Tag Archives: Chicken breast

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 2—Rice bowl with braised chicken and pickled red onion

mexican_ricebowl

My main problem with restaurant rice bowls is the amount of rice they use. I’ve flipped out a rice bowl from Flame Broiler before and counted full 2 cups of rice. That’s 400 calories of non-nutritious filler before you even get to the stuff on top.

A better serving of rice is 1/2 cup, which will leave you with enough grains to feel substantial without drowning the dish in carbs. With less rice in the mix, you can fill up the bowl with better ingredients including lean meats and veggies. Brown rice would be best, but I’m still working on giving up white rice and pasta, which is hard for me anyway, because I don’t eat much of either so I think

Here’s a recipe that will leave you with four rice bowls:

Make the rice, Chef Brian’s version: Saute 1/2 onion, small diced, adding 1/2 t ground cumin and 1/2 t ground coriander. Add 1 cup of rice and mix well. Use a ratio of just under 2 cups of liquid (chicken stock or water), subbing in 2/3 cup of the amount of water with tomato sauce–preferably El Pato brand, which has some good spice to it. Throw some frozen peas and carrots in too if you’d like.

Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, pickle the onion: Slice 1/2 red onion into thin slices and coat with a healthy pinch of salt and the juice of 3/4 of a lime. Give it a few stirs within the 20 minutes the rice cooks and by the time that’s ready, so will the onions.

Prepare the chicken (recipe here): Instead of shredding the chicken as we did for tostadas, cut the meat into larger chunks. Use 1/2 chicken breast for every serving–2 breasts total. Warm the chicken in a pan with a little cooking spray, 1 can of black beans, drained, and 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels.

Assemble the bowl: When the mix is warm, add it to the rice and scoop into bowls for serving. Garnish with the pickled onion, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, cilantro and a squirt of lime from the remaining 1/4 you saved.

Up next: Poached shrimp with cotija-lime corn!

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 1—Shredded chicken tostadas

tostada_1

We had Nadia’s cousins and brother over for football this weekend. We’re all big, hungry dudes, so you know I had to whip up something tasty.

I bought a lot of chicken–too much chicken for the tostadas I planned to make–so I’ve been tinkering with new ways to use the leftover ingredients since Sunday. But before we get into reincarnating the leftovers, it’s best to show you the recipe that left me with a Mexican bounty.

If you are looking for a healthy, frugal meal that will carry you through, look no further than the humble tostada: Corn tortilla, beans, meat, veggies, salsa, cheese and condiments.

For the recipe I made, the ingredients were: Pinto beans, chorizo, shredded chicken breast, shredded iceberg lettuce, pickled jalapeno, Oaxaca cheese, cotija cheese, Mexican crema, salsa verde, cilantro and lime.

A healthier me would have omitted the chorizo and the crema, but it was game day and I splurged. But, a little bit of either—about two tablespoons of chorizo and a two teaspoons of sour cream or light sour cream—ain’t gonna hurt none. (Read more: 8 Fatty Foods with Health Benefits—Sour Cream.)

tostada_2

You will get 8 to 10 tostadas from two chicken breasts, depending on how large they are. Forget the quantity I use in the pictures, as I said, I cooked for an army and still have leftovers. Anyways, let’s cook!

Make the dry rub: It made enough for 10 large chicken breasts: 2 T kosher salt, 2 T garlic powder, 2 T onion powder, 1 T Cambodian Kampot peppercorns from Pepper Project (any black peppercorns will do though), 1 T of paprika, 2 t Mexican oregano, 2 t cumin, 2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper and 2 bay leaves.

Run the mix through a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and that’s it.

For an alternative dry rub made with chipotle chili powder, use Chef Brian’s Chicken Taco Spice.

tostada_3

Your best bet to get the chicken tender enough to shred easily with a fork is to braise the meat. To get the chicken ready for braising, give it a good massage with the spice mix and let it sit out and temper for about an hour.

The braise: Heat an appropriate amount of oil in the pan for the number of chicken breasts you are using and sear all of the meat, browning both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. In my version, I first cooked the chorizo in the pan and then removed the meat, leaving behind the chorizo fat to cook the chicken in (with the addition of some canola oil). Once all the chicken is done, add a chopped onion and 3 cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, scraping the bottom free of whatever’s stuck to it.

Add a little tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock (Video: How to deglaze a pan). Add the chicken back to the pan, and fill it about halfway up the height of the chicken with more stock. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

tostada_4

When the chicken is done baking, it will be in a pool of braising liquid. Gently remove the chicken (it’s tender now, so it might fall apart) and leave the braising liquid to cool. When it has cooled, reserve it in a plastic container and put it in the fridge for later use (which we’ll get to on the blog soon).

Make the beans while the chicken bakes: Pinto beans or black beans, either one works here. Black beans are better nutritionally, so that’s a plus, but sometimes I like the lighter flavor of pinto beans better.

Heat 2 t of oil in a small pot and sautee 1/2 white onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. You can add spices at this point, including cumin and corriander, if you wish. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 can of drained black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Break up the beans while they cook. The liquid will boil out and the beans will thicken into a paste. Salt to taste.

Bake the tortillas: Crank the oven up to 400 degrees once you’ve pulled the chicken out. Hit as many corn tortillas as you’ll need with a spritz of cooking spray and a dash of salt (a solid serving is two per person; a lighter eater might want one and a side salad) and bake directly on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes. I start checking mine at 8 minutes, and keep checking them until they’re done around the 10-12 minute mark.

You want to leave them space on the pan and have the patience to cook them until they’re done right, or else they will be chewy and gross instead of crisp and awesome.

Knock out everything else while the tostadas bake: Shred the chicken with the backs of two forks. Slice the lettuce super thin with a sharp knife. Get spoons in the sour cream and the salsa. Whatever you gotta do to make it Tostada O’Clock.

Layer properly: Beans. Then meat. Then veggies. Then cheese. Salsas. Crema. Herbs. Lime.

Bonus! Breakfast tostadas!

mexican_breakfasttostada

Tomorrow: Mexican rice bowls with braised chicken and pickled red onion.

Ditchin’ the salad bar: A tribute to Sizzler’s Malibu chicken

fatdude_malibuchicken

I butchered and froze the various parts of three chickens early last week and I’ve been thawing it out in phases for different recipes: stock from the bones for beans and soup; coconut “fried” chicken and grilled coconut curry chicken with the thighs; Buffalo sauce with Greek yogurt ranch on the wings from “Cook This, Not That”; and a Philly chicken “cheesesteak” with one of the breasts.

I haven’t decided what to do with the legs yet, but I’m leaning toward rubbing them down in pesto and roasting them in the oven.

We were going to do chicken tikka masala with rest of the thawed out breasts but Indian food is freakin’ complicated and I didn’t feel like measuring out 100 different spices. I was about to make more of that cheesesteak chicken when the craving for Sizzler’s Malibu chicken hit me simultaneously in belly and brain.

I must have seen a Sizzler commercial during football and the propaganda worked.

My brain did a quick scan: Chicken and ham, check. Panko, check. Mustard, mayo, honey; yup.

It was on.

I ran the chicken through the batter station and par-pan-fried it on each side. They roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes before I pulled it out of the oven.

I covered it with the ham and slivers of muenster cheese. In general 2 oz. of deli meat is 50 to 60 calories and 1 oz. of cheese is 100 calories. I know I’ll spend 160 extra calories in the name of good taste, and you shouldn’t be afraid to either if you are eating lean all the time.

I whipped up the sauce while the chicken cooked for another 5 minutes. Equal amounts of yellow mustard and low-calorie olive oil mayo with a drizzle of honey. You’ll want about a tablespoon for each breast. That’s about 50 calories.

When the chicken is done put it on a plate, spoon some of the sauce on it and sprinkle with a little parsley for some fresh zip. The simple sauce is greater than the sum of its parts and you can’t argue with tender chicken in a crunchy coating covered in salty ham and gooey cheese.

I grew up eating at Sizzler. All you can eat shrimp as a kid, and later steak and Malibu chicken dinners with mom when I got older. I’ve since left the restaurant and its bountiful buffet behind, but with this recipe in my arsenal the loss of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and garlic toast doesn’t sting as much.

Enfrijoladas locas!!!

My buddy Dave introduced me to enfrijoladas recently at a Santa Ana restaurant called Potzol den Cano and I have a continual craving for this dish, which is essentially enchiladas, but with bean sauce. It’s possibly the best way to use beans ever.

Wifey Nadia hates enchiladas because she’s not down with the red sauce (which I think is crazy), but she was in love with these because the black beans go so well with chorizo and shredded chicken. Keep reading for the how-to. Continue reading Enfrijoladas locas!!!

Week 29, Meal 3: Salsa verde grilled chicken, roasted beet and goat cheese salad

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

(Yield: 2 servings)

Chicken
12 oz. chicken breast, butterflied
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 T tarragon, chopped
1/2 T parsley, chopped
1/2 T chives, thinly sliced
1/4 c pistachios, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Salad
5 oz. wild arugula
6 baby beets, different colors if possible
salt and pepper, as needed
1 t olive oil
1 oz. chevre goat cheese Dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 T vegetable or grapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a small roasting pan, with enough water in the pan to cover the bottom of it. Cover the pan with foil and roast the beets for 30-40 minutes, until easily pierced with a pairing knife.

Remove from the oven and, using paper towels, rub the outer  skin and stem off. Cut beet pieces into wedges.

2. In a Magic Bullet or blender, mix the lemon juice and oil to make the vinaigrette. Reserve.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, shallot, tarragon, parsley, chives, pistachios and olive oil. Reserve.

4. Preheat your grill to high. When ready to grill, cook chicken until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. When chicken is cooked through, slice  into strips and toss with the salsa verde. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix the arugula and beets  in a bowl and dress with vinaigrette.

To plate: Lay the greens out thin over the whole plate, as  opposed to a mound  in the middle. Disperse the beets evenly. Top with half of the chicken and sprinkle each salad with 1/2 oz. of goat cheese.

Week 29, Meal 2: Chicken “milanese” salad

Week 29, Meal 2: Smoked paprika dusted chicken “milanese” with mixed greens, manchego, dried cherries, pine nuts and orange-sherry vinaigrette

(Yield: 2 servings)

Chicken
12 oz. chicken breast, butterflied, pounded thin
1–1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray, as needed

Salad
5 oz. mixed greens
2 oz. manchego cheese, shaved
1/3 c dried cherries
2 T pine nuts, toasted

Dressing
1 T orange juice concentrate
1 T sherry vinegar
1 T vegetable or grapeseed oil

1. Season the pounded chicken breast with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Saute the chicken breast on each side for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Reserve.

3. In a large bowl, mix greens, cherries, pine nuts and half of the manchego cheese.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, sherry vinegar and oil.

To plate: Lay the chicken cutlet on the bottom of the plate and top with the salad. Finish by topping with the remaining cheese.

Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Back in November 2010 when I started this blog, I facetiously wrote that this was for “people who hate the gym and think salads suck.”

It’s been a year now, and while I’m still struggling with that whole gym thing, I will readily admit that salads don’t suck. A year ago, my vegetable intake seriously consisted mostly of french fries and grilled onions. (I just asked Wifey Nadia and she couldn’t think of anything past those two either.)

In that spirit, I asked Chef Brian to whip up a menu of “salads that don’t suck.” I’ve known for some time that Brian is a salad machine, but surprisingly, he said that this menu stumped him a little because he’s turned a lot of his favorite salad combinations into dinner entrees for this supposed salad hater.

But here we are, and here’s the menu:

Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado and coconut-peanut dressing

Week 29, Meal 2: Smoked paprika dusted chicken “milanese” with mixed greens, manchego, dried cherries, pine nuts and orange-sherry vinaigrette

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

As always, each recipe makes two servings. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

We’re kicking off Southern week with one of Chef Brian’s most flavorful dishes to date, Week 28, Meal 1: Blackened chicken over black eyed peas, kale and ham hock.

What comes off the menu sounding deceptively simple is actually a bowl of steamy pork broth crowded with nutritious kale, savory ham hock, earthy black eyed peas, sweet corn and a juicy chicken breast that’s been kicked up with one awesome spice rub.

I suggest doubling the recipe on this one. Trust me, you’ll want leftovers. Continue reading Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

Week 27, Meal 2: (Coconut) chicken soup for the soul

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to order at any Thai restaurant is Tom Kha Gai.

The sweet citrus scent, the succulent chicken and the freshness of so many aromatics–this stuff awakens the senses with its vibrancy.

Chef Brian’s homemade version of the classic soup is no different. Here’s Week 27, Meal 2: Tom Kha Gai.

Continue reading Week 27, Meal 2: (Coconut) chicken soup for the soul

Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

Chef Brian’s put out quite a few ethnic menus in the past–Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese dishes come to mind most–but one country he’s left alone until now  is Thailand.

“It kinda surprises me that I haven’t done any Thai menus considering I love it so much, but now is as good a time as any,” he wrote to me.

True, this blog was born at a Thai restaurant–in many people’s opinions one of the best, if not the best in the country–yet we’ve failed to bring some of  those flavors into the Fat Dude kitchen.

No longer. Here’s what’s cooking:

Week 27, Meal 1: Shrimp green curry

Week 27, Meal 2: Tom Kha Gai

Week 27, Meal 3: Grilled catfish with Thai tamarind-chile sauce over cabbage slaw

The seafood recipes make two portions and the Tom Kha Gai soup recipe makes four portions. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

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