Chicken & Poultry

Take-out Fake-out: Chicken Lo Mein

by Shawnda on November 12, 2013

in Chicken & Poultry,Pasta, Rice, and Grains,Take-out Fake-out

Chicken Lo Mein

There are some days that only the ringing of the door bell can fix. Assuming the person on the other side of that door is holding a large brown bag full of an oil-drenched sodium bomb.

Or a margarita. (And one day, I’ll bring that dream of a margarita delivery service to life. Or at least be their very best customer.)

No amount of justifying “but homemade is soooo much better – and better for you!” fixes those days. Carbs must be over-paid for. Then delivered outside of the promised window without the extra spicy mustard you specifically requested. And then consumed in excess, and far too fast.

But on days when you don’t need the psychological effect of throwing your credit card at a stranger standing on your front step, homemade is so better. And better for you. Because there’s room in everyone’s kitchen for a take-out recipe that doesn’t come drenched in a 1/2 cup of oil.

Chicken Lo Mein

For the last 5 years, that bowl of DIY take-out Chicken Lo Mein has been the second-most popular noodle dish in this house. 5 years.

The recipe comes courtesy of my friend Elly over at Elly Says Opa. Her blog is usually the place I visit when I’m short on ideas for our weekly menu. Also, it’s where I go when I want to look at dreamy photos of delicious Greek food that no one else in this house would eat with me.

Well, at least not before I introduced them to the magicalness of gyro and baklava at Greek Fest… but that’s a different story and a different recipe.

Today, it’s Chinese Food from my favorite Greek blogger.

Chicken Lo Mein

We make a few minor changes to the recipe. We don’t incite the natives to rebel by including mushrooms. And the open-bag-of-frozen-snap-peas-dump-in-pan keeps the littlest native from picking through her bowl of noodles looking for an offending chunk of celery or an icky chunk of carrot. (Because in typical 3 year old logic, carrots are awesome raw and carrots are awesome cooked to a mush in a can of soup. But she will cut you – and by “you” I mean “me” – over anything in between).

And sometimes we add orange juice and strips of orange zest. And sometimes that orange becomes grapefruit.

And when we can’t keep up with the red bell peppers from the garden, I throw in as many of those as I can squeeze into the pan.

And as long as there’s no celery or mushrooms or carrots, everyone is happy. And stays happy.

Chicken Lo Mein

A lighter, better-for-you-than-takeout chicken lo mein.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lo mein noodles
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp olive (or other cooking) oil
  • 8 oz chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced (dark green parts reserved)
  • 8 oz frozen snow peas
  • Sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the lo mein noodles according to package directions.
  2. Drain, toss with a few dashes of sesame oil, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the oyster sauce, soy, chicken stock, cornstarch, and red pepper until smooth; set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet (I use a nonstick pan) over high heat.
  5. Stir fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes, until almost cooked through and add the ginger, onions, garlic, white and light green onion parts, and snow peas.
  6. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are cooked to your preference, stirring frequently.
  7. Whisk the sauce and add it to the pan, letting it boil for 1 minute before adding the noodles.
  8. Toss to coat, top with dark green onion slices, and serve.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

That is King Ranch Chicken Casserole. And it’s Texas’ contribution to the category of amorphous, 50-Shades-of-Brown, one-dish comfort foods that taste far, far better than they look.

But I’m not doing it justice.

To describe King Ranch Chicken a little more favorably – and in a manner totally worthy of that warm bowl of comfort that’s perfect for a chilly Texas fall night – think of it as a cross between a TexMex lasagna that’s made with tortillas rather than pasta and a chicken pot pie that’s lighter on the vegetables and sports a topping of corn tortillas and golden brown and bubbly cheese rather than a flakey pie crust.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Absent in this casserole are the much-maligned cream-of soups. If you want to use them, you can. But making the homemade cream-of soup that serves as the base for King Ranch Chicken is only slightly more work than cranking open a couple of cans with a manual opener. And you get to take a pass on all those 15-letter ingredients and the extra sodium.

Present in this casserole is a generous dose of green chiles for mild warmth and a mountain of shredded cheese to contribute to that oozy, melty, and magical amorphous blob.

Did I do it justice that time? Good. Now get out your grocery list and let’s get to work.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Put it on your menu for a stretch of cold nights this winter when your schedule would high-five your for 2 nights of scoop-and-reheat leftovers. Put it on your menu for a week when store-roasted rotisseries go on sale. Put it on your menu to crush those Thanksgiving dark-meat turkey leftovers.

Either way. You’re gonna want to put it on your menu soon.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

The ultimate in Texas comfort food, this casserole is made with homemade cream of chicken sauce and corn tortillas.

Ingredients

  • For the chicken:
  • 2.5-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts (or the meat from 1 precooked rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • For the cream sauce:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup cream (I use fat-free greek yogurt instead)
  • 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes
  • 4 oz can of green or hatch chiles, drained
  • For the casserole
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of white and yellow cheddars and monterrey jack)

Instructions

  1. If cooking your own chicken, preheat oven to 425. (If not, you just shaved 30 minutes off dinner prep!)
  2. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper (or your favorite general seasoning).
  3. Divide it into 2-3 foil pouches and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes before shredding.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, make the cream sauce and reduce the oven to 350.
  6. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Cook the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for ~10 minutes, until softened and there's no standing liquid left.
  8. Stir in the chili powder, red pepper, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  9. Add the flour in 2 batches, stirring until all traces of white are gone.
  10. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock to the pot, 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth.
  11. Whisk in the cream (or yogurt), and add the Rotel (do not drain it first) and the peppers.
  12. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  13. Reserve 1 cup of cream sauce before adding the chicken to the pot.
  14. Lightly oil the bottom and a 13x9 baking dish and place the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock into a bowl wide enough to hold the tortillas.
  15. Dip the tortillas into the stock (I did stacks of 4 at a time) and line the bottom of the baking dish so that the tortillas are 2 wide and 4 long.
  16. Pour half of the chicken mixture into the baking dish and top with 1/3 of the cheese.
  17. Add another layer of dipped-tortillas in the same manner, lightly pressing on them to level the contents of the pan.
  18. Top with the remaining chicken mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.
  19. Add the final layer of dipped-tortillas and press on them to level out the dish.
  20. Spread the reserved cream sauce over the tortillas and top with the remaining cheese.
  21. Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and the top of the casserole is golden brown.
  22. Let sit 10-15 minutes to firm up before cutting into 12-squares and serving.

Notes

Yields: 12 servings

Slightly adapted from The Pastry Queen

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Simple Roast Chicken

by Shawnda on October 10, 2013

in Chicken & Poultry

21 Seasoning Salute Roast Chicken

Raise your hand if you, too, are a Trader Joe’s fiend.

Keep it up if you’ve ever packed less than the bare minimum just so you’d have enough room to bring back a bursting-at-the-seams suitcase full of goodies.

And keep your hand up if you’ve gotten in trouble by security at a Trader Joe’s in Chicago for taking a picture of a liquor bottle on the shelf.

No? Just me?

:oops:

It’s okay. I don’t hold any hard feelings. I’m just happy that 2 years later, I no longer have to fly all the way to Orange County to get my Sweet & Salty & Nutty Trek Mix fix. And I am perfectly capable of getting almost thrown out of a grocery store near home, for free!

But the best part – a TJs will open less than 5 miles from this very location.

21 Seasoning Salute Compound Butter

One of my (many) favorite things in the whole wide world is 21 Seasoning Salute. It’s (surprise!) 21 different herbs and spices packed a single bottle, making it perfect for shaking, baking, and roasting anything. But especially chicken.

Mixed with some lemon zest and honey, you get a compound butter jam-packed with flavor and perfect for slathering over an oven-bound chicken.

21 Seasoning Salute Compound Butter

There’s something extremely satisfying about roasting a chicken on a Sunday afternoon, with a glass of wine in one hand and a new Food & Wine in the other. Maybe it speaks to that teeny tiny sliver of traditional domesticity that’s usually kept buried as far down as humanly possible. Or maybe it’s that I now have “leftover” chicken to throw together quesadillas and enchiladas for the rest of the week without having to invest too much time in a menu.

Yeah. That’s probably it.

Simple Roast Chicken

A simple compound butter is the key to a flavorful roast chicken.

Ingredients

  • ~5lb chicken
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp 21 Seasoning Salute (or your favorite multipurpose seasoning)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Using a fork, mash together the butter, spices, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  3. When mostly incorporated, drizzle honey over the butter and mash together.
  4. Gently work your hands between the skin and the chicken breast, loosening it.
  5. Take about half of the butter and spread it under the skin and spread the remainder over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and tie the wings down and legs together with kitchen twine.
  7. Roast until a thermometer stuck in the thigh registers 165, about 1 hour (but rely on the temp, not the time).
  8. Remove from oven, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

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Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

We’re coming up on week 4 and salty, overseasoned Houston football “fans” have already thrown in the towel on the Texans’ season. Three times.

And we’re 2-1.

This city has had a long, jaded journey with professional football. And let’s face it, those fans probably had a few too many while tailgating. BUT THAT’S NO EXCUSE THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON AND I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH IT. There’s plenty of football left. And plenty of football weather ahead of us to enjoy it all.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Cornbread

When my box of H-E-B’s September Primo Picks arrived this month, I spied the perfect food for football season: Chili.

Chili is the perfect tailgating food – it travels well and goes with (and on!) just about everything. Sweatshirts, a bowl of chili, and a damp, cold, and grey Sunday afternoon – it’s exactly why football was invented.

It was also one of my mom’s go-to cold-weather meals. She’d pour the chili into a big casserole dish, drop cornbread batter drop-biscuit style over the top, cover that with grated cheese, and throw it in the oven. Dinner was served. It wasn’t fancy but it deliciously fed 4 bottomless pits for 2 nights and was an easy clean-up.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

I took mom’s semi-homemade baked chili & cornbread and dressed it up into a dish worthy of tailgating. We added ground turkey to a jar of Cookwell & Company’s Two-Step Chili – it’s a super fresh mix and not loaded with some of the, er, less-than-awesome things that you find in canned chili. Then we loaded our favorite cornbread recipe with shredded cheese, diced hatch chiles, and corn and dropped the batter drop-biscuit style over the chili.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

25 minutes later, you have a bubbly, hearty, one-pan party dish that’s easy – and impressive enough – to serve to a crowd.

And also: Go Texans!

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

Cornbread-topped chili is a hearty, one-pan party dish perfect for a football-loving crowd.

Ingredients

  • For the chili:
  • 1 jar Cookwell & Company Two-Step Chili Mix (or 4 cups of your favorite chili)
  • 1.5 lb lean ground turkey
  • For the cornbread:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed if frozen)
  • 3 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • For serving:
  • Sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • Pico de gallo
  • 9-oz plastic cups or bowls

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brown the ground turkey and drain excess grease with a strainer.
  3. Return the turkey to the pot and stir in the chili.
  4. Pour the chili into a 2 1/2-3qt casserole dish and set aside.
  5. To make the cornbread, whisk the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center.
  6. Add butter, yogurt, egg, cheese, and corn, stirring to mix well.
  7. Drop the batter by the spoonful over the top of the chili until the surface is completely covered.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the cornbread is cooked through and golden brown.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes and then scoop out into individual portions, topping the portions with sour cream and pico de gallo before serving.
  10. Leftovers reheat well foil-covered in the oven.

Notes

Yields: ~10 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 50 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and opinions are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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