Tag Archives: Chopped

Chicken Stir Fry with Plum Salsa

28 Aug Red Plums

So my roommate was sent to Alaska for work at the last minute for a couple of weeks. She normally gets a box of produce delivered every couple of weeks and when she arranged to have it delivered after her return, somehow it came the second week she was away. So I had a box of produce to myself, it was like my own version of Chopped! So throughout the day I had to consider what to do with some plums, heirloom tomatoes and a bell pepper. I also had part of an onion, garlic and chicken breasts. I finally decided on a chicken stir fry with plum salsa. I picked up some brown rice on my way home from work and was ready to have some fun in the kitchen! I decided it was a success and something I’d make again. I hope you enjoy as well!

CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH PLUM SALSA AND BROWN RICE (serves 2)

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Chicken Breast, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Red Plums, Green Bell Pepper, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Chicken Breast, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Red Plums, Green Bell Pepper, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Small Plum
  • 1 Small/Medium Heirloom Tomato (or any other tomato the size of a lemon)
  • 1/2 of a Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil

I chose to use brown rice so I started that first in my rice cooker. I must say that I love my rice cooker and think everyone should own one. You combine your rice and water, press start and walk away. It will take about 30-40 minutes depending on how much rice you’re cooking.

Heirloom Tomatoes Red PlumsThis is another recipe that you want to do all your prep work first before starting to cook. Dice up your tomato and plum into small chunks along with your onion to about a 1/4 to a 1/3 of a cup. Cut the bell pepper in half and store one half for another recipe and slice the other half into small strips. Finally slice your chicken into thin strips and set aside.

Mise en Place: Red Plum, Yellow Onion, Heirloom Tomato, Bell Pepper

Mise en Place: Red Plum, Yellow Onion, Heirloom Tomato, Bell Pepper

In a medium saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Chop your garlic and add to the hot oil and cook for about a minute, then add in your onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in your bell pepper, plum and tomato and cook for a few more minutes. Then push all to the sides of the pan, making a ring. Add about a teaspoon more olive oil to the empty space and add in half of your chicken strips, or all if they fit. The other half can be cooked later or saved back in the freezer to cook another night, your choice.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Red Plum salsa cooking.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Adding in the chicken to the salsa.

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken. After about 5 minutes, or once the chicken pieces start turning white, flip them over and salt and pepper again. Cook another 5 or 6 minutes, or until done. If your rice isn’t done, turn off the heat and cover the chicken with a cover to keep the heat in. Serve over rice, sprinkle with fresh parsley (optional) and enjoy!

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Chicken Stir Fry and Plum Salsa

Knife Etiquette

9 Oct

The kitchen knife. They’re like men, they come in all shapes and sizes, you need to find one that fits you, and used correctly they make your life better and easier. But if you don’t use it properly, you’ll just end up hurting yourself. I should know, both have happened to me. I like to think that every chef has cut themselves, especially after all the Chopped episodes I’ve watched (which will be addressed in future posts), so don’t feel bad when it happens to you. And I will spare you the pictures of my finger, (it took about a month to be round again-lol) but at least you know I’m talking from experience.

First, have a good chef’s knife. It’s the knife you will use THE MOST, promise. Fortunately you don’t have to spend one week’s pay on one if you’re broke like me. I found mine at Target in Giada De Laurentiis’ new kitchen line. Yes, I said Target. Who’s not addicted to Target? And when I saw that Giada had teamed up with them, I about fell over. Because who doesn’t love Giada? I’ve had her knife for almost two years now and it’s so wonderful. Light, sleek, easy to handle. I think I paid about $20. They don’t sell it by itself anymore, but it does come in the set. And don’t buy knives online, you want the chance to hold the knife and feel it in your hand. It’s like meeting a guy for a drink, give it a quick test before committing. (When you have the money to buy a $100+ chopping knife from a fancy cooking store you’ll get the chance to actually test it out. They say to go with a Wusthof or Zwillig/Henckels. Hopefully when that happens for me you’ll still be following! haha!) Just remember, trust the knife as it will be your constant companion in the kitchen.

Like in acting, one headshot won’t get the job done, you need a few. The same goes for knives. While your chef knife will get the job done about 95% of the time, you will need a couple special knives: a serrated knife and a small paring knife. For these knives, I got them somewhere else while I was in college and on a much tighter budget: IKEA. Yup, another favorite store of mine for you budget minded chefs. It’s also just a fun place to go. Your serrated knife is for foods like breads and tomatoes (that skin can be tough for your chef knife, although it will get the job done). Your paring knife is for more precise work: coring apples and slicing small things like garlic, dates, grapes, etc

Giada’s Chef Knife and IKEA 365+ Serrated and Paring Knives

I could go on and on about knives, which means I will have future posts so as not to go on and on. For now, I will leave you with this instructive video from America’s Test Kitchen about the proper way to sharpen your knife and how to hold it and cut (so as not to cut off your fingertip). I can’t wait to share other (fun) kitchen accessories with you so stay tuned!

Experiments In The Kitchen-Part 1

28 Sep

When you enter the kitchen do you enter with a cookbook? With a specific recipe in mind? I’m sure most of you answered yes. And most of the time I do the same. But every now and then I love to go into the kitchen without a real plan (and yes, my OCD does freak a little, but because I know I’m creating something new I’m able to push past the voice screaming in my head, lol). I usually have a few veggies in my fridge that I need to cook or they’ll go bad, so I come up with something that works, or doesn’t.

Tonight I got home early from work and I was planning on making some tortellini I had bought on my last grocery trip, but I knew I would need to make sauce for it. Lucky for me, my roommate Janelle had already been up to something in the kitchen. She still had some fresh kale and she wanted to do something with it before she went away for a week, so she decided to make a pasta sauce (not knowing I would be making pasta that night). Well she was worried that it didn’t turn out right. She chopped up kale and added onion, garlic (both powder and fresh), basil (finely chopped), can of tomato paste, can of diced tomatoes and a diced bell pepper for texture.

Okay, I’m not a fan of kale (ie, this may be the only time you see kale in quite a while), but I will try anything once. Janelle said it didn’t taste right, but she wanted a second opinion. I told her I would taste it when I got back from my run. The pot had been simmering on very low heat for over 20 minutes by the time I got back. I dipped a piece of olive bread in and was pleasantly surprised!Β  To be on the safe side since I can eat olive bread dipped in olive oil or with melted butter on it, I tried the sauce by itself. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad! It didn’t taste like kale, it tasted like a yummy pasta sauce. I poured it over my tortellinis and topped it with shredded Parmesan cheese and voila-dinner! I’m looking forward to seconds!

So I realize that not everyone knows exactly what kale is. And as someone who doesn’t eat it very often, I can only tell you it’s a form of cabbage. So what do I do? I Wikipedia it of course! It’s always been said that kale is one of those super foods, and you know what, they’re right. With over 700% of your daily dose of Vitamin K and half your Vitamin C needs and potentially anti-cancer properties, I think “super food” probably fits. Don’t be afraid to try new foods. I believe any food can be prepared to make it yummy (yummy is a technical cooking term), as evidenced by the many episodes of Chopped where they turn things like canned hagus and edible flowers into meals.

So next time you’re worried about veggies going bad but you’re not sure what to make, have some fun, be bold and start throwing stuff in a pot or pan and have some fun! I do recommend doing this only for yourself or a close friend the first time, just in case it doesn’t turn out the best, lol. I’d love to hear your experiments in the kitchen! Leave a comment below! And look for more “Experiments In The Kitchen” in future posts!

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