Best Friends Teriyaki

What’s better than making chicken teriyaki?

Making it with your best friend!

My best friend, Helena, just left my house – she was here for over a week!  She lives in our hometown up north, and I hadn’t seen her for…six months or so?  We had such an awesome time together, and cooked a LOT.  It’s tempting to want to go out every night, but both of us are on budgets, and cooking is healthier and yummier a lot of the time! Plus, it was fun to do together.  We tried a few recipes that were new for both of us, and I got to teach Helena (who has just recently begun cooking for herself at the tender young age of 28) how to make a lot of my favorite meals.

I forgot to take pictures of most of them…but I did remember to take pictures of this amazing chicken and veggie teriyaki.  Maybe I should call it veggie and chicken teriyaki, actually, because the veggies are really the center of attention in this dish.  We’re fortunate to have an organic fruit and vegetable buying club that delivers to our little islands, so every other week I get a box of fresh produce.  You may recall those amazing bell peppers that The Boy has been growing from my last post (because who doesn’t remember other people’s peppers, right?) – well, they are turning red now, and tasting amazing.

This recipe is essentially three simple steps:

1) Sautee the veggies: you may use whatever veggies you have on hand.  Fresh are great in this recipe, but a frozen stir-fry blend would probably work well too.  I think that bell peppers, onions, and some diced garlic are a must for any stir fry, and we had fresh bok choy which went great with this dish. When sautéing bok choy, separate the stems from the leaves (as pictured below), since they have different cooking times. In a large sauté pan, heat up some oil on medium heat (we used coconut oil, which is amazing in stir fries), then throw in all the veggies except the garlic and the bok choy leaves. Grind some black pepper over them if you want to get crazy. Sauté for two or three minutes, then add in the garlic and bok choy leaves and continue to sauté until the garlic is fragrant, just for another minute or so.  Remove to a large plate and set aside.

Teriyaki Vegetables
Mmmm!

2) Brown the chicken: add a little more oil if needed, and toss in some sliced raw chicken.  We used four boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), which are my favorite because I find them to be juicier and more flavorful than breasts.  Plus, they’re more economical!  But breasts would work fine too, if that’s what you’re into.  Brown well on all sides – don’t worry about whether it’s cooked all the way, since it will finish cooking in the next step.

3) Add the sauce and simmer: in a measuring cup, mix together 2/3 cup mirin (a Japanese sweet cooking wine, which can be found in the Asian section at major grocery stores), 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons honey (or brown sugar, or even white sugar if that’s all you have).  Add the veggies back into the pan, then pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies.  Keeping the heat on medium, allow this to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until you cut the thickest piece of chicken in half and it is cooked through.  If you wanted to be fancy, you could add a little corn starch to thicken the sauce.  We weren’t fancy this time, but it was soooooo yummy!

Plated Chicken and Veggie Teriyaki
Ta-da!

As you can see, we had this over brown rice.  I love the organic sprouted brown rice from Thrive Market. I learned a trick from Dig This Chick (digthischick.net, you should check it out), a blog I LOVE, for making rice not-mushy. After it’s done cooking, DO NOT STIR – turn it out onto a plate and let it cool a bit, to keep the lovely little clumps and individual grains.

I hope next time your best friend visits, you try making some yummy Chicken and Veggie Teriyaki!

Sunday Breakfast

We slept in ’till 11 this morning, and it was glorious.  Sundays are perfect for waking up slowly and making a delicious breakfast.  The boy saw the idea somewhere (I don’t know where, or I would credit it) to cook eggs in a bell pepper ring, and has been excited to try it as soon as the peppers in our garden were ready.  Since one of our peppers got eaten by a critter the other day, he decided we should harvest them even though they were still green and we had wanted to wait until they were red.

BY THE WAY, did you guys know that green peppers, yellow peppers, and red peppers are all the same plant, just at different stages of ripeness???  I had no idea, I thought they were different varieties.  But apparently, if you leave them on the vine, green peppers turn into yellow peppers and then red peppers.  Who knew!?

So we were going to wait for ours to turn color, mostly so Travis could prove to me that it was really true, but we didn’t want them all to get eaten so we decided to pick them even though they were still green.  Which is a long winded way of saying, it was time for egg-in-a-pepper-rings, and that’s exactly what we did. He had some steak left over from work too, which we sliced up and added in.  Overall, an amazing breakfast.

Cast iron skillets are the bomb dot com. As you can see, the egg leaks out a little, and that’s okay.

I don’t think a “recipe” is necessary here – just take a bell pepper, slice it horizontally into rings, set it in a hot oiled pan and crack an egg in the center.  In the same pan, you can cook bacon, steak, or whatever else your heart desires.  We had that steak and the rest of the pepper sliced up. YUM!

Later on, we went for a bike/skateboard ride around the neighborhood…Travis got his hands on an old skateboard recently and is fixing it up. Apparently, it’s not “streamlined” enough yet or something, because by halfway around the block, he was trying to hold my handlebar and I was dragging him home.  Good quad workout, though!

Then we made cinnamon buns (from the can, Annie’s Organic brand, they’re really good!) and caught up on Vikings and Modern Family.

Tonight I have my first band rehearsal for our community theater production of Cabaret.  I haven’t played my flute in any kind of legitimate capacity since college, so I’m really excited!

I love lazy cozy Sundays, and I hope you all had a lovely day too!

Welcome to Yummy Sunny Life! There are noodles here!

Hello, friends, family, and potential strangers. I always want to tell everyone when food comes out really good, especially when it was unplanned and un-recipe-d. I started this blog so that I could stop texting pictures of my dinner to everyone. I’m hoping it will give you some good ideas and let you experience the deliciousness I come across. I’m sure I will also embark upon other, non-food-related musings.

Tonight, I made (slash kind of invented) a thrown-together ramen noodle soup for dinner, and it turned out really good!  The boy brought home a nice chunk of grilled salmon from his restaurant side-job last night, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first.  I had a few mushrooms left in the fridge, so I envisioned some sort of creamy mushroom salmon pasta at first, which sounds delicious actually, and I’ll definitely keep that idea for another night…but that seemed a little heavy for my mood tonight.  As I stared blankly into my open cabinet, my eyes landed on a half-empty (half-full?) bag of ramen noodles and suddenly it all came together.  Mushrooms, salmon, noodles…I always have homemade chicken broth in the freezer and a bunch of random asian condiments in the fridge…mix it all together and it would probably, possibly, turn into an amazing bowl of ramen.

Mmmmmm, eggy ramen!

And it did!  Is it authentic? Not very.  Is it delicious? Yes!  Can you make it with just about any sort of vegetables and/or meat leftovers you have in your fridge? Yep.

So!

Quick and Easy “Leftovers Ramen”

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 clove garlic

1 shoot green onion

A few mushrooms (or whatever leftover veggies you have)

~1.5 cups chicken broth (I freeze my broth in pint sized wide-mouth mason jars, which are about 1.5 cups at the freezer fill line)

1 nest ramen noodles (I use Lotus Foods brown rice and millet ramen noodles, which are amazing.  They have that satisfying slurp and crinkly shape and don’t get mushy even if they sit in hot broth a while. And no, I’m not fancy enough to be an affiliate of anything, I just really like them.)

1 teaspoon low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)

2 teaspoons mirin

1 teaspoon white miso paste

1 piece cooked salmon (or whatever leftover meat you have)

1 egg (optional)

Pour a little sesame oil into a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low. Chop up the garlic and half the shoot of green onion (the white and a bit of the green), and sauté until fragrant. Slice up the mushrooms or whatever veggie you like and toss it in. Continue to sauté for a minute or two. Then turn up the heat to medium-high and add in the broth. I keep my broth frozen, so I run the jar upside down under hot water until the whole thing loosens, then I plop the frozen block of broth right into the pot and push the broth-ice around until it all melts down. Bring the broth to a simmer. Add the nest of ramen noodles, the soy sauce, the mirin, and the miso paste. Stir around and prod at the noodles to separate them a bit as they start to loosen. If you want to add an egg – and you should – carefully break it right at the surface so it slides gently into the broth. Cover the pot so the steam cooks the egg to your liking. I like the white cooked but my yolk still runny so it melts into the broth when I break it. Finally, slice up and toss in your cooked salmon (or whatever) and turn off the heat. The salmon will warm up from being in the soup. Chop up the rest of the green part of the green onion and sprinkle on top for prettiness. Transfer to a bowl, or if you’re like my crazy roommate, just eat it straight from the pot. Any questions?