Archive for MEAT

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These chicken lettuce wraps are a good choice if you’re looking for a quick dish to make for an appetizer or a light meal.  I created this recipe when I was craving the popular appetizer served at a famous Chinese Restaurant chain.  It’s quite easy to make.  It only takes a few minutes to chop up the chicken and vegetables; you can have this on your table in about 30 minutes.

This is also a great dish if you have picky eaters like I do.  My youngest daughter opted to eat the filling with rice instead of the “yucky green lettuce”, but boy did she devour the savory, saucy chicken and VEGETABLE-laden filling! 😉  (Shhhh….don’t tell her.)

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Make the stir fry sauce.

In a small bowl, mix all of the sauce ingredients together EXCEPT for the water and cornstarch mixture.

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Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the sesame oil and chicken.

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Pour the sauce into the pan with the chicken.

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Stir occasionally, cooking until the chicken is no longer pink.

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Add the water chestnuts, mushrooms, onion and Thai basil leaves.

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Cook the chicken and vegetable mixture for a couple of minutes.

Stir the cornstarch-water mixture then pour into the pan, stirring the chicken mixture as you pour.  Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring constantly.  The sauce will thicken as it cooks.

Stir in half of the green onions.  Cook for a minute longer then remove from the heat.

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Fill the lettuce leaves with the chicken mixture.  Top with more green onions and hot pepper flakes.

ENJOY!

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Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
 
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Crispy lettuce filled with a savory mixture of chicken, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic and hoisin sauce that make a delicious appetizer or a light lunch or dinner meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Chicken Stir Fry
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (or 1 pound ground chicken)
  • 2 cans water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 package fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 Thai basil leaves, optional
  • 8 stalks green onions, sliced
Stir Fry Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ soy sauce
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch
Lettuce Wraps
  • 1 large head butter or iceberg lettuce, wash, dried and leaves separated
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
Instructions
Make the stir fry sauce:
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and rice wine vinegar.
  2. Set aside the cornstarch and water mixture for now.
Cook the chicken:
  1. Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil and chicken.
  2. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the water chestnuts, mushrooms, onion, and Thai basil leaves to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir the cornstarch-water mixture the pour into the pan, stirring as you pour. Cook for another couple of minutes until the sauce thickens.
  5. Stir in half of the green onions. Cook for a minute longer then remove from the heat.
Assemble the chicken wraps:
  1. Scoop some filling into the lettuce leaves.
  2. Top with some sliced green onions and pepper flakes.
ENJOY!

 

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Thai Beef Salad

This popular Thai beef salad can serve as an appetizer or a meal.  It’s quick and easy to prepare so you can have it on your table in just a few minutes.  Toss your favorite salad greens together then add thinly sliced grilled beef and a drizzle of my delicious Thai-style dressing for a perfect side salad, quick lunch or light dinner meal.

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Thai Beef Salad

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Prepare the salad dressing.  Place all of the dressing ingredients into a small mixing cup, whisking together until you dissolve the sugar.  Set aside.

Next, grill your favorite cut of beef.  I like to use flank steak.  It only takes a few minutes to cook this cut of meat to what I consider perfection — slightly pink on the inside.  You can fire up the grill for this, but I usually use a grill pan and cook it on top of the stove over medium heat.  Season both sides of the meat with some salt and pepper.  Sprinkle some oil in the hot pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side.  Once you place the meat onto the grill pan, LEAVE IT ALONE to cook.  Do not stab or poke at it.  The only time your utensils touch the meat is when you flip it.

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See how nicely browned it got? 🙂

Don’t worry about the sides not being browned.

Don’t slice the meat right away or all the juices will run out and leave the meat dry.  Once done, remove the meat from the pan and let it rest while you prepare the vegetables for the salad.

imageIt’s time to layer the vegetables. Place the cucumbers at the bottom.  I do it this way so that the salad dressing can start to pickle the cucumbers.

One note about my photos.  As you can see, I’m making individual servings for packed lunches for my husband, daughter and me.

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Add the leafy greens next.  I like using hearts of romaine, but any mixed leafy greens will do.

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I like adding pre-sliced carrots to add some color and crunch.  Pre-sliced carrots cost a little more but it saves a lot of time in the kitchen too.  My older daughter loves to cook, and I’m still quite leery about letting her use a sharp knife to cut thin slivers of carrots. Pre-cut carrots saves me from worrying about her losing some fingers!

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The cilantro leaves get added to the salad next; add as much or as little as you like.  Cilantro is one of those herbs that you either love or hate.  I happen to love it so my salad gets a healthy handful of cilantro. 😉

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Thinly slice the red onions and add them to the salad.  I didn’t have any red onions on hand when I made these, so I added sliced green onions instead.

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The beef rested long enough by now.  Use a sharp knife to cut thin slices of beef, being sure to cut across the grain.
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Add the sliced beef to the top of the salad.

ENJOY!
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Thai Beef Salad
 
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Fresh salad with a spicy and savory salad dressing. Serve with sliced beef for a complete meal.
Author:
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4
Ingredients
SALAD DRESSING
  • The juice of 2 medium limes
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce (I like the Three Crabs brand)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if the fish sauce is salty enough for you)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 hot chili peppers, diced, optional
SALAD GREENS
  • 1½ pound flank steak
  • Salt and pepper, to season the steak
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the grill pan
  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 small carrots, julienned
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Any other salad vegetables you like
Instructions
Make the Dressing
  1. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Grill the Meat
  1. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a grill pan over medium heat. Add the oil to the heated pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side. Once the meat is done, set it aside to rest before slicing. After resting for about 15 minutes, thinly slice the meat against the grain.
Make the Salad
  1. Layer the cucumbers, salad greens, carrots, cilantro, and any other vegetables you like in a small salad bowl or plate.
  2. Add the thinly sliced beef to the top of the salad.
  3. Drizzle some salad dressing over the beef and salad greens.
Serve and enjoy!

 

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Green Chicken Curry

There are so many varieties of curries — from chicken, to beef, to all vegetable — I haven’t found a curry I didn’t like. 😉

It’s such a versatile dish too.  Just find your favorite recipe and modify it to your liking.  Use your favorite vegetables and meat and add as much or as little spice as you want and voila!, chicken curry!  Serve over hot, steamed white rice and you’ll have yourself a delicious meal.

Give my recipe a try.  It think you’ll like it. 🙂

Green Chicken Curry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 large chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (or a mixture of white/dark chicken meat)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can (10 oz) straw mushrooms or you can use fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (15 ­oz) young corn, sliced into 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 can (8 oz) bamboo shoots
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream or coconut milk *Use 2 cans if you like lots of kadu.
  • Other vegetables of your choosing
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or use ½ cup freshly chopped sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon or 2 bouillon cubes
  • Hot chili peppers, sliced, ­­optional
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add water, bouillon, onions, garlic, pepper, and chicken pieces; bring to a boil; cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium­high heat.
  2. Add potatoes to chicken; continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, and remaining vegetables to pot; stir well to dissolve curry paste and brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add coconut cream to pot. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5­8 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Add hot pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over hot rice.
ENJOY!

 

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Judy’s Empanadas

Chamorro empanadas are high up on the list of my favorite snacks, but they can easily be a meal in and of themselves.  In fact, when I was on Guam recently, I would visit the village store and buy empanadas, fresh out of the fryer, for breakfast.

My mom taught my sisters and me how to make empanadas years and years ago.  It’s quite the labor of love, although you can make the filling ahead of time, thereby cutting back on the actual preparation of the empanada.

A tortilla press, while not essential, is a great tool to have when making empanada.  While you’re at it, a bunch of kitchen helpers is good too. 😉  I remember when I was younger, we only had one tortilla press to share among my three sisters and mom; someone usually got stuck with using the much slower rolling pin.  We did it assembly-line style, with a couple of us flattening the dough, another couple of us filling it, and then someone sealing it tightly.

I’ve had a lot of requests for my empanada recipe, but my good friend, Judy Fernandez Dillinger, has an amazing recipe and she was gracious enough to allow me to feature it here.

As a side note, this is the packet of achote powder used in Judy’s recipe below.  Each packet contains 1/3 ounce of powdered achote, which is roughly 2 teaspoons.  Use this as a guide.  Some people like more or less achote to make the crust lighter or darker.  I also know someone who doesn’t use achote at all.

So, without further ado, here is Judy’s empanada recipe.  Give it a try.  I KNOW you’ll love it. 🙂

Judy's Empanadas
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Chamorro
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
Filling:
  • ½ cup cream of rice mixed with ½ packet of achote powder*
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (you can use water but will have to season with salt)
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped chicken or imitation crab meat
  • black pepper to taste
  • hot pepper (optional)
Crust:
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 packet achote powder*
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons oil
  • 1½ - 1¾ cups chicken broth or water (if using water, increase salt to 2 teaspoons) - warm
*If you don't use achote powder, just make sure you soak achote seeds in the broth or water for color.
Instructions
For the filling:
  1. Saute onions and garlic in a large pot. Cook till onion becomes transparent. Add chicken and saute for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth or water. Remember, if you use water you'll have to season it with salt (to taste). Bring to a boil.
  3. Using a whisk, gradually add the cream of rice. Keep stirring so that there are no lumps. Bring heat to medium and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add hot pepper (as hot as you want it) and then remove from heat.
  5. Completely cool before filling the shells.
For the crust:
  1. Mix masa harina, corn starch, salt and achote powder in a bowl. Add oil and broth or water to the flour mixture. Kneed with hands until dough is pliable.
  2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Use a tortilla press to flatten to form a circle. Be sure that you press the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.
  3. Fill the bottom half of the circle with the cooled filling. Fold over the top of the dough to meet the bottom and press to seal the edges.
  4. Deep fry until nice and crispy. The trick is to fry at a very low heat. I like to set my dial at the 4th interval, right below the middle. If you fry it at high heat it will burn and the crust will not be crunchy but stale.
Enjoy!

 

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Chicken Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad one of my family’s favorite side dishes.  There are many, many macaroni salad variations, but we’re simple…we like two specific kinds.  The first is a Hawaiian style macaroni salad and the other is Filipino style Macaroni salad.

My recipe below is for a very basic Filipino macaroni salad.  It has chicken, cheese, pineapple, and sweet relish, but you can also add other ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, ham, and raisins.  Some of my Filipino friends also add a spoonful or more of sweetened condensed milk, but I don’t like mine too sweet (to me, the relish and pineapples add just the right amount of sweetness) so I don’t add it.

This dish is best made the night before you intend to serve it.  An overnight stay in the ‘fridge allows all the pasta to absorb all the delicious flavors.

I like to add lots of chicken (more than what I have in my recipe below) whenever I want to serve this as my main dish.  It’s great for packed lunches, and it’s also a quick and easy pot-luck dish.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Chicken Macaroni Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (for the chicken)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups cooked macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (for the macaroni salad)
  • 1 10-ounce jar sweet pickle relish, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 7 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced

Directions:

NOTE:  The photos below of the chicken show around 9 or 10 chicken breasts.  We like to cook several chicken breasts at a time so that we can use it throughout the week in various dishes.  We used one breast to make this salad; about 6 breasts were used in my daughter’s Chicken Marsala, and a couple more went into my daughter’s other dish, Mac-n-cheese with Chicken.  Cooking in bulk is a great way to save time during the week, especially if you’re pressed for time each morning.  It saves time at night too, when you’re trying to prepare dinner after a long day at work or school.

Prepare the chicken.

Place the chicken breast into a ziplock bag.  Use a kitchen mallet to flatten the chicken into about 1/4-inch thickness.

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Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

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Dredge the seasoned chicken breast in the flour, covering both sides.

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 Place a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil to the pan.

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 Place the chicken in the pan when the pan and oil are hot.  Reduce the heat to medium.

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 Cook the chicken for about 4-6 minutes on each side.

Turn occasionally to evenly brown both sides.

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 Shred or thinly slice the cooked chicken and set it aside.

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Prepare the macaroni salad.

Place the shredded chicken breast, cooked macaroni, black pepper, relish, crushed pineapple, cheese and mayo in a large mixing bowl.  Add in any other optional ingredients.

Gently fold all of the ingredients together.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve and ENJOY!

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