Spicy Basil Chicken

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Source: The Cooking Couple on AllRecipes

This is a tasty and super healthy recipe!

Original: Spicy Basil Chicken by Zfamily on AllRecipes

Verdict: 3/5 as written but 4/5 with adaptations! Good but not *awesome*.

What I changed:

I basically changed the entire recipe:

  • I used boneless skinless thighs instead of breasts because that bit of fat is SO worth the extra few calories
  • Vegetable oil instead of chili oil because the chili oil made my eyes burn like crazy!
  • No mushrooms – they gross me out.  I know, I’m weird.
  • More oyster sauce.
  • Lots of minced garlic instead of garlic salt.
  • Added green beans.

Adapted Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh split green beans
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Start some rice in the rice cooker if you want to serve this over rice.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno peppers until golden brown. Mix in chicken and sugar.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink, but not completely done.
  3. Stir oyster sauce, water, sugar, and pepper into the skillet. Mix in green beans and onions, and continue cooking until onions are tender and chicken juices run clear. Remove from heat, and mix in basil. Let sit 2 minutes before serving.
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Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

I had some issues with this recipe but it was really good after making some changes!

Original: Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo by Budget Bytes

Verdict: 2/5 as written, 4/5 with adaptations.  The orzo is UH-MAZE-ING. I would polish off the entire pan of orzo if I could.  Here are my problems with this recipe:

  1. I don’t know if my chicken thighs were considered super thick, but the chicken didn’t even come close to cooking all the way through. Of course, I didn’t realize the chicken wasn’t cooked all the way until I had already plated it and started eating it!
  2. Lemon pepper seasoning on its own is pretty boring so the chicken was bland.

What I changed: I added extra seasonings to the chicken (thyme, onion powder, garlic powder). I also threw the chicken in the oven at 400 for a bit to get it to finish cooking. Also, I find the feta cheese pretty unnecessary, and I say that as someone who LOVES feta.

Adapted Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 5 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, divided
  • Thyme, onion powder, garlic powder for chicken (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth, made with bullion or a very rich and salty stock
  • ¼ bunch parsley
  • 1.5 cups orzo

Instructions

  1. Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 1 tsp per chicken thigh). Add thyme, garlic, and onion powder to taste.
  2. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium flame. Add 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil. When the oil is hot (it should be shimmering), add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Allow the thighs to cook until browned, then flip and brown on the second side (about five minutes on each side for bone-in thighs with skin). Remove the cooked thighs and place them on a cookie sheet.
  3. While the thighs are browning, mince two cloves of garlic and roughly chop ¼ bunch of parsley
  4. Put chicken in oven at 400 degrees.
  5. Turn the heat down to low. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute. Add the chicken broth and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Add about half of the chopped parsley, one additional teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning, and the orzo to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  7. Cover the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Allow the broth to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for 9-12 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. (If the broth stops simmering, increase the heat slightly to keep it simmering.)
  8. After 12 minutes, the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, allow it to simmer without the lid for a few minutes. It’s okay if the orzo is slightly saucy. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over top.
  9. The chicken will take another 5-10 minutes after the orzo finishes cooking. Remove from the oven when it reaches 160 degrees.

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Mayonnaise

This is a really simple salmon recipe and another favorite meal of mine.

Original: Teriyaki Salmon with Siracha Mayo on Budget Bytes

Verdict: 5/5. But OMG, MY APARTMENT STINKS FOR DAYS AFTER MAKING THIS!  It’s not a bad smell–just the smell of the marinade, not fish, but seriously, open a window and turn on a fan when you cook this.

What I changed:  I marinate all day, and leave out the corn starch because it gets thick enough without it. It’s great without the sriracha mayo, but I highly recommend making the mayo.

Adapted Recipe: 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. salmon filet
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp of refrigerated ground ginger
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. sriracha hot sauce

Instructions

Make the teriyaki marinade by whisking together the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, minced garlic,  ginger, brown sugar, and rice wine. Cut the salmon filet into four equal sized portions and place in a large zip top bag. Pour the marinade over top, remove as much air as possible and close up the bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, mixing the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.

Heat a large, well oiled skillet over medium/high heat.  It’s a good idea to use a non-stick surface here too just to be safe (teflon or well seasoned cast iron).  The teriyaki sauce gets thick and sticky when cooked.  Once the skillet is hot, add the fish, face down.  Cook on all four sides for 2-3 minutes each side or until the fish has reached your desired doneness.

In a small bowl, mix together the sriracha hot sauce and mayonnaise. Serve the fish with a dollop of sriracha mayo on top!

Grilled Fresh Tacos with Chipotle Lime Dressing

This is a really simple salmon recipe and another favorite meal of mine.

Original: Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime Dressing from AllRecipes by Mary Dohrmann

Verdict: 4/5. I love how tasty the sauce is and I love how healthy this recipe is.

What I changed: Instead of eating this on tortillas, I eat it over brown rice like a burrito bowl.  I skip the cabbage and add in some pico de gallo. I cook it in the oven and sometimes use catfish which is fattier but tastier!

Adapted Recipe: 

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks

Dressing

  • 1 (8 ounce) container low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay

Also

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice or tortillas
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • Pico de gallo

Instructions

Make the teriyaki marinade by whisking together the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, minced garlic,  ginger, brown sugar, and rice wine. Cut the salmon filet into four equal sized portions and place in a large zip top bag. Pour the marinade over top, remove as much air as possible and close up the bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, mixing the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.

Heat a large, well oiled skillet over medium/high heat.  It’s a good idea to use a non-stick surface here too just to be safe (teflon or well seasoned cast iron).  The teriyaki sauce gets thick and sticky when cooked.  Once the skillet is hot, add the fish, face down.  Cook on all four sides for 2-3 minutes each side or until the fish has reached your desired doneness.

In a small bowl, mix together the sriracha hot sauce and mayonnaise. Serve the fish with a dollop of sriracha mayo on top!

Slow and Low Dry Rub Chicken & Rice

This recipe results an incredibly flavorful and moist chicken thigh.  While it requires some morning prep, it’s pretty hands off with my adaptations!

Original: Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken from Smitten Kitchen

Verdict: 5/5.  This is soooo good.  It’s is in my weekly rotation and I make it for guests and holidays. It always gets glowing reviews.

What I changed: I’ve replaced the rub from the original recipe with a different rub, and I skip the sauce and broiling, which is great but not worth the effort.  I also dump the juices in brown rice for an easy complete meal.

Adapted Recipe: 

Ingredients

Brine:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
Rub:

Makes a large batch of rub. 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can use more)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
Chicken & Rice:
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1.5 cups brown rice

Instructions

Brine the chicken: In a large container, mix water, salt, sugar and vinegar. Add chicken parts and cover with a lid or plastic wrap in the fridge, for 8 hours.
Make the rub: Mix all spices.
Prepare chicken: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Pat chicken pieces generously on all sides with rub; do not be shy about using more than seems… seemly.  Place on foil-lined baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.
Bake chicken for 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of each chicken reads 160 degrees.
Cook 1.5 cups of brown rice in the rice cooker while the chicken is cooking.  When the chicken is done, pour the juices from the pan into the brown rice and add salt to taste.
Crappy (but real!) picture: 
2014-08-30 18.44.47