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You'll find over 310 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Sweet-and-Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives

August 19, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

I have made Sweet-and-Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives twice in the last three days. It is that good, and it is very easy to make.

The recipe is adapted from one in Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, which is an inspiring cookbook with a lot of gorgeous photos. I didn’t change much, but I did lower the salt a bit and substituted 1 tablespoon of honey for the 1 tablespoon of sugar that Domenica uses.

We loved this simple preparation as a side dish, but it also makes a great antipasto offering. Domenica suggests using it in a frittata, on a pizza, or tossed with pasta.

Sweet-and-Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives is perfect for summer entertaining since it can be made ahead of time. It’s fantastic served hot, warm, or at room temperature. If you make it in advance and refrigerate it, let it come to room temperature before serving.

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Sweet-and-sour peppers with oil-cured olives

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Sweet-and-Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives

(Adapted from Domenica Marchetti’s recipe in The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6

 

I made the recipe to take to a dinner party, so I chose to double it to serve 10 – 12. It was easy to do, but I used 2 large skillets because it would have been difficult to prepare the 8 peppers in one pan.

 

Ingredients for 4 – 6 servings (for one pan)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large red peppers, cut lengthwise into ¾-inch strips

2 large yellow peppers, cut lengthwise into ¾-inch strips

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about ½ large)

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ cup (about 45g) oil-cured olives (about 15 olives)

 

1. Prepare all of the ingredients so they are ready to go. (This technique is known as “mise en place” and it really does make the cooking process easier.)

2. I like to cut the ribs out of the peppers for a better presentation.

Cutting the ribs out

3. Cut the pits from the oil-cured olives, and cut them in half.

olives

4. Measure the white wine vinegar.

vinegar

5. Add the honey to the vinegar.

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Two sets of “mise en place” ingredients for 2 skillets when I doubled the recipe.

Salt, olives, honey and vinegar

Mise en place

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6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it is shimmering, add the peppers and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers are starting to soften.

 

I used 2 skillets when I doubled the recipe.a

recipe doubled

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7. Sprinkle the salt over the peppers. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 15 minutes. The peppers and onions should be soft and just starting to brown a bit.

8. Stir the honey and the vinegar together to make sure the honey is well-blended in the vinegar. Pour the mixture over the peppers. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until most of the vinegar has evaporated.

9. Stir in the olives and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

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finished - one pan

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10. Put the peppers in a serving bowl and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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And, yes, I did wear my onion goggles to slice the onion! :)

onion goggles

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Sweet-and-sour peppers with oil-cured olives - tall

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Mongolian Beef

August 11, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

Mongolian Beef is one of my favorite things to order in Asian restaurants so I was excited to try Cooking Light’s lightened up version. I’ve made it twice now. When I made it a couple of nights ago Bob said, “This is really good!” And it really is! It may be lighter than the restaurant versions, but it doesn’t skimp on flavor.

I adopted the recipe to serve 2, but I increased some of the sauce ingredients and aromatics (garlic and ginger) to make it just a bit saucier and spicier. For example, the original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon each of garlic and ginger to serve 4. I used 1 tablespoon each of garlic and ginger to serve 2 and it was perfect for us.

This Mongolian Beef is a quick and easy dinner for 2 that I know I’ll be making often. Once you have all of the ingredients prepped, it cooks in less than 5 minutes making it a perfect choice for a hot summer night! (It’s going to be at least 90˚ in Seattle today!)

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Mongolian Beef

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Mongolian Beef

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)

 

Cooking Light suggests using a large nonstick skillet and my new T-Fal skillet is perfect. I think if I were doubling the recipe, though, I’d cook the beef in two batches so the pan isn’t too crowded. Then just add all the beef back in when you add the onions and the sauce.

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 2 (double for 4 servings)

 

1½ tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce (I used gluten-free tamari)

¾ teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon cornstarch

1½ teaspoons dry sherry

1½ teaspoons hoisin sauce (I used gluten-free Wok Mei)

¾ teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt (use less if you’re using table salt)

2 teaspoons oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon (about 3 cloves) minced fresh garlic

½ pound sirloin steak, cut across grain into thin slices

8 medium-sized green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths

Some of the ingredients

Some of the ingredients for Mongolian Beef

 aTop sirloin thinly slicedGreen onions, sliced

 

1. Mix the first 8 ingredients together.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and tilt the skillet to spread it around.

3. Add the beef, ginger, and garlic to the pan. Cook until the beef is done and starting to brown (2 – 3 minutes).

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I found tongs made it easy to separate and turn the beef slices. Beef, ginger, and garlic

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4. Add the green onions and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

Add onionsa

 

5. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, for 30 – 60 seconds, until hot and thickened.

Add sauce

 

6. Serve over rice noodles or steamed rice.

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Mongolian Beef 2a

Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken

July 23, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

For more than 30 years I have been hearing from Bob about how outrageous the fried chicken was at Chez Heléne in New Orleans. The chef behind the chicken was Austin Leslie. Austin had lived primarily with his Aunt Helen growing up and had learned a lot about cooking from her before working at a couple of restaurants. When Aunt Helen opened Chez Heléne in 1964,  Austin was ready to go to work for her.

I never got to try the food at Chez Heléne; Austin closed it in 1995. He moved on to other ventures and continued to cook his legendary Fried Chicken.

Austin wrote a wonderful cookbook that was published in 2000 called Austin Leslie’s Creole-Soul: New Orleans’ Cooking with a Soulful Twist. It has his chicken recipe along with many other recipes that I’m eager to try. If you like soul food, this is the real deal.

I decided to make Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken using Austin’s recipe. I was curious about how the recipe would compare with my Buttermilk Fried Chicken which we love. They’re very similar, but Austin uses a mixture of half-and-half (or light cream), a beaten egg, and water instead of buttermilk. He doesn’t soak the chicken; in fact, he says not to soak the chicken.

One of his “secret” techniques is to pierce the largest part of each piece with a heavy two-pronged fork after they have cooked for about 8 minutes. It lets some of the oil seep in to speed up cooking without making it extra greasy.

For the flour, I substituted the America’s Test Kitchen’s gluten free flour blend and it worked amazingly well. Bob said he couldn’t tell the difference between it and regular wheat flour.

So what was our verdict? Both recipes produce fabulous fried chicken, but I think I may have liked Austin’s recipe a little bit better. It had been so long since Bob had eaten at Chez Heléne that he couldn’t really compare it to the restaurant’s. He just declared it to be delicious and requested that I make it again next week tomorrow. (I said no.)

I liked the fact that you don’t have to plan ahead to soak the Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken. The actual cooking seemed a little more labor intensive with Austin’s recipe, but part of the reason for that was because the chicken breasts I had were too large. Even after cutting them in half I had to do the chicken in 2 batches. It’s hard to find a small chicken, but it works much better if you can find one. The whole chickens at my store were 4 – 5 pounds, so I opted for 3.16 pounds of cut-up chicken. Even then, the breasts were too large.

If you feel like indulging in some soulful Southern food, I highly recommend this Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken. If you don’t have a problem with wheat (or gluten) just substitute all-purpose flour and you’ll have fabulous Southern Fried Chicken!

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Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken closer

 

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Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken

(Adapted from Austin Leslie’s recipe in his Creole-Soul cookbook using the gluten free flour blend from The How Can This Be Gluten Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen)

 

The recipe suggests garnishing the finished chicken with chopped dill pickles, chopped garlic, and chopped parsley before serving. Bob doesn’t remember that from Chez Heléne so I didn’t use it. Perhaps Austin used it later in his career.

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients clockwise from lower left: flour, egg, peanut oil, half & half, salt, pepper (in grinder), and chicken

Ingredients for fried chicken

 

1½ cups peanut oil for frying

1 (2½ – 3) pound fryer, cut up, or pieces

Salt and Pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup half & half (or light cream)

1 cup water

3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (or all-purpose flour, if you don’t need gluten free)

Chopped dill pickles for garnish (optional)

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic (optional)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

 

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet to 350˚. (This takes a good 10 – 15  minutes.) Use a thermometer for frying for best results; I find it’s essential.

Oil reflecting the wall behind the stove. The thermometer is extremely helpful.

peanut oil in cast iron skillet and thermometer

 

2. If you have too much chicken for 1 batch, preheat the oven to 170˚ (warm), and put a large baking sheet in it. Put racks in the baking sheet if you have some.

racks in a baking sheet

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3. Cut the chicken breasts in half so they will cook more quickly and evenly. Rinse them well to remove any little bits of bone there may be from cutting them in half and dry them off with paper towels.

4. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

5. Combine the egg, half & half, water, 1 teaspoon salt, and a bit of pepper in a bowl.

6. Put the flour in another bowl or pie plate.

7. When the oil is 350˚ dip the chicken in the egg batter first and then in the flour. Add them skin-side down to the pan. Do not crowd the pan! (I did the breast pieces first because they were so large and did the rest of the pieces in a second batch.)

8. Cook the pieces for about 5 – 6 minutes; pierce the thickest part of each piece with a large, two-pronged fork and turn them over for an additional 5 – 6 minutes. Monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat as needed. (Large pieces may take a bit longer. My large breast pieces took a total of about 18 – 20 minutes.)

I found it best to cover the pan, especially with the larger pieces. I used another baking sheet for a makeshift lid.

makeshift lid

 

9. As the pieces get done, use tongs to remove them from the pan and put them on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

10. If it’s necessary to do 2 batches, repeat with the second batch after the first is done.

11. Garnish the finished chicken with the pickles, garlic, and parsley if you’re using them and enjoy!

 

Gluten Free Southern Fried Chicken 2

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Roasted Bell Peppers

July 16, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

We had Kielbasa Sausage a la Fenway Park for Bob’s birthday dinner. The sandwiches are practically a whole meal all by themselves so I wanted a light side dish to serve with them. Roasted Bell Peppers were perfect!

I found the recipe for Roasted Red Bell Peppers on epicurious. The original recipe was published in the May 2005 issue of Gourmet magazine. It called for 5 red peppers; I used 2 red , 2 yellow, and 2 orange peppers.

This is a recipe that tastes fantastic at room temperature. I made it in the afternoon and it was all ready for dinner. I love make-ahead dishes for entertaining!

The Roasted Bell Peppers were excellent as a side dish to the kielbasa. Bob actually enjoyed some of them on his kielbasa. They would be a welcome side dish with any grilled meat or fish. You could also use them as an appetizer as part of an antipasti platter. Give them a try. I think you’ll like them!

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Roasted Bell Peppers, too

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Roasted Bell Peppers

(Adapted from a Gourmet recipe on epicurious.)

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If you don’t have a grill (or don’t want to use it), you can put the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil them until they are charred on all sides.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

2 orange bell peppers

2 small garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano)

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

1. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat to medium and put the peppers on the grill.

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Peppers on the grill

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3. Turn the peppers with tongs every few minutes and grill until the skins are blackened on all sides. (With my grill it worked best to close the lid as they cooked. It took about 20 minutes to char them. It may take a shorter time if your grill is really hot.)

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Charred peppers in a large stainless steel bowl

Charred peppers

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4. Remove the charred peppers from the grill and put them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with foil and let them sit for 10 – 15 minutes.

5. Take the peels off of the peppers. Cut them in half and remove the stems and seeds. Slice the peppers into thin strips. Try to reserve some of the peppers juices as you cut them.

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Peeled roasted peppers

Peeled peppers

 

6. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and any juices that you were able to reserve.

7. Stir the pepper strips into the marinade and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

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Roasted Bell Peppers

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Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese

July 2, 2014

By Kath Dedon

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This Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese from Cooking Light tasted even better than I was expecting! I loved the crunch of the corn with the eggs.

Cooking Light suggests that dill, basil, cilantro, lovage, or Italian parsley would all be great sprinkled over the finished frittata. They used parsley; I chose cilantro.

If your markets are bursting with great local corn, by all means, use fresh corn. We’re not quite there yet in the Pacific Northwest, so I used frozen corn kernels which worked just fine. Plus, being able to use frozen corn will make this Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese a great taste of summer in the middle of winter.

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I used a 10-inch skillet. Next time I will use an 8- or 9-inch skillet so the frittata won’t be quite so flat.

Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese

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Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese

(Adapted from a recipe in the June 2014 issue of Cooking Light)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 

1 teaspoon olive oil

1½ cups corn kernels (cut from about 2 ears, or frozen – no need to defrost)

1/3 cup diced shallots

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup milk

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons butter

1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or dill, basil, lovage, or parsley)

 

1. Heat a medium oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Add the corn and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper and the smoked paprika. Stir and then remove the corn to a bowl.

2. Beat the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the milk into the eggs. Add the corn mixture to the eggs and stir well.

3. Preheat the broiler to high with the oven rack about 6 inches below the heating elements.

4. Turn the heat under the skillet to medium and melt the butter, letting it spread over the bottom of the skillet. Add the eggs and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Cover and reduce heat to low and continue to cook for about 4 more minutes until the eggs are just done.

5. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and broil for about 1 minute.

6. Sprinkle with cilantro and, if desired, sprinkle with a bit more smoked paprika.

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Brimming with crunchy, sweet corn

Corn Frittata

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Roasted Mushrooms

June 18, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

This Roasted Mushrooms recipe is a perfect side dish for steak or burgers. And…it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature – perfect for entertaining!

I adapted the recipe from one on Deborah Mele’s beautiful blog, Italian Food Forever. Deborah calls it “Roasted Mushroom Medley” since she uses 2 pounds of mixed fresh mushrooms. She suggests trying portobello, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, but adds that using just one type works as well. I used half white and half cremini mushrooms.

The first time I made Roasted Mushrooms I did not use garlic. I served them with grilled flank steak and they were very good, but I couldn’t help but think that I would love them with garlic added.

The second time I made them I followed Deborah’s recipe and used 2 cloves of garlic. The garlic flavor was very subtle. The mushrooms were well-received as a room-temperature side dish at the burger party we attended. Still, Bob and I decided we would prefer more garlic.

A quick search on the Internet revealed a similar recipe by Bobby Flay. His Oven Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme uses 4 cloves of garlic with 1 pound of mushrooms. Bingo! That sounds like it would be just the right amount of garlic for me. I will definitely be using more garlic the next time I make them which, undoubtedly, will be soon.

Do try these Roasted Mushrooms but make them just the way you like them. They were quite good even without the garlic. If you’re a garlic lover, try 6 – 8 cloves. Use less for a more subtle hint of garlic. They would be great served hot right out of the oven, but they make a fabulous room temperature side dish, too.

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Another view of Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

(Adapted from recipes by Deborah Mele on Italianfoodforever.com and Bobby Flay on The Food Network)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 6

 

2 pounds sliced mushrooms (I used white and cremini.)

2 – 8 cloves garlic, chopped (Use 6 – 8 for real garlic lovers.)

½ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar

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Rosemary, sage, garlic, and parsley

Rosemary, sage, garlic, and parsley

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Pour the olive oil into a large baking dish. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, sage, and parsley.

Oil, herbs, and seasonings in baking dish

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3. Put the mushrooms in the baking dish and stir to coat them with the oil as well as possible.

4. Sprinkle the mushrooms with a bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir one more time and put in the oven.

5. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once after about 25 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and stir the balsamic vinegar into the mushrooms. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt and pepper, if needed.

7. Serve at once, or cool and serve them at room temperature.

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Roasted Mushrooms

 

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

June 4, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos involve a bit of prep work (slicing and dicing), but they are so addictively delicious! They are actually very easy to make and are worth the time that it takes.

Laura discovered the recipe and highly recommended it to me. She used ground turkey, which is sometimes easier to find than ground chicken, and said it was great.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos was originally published in Nordstrom Flavors An Artful Celebration of Food, by Nordstrom corporate chef,  Michael Northern. The recipe was recently recreated by the Nordstrom blogs editor,  Jeff Powell. Jeff published it, along with his beautiful professional photographs, on The Thread.

In his blog post, Jeff recommends using ground thigh meat because ground chicken that is 100% breast meat makes the filling too dry. If you can only find breast meat, he suggests grinding boneless chicken thighs in a food processor. I used Smart Chicken 95% lean ground chicken and it worked fine.

It’s really the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette that puts these tacos over the top. As the blog post on The Thread says, it is a “bold, well-balanced dressing that’s a little sweet, a little sour and a little spicy”.

The original recipe uses corn tortillas that are fried to make taco shells. We prefer soft tacos, so I simply heated corn tortillas in a dry cast iron skillet. Hop on over to The Thread if you’d like to see how Jeff makes the taco shells.

These Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos definitely belong in my A+ Favorite Recipes category. In fact, just writing about them makes me want to make them again. Soon!

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

(Adapted from Chef Michael Northern’s recipe in Nordstrom Flavors and Jeff Powell’s version on The Thread, a Nordstrom blog)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6

 

When chopping the cilantro, there is no need to first painstakingly remove the leaves from the stems. Cut the bottom part that is mostly stems off and then just chop the remaining stems with the leaves.

 

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light olive oil (or canola oil)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Chicken Taco Filling

2 tablespoons light olive oil (or canola oil)

1 pound ground dark-meat chicken (turkey can be substituted)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, minced

1½ teaspoons kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to ¾ teaspoon)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce (use wheat free tamari for gluten free)

 

Tortillas and toppings

12 corn tortillas

½ head romaine or iceberg lettuce, finely shredded crosswise

4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Fresh cilantro springs for garnish

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Toppings: Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, diced tomatoes, lettuce, diced yellow pepper, crumbled queso fresco

Taco toppings

 

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1. In a blender or mini food processor, blend the first 6 ingredients for the vinaigrette.

2. With the blender or food processor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream so the vinaigrette is emulsified.

3. Add the ½ cup cilantro to the vinaigrette and process until it is well blended with just a few small flecks of cilantro. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

4. For the chicken filling, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken, ½ cup cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks.

5. When the chicken is fully cooked (It takes 7 – 8 minutes.), add the lime juice and soy sauce. Stir well and cook until the juice and soy sauce are almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

6. Using your favorite method, warm the corn tortillas. (I like to heat them 2 at a time in a dry cast iron skillet for about 20 seconds on each side. I wrap them in foil as I finish each batch to keep them warm.)

heating tortillas

7. To assemble the tacos, put some chicken filling in each tortilla; top with some lettuce and then add about 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Add some tomato and yellow pepper, some cheese, and a cilantro sprig. Offer the extra vinaigrette at the table for serving.

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos 2

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