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

Best Recipe: Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

IMG_1934Cook’s notes: These are similar to the Best Recipe: Dark Cocoa Brownies but the preparation method is different (and flour reduced with cocoa increased). I was out of chocolate chips and wanted to make decadent brownies for a party. These are amazing and very rich. They bake at a slightly lower temperature.

Beating the eggs vigorously is the key to the crackly top. Beating the batter too much once the flour and cocoa powder are added will “create air in the batter, which will give you cake-like textured brownies.” That is not our goal, according to Cafe Delites.

Makes 16 brownies

1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, olive oil, and sugar for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, one at a time. Eggs will lighten in color.

Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Beat on low only until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain, and do not beat too long. (Note: You may want to do this step with a rubber spatula.)

Pour into pan, and bake about 25 minutes, or until brownies are set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Source: Reduced the sugar and adapted recipe for a stand mixer from Bon Appetit and Cafe Delites.

Review: Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

CIMG_0818ook’s notes: There’s a reason this recipe on allrecipes has more than 8,300 positive reviews. Follow the recipe as written, but reduce the sugar to 1 Tablespoon.

Then, following advice from King Arthur Flour, add 1 Tablespoon frozen blueberries to each pancake after you pour the batter on the hot skillet. Flip gently.

Updated 31-Jul-2016: We had a pancake emergency this morning. I woke up with a craving for these pancakes, but the allrecipes site was under maintenance, and we didn’t have any eggs in the house. I got a backup version of the recipe from a cache on allrecipes, and then found a lovely vegan pancake recipe on cookie and kate  that used the same amount of flour. Revised and combined recipe below.

Makes about 8 pancakes – no egg required!

1 cup milk (almond milk or 2%) and 
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
cooking spray
Frozen or fresh blueberries

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk oil and vanilla into vinegared milk. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until combined, so only a few lumps remain (don’t over-mix or your pancakes will be tough).
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, add blueberries to each one, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Review: Easy Rice Pudding

IMG_0744Cook’s notes: An article on epicurious gives directions for making rice pudding with leftover rice. The instructions were easy to follow and the results were delicious. I like that it only used a small amount of sweetener. I also appreciate that it doesn’t call for a lot of extra ingredients, such as egg, sweetened condensed milk, bourbon, or cream. It’s simple and delicious.

This pudding was a great way to use up leftover rice from Thai takeout. I used a can of light coconut milk and added a touch of cinnamon. It would be vegan if you used maple syrup instead of honey.

In case you can’t read my handwriting on the index card in the photo, the ingredients were:

  • Leftover rice (about 2 cups)
  • 15 oz. can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes

IMG_0424Cook’s notes: I made some amazing Guinness chocolate stout cupcakes, but you know I hate to leave anyone out when we’re sharing food. This version is perfect for your vegan friends. New Belgium 1554 Black Lager is approved for vegans by barnivore.com. You can also reduce the sugar to just 2/3 cup. These terrific cupcakes do not need frosting.

Much like the “Wacky Cake,” which is made without eggs, milk, or butter, these are one-bowl cupcakes. Use a whisk to combine the batter; no mixer is needed.

I adapted the recipe to use espresso powder and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking.

Dry:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup [or just 2/3 cup] organic sugar
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup vegan black lager or stout (such as New Belgium 1554 Black Lager)

 

Heat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with parchment cups.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Have the liquid ingredients measured and ready to go before you start to pour. Pour the melted oil, vinegar, and beer into the well. Stir well – batter thickens quickly.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

 

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

IMG_0425Cook’s notes: These are a wonderful variation on the Chocolate Guinness Bundt Cake, with no frosting required. (For a vegan version of the cupcakes, see the post on Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes).

Adapted from Pinch My Salt, which notes that you can use any stout or porter instead of Guinness. I adapted the recipe to use a stand mixer and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking. I reduced the amount of sugar and added espresso powder.

Have eggs, yogurt, and stout at room temperature before starting. Yield: 18 cupcakes.

6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt, at room temperature
6 oz. dark stout (I used Guinness), at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers; spray the whole thing, cupcake papers and all, with nonstick spray. Set aside. (Note: I had enough batter for an additional 6 cupcakes).

Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Add stout; beat until well combined.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) in a separate bowl.

Add the cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients in thirds, beating until well mixed after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter, then continue mixing until very well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.