Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stout Beer Chicken Stirfry

It's no secret that I love beer.  I also love chicken.  What can go wrong when you put the two together?  Nothing.  Nothing can go wrong.  That's what.   I'm not a huge stout beer fan,  but in this recipe it really adds something.  The dark colored beer adds a beautiful color to the chicken when its all seared and warm.  

I prepped this meal for two people,  making 8 total meals.   I served mine with brown rice, so it was true to the stirfry theme.  I eat A LOT OF RICE.  It's quick,  easy,  and gets the clean carb job done.  But,  feel free to experiment with this over a sweet potato.  And...let me know how delicious it is so I can make it too.

Stout Beer Chicken Stirfry
Prep: 20 minutes (roughly)
Cook:  1 hour,  with all chicken and veggies
Serves: 6-8

2 1/2 pounds of cleaned chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 red  peppers
2 green peppers
2 small white onions
1 bag frozen (steam in bag) broccoli (this is for shortcut and time purposes,  but fresh works too)
1 bag Cole Slaw Mix ( I used Dole)
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp sesame oil 
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Stout Beer of choice
2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp of olive oil (rough estimate)
Salt and pepper pinches here and there, for seasoning


1.  First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet,  or dutch oven,  over medium high heat until almost at the smoking point.

3.  While this is happening,  put your brown rice either in the rice cooker or begin cooking in a pot with a tight fitting lid according to package directions (I used two cups of dry rice for 8 servings)

4.  When the skillet or dutch oven is heated thoroughly,  salt and pepper the chicken (take it easy on the salt because of the soy sauce) and begin browning and searing in small batches--about 3 minutes on each side.  6 minutes total for each batch. Do small batches so the chicken has room to brown and keep all nice and crispy. 

5.  While this is happening,  begin chopping up ALL of your vegetables.  Keep them all separate,  as they all have different cooking times.  I know this sounds time intensive,  and it kind of is--but it will give you 8 total meals.  MEAL PREP HEAVEN.  What I did was--I chopped my peppers because I knew they had to be cooked next.  While they were cooking I chopped my onions,  etc.

6.  In a large food processor combine the following:  1 tbsp sesame oil, garlic cloves, stout beer,  honey,  soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until the garlic is tinyyyyy.

(This is the stout I used,  which has nice hints of chocolate and coffee)

7.  Throw sauce into already hot skillet or dutch oven and let boil for 1-2 minutes.  

8.  Add chicken and stir well to make sure it is all incorporated in that lovely chocolaty brown sauce.  

9.  While the chicken is cooking,  heat dashes of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.   Start frying up the vegetables in batches for 4-5 minutes total--remember you do not want this to be vegetable MUSH.  My order went like this:  Cole Slaw Mix (you just want it to have a nice crisp on it,  so like 3-5 minutes each side--I pressed mine down into the skillet like a pancake for 3 minutes a side),
Batches of peppers,  Batches of onions,  microwaves broccoli.  I kept just adding all of my vegetable deliciousness to a plate.

You could add mushrooms (which I LOVE),  but Zachy hates mushrooms.

10.  After 30 minutes,  remove chicken and stir making sure each piece is well incorporated with your sauce.  

11.  Add vegetables,  stir around,  and throw back in oven so they all meld together flavor wise for 5-10 minutes.

12.  Serve with rice :)

Here is me and Zachy's prep!  He gets 6 ounces of chicken and one cup of rice,  I get four ounces of chicken and a half a cup of rice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shredded Honey Chipotle Chicken

I have become obsessed with my dutch oven.  My x bought it for me,  and aside from that part--it kicks ass.  I used to feel this way about the crock pot.  No longer.  I never even touch my crock pot these days.  I like that the dutch oven allows you to brown meat and then just put it in the oven and move on with your day.  This aspect of Sunday cooking allows me to quickly brown meat,  put it in the oven,  and get back to my one true love--- Marathons of Law and Order SVU.

This recipe is spicy,  I cannot lie to you about that.  If you do not like spice only use half of the chipotle in adobo and no Red Pepper Flakes.   If you like it spicier,  simply add more red pepper flakes.  This isn't so spicy it hurts,  but it definitely is not for people who puke when a little bit of spice hits their life.  As the iconic spice girls once wisely said "SPICE UP YOUR LIFE...COME ON EVERYBODY...."

Shredded Honey Chipotle Chicken
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Serves:  6

3 large cleaned chicken breast (about 2- 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red chili paste (can find in the Italian section near the tomato paste in a tube)
3 tbsp honey, and some for serving
4 ounces chicken broth
1 can chipolte peppers in adobo
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1.  Heat a pan or a dutch oven with two tablespoons of olive oil until searing.

2.  While the pan is heating set your oven to 275 degrees.

3.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and add to the searing pan.  Brown on each side for 3-5 minutes.

4.   While the chicken is browning add the honey, red chili paste, can of peppers in adobo, and garlic cloves to a food processor.  Pulse until smooth.

5.  Once chicken is browned add your food processor mixture,  the onion,  and the chicken broth to the dutch oven.  Note: If using a crock pot,   transfer chicken to crockpot and add the wet ingredients in then).

6.  Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and chili powder (I like to put it on the top of the chicken before putting it in the oven because it makes a nice red crust).
7.  Cover and place in oven for 2 hours. Note: Crockpot cook on low for 6-7 hours.

8.  After 2 hours remove from oven,  remove lid and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

9.  Shred with two forks and mix in well with the juices in the pan,  and drizzle with a dash more honey for flavor!

I served mine with sauteed asparagus and 1/2 cup of brown rice.  I actually prepped it for the week, so I have this meal to eat all week.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas

This recipe just made it's way into my top 5 of all time.  The heat from the jalapenos adds a nice heat,  while the citrus from the oranges cuts through the heat and adds a nice undertone of flavor.  The citrus and the heat definitely compete,  but neither over powers the other.  

This is what determines my top 5:

1. How much does it make?
2. Is it something I can sustain eating for 4 days?
3.  Is it friggan delicious?

Pork Carnitas:

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes

I added one jalapeno with seeds,  and one without because I like a little heat.  You can add both jalapenos with the seeds,  and no seeds at all.  See,  all of the heat is in the seeds and ribs.  Removing them completely eliminates all heat.

It is very important you use bone in pork shoulder or but.  I am a firm believer that the bone adds flavor and moisture.  I am also a firm believer the meat HAS to be seared before slow cooked.  This could be made in a crock pot for sure,  but definitely  sear the meat in a cast iron or pan with oil first.  If you chose to make this the crock pot,  follow the same directions but cook on low for 8 hours. 

Pork Carnitas
Prep: 25 minutes (roughly)
Cook: 5 1/2 hours plus 10 minutes
Serves: 6-7

5 1/2- 6lb Pork Shoulder or Pork But,  bone in
2 small white onions, diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers,   seeds removed from one---diced
3 cloves of garlic,  diced
2 large oranges, cut in half
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp oregano 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water


1.  Heat your Dutch Oven with 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Preheat the oven for 275 degrees.

2.  While your dutch oven is heating (3-5 minutes) mix the salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Rub the mixture well into the meat.

3.  Begin searing the meat on each side for 3-5 minutes.  

4.  Once the meat is seared and brown on each side,  place the pork shoulder fat cap facing up.

5.  Add the jalapenos,  onions, garlic,  and remaining one tbsp of olive oil.  Allow to cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  

6.  Juice the two oranges over the pork,  and add the orange peels to the dutch oven.  Add water.

7.   Place the lid on the dutch oven and place into the 275 degree oven for 5 1/2 hours.

8.  Remove from oven,  remove bone and fat cap.  (You need to cook with the fat cap so that the fat seeps into the meat and moisturizes it as it cooks).

9.  Turn the oven up to 325.

10.  Shred the meat and mix into the juices.

11.  Place the meat back in the oven uncovered for approximately 10 minutes so that the juices and shredded meat marinates.

Suggested taco accompaniments:
Diced avocado or guacamole
Squeeze of lime
Red Onions
Shredded Cheese

Served in a seared and browned corn tortillas