Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Lemon-Garlic Chicken & Pea Pod Stir Fry

lemongarlicchickenpeastirfrytitleWhew!  That title is a mouthful!  Pretty much quite literally because this turned out so good that I was basically shoveling it into my mouth and belly.  Yeah, I was pretty hungry when I ate this but it cooked up so quickly that I didn’t have to wait long.

Now that Spring is well under way, it seems like we have more and more obligations besides just work and school which is not a bad thing by any means.  It just means that sometimes dinner needs to happen a little more quickly.

lemongarlicchickenpeastirfry1Like most things in life, it seems like there is an ebb and flow between my hermit tendencies and my innate need to be social.  We do have a few standing biweekly social obligations all year, such as game night with a couple of friends and a bar night with another friend.  This year we also have a monthly themed dinner party with I am LOVING!  Plus, it seems like more people are trying to do more.

Maybe it’s a sign that the economy is starting an upswing or maybe other people are tired of being hermits, too.  Regardless, I’m loving seeing more friends more often.

lemongarlicchickenpeastirfry2In the time that it took to make the rice that is under this yummy brown and green goodness, I was able to completely prep and cook the chicken and peas.  I love meals like that.  I also love when quick meals are good for you, too.  It’s a win-win for din-din!  (Sorry… I had to. 🙂 )

Okay, okay.  You’re right.  That was just bad, so to make up for it, here’s the recipe for this quick and easy dinner.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken & Pea Pod Stir Fry
By: 
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic (or 6-7 cloves, minced)
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and diced into ¾" pieces
  • 1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the pea pods.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and remove from the heat.
  6. Serve over rice, if desired
Notes
Adapted from foodandwine.com

Nutrition calculated at SparkRecipes
Nutrition Information
Servings: 2 cups Calories: 396 Fat: 12.5g Saturated fat: 2.6g Unsaturated fat: 9.2g Carbohydrates: 10.7g Sugar: 3.2g Sodium: 706mg Fiber: 2.8g Protein: 55g Cholesterol: 140.5mg

 

Gyro Pizza (with homemade tzatziki and Greek seasoning)

gyropizzatitleIf you are not familiar with the Greek sandwich called a gyro (pronounced YEER-oh), it is meat, usually lamb and/or beef, that is cooked on a vertical spit then the meat is shaved off and served on warm pita bread with onion, tomatoes, and a yummy yogurt sauce called tzatziki.  There are, of course, many versions of gyros but the one I described above seems to be pretty common here in the U.S.

The first one I remember ever having was from a food truck at the Park Point rummage sales as a kid.  Hmm… just like the egg salad from last week, Park Point holds another food memory for me…. I remember that first intoxicating bite like it was yesterday.  I’d never in my life had anything that tasted like that.  The sweet, garlicky, creamy sauce mixed with the warm pita bread and cold tomatoes and freshly carved meat with a unique yet familiar flavor (which I learned later in life was cinnamon being used in a savory form) made my mouth feel like it was dancing.

gyropizza1Since then, I’ve had gyros pretty much anywhere I’ve been able to get them.  Even the ones that were mediocre still made me happy.  I even tried some horrid boxed version when I was in my 20’s that you could make at home.  They were okay at best but still satisfied that occasional craving I get for gyros.

Now that I am older and wiser about food, I realized that I could make these at home fairly easily.  Minus cooking the meat on a vertical spit.  But… even better… I realized I could combine yet one more thing with my love for pizza.  A gyro pizza is certainly something I’ve never heard of before.  Gyro nachos, yes. In fact, Cassie’s post about her gyro nachos is what got me started on thinking about this gyro pizza.  I also made her Ten Minute Tzatziki as is.  All I did was double it to get enough for 2 pizzas.

gyropizza3I normally prefer a thin crust on my pizza so when I make my pizza crust, I typically split a single batch in half for 2 pizzas.  This pizza did better with a thicker, more substantial crust since it’s supposed to mimic the pita bread of a gyro.

I actually made 2 pizzas even though I’m going to give you the directions below for just 1.  This has worked out really well for lunches this week at work.  Because the crust is fully baked before being topped with the tzatziki sauce and because it is nice and thick, it held up really well in the refrigerator.  And yes, I ate it cold. 🙂

gyropizza5

Gyro Pizza
By: 
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 12 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe of Ten Minute Tzatziki (see recipe below)
  • 1 batch Quick Pizza Crust
  • 1 Tbsp Greek seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ c water
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 c shredded lettuce
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Optional: chopped onion, sliced olives
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Make the tzatziki sauce and refrigerate until ready for use.
  3. Mix the yeast, sugar, and water for the dough.
  4. While the yeast is blooming, make the Greek seasoning and set aside. Spray a large 15"x10" baking sheet with nonstick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.
  5. Add the flour, salt and olive to the yeast mixture to form your dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Just before you start to form your crust, heat a large nonstick pan over med-high heat.
  7. Press the dough evenly in the prepared baking sheet and poke holes all over it with a fork to prevent air pockets while the crust cooks. Place it in the oven and bake 15-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. After placing the crust in the oven, add your ground beef to the skillet and cook, stirring, until no pink remains and the meat is crumbled. Drain off any grease. Add 1 Tbsp of the Greek seasoning and water. Mix well and let simmer until the liquid has evaporated. If it has finished cooking before the crust is done, just remove it from the heat and set aside.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool slightly. I use this time to shred my lettuce and chop the tomato.
  10. To build the pizza, spread the tzatziki sauce evenly over the warm crust. Top with the cooked meat, crumbled feta, lettuce and tomato.
  11. Cut into pieces and serve.

 
Ten Minute Tzatziki
By: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small
  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp minced jarred garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving.

 
Greek Seasoning
By: 
Cuisine: Greek
Makes: 2 Tbsp
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix well in a small bowl.
Notes
Adapted from food.com

 

 

Sour Cream & Horseradish Noodles

sourcreamhorseradishnoodlestitleRemember when I said it’s good to have a mild side dish when you have a strongly flavored entrée?  Well, it’s just as good to have a stronger side dish when you are doing something more on the boring side… like baked chicken breasts because you just aren’t feeling creative but still want flavor.

Between the horseradish and dill, this is definitely not a mild side dish that sits on the side of your plate, waiting for your attention.  It’s a strong side dish that will compete with a lot of other flavors so you’ll want to serve with something neutral, like simply seasoned chicken or  perhaps as a base for a beef stew or a creamy chicken soup.

sourcreamhorseradishnoodles2I found this recipe in another cookbook, called “Cuisine Tonight: Quick and Easy Menus“.  I tried to find the original online but could only find where other people have made it.  I changed mine up, of course.  One thing I did not like about the original was the way it added cold ingredients to hot pasta.

If you want to see a copy of the original recipe to compare to mine, you can click here.  This is a word-for-word version of the recipe I adjusted even though they did not give credit to the book it came from.  That’s kind of a pet peeve of mine: not giving credit where credit is due.  That’s why I always list where I saw something, even after I adjusted and changed it.  Recipes themselves are not protected by copyright laws, but I think it’s just a nice thing to let people know you got the recipe from somewhere else instead of making it seem like it’s your own.

Of course, I have an art background so maybe I’m just a little more sensitive to that subject. 🙂  Anyway, off my soapbox and on to the recipe!

Sour Cream & Horseradish Noodles
By: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: about 10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz dried wheat egg noodles
Instructions
  1. Set your pot of water for the noodles on the stove and turn to high.
  2. While the water is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, dill, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside on the counter.
  3. Once the water starts boiling, add your noodles and cook according to the package directions.
  4. Drain the pasta and gently stir it into the sour cream mixture.
  5. Serve warm
Notes

 

sourcreamhorseradishnoodles1

Easy Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken

spicyglazedchickentitleOkay, so… when you are done reading this post, you need to check your pantry, see what you need then go to the store so you can make this recipe for dinner tonight.  It is so easy and so tasty but tastes amazing.  It’s spicy.  It’s sweet.  It’s juicy.  It’s good!

So… um… yeah.  I really liked this chicken, in case you didn’t pick up on that. 🙂

I’ve never seen the TV show, but I love the America’s Test Kitchen line of cookbooks.  I had gotten the “America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook” a while back and loved it so much that I gave Mr. Onion-hater’s sister a copy of it for Christmas.  It’s not often that I will do that, but it’s got a lot of good recipes in it.

spicyglazedchicken2Of course, I rarely follow any recipe as-is, but I didn’t change much on this one.  I doubled the sauce, for starters, and changed the method very slightly.  I was right to double the sauce because it was yummy on the rice and the broccoli that I served with it.

spicyglazedchicken5Even though I made 2 lbs of chicken for the 3 of us, there ended up being no leftovers.  At least I made it on the weekend so wasn’t relying on leftovers for lunch the next day.  The next time I make this, and it will be soon, I want to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and mix the broccoli in with the chicken and sauce and serve it Chinese-food-style over the rice.

I think this would also work well with pork and maybe even shrimp.  If you try this with a different protein, please let me know!

Easy Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken
By: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 ~ 6-8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 16 oz (2 cups) orange juice
  • ¼ c apricot preserves
  • ¼ c sweet chile sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 c hot cooked rice
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat until it starts to simmer slightly. Meanwhile, use a can or heavy bottle to pound the chicken slightly to make it even and a little more thin. Sprinkle one side with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken in the skillet, salt and pepper side down, in the oil. Cook for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, apricot preserves, chile sauce, parsley and cornstarch.
  4. Flip the chicken and pour in the sauce, spooning it over the chicken. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 8-9 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (juices run clear) and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  5. Leave the heat on under the pan while placing the chicken and rice on 4 plates to let it reduce a bit more. Spoon sauce over the chicken and rice.
Notes

spicyglazedchicken4

Steak Tips with BBQ-Pepper Sauce

steaktipsbbqpeppersaucetitleWhen I was 22 years old, I moved to the Minneapolis area.  I had seen an advertisement for some local rib festival which was a new concept for me.  When I asked a coworker what it was, she said it was a musical festival in a large field where a lot of different BBQ vendors also made and sold food.  That night, I had a dream of people going into a field and eating the cows, kinda zombie-style.  That was the night I became a vegetarian for the first time.

My vegetarianism lasted about 3 years because one fateful night, I ended up at a steak house where my food options were sautéed mushrooms and a side salad.  After 1 bite of the steak I ended up ordering, my first round of vegetarianism ended.  I tried another stint with vegetarianism many years later with one night a week of eating meat but it ended up causing issues with my blood sugar because I was eating more refined breads and pastas in order to feel full.

Honestly, though, meals like the one I made here are good reasons for me to be an omnivore.  The tasty, tender bits of beef in the tangy, salty sauce were pure heaven.  The next time I make this, I’m doubling the recipe and serving it over mashed potatoes.

steaktipsbbqpeppersauce1This seriously took less than 20 minutes to prepare but tasted like something you’d get at a restaurant.  For the BBQ sauce in this recipe, I used my Honey BBQ sauce that I keep on hand almost all the time.  It seemed to work really well but I think just about any BBQ sauce would taste good in this recipe.

Okay, I’m starting to drool just a bit looking at this picture so I think I should give you the recipe now before I short out my keyboard. 😉

Steak Tips with BBQ-Pepper Sauce
By: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb boneless beef sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1½" pieces
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, undrained
  • ½ c honey BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the steak pieces with paprika and add to the skillet. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until browned and done as desired.
  3. Remove from the skillet.
  4. Drain the peppers, reserving ½ cup of the brine. If it's short, add water to make it ½ cup. Slice the peppers to about ½" thick and set aside.
  5. Add the pepper liquid and BBQ sauces to the skillet and stir well. Cook, uncovered, about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the peppers to the sauce followed by the steak bits. Heat for 1-2 minutes until the steak is warmed through again.
Notes
Adapted from bhg.com

 

steaktipsbbqpeppersauce2

Tangy Egg Salad

eggsaladtitleTomorrow is the first day of Spring and, at my house, it’s a tradition to color hard-boiled eggs to mark the new season.  And all those hard-boiled eggs mean egg salad!

Egg salad is tied to one of my earliest childhood memories: my mom, my grandma, and I sitting in the shade by the playground at Park Point in Duluth, Minnesota.  One of my mom’s favorite picnic sandwiches was egg salad and bacon on soft white bread and I remember sitting at the picnic table, eating those sandwiches, listening to my mom and grandma gossip and waiting to go play but enjoying the tangy, salty sandwich my mom made for me.

eggsalad2Cooking the perfect hard boiled egg is really, really easy.  There are many methods online but the one that has given me perfect results every time is this:

Perfect Hard-boiled Egg
By: 
 
Instructions
  1. Put your eggs in a sauce pan. They should be in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Cover with cold water from the tap until there is 1" of water above the eggs.
  3. Cover the pan partially with the lid and place over high heat. Bring to a hard boil with large "angry" bubbles.
  4. Remove from the heat immediately and cover the pan. Let set for 12 minutes.
  5. While the eggs are sitting in the hot water, fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and water.
  6. Remove the eggs from the hot water and put immediately into the ice water. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the ice water and dry the shells.
  8. To peel the eggs, tap both ends of the egg lightly on the counter. I like to run the egg underwater as I'm peeling it to get rid of any shell fragments.
Notes
Older eggs actually peel more easily than fresh ones.

The only time I really have egg salad now is around Spring time since it’s a great way to use the eggs I love to decorate.  A good egg salad uses real mayonnaise which ups the fat factor so I keep this as a sometimes food.  Like the chicken salad from last week, though, I can eat this in all sorts of ways and enjoy but toast points or plain old white bread are my 2 favorites.

Now that Spring is here, I am really looking forward to picnics.  I definitely want to go on more picnics this year.

Tangy Egg Salad
By: 
Makes: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 9 eggs
  • ½ c mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
Instructions
  1. Put the eggs in a large sauce pan and cover with cold tap water until there is about 1" of water over the eggs. Cover partially with the pan lid.
  2. Heat on high until the water comes to a hard boil (large bubbles).
  3. Remove from the heat immediately and cover. Let set for 12 minutes.
  4. Immediately put the eggs in ice water and let cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Peel the eggs and chop them in a large bowl.
  6. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and let chill for 1 hour in the fridge before serving.

 

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