Thai-Style Soft Chicken Tacos

Cook’s notes: Use a cut-up rotisserie chicken for an even faster weeknight meal. I reduced the sugar by a great deal and switched out soy sauce for coconut aminos to bring down the sodium.

Serves 6.

Sauce 1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
2 to 3 Tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Chicken Either 3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or

1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed

Stir-fry vegetables  4 cups broccoli coleslaw mix
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot (jarred OK to use)
Tacos 6 soft flour or corn tortillas (8-inch size), any flavor
Lime wedges for garnish.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together.

Prepare the chicken. Set cooked chicken aside.

  • If you are cooking chicken, cut chicken breasts into strips. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in skillet, and stir-fry chicken strips over medium heat until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • If you are using rotisserie chicken, cut the chicken breast meat into strips. Save the dark meat for another meal.

Stir fry the vegetables in the same skillet you cooked the chicken in. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

Warm the tortillas. Stir in peanut butter sauce into the broccoli mixture. Spoon into warm flour tortillas and top with cooked chicken. Squeeze fresh limes onto tacos.

Source: Adapted from a recipe by Trudy Williams in Taste of Home Simple & Delicious, February/March 2017.

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Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes Redux

fullsizeoutput_18ebCook’s notes: I keep reworking my recipe for small batch pancakes. This simple recipe makes 8 pancakes. If you don’t eat eggs, it should work just fine without the egg (or try one of these substitutes).

Dry ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons Pie Spice (Penzeys brand)

Wet ingredients
1 beaten egg
1 cup almond milk
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Frozen blueberries without added sugar (1 Tablespoon per pancake)

Combine the dry ingredients (flour to spice) in large bowl. Whisk together to blend well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add beaten egg mix. Whisk the batter together with as few strokes as possible (There will be a few lumps in the batter.)

Lightly oil the surface of a large skillet, and heat over medium heat. Make two pancakes at a time: Pour 1/4-cup batter onto griddle for each pancake, spacing them out so they have room to spread without touching. Add 1 Tablespoon frozen blueberries to each pancake after you pour the batter on the hot skillet.

Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 3 minutes; then flip gently and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking batches with remaining batter.

Serve with maple syrup and your choice of toppings.

Adapted from http://www.oprah.com/food/Pancake-Mix-Recipe#ixzz3siBKxkto and Review: Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Chicken Casserole with Tortilla Chips

Cook’s notes: My sweetheart made a huge batch of Mexican-style slow cooker stew with chicken, black beans, corn, red pepper, and cilantro. We had a 4-quart cooking pot full of delicious stew, but there are only two of us in the house. I turned the leftovers into a casserole for a potluck dinner with friends.

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish evenly with cooking spray, then scatter 1.5 cups of crushed tortilla chips evenly on the bottom.

Cook 1 bag frozen brown rice, and spread cooked rice over the tortilla chip pieces.

Spoon leftover chicken and sweet potato stew in a thick layer over the rice.

Sprinkle about 3/4 cup (6 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from My Favorite Mexican Casserole recipe | Epicurious.com

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad


Cook’s notes
: This excellent recipe is adapted from the Pam Anderson formula for bean and grain salads.

2 cups cooked quinoa
15-oz. can canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
4 thin-sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Dressing: 1/3 cup of your favorite vinaigrette: lemon vinaigrette

Following package instructions, cook the quinoa and place in a large bowl.

Add beans, veggies, cheese, and herbs to bowl.

When ready to serve, drizzle salad with your favorite vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Small batch version

  • 1/2 cup cooked grains
  • 1/2 cup beans
  • 3/4 cup veggies
  • 1/8 cup cheese
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 4 teaspoons dressing

Adapted from A Formula for Bean and Grain Salads — Three Many Cooks

Custom Chicken Soup

Chicken SoupCook’s notes: This soup was delicious. It does make quite a bit, but the recipe could be easily halved. The original recipe said “serves 4”, but it’s more like 8 to 12 hearty servings. This is adapted from Pam Anderson’s “Supper Soup Formula.” I customized the recipe by selecting the veggies and starch. It’s a wonderful soup with good flavor. I did have to add more chicken broth the next day to thin it out.

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed. Cut into pieces to yield 1 lb. diced cooked chicken
  • 1 lb. vegetables:
    • 1 can (15 oz.) corn, rinsed and drained, yields about 10 oz.
    • 10 oz. or so shredded cole slaw (cabbage and carrot mix)
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried herb mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.

Adapted from Supper Soup Recipe : Food Network

Square Pan Banana Bread

Banana Pecan BreadCook’s notes: I was helping my brother research banana bread recipes, and found this one, which is baked in a square pan. I reduced the sugar drastically per a discussion on chowhound, and it’s still plenty sweet (tip: use 1/3 cup brown sugar to replace each 1 cup white sugar). I also changed the recipe so you can make it in one bowl of a stand mixer.

  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (instead of 1/3 cup melted butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans (instead of 3/4 cup chocolate chips)

Heat the oven to 325F and lightly coat a 9-inch x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a stand mixer, beat the bananas and oil (or melted butter) together until the bananas are mashed. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in with as few strokes as possible. Stir in the pecans (or chocolate chips), and pour the mixture into your pan.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness after 45 minutes.

via Best Ever Banana Bread

Tuna and Pearl Couscous Salad

Cook’s notes: This recipe is based on author Pam Anderson’s Formula for Bean and Grain Salads. Ms. Anderson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her formula helped me make just the right dish for a supper potluck right after work. I made the pasta dish the night before, which let the flavors blend nicely. You can also use 1/3 cup your favorite vinaigrette instead of making the lemon dressing.

Yield: Makes about 7.5 cups; enough to feed a crowd

2 cups cooked pearl couscous
15 oz. can [2 cups] chickpeas, drained
2 cans tuna, drained (net 8 oz.) and flaked
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1.5 cups roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tablespoons dried Italian herb blend

Dressing: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

Prepare couscous according to package directions; make the dressing while the grains cook. Place couscous in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (chickpeas to herb blend) and stir gently to combine.

Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to coat.