Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sriracha Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry

I know what you're thinking, "Another stir-fry post?"  Bear with me, though, because this one incorporates a few tricks I've learned to keep the meat juicy and tender, plus a spicy kick.  The trick is to add corn starch to the marinade.  I don't understand the science behind it, but some how the corn starch "seals" the meat and keeps it juicy and tender.  And the sriracha adds a spicy kick, which was good since I still had a cold when I made this and needed to clear the sinuses.

Sriracha Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry


2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp fresh grated garlic
2 small cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or minced)
1 Tbs sesame oil 
1/2 Tbs corn starch
Juice from half of a lime

1 large skinless boneless chicken breast, sliced into roughly pinky-sized pieces
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 scallions chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1 Tbs grapeseed oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Add chicken and toss to coat.  Marinate for about 15-20 minutes. 

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add pepper and celery, and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add marinated chicken breast and cook for about two minutes on each side or until fully cooked.  Add scallions and cook until the scallions are slightly wilted. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve immediately with rice. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stay-at-home Chicken Noodle Soup

Last weekend, I caught a cold.  Fortunately, I did not get the flu, which apparently is an epidemic right now. Nonetheless, I still felt under the weather.  After several cups of honey and lemon tea, countless glasses of water, and two decongestant capsules, I felt well enough to make this soup.

Studies have shown the health benefits therapeutic effects of chicken soup.  Some would argue that its effects are psychosomatic.  As far as I was concerned though, it made me feel better. 

Stay-at-home Chicken Noodle Soup

1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
5 thin slices of fresh ginger (optional, but ginger also has health benefits!
6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (I like Pacific Natural Foods and Trader Joe's)
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped (can substitute spinach or any other leafy green)
1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 Tbs fresh oregano
2 dried bay leaves
About 2 Tbs of olive oil
About 1 cup pasta (I used whole wheat penne) 
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot on medium.  Cook celery, carrots, and onion until they start soften (about three minutes or so).  Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic and ginger slices.  Cook for about another minute or so.  Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and about half the oregano. Raise heat to high to bring to boil.  Once the broth is boiling, reduce heat to bring it to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, boil water for pasta in a separate pot with a pinch of salt.  Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside. 

Around the time the pasta is done cooking (about 15 -20 minutes), add the chicken breast to the soup pot and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until fully cooked.   Remove the chicken and shred into bite-size pieces with two forks or if cool enough, your fingers.

Add the broccoli and rest of the oregano to the soup pot and allow to cook for about 3 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  

Just before serving, stir in the shredded chicken.  If serving all at once, add all the cooked pasta.  If you plan on saving some for later, add the pasta to individual servings and save the rest in a separate container.  I find keeping the pasta separate from the soup prevents the pasta from absorbing all the broth and getting soggy.