Recipe: Chicken Teriyaki with Sauteed Cabbage

Even though St. Augustine, FL wasn’t part of my Top 10 U.S. Cities post, it sure could have been. I love that city. It is close enough for us that we can make it a day trip, but we don’t take full advantage of this beautiful old city and all it has to offer.  We have been there several times since we’ve had kids and always swear we’re going to make it a point to go more often.  Well, we went this past weekend for the day and really lucked out weather-wise- it was a perfect Florida fall day.  We wore light sweaters and were good to go.

Usually when we go, we park our car and stick pretty close to downtown St. Augustine.  But this time, when we got hungry for dinner, every restaurant we checked within walking distance was packed.  After a little research on Cesar’s phone, though, we found an adorable little restaurant off the beaten path that had wonderful reviews.  The Back 40 Urban Cafe is an old house converted into the cutest restaurant you’ve ever seen.  And the food…oh, the food.  We thought about ordering one of everything on the menu, but our rational selves cautioned us against it.  We settled on the Wet Burrito with Jerk Chicken (for Cesar), Cheese Quesadillas (for the girls), and Chicken Teriyaki (for me).  I fell in love with the chicken teriyaki and am already planning our next trip to St. Augustine just to get another taste of it (ok, that’s not the only reason, but it is a big one!).  Until then, though, I decided to make my own version.

I am a firm follower of the “semi-homemade” cooking style a lot of the time.  I like to take shortcuts if they are available and reasonable, and this recipe is the perfect example!

Chicken Teriyaki with Sauteed Cabbage
Original Recipe (inspired by The Back 40 Cafe’s Chicken Teriyaki)

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Ingredients:
olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
8 oz. bag of coleslaw mix (green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots)
1/2 c. bottled teriyaki sauce (I like Lawry’s)

Cut chicken breasts into thin pieces (about 1/4″ thick).  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until it’s not quite cooked through.  Add cabbage and sautee until it starts to brown, or about 3 minutes.

Add teriyaki sauce and turn stove down to medium-low.  Allow chicken and cabbage to cook for about 5 minutes.  Serve over rice (I used basmati).

“Grown-Up” Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauce

Okay, so I may have lied a little.  In my About Me section, I said I took it upon myself to learn how to cook.  I guess it’s kind of true, but then again, it’s kind of not.

Growing up, my dad was [almost] always the one to cook dinner.  My mom got home later than my dad from work, so he just usually did it.  Plus, he’s always liked cooking.  So, when I got engaged and realized that soon, a.) I would be living with Cesar (ah!), and b.) one of us would be responsible for putting a meal on the table for dinner most nights (ahhhhhhhh!), I decided it was time to learn how to cook.  I did offer to make dinner once in a while, which was usually a recipe I’d found online and followed to a T).  But, I also would just hang out in the kitchen while my dad was making dinner and just pick up little things here and there, like how to make the best chili and spaghetti sauce in the world (Grandma’s recipes!).

My dad is the type of cook who rarely uses a recipe, and when he does, he makes so many changes, it’s not even close to the original recipe anyway.  That is why it really surprised me that he pretty much followed this recipe exactly when he made it for us for dinner last week.  I was pretty glad he did though, because it was really good.  One little hint though: the dipping sauce is good, but it tastes almost identical to the Dijon mustard that they had in the fridge.  So, if you want to save a few minutes, just make the chicken according to the recipe, buy a bottle of Dijon mustard, and call it dinner.

“Grown-Up” Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauce
(recipe adapted from Saveur)
Dipping Sauce
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. dill, chopped
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. ground mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Chicken Fingers
Ingredients:
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 c. flour
4 eggs, beaten
3 c. plain breadcrumbs
canola oil for frying
Toss chicken with sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and ground mustard and set aside.  In three bowls, put flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs.
Heat canola oil (enough to cover chicken) over medium-high heat.  In several separate batches, dip chicken in flour, eggs, then in breadcrumbs.  Fry chicken until it starts to brown (4-5 minutes).  Place on paper towels to let oil drip off.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights

For our honeymoon, Cesar and I wanted to do something different than your average week long, all-inclusive stay in the Caribbean, so we did a big road trip around the southeast United States.  We left the day after our wedding, and got back 16 days later on a Tuesday.  Here’s where we went:

  • Savannah, GA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Asheville, NC
  • Gatlinburg, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Atlanta, GA

Boy, let me tell you…for two people who just got married and had never lived together, a 2 1/2 week road trip was very…interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun.  But, I thought the “honeymoon phase” was supposed to last a little longer than 4 days.

We made it through Savannah just fine.  But then we got to Charleston and couldn’t find our hotel.  I was driving.  And our GPS kept repeating “signal not found” over and over.  And over.  I about lost it.  I, of course, just knew it was Cesar’s fault, because he probably didn’t type the right address in.  But, he thought (wrongfully, of course) it was my fault because I must have made a wrong turn somewhere.  We argued about whose fault it was.  Well, finally, after turning down a one way street the wrong way and driving within 5 miles of the hotel for about 20 minutes, we found it.  Then we forgave each other.

So, what did this whole story have to do with Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights?  Well, nothing really.  Except for the fact that while on our honeymoon, Cesar and I bought something just like these at a little gourmet food shop.  They were so good, but by the time I got home, I forgot about them.  Then, one day, I randomly found a blog and came across this recipe.  I added a little jelly to the mix, and we were in business.  They tasted just like the ones that we got on our honeymoon.  These little things are good!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights
 (recipe adapted from We Are Not Martha)
Ingredients:
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. jelly
1 bag of candy melts or chocolate

Spread peanut butter on half of the crackers and jelly on the other half. Put a peanut butter and a jelly cracker together. Melt candy melts according to package directions, then dip each sandwich into chocolate to coat completely. Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet; refrigerate for about 10 minutes to harden the chocolate.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

I love buffalo flavored anything. The hotter the better.  Cesar likes buffalo flavor too, but he can’t handle the heat like I can (haha!).  Sometimes he can eat a couple hot wings, but me…I order hot, with a side of hot sauce.

I don’t personally know anyone who doesn’t like homemade macaroni and cheese, so this recipe is a definite winner.  It’s not hard to make, but it does dirty a lot of dishes.  So, only make this if you have some extra time to wash a lot of dishes (or a rule that if you make dinner, your spouse cleans the dishes, like we have).  This recipe makes quite a bit, so be prepared to have lots of leftovers.  It reheats well though, so that wasn’t a problem for us- we had it for lunch for the next week straight, pretty much.  Oh, and, if you are on a diet, this is not the dish for you.  I tried to cut calories where I could, like using fat free half and half, low fat sour cream, and reduced fat cheese, but still, this is not the healthiest dish, so this is only something I would make once in a while.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
(recipe adapted from Noble Pig)
Ingredients:
5 tbsp. butter
1 lb. elbow macaroni or cellentani
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 c. Frank’s Buffalo Wing sauce
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 1/2 c. half and half
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2/3 c. sour cream
1 c. panko
1/2 c. bleu cheese crumbles
cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously spray a 9×13 Pyrex pan with cooking spray. Cook pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside. Melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat, then add chicken and garlic.  Cook for about 3 minutes, or until chicken starts to brown. Add 1/2 c. wing sauce, stir, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.In another pan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium heat, then add flour and mustard; stir until smooth. Whisk in half and half and the remaining 1/4 c. of wing sauce. Cook until mixture starts to thicken, then mix in cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, and sour cream.  Continue to cook and whisk until smooth. Pour chicken mixture and cheese mixture over the pasta and stir until everything is smooth, then transfer the mixture into the Pyrex dish.

In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter. Stir in panko and bleu cheese crumbles, then sprinkle mixture over macaroni. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until top starts to brown and bubble.

Recipe: Pizza Pasta

I pretty much love pasta.  I will eat it plain, with homemade meat sauce, with a jar of Ragu, with alfredo sauce, in macaroni and cheese, in chicken piccata…you get the picture. But it’s true. I. Love. Pasta. Cesar, on the other hand, could certainly do without it. He’d much rather eat a big ol’ chicken breast or hunk of steak than a plate full of carbs. Since I am the one who usually cooks, though, sometimes he gets stuck with that carby goodness. Sometimes he complains and sometimes he doesn’t. The night I made pizza pasta just so happened to be a night he didn’t, which I definitely didn’t consider a coincidence…more like a testimonial to the deliciousness of this dinner. I liked this a lot too. To make it even better, it only has 4 ingredients and was literally on the table in 30 minutes.

Pizza Pasta
(recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients
16 oz. box of cellentani
1 c. pasta sauce
4 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese
2 oz. chopped pepperoni or mini pepperoni

Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta according to box and mix in pasta sauce. Pour into a 13×9 Pyrex dish, then top with cheese and pepperoni. Bake until cheese starts to brown and get bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

First things first- Sophia loves bananas! She ate bananas Monday night and last night out of a jar, then tonight, I made some by mashing a banana, adding liquid, then putting it in the food processor. I hope she’s going to like fruits and vegetables a lot. Cesar and I both do, so hopefully that’s a good sign!

Well, sometimes Cesar and I aren’t in the mood for mashed bananas or rice cereal, so once in a while I like to make something different for the two of us. We eat chicken quite a bit, but this is one of my favorite recipes to make. It’s so easy, but really tastes like you spent hours on it. It’s one of the first recipes I made after Cesar and I were married. We had the best chicken piccata at our wedding, and we’ve both loved it ever since. I don’t know if anything could top the one at our wedding, but this one sure comes close!

Chicken Piccata
(recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 c. flour, plus 2 tbsp. flour, separated
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter, separated
1/2 c. chicken broth
splash of white wine
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed

Butterfly chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge in 1/4 cup of flour. Heat olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium high heat. Put chicken breasts in the pan and cook until browned, or about 6 minutes per side. Set aside.

Add 2 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. butter, chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and capers to the pan and deglaze. Cook until sauce heats up and starts to bubble. Put chicken breasts back in the pan and cook until heated through. Serve immediately over pasta.