Orange-chili tacos are yummy

The light in my kitchen is weird.

Yes, these are chicken tacos made with a sauce that is orange juice based. Yes, they are delicious. We tend to make them on the weekend because they take just enough time to be annoying after a long day of work.

5 medium guajillo chilies
1.5c orange juice
5 peeled garlic cloves
2T white vinegar
2t coriander
2t honey
1t dried oregano
1t kosher salt
2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

Heat chilies in large skilled over medium-high heat, pressing with spatula and flipping halfway through cooking until fragrant. Transfer to blender, add orange juice. Let stand for ~10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, vinegar, coriander, honey, oregano, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour back into skillet and bring to a boil.

Nestle chicken thighs into sauce, cover and cook over medium-low, flipping halfway through, for 20 minutes. Set chicken on a plate; once cool shred into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce over medium-high, stirring, until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir chicken into sauce.

Serve with tortillas, radishes, and quest fresco (though we usually just use Monterey Jack).

Once again, this is a Milk Street recipe. If you don’t subscribe, why not? You’re missing out on all kinds of deliciousness. They’re not even paying me to say that, I just like them.

It’s like a pasta-y stir fry

Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.

I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.

12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c water
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
  3. Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
  5. Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
  6. Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.

So not authentic. Still tasty.

Fajitas

 

We really do eat a lot of texmex food. Huh.

One of my favorite stories about fajitas is that the name derives from the cut of steak that’s traditionally used. Which makes chicken fajitas a bastardized version of the traditional dish. So I tend not to worry about particular toppings being “authentic.” None of this is authentic. That’s ok. They’re still good.

Chicken Fajitas
2-3 limes, juiced
6T veg oil
3 garlic cloves
1T worcestershire sauce
1.5t brown sugar
1 jalapeño
1.5T chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb chicken breast
2 red onions
2 red bell peppers
2 green peppers
8-12 flour tortillas (I sub corn in for mine because I’m gluten-free.)

  1. In a large bowl, mix lime juice, 4T oil, garlic, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, and cilantro together. Add 1t salt and 0.75t black pepper. Reserve out 0.25c of mixture, marinate the chicken in the remainder for about 15 minutes.
  2. Chop vegetables and coat with oil.
  3. Heat 2 cast iron skillets (one for the vegetables, one for the chicken) over med-high heat. Cook chicken for ~4-5 min on each side, sauté vegetables until done.
  4. Warm tortillas. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  5. Pour 2T of reserved marinade over vegetables, pour remainder over the chicken. Serve with warmed tortillas and any toppings you’d like.

We tend to serve our fajitas with salsa, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Not terribly traditional, but I covered that above.

The stove-top cooking method I use also isn’t traditional – you’re supposed to grill both the vegetables and the chicken. We do that when we make them on the weekend (and they taste better that way), but if you’re looking for a faster weeknight meal or it’s cold or rainy, this  is an acceptable substitute.

A meal + leftovers

enchiladas

 

Enchiladas are so messy. How can anyone make them look good? Regardless of what they look like, they are delicious. This is another weekend recipe, albeit one that makes enough leftovers that they can easily stretch to another meal. Especially when you serve them with a scoop of refried beans.

Enchiladas
(from Cook’s Illustrated #62)

1.5T veg oil
1 med onion, chopped fine
3 med garlic cloves, minced
3T chili powder
2t ground coriander
2t ground cumin
0.5t salt
2t sugar
12oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 0.25″ strips
16oz tomato sauce
0.5c chopped cilantro
4oz pickled jalapeños, drained & chopped
11oz shredded sharp cheddar
10 6″ corn tortillas

  1. Heat oil & sauté onion. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add chicken, stirring constantly, until coated with spices. Add tomato sauce & 0.75c water. Stir to separate chicken slices. Bring to simmer, cook for 8 minutes. Pour mixture through strainer into medium bowl. Transfer chicken to plate to cool. Combine chicken with cilantro, jalapeños, and cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Heat oven to 300F. Heat tortillas for about 4 minutes. Once tortillas are heated, increase oven temp to 400F. Smear bottom of 9×13 pan with 0.75c chili sauce. Fill each tortilla with 1/3c filling. Roll each tortilla tightly, place in baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle an additional 3oz cheese over top.
  3. Cover pan with aluminum foiled, bake for 20 minutes. Uncover & serve immediately, passing lettuce, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges separately.

Soup for the whole family

tortilla soup

I freaking love tortilla soup. I love its warmth, its spiciness, how filling it is, and I love that it’s a soup the rest of my family will eat. I’m the soup person in my family, and finding one that we all like can be a challenge. This is a go-to. Note: this is a weekend recipe, not a weeknight recipe. It takes 60-90 minutes to make, so unless you have extra time, don’t try to squeeze it in after work.

Tortilla Soup
tortilla strips
8 6″ corn tortillas, cut into 0.5″ wide strips
vegetable oil
salt

soup
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs)
8c chicken broth (you can used canned, but homemade is yummier)
1 large white onion, root end trimmed, and quartered
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
8-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
salt
2 medium tomatoes, cored, quartered
0.5 medium jalapeño
1 chipotle chile in adobo + 1t sauce
1T veg oil

garnishes
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 avocado, diced fine
8 oz cotija (crumbled) or monterey jack (cubed)
cilantro, chopped
minced jalapeño
sour cream

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Spread tortilla strips on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook for 7 minutes, flip strips over, cook for another 7 minutes.
  2. While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and 0.5t salt to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate (or cutting board), and strain broth into bowl. Discard solids in strainer.
  3. While broth is simmering, puree tomatoes, remaining onion and garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Once broth is strained, use soup pan to heat veg oil over high heat until shimmering. Add puree and cook (still over high heat), stirring nearly constantly, until mixture has darkened in color and most of water has evaporated – about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth back into tomato mixture. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut chicken meat into 0.25″ cubes. Add to broth, then simmer for about 5 minutes. To serve, place portion of tortilla strips in bowl, ladle soup into bowls, pass garnishes separately.

Meet the meat

chinese chicken wraps

 

In truth, this weekend was all about celery. I had some in the fridge, and it was wilting. I made tuna salad and potato-leek-fennel soup (which also uses celery) and this lovely little stir fry from Cook’s Illustrated known as Chinese Chicken Wraps. The kid, of course, still eats around the vegetables, but she does eat it. It’s intended to be an appetizer (if you spoon the filling into each lettuce leaf, rather than pile it all on top like I did), but add some rice and it’s a robust meal.

Chicken
1lb chicken thighs, cut into 1″ cubes
2t sherry
2t tamari
2t sesame oil
2t cornstarch

Place chicken on large plate, freeze until edges are getting hard. About 20 minutes. Mix all other ingredients in medium bowl. Pulse meat in food processor for 10-1 sec pulses. Transfer meat to medium bowl with sauce. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Sauce
3T oyster sauce
1T sherry
2t tamari
2t sesame oil
0.5t sugar
0.25t red pepper flakes

Whisk all ingredients together. Set aside.

Stir fry
2T veg oil
2 celery ribs, diced
6oz shitake mushrooms, stemmed & sliced thin
0.5c water chestnuts, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
2 garlic cloves
8 leaves bibb lettuce

Heat 1T oil in 12″ non-stick skillet over high heat till smoking. Cook chicken. Move to separate bowl. Wipe out skillet. Heat remaining 1T oil (high heat, till smoking). Add celery & mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms are about half the size, 3-4 minutes. Add water chestnuts, scallion whites, and garlic. Cook till fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk sauce to recombine. Add chicken to skillet, then add sauce. Stir to combine. Serve over lettuce leaves.

Chicken Soup for Lunch

Chicken Soup with Kale & Carrots

This recipe – Chicken Soup with Kale and Carrots – is all right. It’s certainly easy, if a little time consuming, just because you’re making the stock from scratch. However, it’s a little bland. I made it a week ago and have been heating up the leftovers for lunch. I should have added more salt & pepper when I made it, I think. Overall, though, it’s a filling, healthy lunch.

Chicken Soup with Kale & Carrots (from It’s All Good)

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 large leek (I used 2) roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped + 2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
0.5t black peppercorns
2t salt
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stems in bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chicken, leek, celery, roughly chopped carrot, onion, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and salt in a large soup pot and cover with water (~10c). Bring the soup to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer for about 2 hours. Strain the stock and pull out the white meat (I used both the white and dark meat, you can use just the white and reserve the dark for another use. However, pulling just the meat out wasn’t the easiest thing in the world and further separating light from dark just wasn’t going to happen.) Dice the chicken meat. Add to soup along with remaining carrots and the kale (I also threw in a handful of brown rice.) Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Cheesy deliciousness

Enchiladas Verdes
I forgot to take the photo until about halfway through dinner. Ooops.

Oh, enchiladas verdes. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….

  1. You are delicious
  2. Your recipe involves tomatillos, which I don’t cook with enough
  3. Your recipe also involves a green salsa recipe, which I have made without the enchiladas. It is also delicious.
  4. Cheeeeeeeese. Melty, cheesey, chicken-y deliciousness.

Without further ado, here is the recipe (a more complete version can be found in Cooks Illustrated #93):

4t veg oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 med garlic cloves, minced
1/2t cumin
1.5c chicken stock
1lb chicken breasts
1.5 lbs tomatillos
3 med poblano chiles (if you can’t find poblanos, sub 4 jalapeños), halved, stemmed, and seeded
1t sugar
salt & pepper
1/2c chopped fresh cilantro
8oz pepper jack
12-6″ corn tortillas

  1. Heat broiler. Heat 2t oil in saucepan, sauté onions till golden. Add 2t garlic, cumin, cook till fragrant. Add chicken & stock, cover, simmer 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from broth and let cool. Remove 1/4c liquid, discard the remainder.
  2. Toss tomatillos and chiles with 2t oil. Place on baking sheet, broil until vegetables blacken and soften, ~5 min. Let cool, then remove skin from chiles. Transfer vegetables to food processor. Decrease oven temp to 350.
  3. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to food processor. Process until sauce is slightly chunky. Taste, seasoning with additional salt, sugar, and pepper to taste.
  4. Dice chicken. Combine with cilantro and all but 1/2c cheese.
  5. Smear bottom of 13″x9″ pan with 3/4c tomatillo sauce. Heat tortillas in oven for 2-3 minutes, until pliable. Increase oven temp to 450. Spread 1/3c of chicken filling mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly, place in pan seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, using spoon to spread it evenly over all of them. Sprinkle remaining 1/2c cheese down middle. Cover pan with foil.
  6. Bake enchiladas for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

A basic roast bird

Roast Chicken

I am a fan of a good roast chicken. Done right, it’s delicious and moist and a great, easy way to feed a few people. It takes about an hour, but most of that hour involves you doing something else while the oven cooks the bird. The hardest bit is carving it, I swear.

Roast Chicken
2T butter, melted
salt & pepper
4lb-ish chicken, preferably kosher

Heat the oven to 375. Brush chicken with butter, sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place chicken in pan with roasting rack, wing side up. Roast 20 minutes. Flip chicken over, so the other wing side is up. Roast another 20 minutes. Flip the bird so the breast is up, and roast until a thermometer inserted in the breast reads 160 and in the thigh reads 165 (this should take about another 20 minutes). Take chicken from oven, place on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Carve & serve.