Category Archives: Main Dish

Chicken Salad

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Salads– potato salad, tuna salad, broccoli salad, chicken salad– were certainly never high on my list of favorites growing up. But now we love them. One thing we miss about life in America is the accessibility of foods that can be eaten cold in the spring and summer– cereal, sandwiches, salads. We love Chinese food, but there’s something not quite right about drinking lava-hot soup on 80 degree evenings. For Easter this year, we added this chicken salad to our menu. Some of our guests wrapped it in tortillas, and others ate it by the spoonful. Guests were pleased and even asked to take some home to share with friends.

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Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts, diced, or about 5 1/2 cups diced chicken, lightly cooked until just done but still very moist, cooled

2/3- 1 cup diced onion, to taste

2 cups finely diced celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups diced apples or halved seedless grapes (another friend told me that mangoes also worked well)

1 cup mayonnaise or other similar product– I used the white stuff at the local Chinese supermarkets called “salad dressing” and it worked fine.

salt and pepper to taste

Directions and Notes:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until evenly distributed. Chill until serving.

Recipe adapted from: Food.com

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Pulled Pork {Sandwiches}

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We love meat. We tried cutting back on meat for a while… didn’t leave all of us with happy feelings at the dinner table. So meat is here to stay, and this is our super easy, hands-down favorite way of making sure we’re left with perfectly (and easily) “shredable” pork.

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Ingredients:

2 pounds lean pork

1 onion

Directions and Notes:

Cut the onion into six wedges. Place three of the wedges on the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the entire hunk of meat on top. Add the remaining onions, and then fill the crock pot with water until everything is well-covered. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat can be easily pulled apart using two forks. Discard the water and onions. Pull the meat apart and top with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Thick and Hearty Red Bean Chili

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This chili was full of protein with lots of meat and beans. Our guests loved it. We topped it with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions and chives, and we served it with corn muffins and corn chips. Add other vegetables if desired.

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Ingredients:

2 pounds ground meat (beef or pork), browned and drained

2 large onions, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 ½ Tablespoon oil

4 cans of red kidney beans (or about 2 super heaping cups of dried beans, boiled; see this post for bean conversions)

20 small tomatoes, roughly processed in a food processor

¼ cup chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 chopped thin and long green peppers (I used the lighter green, less spicy ones.)

Directions and Notes:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to one hour until chili is warm and flavors are melded.

Pork Souvlaki

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This pork was amazing paired with pitas, hummus, hot pepper cheese dip, and tzatziki at our recent Greek dinner. I’ve made it with anywhere between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 pounds of meat and have just kept the amount of marinade the same. It was voted the “favorite meat” at the Greek dinner, even when competing with our favorite, lamb. We’ve put it on skewers and just stir-fried the pieces without skewers for use in pita pockets. Fast, easy, and definitely worth making again!Ingredients:

1 1/2- 2 1/2 pounds of lean pork, cut into 3/4 inch cubes or into small slices

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2- 1 Tablespoon salt (depending on desired saltiness and amount of meat)

2 Tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions and Notes:

1. Pour the wine or vinegar and oil over the pork and toss to coat. Sprinkle the spices over and mix to combine.

2. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours. (If using vinegar, do not exceed 2 hours.)

3. To make skewers: Skewer the meat and bake on a wire rack over a baking sheet for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until just barely cooked through. Bake time will depend on the thickness of the meat. To make skewer-less meat: Just add the meat to a medium frying pan over medium-high heat and cook until just barely light brown. Do not overcook, or it will become tough.

4. Serve with pitas, hummus, and other Greek favorites!

Recipe from: Greek Tastes 

Teriyaki Chicken Wings (Stovetop)

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The other night I was making miso soup and wanted to make something with a little bit of Japanese flair to go with it. I ran a quick search for Japanese recipes and this was the only thing I had anything close to the ingredients for. It was great… enjoyed by my fabulous husband and a local student who conveniently popped in right at dinner time! I served this with the miso soup, some brown rice, and edamame.

Ingredients

8 medium chicken wings (or legs)

1 Tablespoon oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

Directions and Notes

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the chicken pieces and brown on each side.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Pour over the chicken and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened. Flip the chicken halfway through the cook time.

Note: The sauce should be mostly covering the chicken when it’s first added. If more sauce is needed, just one-and-a-half or double the recipe.

Original Recipe from: Food.com

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken

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Austin has declared this fried chicken one of his very favorites. I like it because it has a quick fry time and then finishes “hands off” in the oven, so it’s convenient when guests are coming over and there are multiple other dishes that need to be prepared right before dinner is served. I make this with mini-chicken legs because they’re the only kind of chicken we can buy frozen here in town, and frozen= convenient! But with a little adjusting to cook times, this could easily be adapted for bigger chicken legs or wings, chicken breast pieces, etc.

Ingredients:

about 15-20 mini chicken legs

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ Tablespoon salt

½ Tablespoon black pepper

oil for frying

Directions and Notes:

1. Place thawed chicken legs in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably a little longer, overnight.

2. After the chicken has soaked in the buttermilk for several hours, combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

3. In a medium frying pan, heat about 1” of oil until it is really hot. (I don’t use a thermometer for an exact temperature… roughly 200- 250 degrees Fahrenheit is okay, but as long as it’s up there, it will work.)

4. When the oil is nice and hot, dip each piece of chicken into the flour mixture and then place it into the hot oil. Allow it to fry for 1-2 minutes on one side, then flip it to the other side for another 1-2 minutes. (This step is just giving it a fast fry to crisp up the outside. The chicken will finish out its cook time in the oven, so a fast fry just until the outer layer is beginning to take on a light golden color is enough.)

5. Remove the chicken and place it on a wire rack above a baking sheet for easy clean up.

6. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes until cooked through (longer for bigger chicken pieces).

7. Serve hot!

 

 

 

{Sausage Meatball} Veggie Kabobs

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These were so good– we enjoyed them at our fourth of July party this year, and our guests were so excited by food on sticks! I added sausage-esque meatballs to some of them and left others with only veggies. The recipe is obviously open to adaptation depending on which veggies you prefer. We liked all the different colors. In our opinion, the mushrooms were one of the best parts– we’ve made them with both the white button mushrooms and the darker mushrooms like the ones in these pictures, and both are great!

Marinade Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons white rice vinegar

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup water

2 Tablespoons honey

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons green peppercorn mustard (China friends, we got ours on Taobao. This added a great taste but I’m sure you could substitute something else or omit it if you don’t have any.)

½ Tablespoon pepper

Kabob Ingredients:

2 medium potatoes

1 cup red, yellow, or green bell pepper chunks

1 cup red onion chunks

1- 2 cups white button mushrooms or brown mushrooms

1 cup zucchini chunks

1 cup tomato chunks or cherry tomatoes

Optional: Meatballs

Directions and Notes:

1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are fork tender. Remove from water and cut into about 1-inch pieces.

2. Combine all of the vegetables in a large bag or bowl.

3. Combine all marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Soak for at least 2 hours, stirring halfway through to make sure all the vegetables are covered.

4. Pre-heat the oven for broiling.

5. Skewer the vegetables, incorporating meatballs if desired.

6. Broil the skewers for 10-15 minutes, watching them closely until the vegetables reach a desired point of done-ness.

Note: The vegetable amounts are approximate; add more or less of each vegetable as desired. The mushrooms soaked the marinade in well and were really good!