Spicy Pulled Chicken Tacos

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We are in the middle of a crazy heat wave here in the NYC area… I’m talking high-90s every day (and I believe we had a “feels like 107!” at one point yesterday afternoon). While I do enjoy the summer months, sweating my way through the day is not my favorite activity.

For some reason when it’s hot out, I CRAVE spicy food. I think it’s because in my mind I feel that if my mouth is on fire, the rest of me will cool down by default. I am not sure that science is on my side, but it makes sense in my head!

And it’s no secret, I love a good taco. Somehow it’s taken me this long to post a recipe for tacos with chicken, but here we are- with some of the yummiest, sauciest and spiciest chicken tacos out there.

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I promise I’ll be back soon with something that is actually good for beating the heat- something loaded with frozen fresh deliciousness. But for now, indulge your inner masochist with delightfully spicy, hot pulled chicken tacos. Eat them while surrounded by A/C though, please!

Spicy Pulled Chicken Tacos
 
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Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used Pompeian Canola/Olive/Grapeseed Oil mix)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (about 1.5 lbs of meat)
  • corn tortillas
  • arugula, cilantro, limes (for garnish, optional)

Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat, add the oil. Let oil heat up for a minute, then add the onion and jalapeno, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and continue to stir, cooking for a minute.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, paprika, worcestershire sauce, mustard, chile powder, and cayenne pepper and stir everything to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir again.
  3. Add the chicken to the sauce, and spoon sauce over top to cover. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook for an hour.
  4. After an hour, remove lid, and using two forks, shred chicken in the pot. It should come apart fairly easily. Stir up the shredded chicken in the sauce to get it all covered, then continue to cook for another 20 minutes, uncovered.
  5. While you’re waiting, toast up some corn tortillas and get your toppings ready. Place shredded chicken in the tortillas, garnish and serve!

Recipe adapted by Healthy Food for Living.

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Love tacos? Check out some of my other favorite recipes:

Slow Cooker Carnitas

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Breakfast Tacos

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Grilled Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

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Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Pappardelle with Chicken and Mushrooms

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

When I was growing up, our next-door neighbor Mike had an amazing Italian specialty shop in town called Gracie’s Ravioli, named after his mother. Gracie’s was devoted to selling authentic and delicious Italian ingredients and deli items. In high school, my dad and I used to go there to pick up sandwiches before every Yankees game we went to (which used to be a lot when we were season ticket holders!), and we all loved the shop’s roasted artichokes, delicious panini, and of course, their homemade ravioli.

Although Gracie’s closed a few years ago, Mike still maintains the legacy of his mom and his passion for Italian wine and cuisine through his blog, the eponymous Gracie’s Ravioli. He has tons of great recipes and wine recommendations over there, in addition to a few e-books I mentioned a while back that are definitely worth checking out.

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

I found this recipe from Mike’s blog that really stood out to me as having the potential to be seriously delizioso. Braised chicken, tomatoes, and mushrooms combine to make a sumptuous almost stew-like sauce that pairs perfectly with al dente pasta. Now the first thing you’ll probably be thinking is- wait a second, the above image clearly does NOT show pappardelle! Alas, our local store did not have any in stock, so we had to go with fettucine- which worked great, but if you want the authentic experience, try and find the pappardelle!

Check out the recipe below, e tutti a tavola a mangiare (did you know I spent a summer studying in Italy during college? Fun fact.)!

Pappardelle with Chicken and Mushrooms
 
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Author:
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ lb sliced mushrooms
  • fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • 1 lb pappardelle pasta

Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel to eliminate excess moisture, then carefully place in the pot. Allow chicken to brown, then remove to a plate. When cooled, shred with two forks and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and reduce heat to medium. Allow onions to soften, stirring every so often about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, wine and water, and stir to combine. Add the canned diced tomatoes, basil, shredded chicken, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir, and bring everything to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, then remove cover, add the mushrooms, and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, prepare pasta according to the box’s instructions. Ideally, use pappardelle for your base, but if your store doesn’t have that, fettucine or another wide long pasta is great too.
  5. Serve pasta in bowls and top with the chicken and mushroom sauce. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

My fiance and I loved this, so much so we went back for seconds (and maybe thirds)… and as a bonus, this definitely makes enough for leftovers!

Happy Eating, and Happy Fourth! What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

mally

Red Curry Chicken

Red Curry Chicken

WOW! I am 4 days away from speaking at BlogHer Food ’13. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous… but I am equally excited too. I am really looking forward to meeting some new food bloggers and of course all the excursions around Austin! I LOVE the food scene in Austin and I am seriously looking forward to chowing down on some BBQ, and tacos, and kulaches, and….. well, everything!

So about this recipe. What’s your favorite Thai dish? Tough question, huh?

For me, it’s a toss-up between Tom Kha Gai (coconut lime soup with chicken) and Tom Yum (hot and sour with rice noodles) soups, Pad Thai (of course), and this red curry chicken. I love the spicy, citrusy flavors used in Thai cooking and it’s such a go-to for takeout for me whenever I’m out of energy to make a meal.

However, even though ordering Thai is as easy as clicking a mouse nowadays, this recipe is surprisingly easy to make at home, and tastes damn near the same as what I get from delivery. The bright ginger and garlic flavors play perfectly off the spicy red curry paste and smooth coconut milk. You could make this vegetarian by substituting your favorite vegetables or tofu for the chicken, as well.

Red Curry Chicken

Side note, if you love Thai cuisine and want the low-down on how to cook authentic Thai dishes at home, do yourself a favor and check out SheSimmers. One of my favorite blogs with a refreshing tone and gorgeous photos.

One thing I want to facepalm myself for forgetting to add is sliced bamboo shoots… those are one of my favorite parts about the red curry chicken I order from the local takeout joint, and I completely forgot to put them in here. If you do decide to use those in this recipe, I’d add them alongside the red peppers.

Red Curry Chicken
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1.5 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated with a zester
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated with a zester
  • ½ cup water
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Steamed brown rice and lime wedges, for serving

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add the coconut milk, red curry paste, and fish sauce and stir to incorporate. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil and allow to get very hot. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan, and allow to brown before flipping, about 4-5 minutes. Once chicken is nicely browned, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  3. In the same pan, add the red bell pepper. Allow to crisp up for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and saute everything for another minute. Add the chicken, red curry mixture, and water to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve alongside rice and lime wedges, and garnish with cilantro.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Red Curry Chicken

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Springtime Kebabs

Springtime Kebabs

SPRING IS FINALLY HERE!

Dust off those barbecues people… it is time to get outside and grill!

Shish kebabs are one of my favorite meals to eat and make when the weather warms up.

They’re basically the spring and summer equivalent of a one-pot dinner- with minimal preparation and cleanup, and a super easy cooking process, these guys are a cinch to make with pantry ingredients for the marinade and delicious fresh vegetables and chicken. You can substitute any protein for the chicken… steak would be fantastic here!

Springtime Kebabs

I recommend marinating and grilling the vegetables and meat separately, for two reasons: You can use any leftover marinade for the vegetables for brushing on the kebabs during grilling, and you can remove the vegetable kebabs earlier than the chicken ones so that they don’t burn, since the vegetables will cook through much quicker than the chicken.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Springtime Kebabs
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the marinade:
  • 2 tbsp grainy dijon mustard
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup white worcestershire sauce (optional, add more white wine if you don’t have)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
For the kebabs:
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch square pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch square pieces
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced into ½ inch discs
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 pieces
For garnish:
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • kosher salt and pepper

Instructions
  1. Soak about 6-8 wooden skewers in water before starting. Soaking the sticks reduces the risk of them burning while grilling.
  2. In a bowl, combine the mustard, white wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and white worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the olive oil to make a thick dressing that will act as our marinade.
  3. In a large freezer bag, add all the vegetables and half of the marinade. In another large freezer bag, add the chicken. Let marinate in the refrigerator for an hour, more if possible, turning the bags frequently.
  4. When ready to grill, turn on the grill to medium high heat. Using your soaked skewers, make skewers with all vegetables and separate skewers with all meat. This allows you to be able to remove the vegetable skewers earlier than the meat ones if needed, to prevent burning.
  5. Add the skewers to the grill and cook, turning every few minutes or so to prevent burning. You’ll want to cook the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes until crispy and charred on the edges but not burnt, and the chicken for about 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Remove meat and vegetable skewers to a platter, and immediately squeeze a half a lemon over everything. Dust with kosher salt and any herbs if desired. Let sit for a few minutes, remove everything from the skewers, serve and enjoy!

These kebabs have so much flavor, and there’s nothing like a great char to make a meal truly special. I love grilling outdoors, and I am so excited barbecue season has officially begun!

Springtime Kebabs

Want some other great grilling ideas? Check out the following recipes from my Grilling section:

Grilled Corn Salad

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Grilled Zucchini Salad

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Herb-Crusted Steaks with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

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Happy grilling 🙂
mally

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s insanity how fast this year has gone by. So many awesome things have happened this year- from starting a new job, making new friends, traveling to new cities, celebrating my 100th post and 2nd year blogging here, and -oh yeah- getting ENGAGED!! I have a lot to look forward to in 2013, including speaking at BlogHer Food ’13, getting married, and hopefully a kick-butt honeymoon 🙂

Unfortunately, for the past week or so both my man and I have come down with some serious colds. The stupid kinds where you’re both sweating and freezing at the same time, accompanied by a few sleepless nights where you just can’t breathe due to congestion. So when I got around to cooking this weekend, I wanted to make something that was both healthy and yummy for us sick puppies.

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

Enter citrus and spice- the perfect sinus-clearer and immune boosters!

This spicy orange chicken stir-fry is the bomb, even if you’re feeling healthy as a horse. There really isn’t any other way to put it. The sauce is simultaneously sweet, spicy, salty and tangy, and the vegetables become perfectly crisp and crunchy. You could make this with beef or just vegetarian, as well. If you like the orange chicken from Chinese takeout menus, I think you’ll find this gives that a serious run for it’s money, minus the MSG!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry
 
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Ingredients
  • ¾ cup orange juice (fresh squeezed, or boxed is fine)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut into 1-2″ chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup snow peas

Instructions
  1. Mix together orange juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add orange zest, stir again and set aside.
  2. Pat the chicken tender pieces dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. In a wok or large saute pan, heat oil over high heat. Add onions, pepper, mushrooms, and crushed red pepper flakes, and saute for 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes, until vegetables are nice and crisp and chicken is just cooked through.
  5. Add the orange juice mixture and the snow peas, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring, until sauce is thickened and everything is nice and coated.
  6. Serve with white rice and enjoy!

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

I am definitely going to include this in my rotation of go-to meals- so quick and easy to throw together. If peppers and snow peas aren’t your thing, try some broccoli and garlic, or tomatoes and water chestnuts… I think the possibilities are endless!

Have a sincerely happy, healthy and blessed New Year! Thanks for sticking with me, and I can’t wait for what 2013 has to bring.

Happy Eating 🙂
mally