It’s asparagus season here in California. I find myself buying asparagus every shopping trip now. But instead of making my usual grilled asparagus as a side dish, I wanted to add it into the main dish. If you love making quick dinners like I do then you are going to love this. Also, this recipe only requires a few ingredients which makes this even simpler. I have another variation of this dish ( Asparagus Beef ) where you make your own sauce, however this one is using a premade black bean garlic sauce which cuts the time in half and does the work for you. This serves 2-4 depending on your portions.
- 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 pound of asparagus, sliced into thirds
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (found at local grocery stores in your international aisle or Asian markets)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (this offsets the sharpness of the black bean sauce)
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
- Add beef strips to a bowl. Then add cornstarch, grated garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat up wok or skillet on high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
- Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
- Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
- Add in asparagus and onions.
- Stir for about 10 seconds and cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
- Add the black bean and garlic sauce paste, sugar and beef stock. Stir to mix well.
- Let beef and vegetables continue to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is cooked tender.
- Plate with jasmine rice and serve immediately.
If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too. So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)
This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2 each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
- 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1-2 zucchinis, sliced
- avocado slices
- lime wedges or lime juice
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- shredded cheese
- tortilla chips
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
- Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
- Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
- Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
- Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add in zucchini.
- Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
- Serve immediately with optional toppings.
I haven’t jumped into the Instant pot craze yet. I think it is probably because most my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less anyway. But I do love having a crock pot! All you have to do is put all the ingredients in and set your temperature to either high or low and then set the timer and go about your day. My crock pot will even keep the ingredients warm after the timer has completed. So if you have other things going on or say, maybe you forget you had something cooking, (um, not speaking from experience) the “keep warm” feature will not make all your hard effort get cold and go bad.
I bought another one of those organic chicken packs that come with two breasts and four drumsticks. (Those organic chickens must look funny.) So I thought I’d pull out the crock pot and put it to use. If you do not have a crock pot, that’s quite okay. You can still use this recipe and put everything in a baking dish and bake at 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes.
- 1 whole cut up chicken (or all thighs, all drumsticks or two breasts and four drumsticks pack like I used.)
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1/4 cup ketchup (low sodium if you have)
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever taste you prefer)
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Arrange chicken on the bottom of your crock pot. Do not season chicken with salt as there is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. You can season chicken with pepper if you would like though. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, lite soy sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, sriracha and parsley or cilantro. Whisk until mixed well.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces.
- Close with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW, or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH.
- Remove lid and transfer chicken to a serving plate.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve with rice or salad.
At my local supermarket, I came across a pack of organic chicken breasts and drumsticks. I thought how strange there were no thighs or wings. But I also thought, how perfect this was for my son and me. He loves drumsticks and I love chicken breasts. While I was at the supermarket, I kept smelling the fresh out of the rotisserie chicken they were packaging up. As I do not own a rotisserie, this was my inspiration to try to come up with a baked chicken with rotisserie flavors. So this is what I tried. Considering I had breasts and drumsticks to cook together, they came out surprisingly moist and tender.
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- olive oil
- 1 whole cut up chicken (My chicken pack came only with 2 breasts and 4 drumsticks)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
- In a small bowl, make spice rub by combining brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well.
- Rub chicken with olive oil.
- Rub spice mix over chicken pieces covering both sides.
- Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
- Add an extra drizzle of olive oil over chicken pieces.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F degrees. This initial high heat will help brown the chicken.
- Then lower the heat to 350 F degrees and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes more until the juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165 F degrees and of the drumsticks are 170 F degrees.
- Remove from oven and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
I have a huge gas grill in my backyard. In the spring and summer I love using my grill. But I am awful at remembering to exchange the empty propane tank. When this happens, my laziness and disappointment kick in and I change my mind and decide to just cook whatever it is on the stove or in the oven instead. Especially if I am not cooking for company. Recently, I was at IKEA and on a whim, bought a grill pan. I have no idea why I never had one before? I’m guessing probably because I have the gas grill in the backyard. Now this grill pan has become my favorite pan to use. I’m always thinking of what else can I try to grill on it? It’s usually chicken though. So I started running out of flavors to use on the chicken. Here’s a marinade I recently tried which my picky eater son actually enjoyed. (It is probably because there’s beer in the marinade. Don’t worry, he is over 21.)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons diced onions (I used red onion, but any type will work)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 cups ale or beer (I used a bottle of 805 brand ale. If you don’t like to cook with alcoholic beverages, substitute with ginger ale.)
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (if you prefer dark meat use 6 skin-on thighs)
- In a 2 cup measuring cup, mix the first 10 ingredients together. (Olive oil through parsley.)
- Slowly add the beer to the mixture, as it will foam and bubble.
- Place your chicken in a gallon Ziploc bag.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken.
- Remove as much air out of zip bag before sealing. Turn the bag from side to side to make sure all the chicken has been coated with marinade.
- Place the bag flat on a small rimmed kitchen sheet pan and into the refrigerator. Allow to sit at least 2 hours, overnight for best results. Turn the bag every few hours to keep the chicken coated on both sides.
- Cook over medium high heat. Depending on thickness, 6-7 minutes per side.
Yes, once again I’m making chicken wings. Most the Vietnamese chicken wing recipes I’ve seen call for fish sauce. As my son and I are allergic to most things seafood, I cannot use it as it is too strong. So, believe it or not, that is why I am using Worcestershire sauce for the unami in this recipe. Thus, the reason why I call it Vietnamese “style.” These wings are sweet, sticky and a little bit spicy. Good news is this recipe is quite simple, uses only a few ingredients, no oil frying required and done in less than 45 minutes. For my vegetarian friends, maybe you can substitute fried or pan seared tofu as the sauce itself is quite tasty.
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce Kecap Manis
- 2-3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek Chili Paste (start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- cilantro chopped for garnish
- lime wedges (optional)
- Preheat oven to 475 F degrees.
- For easier clean up, cover a baking sheet in foil or use a silicone mat as the sauce becomes quite sticky.
- Lay out the chicken wings in a single layer in prepared baking pan.
- Season the chicken wings on both sides using salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned or cooked through.
- While the chicken wings bake, prepare the sauce.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sweet soy sauce, chili paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well.
- When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the wings to a large bowl. Add half the sauce and, using tongs, toss to thoroughly coat. Return the wings to the lined sheet pan and arrange in a single, even layer.
- Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
- Optional: Serve with a lime wedge. I like how the lime juice offsets the sweetness of the soy sauce.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! This recipe is like a mash up of my Mexican Casserole and a tamale pie recipe I’ve tried in the past. And for my fellow home cooks who like quick recipes, the 35 minutes baking time is the longest you have to wait. I love shortcuts, so if you do not have all the required spices in your cupboards you can also use a packet of taco seasoning. Since there is only two of us at home to eat this, I used half the meat and only one box of the Jiffy cornbread mix and an 8×8 baking pan. Otherwise I used the same amount of all the other ingredients. For my vegetarian friends, omit the ground beef and add pinto beans.
- 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend; separated into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can black beans (15 ounce)
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can (10 ounce) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
- 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile in a large bowl, prepare Jiffy cornbread mix by combining mix, eggs and milk. Stir well then add 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend. Set aside. (If you like some extra spice, add a small can of diced green chilies to the cornbread mixture.)
- In a skillet add olive oil and cook ground beef over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.
- Add remaining ingredients to the meat mixture in skillet. Mix well and remove from heat.
- In a 9X13 baking pan, add meat and vegetable mixture. Top with 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese.
- Add prepared cornbread mixture on top of cheese layer. Be sure to spread out evenly.
- Bake in oven for 33-35 minutes or until cornbread turns golden. Enjoy with your favorite beverage.