Cashew Chicken and Collard Greens Stir Fry

One of my foodie goals this year is to branch out in my cooking by making two new recipes every week. To kick things off, I made a healthy spin on a classic takeout dish. The flavor combination in this dish is insane and I’m already planning on when to make it again. You can serve this with white rice, or for an even healthier option make cauliflower rice instead! Simply run raw cauliflower through a food processor to create tiny pieces, then salt and sauté on the stove until soft and browned in places. 

Cashew Chicken and Collard Greens Stir Fry serves 4

3 Tbsp oil (coconut, olive, canola)

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small pieces (I used a mix of chicken thighs and breast)

2 Tbsp cornstarch

salt

1 bunch scallions, sliced

garlic

1.5 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger 

2 bunches collard greens, stems discarded and leaves roughly torn

3 Tbsp soy sauce

.5 cup cashews


Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over high heat. Toss the chicken with the cornstarch and salt to taste. Cook, turning the pieces once, until well browned (about 4-6 minutes). It’s fine to have some pink remaining inside the chicken, as additional cook time with happen at the end. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reserve the skillet.

Turn down the heat to medium and add the remaining oil, scallions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until scallions are soft. Add collard greens to the skillet (they might not all fit), toss frequently and continue to add greens as they wilt. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. 

Add the soy sauce, cashews, chicken and 2 Tbsp of water to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and everything is coated with the sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice.

Skillet Roast Chicken

When it gets cold out your food cravings shift. Gone are the pangs for crisp, light and refreshing flavors; these are replaced by the need for warm, hearty and comforting foods. But comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy! I prepared this chicken dish, a slight edit from Bon Appetit’s recipe, and wow was it a winner! 

Skillet Roast Chicken serves 6

3 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 3.5-4 pound chicken

salt and pepper

1 fennel bulb, sliced into half inch pieces 

2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced into sticks

1 bunch of scallions, trimmed 

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed then halved

1 package of mushrooms, stems removed

3 wide strips of lemon zest

Lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large overproof skillet* over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (inside and out) and cook until the skin turns golden brown. Carefully turn the chicken with tongs (don’t tear the skin!) to brown on the other side. This will take about 12-15 minutes; transfer to a plate. 

*If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, no sweat! Brown the chicken in a regular skillet and use an ovenproof pan, greased, for the following step.

Toss fennel, parsnips, scallions and lemon zest into the skillet along with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. Roast in the oven until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees (about 20 minutes per pound). The thermometer should always be inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.

If the vegetables are done before the chicken, transfer those to a bowl and cover to keep warm while you continue to cook the chicken. When it’s done, allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

Serve the chicken and vegetables with pan juices for spooning over and lemon wedges. 

You can also repurpose the leftovers into soup by adding broth, orzo and wilted spinach!

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker Review, Chicken Enchilada Recipe and Giveaway!

I’m teaming up again with Hamilton Beach as a Brand Ambassador to bring you a very fall review and giveaway! There are so many fun foodie things that come with fall; pumpkin and apple flavors, meals around the table with your loved ones, and one of my favorites, slow cooker food! So you can imagine how excited I was to try out Hamilton Beach’s Set & Forget 6 Quart Slow Cooker!

The slow cooker offers three cook options and is easy to set:

1. Program: select the temperature setting and cooking time (programmable in 30 minute increments) and the cooker will shift to keep warm once the food is ready.Unlike slow cookers I have cooked with in the past, it is great to be able to set a customized timer versus choose from standard 4 or 6 hour settings. I love that the cooker will shift to keep your food warm yet won’t overcook it before you are ready to sit down and eat. And this is a great option for those who want to start their slow cooker in the morning before they leave for work!

2. Probe: select the desired internal temperature for a piece of meat, insert the probe and the slow cooker will cook until that temperature is reached, again switching to warm when the food is ready. The internal temperature will display on the front. This option is SO cool; it takes the guess work and “ruining” of your meal by having to cut into it to see if it’s done out of the mix.

3. Manual: choose your temperature setting without setting a timer.

A unique feature to the Hamilton Beach slow cooker is it’s lid. Both sides “lock” into place to prevent bubbling as well as spills. This is especially handy if you are transporting your slow cooker somewhere. The first few times I hooked and unhooked the side it was tough, but over time (I already noticed on my second use of the slow cooker) these locks soften up. 

Something I noticed right after my first use was how evenly this cooks your dish. Not only that, but the food doesn’t burn onto the sides like other slow cookers do! 

Overall I would not hesitate to recommend this slow cooker. It’s size provides flexibility if you are cooking for one or for a crowd. The price point is very reasonable and it stores nicely in a kitchen cabinet.

I made one of my recipe staples, chicken enchiladas, to test out the slow cooker and to celebrate my mom’s birthday. I wanted to pick a recipe that would be easy but extremely delicious. I first got this recipe from a coworker years ago and have tweaked it over time; it’s an ideal comfort meal, freezes wonderfully and makes for great leftovers! Not to mention it’s great for busy families during the week. I highly recommend giving it a shot and adding your own twists!

Chicken Enchiladas 

1 package fresh chicken breast

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 package of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 bag of frozen corn

1 package flour tortillas 

green onion 

sour cream and hot sauce (optional) 


Combine the chicken, tomatoes, and enchilada sauce in your slow cooker and set to high for 2.5 hours. 

Take the chicken out and let cool on a plate, then roughly shred and put back into the cooker. Add 1/2 of the cheese and the frozen corn and let cook another 30 minutes. 

Once this is done cooking, prepare your assembly station with the flour tortillas, remaining cheese and slow cooker mixture.  Grease a baking pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

I recommend using wax paper as a working space and a slotted spoon to scoop out the chicken mixture.

One at at a time, fill a tortilla with a scoop of the chicken mixture and roll it, then place it in the pan. Repeat until everything is used. Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese, the sauce leftover in the slow cooker pan and diced green onion.

Bake for 30 minutes. 

Serve with sour cream and hot sauce! 

I’m so excited to use my slow cooker this season, for everything from soups to roasts, and I’m even more excited to share the chance to win a slow cooker of your own!

The details:

-This giveaway will run from Monday, November 10th (12 AM) to Friday, November 14th (11:59 PM).

-To clarify, you are entering to win a brand new Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Slow Cooker. I will coordinate with the winner and Hamilton Beach to have the mixer shipped directly to you from their distribution center. 

-Using the Rafflecopter box below, log in and leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite slow cooker dish is to make!

-You can also follow me on Twitter (@loganmer) for extra points to win!

-Make sure you have clicked the link for this particular post so that the comment box shows up!

-Rafflecopter will randomly select the winner, who I will reach out to over the weekend. 

Good luck! 

Update: This giveaway has ended and a winner has been selected at random by Rafflecopter. Thank you to all who entered and I appreciate you checking out Sage & Serendipity! 

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Logan’s Lunchbox: Chicken Asian Noodle Salad

I adore this recipe for many reasons, but the biggest one is that this dish is served at room temperature. It’s the perfect meal to pack when you won’t have access to a refrigerator, otherwise just make a note to yourself to take it out of the fridge about a half hour before you are ready to eat. One batch is enough for three nicely sized lunch portions. I recommend packing a snack veggie such as a diced pepper or cucumber slices as well.


Chicken Asian Noodle Salad

2 tsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter

4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp Asian chili paste (to taste)

6 ounces cooked spaghetti

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup shredded carrots


In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until just soft (about one minute). Add 1/3 cup of water, peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin, sugar, vinegar and chili paste; cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick (about four minutes). Toss in the noodles, scallions, chicken and carrots; serve at room temperature. 

Logan’s Lunchbox: Kale Chicken Caesar Salad

I know, I know. Salad for lunch makes me sound like some health obsessed freak who doesn’t understand real hunger. I take your sass and throw it right back, because this is not just any boring old salad. It’s chock full of deliciousness and guarantees to fill you up. It’s easy to make the night before; just pack your dressing separately and toss with the salad right before you are ready to eat. 

I love this served with a sliced apple for a well rounded meal (because eating an apple by biting around the core is gross looking, and that kind of behavior doesn’t belong in an office setting).

Kale Chicken Caesar Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise

juice from 1/2 of a lemon

1 spoonful of Dijon mustard

1 spoonful Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

3/4 cup roughly torn baby kale leaves

1 hard boiled egg, cut into 8 pieces

1/4 thinly sliced small Vidalia onion 

1/3 cup cooked and shredded chicken 

1 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese 


Whisk together the first four ingredients and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Store separately until serving.

Place kale into container and top with the egg, onion, chicken and Parmesan. 

Pack up and count down the hours until lunch!*

*Best enjoyed with a good book! 
*Best enjoyed with a good book! 

CTB: Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

This week’s “Cook the Book” recipe is a quite simple pasta dish with an outstanding flavor combination! 

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano serves 4

3/4 pound spaghetti

1 lemon

1 1/2 cups finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (about 3 1/4 ounces), plus extra for serving 

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

course salt

2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3-5 Tbsp of pasta water, to thin

a handful of fresh basil leaves


Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, using a Microplane, grate the zest from the lemon into a bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a large mixing bowl (you can use the grater as the strainer to cut down on dishes). Add the 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, pepper, and a pinch of salt, and mix in the olive oil to form a wet paste.

When the spaghetti is cooked, add 2 to 3 Tbsp of the cooking water to the lemon and cheese mixture. Add the spaghetti to the bowl and toss thoroughly, adding another Tbsp or 2 of pasta water if necessary so that the sauce is evenly coating each strand. Roughly tear in the basil leaves.

Serve each portion with a sprinkle of coarse salt, a fresh grind of black pepper and a few gratings of extra Parmesan. 


Logan’s Thoughts

Easy peasy recipe that delivers on flavor! This is absolutely a recipe staple that everyone should have in their kitchens. The ingredients are simple enough that you can whip this up whenever. Plus it’s very audience friendly, meaning you don’t need to stress about offending any sensitive palettes when cooking for guests. 

I adore Gwen’s tip to use your Microplane grater as a juicer for the lemon. This is a trick I’ll carry over to other recipes in the future. 

I did experience a bit of clumping with the cheese; it might help to let the pasta water cool slightly and to quickly toss the spaghetti to get better sauce coverage. 

I’m excited to make this again soon! 

CTB: Sole a la grenobloise

This week for Cook the Book I made a very easy fish recipe. The original calls for sole, though you could use any flaky white fish. 

I served this alongside wilted spinach. 

Sole a la grenobloise

1/2 cup milk

1 cup flour with a few grinds of black pepper added

4 fillets of sole, skin removed

1/2 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 lemon, skin and pith discarded and cut into small circles

Maldon sea salt


Put the milk and the flour in separate shallow bowls. Dip the fillets in the milk and then lightly dredge in the flour. 

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently lay the fillets down in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden brown. 

In a small pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. When just beginning to brown, swirl in the capers and remove from heat. Add the lemon circles. 

Transfer the fish fillets to a serving plate and spoon over the caper sauce. Sprinkle each fillet with a bit of course salt and serve. 


Logan’s Thoughts

The fish preparation method yielded a great consistency. The flavor by itself is a bit bland, but the capers/lemon mixture make up for this. The next time I make this I would add a few spices and herbs to the flour mixture to amp up the flavor. 

For a full meal, this would be good with a baked sweet potato. 

Reuben Bean Burgers

Happy Monday! 

Today I’m sharing one of my kitchen recipe staples: Reuben Bean Burgers. This recipe is vegetarian and is quite simple to make. The burgers freeze wonderfully, so consider making a double batch then freezing some for a simple meal down the road! 

Note: As seen in the picture below, I suggest using one of my favorite healthy eating tips. Leave the top off of your burger and eat it open faced; you’ll save some calories but you aren’t depriving yourself. 

Reuben Bean Burgers makes 6 servings 

2 15.5 ounce cans pinto beans (drained and the liquid reserved, 1 can left whole and 1 can roughly mashed with a fork)

1 cup of dry bread crumbs 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp each: ground black pepper, garlic powder

1/2 cup light mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)

2 Tbsp. prepared cocktail sauce

1/4 cup olive or canola oil

6 good quality whole wheat hamburger buns

6 thin slices of Swiss cheese

Spinach leaves

Sauerkraut, drained


Mix together beans, bread crumbs, eggs, pepper and garlic in a bowl, adding bean liquid as needed to get the mixture to hold together. Divide into 6 equal portions and flatten into patties. 

Mix together mayonnaise and cocktail sauce; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the patties. Cook, turning only once, until a crispy brown crust forms on each side (6-8 minutes total). 

Toast hamburger buns. 

Assemble: bun, sauce, cheese, spinach, burger, sauerkraut. Enjoy! 

Barbecue Ribs

There are some meals that are absolutely worth the additional time and effort. Ribs on the grill? One of those meals!

This cooking method is a bit more hands on than I normally prefer, however the reward is delicious barbecue ribs! I recommend serving 1 rack of ribs per 4 people as long as the meal consists of sturdy side dishes. If the ribs are the main attraction, consider serving up a rack for every 2-3 people. Side ideas: corn on the cob, coleslaw, chilled red pepper soup, and/or baked potatoes. Really just embrace the Southern barbecue theme! 

Obviously you need to also make your own sauce, which is a breeze to whip up alongside the slab of rib goodness : ) 


Barbecue Ribs

 

Step One: Marinate (4+ hours; can be done the night before cooking)

1 rack of baby back ribs

2 1/2 Tbsp paprika

2 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

2 1/2  tsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

 1 tsp ground cumin


Prepare the ribs by removing the thin, papery skin from the back of the rack of ribs. This can be pulled off, and use a small paring knife as needed. I like to cut the rack of ribs in half for easier handling during the cooking process. 

Mix all of the spices together and rub onto the ribs. Place into ziploc bags and place in the refrigerator to marinate. 


Step Two: Barbecue Sauce (NOTE: this can simmer while you are cooking the ribs; see step three)

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

5 Tbsp light brown sugar

3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

3/4 tsp tsp ground onion powder

3/4 tsp ground mustard

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice 

1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for an hour. 


Step Three: Ribs

1/2 cup apple juice

Marinated ribs from Step 1

Aluminum foil


Heat your grill to 275 degrees. It is important throughout the cooking process to keep at eye on the grill temperature. Once heated, place ribs onto the grill and cook 30 minutes. Open the grill as few times as possible to allow the ribs to brown. Once all sides are browned (you may have to leave them on an additional 10-15 minutes), remove and place into aluminum foil. Create a “bowl” with the foil and pour in the apple juice. Seal the foil tightly.

Meanwhile, increase your grill temperature to 350 degrees. You want to up the temperature so that the ribs will steam. Place the foil-wrapped ribs back on the grill for 30 minutes. 

Remove ribs from the grill, discard the aluminum foil and excess apple juice, and turn down the temperature to 250 degrees. You don’t want the temperature to exceed 265 degrees; the temperature at which sugar will burn. Coat the top side of the ribs with a layer of your barbecue sauce and place on the grill. After five minutes, flip the ribs and coat the bottom with sauce. Repeat this process so that each side gets two coats. 

Remove the ribs and cut to serve. Place a small bowl of extra sauce on the table for extra yumminess. Enjoy! 

Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

It’s going to be a very foodie week here at Sage & Serendipity! First up, a delicious and easy chicken stir fry adapted from this recipe over at Food 52. The chicken should marinade for at least 6 hours; I recommend prepping this the night before for a speedy day-of cook time. While you cook, make rice to serve with this dish for a complete meal. 

 

Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry-Serves 4

First, your marinade for the chicken: 

8 ounces crushed pineapple, in juice

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup molasses

3 tablespoons malt vinegar

1 tablespoon ketchup

sriracha sauce (use 1 tablespoon for a touch of heat, and if you like spice bump it up to 2 tablespoons-you can always add more to taste at the end)

1 teaspoon crushed garlic 

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger 

1 pound of chicken (I like to use 1/2 chicken breast and 1/2 chicken thighs) 

 

Puree the pineapple in a blender. Add all other ingredients except for the chicken and mix well. Dice up your chicken into bite size pieces and put into a Tupperware container. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, seal the container and shake to coat. Put the remainder of the marinade in another container and place both containers in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 6 hours.

 

For the rest of your recipe: 

Olive oil

1 green pepper, diced

1 package of mushrooms

1 can of baby corn, sliced into bite size pieces

8 ounces of pineapple chunks, drained

sesame seeds 

You’ll need two pans. In the first, put your marinaded chicken along with the sauce it has been sitting in. Fry your chicken for about 10-15 minutes, until chicken is well done the marinade has reduced to a caramelized coating on the chicken. I recommend turning up your heat and covering the pan with a lid to prevent splatter. 

In the other pan, heat a little olive oil and sauté the green pepper and mushroom. 

Add the baby corn, pineapple chunks and the other half of the marinade; stir to coat and warm the sauce. When the chicken is done, add in with the vegetable mix. 

To serve, place rice then the stir fry and top with sesame seeds (I used black ones for an unusual touch). 

Enjoy!