Pineapple Basil Chicken Over Cauliflower Rice in Lettuce Boats

It has been hot hot hot where we live in the recent weeks and I have been craving the fresh, juicy and a little bit spicy tastes of summer. 

Last night I made pineapple basil chicken lettuce boats and they were…amazing. Light and refreshing but also totally filling. I will be making this a LOT this summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • half of a large vidalia onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • large handful of basil
  • 6 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 lemon

For the terayaki-ish marinade:

  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • ginger
  • lemon
  • brown sugar
  • mirin
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil

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The chicken cooks quickly so I prepared everything in advance while the chicken sat in the marinade for about an hour…but could be as little as twenty minutes. 

Cube the chicken and then prepare the marinade. I tend to eye and taste this to make it to my liking before adding the chicken so the measurements aren’t exact. About 1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce, a few squirts of fish sauce, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of mirin, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, the zest and juice of one lemon, a one inch knob of ginger grated, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix it all up and add the chicken.

While that marinates, rice the cauliflower (buzz it in the food processor for a bit), slice the pineapple, cut the onion, slice the red pepper and finely dice the skin of one jalapeno pepper (and unless you are brave, avoid the seeds). I also wash the lettuce at this point, too.

When you are ready to cook, divide the cut onion into two batches (for cooking chicken and for cooking “rice”). You will need two pans for this part. I suggest a high sided pan for the rice and a saute pan for the chicken. Add oil to both pans and, once hot, add the onion. Let it cook until translucent. In one pan, add the rice with salt and pepper. In the other, add the chicken, reserving the marinade for later. Cook one side of the chicken until browned and then flip the chicken. It will cook quickly so don’t go too far. Pour in half of the marinade and discard the rest. When the chicken is almost cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients to the chicken and cook until the pineapple begins to brown. The rice will take about the same amount of time to warm through.

To plate, fill the lettuce boats with cauliflower rice and then top with the chicken mixture. Serve and enjoy!

 

Black bean spaghetti with veggies

Have you all heard of this stuff? Black bean spaghetti?!

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Holy smokes this was good. We did, essentially, a pasta primavera with the black bean spaghetti, asparagus, sweet peppers and heirloom tomatoes from the garden. Hubs ran out and grabbed some vodka sauce (Mia’s) and, voila! Dinner!

Ingredients:

  • one package of black bean spaghetti
  • one bunch of asparagus
  • two half peppers of different colors (or one large pepper)
  • one large, very ripe heirloom tomato
  • one jar of pasta sauce
  • one tablespoon dry oregano
  • salt/pepper/olive oil

Boil a large pan of water with a bit of salt and olive oil. When bubbling, add in black bean spaghetti and the dry oregano. Boil for 6-8 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into one to two inch diagonal pieces, slice the peppers in to strips and roughly chop the tomato(es). Ad a tiny bit of olive oil to a saute pan and first cook the asparagus for about a minute or two and then add in the peppers. A minute or so after that, add the tomatoes. And salt and pepper to taste. Our pasta sauce is a bit spicy so I didn’t add in chili flakes to this recipe. If you are using a more subtle sauce, this is a good time to add in that heat. Stir occasionally.

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When the black bean spaghetti is al dente, drain the water and dump in the jar of sauce, making sure it evenly coats the “pasta”. It could get a little sticky, so add a bit of olive oil if you need to. Let it soak up the sauce for a bit.

Plate the spaghetti first.

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Test the doneness of the asparagus and then add the veggies on top.

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I top with a bit of shaved parmesan reggiano.

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Basil Pork with Squash Rounds, Red Pepper and Farro

I was exhausted Monday. I needed and wanted to cook dinner for our little group but my brain wasn’t processing properly. I was having trouble sequencing my thoughts when I was at the grocery store doing our weekly shop so came home slightly unprepared for how and what I was cooking for dinner. This dinner was a little bit of what I could find in our kitchen and a request from the hubs for “that farro stir fry [I] made a few weeks ago.” Documenting the dinners my family enjoys is the main impetus for this blog…and requests like this, when I can barely remember what I had for lunch (Monday? a yogurt with honey, a spoonful of peanut butter, a handful of sprouted sunflower seeds and some carrots. Holy crap! I remembered).

In the fridge I found a pork tenderloin, almost at its sell by date, three yellow squash, a few red shallots and two red peppers. I also went into the garden and grabbed a handful of big leaf basil. 

  • pork tenderloin
  • handful of basil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 2 red peppers
  • oyster sauce
  • 1 meyer lemon

The first step was to cook the 10 minute farro that we love. I use chicken stock instead of water. Boil the chicken stock, add the farro, stir occasionally.

While the farro is cooking, cut the tenderloin into 1 inch by 2 inch pieces. Salt, pepper and douse in oyster sauce, coating evenly. Slice shallot thinly. Heat olive oil in large saute pan over med-high heat until shimmering and then add the shallot. Cook quickly until slightly soft, push to the edges of the pan and add pork. 

While the pork is browning, cut squash into discs and zest the lemon (saving the lemon for later). Turn pork if starting to brown and cook through. In a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add squash. Turn the squash in the olive oil to coat and then arrange them so that most are laying flat on the bottom of the pan. Lightly salt and pepper.

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While the squash softens and browns, chiffonade the basil and cut the peppers into thin strips. Turn the pork as it should be getting near finished, add the basil and lightly coat with oyster sauce again. Squeeze half of the lemon on the pork. Mix thoroughly. Turn the squash so that all pieces are evenly browned. Remembering that the pork will continue to cook in the pan and that pork should have a bit of pink in it, turn off the burner and move the pan off the heat. Add the red pepper to the squash. 

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(Be sure to take out the lemon seeds after squeezing…or, you know, avoid them all together 🙂 )

When the squash is soft and slightly browned, add reduced balsamic and coat. Turn off heat.

Serve by adding to a bowl a layer of farro, the squash/pepper mix and then top with the pork. It was DELISH.

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