chicken and broccoli stir fry {20 minute meals}

pretty much every time i use broccoli in my recipes i think about the way i used to get my kids to eat it when they were little. we would pretend the broccoli florets were trees, and dip them into snow (aka ranch sauce), and they would eat them all up. my son preferred his “trees” raw with lots of “snow” and my daughter ate them  slightly steamed with out any snow at all-but they were eating a vegetable, and that made me very happy, so i bought lots and lots of broccoli and learned to use it every which way you can imagine (no snow covered trees for the grown ups, thank you)! one of our favorite brocco-dishes was this stir fry with chicken (or tofu or beef). i add the broccoli to the wok almost at the very end because we prefer our trees green (almost raw). as always, my stir fry is rather spicy, so please adjust the heat to your preference. this delicious dish comes together easily in a matter of 20-30 minutes. go ahead, eat some brocco-trees….they’re good for you.
 
for the marinade (4 small chicken breasts~about 4-6 servings):
  • 1-2 tsp freshly grated ginger root (use a microplane grater)
  • 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 finely minced chili pepper (or 1 tsp cayenne pepper)-SPICY
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos (gluten free)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon or lime zest (use the microplane grater again)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

other ingredients:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil (or virgin unrefined coconut oil)
  • 4 organic chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally, then sliced into thin strips
  • about 1.5-2 cups organic broccoli florets (and peeled stems)
  • 10-15 mushrooms, thickly sliced (optional) or quartered
  • 6-8 scallions, sliced in about 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • sesame seeds and mung bean sprouts for garnish

~marinate the chicken strips in the marinade above for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour before cooking the stir fry

1. heat half or slightly more of the oil in a wok, then add the chicken to the hot wok and stir fry on high heat (stirring) until the chicken is thoroughly cooked (about 7-10 minutes) -add a few drops of chicken broth or water if necessary (sticking). remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.

2. add the mushrooms (and more oil) to the wok and stir fry on high for 3-4 minutes, then add the broccoli florets and scallions and stir fry for just a few minutes (3-4)  before adding a small amount of soy sauce (2 tsps or so) and the cooked chicken back to the wok and combining it with the vegetables.
3. as soon as the chicken is hot again (just a minute or two while stirring on high heat), add the broth, combine and allow the sauce to bubble and thicken (a minute or two) before serving with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sprouts on top over steamed brown rice, soba noodles, or quinoa. you will likely repeat this process many more times….it’s that good:-)
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we {finally} got a grill: a deliciously easy grilled (london briol) dinner

easy grilled london broil dinnersometimes all you (or i) really want for dinner is a nice piece of grilled meat. something about meat cooked on the outdoor grill that makes it just that much better. which brings me to the grill. i’m so happy to have one again! it’s opened up a world of new (culinary) options. we’d been planning to get one ever since our move a few months ago, but somehow it seemed complicated (as in we were being lazy)  and we basically procrastinated until the heat wave (it is literally in the 80’s and 90’s in san diego right now) hit-that’s when we had no choice but to get one-and fast. it would be a big shame not to take advantage of

rosemary marinated london broil

the unusually warm (even though san diego probably has the best climate, anywhere, the nights tend to be pretty cold year round) nights for grilling outdoors and dining al fresco. so we (or he, i should say) went out and finally got one, and there it was all shiny and new and ready to be put to good use-and we have been: we’ve had persian style chicken kabobs, grass fed new york strip steaks, tons of grilled tomatoes (because we all know how much i love those), and a spicy fire roasted eggplant salad. then this: rosemary grilled london broil, spaghetti aglio e olio with fresh tomatoes and basil, and a side of quick fired broccolini. tell me it doesn’t sound like an amazing dinner? all you need to make this meal a success  is really good  ingredients-quality organic (in this case local) grass fed beef, juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh vegetables & herbs. marinating the beef ahead of time helps. and you’re good to go:

sliced grilled london broil

 

for the marinade:

 

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • a touch of worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes

make sure the grill is super hot before you start cooking. place the beef on the hot grill (on high heat) and sear one side (about 2-3 minutes) then the other. reduce the heat to medium and close the lid. allow beef to cook (cooking time depends on the size of meat and your serving preferences). ours was a smaller, thinner piece and cooked very quickly-it was served medium and slightly pink inside.

for quick fired broccolini:

  • wash and dry the broccolini, cut in half (optional)-spread on a baking dish
  • drizzle with 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, move around to make sure oil is evenly distributed
  • sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, give it a good shake
  • cook broccolini on the grill in a grill-friendly skillet (my new spiffy grill has a built in skillet option) while the beef cooks-it takes just a few minutes-you’ll have to use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir it a couple of times
  • sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan chess, add a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice

spaghetti with fresh tomatoes & herbs

for the spaghetti aglio e oli with fresh tomatoes & herbs combine in a bowl (4 servings):

  • easy dinner ideas4-5 ripe tomatoes, cubed
  • a good bunch of fresh basil, leaves rolled carefully together, then thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • a few sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves separated and roughly chopped
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves

in a bowl combine tomatoes, herbs, sea salt & pepper and allow the mixture to rest for 15-20 minutes. in a small saucepan heat the oil and  garlic together (aglio-e-olio story and recipe here) until the garlic turns just golden before turning off the heat. remove garlic from the oil and pour the hot oil over the bowl of tomatoes & herbs. taste and adjust seasoning. add your just drained choice of pasta cooked al dente (per package instructions) to the sauce and toss. serve right away. don’t forget the freshly grated parmesan cheese! buon appetito!

easy dinner idea

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

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how to make a silky & delicious cream of broccoli soup in a matter of minutes

cooking minette's broccoli soupwhat do you do when you are feeling completely overwhelmed with the {cooking} work and preparation you have ahead of you (yes, thanksgiving, with all it’s glor{y}ous food, lovely visiting family and many gatherings is moving in fast and furious), but you still have to feed your family (and your hungry self) before you can tackle the beast? you make a quick, easy, creamy, and super comforting soup that not only gives you a good dose of nutrients and energy, but reminds you of how much fun you’ll be having preparing and enjoying the grand feast (rhymes with beast, but more appropriate) you look forward to every year! now that’s the attitude (change i was looking for)-thanks to the most satisfying bowl of soup i’ve had in a while. time to pull up my sleeves and prepare for giving thanks. what a beautiful thing. a happy thanksgiving to you and yours!

cream of broccoli & leek soup for 4-6:

easiest broccoli soup

  • 2 cups organic broccoli, rough chopped (stems peeled and cut in small pieces)
  • 1 large or 2 small organic leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced and washed by soaking in water (in a colander within a larger bowl of cold water works well)
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (or virgin unrefined coconut oil)
  • 3-4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or vegetarian)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon (adjust amount to your taste)
  • optional: 2 tbs cream or coconut milk
  1. heat the oil in a deep soup pot or dutch oven, then add the washed & drained leeks and broccoli with a touch of sea salt and sauté on medium heat allowing the vegetables to reduce while stirring for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (up to 30 minutes)
  3. add freshly ground pepper and lemon juice. blend carefully with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender or food processor and blend, then return to pot and bring the heat back up before serving).
  4. serve with a touch of cream or coconut milk (thicker is better).

cooking minette soups

 

 

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