Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A friend’s mom made this black beans and rice recipe for me many years ago on Thanksgiving.  We had the traditional turkey, and also a slow-cooked pork roast that was divine.  The beans were so good I asked her to have her mom send me the recipe.

The great thing about this is that you feel you’re eating something rich and luxurious, even though it’s a “budget” meal.  This particular recipe is also vegetarian.  Of course, if you want, you can add some pork or bacon in with the seasoning mixture and cook that before you combine it all with the beans.

It’s also versatile.  Cook it down more and you have black beans and rice. Cook a bit less and you end up with black bean soup.

The recipe here is portioned to be a substantial main dish for dinner (or two lunches). Or, use it for two side dishes.




There are two ingredients in it that are a bit unusual for black beans and rice (at least unusual to me): balsamic vinegar and port.  You just use a little of each, but it adds an extra depth of flavor which wouldn’t be there otherwise.

I don’t usually have port, so I used brandy instead.

I nearly always get the dried black beans instead of the canned ones. The canned beans tend to have extra salt and additives to “keep them fresh” (which never made sense to me; canned food should last without preservatives). Besides the dried beans are a better value and will last indefinitely.

It does take a bit of time to make this (not so much because of the cooking as because of soaking the dried beans). However,  you can just let them soak overnight or use my quick soak method.  Or, if you’re in a big hurry, use canned beans.  Half the can should do it.

I used leftover rice that I already had.  If you don’t have leftover rice, start the rice while the bean and onion mixture is simmering.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Cuban

one serving

one serving

black beans and rice recipe one person

A delicious, filling, and budget-friendly black beans and rice recipe for one person.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • generous pinch salt
  • grinding of black pepper
  • pinch of oregano
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 T ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp brandy or port
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and soak the beans overnight.
  2. Drain the beans, put them in a medium size saucepan, add a cup of water and cook until soft (about one hour).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onions for five minutes until soft. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, tomato sauce (or ketchup), oregano, bay leaf, and sugar.
  4. Cook the mixture on a low flame for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the pot with the beans.
  6. If you don't have leftover rice, start it now.
  7. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer on medium low until thick for beans and rice, or cooked through for soup.
  8. Before serving, add the port, additional olive oil, and salt/pepper or sugar to taste.
  9. Top with bell pepper slices.

Substitutions and Variations for Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

  • Use brandy instead of port
  • If you don’t feel like opening an entire can of tomato sauce to use a small amount, use ketchup (add a little more water)
  • Add 1/4 pound pork stew to the onion mixture (when you start it)
  • Try some pork fat or bacon or a ham hock
  • For more kick, add some cumin or cayenne

Ingredients and Tools for Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One

Lundberg Organic Rice

The reports of arsenic in standard rice make me a bit nervous. Also, this rice is just delicious. It isn’t jasmine rice (though they have that too), but it tastes like it. And it’s not expensive either. Actually, sometimes the bags of regular rice in the store cost more!


T-fal Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, 4-Quart

If you’ve got the space for it, a pressure cooker will make preparing beans a whole lot faster (it’s also good for split pea soup). Pressure cookers used to be tricky to use (my grandpa made a terrible mess once when he opened it too soon – pea soup everywhere!), but they’ve gotten a lot easier. The pressure gauge on this one is marked for high or low pressure, steam release, and off. If you forget to soak your beans you can cook them with this in about 20 minutes, instead of an hour, plus the waiting time. It’s also dishwasher-safe.




Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

This chili citrus chicken thigh recipe was inspired by a friend.  She used orange zest and marmalade, but I didn’t have either of those things.  And, I’m not a fan of marmalade anyway.  I figured lime would do just as well.

The citrus gives it a bit of a tang, the chili garlic sauce adds heat, and the honey adds a touch of sweetness to balance the flavors.

It’s a pretty easy, hands-off recipe.  First, you mix the marinade, pour it over the chicken, and let it sit for half an hour or so.  Then, bake the chicken, reserving the marinade mixture.  Boil that separately and pour it over the chicken when it’s done.  I have a tiny saucepan that’s perfect for this.  If you don’t have one, pour the marinade over the chicken about halfway through the cooking time (you want it to cook thoroughly, but you also don’t want the citrus to burn).





Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One Person

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Category: entree

Cuisine: Asian

one serving

chili citrus chicken thigh

Spicy, sweet, tangy chili citrus chicken thigh recipe for one person

Ingredients

  • one chicken thigh
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp digon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix everything (except the chicken) together in a small bowl.
  3. Add the chicken thigh, turn it over to get thoroughly coated, and let it marinate for half an hour,
  4. Place the chicken on a small roasting pan and bake for an hour.
  5. When the chicken is nearly done, pour the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce it until it gets thick.
  6. Take the chicken out of the oven, and place it on your dinner plate. Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Tools and Ingredients for Making Chili Citrus Chicken


Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 5/8-Quart Butter Warmer
A small saucepan may seem like an odd thing, but it’s really very useful, and for far more than just melting butter. It’s great for the marinade in this recipe, as well as for heating or melting small amounts of other ingredients, such as chocolate, cheese (for mac and cheese), and making sauces. The pot is also the perfect size for heating milk to make hot cocoa.


Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce 18 Oz

I know sriracha is what’s popular, and I love that too, but I just can’t get enough of this chili garlic sauce. It’s great for chicken, meatloaf, chili chicken wings, omelettes, and on a burger instead of ketchup.

 

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Chicken with Peaches and Ginger for One

Chicken Florentine for One

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

 




Chicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

I adapted this chicken thigh recipe with peaches and ginger from The New York Times. It’s a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors and I haven’t tinkered with the ingredients very much.

On the other hand, the preparation and cooking instructions were a problem.  The original recipe called for slicing up the chicken thighs into strips, then baking it at high temperature for 20 minutes. I did that the first time I made this and ended up with dry chicken!

The instructions also said to use hard peaches, because unripe peaches are easier to handle and cut up. They probably are, but they’re not as juicy and they don’t taste as nearly as good.

So, I changed the baking time and temperature and swapped hard peaches for ripe ones.

I have used both sherry and brandy for this recipe (though I think the sherry is better). The brandy is sweeter, so it’s a better option if your peaches aren’t as sweet as they should be.  You could also use Cointreau if you have some. I don’t drink enough of any of those to make it worth getting a large bottle, so I get the airline size bottles or at least the smallest bottle I can find.

The revised recipe takes a bit longer, but it’s easy to put together, and doesn’t require a lot of stirring or cutting or steps to make. Just mix up the cut peaches, basil, garlic, and oil, pour the mixture over the chicken, and throw the whole thing in the oven for an hour.

Make some rice to go with it on the side and maybe some green beans and you’ve got a great, easy dinner.  It’s also easy to scale this up for company.




Chicken with Peaches and Ginger for One

Category: entree

Cuisine: American

one serving

chicken with basil peaches and ginger

Chicken with peaches, basil, and ginger for one.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size ripe peach
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dry fino sherry
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 chicken thigh

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the peach into chunks and discard the pit.
  3. Put the peach pieces to a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (except for the chicken).
  4. Stir the olive oil and peach mixture to combine and coat the garlic pieces.
  5. Place the chicken in a small baking pan (or the tray from your toaster oven) and pour the peach mixture over it.
  6. Roast chicken for one hour.
  7. Garnish with remaining basil.

Notes

If you have extra ginger, you can freeze it. Or, store it in some dry sherry.

If you scale it up, this chicken dish is great for company. Just cut everything up and put it in the oven.

Serve it with rice.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes for One Person

Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One




Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Summer is now in full force, and I got some lovely tomatoes and eggplant from the Greenmarket, as well as fresh pasta and fresh mozzarella cheese from the Italian market. Inspiration struck, and I thought I’d put them together to make pasta alla norma (pasta with eggplant) and add a caprese salad.

Caprese salad is simply fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and basil leaves. It’s an easy summer side dish that requires no cooking at all.

Pasta alla norma is  slightly spicy pasta with fresh eggplant, and tomato sauce, topped with manchego cheese. This is a great meal when you’re in a hurry, as it’s pretty easy to throw together.

And, since we’re only making one serving (and using tomato sauce instead of the original whole tomatoes, the cooking time is cut from nearly an hour to about 25 minutes. If you don’t have tomato sauce, use canned crushed tomatoes and add garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and dried oregano to get the same effect.

The original recipe (from the New York Times) called for lots and lots of olive oil.  I think the term they used was “abundant” olive oil.  I love olive oil, but so does eggplant. It just slurps it up! However, I found that by cooking the eggplant on a low flame, it used a lot less olive than it would otherwise.

If you’re really concerned about the oil, you can drizzle the eggplant with it, and then roast it at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.




 

Pasta alla Norma

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

one bowl

pasta alla norma with eggplant

Pasta alla norma (with eggplant and red pepper flakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 2-3 slices of eggplant, cut into thin strips (like fries)
  • 1/4 cup long pasta, such as spaghetti
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • generous pinch dried pepper flakes
  • pinch oregano
  • 3 T tomato sauce
  • Manchego cheese or other hard Italian cheese (grated) for topping

Instructions

  1. Fill a 2 quart saucepan about halfway with water, heat on high, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on low heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes for dried pasta and 5 for fresh.
  4. Remove the eggplant from the pan.
  5. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and tomato sauce to the frying pan.
  6. When the garlic softens, add the eggplant back into the pan.
  7. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the eggplant mixture.
  8. Stir to combine the pasta and the eggplant.
  9. Pour the finished dish into a bowl and top with grated cheese.

Notes

If you don't have Manchego cheese, you can use Romano instead.

Caprese Salad

This is so simple, it’s hardly a recipe at all.  Just layer slices of fresh tomato, fresh unsalted mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves.  Top with a generous drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Skip the sat if you get salted mozzarella (unless you prefer salty food).

More Eggplant Recipes

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Rosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Moussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Recipe




 

Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Salmon with Greek yogurt dill sauce is a great combination.  The piquancy of the Greek yogurt complements the rich flavor of the fish beautifully. A pinch of mustard gives it a bit of a bite, without overwhelming the rest of the dish.

The other great thing about this dinner is that it’s quick and easy to make.  Just mix a few simple ingredients for the sauce (which uses ingredients you probably already have, so no need for a special trip to the grocery store), season the salmon, and put the fish in the oven while the sauce flavors combine.

I’ve written the recipe for a toaster oven (since I don’t want to heat up the whole apartment), but you can make this in a standard oven too. Or, if you’re really pressed for time (or very hungry), you can cook it in your microwave.  If you do, once the sauce is made and the fish is seasoned, you can have dinner in 6 minutes.

It’s a quick meal that looks (and tastes) like you cooked for hours. And, it’s easy to scale this up and serve it when you have company.

If you have the time, do let the sauce sit for a while before you cook everything else.  It really does improve the flavor.

I served the salmon with some jasmine rice (which is my new favorite rice), the rest of the cucumber I used for the sauce (fresh from the farmer’s market), and some beautiful, ripe Jersey tomatoes.

It’s a great summer meal because it’s light, doesn’t require a lot of fussing, and it’s ready in a few minutes. And, since you’re cooking the dish in foil, there’s one less thing to wash when you’re finished (which is always a bonus, as far as I’m concerned).


Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: American

one serving

salmon greek yogurt dill sauce

An easy salmon dinner with a yogurt dill sauce.

Ingredients

    Sauce!
  • 2T plain Greek yogurt
  • 1T mayo
  • 1/2 tsp cucumber (finely chopped), divided
  • 1/tsp onion (finely chopped)
  • pinch dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper
    Salmon!
  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 1 T white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the sauce first.
  2. Add all the sauce ingredients (using half the cucumber) to a small bowl and mix together. It's best if it sits for an hour or two so that the flavors blend together. If you don't have the time (or you're really hungry), just let it sit while you cook the salmon.
  3. If you're letting the sauce marinate, wait forty minutes and then start the salmon. If not, then start once you've finished mixing the sauce.
  4. Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Place the salmon skin side down on a sheet of aluminum foil. Pour the wine over the fish, add the bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the fish in the foil and place it on the toaster oven's baking tray. Cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick your salmon fillet is. The fish is done when it's an even pale pink color.
  6. Serve with the sauce and top with the remaining cucumber.

Notes

If you're in a hurry, you can also cook the salmon in a microwave. Place the fish on a microwave proof plate. Add the wine, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Microwave 4-6 minutes.

If you don't have an open bottle of white wine, you can use chicken stock instead.

More Fish Recipes

Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce


Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

I had a partial bag of lentils leftover from making lentil soup some months ago, and decided they’d make a good fairly last minute dinner. Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked, so you can make them quickly.

Lentils and rice go together just as well as beans and rice, plus when you put them together you’ve got a complete protein. My mom always stressed this when I was a kid; it makes me laugh now. It’s a fairly quick, tasty dinner and it’s also pretty budget-friendly.

I looked at several other lentils and rice recipes and didn’t like any of them. Some were too bland and simplistic, while others involved way too much work and some hard-to-find ingredients.

I try to keep my recipes tasty, but not complicated (and with ingredients that are readily available).  So, I did a bit of fudging, combining, and tweaking to get the results I wanted.




This lentils and rice recipe is fairly easy to prepare, and features a surprise ingredient you may not expect. It is, admittedly, not going to win awards for looks, but it did taste good!

Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

one serving

easy lentils and rice recipe

Lentils and rice with curry, ginger, and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice (preferably jasmine)
  • 1.2C lentils
  • 1 T canola or other neutral cooking oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 t ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1.4 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1T chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, fill a small saucepan with water and add the lentils. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and saute for a minute or two. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Now, add the ketchup and the spices. Cook, stirring until the onion wilts (about 5 minutes or so). Add the chicken stock.
  4. Once the lentils are done, drain them and add them to the spice mixture. Cook five minutes, adding more chicken stock if necessary.
  5. Serve over rice.

Substitutions and Variations for Lentils and Rice Recipe

  • If you have the time, start by caramelizing the onions first; you’ll get a deeper, richer flavor
  • Make it Lebanese with the carmelized onions, a fried egg, and cumin (full recipe)
  • Or, go to Ethiopia with some cardomom, tomatoes, cumin, and red lentils (instead of brown)

More Easy Lentil Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

Lamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

 


Easy Italian Meatball Recipe for One

I may cook quite a few “exotic” or complicated dishes, but sometimes something simple and comforting and nostalgic really hits the spot.  And when it comes to nostalgia and comfort food, it’s hard to beat an old-fashioned, but easy, Italian meatball recipe.  Just thinking about spaghetti and meatballs makes me smile.

You can serve this the classic way, with spaghetti and marinara sauce, but they’re also great for making a fast Italian wedding soup.  If you don’t want the soup right away, just increase the recipe, and make a few extra meatballs and pop them in the freezer.  Then days, or weeks later you can defrost them and treat yourself to soup in a few minutes.

I’ve kept this recipe simple, and easy, but you can change it to suit your own tastes and preferences.  Check the end of the post for some inspiration.  You can make it spicier, swap the bread crumbs for oatmeal or potato starch (to make it gluten-free), or use turkey instead of beef.  A mixture of pork and beef is good too.




Easy Meatball Recipe for One

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

easy italian meatball recipe

Simple Italian meatball recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp chopped onions
  • 1T plus 1 tsp bread crumbs
  • 1/2 egg, beaten (don't worry, you can use the rest for eggplant parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • pinch dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive or canola oil (for cooking)

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, using your hands.
  2. Form the mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet and gently place the meatballs in the pan. Let them cook for a minute or two, then turn them gently (so they don't fall apart). Cook for about 10 minutes.

Notes

If you don't mind a two step process, preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees. Place the raw meatballs on the tray that comes with the oven. Cook for a minute or two. While that's cooking, heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Transfer the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning gently, until they are done, about 5-7 minutes.

This helps keep the meatballs from falling apart.

Substitutions and Variations for Easy Italian Meatballs

  • use a mixture of ground beef and pork, instead of just beef
  • add more garlic
  • add oregano
  • if you can’t have gluten, use oatmeal or potato starch, instead of breadcrumbs (either grind up regular oats in a mini-chopper, or use quick-cooking oats).
  • use ground turkey or chicken instead of meat (if you do, I recommend getting the dark meat turkey; it tastes better)
  • add a splash of sriracha




Easy Meatball (and Ground Beef) Recipes for One

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

Sloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

Cheeseburger with Compound Butter

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

This pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausage recipe is based on a recipe invented by Kimberly Chapman (from Eat the Evidence; she makes astonishing desserts and “Ace of Cakes” cakes too).

She had this wonderful English, locally raised bacon and fresh asparagus and decided to make pasta with it (her recipe is here).

It looked so good I wanted to try it.  But I didn’t have bacon (or asparagus).  I could have gone out and bought asparagus, but I’m not a huge asparagus fan, unless it’s drenched in Hollandaise sauce.  I did have some chicken sausage and frozen broccoli though.  So, I decided to follow her technique while changing the ingredients a bit.

I used chicken sausage instead of bacon, kept the mushrooms, added red bell pepper (as I had part of a pepper leftover from something else and had to use it up).  Then, I changed the cheese to Manchego instead of parmesan, because that’s also what I had on hand.

Tip:
When your chunk of parmesan, Manchego, or other hard cheese gets hard to grate with a box grater, use a microplane instead.  You can also save the rinds (or even buy them at the market) and use them for soup. Just put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll keep indefinitely.

Back to the recipe, you essentially, cook the sausage (or bacon), add the veggies, then the pasta, some chicken broth, and top it all with grated cheese.



Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Peppers

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Continental

one serving

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausage

Pasta with broccoli, sausage, red peppers, and mushrooms. A quick and easy dinner for one.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 long pasta (such as spaghetti)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 link chicken sausage, cut into one inch chunks
  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 C red bell pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 2T grated Manchego (or parmesan cheese)

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium size saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente (about 10) minutes.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan.
  4. Cook sausage, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the sausage from the pan, but don't wipe the pan.
  6. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook five minutes until they start to brown.
  7. Put the frozen broccoli into the pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes..
  8. Pour in the chicken broth, and let the mixture cook a minute or two.
  9. Add the red pepper.
  10. Once the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the frying pan, tossing with tongs to combine all the ingredients.
  11. Grate the cheese over the pasta mixture and serve.

Notes

You can use regular sausage instead of chicken sausage; if you do, you'll need less olive oil. Mix and match the ingredients to suit your own taste. Vary the veggies, go back to bacon, or skip the meat and use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.

More Pasta and Mushroom Recipes

Chicken with mushrooms and tarragon

Three cheese grilled cheese sandwich with mushrooms 

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant



Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

I love Buffalo chicken wings, but wings are getting increasingly expensive.  The supermarket had a great sale on chicken thighs and legs so I decided to experiment and make a chili garlic chicken thigh recipe instead.

In addition to substituting thighs for wings, I gave the recipe a bit of a twist by replacing hot sauce with chili garlic sauce and making chili garlic chicken thighs.

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s pretty easy, and you don’t have to fuss with it.  You get great flavor without a lot of ingredients, no chopping, and very little mixing.
Using the chili garlic sauce is best (here’s an image so you can see what it looks like), but if you don’t have it I’ve listed substitutions below.

Since the weather has reverted back to March (brrrr), I baked the thighs rather than cooking them on the stove (I wanted an hour of heat!).  However, you can, if you prefer, or you are in a hurry, cook this in a pan (see below).



Chili Garlic Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Category: entree

Cuisine: Asian

one serving

chili garlic chicken

Chili garlic chicken thighs baked in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 T butter
  • 1T chili garlic sauce (Huy Fong)
  • 1 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 chicken thigh

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a small bowl or ramekin (a microwave is best for this). Add the chili garlic sauce and apple cider vinegar and stir to combine.
  3. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan (I used the toaster oven tray; you can also do this in the toaster oven if you want).
  4. Cook the chicken for 45 minutes.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve.

Notes

I used Huy Fong chili garlic sauce (made by the same company that makes sriracha sauce. Your grocery story should have it (it comes in a smaller jar with a green cap)

I served it with microwaved broccoli (cooked for two minutes and seasoned with lemon pepper) and fried potato wedges (parboiled, then fried in a pan like home fries).

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Substitutions and Variations

  • Frying instead of baking: Heat some neutral oil, like canola or vegetable oil and cook the chicken for 10 minutes, skin side down. Turn it skin side up, pour the sauce over the chicken, and then cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Use sriracha.  If you do, I would reduce or eliminate the apple cider vinegar, since the sriracha already has vinegar and sugar, and add some minced garlic.

  • If you don’t have either of those, use hot sauce, the cider vinegar, and garlic.

P.S. My apologies for the awful ad that was appearing earlier.  Those responsible have been sacked.

Tools and Ingredients for Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe


Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce, 8 oz

I love this stuff. I put it on chicken, add it to hamburgers, or mix some with scrambled eggs. Basically, use it to add extra kick (and a hit of garlic) wherever you’d usually use Tabasco, sriracha, or ketchup.


Huy Fong, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 17 Ounce Bottle
If you prefer a bit of sweetness with your heat, use the sriracha instead of the chili garlic sauce. It’s also more spreadable than the garlic sauce (the consistency is closer to thin ketchup, while the garlic sauce is more like salsa).

 

More Chicken and Chili Recipes

Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

 




 

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

This pistachio pesto pasta recipe is a bit different from standard pesto recipes. Most standard pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts.  A great combination, but it’s tough to use up a whole bunch of basil when cooking for one.  Either you have to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it, or it spoils.

I do have a basil plant, but cutting enough off to make pesto would leave me without much of a plant! This is a good compromise.

Plus, pine nuts have gotten awfully expensive.  It does have some basil, but I replaced most of it with broccoli. Then I substituted pistachios for walnuts or pine nuts.

Actually, to be entirely truthful, I ‘stole’ this idea from one of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He seemed to like food as much as he enjoyed mysteries and books (my kind of author).

You get the sweet, summery taste of basil, the earthiness of  broccoli, and the crunchiness of the pistachios (use the unsalted kind).  And frankly, while I love pine nuts, they’ve gotten awfully expensive.  You can use walnuts too, if you prefer.

It’s also quick and easy to make (which is always a plus).





Pasta Pesto with Pistachios

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

pistachio pasta pesto

Quick pasta pesto recipe with pistachios and broccoli

Ingredients

    Pasta
  • 1/4 lb penne
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp salt
    Pesto Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 C basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1/4C broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 C shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 T grated romano cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Instructions

    Pasta:
  1. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the salt and the pasta. Stir the pasta to keep it from sticking together. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente (firm, but not hard).
    Instructions for Pesto Sauce:
  1. Combine the basil, broccoli, garlic, and pistachios in a mini chopper or blender. Slowly add the olive oil.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cheese, salt to taste and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander. Return the hot pasta to the saucepan, add the pesto, and stir to coat the pasta thoroughly.
  4. Pour sauced pasta into a bowl and garnish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh basil leaves.

Notes

You can also use this pesto recipe on chicken or fish.

 

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Use spinach in the pesto instead of broccoli
  • Skip the greens entirely and make a walnut pesto with walnuts, olive oil, parsley, parmesan, salt, and pepper
  • If you like your pesto spicier, add some chiles
  • Make it with walnuts instead of pistachios

Tools and Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Roasted Unsalted Pistachios

These are freshly roasted (unlike the stale bags you often get in the store), and already have their shells removed, so you don’t have to fuss with cracking them open. Just pour, measure, and eat.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives