lentils, celery, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. (You can make these ahead, by the way!) Add the vinegar and season to taste.
While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 450˚. To cook the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof sauté pan over high heat for 4 minutes. (Nonstick is not good for this.) Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-side down in the pan. Cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir the yogurt, remaining 1 tsp of garlic, 1 tsp of thyme and parsley together in a bowl. Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate, place a salmon fillet on top and top with a dollop of herbed yogurt. Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Turkey Sausage (or Vegetarian) Lasagna
To me, lasagna is love on a plate. It’s the homemade sauce, the layering of noodles with cheese… it’s pretty much perfect. So, how the heck do you pull it off on a weeknight? I did a little experiment with the “no boil” noodles and had great results. You can make the lasagna in the morning, cover and refrigerate it, then bake it off before dinner time. Served with a crunchy romaine salad and garlic bread, your kids might think you’re the best parent ever.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 2 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups grated mozzarella
- 15 oz cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 18 “No-Boil” lasagna noodles, 3 ½” x 7”
Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper and cook for 1 more minute. If using it, add the turkey sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it up into pieces. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is just browned and crumbly. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low, allowing it to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. (You’ll probably want more salt.)
While the sauce is simmering, combine 3 cups of the mozzarella cheese, the cottage cheese (or ricotta), Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Stir until well combined.
If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Assemble the lasagna: In the bottom of a deep 9”X13” baking dish, spread ½ cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom. Use 6 lasagna noodles (or 3 if using large noodles) to cover the bottom of the pan. Spread ½ of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then top with 2 cups of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles and cover with the other ½ of the cheese mixture. Pour 2 more cups of the sauce over the cheese. Top with the last 6 noodles, then spread the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Bake the lasagna covered for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until it’s bubbly and the noodles have softened, about 10-20 minutes longer. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Veggie Tostadas with Black Beans and Easy Guacamole
I screw up in the kitchen all the time, but as I’m biting into this scrumptious little piece of love that I call a veggie tostada, I know that I’ve picked the right career. These tostadas are perfect weeknight food- they cook up in a few minutes, people can choose their own toppings, and they’re delicious! Make things easy on yourself by purchasing store bought pico de gallo and even guacamole if you can’t find good avocados.
- 2 avocados
- 1 lime
- kosher salt
- 1-2 cans black or pinto beans, drained
- canola oil
- 8-12 small corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- cup pico de gallo
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
To make the guacamole, put the flesh of two avocados in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of kosher salt over them. (This will act as the abrasive when you’re mashing them, helping them break up more easily for you.) Using a fork or a pastry blender, mash the avocados until fairly smooth. Stir in the lime juice from ½ of a lime, taste, and use the other half if you’d like. Cover the guacamole with plastic wrap (pressing it down onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning), and set aside.
Heat the drained beans in a small saucepan over low heat. Taste and add a pinch of salt if they’re bland.
While the beans are warming, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 or 2 of the tortillas and cook until crispy on the bottom, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until crispy and the tortilla starts to buckle a bit, about 1 minute longer. Drain the tortillas on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Also, you can sprinkle a little more salt on the tortillas for extra flavor. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (If you’re making a bunch of these, you might want to use 2 pans to work quickly so they don’t lose their crunch. Keep them warm in a 200˚ oven.)
Now it’s assembly time! On each tortilla, place a large spoonful of the warmed beans, followed by 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, a spoonful of the guacamole, 2 tablespoons of the lettuce (I like romaine), and a spoonful of pico de gallo (or your favorite salsa). Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 5-15 minutes