Recipes · Seafood

Five Minute Meal: Chili Shrimp

I really love shellfish, almost all of them, and especially when they are cooked with Asian and Indonesian flavors like sambal oelek (chili paste), soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Recipes like this pop up a lot when the sun is out and the grill is hot, but in the meantime, it makes a nice dish for a chilly night in too.


1 large nonstick pan
1 large microwave-safe bowl
plastic wrap

Continue reading “Five Minute Meal: Chili Shrimp”

Date Night · Party Food · Poultry · Recipes · Whole30

Hold the Sizzle: Fiery Chicken Fajitas

If you’re anything like me, you really love fajitas. You love fajitas almost as much as you hate burning your fingers on the damn cast iron skillet that restaurants insist on serving your food on. Every time, they tell me, “don’t touch the plate, it’s hot” and every time, I burn myself one way or another. Never again!

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 jalapeño peppers, or equivalent
3 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tsp cilantro
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp True Lime (or 1 tbsp fresh lime juice)

Necessary Appliances/Special Equipment: 
1 medium-sized bowl
1 small bowl for mixing spices
1 large non-stick pan
1 rubber baking spatula or equivalent (large spoon, etc)

Slice chicken breasts into strips, about 1/2″ thick by 1″-2″ long and place into a medium-sized bowl. Remove seeds from hot peppers and slice into thin strips, add these to the bowl as well.

In a small bowl, combine all the herbs/spices and stir with a fork (if using fresh lime juice, do not add this in yet). Add 3 tbsp avocado oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp lime juice (if using), and all herbs/spices to the bowl of chicken and peppers. Mix gently but thoroughly with rubber spatula or spoon, making sure chicken is evenly coated. Allow chicken and peppers to marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat – you won’t need to add more oil since the chicken has been marinated in some. Dump entire bowl of chicken/pepper mixture into the pan. Sautee over medium heat until chicken is fully cooked through – since the pieces are small, it will be difficult to check the internal temperature, so I usually cut one of the larger pieces in half to make sure the inside is fully cooked.

Serve immediately.

Date Night · Kid-Friendly · Party Food · Poultry · Recipes · Sauces

Chicken Satay-Kebabs & Peanut Sauce

Inspired by Moroccan flavors, a craving for peanut sauce, and beloved ingredients in my pantry, I had a ton of fun experimenting with the marinade for this satay/kebab mashup today. If you are using wooden skewers, you should soak them in water for about 30 minutes before cooking to prevent the meat from sticking. Unfortunately I was super excited about this recipe and prepared the marinade before realizing that I (a) am out of skewers, and (b) no longer have a grill pan, so my photos won’t be exactly what I envisioned but the taste was all there!

A sneak peek into my brainstorming session
A sneak peek into my brainstorming session (click to buy your own Smashbook from Amazon)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon, juiced (~2 tbsp)
1 tsp minced garlic (~2 cloves)
2 tbsp olive oil + more for cooking

For Peanut Sauce: 
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (creamy)
1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
1.5 tbsp tamari
1-2 tsp sriracha
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup hot water
salt to taste

1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger

Skewer-less, we got creative with toothpicks for serving.
Skewer-less, we got creative with toothpicks for serving.

Cut the chicken into 1″ pieces. In a small bowl combine: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and all seasoning/spices (paprika, turmeric, cumin, salt, cayenne, pepper, coriander, celery salt, onion powder, ground ginger) and mix well. Combine chicken and spice mixture in a Ziploc bag, toss to coat, and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour (overnight is fine too).

When ready to prepare, heat olive oil in a grill pan on medium-high heat (if you do not have a grill pan, a regular skillet will do). Slide several pieces of chicken onto each skewer and place in the pan. Grill until cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. As stated above, I realized late in the game that I didn’t actually have skewers at home so I just sautéed all the chicken at once, cooking time is the same.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the peanut sauce. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, tamari, sriracha, and lime juice. Mix well. Add hot water 1 tbsp at a time to thin out the sauce, mixing well before adding more, until you reach desired consistency. I only ended up using 3 tbsp of hot water, but to each his own – there is no wrong answer here.

Serve chicken satay-kebabs immediately with peanut sauce and additional sriracha if desired.

Baked · Beef · Skills/Techniques · Snacks

Whisky Jerk

Mmm, I don’t know about you, but I love beef jerky. Unfortunately, the pre-packaged stuff is usually loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.. so you know I took matters into my own hands!

Beef jerky is actually pretty easy to make, but it does take a while, so don’t try to make this the same day you want to eat it.

Note: I did use whisky in my marinade, but the sugar content of 3 tbsp for all that meat is negligible so don’t worry about violating your slow carb rules. For the Paleo cats, a friend of mine (who runs PaleoTrail) said that Scotch is a perfectly acceptable boozy ingredient for marinade, but that whisky should be avoided. Perhaps I will try this recipe with Scotch next time.

1.5 lbs london broil, trimmed of all fat
3 tbsp high quality whiskey/whisky (I used Maker’s Mark)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp salt (I love the Himalayan pink stuff)
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl (everything but the meat). Mix well and adjust seasoning to personal taste preference – don’t freak out if it’s too salty or alcoholic-smelling, both tastes will level out in the cooking process. Make sure ALL fat is removed from the meat, or it will rot in the lengthy drying process. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the london broil into strips cutting across the grain. Combine the meat strips with the marinade in a large Ziploc bag and shake to coat well. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (overnight is good too).

Pre-heat oven to 230*F. Cover a cookie sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil to help make clean-up go a bit faster. I used a roasting rack to make sure my jerky dried out on all sides, but if you don’t have one you can still make delicious jerky – just make sure to flip all the strips about half way through cooking. Place jerky strips onto the rack or sheet, spread apart evenly, and place in the oven for three hours. I would recommend keeping the oven slightly cracked open for about half of this time (first hour and last half-hour) – my oven evidently has great hinges and will just stay open an in inch, but a crushed soda can will do the trick. The reason for this is to help facilitate the drying of the meat, rather than just cooking it.

Goin' in!
Goin’ in!

Lower your oven temperature to 170*F. Dry the jerky for another hour or so and then remove from the oven. If you are using a roasting rack, remove jerky from the rack and place on a flat surface (the pan is just fine). If you are just using a cookie sheet, you can skip that step. If the jerky is done, it will be completely dried out and dark in color (if it’s not done yet, turn off your oven, and leave the tray in for a few more hours to dry). When your jerky looks done, leave it out to completely cool and continue drying for a few more hours. Keep in an airtight container – you probably don’t *need* to refrigerate, but I do just in case.

Beef jerky is complete! So delicious.
Beef jerky is complete! So delicious.
Beef · Recipes · Skills/Techniques

Azn-glazed Skirt Steak

Mmm skirt steak. A super fast lunch option when you’re craving some red meat! I originally planned to marinate this, but got impatient and whipped out my silicone brush instead.

1 lb skirt steak
1.5 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/4 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
clarified butter, to grease the pan

freshly-cracked pepper (I used the rainbow stuff this time)
hot Hungarian paprika
1 tsp onion powder

Start by combining the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, olive oil, and tamari in a small-medium bowl. Slice the jalapeño very thinly and add it to the tamari mixture. Add about one teaspoon of onion powder as well as some salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.

My favorite pan is not quite big enough, so I cut the skirt steak into three smaller pieces so it would fit (cook one at a time). Season both sides of the steak with some salt and freshly cracked pepper. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat and add clarified butter to coat the pan.

Using a silicone brush, or whatever else you want, coat each side of the steak with the tamari mixture – feel free to do this again once the meat is in the pan, but be careful not to cross-contaminate the raw and cooked steak (in fear of contaminating my cooked steak, I usually only add more to the raw side facing up and leave the other side alone).

Quickly sear the steak on medium-high heat, about 90 seconds per side (for medium-rare). Remember that skirt steak is pretty thin, so even if you like it cooked medium-well or well done it will still only take a fraction of the time that your usual steak needs.

That’s it! Let your meat rest for a few minutes and dig in! I made my favorite 50/50 mayo/sriracha sauce for a little dipping action and it was delicious.

Sexy Skirt Steak

Baked · Pork · Recipes

Spare Ribs: Gangnam Style

EDITED 3 Jul 2013: My second attempt of this recipe was far more successful and I have updated this post to reflect the changes I made that resulted in amazing ribs (my friend even said so and he’s from Kentucky so you can believe these are legit).

Mmm porky goodness a la spare ribs! While barbecue season is officially in full swing, sometimes you just crave a slightly different flavor profile. Enter: Korean BBQ (sort of). Tasty things from my oven. This marinade is super quick to make (especially if you already have some grated ginger) and you can bake them inside if you’re a city kid like me and don’t have a patio/grill.

– 2 lbs Korean-cut spare ribs (flanken)*
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 oz rice vinegar
– 6 oz Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
– 2 tsp grated ginger
– 1-2 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 jalapeño pepper , chopped
– clarified butter (to grease the pan)

– salt
– pepper/white pepper
– onion powder
– hot Hungarian paprika

Combine all of the ingredients (excluding the meat) in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.

The ribs came in one long strip and I used a smaller pan, so I cut them into smaller sections just to make ’em fit, but there is no size rule really as long as they can lay flat in the pan. Place the ribs in a large Ziploc bag (heavy duty/freezer bags recommended) and pour the mixture over the ribs, making sure to seal the bag tightly! Shake it around a bit to make sure the meat is well-coated and place back in the refrigerator to marinate – the longer the better, overnight would be great. For my second attempt with this recipe, I intended to marinate them for a full 24 hours, but then I got lazy so it ended up being more like 45. Best idea! (Note: when putting back in the fridge, I would recommend lying the ribs and bag flat on one side and flipping over about halfway through your marinating time. This seemed to help the meat lock in more flavor and kept each piece coated.)

When ready to cook:

Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (makes for easier clean-up!) and rub the bottom with some clarified butter to prevent sticking.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and place them on the pan, bone side down. Drizzle a few more spoonfuls of the marinade liquid on top of the ribs, but try not to drown them. We don’t want them sitting in liquid the whole time.

Roast ribs until they are cooked through and tender, about 2 hours.

Something about raw meat still always looks delicious to me
Something about raw meat still always looks delicious to me
I can't even describe how amazing these smell
I can’t even describe how amazing these smell


Recommended side-dish: Perfect ‘Stachio Guac

*Korean- or Chinese-style ribs can be found in most Asian markets (like the Vietnamese place on 10th and Washington, if you’re in Philly). This cut is also called “flanken” and refers to the cut of meat cut lengthwise across the rib bones.

Date Night · Poultry · Recipes

Thai-ish Spicy Peanut Chicken

Please don’t judge me when I say I have made this for dinner three days in a row and inhaled all of it. This is definitely one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever made, and absolutely one of my favorites. It’s a great weeknight dinner that comes together quickly, and I would probably eat it every day if The Boyfriend would let me.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ~1″ cubes
1 medium-sized jalapeño pepper, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced (half-moons)
3 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp natural peanut butter (I’m using Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. chili oil (optional)
Sriracha (optional)
vegetable oil

salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp. basil (I love these guys, you can find them in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s)

Heat oil in a large non-stick pan on medium-high. Add the onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic stirring continuously for about 3 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Add ~ 3 tbsp peanut butter and mix well to prevent burning.

Lower temperature to medium, add chicken to the pan, and season with salt and pepper immediately. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and 1/3 cup water to thicken the peanut sauce. Finally, add all remaining ingredients (white pepper, turmeric, red pepper flakes, basil, chili oil). Mix thoroughly to marry flavors and ensure chicken is being cooked on all sides. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is completely cooked through (about 10 minutes).

Serve immediately with a light drizzle of Sriracha on top (optional).


EDIT: This recipe was updated on 05 January 2014 for clarification and minor updates.