Thursday, January 31, 2013

Asian Style Chicken Wings

Is there anything that screams "Who's ready for some football?!" like a big helping of wings?!

Wings are such a great go-to game day appetizer, and these are even better because they cook up in the Crock Pot.

Who loves Crock Pots?! ME ME ME!!

Rather than giving you guys a recipe for traditional buffalo wings, I thought that an Asian twist would be a great way to shake up our appetizer spreads.

These Asian Style Chicken Wings are spicy and sweet, and the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender. There are quite a few ingredients here, but many of these will be right in your pantry or fridge. And this recipe can feed quite a few people, so this is perfect for anyone having a bunch of friends over for the Superbowl!

You know, I need to confess something here. I've never actually been to a Superbowl party. That's right, never. I was dragged to one or two here and there when I was a young child, totally uninterested in football and totally unable to enjoy a cold beer.

I bet Superbowl parties are fun...

Like most Crock Pot recipes, these wings mostly consist of throwing almost everything into the slow cooker and stirring in some additional flavor boosters right at the end. You can also amp up the flavor by searing the chicken in a large frying pan or roasting them in the oven until golden brown on the outside, if you have extra time on your hands!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicken Taco Bites


Have you ever met someone and you say, "Hey you want to grab some tacos?" And they respond, "nah, I don't like tacos." If this has happened to you, talk to me immediately--that person needs a serious life intervention!

Tacos are so versatile that I believe there is a taco out there for everyone.

I've shared some taco recipes before. These pulled pork tacos are basically to die for.

And then there are these blackened fish tacos that are so fresh and flavorful they will immediately whisk you away to daydreams of a tropical paradise.

Today, to keep to the theme of Superbowl Game Day Appetizers, I wanted to share these tasty nuggets of taco goodness. That is, Chicken Taco Bites.

If you are heading out to a Superbowl party and need a quick and flavorful appetizer, this is the recipe for you. These crispy little bites are packed with all the great tastes of a taco and look totally adorable to boot!

To make the taco shells, wonton wrappers are pressed into a muffin tin and baked until crispy.

Cooked chicken breasts are shredded or cut into small cubes, marinated in your favorite salsa (I had store-bought salsa fresca and it worked wonderfully!), then get a quick sear in a frying pan.

Our taco toppings are very simple -- crispy lettuce leafs, quartered cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

That's really all there is to it! Once the shells and chicken have been cooked, all we need to do is assemble the taco bites. Quick tip - keep the bottom of your shells from getting soggy by lining the bottom of the cups with some of the lettuce. Place a few pieces of chicken on top of the lettuce, then add a pieces of tomato and avocado on top. Finish off each taco with a nice sprinkling of grated cheese.

If you want to prep some things ahead of time, you can cook the taco shells and keep them well wrapped before using. Also feel free to marinate the chicken overnight for ramped up flavor. Just be sure to assemble the tacos as close to when you want to serve them as possible to avoid things getting soggy!

The spiciness of the salsa marinade adds a great kick while the cheese and avocado soothes the palette. The freshness of the lettuce and tomatoes keeps you wanting more!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crab Rangoons

It's Super Bowl Week! That can only mean one thing -- lots and lots of appetizer recipes flooding the blog-o-sphere.

I want to get on this bandwagon for a couple of reasons. First, I absolutely LOVE making appetizers. Bite-sized snacks that are tasty to eat and fun to make really make my heart go pidder padder (or is it pitter patter? Life's great questions...)

I also think that homemade appetizers can elevate any game day party to the next level. And since this coming Sunday is the ultimate game day, this can't wait.

One thing I have been dying to make at home is Crab Rangoons. Back in college, any bad week could be made instantly better by ordering Chinese take-out with an extra order of crab rangoons. What part about cream cheese and crab meat fried to perfection WOULDN'T make it better?

Be still the college student inside my heart. Turns out making crab rangoons is totally easy. There is a little bit of assembly required, but other than that they cook up quickly and get eaten up even quicker!

It starts with cream cheese, softened to room temperature, alongside chopped scallions and shredded crab meat. I used the imitation crab meat because, honestly, after the mixing with cream cheese and the frying, it didn't seem necessary to splurge on lump crab meat.

Using a fork and some elbow grease, incorporate the cheese, crab and scallions along with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper.

Each wonton will be made using a wonton wrapper. These things are amazing, especially if you like cooking appetizers! They are usually right in the produce section of your grocery store -- just ask a nice employee to point you to them.

About a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mix is placed in the middle of each wrapper. Then, to seal the wrappers, dip your finger in water and run it along the outer edges. Fold the wrappers in half into triangles and seal well by pressing down on all sides, letting out as much air as possible.

Added bonus -- these keep really well in the refrigerator, so feel free to prep the night before that way on game day all you need to do is fry 'em up!

For cooking, heat a large amount of canola or vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat. The level of the oil should be just high enough to cover the rangoons.

Cook in batches until golden brown. Best served hot with soy sauce or duck sauce for dipping.

There's not much more I can say about this app recipe. It's essentially everything you want in an appetizer. A bit sinful, but totally delicious. Easy to eat while crowded around a big TV with a bunch of friends. Just a complete yum-fest (I just made that word do we like it?)

Monday, January 28, 2013

French Onion Pasta


Why does everything become ten times better when you add bubbly, melted cheese on top?

I'm talking about French Onion Soup. Tender onions in a salty brown broth served in cute, rustic soup bowls with a generous layer of cheese melted on top. Oh boy, I need some now.

While this soup is usually an appetizer, this recipe will take everything we love about French Onion Soup and make it a hearty, comforting meal

This dinner is adapted from a post I saw on Pinterest a while back. I am such a sucker for recipes that take a traditional dish and put a new spin on it. See: Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese.

All the basic principles of French Onion Soup are built up in a delicious, thick sauce then poured over pasta and baked with mozzarella cheese on top. If your knees have gone weak at this point, I can understand.

If the flavor profiles weren't enough, this meal is so easy to put together and you most likely have a bunch of the ingredients laying around the kitchen.

We begin by caramelizing slices of onion in unsalted butter over medium-low heat. I added just a scant teaspoon of salt along with 1/2 teaspoon of honey to get the process going. Don't overdo the salt here because there are other salty elements joining the party.

For the perfect caramelized onion, see my how-to post!

While the onions are caramelizing, a small shallot and a glove of garlic are diced. Once the onions are browned and tender, add the shallots and garlic.

A full-bodied red wine deglazes the pan and helps pick up bits of onion on the bottom. I used a good Pinot Noir, but a Marsala is also an obvious choice.

Once some of the alcohol cooks out, mix in beef broth. Bring to a boil, stir in a packet of onion soup mix (try Lipton) then simmer on low until thickened.

A tablespoon or so of fresh parsley and cracked black pepper brightens up the sauce.

A touch of flour and a couple of tablespoons of milk make this sauce ready for the pasta.

Everything is transferred to a baking dish and gets topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. Then under the broiler it goes until perfectly melted and browned and crispy. YUM!

I am posting this as my first "Meatless Monday"--many thanks to my friend for the suggestion! If you would prefer to not use the beef broth, vegetable stock would also taste great with this dish.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions adds a great compliment to the salty onion soup mix. The wine gives the sauce body and richness, while the parsley adds freshness throughout. Melted mozzarella cheese is simply perfect. This is a real winner!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

I have this problem where I hate being hot in the summer and I hate being cold in the winter. If it weren't for spring and fall, I'd be miserable year-round. Thank you, spring and fall. Keep being you.

Boston is a cold and windy city during the winter months. This is no secret, and I knew the challenges that were before me when I decided to move here.

I bought heavy duty snow boots, big fluffy ear muffs, a down coat, wool socks, and lots of scarves. Consider it my cold city survival kit. It helps on the surface. I can actually bear to go outside for more than a few seconds.

When I come inside, however, it is this soup that warms me to my core and restores order in my universe.

So, let me first tell you guys about my mom. She's a great lady. Really supportive and all that jazz. But when she asked me what I was cooking, and I told her "Sweet Potato Lentil Soup!" She responded, without missing a beat:

 "Ewwwww what! Lol...Can't even imagine lentils with sweet potatoes." That's verbatim. 5 w's in her "ew."

Please don't be like my mother. Try this soup, it's SO good. (And good for you!)

A bit of chili powder and generous amounts of cracked black pepper give a little extra spice in the back of your throat, while sweet potatoes and toasted coconut adds sweetness and depth. A dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh ginger root give this soup tang and body. Sweet and spicy: yet another match made in heaven.

It's all quite simple really. We start by preparing our vegetables. Diced onion and celery, peeled and diced sweet potatoes.

The veggies go into a pot with melted butter to soften. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in a clove of garlic and a generous amount of grated ginger. Chili powder is stirred into the vegetables along with a whole bag lentils.

Then the liquids go in--chicken or vegetable stock and water. Let the soup simmer away until the potatoes are soft and the lentils are tender.

In the meantime, coconut flakes get toasted in a 350 degree oven until slightly browned and crispy on the edges. Amazing!

To serve, ladle the soup into big bowls and add a dollop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt. Swirl the yogurt into the soup and sprinkle coconut flakes on top! This meal is so filling and comforting, and the flavors are out of this world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cucumber Salsa

Does food ever take you places? Like, to distinct points in time? Some of my greatest memories are around food.

I guess that's not surprising. I really love food. It's a blessing and a curse all in one.

This meal, these Blackened Fish Tacos with Cucumber Salsa, they took me to Virginia Beach. In Virginia Beach, my friend and I escape the norm and enjoy watching dolphins on the beach, drinking daiquiris by the pool, and taking bike rides down the boardwalk. We've gone there twice now, and needless to say we are pretty much regulars.

Confession...the last time we were in VA Beach this past September, I sat at the bar and ate an entire pound (A POUND) of crab legs by myself. I sat there alone, and I ate the crab legs--all of them--alone.

I feel like I can be myself there.

I am totally obsessed with these fish tacos because they are light and fresh, with just the right amount of heat on the blackened fish. They took me to warm beaches and sunny skies (much different from the 21 degree weather blessing the city of Boston right now...). Oh, and the prep is a cinch!

The cucumber salsa is so simple and elegant. It totally beats out soggy lettuce on these tacos.

Diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and green onions are tossed with cilantro and lime juice. A simple seasoning with salt and pepper and garlic powder finishes the topping.

Flounder fillets are seasoned heavily with a mixture of chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, Mexican blend, salt, and pepper.

A pan is heated up and canola oil gets so hot that it is just starting to smoke. The fillets are placed seasoned side down and cooked for 2 minutes on each side over medium heat.

This will sear those seasonings right onto the fish. Crispy and spicy and flaky flounder, oh my!

Once the fish is cooked, heat up tortillas right over your gas burner or in a dry frying pan. I used corn tortillas because I like the grainy texture. Feel free to use a flour or whole wheat tortilla as well!

To build the tacos, add a layer of flaked fish to the bottom of the tortillas.

Slice an avocado and place 2 pieces on top of the fish.

Shredded cheese on top of the avocado, and the cucumber salsa is sprinkled right on top.

Serve with lime wedges and non-fat sour cream dusted with chili powder!

This meal is a great twist on Taco Tuesday, and it is much lighter and more figure friendly than your typical beef/cheese/sour cream combo. Use any fish you have on hand, and get ready to have dinner in nearly 20 minutes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It's the news you have all been waiting for....

Gas Stove Girl is now on TWITTER!

If you can guess the Twitter handle, you get love and affection from me for all time. One guess per person.


If you have a Twitter account and love the recipes on my blog, go ahead and follow me -- I will definitely follow back. I will share my personal post updates as well as links to other tasty recipes and great tips from professionals. Consider it the amateur cook's internet food mecca!

Hope you enjoy it -- see you out there on the World Wide Web :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken

One of my New Year's Resolutions (are people still talking about those?) was to try to constantly improve this little blog here and to challenge myself in my culinary conquests.

This weekend will be one of my first steps towards that goal because I signed up for a small, Indian cooking class! I'm looking forward to learning more about a cuisine I'm not particularly knowledgeable on and also seeing what a real cooking class is like! 

In preparation for that class, I wanted to give this Coconut Curry Chicken recipe a try. The first time I attempted to make this in the Crock Pot...I didn't realize exactly what "burned" curry was, but needless to say Cory and I went to 7-11 and had ice cream for dinner that night...

This time I completely changed my approach (trial and error makes us better!). The results were a mildly spicy yet sweet and creamy curry sauce that was infused with browned chicken thighs, bell peppers, fresh ginger, broccoli, and mushrooms. I'm not sure what I expected from my first attempt at this dish, but the second time around the results were exactly what I wanted. The flavor of the coconut still came through despite the bold flavor of the curry, and the ginger added a nice zing at the end of each bite.

I started by slicing one large onion, a red bell pepper, and a yellow bell pepper into long strips. A piece of ginger root is peeled and diced. This is what one might call the "flavor train."

Or maybe I just call it that...

The veggies are sauteed in vegetable oil and a bit of curry powder until tender and just starting to brown.

Chicken thighs are dredged in flour and seared on both sides directly in the same pan as the vegetables.

Non-fat yogurt is melted into the pot along with coconut milk. Once it reduces, water and cilantro come to the party along with frozen broccoli.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. The dish is covered and simmers for 30 minutes.

When you have about 5 minutes left, add in some sliced mushrooms and additional curry powder. The dish is finished with more coconut milk just before serving.

The creaminess of the yogurt and coconut milk compliment the spicy curry and all the vegetables soak up the juice for great flavor in every bite. The chicken is hearty and tender and peels right off the bone. I served mine on top of brown rice, and naan bread would be just amazing dipped in the sauce.

Here's what you need for Coconut Curry Chicken:

6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (you may take skin off if you prefer)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 large vidalia onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
1 tablespoon ginger, diced fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cut water
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 cup frozen broccoli
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Rice, naan, and toasted coconut for serving

Here's what you do:

 Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed skillet with deep sides, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, onion, and 1 tablespoon of curry powder. Cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Push the cooked veggies to the edges of the pan and sear to brown the chicken in batches, about 2 minutes on each side.

Add the yogurt and half the can of coconut milk. Stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. When the yogurt has reduced, add the water, cilantro, and frozen broccoli. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken half way through.

When you have about 5 minutes left, stir in the mushrooms and remaining tablespoon of curry powder. Cook uncovered until the mushrooms have softened and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the remaining coconut milk. Add more curry here if you prefer a spicier dish.

Serve over rice or naan and top with toasted coconut flakes.