Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Happy wife, happy life, right? Well even though it may be true in our house that if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy I have found over the years that if daddy isn’t happy, then we aren’t all that happy either. And the daddy in our house loves him some Thai food, even if mama does not.

This recipe though is a mutual favorite, which a badly stained page in the family cookbook can attest to. This mama doesn’t even like coconut (the only definite exception to that rule being a Girl Scouts somoa cookie) and I love this dish.

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 medium red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14-oz can coconut milk, light or full fat
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp ginger powder
3 cups hot cooked rice

Directions

1. Cut the chicken into roughly 1 inch cubes. Place the cut chicken into a large bowl and set it aside. In a small bowl, stir together the curry, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper and chili powder. Once they’re evenly combined, sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken, then toss together until the chicken is nice and coated. Cover the chicken and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but no more than two.
2. In a large skillet stir together the onion, basil, garlic and peppers in the olive oil heated over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add in the chicken and then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
3. In a separate bowl, stir the coconut milk and cornstarch together until evenly combined. Slowly pour the mixture into the skillet, stirring constantly until evenly incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce has slightly thickened and is gently bubbling. now stir in the ginger and let the mixture bubble for another minute or so, again stirring vigorously. Remove the skillet from heat and Serve over hot rice.

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Crispy Honey Chicken

One Sunday after church, when the hubs and I were dating, he decided to take me out to lunch. At the time, church and lunch were in the county where our parents all lived, which was much more rural than the subburbs I was used to. There weren’t any delivery services. and only a handful of nice retaraunts to choose from. And by nice I mean not the terrible pizza place that only gets away with charging so much because it’s the only thing out here, or the obligatory McDonalds with its tiny menu. So we settled on Chinese. And it was damn good Chinese, worth every expensive penny. To this day, what I ended up ordering is still my favorite dish. Sadly though, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find, especially in those beloved suburbs we’ve since moved back to. You’d think more restaurants, more honey chicken, right? Well, wrong. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s that not enough people realize just how delicious it really is. But it is fantastic!

Crispy Honey Chicken

It’s so sad this much deliciousness hasn’t been contagious and hasn’t already swept the Chinese restaurant nation, but there’s always hope for the future! Even though the trend hasn’t caught on, the fever sure swept through our house and the recipe has stayed strong and withstood the test of time. If you haven’t discovered the deliciousness yet, well here you go. And if you’re like us and are having a hard time scratching the honey chicken itch then here’s a perfectly easy at home version without the restaurant pricing.

Crispy Honey Chicken 2

for the sauce

1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/8 tsp sesame seed oil
1 dash of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

for the chicken

2 breasts of chicken, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup buttermilk
peanut or canola oil for frying

Directions

1. Heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat, and then add in the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar. Whisk or stir the sauce ingredients together and bring it to a boil. In a separate, small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Once the sauce is boiling, while continuing to stir, slowly add in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil and then quickly turn down to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to sit for a minute to finish thickening. You only want to thicken a little bit, as too much would make it hard to toss and evenly coat the chicken.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a dutch oven, or other designated pot for frying, over medium high heat. In a shallow dish, mix the flour and spices together evenly. Toss the chicken in the spiced flour, then the buttermilk, and then back into the flour. Once the oil is nice and hot cook the chicken, turning occasionally until golden on the outside and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Drain the fried chicken on paper towels and then toss in the sauce and serve over sticky rice.

recipe adapted from Oh, Sweet Basil

Asian Chicken Wraps

Spring has sprung which, for the sons and I, meant another Spring Break sprung (up) upon us and just as sneakily slipped away. Everybody enjoyed themselves for the most part. A few days were touch and go though. Son # 4 has developed a case of motor mouth. If he’s awake, it’s running. It’s pumpking out questions. Everything is why? And he’s a repeater. It doesn’t matter how fa into a sentence or a story he is, if he gets interupted by anything, he begins again. From the begining, repeating every words just the same, whether it’s the third or fifteenth try. And I mean interrupted by anything. By me, by another thought, but a bird chirping when he’s trying to talk. The whole world must stop and give their full attention to every. single. word. Aside from that he doesn’t talk. He spells. Everything. He asks to spell everything. It’s like having a conversation in textlish. ‘I W-A-N-T … … Mama, how do you spell lunch again? L-U-N-C-H.” Most days it’s cute, but by day 4 I had pulled out the plug. Ear plugs, a great investment for any parent.

But speaking of lunch, with a whole week of everyone home for all their meals I do try to ‘spice’ things up a bit, after all it is Spring Break. Even if we’re staying home we can still pretend we’re on vacation right? We don’t have to be as responsible, and that’s reason enough to celebrate. So plain old, ho hum lunches just wouldn’t do. Sandwiches just scream ‘school day’. We want lunches that loudly proclaim, we’re home for a week full of sleeping in, binge watching tv, and lots of fort building in the woods. I don’t know about you, but we’ve found wraps are a good way to transform a boring sandwich into something that’s so much more. It’s ok to break away from the loaf and leave the boring sandwich behind.

This east meets west, easy wrap idea is perfect for lunch, or even a lighter dinner. And doesn’t an Asian Chicken Wrap sound way more exciting than a sandwich? Chock full of flavor with a perfect chow mein noodle crunch these were the perfect way to say ‘School’s out for Spring Break’.

Asian Chicken Wraps

 Asian Chicken Wraps

4 medium sized tortillas
2 chicken breasts, cooked and thinly sliced into strips
2/3 cup General Tso’s sauce
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
romaine lettuce, or other lettuce variety of choice
1/2 cup shredded carrots
4 tbsp chow mein noodles

Directions

1. In a small skillet or pot, add both sauces and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
2. Add the cooked, sliced chicken to a medium sized bowl and pour the prepared sauce over top. Stir to toss the chicken with the sauce until all the chicken is well coated.
3. To make each wrap, add about 1/3 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup chicken slices, 1/4 cup carrots slices, and 1 tbsp chow mein noodles down the center or each tortilla.
4. Fold in the top and bottom of each tortilla and then roll it up. Enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Green Beans

The holidays may have ended for 2014, but it won’t be long at all (seems like in the blink of an eye) that they will be here again. Trying to round out your meal plan? Well, with these Garlic Ginger Green Beans, you’ve got a bright, fresh side dish that is sure to be gobbled up. Don’t expect any leftovers. These will get devoured, I promise. Plus, these are a nice green bean option for anyone that’s trying to watch what they eat, or anyone who appreciates change, and don’t want to indulge in the more traditional, and heavier, green bean casserole. I know that for me, as the primary cook in our household, it’s so nice to have a few, less stressful recipes in the works during those busy times, and let me tell you it doesn’t get much easier than these green beans! Well, unless you give this recipe to someone else for them to make and just bring it to dinner (that would be really quick and easy for you). The beans get a quick blanching and, after they’ve stopped cooking, a stir in a hot pan with some sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and some rice vinegar for good measure. It’s like a green bean stir-fry guys!! Who wouldn’t like that as a side at your next big meal?

And for any sticklers who claim there’s a strict holiday recipe schedule? Like you have to have green bean casserole at the Thanksgiving and/or Christmas meal? Remember your history. America is a melting pot after all, and what better way to celebrate that diversity than at the symbolic table where we originally all first came together?!

Garlic Ginger Green Beans

Garlic Ginger Green Beans

1 lb green beans, washed and trimmed
4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp fresh, minced ginger
2 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
⅛ tsp salt
1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until beans are just tender.
2. Drain beans in a strainer and then run under cold water cold water to stop the cooking process
3. While beans are boiling, in a small bowl, mix together all of the other ingredients except for the sesame seeds.
4. Transfer the beans to a pot or bowl and pour the sauce over cooked beans and stir until everything is nicely coated.
5. Serve with sprinkled sesame seeds over top.

Crispy Asian Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Didn’t think sprouts were for you? Crispy, caramelized Brussels sprouts are tossed in a sweet and slightly spicy Asian glaze for the ultimate side dish. After one taste of these Crispy Asian Glazed Brussels Sprouts, you’ll be shocked at how good those old fashioned veggies can actually taste.

crispy-asian-brussels-sprouts-3 Read more

Sauteed Garlic Teriyaki Green Beans

I can’t get enough of fresh veggies. There’s something soooo satisfying about the crunch they make. I like them so much, I usually prefer them raw or very simply seasoned. I was iffy when the hubs began insisting I try this recipe he’d seen. But, what the hubs wants the hubs gets. Haha. Yeah right, but in reality he rarely begs or even asks for a specific thing for supper so I despite my internal reservations, I jumped at the chance to do it for him. I just didn’t think I’d actually like it. Asian-style green beans just didn’t sound like my kind of thing.

I wish I’d had a camera to record his looks over dinner. First, the look on his face when he tasted them and confirmed they were everything he’d thought they’d be. Second, the look of smug satisfaction directed my way acroos the table as I wolfed my own serving down. What can I say? The man knows me. He also knows food. And he was spot on with this recipe. I should have known better to doubt him. I hate being told, ‘I told you so,’ but for once I was happily wrong.

Serve these over rice for an awesome Asian-style vegetarian option, or serve them as a satisfying side with pork or chicken.

Garlic Teriyaki Green Beans

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Garlic Teriyaki Green Beans

recipe adapted from Lori’s Culinary Creations

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
1lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon teriyaki marinade or sauce
1/4 cup white wine, authentic or cooking wine, either is fine or 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup medium red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

1. Heat the oil & butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted and begins to bubble.
2.  Add the garlic, pepper, beans, and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the teriyaki sauce, wine, onion,  paprika, and garlic powder and keep cooking the beans for an additional 20-25 minutes until the beans are mostly soft, but with a slight crunch.

Asian Pasta Salad

This pasta, tossed in a sesame oil and soy sauce-based dressing, is a refreshing, Asian-inspired side dish perfect for picnics.  This is great for lunch, a light main meal, or even a supper-time side dish, so serve it for the family, or make ahead for your next Bar-B-Q.

Do you ever roast a whole chicken, and then wonder what you’re going to do with all the leftover meat after dinner is over? This is perfect for a chicken dinner day after. Pick those bones clean! Don’t let anything go to waste. As my mom always said, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ That, and some juicy, leftover pieces from your roast chicken would be the perfect reason to whip up this dish.  Vegetarian or looking for a meatless meal idea? Omit the chicken. All the original tangy flavors will still infiltrate every bite.

Summer will be here before we know it, and this quick, colorful, and oh-so tasty cold, oriental noodle salad will pair perfectly with the season!

Asian Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Asian Pasta Salad

recipe adapted from Lil Luna

1 lb.  Tri-Color Rotini
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups diced or shredded chicken breast
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper strips, optional

Directions

1. Make pasta as directed and set aside.
2. Cook sesame seeds in a skillet on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
3. Mix together vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds and pepper with a whisk until mixed well.
4. Pour dressing mixture over pasta and mix until coated evenly
5. Add chicken, cilantro, spinach, carrots, and peppers, if using. Toss and serve.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

This is one of my new favorite summer soups! It has the perfect blend of light creaminess with the curry flavor I crave, without being too spicy. I am not a fan of coconut, but this is one of the rare instances where there’s an exception to that rule. The vague hint of coconut isn’t at all overpowering. This is my kind of ‘Thai’! While this may not appeal to an authentic Thai food enthusiast, it was everything I was looking for. This soup is perfect for someone who loves a good creamy chicken and rice soup and an Asian flair.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

4 Sons 'R' Us: Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

recipe adapted from Foodtastic Mom

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp prepared Thai curry paste, green or red depending on preference
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot, or dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring to combine evenly.
  2. Add all the vegetables and salt and saute for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
  4.  Add stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes to allow rice to fully cook.
  5. Add the cooked chicken, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Stir well and allow to heat through.
  6. Remove soup from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary with more salt or sugar.
  7. Serve soup sprinkled with more fresh cilantro and a drizzle of Sirarcha sauce, if desired.