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Saturday, March 26, 2011

You Decide!

Until I started this blog, I rarely measured ingredients.  Many of the dishes I cook are from memory, and I just throw the ingredients in until it "looks" right.

Even when I'm following a written recipe, I estimate the measurements.  I hardly ever follow a recipe to the letter.  I'm always adding more, omitting, substituting.

(Except when I'm baking.  It's very important to correctly measure your ingredients when baking, so that your finished product isn't too dry, too moist, too flat, too hard or too scary-looking.)

Now that I'm blogging, I'm measuring.  I need to make sure that I'm writing down the correct amounts.  Because I care about you.  There, I've said it.  Awwwwww.

But I encourage you to think for yourself and be a rebel.  Switch it out if you don't like it.

In the following recipe, for example, use beef, or shrimp, or pork, if you're sick of chicken.
Use angel hair instead of linguine. Use rice instead of pasta.

Use broccoli and carrots instead of peppers and cucumbers.  Use ground black pepper instead of sugar.  JUST KIDDING, I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

And when your version of this recipe turns out so much better than mine, leave me a comment that says, "na-NAH nuh-NAH-na, MINE is better than YOURS is!"

Asian-Inspired Chicken with Pasta and Vegetables
  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 large European cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red  bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
Boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the marinade for your chicken.  Combine 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, the garlic, parsley, cilantro, onion and half of the grated ginger in a food processor or blender.

Place the chicken and marinade in a shallow dish, stirring to combine.  Let it sit and marinate while you start your grill and prepare the vegetables and sauce.

Preheat your grill to medium/high--either an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan will do.

For the sauce, combine the sugar, white vinegar, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and the remaining ginger in a saucepan.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly until it starts to boil and the sugar is melted.

Place the cucumbers, peppers and scallions in the bottom of a large salad bowl.  Add the sauce and toss to combine.
Drain the pasta and add it to the salad bowl.  Toss to combine.  Cover the bowl with foil to keep the heat in.  This will lightly steam the vegetables.
By now, your grill should be screaming hot.  Grill the chicken about 3 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through.  It was too cold to cook outside so I had to do two batches on my small grill pan indoors.

When the chicken is about halfway cooked, add the spinach to the veggie/pasta mixture and mix it up.  The spinach should be warm and barely wilted by the time the chicken is done.
Place a mound of the pasta and veggies on a plate, topped by the chicken.

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