Spicy Thai Basil Chicken — DEEELICIOUS

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced Thai chilies, Serrano, or other hot pepper
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

Directions

Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended.

Heat large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in oil. Add chicken and stir fry until it loses its raw color, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic, and sliced chilies. Continue cooking on high heat until some of the juices start to caramelize in the bottom of the pan, about 2 or 3 more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to the skillet; cook and stir until sauce begins to caramelize, about 1 minute.

Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes onto the meat, 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil is wilted, about 20 seconds. Serve with rice.

Favorite Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • pinch of chile powder
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1-2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in large pot. Saute cumin seeds for 3 minutes. Add onion, saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute.

Stir in tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and chile powder, saute 2 minutes more.

Add broth, water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a boil, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Using an immersion blender or regular blender (after cooling), puree half the soup then add it back to the pot.

Stir in lemon juice.

Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if you like a thicker salsa
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 bunch (about 2 cups loosely-packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, I didn’t use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, or your desired consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

5 Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans beans of your choice, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) salsa verde (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped red or green onions, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips

Directions

Combine ingredients.  Stir together chicken stock, shredded chicken, beans, salsa and cumin in large stockpot.

Bring to a simmer.  Cook on high heat until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.

Serve.  Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings including tortilla strips, avocado and grated cheese.

Green Chile Egg Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 16 ounce package cottage cheese
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 large eggs lightly beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×13” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together butter, cottage cheese, jack cheese, flour, baking powder, chiles, and salt. Whisk in eggs and whisk until combined (mixture will be lumpy).
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and set in the middle. Cool 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Jen’s Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Saute onion, beef and garlic until beef is cooked. Add tomatoes, red wine, marinara sauce and herbs. Serve with pasta.

 

Kirk’s Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 3 fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes – do not trim the fat
  • Corn taco tortillas

Directions

Place the marjoram, garlic, coriander seeds and bay leaf in a small piece of cheese cloth and tie it tightly with butchers twine. Place the bundle in a dutch oven along with the onion and salt. Arrange the onion in a single layer and add just enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Skim and discard any foam that floats to the surface using a large spoon. Simmer, skimming the surface and turning the pork pieces occasionally until the meat is tender and just beginning to shred apart, about 2 1/2 hours.

Remove and discard the herb packet and onions. Increase the heat to medium high until the remaining fat evaporates and the rendered fat coats the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let the meat fry in the fat , turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. (Next time, try browning a bit less). Remove and discard any large pieces of rendered fat and serve the carnitas in warmed taco shells with toppings.

Lemony Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2/3 cup whole-kernel corn
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (next time try skipping this)
  • (optional) pinch each of saffron and cayenne
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions

Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.

Simmer. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are completely tender.

Blend (optional). Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  (If using a traditional blender, please see notes below.)

Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with a generous pinch or two of fine sea salt and black pepper, as needed.

Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra fresh lemon slice if desired.

Baked Brie With Quick Cranberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 shallots)
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 1 orange)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •  Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (about 8 ounces), defrosted and chilled
  • 1 (8-ounce) wheel of brie
  • 1 large egg
  •  Honey, for serving (optional)
  •  Finely chopped pistachios, for serving (optional)
  •  Baguette slices or crackers, for serving
Directions

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly caramelized, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the cranberries, orange juice, sugar and salt, then stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick and the liquid in the pan has completely evaporated. Stir in the orange zest and transfer to a small bowl to cool completely. (The jam may be made up to 1 day in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.)

When you are ready to bake the brie, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Working quickly, unfold the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured piece of parchment. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll it out to an 11-by-11-inch square (the pastry should be about 1/8-inch thick). Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Use a paring knife, and leaving a 3 to 3 1/2-inch border, trim the pastry to form a circle around the brie. Discard the scraps or save them for another use.

Spoon the reserved cranberry jam on top of the brie, spreading it into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. (You might not use all the jam.)

In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the pastry border lightly with egg wash, then lift the puff pastry to wrap the brie snugly, one side at a time, trimming the pastry so you don’t have too many overlapping layers. Press all sides of the brie firmly, making sure to tightly seal any seams in the pastry with your hands. Transfer the puff-pastry wrapped brie and the parchment to a sheet pan. At this point, if the pastry has warmed up considerably, place the brie in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill slightly before baking. (You can assemble the brie up to this point and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before brushing on the egg wash and baking.)

Brush the whole exterior of the pastry generously with egg wash, then bake until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

Drizzle the brie with honey and sprinkle with pistachios, if using. Allow to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into it, so the cheese has time to firm up slightly. Serve warm with baguette slices or crackers.

Green Beans and Shallots

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound very small, firm green beans, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons peeled and chopped shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Bring the water to a boil. Add the beans and cover the pot. Continue cooking the beans, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water.

At serving time, heat the butter in a skillet, add the shallots and saute for about 1 minute, until the shallots start to brown.

Add the beans, salt and pepper, and saute briefly. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with the chicken.