Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

Have you ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking, seldom branching out from what you know and like best? A few weeks before Easter I started planning our Easter dinner, and couldn’t get the old staples out of my head. Those staples are great for a number of reasons, but I wanted at least one new dish to be new.

Along comes a friend who recommends Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice. First, I did a double take sure that I heard wrong. But lo and behold, I had not. Not having the confidence of a seasoned cook yet, there was no way I was serving that for Easter without trying it first. With two weeks to spare, I had plenty of time. Halfway there, I convinced my wife we needed to try it, no matter how out in left field it sounded. We did, and I baked a couple of simple chicken breasts to go along with it. For me, I turned it into a sort of rice bowl with the chicken cut-up on top, see below.

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It was REALLY, REALLY good. And as odd as the combination sounded, it really came together so nicely, balancing itself out perfectly. So, it was made again for Easter and all our guests really enjoyed it, albeit everyone had to ask what it was when they peered into the bowl. Ha! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. One of our eaters is on a gluten free diet, which this dish is perfect for.

This is the Easter version. I was running around like a madman trying to bring everything together, that I am surprised I even got a picture of it at all. Sorry it’s not pretty!

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Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 ½ – 2 Jalapeno pepper, veins and seeds removed, and diced

½ small red onion, diced

3/4 teaspoon fennel or anise

2 TBSP EVOO

1 glove, garlic

1 cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups hot water (more if needed)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Core granny smith apple, leaving skin on, and slice them;  Saute apples, pepper, onion all in evoo and add anise or fennel seed. Add jasmine rice and continue to saute on med low heat till rice is lightly toasted. Add hot water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat to low, tightly cover with seran wrap and lid and continue to cook on low for another 30-45 minutes. You may to add some water over rice at the end, depending on how tender and sticky you want the rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Beef with Broccoli

If you haven’t noticed yet, I make a lot of Ree Drummond recipes, aka The Pioneer Woman. She has a lot of simple, tasty, and hearty meals. This one is no exception. It is a spin on a classic Chinese take-out recipe that will have you not wanting to order Chinese take-out any more. Her recipe called for it to be served over Chow Mein noodles, but I served it over a simple Jasmine rice.

It is adapted very slightly. She calls for 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce, but in my mind that makes it much too salty. I reduced it to 1/4 cup and also left off any more salt being added, which she calls for additional salt to taste. Trust me, you do not need any additional salt.

Enjoy!

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Beef with Broccoli

Ingredients:

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 tablespoons sherry

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain

3 tablespoons peanut or olive oil

1 pound broccoli florets

1/4 cup beef broth

1/4 cup oyster sauce

Chow Mein, for serving

 

Directions:

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry, brown sugar, ginger and garlic. Pour half the liquid over the sliced meat in a bowl and toss with your hands. Reserve the other half of t he liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add the broccoli and stir for a minute. Remove to a plate.

Allow the skillet to get very hot again. With tongs, add the meat in a single layer. Spread out the meat as you add it to skillet, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn the meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Pour the reserved sauce into the skillet along with the beef broth and oyster sauce. Cook over high heat until it starts to thicken. Add the beef and broccoli back into the skillet and toss to coat. Season with salt if needed.

Serve over Chow Mein.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

Despite the 100+ degree weather in TX right now, we decided to grill tonight for dinner. The final result of this delicious chicken, which then turned into rice bowls was well worth the short time of suffering outside over a grill during the heat of the day. You can also do this just as easily on a grill pan on the stove.

If you have any apprehensions of the chicken tasting like beer, do not worry at all! I haven’t had a beer in probably 15 years as I absolutely cannot stand the taste of it, but I LOVE this marinade and how tasty this chicken comes out. There is zero beer taste after being grilled.

I mentioned above, and you can see from the picture, 9 times out of 10 we use this chicken recipe to make rice bowls. I slice the chicken into thin strips after being grilled. I make a simple cilantro lime rice, portion that into bowls, then top with whatever we want that day. I typically stick  with rice, chicken, cheese, lettuce, and then add a little salsa as I eat it. My wife will add beans, sour cream, guac, corn, or whatever else suits her fancy.

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Grilled Marinated Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

 

¾ cup Mexican beer, such as Dos Equis

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ tablespoon canola oil

½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1-2 garlic gloves, minced

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions

In a large sealable bag, add the first six ingredients, mixing well. Add chicken breasts to bag, seal, and work the pieces to make sure the marinade as coated all the chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours, flipping the bag halfway through.

Grill over medium high heat until internal temperature has reached 165˚ F. Try not to turn the chicken more than once or twice.

Note: I recommend pounding out the chicken breasts into thin, uniform sizes before marinating. For these pictured above, I actually sliced the breasts in half width wise, then pounded them. It started at 2 pretty good sized breasts, and ended as four perfectly sized portions.