Chicken Adobo

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Have I mentioned how much I love chicken? I can pull a Bubba from Forest Gump if you were to ask me what my favorite chicken dish is… chicken nuggets, chicken stir-fry, orange chicken, chicken adobo, chicken ice cream.. Ok, I’ve gone too far. And I think I’ve just about told you my age by referencing the movie Forest Gump. Nevermind that. What’s most important is this chicken adobo.

I’ve had many chicken adobos in my lifetime and quickly found out how simple it is to make. I can count the number of ingredients it takes on one hand, if my hand had 6 fingers. All that’s needed is vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, and chicken. Now, chicken adobo is slightly sweet and tangy and 100% of the time, the end result is some tender ass chicken. It’s basically chicken that’s been stewed/braised in all of those ingredients listed and in it’s own tasty juices until the chicken is cooked through. Authentic chicken adobo is made with cane vinegar (the brand I’ve seen is Datu Puti) versus white distilled vinegar, but if you don’t have cane vinegar at home, white distilled vinegar is perfectly fine. It’ll just be a little tangier. Chicken adobo is one of those dishes you play with to suit your taste.

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So…not that this recipe is spot on authentic, but I add one ingredient that totally throws the authenticity of this recipe right into the dumpster. ONIONS! Guys… in my household, we LOVE cooked onions that have absorbed all of the flavors the party in the pot can offer. The sweetness from the onions also replaces the sugar a lot of recipes ask for. Trust me, my fellow chicken connoisseurs. Tender braised chicken and onions packed with flavor on top of rice is the fricking best. I must say no more.

 

Chicken Adobo
Servings: 6

2 Tbsp. oil of your choice
12 chicken drumsticks
1 C. light soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 small bay leaves
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 medium sized onion sliced
3/4 C. vinegar

1. In a large heavy duty pan, heat oil of medium high heat.
2. When the oil is heated, brown the chicken drumsticks flipping them every few minutes until all sides are browned.
3. While the chicken is browning, add the soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns in a medium bowl and mix together.
4. When the chicken drumsticks are browned, sprinkle the slices onions inbetween the chicken pieces and let them find their way to the bottom of the pan. Let the onions cook down in the chicken fat and cook until their translucent.
5. Pour the sauce into the pan making sure every piece of chicken is sitting in the sauce.
6. Next, pour the vinegar over everything. MOST IMPORTANT STEP: DON’T mix or stir the chicken in the sauce. After pouring the vinegar in, let the sauce come up to a boil before mixing the contents of the pan. If you mix the sauce it comes to a boil, the dish comes out more sour.
7. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked and tender.
8. Enjoy over rice.

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Char Siu Flavored Chicken

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For all of my Chinese brothers and sisters out there, you know we consume a whole bunch of char siu (Chinese BBQ pork). It’s one of our staples as a side dish in our household whenever the family gets together and at every celebration, my grandma insists on buying a large chunk of char siu and slicing it up into thin pieces for “the kids”. It’s a food that has become very nostalgic to me, but as I became older, pork was one of the food items I tried to eat less of (yes, including bacon!). Chicken is my most preferred meat, but Chinese BBQ pork is probably my most favorite flavored meat so when I saw this recipe, I KNEW I had to give it a try. What pushed me even harder to make this recipe was that every single ingredient was already in my kitchen. Making something new without running to the grocery store is extremely rare for me!

I’m not a big fan of drumsticks so I opted for chicken thighs and they came out extremely moist and flavorful. Although this doesn’t look anything like char siu, the marinade comes pretty close.

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Char Siu Flavored Chicken
Adapted from Chopstick Chronicles
Serves 2-4

4 chicken thighs, skin and bone in, poked with a fork
1 small yellow onion, small diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Optional:
1 green onion, sliced

1. Puncture the skin of the chicken thighs a few times with a fork to allow the marinade to reach the meat and place into a large ziplock bag.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bag and move/shake the meat around to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together. Make sure all parts of the meat are covered.

3. Put into the refrigerator and marinate for at least 8 hours. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours.

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 F.

5. Place chicken thighs flat onto a baking dish and add about half a cup of the marinade into the dish.

6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the chicken juice runs clear when cut with a knife.

7. Optional: If you want the skin to crisp up a little and have a darker color, broil for about 10 minutes.

8. Top with green onions.

Spicy Gochujang and Honey Chicken

This morning I walked into Safeway in the search for some bread. Somehow, on my way to the registers, I ended up strolling down the meat aisle. I saw chicken thighs on sale… SCOOOORE! Chicken is my favorite protein to cook with. It can be stir-fried, boiled, deep fried, baked… you name it. I happen to have some ingredients I’m trying to use up, so finding some cheap chicken thighs couldn’t have been more perfect timing.

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I was on this Korean food phase for a while and bought a whole bag of gochugaru (Korean pepper powder) and a tub of gochujang (a sweet Korean chili paste). That pepper powder can get so spicy that you don’t need much of it before your tongue falls off. Since I have a whole bag of it, I decided to throw a teaspoon of it into the marinade. One teaspoon… a million more to go. Anyways, this chicken is so simple to make. Just throw the chicken pieces into the marinade and let it sit in the fridge until ready to bake. Serve with rice or eat it alone and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal. I’m thinking of shredding the leftovers and making some Korean infused tacos out of it. It’s spicy and sweet and oh so yummmmerz!

Gochujang and Honey Chicken Thighs
servings: 3-5

3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. less sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. gochugaru
1 Tbsp. gochujang
1 tsp. sriracha
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
5 chicken thighs

Optional:
green onions, sliced
squeeze of lemon (highly recommended!)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients accept for chicken thighs. Using a whisk or fork, mix the ingredients until smooth. Add the chicken into the bowl and make sure to coat all of the pieces with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay the chicken thighs into an 8×8 baking dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping once. Turn your broiler on to 400 F. Flip the chicken once more so that they’re skin side up and broil for about 15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them.

Chicken Pot Pie

Have you been eating a certain food since you were a little kid and it just always tastes good no matter what?? I grew up eating frozen Marie Calendars chicken pot pie and I’m sure you all agree that certain foods you grew up eating are hard to beat! Nothing can ever compare to them and the taste is just embedded into your memories. Your tastebuds just never get sick of it.

WELL! I’ve brought this pie to Thanksgiving dinners two years in a row and has been a hit every time. This homemade (except for maybe your chicken and the crust) chicken pot pie has won it’s place next to them frozen Marie Calendar chicken pot pies. What makes it even better is that you don’t have to slave away making it. You can either make your own crust, use a boxed or premade crust, or puff pasty. I usually use a crust that comes in a box and all you have to do is add water to it before rolling it out, but I had some puff pastry on hand this time around.

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Go on, you know you want some. Bake this in a 9×13″ pan for a large Christmas dinner or in ramekins for a more intimate dinner.

There’s sherry in this recipe. Some of you may avoid alcohol at all costs, but DO NOT skip it. The sherry adds a dimension of flavor to the filling.

CHICKEN POT PIE
Servings: 8-12

1/2 C. butter
3 medium carrots
2 large onions, diced
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C. flour

4 C. chicken broth
1 chicken buillon

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 C. frozen peas
1/2 C. milk
3 Tbsp. sherry

salt and pepper

pie crust or one sheet of puff pastry
1 egg

To make things easier, prep all of your ingredients, meaning cut up all of your veggies and shred your chicken. For the chicken, I like to dice the breasts and shred the dark meat just so there’s some texture.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes.

As you’re cooking the vegetables, heat chicken broth in a medium pot. When the chicken broth is hot, add the chicken buillon and stir.

Add the garlic, some salt, and about a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper to the large pot of vegetables. Stir and cook for a few more minutes. Add the flour and constantly stir until the mixture gets clumpy. Add the chicken broth and stir until smooth. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add milk and sherry and stir. Add the peas and shredded chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Pour the entire mixture into a 9×13 inch oven proof dish or evenly distribute them into ramekins.

Prepare your crust. Make sure to roll the dough out large enough to cover your entire dish.

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In a small bowl, scramble the egg and brush some of the egg on the edges of the dish with filling. Put your crust over the dish, completely covering all of the filling and press the dough on the edges of the dish, making sure to seal the filling inside. Cut some slits on the crust to allow air to escape while baking. Brush egg over the entire crust then lightly sprinkle with salt.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Roasted Chicken

I used to have this beat up red folder, the ones that have a spine to hold your papers in.  The kind that has three metal prongs to keep your paper intact.  You know what I’m talking about right? This beat up red folder with frailed corners was very special to me, but I’ve lost it!  Oh Ms. Thompson, can I enroll in your home economics class again even though I’m no longer an adolescent??  I promise to cherish every recipe even more than before!  Ms. Thompson was my home economics teacher in the 8th grade, I’m now twenty six years old.  She taught me the basic skills of cooking and sewing and have not stopped practicing since!  Well… I haven’t sewn in maybe 10 years and i’m afraid I’ve lost my touch.  I sewed my first pair of boxers and apron in her class, which I embarrassingly still have and wear! She taught us how to roast and cut a whole chicken from scratch and just because we weren’t adults, grading our knife skills was not something she was lenient on!  She would come around looking at our plump juicy (sometimes dried into prunes) chickens and would make sure we cut each joint cleanly with one smooth motion.

Every Thursday, Ms. Thompson would sell nachos to the entire school.  $2.00 for a container of chips with a half cup of nacho cheese and an additional $0.25 for each additional scoop.  My order was always one scoop of cheese and one scoop of chili.  I loved these nachos so much that sometimes I gave my sandwich away so that I could inhale these nachos (sorry mom!  At least I didn’t throw it away)!  Anyway, besides the heavenly taste of chili cheese nachos embedded in my mind, a dish Ms. Thompson had us make in home economics was pasta with tomatos and chicken; a dish that I will never forget.  I remember spending one day rubbing herbs and softened butter underneath and on the chicken skin then roasting the chicken the next day.  We spent most of the period roasting then cutting the chicken that when it came to eating, we had five minutes!  This pasta was so good, no way was I going to throw it away just because I had another class right after!  So what did I do?  I stole a ziplock bag from a cabinet and made myself a doggy bag, mmhmm!   I’ve  dreamt of having that exact same pasta again many a times,  but can’t remember the recipe for the life of me.  Darn, I’ll just have to make up my own recipe using the same main ingredients.

Thanks Ms. Thompson for teaching me my kitchen ones, twos, and threes!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Roasted Chicken

1lb. long pasta, (I usually use linguini but settled for whole wheat spaghetti this time). water salt

2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. olive oil
(or use 2 breasts of a rotisserie chicken)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 roma tomatoes, diced or 8 oz. cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 C. chicken broth 8 oz.
sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

If you aren’t using a rotisserie chicken, place your chicken breasts into an oven proof dish.  Sprinkle all of the spices all over the chicken. Cover and place the chicken into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When the chicken is done marinating, preheat your oven to 350F. Drizzle the oil over the chicken. Bake your chicken breasts for about 40 minutes or until the juices run clear, flipping once inbetween.  Cover and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and throw in some salt.  Cook the pasta based on the instructions on its box.

In a large heavy frying pan, heat the oil.  Add the tomatoes and sautee for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sautee for another couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and stir.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Slice the chicken and add to the sauce.

When the pasta is done, drain and directly add the pasta into the sauce and coat the pasta with the sauce.

It’s pasta time!  Garnish with basil or flat leaf parsley.  Make sure to include a piece of mushroom and tomato in every bite!

Stir-Fry Chicken and String Beans

Do you ever get home feeling extremely tired but starving and don’t know whether you’d rather eat or jump into bed?  I’m guilty of feeling that way every Monday when I step into the house.  Not because of the fact that it’s Monday, but because Monday is my longest day of the week- starts at 8am and ends at 8pm. By 6, I’m usually over it and want to crawl into a hole until I’m ready to come out.  It’s dark when I pull out of the driveway and dark when I walk out of the building so my twelve hour day feels a lot longer than it really is,  Pulling something out of the freezer and popping it into the microwave is something that I try to avoid at all costs so having some fresh veggies and meat on hand for a quick and easy stir-fry is always what ends up on the kitchen table on Monday nights.

Out of all the vegetables in the world, string beans are my absolute fave!  All you string bean haters, quit hatin’!  They’re crunchy, sweet, and healthy and go great with any meat.  The kids in my family were raised with string beans on our plates.  Surprisingly, none of us got rid of them by throwing them under the table.  Instead, whenever we went out to eat Chinese food, string beans and chicken was the dish we always requested.  It’s a good thing that string beans and chicken stir-fry is really quick and easy to make and that’s why it often ends up on the Monday night dinner table.

Don’t think that this is authentic chinese food cause it’s not!  Chinese restaurants usually quickly fry their vegetables and cook their proteins in extremely hot oil then drench them in homemade sauce usually consisting of soy sauce, chicken broth, and some other forms of more salt.  That’s why it’s so good!  My string beans and chicken were made based on whatever I found in my kitchen and is a much more healthier version than your average takeout,  Excuse me while I eat my veggies…

String bean chicken stir-fry

1 lb string beans-cleaned and cut

5 chicken thighs

3 cloves garlic, minced and seperated (2 cloves seperated from 1 clove)

1 tsp. red chili flakes

1/2 inch chunk of ginger-peeled

pepper

3 drops sesame oil

3 Tbsp. light soy sauce

2 tsp. mirin

half a medium onion, sliced

1/4 C. gourmet sauce

1/2 C. carrots, julienned

*6 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. water

*Since this is cooked in very high heat, use canola oil as it can withstand very high temperatures.  Using olive oils will make the garlic burn very quickly.

Slice chicken into bite size pieces.  Make sure they are cut into even sized pieces so that they cook evenly.  Place in a bowl with the two cloves of minced garlic, ginger, sesame oil, light soy sauce, mirin, and a sprinkle of pepper.  Mix and set aside for about 30 minutes to marinate.

Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy pan and throw in the red chili flakes and last clove of minced garlic.  Heat the chili flakes and garlic until fragrant and pour most of the oil and all of the garlic and chili into a small bowl to set aside.

With a little bit of oil left in the wok, throw in the onions and cook for about 30 seconds.  Throw in the marinated chicken pieces.  When the chicken is almost cooked-about 4 minutes, throw in the gourmet sauce,reserved oil, and string beans.  Cook and toss for a couple minutes before adding the carrots.

In a seperate small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together.  When the string beans are almost cooked to your liking, add the cornstarch mixture to the liquid at the bottom of your wok (there should be some juices from the chicken). Cook for another minute or so until the sauce slightly thickens.

Serve with some rice and enjoy a healthy quick meal!

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I’ve been going into Trader Joe’s religiously for about three weeks looking for one item.  I walk in, look on the shelf and don’t see it so I find an employee and ask, “Have you guys recieved pumpkin butter yet?!” I’m always answered with, “No, the computer says some time in October, but doesn’t give a day.”  Earlier this week, I went to check again and was overjoyed when I saw the pumpkin butter on the shelf.  I bought 4 of them.  I’m planning on making many many many things with it!  I love pumpkin everything!  Good thing pumpkin isn’t on the list of unhealthy foods.

Although I’m in love with many foods, my father doesn’t really care for it.  How can that be possible, right? My dad is a very practical man in every way and that includes his eating.  Whenever he’s asked what he wants for dinner, his reply is always “any kind of food.”  He doesn’t enjoy food the way many of us do, he doesn’t crave for anything, and never really has any kind of emotion towards food.  His main goal: fill up stomach.  The two things he does enjoy though, are his veggies and soups so when he was asked where he wanted to go for his birthday dinner, he said Fresh Choice.  ….What in the world?  OK, what dad wants, he shall have. 

I found myself constantly getting up for one thing, BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA.  It was a thin crust pizza with white sauce, a light layer of mozzarella cheese, and small pieces of chicken tossed and coated in buffalo sauce. The tanginess of the sauce complimented perfectly with the rest of the pizza and ever since eating it, I’ve been stuffing my face taste-testing and making buffalo wings at home to fill that craving.  Earlier this week, my friends and I had a chicken wing night and it only takes a genius to guess what kind of chicken wings I made!  Call me crazy, but I’m not very fond of blue cheese and would rather eat my buffalo wings plain with small sticks of celery and that’s exactly how I eat them every single time.  They’re super easy to make and only takes 3 steps.  Coat, fry, then toss!

The secret to making your chicken wings juicy and crispy is to lightly dress them in seasoned flour then letting them sit for a couple of hours before frying.  Doing so allows the flour to become slightly doughy and binds itself to the skin of the chicken and becomes crisp and seals the juices of the chicken in during frying.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Coat, fry, toss, then the face stuffing can begin!  Or you can always dip your wings into the sauce just before every bite!

Buffalo Chicken Wings

BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS

Flour:

1 C. AP flour

2 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Sauce:

½ C. salted butter

1 C. Louisiana hot sauce

1 C. honey

1 tsp. garlic powder

A few shakes of pepper

About 4lbs. of chicken wings

Oil for frying

In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Coat the chicken wings with the mixture and place them into a container or a freezer bag and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Meanwhile, melt honey and butter in a small saucepan.  Stir to combine.  After the honey and butter have melted and combined add the Louisiana hot sauce, garlic powder, and pepper.  Stir until heated, do not let it boil.  Take the saucepan off the heat. 

Prepare your fryer or a pot of oil and heat until 350 degrees F.  Fry the chicken wings until golden brown and place onto a towel or into a strainer to drain excess oil.  Toss the wings with the sauce and serve with whatever condiments.