Chicken Satay

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the trick to juicy chicken satay is to use chicken thighs and to let it marinade overnight. I made this recipe two ways – in the oven sans “black stuff” for the kiddos and cut into chunks, skewered and cooked over flames “with the black stuff” for mom & dad. With the black stuff was amazing – so unctuous!!

Marinade:
3/4 c lite coconut milk
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Place the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, curry paste, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Cut the chicken lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and add to the marinade. Stir to coat the chicken, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

For the peanut sauce:
3/4 c lite coconut milk
1/4 c chunky all-natural peanut butter (no salt or sugar added)
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
2 tsp chile-garlic paste
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice

For the peanut sauce:
Place everything but the lime juice in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are evenly combined, about 3 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and transfer the sauce to a small bowl to cool.

To cook the chicken:
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Meanwhile, thread a single piece of chicken lengthwise onto each skewer and transfer to a baking sheet.

When the grill is ready, rub the grates with a towel dipped in vegetable oil. Place the skewers on the grill, close the cover, and cook until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken, close the grill, and cook until grill marks appear on the second side and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes more.
Transfer the skewers to a clean serving platter and serve with the cooled peanut sauce for dipping.

Serves 6 – 8.

Peanut Sauce

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This is the best peanut sauce – sweet from the coconut milk, salty from the peanut butter and spicy from the chile garlic sauce. It goes great with spring rolls or chicken.

Ingredients:
3/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 c chunky all-natural peanut butter
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
2 tsp chile-garlic paste
1 TBSP lime juice

Place everything but the lime juice in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are evenly combined, about 3 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and transfer the sauce to a small bowl to cool.

Spring Rolls

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Spring rolls seem a little intimidating, but they are quite easy to make. The rice paper is very forgiving, it stretches quite a bit and if you tear it, just ping it back together. This was my first attempt and by the third one I had a grasp of the situation! Be sure to pull the rice paper tight when wrapping it.

As far as ingredients go, the combinations are endless! I did a veggie version, but feel free to add cooked chicken or shrimp and what ever veggies you have on hand. You can get rice paper in the Asian aisle of your grocery store. I just used my food processor to shred everything. The key is to have all your ingredients prepped. If you are not going to eat them right away wrap them in damp paper towels.

Ingredients:
Rice papers
3 carrots, shredded
1 english cucumber, shredded
1/4 daikon, shredded
Thai basil leaves
Bean sprouts
Mint leaves
Green onion, thinly sliced
Peanut Sauce

Fill a large pie pan about 1/2 way with hot water. Soak the rice paper for 20 seconds until they are soft and pliable.

Lay out rice paper, place 3- 4 basil leaves in the middle, top with bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, daikon, onions and then mint leaves. Fold the side towards the middle pulling tight, then pull the top over and roll tight. Remember the rice paper will stretch so you can be a little aggressive.

Repeat until you have the desired number.

Serve with peanut sauce.
Makes about 6.

Asian Turkey Salad

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This recipe was inspired by Food & Wine Magazine. This is the perfect salad for summer – spicy and healthy! Served it with some brown basmati rice and you have the perfect meal.

Ingredients:
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, minced
2 lemon grass stocks, center past only, minced
1 lb ground turkey
2 TBSP plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
Salt & pepper
3 Thai peppers, thinly sliced
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
Lettuce leaves, torn
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c torn Thai basil leaves
1/4 c torn mint leaves

In a large skillet heat oil add garlic, jalapeño & lemon grass, cook for 2 minutes. Add turkey and brown. Add 1 tsp fish sauce and a little chicken stock if the turkey gets dry.

Combine 2 TBSP fish oil, lime juice and Thai peppers. Toss with lettuce.

Serve turkey on lettuce with onions, basil and mint.

Serves 4.

Grilled Okra with Lemon Basil sauce

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I love grilled okra. The trick is to get the small ones, under 3 inches, then slice them lengthwise so they don’t explode on the grill. This week I whipped up a guilt free sauce to accompany them.

Ingredients:
1 lb okra, sliced lengthwise
Canola oil
1/2 c Greek Yogurt, fat free
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c basil, finely chopped
Zest of on lemon
2 TBSP lemon juice
Cayenne pepper to taste

Toss okra in canola oil and grill until nicely charred about 7 minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salt okra and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.

Quick Coleslaw

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If you’ve seen my last couple blog posts of pulled pork and BBQ sauce, you probably guessed cabbage was coming next. This is another one from chow, with some changes. More veggies, less mayo, fat free sour cream – I think it makes for a healthier and tastier slaw.

Ingredients:
1 small head of green
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt,
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 – 8 carrots, grated

Slice cabbage in half through the core. Cut a V-shaped notch around the white core on each half; discard the core. Slice each half lengthwise into quarters and thinly slice each quarter crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

Place cabbage in a large colander set over a large bowl or plate, sprinkle with measured salt, and toss to coat. Place a heavy bowl on top of the cabbage, then place a heavy can or two in the bowl to weigh it down. Let sit until cabbage has released about 1/4 cup of moisture, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place onion and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let sit until cabbage is ready.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, caraway seeds, and measured pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.

When cabbage is ready, squeeze large handfuls to release any excess liquid and place in the large bowl with the dressing. Add grated carrots and reserved onion-vinegar mixture and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 day.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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This recipe is from Chow.com. This day is perfect for a work from home day, toss everything in the pot in the morning and let it go till dinner time. OK so it’s not real BBQ pulled pork, but its still good!

Ingredients:
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 TBSP packed dark brown sugar
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 c barbecue sauce (optional)

Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Serves 8 – 12.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

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I had a whole bunch of brown bananas and needed to make a breakfast treat the kids would eat, here’s what I came up.

Ingredients:
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c wheat bran
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 egg
4 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c quick cook oats
1/2 c walnut pieces
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 435. Grease a 13×9 pan.

Combine dry ingredients. Set aside.

Combine butter and sugar, beat on medium speed. Add egg, vanilla and beat in with bananas. Add dry ingredients, mix in nuts, fruit and chips.

Spread into pan and bake 25 minutes.

Crazy Moist Chocolate Cake with Coconut

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This recipe is gluten free – yup! I used oat flour instead of regular flour. It’s also vegan – almost – you can use soy milk instead of regular milk. I used coconut products – oil, sugar – regular is fine. This cake is super moist!!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 c oat flour
1 c coconut palm sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c water
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

Place all ingredients in a bowl, combine.

Pour into a well sprayed pan.

Bake 40 – 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Cool completely.

Glaze:
1/2 c coconut palm sugar
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP milk
2 TBSP cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla

Combine and pour over cake.

Top with 1/4 c shredded coconut.

Sausage and White Bean Stew

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This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found in Bon Appetite. I used chicken sausage, added a bay lead and paprika to give it a bit more flavor.

2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb sausage
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
4 c chicken broth
Salt and pepper
10 c baby spinach
1 TBSP smoked paprika

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 TBSP oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, paprika and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Slice chorizo and fold into stew. Remove bay leaf. Serve.

Serves 4.