Category Archives: Main Course

Jamaican Style Oven-baked Chicken

JA Oven Baked Chicken
Crispy yet moist chicken – BAKED!

I missed my extended Jamaican family so I pulled out an old-school Jamaican recipe by Enid Donaldson and made my own version (really, just different ratio of ingredients) of the oven-baked chicken.

Ingredients: Serves 2-4 (depends on how much you eat)
3-4 lb chicken thighs with or without skin (also can use breast, legs, etc.)
4 cloves of garlic
2 stalks green garlic (or 1 stalk scallion – white and green part)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs vinegar
3 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp poultry spice mix (or your choice of dried herbs)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs butter or margarine – melted
½ cup ketchup
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup panko (bread crumbs)

Guide:
Finely dice garlic cloves and green garlic (or scallion). Mix garlic and green garlic along with vinegar and thyme in a container or plastic bag large enough for the chicken and the vinegar mix to marinade. Combine chicken with the vinegar mix and marinade for 10 min.

Take the marinated chicken out into a separate container large enough for the chicken. Dump the vinegar mix and discard. Flavor the marinated chicken with salt, sugar, herbs (of your choice), and black pepper.  Mix ketchup, evaporated milk and melted butter and combine with marinated chicken. Marinade in this pink sauce for at least 30 min. (I marinated overnight)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the marinated chicken out and pat  dry-you don’t want it to be too wet or else the breadcrumbs will get too moist and lose that crispy texture. Lay the skin side of the chicken (or either side if skinless) into the panko and place the chicken breaded side up on a greased pan. Sprinkle or spray the top of the chicken with a little bit of oil.(I used pam spray)

Bake for 45-1hour. Serve warm or cold.

~~~

*Why I don’t bread both sides – When baking, the juice from the chicken oozes out and  gets absorbed by the panko and gets too gooey on the bottom.

*If you pack this for lunch, your cubicle neighbors will for sure smell the garlic!

Addicting Tacos!

I love Mexican food period. You take the simplest ingredients and turn it into something so delicious! It wasn’t taco Tuesday but we broke the rules and had tacos on a Monday!

The amazing adobo marinade recipe is from “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibanez.
The yummy corn recipe is from “Fast, Fresh & Green” by Susie Middleton.

I have no shame in making other people’s recipes! I usually add my own twist to things but when it’s already good as is, I will share it with you as is.

Ingredients:  Makes around 7-8 tacos (yes we load them up)
Flour or corn tortilla – grilled or heated on a pan
Marinated flank steak – grilled, then sliced into bite size pieces
Chile and lime corn sauté
Cilantro – chopped
Avocado – sliced
Salsa
Queso fresco or mild feta cheese
Lime – cut into small wedges

Guide:
Assemble all the taco ingredients on the tortilla, fold up and INHALE your taco!

Ok, so that was obvious. Here are the recipes for the marinated flank steak & chile and lime corn sautee.

Ingredients for marinated steak (with extra marinade to save for later):
2lb flank steak – cut into 3-4 big pieces
Pasilla-guajillo adobo marinade: Makes 3 cups (recipe asks for Pasilla chiles but I used New Mexico chiles)
6 dried New Mexico chiles – wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded and deveined
8 guajillo chiles – wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded and deveined
¼ cup Distilled white vinegar
¼ cup light Mexican beer (I used Dos Equis)
½ cup chopped white onion (I only had brown ones and that worked just fine)
4 large garlic cloves peeled
1 tsp fine salt (or 2 tsp kosher salt)
½ tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
¼ tsp cumin seeds (or scant ¼ tsp cumin powder)
5 whole cloves (or ½ tsp ground cloves)

Guide:
Heat a pan on medium-low heat and toast the chiles in batches. (just so you don’t over crowd your pan)
Turn them over frequently until the chiles are fragrant, about 1 minute per batch.
Soak the chiles in enough cold water (not iced) to cover until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

Combine everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add water if necessary but you shouldn’t need it.

Take ½ cup of the adobo marinade; rub it all over the flank steak. Store it in an air tight container in the fridge over night (or at least 2 hours).

Take the flank steak out of the fridge 15 minutes before putting it on the heat.
Heat the grill on medium high heat, throw them babies on and grill it to your preference.
Take the steaks off the grill, let it sit on a plate for 5 minutes so the juice redistributes evenly.
Slice them into bite size pieces and you’re done!

~~~

The abodo keeps in the fridge for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to a month.
Ingredients for corn chile and lime sauté (great side dish):
2 Tbs unsalted butter (cut in half)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium brown onion – diced small
1 tsp kosher salt
2 heaping full cups of fresh corn kernels (2 big corns)
½ tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp finely zested lime (1 lime)
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ lime
3 Tbs chopped cilantro

Guide:
Melt 1 Tbs of butter and olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat.
Add the onions, sauté until translucent. Once the onions are translucent, crank up the heat to medium-high and brown the onions. Add salt and corn to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the good brown stuff. Add the chile powder and stir. Turn off the heat, add the lime zest, black pepper, and squeeze the lime juice then stir again. Mix in cilantro right before serving.

~~~

My boyfriend Chris mentioned it’s like eating a Mexican style corn on the cob without the mess (that we usually make).

Breakfast Burger

 
It was a lazy Sunday morning when my stomach growled and I was too lazy to go out for food.
I remembered reading about creative burgers in the “Foodnetwork” magazine so I got inspired to create my own! I whipped up a giant breakfast burger with what we had in the fridge and it turned out delicious!

 
Ingredients for the burger patties: – Makes 2 giant patties
1lb lean ground beef
1.5 tsp of fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Yummy burger fixin:
4 slices of Hawaiian sweet bread toast – toasted
2 slices of bacon of your choice – fried
4 eggs – cooked to your liking (we like it cooked over-easy)
¼ onion – sliced and grilled
1/4 red bell pepper – sliced and grilled
4 leaves of romaine lettuce – shredded and tossed with mustard mix*
*1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp olive oil, 1tsp fresh lemon juice

Guide:
Mix all ingredients for the burger patties together; make 2 giant patties (I made mine into square patties)
Create an indention in the middle of the patties to prevent shrinking
Assemble everything together and take a BIG BITE of your burger – You may need a bib!

Ribollita Soup (Tuscan Bread and Veggie Soup)

Just like everyone, I have a lot going on in my life and I can’t ALWAYS cook. I saw this recipe on Bare Foot Contessa and since I’m a fan of loading up my soup with veggies, this one was perfect! I load mine up with more veggies than she does but it’s all up to you how much you want to use.

This soup is one of those delightful meals that you can make ahead and freeze until when you really need it. It freezes so well that if you don’t say anything, your family or friends won’t even know it was frozen. Plus, it has so many kinds of veggies that it picks me up when I’m super tired.

 

Ingredients: Serves 8-10 big bowls
1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini (or 2 cans of beans)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 pound smoked bacon – diced
3 cups yellow onions (2 medium onions) – chopped
2 cups carrots (4-5 carrots) – chopped
1 1/2 cups celery (4 stalks) – chopped
3 tablespoons garlic (6 large cloves) – minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree – chopped
Whole savoy cabbage – coarsely chopped (it’s a lot, but wilt down to very little)
1 bunch of kale – coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves – chopped
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed (if you’re planning to freeze your soup, do not add bread just yet)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan – for serving

 

Guide:
*Skip this step if using canned beans
If using dry beans: In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the bacon and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the entire can of tomatoes with their puree, cabbage, kale, basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

If using dry beans: Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid.
If using canned beans: Drain the beans from the can, rinse the beans to remove starch

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid (or water) – this adds thickness to the soup. Add to the pot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid or water into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

*If you’re planning on freezing the soup, set whatever portion you’re planning on eating now aside and add bread just to that portion
Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan

~~~

Don’t worry if you’re like me and didn’t think ahead to soak the beans in water overnight! I just used 2 cans of Great Northern and they worked GREAT.

Herbed Quinoa with Lemon Zest

This is another dish I crave like no other. It’s extremely popular amongst my friends too. When I think about it, I can almost smell the lemon zest, basil, and the nuttiness of the Quinoa (keen-wa). I saw Giada make this on her show once and although I had NO IDEA what on earth QUINOA was (they’re seeds), I decided to go buy a bag to see how I like it since I enjoy trying new things. As a result, I am a QUINOA LOVER.

Ingredients: Serves 4
Quinoa:
2 ¾ cups Low sodium chicken stock
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice (for me, it took 2 juicy lemons)
1 ½ cups Quinoa

Dressing to mix into cooked Quinoa:
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice (2 more juicy lemons)
¾ cup Fresh basil – thinly chopped
¼ cup Fresh parsley – chopped
1 Tbs Fresh thyme – chopped
2 tsp Lemon zest
*Kosher Salt and pepper (optional)

 

Guide:
Cook Quinoa by combining chicken stock, lemon juice, and Quinoa in small-medium pot.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
If you see the Quinoa puffed up, and no liquid on top it’s ready. *Should not be watery like porridge.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, other ¼ cup of lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest in a bowl large enough to mix the Quinoa into and set aside.
Once the Quinoa is cooked, dump the quinoa in the dressing bowl and toss to mix. (Do not mash it up)
Taste it and add salt and pepper if you’d like. I usually don’t find it necessary.

~~~

I think it tastes best fresh and at room temperature but it’s still delicious for another couple of days if stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chicken Adobo – Easy One Pot Meal

Mom is out of town traveling so my sisters and I are trying to keep Dad well fed.  Nothing compared to what Mom can cook (she’s an AMAZING cook), but it’s the thought that counts right? With that said, this Filipino dish is an easy, delicious, one pot meal that you can make a lot of at once. The combination of ginger soy sauce and vinegar with a hint of sweetness of the pineapple is addicting.

Ingredients: 8 Servings
6lb chicken drumsticks (or thighs or breast) – skin removed
3 cup soy sauce
2 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger root
3 bay leaves
3/4 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 onion – sliced (thickness is up to you, I sliced it thick)
1 cup pineapple juice and tidbits combined

 
Guide:
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven & bring to a boil over medium heat.
Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, turning and stirring up the chicken couple times.
After 30 minutes, remove lid and cook until liquid has reduced to half.
Serve it on bed of rice.

Optional: If you don’t want to accidentally bite into a peppercorn, set chicken aside, strain the liquid from the pot to remove all the food particles, return chicken and liquid back in the Dutch oven.

~~~

*You can use 2/3 of the liquid (2 cups of soy sauce, 1 1/2 cups of vinegar, 2/3 cup of pineapple juice & tidbits) if you don’t necessarily want a lot of juice at the end. Having a lot of liquid allows you to somewhat (you still have to turn it couple times) leave the chicken alone while it’s cooking since the liquid almost covers all the chicken,
having less liquid means you’d have to tend to it a lot more by turning and mixing it up to ensure they’re all cooked and marinated properly

Shoyu (soy sauce) Butter Scallop Bowl

I got home from work, looked in the freezer and found frozen scallops.
What to do with them….I know, grill them and throw them on a bed of rice with some veggies. YES.

Ingredients: 2 Servings
Vegetable oil – for cooking
12 small scallops or so – patted dry
1/4-1/6 onion – thinly sliced
½ bunch of romaine lettuce w/ the stem on – washed and dried
salt and pepper to season the scallops
4 cups of cooked white or brown rice
1 Tbs butter – melted (or more if you’d like)
Soy sauce to drizzle

Guide:
If you have a grill pan, use it. It works great. If not, a large pan should do.
Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Heat the grill on high, drizzle oil and grill onion just until they brown a bit, set aside. Grill the lettuce just until it’s charred in parts but before they get too wilted (it adds a crunchy texture to the dish), set aside and chop into bite sized pieces. Grill the scallops until they’re browned on both sides but not too dry, set aside and chop into bite sized pieces.

Place a good amount of rice in a bowl, top it with onions, lettuce, then scallop. Drizzle melted butter and soy sauce (not too much – will get too salty) and you’re done!

So easy!

~~~

Not that this is healthy but, have you ever tried eating hot white rice w/ a wad (about 1/2 Tbs) of butter and soy sauce drizzled on top? It’s sooooooooooo tasty. STRANGE I know but it’s tasty. Try it.