Friday, March 25, 2011

Hummus Crusted Chicken

So the other day I had my meal all planned out, but then all day long this chicken on the cover of my March issue of Better Homes and Gardens just kept staring at me (Ok, I guess I was the one doing the staring, and the more I stared the hungrier I got!). It required a little bit of improvising, but in the end it was worth it.It did make me think too that if there was one area that I've improved in the most when it comes to cooking, it would have to be the ability to improvise and make adjustments to a recipe. When I first got married (thus no longer living in dorm and eating caf food) I was a staunch recipe follower, fearful that doing anything other than exactly what the recipe called for would result in disaster. In the last 4 1/2 years I've become much braver about deviating from a recipe and the results are often worth it!

Hummus - Crusted Chicken

1 15-16 ounce can of navy beans (or garbanzo beans) rinsed, and drained
5-6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and ground black pepper
2 cups coarse soft bread crumbs

1. Prepare Hummus by combining beans, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the lemon/lime juice ina blender or food processor. Process until smooth and set aside.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spread chicken with a layer of the hummus on both sides then roll in bread crumbs.
3. Heath the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 12 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160 F, flipping once. If needed, add more oil. If crumbs brown too quickly you can reduce the heat.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

East Coast vs. West Coast and Chinese Food

One of the things that I've had to get used to since moving to California 9 years ago (wow!! has it really been that long?) was the Chinese food. Now, that may seem like an odd thing to say I had to "get used to," but it's really true- the Chinese food in New Hampshire is completely different. No pu-pu platters in California (you have no idea how many times I've been made fun of for that one by Californians who have no idea what their missing!).
The one thing that New Hampshire Chinese food can't top is orange chicken. I'll be honest I don't know that anything can top orange chicken from Panda Express, but I did feel a lot less guilty after eating this and it was fun to have at home!

Home Made Orange Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Ingredients for sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons onion
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1. Mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Place chicken pieces and one cup of sauce in a glass dish or a sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate for two hours.
3. When chicken is done marinating mix dry ingredients in a Ziploc bag and add chicken pieces. Seal and shake the chicken to coat.
4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken and clean pan.
5. Add the remaining sauce to the pan and heat, adding 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to thicken. Add the chicken and simmer until all is heated through.

Serve over rice and enjoy!