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Recipe: Chicken Taco Towers

Chicken Taco Towers

Chicken Taco Towers

While I won’t go as far as to say chicken tacos are boring, they just need a little extra pizazz. So I decided to mix it up by creating some vertical tacos or what I call Chicken Taco Towers.

The key to successful Chicken Taco Towers is a biscuit cutter or a round cuter of some sort. Not only will it be necessary to cut the tortillas uniformly, but it will help you stack things.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and dried
  • 4 tortillas, corn or flour
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Taco Tower Close-Up

Chicken Taco Tower Close-Up


Directions:

  1. Using the biscuit cutter, cut circles into tortillas. (If you don’t want to discard the remnants, I would suggest cutting them into bite-sized pieces, sprinkling with salt and baking on baking sheet in an even layer at 400F to make some tortilla chips.)
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and sauté chicken pieces, lime juice, chili powder, onion, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until all chicken pieces are cooked and/or register 185F on a meat thermometer.
  3. Once chicken is cooked and tortilla circles are ready, you can begin assembling the Chicken Taco Towers. Using the biscuit cutter and starting with a tortilla circle, layer beans, chicken, cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato.
  4. Be sure to move the biscuit cutter up as you stack and press down the layers firmly before adding another one. I experimented and found the beans best on the bottom. Also, I highly recommend adding chicken with cheese for a melty effect. And, I would save the lettuce for last so it doesn’t get too compressed.

If this assembly is too fancy for you, there’s nothing wrong with making traditional chicken soft tacos. The flavor will be virtually the same. Honestly, I was testing out using my biscuit cutter for layering so I was exploring.

Chicken Taco Towers are just a new look for the tacos we’ve all come to love. And let’s face, some tacos can look pretty sloppy so at least give this method a try.

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken is a dish that’s popular in most Chinese and/or Thai restaurants. It’s a versatile given the fact you can throw in the veggies of your choice as long as the chicken and cashews are a constant.

This recipe includes a sweet/spicy sauces to accompany the veggies, chicken and cashews. The best part is that it’s loaded with nutrient-rich veggies and protein-rich chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch (dissolved in 3 TBSP water)
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 4 green onions, cut into thirds
  • 4 leaves of purple or green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews, dry roasted
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Marinade:

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP water

Sauce:

  • 3 TBSP dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar

Veggies for Cashew Chicken

Veggies for Cashew Chicken


Directions:

  1. To make the marinade, dissolve 2 tsp of cornstarch in 2 TBSP of soy sauce and 1 TBSP of water in a medium-sized bowl. Add chicken pieces and stir to combine. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk to mix to make the sauce.
  3. In a wok or large pan, saute the onion, garlic, red pepper, broccoli and green onion in oil over medium-high heat for about two minutes.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and mushrooms. Continue stir frying until chicken pieces are cooked (up to five minutes). If the wok becomes dry, add broth or white wine (1 TBSP at a time).
  5. Add the cabbage and continue stir frying another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sauce and cashews to the wok then add the cornstarch powder dissolved in water and soy sauce. Continuing stirring until all ingredients are well combine and the sauce thickens.
  7. While cooking, taste test for salt and sweetness. If it’s too sour, add more sugar. If it’s not salty enough, add more fish sauce.
  8. Serve over rice or noodles.

If you don’t own a wok, I highly suggest investing in one. They’re perfect for stir-fry dishes such as Cashew Chicken. This recipe should suffice when you don’t have the time venture to your local Chinese or Thai restaurant.

Also, a side note, but I used salt and pepper cashews from Whole Foods to give my version a little extra kick. Though regular dry-roasted cashews should work just fine.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken

Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken

Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken

No, it’s not chicken stuffed with Skittles. Bell peppers are the inspiration and filling in Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken. Bell peppers are awesome to cook with since they virtually come in all colors of the rainbow (except maybe blue).

I also add red onion (which is, let’s face it, really purple), mushrooms and cheese to the multicolor bell pepper blend. The whole blend is really versatile and can be used to complement any dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breast, split or boneless
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • Bell Pepper Blend

    Multicolored Bell Peppers, Mushrooms and Red Onions

  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a large baking sheet or pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bell peppers, mushrooms, onion and cheese.
  3. Half the chicken breasts horizontally, but don’t cut all the way through, making a envelope for the bell pepper blend. Season chicken with salt and pepper or seasonings of your choice.
  4. Stuff the chicken breasts with bell pepper blend. And press down to seal in stuffing. You can also tie with twine if you have any handy.
  5. Prepped Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken

    Prepped Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken

  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until chicken temperature registers between 170F and 180F.
  7. Remove chicken from oven, let cool for a couple minutes, then serve.

Not only is this a colorful dish, it’s full of flavor and healthy nutrients from the veggies in the bell pepper blend. I don’t have a kid, but I imagine this is a fairly kid-friendly recipe.

Feel free to add any other veggies you have on hand to the bell pepper blend. If you have any of the bell pepper blend left over, it goes great with eggs to make a quiche or quick scramble.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup Close-Up

Chicken Noodle Soup Close-Up

The day I made this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, I was recovering from a massive hangover. So I can officially state this is a great recipe to help cure/soothe a hangover.

It’s not the most traditional Chicken Noodle Soup — I added a few extra veggies. However, it came out well and it’s the perfect soothing meal for those days you just don’t feel like getting of the couch.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 oyster mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, chooped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti, uncooked
  • 2 TBSP Cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Sauteing Veggies

    Sauteing Veggies

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute garlic and onion in olive oil for about 1 minute.
  2. Add in remaining vegetables, bay leaves, seasoning and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer then place in whole chicken and cook, covered, for 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour, remove chicken from pot and cut into small skinless pieces and add back to pot along with pasta. (If the chicken isn’t fully cooked, you can throw undercooked pieces back into the pot so don’t worry.)
  4. Chicken Noodle Soup

    Chicken Noodle Soup

  5. Simmer/boil until pasta is cooked.
  6. Remove soup from heat and serve, garnishing with fresh cilantro.

You can add whatever vegetables you want to this as Chicken Noodle Soup is a very versatile soup dish. Also, this is a great nutritious meal if you use reduced sodium chicken broth.

I garnished mine with fresh cilantro and served with fresh avocado and cornbread. The cornbread goes really well with the overall dish and the avocado adds a cool element to the hot temperature of the soup.

 
 

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Recipe: Chicken Thigh Banh Mi

Banh Mi Toppings

Banh Mi Toppings

With apologies to 99% of the delis in America, the best sandwiches out there are Vietnamese-style banh mis. They’re loaded with fresh veggies, herbs and meat plus a spicy blast of sriracha.

The traditional variety of banh mis have pate, but I didn’t have any so I made a more Americanized version. I also combined the Sriracha with the mayonnaise to make a single spread.

Ingredients

  • 2 baguettes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cooked
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 carrot, finely julienned
  • 1/4 of an onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 4 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely julienned
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 1/2 TBSP Sriracha
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP sweet vinegar (such as cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
Chicken Thigh Banh Mi

Chicken Thigh Banh Mi

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine mayo and sriracha, mixing well.
  2. In a small skillet, heat olive oil and vinegar over medium heat. Saute carrots and onions for until carrots are darkened, but not soggy and onions are translucent. Set aside.
  3. Slice open baguettes horizontally, but do not slice all the way through.
  4. Spread Sriracha mayo on top and bottom halves of baguettes.
  5. Place chicken equally on both baguettes then layer evenly with carrots, onions, jalapeños and cucumbers. Finally, top each sandwich with fresh cilantro. Close the sandwiches and serve.

These sandwiches aren’t 100% up to par with what you’ll find in most Vietnamese bakeries, but they will do in a pinch. Thankfully, they aren’t time-intensive at all.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the freshness of the veggies and herbs as a change-up to the typical sandwiches you find out there. You can also substitute the meat of your choice in place of the chicken thigh meat.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

Please welcome the first guest blogger at Po’ Boy Livin’ Rich — Jennifer Jeansonne. Jennifer’s a great Southern girl (despite the fact that she went to Ole Miss) who knows her way around the kitchen. If you want to submit a recipe to the blog, email me at poboylivinrich@gmail.com.

I’m thrilled to be the first guest blogger on Po’ Boy Livin’ Rich! There’s no way my cooking is anywhere near as fancy as Clark’s, but I’m happy to be able to share a new recipe/cooking technique I tried last night.

Clark is a phenomenal person – he puts up with me on the tennis court, listens to me complain about boys, and knows exactly when to expose me to a specific baby and puppy to quickly get me out of a bad mood, and on top of being a great friend, he ‘s a fantastic cook. I always enjoy the opportunity to visiting his home because I know I’ll leave as a full and happy person.

Prepping Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken

Prepping Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken

Last night I baked a chicken. This in itself is really not that impressive, but I am rather pleased with the way that things turned out. I cook, well, prepare food, for dinner on a regular basis, but this chicken baking experience took things to a whole new level. Usually, my cooking consists of grilling fish or chicken and making an easy veggie to go along, but I felt like I was actually cooking a real meal last night.

Usually when I bake a chicken, it doesn’t take much more prep work than plopping the chicken down in a pan and rubbing some seasonings on the outside and it usually turns out just fine. Yesterday’s chicken was especially yummy because of the extra steps I took to prepare the chicken for baking. Two minor changes in my preparation really ensured that the chicken was juicy, flavorful and absolutely delicious!

As you can see from the pictures, this is probably the flattest baked chicken that you have ever seen. In order to get the chicken to look like this, I had to cut out the backbone, clean out the insides, and press the chicken flat until I heard a crack – my favorite part. My handy pair of kitchen shears made this task very, very easy and almost fun!

The second thing that I did differently with this bird involved lifting up the skin and placing the lemon, garlic, and butter mixture underneath the skin instead of just putting it on the top. Adding this step and letting it sit for two hours made a HUGE difference in the flavor of the chicken.

Rosemary Potatoes

Rosemary Potatoes

The rosemary potatoes and roasted broccoli fall into the” prepare, not really cook” category of food. Both sides were very simple and were prepared in similar ways. I washed and cut up the red potatoes and veggies and put them in a pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The only thing that set the potatoes apart from the broccoli was the addition of some fresh rosemary from my herb garden.

Most of the time, I tend to cook like my mother, without any real measurements, and these potatoes and broccoli were no exception. I think it took me less than five minutes to prepare both of these sides for the oven.

The best thing about this meal was that all three components were cooking in the oven at the same time!

Recipes:

  • For the Roasted Broccoli:
  • 1 head of brocolli (cut up)
  • Approximately 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • <

    Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken

    Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash and cut stems off of broccoli.
  3. Put enough olive oil to lightly cover the broccoli and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes.

  • For the Rosemary Potatoes:
  • 1-2 lbs of red potatoes
  • Approximately 2 TBSP olive oil
  • One long sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • <

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into fourths.
  3. Cut potatoes with enough olive oil to cover then add salt and pepper.
  4. Remove rosemary from stems and put into pan, tossing potatoes in seasoning until they’re covered.
  5. Place in the oven at the same time as the chicken and cook for approximately 45 minutes.

  • For the Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken:
  • 1 whole chicken (4 to 4 1/2 lbs.)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • <

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into fourths.
  3. Combine garlic with lemon zest and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

    Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

  5. In a small saucepan, melt butter. When melted, stir 2 TBSP butter into the garlic-lemon mixture; set aside remaining melted butter.
  6. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board, with the large cavity facing you. Using kitchen shears, start at the open cavity and cut down each side of the backbone; discard the backbone.
  7. Open the chicken (like a book), then flip over. Press down firmly on the skin side until you hear the bone crack.
  8. Gently slide your fingers between the skin and flesh of the chicken breast and legs. Using your fingers, stuff the garlic-butter mixture under the skin, spreading it evenly.
  9. Rub the reserved melted butter all over the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper.
  10. Place the chicken skin side up in a roasting pan then place two or three lemon slices on top.
  11. Roast until the skin is golden-brown and crisp (about 45 minutes).
  12. Allow chicken to rest 15 minutes before serving.

Overall, I am very impressed with the way that my chicken, potatoes, and broccoli turned out. I now need to get creative with the leftovers. Next up: chicken, mushroom, and pesto pizza on a whole wheat crust!

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Chicken and Jalapeño Dumplings

Chicken and Dumpling Dough

Chicken and Dumpling Dough

No lie, this was my first attempt at making chicken and dumplings from scratch, and I’m pretty damned impressed with my first effort. The dish is called Chicken and Jalapeño Dumplings and it’s phenomenal.

To prep the chicken, I lightly fried it in seasoning, flour and fresh cilantro. For the dumplings, I used Pillsbury Crescent Rolls dough and rolled it in fresh jalapeños. This is the quintessential cold weather dish. I will definitely be making it again and inviting more people over next time so get on the waiting list…

Be forewarned, it’s a pretty intense dish and took me about three hours from start to finish.

Ingredients

  • For the chicken:
  • 1 large roasting chicken, about 5 pounds (cut up into 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 thighs and 2 legs)
  • 2 TBSP seasoning (Ingredients below)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4-6 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Chicken Ready to be Fried

    Chicken Lightly Breaded for Chicken and Dumplings


  • For the seasoning:
  • 2 TBSP paprika
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • 1 TBSP white pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried thyme
  • For the dumplings:
  • 2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls dough
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 10 TBSP white all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBSP seasoning (recipe above)
  • 4 celery ribs, finely diced
  • Dumpling Dough

    Dumpling Dough

  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) green peas
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. To prepare dumplings, roll up all dough from Crescent Rolls and knead in the diced jalapeños. Set aside on a non-stick surface.
  2. In a frying pan, melt 2 TBSP butter over medium-high heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, (using the chicken ingredients) combine flour, seasoning and cilantro.
  4. Dust chicken pieces with flour mixture and drop pieces into frying pan in batches, using 2 TBSP butter per batch.
  5. Once chicken is browned, set aside on a plate covered with paper towels. (It’s ok if the chicken isn’t cooked through.)
  6. Chicken and Dumplings

    Finished Chicken and Dumplings

  7. In the same pot, melt remaining stick of butter, gradually whisking in the 10 TBSPs of flour. Stir until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Whisk in chicken broth, remaining seasoning and water and cook until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). If it’s too thick, gradually add in additional water.
  9. Once sauce has thickened, add in celery, carrots and onion and cook until tender-crisp (about 15 minutes).
  10. Add in the reserved chicken meat, heavy cream and peas, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Tearing from the dough, drop in 1- to 2-inch dumplings on top of the chicken mixture then cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through (about 15-20 minutes).
  12. Serve in large soup bowls.

Technically, this should make 6-8 servings, but if my experience is anything to go off of, most people will have seconds. This is a hearty dish that is something most Southerners grew up eating.

You really can’t beat the nostalgia of chicken and dumplings, and this recipe lives up to any chicken and dumplings you’ve had in the past. It’s that good.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in One-Pot Wonders, Recipes

 

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