To Taste: Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

On Day 4 of my staycation between jobs, I whipped up an umami-packed dinner for Dre & me. On Day 2, I took an Asia Mart adventure with Sarah in search of fun ingredients for the meal. I try to be somewhat adventurous each time I go to an ethnic market, so I picked up some bunashimeji (aka beech mushrooms), fresh vegetable noodles, & a new jar of hoisin. The beech mushrooms are so tiny and too cute! I filled them out with sliced creminis and enhanced them with the depth of fresh thyme from my Slug City.

Bunashimeji, Cremini, & Fresh Thyme

I begin by sweating shallots with a bit of olive oil in a pan and added the mushrooms & thyme. I tossed them as they sauteed for about 10 min and finished it with white truffle oil. I love truffle. I love the smell. I love the taste. I LOVE TRUFFLE!

Truffled Mushrooms

While my mushrooms cooked, I heated an awesome new grill skillet that Sunshine passed along to me. I marinated some chicken breasts in hoisin, ginger, & soy and seared them for deep grill marks on both sides until cooked through. The noodles took a quick dip in boiling water and were a perfect pillow for a pile of savory truffled mushrooms. This may be one of my favorite dishes I’ve made… and 5 years ago you couldn’t dare get a mushroom near my plate!

UMAMI!

Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

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To Taste: Flavored Finishing Salts collabo w. Sunshine

Sunshine turned me on to this awesome how-to video on how easy and rewarding it is to make flavored finishing salts. Eric Gower, the handsome personality behind Breakaway Cook, introduces diverse suggestions for ingredients to flavor moist sel gris. I’m beyond envious of his spice shelf and could watch his videos over and over and over.

Creative Use of Salts from Eric Gower on Vimeo.

Sunshine suggested and I agreed that this was a great inspiration for a crafty foodie collaboration! She had also found some mini jam jars that would be perfect vessels to store our new seasonings. We chose an afternoon during my week of leisure between jobs and got to planning our approach.

In the video, Eric Gower makes 4 different salts with lavender, matcha, smoked paprika, & saffron. We couldn’t get our hands on any of those ingredients, so we thought of great flavorings of our own. Sunshine finally located the sel gris at Trader Joe’s that is suggested as the base for our blends and we prepared our ingredients for blending. We heated the oven to about 275degrees and started drying our lime wheels, herbs, mango, & bacon:

Lime Wheels, Bacon, Herbs, & Mango

While our fresh ingredients dried in the oven, we set up the food processing attachment to the Cuisinart stick blender Dre got me for VDay. Quickest way to my heart is through a kitchen gadget! First up was some crystallized ginger we located on a last minute trip to the Asia mart. We ground it and added in about 2 T of the sel gris. A few more seconds of blending and we had so simply made our premier flavored salt.

Crystallized Ginger Salt

Luckily, we saved some fresh mango slices to sample the salt on. It was a perfect pairing!

Crystallized Ginger Salt on Mango

We still had some time to kill while our items dried in the oven. Sunshine found some really fun Victorian-inspired banner designs that we printed out as labels for our jars. We cut and arranged them on the lids with pencil-written names. One already filled and four more to go!

Labeled Salt Jars

The fresh herbs were first to be fully dried so we ground up the basil, thyme, oregano, & parsley. The result looked like a bowl of emerald-speckled diamonds and tasted amazing on fresh tomato slices.

Herb Salt

We whirled up our lime batch next, but I somehow missed getting a decent pic of it. Once the mango was crispy, we added it to two separate batches: one with just mango and another with the addition of bacon for a sweet & smokey approach. Both looked and tasted beautiful.

Mango Salt

Bacon Mango Salt

By this point in the afternoon, we’d downed quite a few Absolut Boston (elderflower & black tea vodka) and Arizona Lemonade cocktails. We moved the party to the patio to snack and focus on sampling all of our salts. I pan-fried chicken breast and sliced some more tomato as simple hosts for the variety of salty tastes.

Flavored Salt Sampling

They were all amazing but our stand-out favorite was definitely the crystallized ginger. We finished up our meal with sliced fresh strawberries… with salts, of course! I’m sure our cholesterol levels were staggering by the end of the day.

Strawberry w. Mango Salt

Even the Baby Kitty joined us for a great afternoon on the patio. She loves to stalk flies from the edge of the garden.

Baby kitty stalking flies

I’m so glad Sunshine stumbled upon this project as it is one of my favorites to date. We have alot of fun ideas on using our salts, so keep an eye out for exciting updates.

Flavored Finishing Salts

Check out Sunshine’s blog post on our crafty flavored finishing salts project on Blog Full of Jelly!

To Taste: Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

I got alot accomplished today considering I spent Monday sick in bed, so I needed something quick & healthy for tonight’s dinner. A “buy one get one” spinach sale had left me with a whole bag to get through before it spoiled. I’ve been trying to get more protein, less carbs into my diet so lean chicken breast & white beans seemed like perfect accompaniments. I poked around the pantry for some added flavors and got to cooking. With the richness of balsamic vinegar and the aroma of thyme, I came up with a delicious, filling dish that was rich in iron, protein, & fiber and only 550 calories per serving. Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

2 Servings – 550 Calories each

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – (2) breasts, about 4 oz each
  • Olive Oil – (0.5) T + (0.5) T
  • Balsamic Vinegar – (2) T
  • Dried Thyme – (0.5) tsp
  • Chicken Stock – (0.75) cup
  • S&P
  • Garlic – (2) cloves, minced
  • Onion – (1) medium, sliced thin
  • Fresh Spinach – (1) pre-rinsed bag or (0.5) lb
  • White Beans – (1) 15.5 oz can, drained & rinsed
  • Worcestershire Sauce – (1) tsp
  • Sriracha – a few squirts of your fave hot sauce
  1. Heat (0.5) T of Olive Oil on medium in a non-stick saute pan (with lid for later).
  2. Rinse chicken breasts under cool water & pat dry. Sprinkle one side with S&P.
  3. Place seasoned side down in hot pan. Sprinkle other side.
  4. Brown for about 4 min. Flip & brown other side.
  5. Add Balsamic & Thyme to pan. Bring to boil & flip chicken to other side. Reduce liquid for about 3 min.
  6. Add Chicken Stock. Bring back to boil. Reduce liquid to half for about 5 min.
  7. Remove chicken from pan & set aside.
  8. Add (0.5) T of Olive Oil to pan & heat on medium. Add garlic & saute for 1 min.
  9. Add onion & reduce heat to medium low. Allow onions & garlic to simmer for 5 min, stirring occasionally.
    • If you want to add chopped tomato or bell peppers, this would be a good time. Saute for about 5 min before moving on to the next step.
  10. Add a few handfuls of spinach & place lid on top. Return heat to medium.
  11. Once spinach reduces by half, stir & add more handfuls. Return lid.
  12. Continue adding handfuls of spinach until all is wilted
  13. Add Worcestershire & Sriracha. Add White Beans. Stir.
  14. Simmer on medium for about 5 min.
  15. Place chicken on top of Spinach & White Bean mixture. Return lid & heat for about 1 min.
  16. Serve & Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

Leftover Lightning! Roasted Chicken Sammie & Rustic Vegetable Soup!

I had to work this past Saturday and needed a warm lunch before I headed out into the cold. I still have alot of leftover chicken from Thursday (and still do) and plenty of the roasted vegetables, too. Pulled chicken breast, lettuce, & mayo on sliced bread is in my top 10 favorite sandwiches, so that was an easy leftover solution.

The veggies were kinda gelatinous and freaking me out a bit, so I quickly removed the chicken and began heating the pan of veggies on the stove. I wasn’t too excited about a sammie with a side of roasted vegetables, so a roasted vegetable soup only made sense. I dug out my Grandma’s 70’s Era Cuisinart Food Processor, and after indulging its typical neediness, whirled the roasted vegetables and pan jus into a wonderfully tasty and perfectly textured Rustic Vegetable Soup… and I still have plenty of leftovers…

Homemade Rustic Vegetable Soup w/ a Roasted Chicken Sammie

P.S. I gave a shoutout on my Twitter – Re:  Dating & finding info on my Grandma’s old Cusinart Food Processor. Please shoot me a message if you can help!

My Grandma's 70s Era Cuisinart Food Processor

To Taste: Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast

I love Thanksgiving! Family, friends, turkey/stuffing/gravy-filled meals, and four days to fill with whatever I felt like doing. I went Black Friday shopping, but dodging salespeople & shopping bags got old pretty quick. I just wanted to be in my warm kitchen cooking yummy food!

The grocery store was pretty empty (whew!), so I quickly grabbed my ingredients… and some Stoli to get me thru a long evening in the kitchen. I’ve got nothing to do tomorrow! I kicked off my prep work at 4pm-ish to have the meal almost complete when Dre got done work. The components of the main dish took up most of my time: roasting grape tomatoes with garlic & fresh basil; sautéing mushrooms with minced onions & butter; and, gleefully pounding chicken breasts to a 1/4 inch thick. Every smokey, juicy morsel of the resulting Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts reminded me that  it’s always worthwhile.

Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, & Olive Oil to be Roasted

Just Stuffed

Roasted Tomato, Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Roasted Tomato, Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Roasted Tomatoes

  • Grape Tomatoes – (1-2) pints, halved
  • Minced Garlic – (2) T or more
  • Fresh Basil – a few chopped leaves
  • Olive Oil – (3-4) T, to grease dish & coat tomatoes
  • S&P
  1. Coat baking dish with olive oil or line with non-stick sprayed foil.
  2. Add all ingredients and toss with olive oil.
  3. Cook 30-40 min in a 400 degree oven. Stir a few times until tomatoes are bubbling, but not burnt.
  4. Make a big batch, leftovers are great on French bread and added to pasta sauce

Sautéed Mushrooms

  • White Mushrooms or Creminis or Baby Bellas -(2-3) cups, cored and sliced
  • White Onion – 1/2 med onion, chopped
  • Butter – (2) T
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on Med. Add onion & cook about 2 min.
  2. Add mushrooms and give them room to breath. Julia says so.
  3. Stir and cook until tender.
  4. Use leftovers on a quick pizza or in pasta sauce, red or alfredo.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast – (3-4) breasts – trimmed, sliced lengthwise, & pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • Smoked Mozzarella or Gouda – 1 oz per breast
  • Roasted Tomatoes
  • Sautéed Mushrooms
  • Chicken Stock – (1) cup or so
  • S&P
  • Stovetop to Oven Sauté Pan
  • Long toothpicks or Bamboo picks
  1. Pound filleted chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness between sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Add a few spoonsful of tomatoes & mushrooms onto half of each chicken breast.
  3. Layer slices of smoked cheese.
  4. Fold chicken breast in half and secure by sewing a toothpick or bamboo pic to secure. S&P each side of the breast.
  5. Pan sear breast in olive oil on Med-High until golden brown, about 5 min on each side.
  6. Add chicken stock to pan and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover pan with lid or foil and tranfer to 375 degree oven.
  8. Bake for 20 min, let cool for 5 min, and serve with pan jus.
  9. Leftovers make one KILLER sandwich!