Great for a weeknight dinner, this Vietnamese baked chicken with lime is an easy meal that requires very little active work.Measure, mince, and pour, then let it sit.Once it’s finished marinating, all you have to do is cook it for half an hour. The ginger and garlic are warm and spicy, while the chili garlic sauce has a bit of a kick. The lime adds brightness and a citrusy tang that complements the spicy flavors and cools them down.
The original recipe called for chili garlic paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce.And, it’s true, those ingredients would be more authentic. However, they also violate my own rules about avoidinghard-to-find or one use ingredients.I don’t want to buy an entire bottle or brick of something (like palm sugar) just to have it sit there. And where would I even find palm sugar? Nope.
So, I cheated.I used chili garlic sauce (not paste), swapped brown sugar for palm sugar, and ditched the fish sauce in favor of Worcestershire sauce (which does have some anchovies in it). I also wanted (for personal preference) to avoid all the salt in the fish sauce.
Marinating, even for a short time, helps the chicken absorb lots of flavor. Just don’t let it sit too long or it will get mushy from the citrus.
When you’re ready to start cooking, just pour out the marinade, pop the chicken in the oven, and wait half an hour. Dinner is done!
1 chicken thigh (leave the skin and bone in place)
1T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce (if you like fish sauce, use that)
1 T brown sugar
3/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp lime zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T cooking oil
lIn a small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar, ginger, chili garlic sauce, lime juice and zest, garlic and oil). Pour that into a zip lock bag, and add the chicken. Close the bag, and shake it around so the marinade covers the chicken.Let that sit for half an hour, or up to four hours (in the fridge).
About fifteen minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the tray from your toaster oven and line it with foil. Then preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees. Also take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Take the chicken out of the bag and set it on top of a wire rack, skin side up, and then place the rack over the lined toaster oven tray. This will reduce cleanup a bit and help keep the chicken from getting soggy.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for five minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with lime.
Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime Substitutions and Variations
add some soy sauce to the marinade
swap the lime zest for lemongrass (you can buy lemongrass paste, which is easier to find in western markets than the stalks)
chop up some cilantro and add that to the marinade
if you do like fish sauce, I’m told Red Boat and Three Crabs are good brands (avoid the Taste of Thai, it’s full of sugar)
Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.
It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.
In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”
I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!
I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit. First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope! Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.
One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.
It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together. Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!
I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).
Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp dried dill (or 1 T fresh)
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
3 ounces spaghetti
1 garlic clove, mashed
1/4 C fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 T chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup green olives, pitted, halved
2 1/4 tsp drained capers
2 T grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium size skillet.
Add the panko and cook stirring, over medium heat, for a minute or two. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn. Once the panko turns golden brown, remove it from the pan and spoon it on a paper towel so it will drain. Add salt and pepper and mix in the dill and lemon zest.
Boil water in a large pot, add salt, and then add the spaghetti. Stir the pasta when you add it, so it doesn't stick. Once the spaghetti is done (about 8-10 minutes), remove from the pot and drain nearly all the water. Keep about 2 T of the water in reserve (this will help thicken the sauce).
While the spaghetti is cooking, mash the garlic. Use the broad edge of a wide knife to smash it, and then smear it around on the cutting board with the side of the knife to make a paste. Put the mashed garlic, spinach, basil, olives, and capers in a large bowl. Now add the rest of the olive oil. Toss it all together and season with salt and pepper.
Add the pasta and the half the reserved cooking water to the spinach olive mixture. Mix it all together so that the pasta is covered. If it's too dry, add more of the pasta liquid.
Squeeze the lemon you used for the zest and add 1 1/2 tsp of juice to the sauce.
Top that with the panko mixture and more Parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations
like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
add more garlic
use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)
An online food group I belong to is celebrating “rice month.” The idea is to highlight a recipe featuring, well rice. Someone suggested that nearly every culture uses rice so everyone ought to be able to find something to fit the theme. Unfortunately, I come from a long line of noodle and dumpling people. So, at first I was stumped. What could I possibly make for this challenge? Then I had an idea. I could borrow a “sister” culture! Eastern European Jewish people focus heavily on noodles, but the Sephardim (from Asia, India, the Middle East, etc.) have plenty of rice dishes. So, I looked through my cookbooks and found garlic ginger turmeric rice.
It’s a Bene Israel recipe, meaning that it was created by the Jewish population in India. You might almost call it a pulao. I’ve adapted this recipe from The Book of Jewish Food. Her version served six. Mine is about three servings (because extra rice is always good; more on that later).
This particular rice dish is packed with garlic, ginger, green cardamon pods, and a pinch of turmeric for that beautiful yellow color. It’s tasty (and it fights germs too, which made it even more appealing since I’m still fighting the creeping crud!). Don’t be put off by all the garlic and the ginger, both start out spicy and sharp but mellow and become almost sweet as they cook. The cardamom adds a complex taste; it’s a bit minty, with a hint of citrus and a spicy/warm flavor. The original calls for basmati rice (which I didn’t have), but ordinary long grain white rice will do just as well. If you use the basmati rice, rinse it several times before starting to cook it.
Blend the onion, garlic, ginger, and 2 tsp of the oil in a food processor or mini chopper until it forms a paste.
Pour the rest of the oil into a saucepan (about 2 quarts). Add the whole spices (peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom to the pan and cook on medium-high for a minute or two. The smell should start to waft through your kitchen and they may pop.*
Scrape the garlic ginger mixture out of the mini chopper and add it to the pan with the spices.
Reduce the heat to low, and stir everything around until the garlic/ginger becomes fragrant.
Now add the rice, salt, and the water and stir well.
Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat. Stir the rice, and simmer, with the pot covered, over low heat for 15-18 minutes.
Once the rice is done, let it sit for a few minutes and steam.
*You can either leave the spices as is, and then make sure to pick them out of the rice when it's finished, or scoop them out into a tea ball. Then put the tea ball into the pot, and continue on with the rest of the recipe.
Turn Your Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice Side Dish into A Main Dish
As is, this is a side dish. But with a bit of extra effort, it can become a main dish too. There are a couple of ways to do this. For example, you could make it more substantial by cooking up some chicken or adding leftover pre-cooked chicken to the rice. Or, cook up some spinach and fry and egg (in the same pan if you want), and add that to the top. You can do the same thing with the leftovers a few days. later. Instant food!
The recipe says that for special occasions, this dish was often served topped with blanched almonds and raisins. While this wasn’t a fancy occasion, I decided to do it anyway. I didn’t have blanched almonds, so I just roughly chopped a few whole ones. Soak the raisins in water a bit before you use them, in order to soften them.
I know, broccoli is controversial (though not quite as much as brussels sprouts). Some love it, some hate it. If you’re not a broccoli fan, this recipe for oven roasted lemon garlic broccoli might change your mind. Roasting helps reduce the bitterness and gives the broccoli a nutty flavor (from the caramelization). It also makes the broccoli crispy outside, tender and sweet inside.
I have used frozen broccoli florets, because they cook more quickly (and I had a big bag of them). This is also more practical, since it’s tough for one person to eat an entire head of broccoli all at once! This way I can take out just what I need and the rest can stay frozen until I want it for something else.
Plus, frozen vegetables often have more vitamins and better nutrition than fresh vegetables do. That’s because the frozen version has been picked and then preserved (by freezing) immediately, while fresh produce may have traveled for days from some other state (or even country) before it gets to your supermarket.
If you have fresh broccoli (or a farmer’s market nearby), you can use that too. Don’t toss out the stems, they are just as good as the florets. They do cook faster (and better) if you remove the tough outer layer from the stems first. A vegetable peeler will work just fine for this.
You’ll also need to cook fresh broccoli a bit longer (since the frozen broccoli has been blanched first). Roast the fresh broccoli for about 25 minutes. If you like it super-crispy, roast it for half an hour (turning it once).
This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it. You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil? Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.
This friend does not cook. At all. I don’t think she’s ever used her oven. I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).
I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe. They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!
It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand. Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.
You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between. I won’t judge.
A simple, weeknight dinner you can make even if your cupboards are nearly bare! It can be fancy (fresh pasta), or simple and basic (shelf stable ingredients). Great for those, what the heck do I eat for dinner nights. A lot of flavor without a lot of effort.
3 garlic cloves, minced
2T olive oil
2 quarts water
1 tsp salt
1/4 lb. linguine or spaghetti
1/3 cup chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Add the oil to a small frying pan. Put the garlic in the pan and cook over medium heat. until it turns slightly golden. Don't burn it! Stir it every once in a while, then turn off the heat and set it aside.
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt.
If you are using dried pasta, add it, then stir it (to keep it from sticking).
Cook for 5-8 minutes until it's al dente (soft, but not mushy).
If you have fresh pasta, add it, stir, and watch carefully. The pasta is cooked when the water returns to a boil (a minute or two).
Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.
Add the chicken broth and turn the heat back on to medium. Let the pasta/broth mixture simmer for a few minutes until most of the broth is absorbed.
Take the garlic/oil mixture you set aside and add that to the pasta pot. Using a spoon and a fork, toss the whole thing together, like a salad.
Remove to a plate and serve, topped with black pepper and grated cheese.
Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil
Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
In my head, this was Roman spinach. Then I looked and realized that was a completely different recipe (with pine nuts and raisins). I was wrong about the Roman part, but at least sauteed garlic parmesan spinach is really Italian.
The recipe that inspired this called for blanching and baking the spinach and then broiling everything. That was too much bother! I’ve adapted it to make it simpler and easier.
This way, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare. It will go nicely, I think, with a simple pan fried fish, or grilled fish. Or, serve it with a steak.
Unlike the Roman spinach (which would have required a trip to get pine nuts), this sauteed spinach is made from everyday ingredients you probably already have at home. No special shopping trip needed!
This is all my brother’s fault. He was raving about the Sichuan Chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauce that he had at a local restaurant. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, and I already had the eggplant (bought to make eggplant parmesan), so I figured I would give it a try.
This recipe is adapted from The New York Times. It originally called for minced garlic, soybean paste, and hot chili paste. I had the garlic, but not the other ingredients, so I improvised. I replaced the soybean paste with hoisin sauce, and used chili garlic sauce instead of the garlic and chili paste. Doing that also saved me an extra step (no garlic to chop). I reduced the water a bit to compensate. That recipe also called for ground pork (which I didn’t have because I’d eaten the last of it with my black beans, so I used chicken instead).
Eggplant is notorious for soaking up oil. There are several schools of thought about preparing eggplant in order to minimize this.
Some insist you have to salt it and let it sit (to draw out the water) and dry it with a paper towel and let it sit for 45 minutes. Others say to put it in water, salt the water, cover that with a lid or a heavy weight, and let it sit for 15 minutes, then drain, and dry it off.
A third way (which I just learned, and wouldn’t necessarily do for Chinese food), is to soak the eggplant in milk.
I tend to use the first method, but I confess I usually don’t wait that long. I’m too impatient (and hungry). I get around it by slicing the eggplant very thin.
If you want your eggplant extra crispy, dredge it in cornstarch before you cook it.
Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Why bother with takeout when you can make Sichuan Chicken in your own home? Flavored with ginger, chili garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce, it only takes a few minutes and it's much cheaper too.
8-12 thin slices of eggplant
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp potato starch or corn starch
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/4 tsp hoisin sauce
2 T neutral oil
1 chicken thigh
Slice the eggplant and place it in a bowl. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt, toss everything together and let it sit while you go on to the next step.
In a separate, small bowl, make the sauce. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and starch (potato or corn) until the starch dissolves. Add the water, chili garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce.
Heat half the oil in a large frying pan or wok.
Slice the meat off the chicken thigh (if you are using bone-in), or cut into strips if you have a boneless thigh (I always get the bone-in, toss the bone in the pan first, let it cook a few minutes longer than the rest, and save it for stock).
Cook the chicken for 5 minutes. Once it's done, transfer it to a plate while you cook the eggplant.
Dry the eggplant with a paper towel.
Add the remaining oil to the pan. When it gets hot, add the eggplant slices.
Cook, stirring, and turning the eggplant occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it's brown and slightly crispy.
Now add the sauce. Cook another minute or so, then add the chicken back to the pan.
Raise the heat to high and bring the entire thing to a boil. Let that cook for a minute or two.
Sweet, slightly tangy and great for this dish, as well as marinades. Try it with a simple pork roast, sliced and served with steamed bread and scallions. Or, marinate fish with garlic, hoisin, and five spice powder. It’s also great in stir fries.
In case you haven’t guessed (since I keep mentioning it), I love this stuff. It’s got more heat than sriracha (which has sugar), plus the extra flavor boost from garlic. I put it on eggs, in marinades, stir-fries, veggies, enchiladas, soup. Someone on Amazon mentioned mixing it with some plum sauce and cooking it with chicken. I’m going to try that next!
If you want to be authentic, get the chili paste. Use it for this recipe, or for making Thai or Indonesian recipes. It makes a great starting base for marinades and sauces. Mix it into meatloaf or top some scrambled eggs. Think of it as sriracha with more kick.
Lamb is one of my favorite foods and this lamb breast recipe for one is a great meal for a lazy, cold winter weekend. It cooks slowly and heats up the house nicely. It’s mostly set it and forget it, so you can do other things while dinner cooks (and your home fills with the fragrance of lamb).There’s very little fussing.
I’ve updated and changed the recipe since I first posted this. The original version called for boiling the lamb first, and then roasting it. Great for tenderizing, but it meant an extra pot to clean. And boy, that pot sure got greasy. However, you can then add the bones back, some barley, and veggies and make Scotch broth if you want.
If not, do it the easier way! Yeah easy!
Lamb breast is generally a cheaper cut of meat than lamb chops or a roast. I spotted it on sale at the local supermarket for a mere $3.99 a pound, so I pounced!
This dish was inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe, but naturally, even with a master chef as a guide, I felt compelled to change it a bit. The original recipe called for vegetable oil, parsley, and bread crumbs.
I’m not a big fan of vegetable oil (olive oil has more flavor, and it fits the dish better, I think). I never have parsley around, but I do have a pot of fresh rosemary, so I used that instead. I didn’t want to bother with fresh bread crumbs, so I used panko.
And, of course, I reduced the original amounts to make it for one person (although, the recipe is so good, you may want to make extra and save it for dinner another day).
One Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Lamb breast provencale for one
Three or four ribs from a lamb breast
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C panko crumbs*
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, peeled, and minced
1 T olive oil
Heat the oven to 225 degrees.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place in shallow roasting pan.
Put the pan in the oven, and cook for two hours.
While the lamb is roasting, mix the panko, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a small bowl.
After two hours, open the oven, take out the lamb, and spread the panko mixture over the top of the ribs with a spoon or basting brush.
Cook for another 30 minutes, or until the bread crumbs turn a light golden color.
You can use oatmeal (ground up or quick cooking) instead of the panko, if you prefer.
Also, if you can't find lamb breast, this will work with lamb chops too. Use a basting brush to coat the lamb chop in the bread crumb mixture. Then heat some olive oil in a skillet. Add the chop and cook two or three minutes per side. Remove the lamb chop and let it rest for five minutes before serving.
It’s much easier to lift the lamb out of the saucepan and remove it from the roasting pan with these tongs. They lock in place for storage, clean easily, and grip tightly. The ends are covered in nylon so they won’t scratch your pans if they’re nonstick.
I just bought this pan to replace one that gave up the ghost. It’s nonstick, not too heavy, and fairly wide and shallow. It’s the perfect size for the lamb breast or several pieces of chicken. The handles do get hot, but with potholders, it’s easy to transfer from the stove to the oven. I also like that it comes with a clear glass lid. I haven’t used it for the pan yet, but it’s great for covering my large frying pan.