Winner, Winner, Spice Up Your Chicken Dinner!

Main Course / October 17, 2018

I think the Universe heard me when I said I wanted it to be summer forever. For the 10th time in the last 30 days we have been told it will “cool down tomorrow,” and by next week they say the highs will only be in the low 60’s. Yeah, really? Well I plan to keep my fur lined boots far from reach, and continue with my flip flops until further notice. October 17th or not, it was 85 yesterday, y’all!

It doesn’t matter really whether I’m in island shoes or winter UGG’s. I cook barefooted anyway. What is important is that I created two chicken dinners with enough heat to keep us in the ‘sweltering zone’ for a long time to come.

Yes, I love spicy food! Jalapenos, Thai Chilies, Sriracha, Cayenne, and so many other tongue-burning options are all over my recipe repertoire. That is a win-win for me. And for you. And here are two ways to do it with two chicken recipes you can make tonight.

Picture

Combine Sriracha and Peanut Butter for a
perfect sauce!

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Copycat Asian Restaurant Orange Chicken with TONS of heat!

One is a simple but delicious recipe for Broccoli Orange Chicken. But alas, I couldn’t help doing my thing and “bling-ing” it up a bit with more flavor. I also used ground chicken to make it fast and economical. I have to say I am a new fan of this poultry choice. It was moist and full of flavor. And my husband gobbled it up like it was a row of Oreos. (I use that as a bench mark. You should come over some time and watch just how quickly he can annihilate that row!)

The other utilizes some shelf ingredients but ends up as luxurious as could be. Sauté chicken with vegetables, mix up the sauce, add some flavor with fresh lime zest and basil and you are in for an interesting explosion of intense acid, sweet, umami, heat, and fat in your mouth. My heart is fluttering already.

I invite you to try both of these simple but spicy chicken recipes, just in case the weatherman IS correct and turtlenecks are in our future. And for fun, go ahead and keep your air conditioning on and maintain your fake tan. It’s fine with me to remain in denial as long as you want.

Win, win, win!!!


Chicken with Sriracha Peanut Cream Sauce With Lime, Basil and Sautéed Brussel Sprouts and Peppers

(CAN SERVE OVER WHITE RICE IF PREFFERED)

Serves 4


Ingredients:

8-10 chicken breast fingers (about 1 pound)
16 small Brussel sprouts trimmed and halved (Broccoli or zucchini would also work well.)
1 small yellow pepper cut into strips
¼ C red onion cut in strips
¼ C heavy cream or ½ n ½
1 heaping T creamy peanut butter
2 t Sriracha (to taste)
½ t fresh lime juice
1 t rice wine vinegar
Zest from one lime
4 to 5 basil leaves torn with one top intact for garnish
2 T good olive oil
Generously salt and pepper to taste
3 t chopped salted peanuts


Method:

  • Prepare the sauce by combining cream, peanut butter, Sriracha, lime juice, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside. When ready to serve heat in a microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir to incorporate before drizzling on food.*
  • In a large saucepan heated to high add the oil and the Brussel sprouts and the onion. Cook until some caramelization occurs on the sprouts, about 3-4 minutes. Lower heat slightly and add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook, turning all with spatula, until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. At the end, place the torn basil leaves on the top of the chicken and cover to let steam, about a minute or so.
  • To plate spread the vegetables on a plate, arrange chicken on top, drizzle generously with the Sriracha peanut cream sauce, top with the lime zest, and the peanuts. Place a sprig of fresh basil on top. SERVE.
  • Note: You can also pour it over the chicken when it is cooked and heat it that way, but I like keeping the creamy consistency separate from the oil and juices of the chicken. I think it is prettier if you just heat and drizzle!

Mandarin Orange Chicken With Broccoli and an Orange Ginger Sesame Glaze

Serves 2


Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken
4 C broccoli florets
Sections from 2 mandarins
Generous 1/3 C mandarin orange juice
2 t soy sauce
2 t rice wine vinegar
½ t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
1 t hot chili flakes
3 T lite oil
2 t salt 1 t black pepper
2 t corn starch and about 3 T water
Flat leaf parsley to garnish


Method:

  • In a small bowl combine the orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, grated ginger. Whisk together and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the shallots until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the ground chicken and flatten it into the pan slightly with a spatula. Season with about 1 t salt and 1 t pepper. Let it sear on the oil until slightly browned on one side. Turn and let brown on other. Then begin to break it up. Add the broccoli, orange sections and a little more salt. Toss with spatula. Cover and let the broccoli cook, about 3 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the broccoli is slightly tender but not over-cooked. You don’t want mushy broccoli!
  • Now add the orange sauce mixture turning the ingredients to coat well. Add the corn starch and water mixture with the heat turned down to medium low, and toss. It should thicken right up. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and a bit more salt and make sure it is heated through.
  • Serve over rice or alone with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


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