Stir Fry-day!!!

You guys, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a bit of a week.

It was one where I could not eat for a day and a half, and that had nothing to do with the sh*tshow in DC that may well decide the future of the court for the next generation.

All of it’s enough to make you want to weep, and believe me, it’s not been easy keeping a straight face. Fortunately, there’s wine.

And, mercifully, this week’s recipe calls for using some white wine, so enjoy the leftovers while trying to hold on to your last bit of sanity. It reminds me of my favorite quote.

My stir fry recipe, I think, is from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s one of those recipes that was printed more than a decade ago, put into a plastic sleeve, and has been used ever since. The Christinia that printed it is quite a bit different from that one. But the recipe persists.

Sheet pan stir fry ingredients.

It’s not quite comfort food. It’s relatively healthy. It’s not something I grew up on. But it’s the kind of recipe that bends to suit what one’s feeling at any given time. Like, this time, I made it with chicken but I’ve enjoyed it with tofu or just the veggies.

I usually cook it on my pseudo wok, but I saw from things I’ve made so far this year that cooking veggies and chicken on a sheet pan would be fine. Basically, it’s hard to mess up

Also, did I mention that the sauce includes wine *and* ginger?! It’s pretty amazing.

Wine *and* ginger, you say? Delicious.

Here’s what I did to enjoy my stir fry on a sheet pan:

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 4 T. soy sauce
  • 4 T. dry white wine or cooking sherry
  • 1 T. honey
  • ¼ c. minced ginger (I use the jar, but if you’ve got the patience for ginger root, please do!)
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced (Again, I’m lazy and used a couple teaspoons of the jar stuff)
  • 4 scallions, sliced white and light green parts

For the stir fry:

  • Combination of veggies, approximating 2 lbs. Mine was a combination of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, green peppers, and onions. (For a better estimate, I used less than a quarter of a cauliflower, 2 heads of broccoli, 1 large carrot, about 1 bag of Dole sugar snap peas, one pepper, and one onion)
  • 1 lb. chicken, cut into ½ inch chunks, marinated in about ⅓ of the sauce
  • Remaining slices of scallions, added near the end of cooking time
  • Oil, for generously greasing the sheet pan
  • Rice, for serving

Directions

Mix the sauce. Prepare the chicken by putting the chicken chunks in a bowl and topping with about a quarter of the sauce.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining vegetables into bite-size pieces.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and generously grease a large sheet pan.

Add the vegetables to the sheet pan, and coat with about ½ of the remaining sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes. Create an opening on the sheet pan and add the marinated chicken. Top with more sauce. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (I used an electric thermometer and it took longer, but safety first when it comes to eating meat!).  Remove when close to ready to serve, and add the remaining scallions and the rest of the sauce. Bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and enjoy with rice!

A mostly muffaletta

I had been thinking about ways of making a grilled sandwich on a sheet pan when I came across the perfect recipe. As in, Delish had a recipe for sheet pan subs.

But, of course, I wasn’t content with the ingredients that made up the Italian submarine. I waffled for a few days over whether to make it anyway or do reubens/rachels instead, or a combination of each since the sheet pan could fit both. That’s when I remembered the Italian meat-using New Orleans favorite that my brother is enamored with: the muffaletta.

Sheet pan muffaletta ingredients.

It was like the Italian sub, what with Italian meats, some pickled relish, and cheese. But, you know, better. And while the bread appropriate for sheet pans wouldn’t be the traditional muffaletta kind, it was at least pressed to mimic the scooped out recipe of the original. Either way, it’d really let the insides of the sandwich shine.

So, with a pound and half of meat, a pound of cheese, and more than enough pickled items, I set about making the sandwich. I otherwise mostly followed the recipe, using a second sheet pan and an oven-proof weight to press the sandwich together.

It turned out almost perfect. I would say in hindsight that the sandwich could have cooked a while longer just to get the tops more browned. But otherwise, the cheese was melted, the meat was warm, and the sammies tasted great.

I did bring it to a friendly get-together because, well, look at how much meat and cheese it used. Even with eight people eating it — admittedly with other snacks and drinks throughout the day — I still took home about half. I’d say you could skimp on some meat, but the whole point of the sheet pan sandwich seems to be overindulgence, so go ahead and live a little.

Oh, but if the muffaletta doesn’t strike your fancy, I do truly believe this would have worked as a reuben/rachel or any grilled sandwich, just replace the meats and cheeses with your favorites and skip the relish or replace it with something more to your liking.

You mostly see bread, but trust me, there’s a whole lotta delicious meat and cheese inside.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of melted butter, divided
  • 1 ½ to 2 loaves of sliced bread, I opted for sourdough but pick what works best with your sammy (like, I’d use a seeded rye if making a reuben)
  • 1 ½ lbs. Italian meats, sliced (I did a combination of salamis, capicola, and mortadella, which is traditional, but I’m already stepping on tradition so who am I to judge?)
  • 1 lb. provolone, sliced
  • 8 oz. (about half a jar) of giardiniera, chopped
  • 6 to 8 oz. mix of capers, sliced black olives, and sliced green olives

Directions

Heat an oven to 400 degrees.

Brush about half the butter onto a large rimmed sheet pan. Top with bread, it can be slightly overlapping like shingles, and use your fingers to press it down slightly. Add the giardiniera to the top of the bread. Add half the cheese on top of that. Top the cheese with the meat slices. Add the remaining cheese on top, and then top with the olive, caper mixture, to taste. Place bread on top until covered, again can be slightly overlapping. Brush the bread with the remaining butter.

Place another large baking sheet on top (mine was slightly smaller, which worked fine), and use a cast-iron skillet or the like on top to press down on the bread.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the sandwich is starting to brown. Then, remove the weight and the top sheet pan. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or so until the top bread is golden too. Let cool slightly and then cut into sandwich-size servings (friends suggested a pizza cutter would work well here) and enjoy!

Chickity China the Chinese chicken

I like cheese way too much to make Asian food a staple of my diet. But it’s great to occasionally expand my palate and eat (somewhat) healthier fare. So, that is how I came to have a wide variety of Asian condiments in fridge door.

This week’s recipe thankfully allowed me to use so many of them and not add to my collection. I had bought some chicken thighs a weekend earlier when I made my venture to Whole Foods for seafood, so my purchases for this one amounted to three items.

Cauliflower, a sweet potato, and a red pepper were all it took to complete the sheet pan hoisin sriracha chicken recipe I had found a few weeks earlier from Taste of Home.

Hoisin sriracha chicken ingredients.

I mostly followed the recipe, except I’m lazy and used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I might have added more sriracha because I didn’t measure it but it was damn spicy so add carefully or taste the sauce before pouring on the meat and vegetables.

I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly, but my favorite thing was perhaps just how simply it came together.

I made it when we had the “fake fall” this past weekend, so I prepped the vegetables, made the sauce, and then sat in front of our firepit for a while before coming back to put it all together. About 45 minutes later, we had dinner, and a couple days worth of leftovers.

Don’t let the cauliflower fool you, this meal is flavorful and delicious.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • ⅓ c. hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ c. soy sauce (preferably low-sodium but we had regular on hand)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. sriracha (I didn’t measure but perhaps it’s best to measure on your taste for spicy foods)
  • 1 T. rice vinegar (I was out of rice wine vinegar, which I planned to use, so I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 t. sesame oil (I definitely used more but I love sesame oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 4 c. fresh cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Sesame seeds, optional for topping
  • Oil for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the first eight ingredients, the hoisin sauce through the ginger, in a small bowl. Line a large rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil and coat with a layer of oil (I use the spray kind). Place the sweet potato and chicken on prepared sheet pan, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Brush on about ⅓ of the hoisin sauce mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower and red pepper, and brush on another ⅓ of the hoisin mixture.

Bake another 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the chicken is cooked through. Brush on the remaining sauce, add the sesame seeds  (if using), and enjoy!

Saving the planet one shrimpie at a time

I’ve had a love affair with the deep blue sea since childhood. I blame Matt Hooper. I spent nearly a decade growing up wanting to be him, sometimes I still wish I had.

So, I was especially sensitive to a documentary I saw some years ago, The End of the Line, about the worrisome trend of endangered fish populations and what it could mean to our planet. I’m sorry to say that until I saw that documentary, I assumed that the vastness of the ocean meant a nearly endless supply of seafood. I should’ve read my history books.

The film, however, had the desired effect, as I have started paying attention to Seafood Watch ever since and trying to buy the best, most ethically sourced seafood I can. The stores in Ames were iffy at best, so I checked again and learned that Whole Foods is partnering with Seafood Watch so their fish options rank between best choice and good alternative. (Not a paid ad, but seriously, yay!)

That’s a long way of saying that it took a little more time to find a key ingredient in this week’s recipe, the beloved shrimp boil. Only, you know, in a sheet pan.

Sheet pan shrimp boil ingredients.

It was worth the wait.

The sheet pan shrimp boil is exactly as it sounds — take all the ingredients in your typical shrimp boil, spread it out on a sheet pan, pour on Old Bay and butter, bake, and you’ve got an amazing, and quick dinner. The longest part was parboiling the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked along with everything else.

We have one more pound of EZ Peel (no deveining required!), USA made, and ethical shrimpies, and I’ll be honest, I’m considering making this one again.

So much good stuff all on one sheet pan.

Here’s what I did, mostly following the Damn Delicious recipe, except I wanted the fun of peeling the shrimp:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. medium shrimp (uncooked, EZ peel or peeled)
  • 1 (about 12 oz.) package smoked andouille sausage, sliced (I get ethical meat too, I recommend D’artagnan sausage, which is sold in some Hy-Vees)
  • 1 lb. small yellow potatoes, quartered
  • 3 ears corn, cut crosswise into six pieces each
  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 T. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped parsley leaves, for serving (optional)
  • Olive oil, for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed sheet pan (I use the spray kind.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until parboiled, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the sausage, shrimp, and corn onto the greased sheet pan. When the potatoes are ready, drain them and carefully spread on top, trying to keep all items on a single layer.

Stir the garlic and Old Bay into the melted butter, and then pour on top of the shrimp mixture.

Bake the mixture for 12 to 15 minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and the corn is tender. Top each serving with parsley and squeeze on a wedge of lemon, and enjoy!

The most delicious trash mash-up

I’m not proud, but I knew from the moment I found this recipe that I would be making it. Two comfort foods in one is not going to look pretty, but sometimes you just need it.

Unfortunately, I was not expecting to make it so soon. But my super exciting, semi-fancy, fun recipe had to be put on hold for a week because I couldn’t find the appropriate *redacted ingredient* I needed. Research assures me I’ll be able to find *redacted ingredient* in West Des Moines this holiday weekend, so I should have my fun dinner a week later.

In its stead, however, I made chili cheese dog pizza.

Yep, it’s chili cheese dog pizza ingredients.

Yeah.

It was every bit of gloriously trashy and delicious you’d expect.

Even if I felt a bit silly making it, it was not a recipe of my own creation. I found it at “Taste of Home” and basically followed the ingredients except partially baking the crust before adding the toppings, since I used my own Betty Crocker recipe instead of the store-bought stuff.

However, despite following the recipe, it has exactly the ingredients you’d expect. Except one. First, the expected: a can of chili, 6 hot dogs, cheddar cheese, onions, and pizza dough. But it also called for yellow mustard.

Now, I like yellow mustard, and it is my go-to topping for hot dogs, but I wasn’t expecting it to be called for here. I went with it anyway. I have to say, it really brought the dish together so it was a welcome addition.

While I am loathe to admit it, this is one I’ll turn to again in the future.

A sheet pan pizza that needs to be seen in all its glory.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 2 Betty Crocker pizza crusts (or store-bought)
  • ½ c. yellow mustard (I didn’t measure, just spread it on until there was a light coating)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chili of your choice
  • 6 hot dogs, sliced
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ onion, diced (optional)
  • Oil, for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large rimmed sheet pan with oil. Spread out the crust.

Spread on the mustard, top with chili and spread throughout, add hot dog slices and onions, and then top with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is browned on the edges and the cheese is melted. Let cool slightly, slice, and enjoy!