spicy

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Spicy Pineapple Chicken

Published October 27, 2012 by jenmatteson

Elly posted this recipe on Thursday morning, and I made it for dinner on Thursday night.  It’s not often that recipes make it to my dinner table same day, let alone same week.  But I just so happened to have all the ingredients, and I had purchased chicken breasts at the grocery store over the weekend (on sale, of course) that I had been meaning to freeze, but still hadn’t gotten around to.  I figured I should at least make two of them for dinner tonight, which will force me to freezer-zip-top-baggie the other two and store in the freezer.  However, I just couldn’t decide what to make.  I was thinking buffalo chicken wraps, then chicken tacos, then possibly a salad (I have a gala this weekend and must look good in my dress!), but nothing really seemed to excite me.  Thankfully, I was on my cooking board and Elly, from Elly says Opa!, posted this recipe (pictures didn’t hurt either!).

I had leftover pineapple from mango-habanero chicken sandwiches, and it’s not like I couldn’t just eat the pineapple alone, but it’s always more fun to make something from it.

I didn’t change much, but I only had a half can of pineapple w/juice left, so that left me with about 1/2 cup of pineapple juice.  I made it work, but I’d suggest the full cup if you have it.  Also, I added a little more chili sauce, as we like things with a little more kick.  I would have added sliced green onions to the finished product, but I didn’t have any, so I used some cilantro, just to add some color.  Everything else is pretty much as the recipe was written, and it was delicious.  Definitely better than take out and a good creation for my uninspiring chicken breasts!

Spicy Pineapple Chicken

Source: Elly Says Opa!
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
1 cup pineapple juice
1-2 tbsp chili sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch

For the chicken and vegetables:
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped pineapple

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch.  Set aside.

2. Salt and pepper sliced chicken breasts, then toss with cornstarch.  Ensure all pieces are coated with the cornstarch.  Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, and heat over medium-high heat.  Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook on each side until cooked through, 3-5 minutes.  You may have to add the chicken in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan.  You want your chicken to get a nice crust.

3. If needed, add a small amount more oil to the pan and saute onions and peppers for about 3 minutes, until they start to  become soft.  Add garlic and cook for one minute more.   Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.  Add chopped pineapple and chicken.  Toss to coat chicken with sauce.  Serve over prepared whole grain rice.

Recipe Swap: Sante Fe Chicken Salad

Published August 24, 2012 by jenmatteson

Another blogger’s choice recipe swap, and this time I got Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, written by Heather.  I didn’t even have to peruse her blog to find what I wanted to make; I already had three recipes in my “to try” list from her (I don’t know why she wasn’t in my in blogs I frequent already, but she’s certainly going there shortly!).  Okay, so I did take a gander through her blog again, but I really wanted to try all the recipes that were waiting on my list: bagels, Sante Fe chicken salad and spicy chicken in garlic lime broth.  I settled on the salad (for today), but don’t you think for one second that I will not be making the other two very soon 😛

This recipe sounded exactly like a salad I would order in a restaurant (and why in the world does a salad almost always taste better in a restaurant than it does when you make it at home?), so I knew this was exactly what I wanted to make.  Super simple, everyday ingredients (love that part!), and quick to prepare.  What could be better?

Oh, and I have to include a shout out to my good friend, Nick.  He custom-made me some spice racks (I have far too many spices), and after almost a year of bugging him, he finally hung them for me a few weekends ago.

The reason this particular recipe made me think of Nick and my spice racks is because it involves a good handful of my favorite spices (all were on my “frequently used” rack, not the “alphabetically ordered” rack).  Woot woot!  Thanks, Nick!! 🙂

Back to the salad…It was textbook out of a restaurant – in an awesome way!  It was probably even better!  I didn’t have any red peppers on hand, so I used tomatoes for the color instead.  To make up for the flavor of the missing red pepper, I used red onion along with a little green onion (I had them both in my refrigerator).  I forgot the corn…eh.  Certainly wouldn’t have hurt, but I remembered when I went back to blog the recipe.  Oh well.  I also forgot the cheese for Nate, and he didn’t even notice because it was a such a good salad, and one he’d like to have again on many occasions.  He even ate up all the extra chicken, veggies, and dressing with some blue corn tortilla chips the same night.  Lettuce..who needs it?

Oh, and the dressing.  Yum!  I love the combination of sour cream (I used Greek yogurt) and salsa, but the addition of ranch and lime juice really gave it that restaurant flavor that can be hard to find at home.  So delicious!  Thank you, Heather!

Sante Fe Chicken Salad

Source: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 3 large salads

Ingredients:

For the chicken:
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp tequilla
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the dressing:
1/4 cup salsa
2 tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt (sour cream would work)
2 tbsp ranch dressing
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper

For the salad:
4 cups lettuce, rough chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4  red onion, chopped
1/3 cup pepper jack cheese
tortilla chips

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, orange juice, tequilla, olive oil, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic and salt and pepper.  Place chicken in zip-top bag and cover with marinade.  Refrigerate and let chicken marinate for 1-4 hours.

2. Combine all ingredients for dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Heat grill to medium high heat.  Remove chicken from marinade.  Grill chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.  Let cool, then slice into strips.

4. Place a layer of tortilla chips on plates, then top with lettuce cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, onions, cheese, and chicken strips.  Finish with dressing as desired.

Red Hot Chipotle Sauce

Published August 16, 2012 by jenmatteson

I made this at the same time as making my garlic hot sauce; they were both my first attempts at crossing off another 30 Before 30 item (only a little under a year left!).  Head over to the garlic hot sauce post if you’d like to read more details about getting started with hot sauces.

The garlic hot sauce sounded amazing, but I was much more excited for the red hot chipotle sauce.  I was really hoping this one would be extremely spicy, but also have some good flavor, and I was right.  The flavor was pretty smokey, but packed a serious punch.  I’m a happy girl!  Too bad the pictures aren’t more amazing – not really sure hot to photograph a seemingly boring bottle of hot sauce.

Red Hot Chipotle Sauce

Source: Midwest Supplies
Servings: Yields about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
2-4 whole dried Habanero chilies
4 whole dried chipotle chillies
8 whole dried de arbol chilies
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum

Directions:

1. Put on gloves and keep them on while handling the chilies (these are especially hot and you don’t want to be touching your mouth, nose, and especially eyes – contact wearers – after handling them).  Remove the stems from chilies and place in medium-sized bowl.  Pour boiling water over chilies to rehydrate.  Press down with a spoon to be sure all chilies are submerged, and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, puree tomatoes and chilies with the vinegar and salt.  Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Xanthan Gum and mix in until dissolved.

* If you are taking the pH level of your sauce, now is the time to do so.  Hot sauce ingredients are high in pH levels and can spoil easily without proper acidification.  It is important to cook the sauce at a proper temperature for a sufficient time so that undesired organisms will be destroyed.  Additionally, the pH should be adjusted to below 4.6, preferably below 4.2.  Typically, vinegar-based hot sauce has a pH in the range of 3.0-4.0.  To acidify hot sauce, add more vinegar, lime juice or other low pH substances.

* After your sauce has boiled, everything that comes in contact with it from here on out must be sanitized.  One-Step or Star San sanitizers are recommended to ensure a sanitary environment without the need to rinse.  If you do not have cleaner to sanitize your bottles, place empty bottles (without cap or dripper insert) in a pot, cover and fill the bottles with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

3. For a milder sauce, immediately strain your sauce through a fine mesh strainer.  For a hotter sauce, leave the solids in the sauce for up to two weeks, then strain.  Bottle the sauce and let it age for at least one week in the fridge.  I let this one sit for a week before straining and bottling it.

Garlic Hot Sauce

Published August 16, 2012 by jenmatteson

There is nothing I love more than spicy food, and near the top of my 30 Before 30 list is homemade hot sauce.  Midwest Supplies, where we purchase most of our beer making ingredients, also sells ingredients to make your own hot sauce.  One of the first times we were in there, we saw a hot sauce making kit.  I assumed I needed this because I had no idea where to start when making my own hot sauce (uh, hello, internet??).  We didn’t purchase it that day since we were buying so many other beer brewing items, but the next three or four times we went, they were out of kits.  I couldn’t possibly pick out my own ingredients and wing it, could I?  So finally, the last time we were there picking up more bottles, the kit was there!  Nate said I could get one as part of my birthday gift, YES!

After reading through the ingredients and instructions, I realized I really didn’t need a “hot sauce making kit”.  Here is a list of what came in my kit:

  • 3 Hot Sauce Bottles
  • 3 Pair Black Nitrate Gloves
  • 1 oz whole dried Habanero chili peppers
  • 1 oz whole dried Morita chipotle chili peppers
  • 1 oz whole dried arbol chili peppers
  • 1 oz cayenne powder
  • 1 oz jalapeno powder
  • 1 oz aji amarillo powder
  • pH paper 2.8-4.4
Now I know for next time.  The only additional items I needed to get started was fresh tomatoes and Xanthan Gum.  I’ve never heard of Xanthan Gum previously, so I did a little research and learned that it’s generally used in gluten-free baking and sold at specialty grocery or health food stores.  This meant I couldn’t just pop over to Cub or Rainbow, I had to make a Whole Foods trip.  Boy, do I love Whole Foods!  Unfortunately, I can’t really justify doing all my shopping there; it’s not quite in the budget.  Plus, the closest one to me is about 25 minutes away.

The next day I was looking forward to making hot sauce after work all day long.  Nate would be at class, so I’d have the kitchen to myself, not that I don’t normally, but I just really like to cook in an empty house.  I got the Xanthan Gum and my fresh Bushel Boy tomatoes and I was ready to start making some hot sauce.  Nate and I both like heat, but I’m quite a bit more tolerable to it than he is.  I thought this was the perfect excuse to make two kinds of hot sauce.  One with lots and lots of heat, and another with a healthy combination of fire and flavor.  The first one I made was the later of the two, which was a Garlic Hot Sauce.  The recipe is from Midwest Supplies and came in the kit.  I think I’ll start with a few of these before I venture down the experimental hot sauce path.  I can’t wait for that!!  I also made a Red Hot Chipotle Sauce, but left that to sit with its solids in the fridge for a week before I strain it.  Then it’ll be nice and spicy!

Garlic Hot Sauce

Source: Midwest Supplies
Servings: Yields about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
4-6 fresh cloves of garlic
2-4 whole dried Habanero chilies
10 whole dried de arbol chilies
1/2 tsp Aji Amarillo powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum

Directions:

1. Put on gloves and keep them on while handling the chilies (these are especially hot and you don’t want to be touching your mouth, nose, and especially eyes – contact wearers – after handling them).  Remove the stems from chilies and place in medium-sized bowl.  Pour boiling water over chilies to rehydrate.  Press down with a spoon to be sure all chilies are submerged, and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, puree tomatoes and chilies with the vinegar, aji amarillo powder and garlic salt.  Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Xanthan Gum and mix in until dissolved.

* If you are taking the pH level of your sauce, now is the time to do so.  Hot sauce ingredients are high in pH levels and can spoil easily without proper acidification.  It is important to cook the sauce at a proper temperature for a sufficient time so that undesired organisms will be destroyed.  Additionally, the pH should be adjusted to below 4.6, preferably below 4.2.  Typically, vinegar-based hot sauce has a pH in the range of 3.0-4.0.  To acidify hot sauce, add more vinegar, lime juice or other low pH substances.

* After your sauce has boiled, everything that comes in contact with it from here on out must be sanitized.  One-Step or Star San sanitizers are recommended to ensure a sanitary environment without the need to rinse.  If you do not have cleaner to sanitize your bottles, place empty bottles (without cap or dripper insert) in a pot, cover and fill the bottles with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

3. For a milder sauce, immediately strain your sauce through a fine mesh strainer.  For a hotter sauce, leave the solids in the sauce for up to two weeks, then strain.  Bottle the sauce and let it age for at least one week in the fridge.  I strained this one right away and bottled it.

Oven-Baked Sriracha Chicken

Published July 13, 2012 by jenmatteson

As soon as I saw the title of this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  You know me, you know I love spicy, and I especially love Sriracha.  I didn’t even have to look at any of the other ingredients.  And just as I expected, it was delicious!

If you haven’t stopped by Alida’s Kitchen, do it.  I adore her blog and her approach to cooking; plus, she super adorable!  Alida’s cooks mostly vegetarian, but will venture out to land creatures every now and then.  I picked a good one to try!  Thanks for sharing, Alida 🙂

I altered the original recipe a little with more Sriracha and less hoisin.  I also uncovered and broiled the chicken after baking it for the last 5 minutes so it got a little blackened.  Served over a little rice with a salad on the side – perfection.  The chicken was super moist and perfectly cooked, with a nice kick.  The Chinese five spice gives it some great deep flavors, too.  Honestly, it sounds super hot, but it isn’t.  I mean, you couldn’t eat this if you absolutely don’t like spice, plus you probably wouldn’t have Sriracha in your cupboard anyway.  Conveniently, I happen to have every single ingredient in my kitchen at all times, so I’m thinking this might be a common dinner at the Pigzilla household.

Oven-Baked Sriracha Chicken

Source: Adapted from Alida’s Kitchen
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced, reserving 1 tbsp of green tops for garnish
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
pinch of Chinese five spice
pinch of salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine green onions, hoisin, ginger, garlic, lime juice, Sriracha, and seasoning.

2. Dip chicken breasts into sauce and place in a shallow baking dish.  Pour any extra sauce over the top of the chicken breasts.  Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Uncover and turn oven to broil.  Move chicken to top oven rack and broil for 5 minutes.

3. Garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Latin-Spiced Lettuce Wraps

Published March 1, 2012 by jenmatteson

We got on a big salad kick before vacation, but are really trying to stick to it since we’ve gotten back.  We really enjoy lettuce wraps, and they seem to be in the salad family to me, so we gave this a try.  I didn’t read all the way through the recipe before planning, and realized I should have let the chicken marinate for 4 hours before cooking, and the salad for at least 2 hours.  Of course I read this when it was dinner time, so I just went ahead with the recipe anyway.  Of course it would have been even better had I let the flavors marry longer, but I can’t imagine how much, because these were so good!  A great amount of heat for me, and I didn’t even need to add Siracha!  If you’re heat sensitive, dial back the chili powder to less than 1/2 tbsp.  I used chicken breasts instead of thighs, broccoli slaw instead of savoy cabbage, and cut the recipe in half for the two of us.  This would be a really fun entertaining dish as well!

Latin-Spiced Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup broccoli slaw
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
8 large Boston lettuce leaves

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, oregano, garlic, orange juice, 1 tbsp each of lime juice and olive oil, salt and a generous amount of pepper. Marinate chicken in mixture for 4 hours (I skipped this part).

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine remaining 1/8 cup of lime juice and olive oil.  Add broccoli slaw, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 hours, tossing occasionally (I skipped this part, too).

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place marinated chicken breasts in shallow baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside.  When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with two forks in the baking dish, and mix in the juices that escaped during cooking.

4. Fill lettuce leaves with chicken and top with the broccoli slaw mixture and serve.

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