Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Healthier" Sesame Chicken

5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
6 teaspoons canola oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste


1. Whisk 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and the honey in a bowl. Toss in the chicken and marinate 20 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken from the marinade using a slotted spoon.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, turning once or twice, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes (add 2 more teaspoons canola oil between batches). Transfer the chicken to a plate and wipe out the skillet.

4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons canola oil in the skillet. Add the scallions. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

5. Whisk the broth, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, chili paste and the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl; add to the skillet and cook, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil.

6..Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce and heat through. Serve the chicken and snow peas over brown rice, if desired.

Note: I stir fried some broccoli and added it to the sauce with the chicken.

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz jar medium salsa, divided
2 - 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
1 80z block cream cheese (1/3 less fat is ok)
2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped rotisserie chicken
10 flour tortillas
8 oz mexican cheese blend

1. Drain Spinach Well!
2. Stir together 1/4 cup salsa and enchilada sauce, set aside
3. Microwave cream cheese at HIGH 1 minute or until very soft. Add spinach, chicken, remaining salsa and stir until well blended
4. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a lightly greased 13x9 pan.
5. Pour enchilada sauce over top, sprinkle with cheese
6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, let stand 5 minutes before serving

Asian Style Pork (or Chicken) Noodle bowl

Salt and pepper
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated
About 1/4 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
About 3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
About 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat, chicken breast meat or thin-cut boneless pork chops, cut into thin strips
1/4 small cabbage, very thinly shredded
1-2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced or chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

2. While the pasta is cooking, using a blender or food processor, combine a splash of the boiling water (before you add salt), the ginger, garlic, tamari, honey, tomato paste, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce until smooth.

3. Get all of the remaining ingredients ready for a quick stir-fry. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the chicken or pork and stirfry until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and bell pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the scallions and ginger sauce and toss for 1 minute.

4. Pour over the drained noodles and top with the sesame seeds.


Kosher salt
12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small head cauliflower broken into small florets
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook as the label directs.

2. Reserve 2 cups cooking water, then drain.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a (very) large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Clear a space in the pan, add the garlic and cook until just golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Add the cauliflower and cook until the edges are browned, about 2 minutes.

6. Add 1 cup of the reserved cooking water, cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 8 more minutes.

7. Uncover and boil over high heat until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 more minutes.

8. Add the spaghetti to the skillet along with the scallions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Toss for a minute or two to wilt the scallions and coat the pasta with the sauce, adding up to 1 cup cooking water, if needed, to loosen.

9. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the cheese and toss.

Picatta Style Fish with Pasta & Spinach


Salt and pepper
1/2 pound thin egg pasta or angel hair pasta
4 thin tilapia fillets
Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons butter
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 lemons
1/4 cup drained capers
A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 pound fresh spinach, cleaned and trimmed


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season with salt, pepper and a little Old Bay.

3. On a plate, mix the flour and cornstarch. Coat the fish in the flour mixture.

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and let it foam up, then add the fish fillets and cook, turning once, until golden-brown and firm, 4 to 6 minutes.

5. Transfer the fillets to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to melt.

6. Stir in the garlic for 1 minute, then stir in the wine for another minute. Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel and the juice of 1 lemon. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and stir the slices into the sauce, along with the capers and parsley. Spoon the sliced lemons and half of the butter sauce over the fish.

7. Add the reserved pasta water and the pasta to the skillet. Add the remaining butter sauce and season with salt and pepper; toss. Transfer the pasta to a platter. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, to the skillet. Add the spinach, season with salt, pepper and cook to wilt.

Serve the fish with a little pasta and spinach alongside.

Crispy Fish Sandwiches

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (about a palmful)
1 tablespoon onion powder (about a palmful)
1 tablespoon garlic powder (about a palmful)
4 pieces cod fillet (6 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
Flour, for coating
2 egg whites, beaten
4 sandwich-size english muffins

1. Preheat the oven to 425°°.
2. In a bowl, pour the melted butter over the panko and work it into the crumbs to evenly distribute. Season with the Old Bay, onion powder, garlic powder.
3. Season the cod with salt and pepper, then coat in the flour, then egg whites and then panko mixture.
4. Arrange on a broiler pan or cooling rack placed on a baking sheet. (make sure you do this step).
5. Bake until deeply golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.
6. Serve on toasted english muffins
(We added shredded lettuce, tomato slice, and tartar sauce)

September 2010

Sorry for the long delay in sending you any new recipes, but not too many have been passing the family test lately. I have finally accumulated enough that it made sense to send you out some new things to try.

Hope you enjoy.

This posting includes:

  • Crispy fish sandwich that my girls have requested multiple times
  • Picatta style fish with pasta and spinach
  • Asian style chicken (or pork) noodle bowls
  • Chicken and spinach enchiladas
  • Sesame Chicken (like at a Chinese restaurant, but not fried... a bit of work, but a great result)

Let me know what you think.