Tasty’s Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

I hate to admit this, but I have never used my slow cooker, until last night. My husband has always used the cooker and this is “his” second one! What inspired me to use it was a video I saw on my Facebook feed by Tasty. It looked so easy and delicious with the ingredients all cooked in one pot! Since it is just the two of us, I only prepared half, but next time I will make the whole recipe. It would make wonderful leftovers for the work week. I used skinless chicken thighs, because I wanted to reduce the amount of fat. It was tender and juicy and you don’t need to broil them either! Meal planning can’t get any easier and healthier than this!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, mince
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 chickens thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound organic baby carrots
  • 1 pound green beans

Directions:

  1. Using a medium bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper. Set aside.
  2. Add 4 chicken thighs to the bottom of slow cooker, pour half of the sauce.
  3. Then add the carrots and potatoes. Add remaining 4 chicken thighs. Pour the rest of the sauce on top of chicken.
  4. Set cooker at high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 8 hours. Add green beens the last 30 minutes.
  5. Optional: If using chicken thighs with skin, you can broil the pieces for 3-4 minutes in the oven.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

I cannot remember the last time I ordered some really good Kung Pao Chicken. It’s probably been over a year since I even stepped into a Panda Express for some tasty, but not so healthy take-out. I guess it is a natural progression when you start cooking more at home with health in mind.

My inspiration for my dish came from an Epicurious post in July 2013, a recipe by Diana Kuan, author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, 2012 Ballantine Books. I used more commonly found ingredients and added the green beans in order to make it a one dish meal. The chicken was tender and slightly spicy and the green beans had a nice crunch to them. I cheated and used organic packaged frozen white rice, but this is optional. Chinese food is one cuisine I cannot eat without a little white rice!

Kung Pao Chicken with Green BeansIngredients:

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons organic high heat canola oil
  • 10 dried red chilies
  • ½ pound French green beans, cut 1-inch long pieces
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ⅓ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
  • Packaged frozen white or brown rice, prepared according to package instructions, (optional)

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade using a medium bowl. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, and corn starch, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the chicken, toss gently to coat. At room temperate, let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Using another bowl, make the sauce. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, corn starch and pepper. Stir, until sugar and cornstarch are combined and dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Over high heat, heat a wok or large frying pan. The pan is at the right temperature when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add green beans and stir-fry, until beans are heated through and tender crisp. Transfer beans to a dish and cover to keep warm.
  4. Heat wok or pan again over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add chilies, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until oil is slightly fragrant. Be careful not to burn the chilies. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the “white” part of green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the green beans. Pour in just enough sauce to coat the ingredients. Mix in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions. Serve with white rice or healthy brown rice, if desired. 4 servings.

Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. When I saw the packages of Haricot Verts, which is French for green beans at Trader Joe’s, I had to buy some. I love this variety of the vegetable, because they are sweeter, longer, thinner and more tender than most American varieties. I thought they would taste delicious with the cilantro pesto recipe that I had seen in America’s Test Kitchen, Fresh Cooking, 2015. The Test Kitchen used the pesto in a cold bean salad, but I used it in a hot steamed vegetable side. Along with the cilantro, it has fresh lemon juice and toasty walnuts and garlic. My husband and I found this dish to be very tasty warm, but we think the cold salad version would be terrific too!

DSC_0053Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2½ cups cilantro leaves and stems, trimmed
  • ½ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, toast walnuts and garlic in a medium skillet, stirring often, until fragrant for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. After the garlic cools, peel and chop coarsely.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, process cilantro, oil, green onion, lemon juice, walnuts and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Pesto can be made up to 2 days in  advance.
  3. Steam the beans until tender crisp. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the pesto and serve immediately. Add salt to taste. 6 to 8 servings.

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

Summer Garden Potato Salad

Summer Garden Potato Salad

While fall is just around the corner, I thought I would make this delicious no mayonnaise potato salad, before summer ends. It is so simple to prepare and the dressing is made with healthy extra-virgin olive oil! The potatoes and green beans absorb the flavor of the Dijon mustard. You can really taste the fresh herbs, especially the basil. This potato salad was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, Cooking Fresh, 2015, and tastes even better the next day!

Summer Garden Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 8 ounces organic green beans, trimmed and cut 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard and shallot in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside half of the dressing.
  2. Using a large saucepan, steam the green beans until crisp-tender. Transfer beans to the large bowl with the dressing.
  3. In the large saucepan, boil the potatoes, until they can easily pierced with a fork for about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Add the hot potatoes to the bowl with the beans and dressing. Gently toss to combine. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Add the parsley, chives, basil and reserved dressing. If needed add more salt and pepper and serve. 6 servings.

Summer Garden Potato Salad

Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chile Oil

Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chili OIl

At my bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I found my favorite type of green beans, haricot verts, available. I thought I would stir fry them with the asparagus that I already had at home. So when I got home, I decided to season the vegetables with some sesame chili oil for a little heat and orange vest and juice for a little sweetness. This simple and healthy side dish would go great with chicken or shrimp!

DSC_1684

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces green beans (I used haricots verts), trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 6 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame chili oil

Directions:

  1. Using a medium pot, steam the green beans and asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are al dente.
  2. In a medium-large non-stick frying pan, heat canola and sesame chili oils. Add the vegetables and sauté until they are heated through. Add salt to taste.
  3. Transfer to serving dish, drizzle with orange juice and sprinkle with orange zest. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chili Oil

Organic Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon

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This is a simple and delicious green bean recipe with a “garlicky-lemony” flavor! It is a great vegetable side dish for meat, chicken or fish. People who are vegetarians or on gluten-free diets can enjoy this green bean dish as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons organic butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Steam green beans until bright green and slightly crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil and butter over low-medium heat. Add garlic and stir frequently for about a minute, being careful not to let it brown,
  3. Add green beans and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add salt. Take off heat.
  4. Place beans in a serving dish and sprinkle lemon zest. Serves 4.

Organic Green Beans with Sesame Seeds

IMG_1895

This is such an easy and delicious green bean dish! Perfect to make during the busy work week. It’s vegetarian and gluten-free too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic green beans
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon organic lemon juice

Directions:

Steam green beans until bright green and slightly crispy. Place beans in a bowl. Warm sesame seed oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add beans and sauté for about 2 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and stir. Remove from heat and drizzle with lemon juice. Serves  4 to 6.