Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Improv

You're probably tired of all the chicken recipes I've been posting lately (sorry! I'm on a cleanse. More on that later on), but at least I'm alternating them with other types of meat right?? For the first time ever, I took a running recipe and made my own ingredient substitutions and guess what? I really, really liked the flavor! I'm not going to lie, I patted myself on the back afterwards because I was so darn proud of myself. Ha! The original recipe made 4 servings, but I used half the amount of chicken while keeping everything else constant. Why? Because I usually only have 2 servings worth of chicken defrosted at a time. Plus, who doesn't like a lil extra sauce!

Okay, I'll quit jibber jabbering and show you what I made!

Basil, Chili, and Garlic Chicken
Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray

2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed red chili pepper (feel free to add more if you really want a kick)
1/2 pound thin Asian rice noodles or vermicelli pasta (or rice)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup finely chopped shallots
1 (green) bell pepper, diced
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves (I used 1/16 cup of McCormick's dried basil leaves)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground pepper
cooking spray

Gathered all the ingredients and have everything all diced and chopped up? Awesome! Let's get the cooking party started!

1. In a bowl, season chicken bites with salt and pepper; set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and crushed red pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

2. Cook your pasta/vermicelli/rice according to directions.

3. Meanwhile, thinly coat a large, deep skillet with cooking spray (or 2 tbs of vegetable oil) and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Toss in onions, shallots, bell peppers, and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant and softened but not browned. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

4. Coat skillet with another thin layer of cooking spray and heat for about 30 seconds. Spread the chicken in a single layer in the pan without crowding and cook, undisturbed, until the edges change color. Turn and continue cooking, occasionally tossing, until lightly browned all over. Give the reserved sauce a quick lil stir then add it and the onion mixture to the skillet. Cook while tossing until the chicken is cooked through and evenly coated. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, tossing until evenly coated (if you're using fresh basil, toss until slightly wilted). Serve the chicken over cooked noodles/vermicelli/rice.
Ta da!

I think the shallots really added a lil something extra to the dish. Feel free to add additional vegetables also to make it even more flavorful/healthy. If you don't like it to be too saucy, you can easily half the sauces. The sauce was also slightly thick so thin it out a bit with 1/4 cup of water. Otherwise, easy, peasy, yummy chicken dinner for the win, once again!

Are you tired of my chicken recipes yet? If so, substitute the chicken with pork, beef, shrimp, or any meat of your choice! How's that for changing it up? Ha!

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