Thai cashew chicken lettuce wraps

 

As is the case in most of my recipes I don’t have a recipe. I decided to make these Thai cashew chicken wraps. I had so much fun inventing a recipe for them that I forgot to write it down as I made it. Here are the wonderful lettuce wraps made with cashews and chicken topped with green onions and fresh cilantro.  The dipping sauce was amazing sweetened and spiced to perfection. They were perfect, I bought growing lettuce which is tender and has a light flavor. The Thai sauce with cilantro, green onions, and pepper flakes was sweetened with honey. These flavors blended with the chicken and cashews were just what I was craving on a hot summer day. DANG WHERE IS THAT RECIPE!!

Pulse chicken breasts in a food processor several times until a fine chop occurs. Resist the urge to over chop or you will end up with chicken burger instead.  Combine vinegar, coconut aminos, red pepper flakes and honey for sauce. Separate half of the sauce and pour over chicken, stir to cover all. Marinate for 30 minutes.Melt coconut oil in fry pan over medium high heat.  Add chicken to fry pan. Quickly cook the meat stirring constantly. Cook just until meat turns white, then remove from heat.Have washed and dried lettuce ready. Arrange dipping sauce, chopped cilantro, green onion tops and chopped cashews in bowl. This is now ready to build your lettuce wraps

Ingredients
  • Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 8 table spoon coconut aminos
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Filling
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 head bibb lettuce
  • ½ cup chopped cashews
  • 10-15 cilantro sprigs
Instructions
  1. Separate lettuce leaves, rinse and let rest in water bath for 30 minutes, rinse and let dry
  2. Combine sauce ingredients, stir to combine.
  3. Chop chicken in food processor to a fine texture. DO not grind you still want small individual pieces about ⅛-1/4″ in size.
  4. Pour ½ of sauce over chicken, stir and let marinate 30 minutes
  5. Chop peppers into thin slices and then cut in half
  6. slice shallots thin, chop mint and cilantro. Add to chicken toss to combine.
  7. To reserved sauce add tapioca flour, stir to combine.
  8. Melt oil in fry pan, over medium high heat.
  9. Saute meat just until it turns white.
  10. Pour of sauce in separate saute pan heat until thickened
  11. Add half of the sauce to the chicken. Stir to combine, heat a few minutes until chicken is coated.
  12. Use remainder of sauce for dipping, thin with water if needed.
  13. In a lettuce leave scoop in about 2 tablespoons of filling, sprinkle with cashew and cilantro sprigs, then fold over sides and dip in the sauce
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Chicken pizza pockets

Make your kids lunch boxes say WOW!!!  Chicken pizza pockets are great.  Your kids will NOT trade these lunches. What is better than a food that you can hold in your hand?  Plus it is pizza and chicken all in one. These are really delicious made with fresh ingredients in your kitchen. The spicy sauce with chicken and cheese folded in a wheat pizza crust is perfect for dinner, lunches, picnics, or an any time portable snack. When my kids were young I would make a batch of these and then the kids could have a wholesome treat anytime. These chicken pizza pockets are even good cold out of the fridge for a late night munchie. Your kids will say,  “I have such a cool mom”  with these waiting in the fridge when they get home from school. And they will want to share chicken pizza pockets with their friends.

Prepare dough according to instructions. Roll out pizza dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut 3-4 inch circles with glass or biscuit cutter.

Place a scoop of filling in the center of dough.

Fold dough over filling to create a semi circle, pinch edges to seal in filing

Fresh chicken, fresh basil and shredded mozzarella are what you need to make your filling. Cook the chicken as shown below and shred it. Grate the mozzarella and slice the basil.

After cooking chicken shred it and add to basil and cheese in a food processor. Cook and prepare chicken as shown below.

Gently pulse items in a food processor. Just enough to combine do not over process or you will end up with chicken basil goo. Add a few tablespoons of the pizza sauce below to bind it all together.

These can be made in any shapes, half circles using one dough circle, or rounds using two circles and balls, seal the edges by pressing with a fork. For the balls the dough is pulled all the way over the filling and pinched to make a ball. Place seam side down. Whatever shape you choose they will be delicious. Bake 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until top turns slightly brown.

Homemade pizza sauce is so easy that you will never pay $5.00 for bottled sauce again.  Simply combine 1 can of tomato sauce, add 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and  1 glove garlic. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and you are ready to go. All it cost was 30 cents and a few minutes of time.

To make fresh shredded chicken. Boil chicken in a shallow pan just until the meat turns white on the inside. About 10 minutes.

Using two forks pull the meat apart to create shreds. Pull to a medium fine texture.

Ingredients
  • Filling
  • 1 chicken breast cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoon pizza sauce
  • Crust
  • 1 cup water, (very warm, just barely too hot for comfort)
  • 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
Instructions
  1. Dough:
  2. Dissolve yeast in water wait until it is foamy. Add oil to yeast.
  3. Add to flour, sugar, salt. Combine by hand until all ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Knead a few times on a floured surface. Let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare filling:
  6. Combine shredded chicken, basil and mozzarella cheese.
  7. Pulse in food processor a few times to combine ingredients.
  8. Prepare sauce:
  9. Combine tomato sauce, spices and garlic in sauce pan.
  10. Bring to boil over medium heat. when it starts to boil remove form heat.
  11. Add a 2 tablespoons of sauce to to chicken to bind it together.
  12. Crust:
  13. Roll out dough to ½ inch thickness.
  14. Cut dough in 3-4 inch circles with glass or biscuit cutter.
  15. Prepare [pockets:
  16. Place on circle on counter, place 1-2 tablespoon of filling in center.
  17. Pick up dough and using fingers press the edges together. Be sure to seal all the edges.
  18. Place pocket on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  19. Using fork crimp the edges to prevent leaking.
  20. To make full circles use two dough circles. Place 3-4 tablespoons of filling on one then pinch edges together and crimp with fork.
  21. For balls, place dough on one circle then pull the dough around the filling pinch dough together. Place sealed side down on cookies sheet.
  22. Bake 15 min in 400 Degree oven just until they turn brown.
  23. Serve with left over pizza sauce.
Notes
This is really good with pepperoni, ham or sausage in place of chicken.
Olives and peppers can also be added to the filling.

Chicken salad sans mayo

Chicken salad is an all American sandwich spread and cracker topping found at nearly all lunch counters. For many however it is off limits because of the fat content in the mayonnaise. I have great news for you fat counting, health conscious people. Chicken salad sans mayo is a simple chicken salad, chuck full of fresh-diced vegetable and loaded with flavor, all held together with delicious creamy avocado. At first one would ask ,”Is it green?” Or, “Where is the avocado?”  And finally,  “Why doesn’t it taste like avocado?”   The answer to all questions is, “It is delicious, try it”

Place shredded chicken in bowl then add the avocados (the secret of chicken salad sans mayo).  Stir to combine.  Add diced vegetables, sliced basil and Mrs Dash seasonings. Be sure to dice the vegetables small.   My son uses a food chopper.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients. The thing that makes this chicken salad great is that is it so full of crunchy vegetables. Every bite is an experience.

As soon as you taste this chicken salad sans mayo you will say it is wonderful.  It is full of flavor and the crunchy vegetables that make your mouth say,  “Yumm!”  This is healthy all in one delicious bite.

But what do I do with it?

My son puts his on a bagel or English muffin then toasts it all under the broiler with cheese.

I put mine on a fresh bed of crispy romaine lettuce or eat it plain. It can also be served with crackers. Anyway you choose to eat it you will love it

Ingredients
  • 1-2 soft avocados
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • ½ cup diced purple onions
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced cucumbers
  • ½ cup diced red peppers
  • 4-6 basil leaves sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs Dash garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash tomato basil garlic seasoning
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Bagel halves
  • Crackers
  • Croissants
Instructions
  1. Cut avocados in half remove pit. Scoop into a bowl with the chicken. Combine to mix completely.
  2. Add diced onions, celery, cucumbers, peppers and sliced basil and seasonings toss to mix thoroughly.
  3. To toast on bagels:
  4. Cut bagels in half, top with soft cheese, muenster and baby swiss works great.
  5. Place ½ -2/3 cup of chicken salad on cheese and press out to edges.
  6. Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until top is slightly browned and cheese begins to melt.
  7. For croissants:
  8. Cut fresh croissant in half, top with ½ to ⅔ cup chicken salad press to edges. Top with thin slice of baby swiss cheese and Place with top of croissant.
  9. Lettuce bed”
  10. Soak romaine lettuce in ice bath for 30 minutes or overnight. Scoop ½-2/3 cup salad on top of crisp dried lettuce. Sprinkle with parmesan shreds.
Notes
Sliced almonds, green grapes cut in half, diced apples carrot sliced and craisins can be added for variety

Egg Rolls

This dish with Fried Rice is all of my kids favorite dish. I had my daughter and her friend help me make these. I had them chop and slice and julienne. Then I put in the food processor to make it more uniform in size. The friend after chopping and slicing said “why did you make me slice all this stuff if you were just going to put it in there”? It really works best if you do slice everything by hand to get small julienne.

*For best results cook each ingredient separately, saute and set in one large bowl starting with meat, it is best to cook the shrimp separately since it cooks quickly. Do not brown meats, cook until not raw. Onions, chestnuts, bamboo shoots and fungus can be cooked together. All vegetables should be crisp do not overcook. Toss all these ingredients in large bowl. These can be prepared the day ahead.

Have a small cup of water available for sealing edges. Refer to above diagram.
Lay in front of you with one point toward you like a diamond. Put 1/4 cup of mix in center. Pull closest corner over filling, tuck and roll once. Fold side corner over center, tuck in loose edges, seal edges. Wet last corner with water tucking and rolling all loose edges in sealing with water. Be careful to not use too much tension or the wrapper will tear. There is a fine balance between tightly rolled and too tightly rolled it just takes practice. Some tears can be patched with some water and pinching. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are gone. Can be refrigerated and set aside until just before served. (adjust your filling amount to what works best to fill the roll without tearing it)

Cooking

Heat oil in deep fry pan 2-3 inches of oil is best. With oil med high. Test for temperature by placing a small piece of wrapper in oil it should rise to the surface within 2 seconds. If faster it is too hot, if slower it is not hot enough. Oil will cool as you add egg rolls so it is OK if it is a bit too hot to begin with. Place rolls in oil gently, one at a time. As each becomes golden brown turn. Place on paper towel to drain oil, move to baking dish and keep warm in 170 degree oven until ready to serve, if you can wait that long.

Caution filling will be hot. Be cautious of splattering oil while cooking.

These will not be as tightly rolled as the ones you buy but they are much better.

Serve with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, wonton dipping sauce. All can be bought pre-made at most grocery store.

Ingredients
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoon premium soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-5 drops sesame oil
  • 1 ½ cup raw chicken chopped fine not ground
  • 1 cup raw pork chopped fine not ground
  • 1 cup raw shrimp chopped fine (this will look grey when you buy it, you will need to shell and devien them)
  • ½ head cabbage very finely sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions sliced
  • 1 can water chestnuts julienne
  • 1 large carrot julienne
  • 1 can bamboo shoots julienne
  • 1-2 tablespoon black fungus softened in water and thinly sliced or chopped (Bought dry at Asian store)
  • ½ pound fresh bean sprouts cut in half
  • 2 eggs beaten cooked in thin pancake, do not brown, once cooked roll and make thin slices and chop about 1 inch strips
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Cook each ingredient separately, saute and set in one large bowl
  2. Start with meat, it is best to cook the shrimp separately since it cooks quickly. Do not brown meats, cook until not raw.
  3. All vegetables should be crisp do not overcook.
  4. Onions, chestnuts, bamboo shoots and fungus can be cooked together.
  5. Toss all these ingredients in large bowl. These can be prepared the day ahead.
  6. Rolling
  7. Have a small cup of water available for sealing edges.
  8. Lay egg roll wrap in front of you with one point toward you like a diamond.
  9. Put ¼ cup of mix near center spread out slightly in a line.
  10. Pull closest corner over filling, tuck and roll once.
  11. Fold side corner over center, tuck in loose edges, seal edges with water.
  12. Wet last corner with water tucking and rolling all loose edges sealing with water.
  13. Be careful to not use too much tension or the wrapper will tear.
  14. There is a fine balance between tightly rolled and too tightly rolled it just takes practice.
  15. Some tears can be patched with some water and pinching.
  16. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are used.
  17. Can be refrigerated and set aside until just before served.
  18. Cooking
  19. Heat oil in deep fry pan on medium high heat. 2-3 inches of oil is best..Oil will cool as you add egg rolls so it is OK if it is a bit too hot to begin with.
  20. Test for temperature by placing a small piece of wrapper in oil it should rise to the surface within 2 seconds. If faster it is too hot, if slower it is not hot enough.
  21. Place rolls in oil gently, one at a time. As each becomes golden brown turn over.
  22. Place on paper towel to drain oil, move to baking dish and keep warm in 170 degree oven until ready to serve, if you can wait that long.
Notes
*These can be prepared the day ahead.

*Be cautious of splattering oil while cooking.

*These will not be as tightly rolled as the ones you buy but they are much better.

Serve with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, wonton dipping sauce. All can be bought pre-made at most grocery store.

Chicken quesadilla with chile verde

Is there any snack better than quesadilla, it is unlikely. Melted cheese and tortillas can feed one or 10 with ease. We always have these when we get home from church on Sunday, when we are all starving. It is quick to prepare and easy to clean up. Serve with some salsa and sour cream for dipping. Make extra to have for lunches or snacks later.

Using left over chicken or canned. Shred the meat and mix with 1 tsp Mrs Dash garlic and herb season and Mr Dash tomato and basil seasoning.

Prepare ingredients. Place one tortilla on hot grill. Once warm flip over.

Sprinkle tortilla with cheese, chicken meat, onions and chile verde sauce. Let cheese melt a bit. Place second tortilla on top. Press down a bit then flip over and let cook until cheese is melted throughout.

Top with more Chile Verde and let your taste buds do the happy dance.

I have used a quesadilla cooker to make these and they turn out great since both top and bottom are cooked at the same time.

Ingredients
  • 2 c left over chicken shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs Dash garlic herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs Dash tomato and basil seasoning
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 8 10 inch flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine chicken and seasonings stir to combine.
  2. Place one tortilla on hot griddle, warm a few minutes then turn over,
  3. Sprinkle tortilla with cheese, chicken meat, onions and chile verde sauce.
  4. Let cheese melt a bit. Place second tortilla on top.
  5. Press down a bit then flip over and let cook until cheese is melted throughout.
  6. Remove from grill and cut in 8 triangles.
  7. Serve with warmed chile verde

 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Is there anything better for the soul than a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup? Full of fresh vegetables, chunks of chicken, and thick hearty noodles. A warm satisfying broth that can ease your heart and mind. And of course what else do you want when you have a cold, chicken noodle soup of course.

You can make your own chicken broth that is salt free and full of homemade nutrition sure to cure what ever ails you. Use the remains of a roasted chicken you had for dinner another night, and any left over meat.

Broth

Place a leftover chicken carcass in a big stock pan. Fill pan about half way with water, add 1 teaspoon dried basil flakes, 2-3 whole unpeeled carrots (5-7 inches long), 2-3 stalks of celery with leaves, one whole onion cut in quarters , 2-3 whole peeled garlic cloves and a whole tomato cut in 4ths. I just throw the vegetable in don’t worry about prepping them, just throw them in. Simmer on low for several hours. All day in the crock pot works best. Occasionally remove any foam that has developed. This can add a bitter taste to your soup.

Put a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl to catch broth.  Carefully pour ingredients of pan into colander. Allow to drain. This will leave with a absolutely divine homemade all natural broth. When I make broth I feel like a real cook, especially when it turns out clear.

While the broth drains, separate vegetables from meat. Remove meat from bone and set aside.

Discard carcass and vegetables, I throw away everything that was simmered with the carcass. Some people add it into the pot, I don’t like to because in reality all the flavor has been simmered out. It is a personal preference at this point.

Is it soup yet? NO

Wipe out the stock pot to remove debris. Place broth and chicken back in pot. Taste the broth for saltiness, you want it slightly salty because the vegetables will absorb some of the salt.

Bring broth to a boil and add vegetables, cook 20 minutes, add noodles. At this point make sure there is sufficient liquid to cook the noodles. Add more water if needed. Cook on medium until noodles a done. Add water as needed. If the broth tastes weak 1-2 teaspoons of salt free bullion paste can be added. Salt and pepper to taste just before serving. If you are adding peas or zucchini do not add until 5 minutes before serving.

Noodles

In electric bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  In separate bowl combine beaten egg, water, and butter. Add liquid to flour on lowest setting. Continue to mix on a low setting mix until smooth, about 5 minutes. Turn out on floured counter, roll out thin about 1/8 thickness. Allow to air dry several hours, before cooking. Cut into desired lengths and shapes. These will thicken while cooking so try to roll thin. They will not be evenly cut, this adds the the beauty of home made noodle

Veggie options

Carrots, celery, onion, corn, peas, beans and zuchinni are popular vegetables used in soup. Use whatever is your preference. I often add a package of frozen mixed vegetables without lima beans. Fresh or frozen works well, canned does not. I do not put potatoes in my chicken noodle soup because I feel that with the noodles there is already sufficient starch, if you like potatoes add them. That is the nice thing about chicken soup you can add or delete whatever you want.  I feel the onions in the simmering process are vital for flavor. If you don’t like onions do not put them in the second cooking.

Note: Bullion paste is found in the isle near the broths on the top shelf.

Prepared home-style noodles can be purchased if desired. These are found either frozen or dried. Fun shaped pasta is appealing with little kids as well.

Noodles recipe

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
  2. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter.
  3. Mix on low until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour out on a floured surface, roll out to ⅛ or ¼ inch thickness.
  6. Cut into desired lengths and shapes.
  7. Allow to air dry about 2 hours, before cooking.
  8. To cook fresh pasta, bring large pot of salted water or broth to a boil.
  9. Add noodles let cook 15-20 minutes until soft

Turkey Tetrazini Crepe

6 slices bacon
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 onion diced
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup broth
Juice of lemon
1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cup shredded turkey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare basic crepe recipe according to recipe directions. Separate with wax paper and keep warm until ready to serve.
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Drain pan of drippings, using paper towel remove burnt pieces from bottom of pan. Add 2 tablespoon of dripping back in pan, sautee mushrooms and onions. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium, add 1/4 cup of bacon grease and 1/4 cup of flour stir into a bubbly paste, add in the milk and broth, continue to sir until thick. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon continue to stir, add 1-2 tablespoons of  butter, to make a creamy sauce. Add  basil. Adjust thickness with more or less milk as desired should be the consistency of gravy.  Divide sauce in half. To one half add the bacon, mushrooms, spinach, turkey, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Let simmer on low, about 10 minutes.
Fill each crepe with spinach and meat filling, roll up. Place in baking dish, with reserved sauce drizzle over the top. Cover with foil and warm in oven until ready to serve. Top with Italian blend cheese if desired, garnish with parsley.