Weeknight Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

Weeknight Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

Are you looking for the perfect weeknight meal? Do you want to change up your usual chicken recipe? Are you in need of a delicious recipe that will satisfy even the pickiest eater? You may have just found what you’re looking for. This Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg recipe comes together in less than an hour. It is a great way to jam a bunch of flavour into some chicken legs. And it tastes great. That sounds like a win, win, win to me. Alright, enough chit-chat, let’s get cooking! You can find the recipe directly below, but keep reading for a more detailed explanation.

Weeknight Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

This recipe takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish. A lot of that time is passive, meaning you don't have to do anything but wait. That makes this Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg recipe perfect for any weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Chicken, Sweet and Sour, Weeknight Meals
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken drum sticks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, large dice
  • 1 cup green pepper, large dice
  • 1 cup onion, large dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°f.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the chicken. Sear the chicken until browned. About 3 minutes per side.
  • Remove the seared chicken from the pan and set it aside. Drain the excess fat out of the pan and add in the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the ketchup to the vegetables and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Pour the vinegar, sugar, salt, and chicken stock into the skillet and bring to a boil.
  • Return the chicken to the pan, bring it back to a boil, then put it in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes remove the chicken from the oven, flip the legs, and put them back in the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  • Take the chicken out of the oven, and serve with rice.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Preparing The Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg Ingredients

Vegetables

The vegetables used in this Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg recipe are red and green bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cut the bell peppers and onion into pieces that are about the width of your thumb. For the peppers, I like to cut them into thumb-width pieces, then do an alternate angle cut, creating a diamond pattern. You don’t have to do this, but it adds to the visual appeal.

Garlic

To prepare the garlic, remove the peel by cutting off the stem and gently crushing the cloves with the side of your knife. Pull the peel away and discard. Cut the garlic lengthwise into three or four pieces, then slice those pieces across as thinly as you can. Or…just cut the garlic as fine as you can. It doesn’t really matter that much.


Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients

The ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce are ketchup, sugar, white vinegar, and chicken stock or water. If you prefer a thicker, more traditional Sweet and Sour Sauce, you can also add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water. I’ll explain in a few minutes when you would add that in if you were to use it.

Making Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

Searing the chicken legs

The first step in making this Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg recipe is to sear the chicken. To do that, get a pan nice and hot, then add in a few teaspoons of oil (canola, grapeseed, etc.). Put the chicken in the pan and leave it alone, don’t even look at it for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Then flip it over and do it again. For a better sear, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel first. Also, you may have noticed that I didn’t season the chicken with salt and pepper. The sauce has more than enough flavour. Salt and pepper are not needed. (That is probably the only time in my life I’ll say/write that.)

Sautéing The Vegetables

Once the chicken legs are browned, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate or something. Pour all the oil out of the pan except for about 1 tablespoon. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high heat until the onion softens and browns around the edges. DO NOT TURN THE HEAT DOWN!! You need that heat to make sure the vegetable juices don’t stay in the pan. Just keep the vegetables moving, and they won’t burn.


Making Sweet and Sour Sauce

After the vegetables get a little colour on them, you can add the ketchup into the pan. Cook the ketchup for about a minute, then throw in the sugar, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Bring that to a boil, then add the chicken stock. Bring it back to a boil. If you are using cornstarch and water, you can add that now.


Finishing the Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

Once the chicken sauce comes back to a boil, after the stock has been added, you can add in the chicken legs. Again, bring it back to a boil, then put the whole pan uncovered in a 375°f for 15 minutes. Then, take the chicken out, flip the pieces and put it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve the Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs over rice, and you’ve got yourself a full meal just like that.


The Wrap-Up

Who said delicious had to be hard? Probably no one, but that doesn’t change the fact that delicious doesn’t have to be hard. What’s great about this Sweet and Sour Chicken Leg recipe, other than how tasty it is, is that you don’t have to use chicken legs. You can use chicken breast or thighs. You can use turkey, beef, pork, turkey, or chicken meatballs. Hell, throw in some tofu for a nice vegetarian meal. The point is, this recipe is versatile, so get cooking! Thanks for reading and subscribe below, so you never miss a post.

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Scallop and Bacon Chowder in 30 Minutes or Less

Scallop and Bacon Chowder in 30 Minutes or Less

This week on 30 minutes or less we are going to take a look at Scallop and Bacon Chowder. If you are wondering, yes, we have done a chowder here before. We did Corn Chowder in 30 Minutes or Less way back in April of last year. Since that was almost a full year ago I thought it was safe to do another one.

The chowder today is composed of bacon, onion, celery, and scallops with cream and clam juice thickened with a roux making up the base. It was absolutely delicious and I recommend it to anyone who wants to feel a bit of comfort and a bit of normalcy right now. Let’s get to it.

This is…

Scallop and Bacon Chowder in 30 Minutes or Less


12:15 pm – Getting Started

I started cooking at 12:15 pm. The first thing I did was turn a pot on over medium-high heat. Next up, I patted the scallops dry with a paper towel to ensure a nice even sear. With the scallops dried I pulled the adductor muscle discarded it. I put the scallop on a dry piece of paper towel just to make sure their surface was really dry.


12:17 pm – Scallops In the Pan

With the scallops dry, and adductor muscles removed, it was time to cook. I seasoned the scallops with salt and pepper, added a bit of oil into my pot and added in the scallops leaving them alone for about two minutes.


12:20 – Bacon

In the two minutes that the scallops were cooking on the first side, I cut two pieces of bacon into finger-width pieces. I flipped the scallops and cooked them for one more minute.


12:21 – Cook the Bacon

Once the scallops had seared on both sides I removed them from the pan and added in the bacon. While the bacon was cooking, I minced a celery stalk and half an onion.


12:24 pm – Vegetables In

After a few minutes, the bacon was mostly cooked so I added in the celery and onion. Then, I moved on to peeling and dicing two potatoes.


12:26 – Roux

I cooked the celery and onion for about two minutes before adding in two tablespoons each of butter, and flour. The better went in first was left to melt, and then I stirred in the flour. This made a roux which thickens the chowder.


12:28 pm – Clam Juice

With the flour and butter combined it was time to add in some liquid. I chose to use clam juice to give the chowder a more seafood forward flavour. You can use water or even chicken stock if you would prefer. I added the clam juice in and gave everything a stir and let the mixture come to a boil.


12:30 pm – Potatoes In

Once the clam juice started to boil, I added in the diced potato, brought the liquid back to the boil, then turned the heat down to a simmer. I let the chowder base cook for about ten minutes or until the vegetables were tender.


12:31 pm – Parsley

While the chowder was cooking I took the opportunity to cut some fresh parsley.


12:34 pm – Cut Scallops

I also cut my scallops into quarters to stretch them a little bit further in the chowder.


12:40 pm – Cream in

After the chowder base had been cooking for about ten minutes and the vegetables were cooked through I added in the cream and brought it back to a boil tasted it and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper.


12:42 pm – Finish the chowder

Once the cream was boiling and the seasoning was where I wanted it, I added in the scallops and the parsley, took the pot off the heat, and served.


Conclusion

The world is obviously a little crazy at the moment. We are social distancing, and self-isolating, and preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. It can be a bit scary, and it can feel a bit lonely. A dish like this isn’t going to cure anything, but it will for at least a few minutes make you feel like everything is okay.

Good luck everyone and stay safe.


Scallop and Bacon Chowder in 30 Minutes or Less

Scallops, bacon, and vegetables in a delicious chowder made in under 30 minutes.
Total Time: 28 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Bacon, Chowder, Quick Meals, Scallops
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 8 Sea Scallops
  • 3 Strips of Diced Bacon
  • ½ cup Diced Celery
  • ½ cup Diced Onion
  • 1-2 tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 236 ml Bottle Clam Juice
  • 2 Cups Water or Chicken or Fish stock
  • 500 ml Whipping Cream
  • 1 ½ cup Small Diced Potatoes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Canola Oil

Instructions

  • Heat a pot over medium-high heat, then add in the oil.
  • Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, remove the foot, season with salt and pepper, and sear on both sides in the hot oil.
  • Remove the scallops from the pot and on to a plate.
  • Drain any excess oil out of the pot and add in the bacon, cook until crisp.
  • Once again drain off the oil, but this time leave about 2 tbsp in the pot. If there is not 2 tbsp of oil, add in the butter.
  • Add the celery and onion into the pot along with the bacon and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsp of butter into the pot along with the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute then sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine.
  • Once the flour is fully incorporated, add in the clam juice. Cook until thick then add in the water and potatoes.
  • Bring the pot to a boil and cook until the vegetables are cooked through about 10 minutes.
  • Add the cream into the pot.
  • Cut the scallops into quarters and add them into the pot along with the parsley.
  • Taste the chowder, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with crackers or biscuits.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Best Ever Turkey Burgers In 30 Minutes Or Less

Best Ever Turkey Burgers In 30 Minutes Or Less

Let’s talk about turkey burgers. All too often, when someone serves a turkey burger it is dry, tasteless and might as well be a hockey puck. I wanted to remedy this. So, I came up with a turkey burger recipe that isn’t dry and flavourless. It is the exact opposite actually. What’s even better than a recipe that takes something that usually isn’t that good and makes it delicious? What about a recipe that takes something that isn’t that good, makes it delicious, and makes it in less than 30 minutes? That’s what I’m going to share with you today.

This is how to make the…

BEST EVER TURKEY BURGERS IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS


12:45 pm – Getting Started

To get started I opened up a package of ground turkey put it in a bowl and measured out all of my other ingredients. They were a 1/2 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. 2 tbsp each bread crumbs and chopped parsley. 1 tsp each kosher salt (use 1/2 tsp if using table salt) and fresh chopped thyme. Finally, I added a few turns of pepper from my pepper mill. In total it was probably about 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper. I also added 1 whole egg.


12:52 – Mix it up and turn it on

Once I had all of my ingredients measured and ready to go, I turned my pan on to medium heat. I used a non-stick pan though it isn’t necessary. It just happened to be on the top of the stack in my cupboard. I also added about 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan. I did this before the pan was hot, just because I was about to cover my hands in raw turkey.

With the pan heating up I started mixing my turkey mixture only until all the ingredients were combined. Then I divided the mixture into half, then half again. Dividing the mixture in quarters rather than just grabbing handfuls gave me much more even burgers. I formed the burgers then added them into the pan.

I only cooked two of the four because it was just my wife and I. The rest of the burger mixture got saved for later.


12:57 pm – Cranberry Mayo

First things first, clean up the cutting board.

I love cranberry and turkey together and I thought that cranberry mayo would be great with this burger (I was right). Really simply, I took 1/4 cup of mayo (Hellman’s) and mixed into it 2 tbsp cranberry sauce. If you don’t have any cranberry sauce, just boil 2 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1/4 cup water until most of the water has dissolved. Let the dried cranberry sauce cool to room temp before mixing it into the mayo.


12:58 pm – Flip the burgers

By 12:58 the burgers were ready to flip. This also seemed like a good time to toast the burger buns.


1:01 pm – Cheese

At 1:01 pm the burgers were just about cooked. I sliced a few thin pieces of swiss cheese (you can buy pre-sliced) then topped the burgers with them. Once the cheese was mostly melted the burgers were ready.


1:04 pm – Turkey Burgers

To assemble the burgers, I spread the cranberry mayo on both sides of the bun. On the bottom of the bun, I also added 3 bread and butter pickle slices. On the top bun, I added a small handful of salad greens. I added the burger, put it all together, and served it with vegetable chips.


Conclusion

I cannot express how delicious this burger was. I know that turkey sometimes has a tendency to dry out, but these weren’t dry at all. The burgers themselves had loads of flavour and a great texture. The cranberry mayo worked perfectly with the burgers and the bread and butters pickled added that perfect sweet tang. I absolutely recommend you make these. I know that you’ll be glad you did.

For more quick recipes click here and here.


Bust Turkey Swiss Burger Ever

All too often turkey burgers are dry and tastless. No more!! These burgers are tender, juicy, and oh so good. Don't believe me? Try them for yourself. It will only take you 21 minutes.
Total Time: 21 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Burger, Turkey, Turkey Burgers, Turkey Recipes
Servings: 4 burgers
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 lg Egg
  • 2 tbsp Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Chopped Thyme or Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Cranberry Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 4 sm Handfuls Salad Greens
  • 12 slices Bread and Butter Pickles
  • 4 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 4 toasted Burger Buns
  • Vegetable Chips to Serve

Instructions

  • Combine the turkey, spices, herbs, breadcrumbs and egg in a medium mixing bowl and mix to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 even pieces and form into burgers
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil. Cook the burgers until cooked through (about 4 minutes per side)
  • Top the burgers with the swiss cheese.
  • Mix the mayo and cranberry sauce and top the burger buns with it.
  • Place the bread and butter pickles on the bottom bun and the salad greens on the top bun. Put the pattie on the bun and serve with the chips.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Curry chicken Pilaf In 30 Minutes Or Less

Curry chicken Pilaf In 30 Minutes Or Less

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Today we are going to take a look at something I am super excited about; Curry Chicken Pilaf. What’s more, we are going to make it in 30 minutes from start to finish.

Before we get into this, let’s talk for a second about what exactly a pilaf is. Rice pilaf is a dish where the rice is generally sautéed in oil prior to being cooked in stock or sometimes water. Countries all around the world have versions of pilafs using localized ingredients. I think, despite its global popularity, pilaf is a technique that is underused in North America. So, I wanted to shed some light on it. With that, let’s take a look at how to make…

CURRY CHICKEN PILAF IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS


7:45 pm – Getting Started

First things first, get a large pan on the stove over medium-high heat.

While the pan is heating up measure out 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp madras curry powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and 1 tsp kosher salt into a larger mixing bowl and mix well. Add 1 pound of diced chicken thighs (you can use chicken breast) to the spice mixture and stir to coat.


7:22 pm – Chicken in the pan

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan. Add the chicken to the pan as well, spreading it out in an even layer. Leave the chicken alone to cook for about 2 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, dice 1 onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. In total, you want about 1 cup of onion and 1 tbsp of garlic. If you have a little more or a little less of each it isn’t going to hurt anything.


7:24 pm – Flip the chicken

Flip the chicken and add the onions and garlic into the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes.


7:26 pm – Add in the rice

Add the rice into the pan and stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. After a minute or two add in 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of peas. Turn the heat up to high and bring the stock to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.


7:30 pm – Raisins

One thing that really enhances the flavour of curry is a little pop of sweetness. For this sweetness, I added 1/4 cup of raisins. I seasoned the curry with a pinch of salt and pepper put the lid on the pan and turned the heat down to low. I set a 15-minute timer then tidied up for about 5 minutes.


7:35 pm – Cilantro

While the curry chicken pilaf was cooking I picked about 1/4 cup of whole cilantro leaves. I washed them, dried them, and set them aside. I still had about 10 minutes left until dinner was ready so I just chilled out and waited.


7:45 – Curry Chicken Pilaf

At 7:45 my timer went off and the curry chicken pilaf was ready. I finished it with the cilantro leaves and served it up.


Conclusion

First of all, I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to have quite enough time to make this dish. My concern was misplaced. The timing worked out perfectly! The rice was cooked, the chicken stock was all absorbed, and the curry was incredible! It was flavourful, a little spicy, and actually pretty light.

Before I close this out I should say that I cheated a little. I bought bone-in chicken thighs but took the bones out to make the chicken stock for the curry. You can just use store-bought stock if you want. So, I had my chicken pre-diced. However, I think you can buy diced chicken thighs. If not you will need to dice some chicken, either thighs or breast. However, that really shouldn’t add more than a minute or two to the total cooking time.

I know that curry can be a daunting thing to make. I hope that I’ve described this in a way that you feel confident in making it. It really is worth the effort. Not only that, the actual active cooking time is only 15 minutes. The other 15 minutes is passive. You don’t have to do anything but wait. And yes, I do believe you could do this in a slow cooker.

If you have any questions about this recipe please feel free to ask me in the comments or on social media.

Have a great Monday and a great week everyone.


Curry Chicken Pilaf in 30 Minutes or Less

An incredably delicious Curry Chicken Pilaf that can be made in 30 minutes flat.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Chicken curry
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb diced chicken thighs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt or 1/2 tsp Table Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine 2 tbsp olive oil with the spices and mix.
  • Toss the chicken with the spices.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides.
  • Add in the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice into the pot and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the Chicken stock and peas, bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, add in the peas, put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat garnish with cilantro and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
How to Make Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta In 30 Minutes or Less

How to Make Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta In 30 Minutes or Less

Hello and happy Monday, everyone! Today, we are going to kick the week off right with a quick recipe for Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta. It’s so fast to make you can do it from start to finish in under 30 minutes. Oh, and it is delicious!

Some of you may remember that way back in March of last year; we did a 30 Minutes or Less Chicken Pesto. Though similar to what we are doing today, there are some apparent differences between the two. The Chicken pesto from last year was pretty much just chicken, cherry tomatoes, pesto, and pasta. Today our pasta has chicken, roasted red pepper, spinach, pesto, and cream. So again, it is similar but different. One other significant difference between the two posts is that in the one from last year, we made the pesto, this time we are using premade, though I did make it. You can make it or use store-bought stuff if that’s what you prefer.

Okay, let’s take a look at how to make…

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta in 30 Minutes or Less


7:05 pm – Getting Started

It was 7:05 pm when I started cooking last night. The first step was to get the pot on for the pasta. I filled a medium-sized pot with hot water, added some salt, and put it in the stove on high.

Once the pot was on the stove, I got to work on an onion and some garlic. The onion I used was pretty small, so if all you have are large onions, only use half. For whatever reason, I cut the onion as though I was going to dice it. At the last minute, I changed my mind and decided I want to slice it, so I went back after it was peeled and cut the root off. With the root cut off the onion, I proceeded to slice it. I also peeled and sliced one relatively large clove of garlic. Once the onion and garlic had been sliced, I put them on a plate and set them aside.


7:08 pm – Chicken

Once I was done with the onion and garlic, it was chicken time. But, before I got my hands all covered in chicken, I put a large, heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat on the stove.

The chicken I bought was a chicken breast that still had a bit of the rib and wing bone attached. I bought this because it was cheaper than boneless chicken breast. I should also say I’m not generally a fan of chicken breast. However, on the rare occasion that I do buy it, I usually get it bone-in and skin-on. It is way cheaper and with a little practice takes next to no time to clean.

To clean the chicken, I found the bone and followed it with my knife to cut it away. I then took the tenders off the breast. The tender is the little flap of meat on the underside of the breast. If you’ve ever bought breaded chicken tenders, this is what they are made of. With the tender removed, I sliced the breast and tender into 1/2 cm pieces.


7:12 pm – Cooking the chicken

Now, that the chicken was all sliced, I added 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into my pre-heated pan along with the chicken. When I added the chicken in, I spread it out in a single layer to speed up the cooking process. I also turned the heat up a little on my pan as it wasn’t quite hot enough. You may not need to do this. The issue was that my pan is very thick and just wasn’t getting hot enough.

While the chicken was cooking I took a few minutes and thoroughly cleaned my knife, cutting board, and work area.


7:15 Cooking the pasta

Around 7:15 pm the water for my pasta was boiling, and my chicken was cooking. The pasta I used takes about 12 minutes to cook. I knew that if I started cooking it at this point it would line up pretty perfectly with when the sauce would be done. How did I know that? The chicken was almost cooked through and I knew that sauce wasn’t going to take that long. Also, even if the timing didn’t line up perfectly, there was only going to be a few minutes difference and I could compensate for that. So, I dropped the pasta in the water.

I also took this opportunity to season the chicken generously with salt and pepper then I flipped the chicken and finished cooking it through.


7:20 pm – Onions and Garlic In

At 7:20 I add the onion and garlic into the pan along with the chicken. I cooked, stirring for about 2 minutes before adding in the roasted red peppers.

The roasted red peppers I used were jarred. They came pre-roasted and sliced into thin strips. You can obviously roast your own peppers. However, I happened to have this on hand and wanted to use them up. They’re actually pretty good out of the jar so if you want to save some time I suggest going this route. I used about 1/2 a cup of peppers in total.


7:24 pm – Sauce It

At 7:24 pm I added in about 1/4 cup of pesto. Again, this was pesto that I had made a few days ago and had in the fridge. You can make it from scratch (link at the top of the post) or you can buy it. I prefer to make it because it tastes better and has no preservatives and stabilizers. But, if you want to save some time you can go that route. Once I added in the pesto I let it cook for about a minute before adding in the cream.

At first, I added in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, but I ended up having to add in a bit more to loosen the sauce. In total, I used about 3/4 of a cup. If you don’t want to use the cream I suggest making a bechamel by cooking roux into milk to thicken it. You don’t want to add straight milk or anything less than heavy cream (whipping) because it will curdle when it hits the heat.


7:26 pm – Spinach

After adding the cream, which came to a boil very quickly I tasted the sauce and added a bit more salt and pepper as was needed. Then I added in 2 big handfuls of baby spinach and stirred until it was softened into the sauce.


7:28 pm – Drain Pasta

At 7:28 pm my pasta was done. I drained it and added it to my sauce.


7:29 pm – Turn off heat and finish

I grated about 1/4 cup of parmesan into the pasta, stirred everything together and served.


Conclusion

This is not a diet pasta recipe by any means but it also isn’t nearly as heavy as you may think it is. Recipes like this will often suggest multiple additions of cream, each one being reduced before the next is added. This makes the pasta very heavy. You don’t get that with this. Also, the roasted red pepper and spinach along with the pesto give this pasta an incredible flavour. I highly recommend you give this a shot. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think.

Thank you, everyone, and have a great Monday. And remember to tune into Dinner with Ben tonight at 6 pm Atlantic time on my Facebook page.

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

What more is there to say? It's creamy, it's chicken, and it's pesto. Delicious!
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Chicken Pasta, Quick Meals
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Sliced
  • 1/2 Small Onion, Sliced
  • 1 tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 cups loosley packed Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Pesto
  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 4 portions Cooked Pasta

Instructions

  • Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the olive oil and sliced chicken into the pan.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through it will take about 6 minutes.
  • Add in the onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the roasted red peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Next up, add in the pesto, cook for about a minute then add in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the cooked pasta.
  • Add in the parmesan, toss the pasta to coat, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Creamy Tuna Pasta In 30 Minutes Or Less

Creamy Tuna Pasta In 30 Minutes Or Less

When I was around 12 my mom had a friend who had children that closely matched the age of my sisters and me. She lived right by our school. Occasionally, when mom had to go into town we would go to this friend’s house for dinner. It was one of these days when I first experienced tuna casserole.

My mom’s friend’s version of tuna casserole, as I now know, was pretty classic. It was tuna, pasta, and vegetables in a cream of mushroom sauce, covered with crushed potato chips and baked. My mom was a great cook but for whatever reason had never made anything like the tuna casserole I had that day. It made such an impression on me that I remember it more vividly than almost anything else from that period of my life. Interestingly enough, to this day that is the only tuna casserole I’ve ever had.

It was that tuna casserole I had in mind while I was creating this creamy tuna pasta recipe. Essentially, I wanted to make an updated version of that tuna casserole I ate well over 20 years ago. Gone are the crushed potato chips, cream of mushroom soup and long baking time. Now, we can all have that flavour and experience in under 30 minutes. Let’s take a look at how to me my…

Creamy Tuna Pasta In 30 Minutes or Less


12:45 – Getting Started

I made this creamy tuna pasta for a late lunch and started cooking at 12:45. The first thing I did was get a big pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta. Next, I put a frying pan on the stove over medium heat for the sauce. With that, it was time to get down to the real work.

For the sauce I started with a base of carrot, onion, and celery, I peeled and diced 1 onion and 1 carrot, then sliced 1 celery stalk.


12:49 pm – Start cooking

By the time I was done cutting my vegetables my pan was nice and hot. I added in 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil. I used butter for the flavour and the olive oil to help prevent the butter from burning. Once the butter melted I added in the vegetables.


12:50 pm – Garlic

While the vegetables were cooking I peeled and sliced 2 cloves of garlic. I also diced about a 1/2 cup of roasted red pepper. I added roasted red pepper because I just happened to have it in my fridge. You don’t have to add this but I did find it added a nice sweet tone to the overall flavour.

I gave the carrot, onion, and celery a stir then added in the roasted red pepper and garlic.


12:54 pm – Tuna

While the garlic and peppers were cooking I opened up my can of tuna. I drained the liquid right into the frying pan. This added a really nice subtle tuna flavour to the pasta that you won’t get from the tuna itself. The pan was hot enough that the juice evaporated very quickly.


12:55 pm – Cream

After the tuna juice mostly evaporated I added in 1 cup of whipping cream and a 1/2 cup of frozen peas. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t skimp out on the cream here. If you use blend cream, coffee cream, half and half, or milk, it will curdle and it will be gross. If, for some reason you want a lighter version of this, take the time and make a bechamel. Otherwise enjoy the rich delicious flavour of full fat, 35% whipping cream.

Once the cream and peas go into the pan bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer.


12:57 pm – Pasta in

Around this point, my pasta water was boiling and yours should be too. Add the pasta in and cook it according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking chop about a 1/2 cup of parsley.


1:05 pm – Drain Pasta

Once the pasta is cooked drain it as you normally would. While it is draining, add the tuna into the sauce and stir to break it up.


1:06 pm – Finish the creamy tuna pasta

Add the pasta into the sauce along with the parsley. Toss or stir the pasta to coat it with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve by itself or with a green salad.


Conclusion

The first bit of this pasta took me back to that dinner at my mom’s friend’s house all those years ago. I hope that you have a similar experience with it.

If you aren’t a big fan of tuna you could add canned or fresh salmon, chicken or ham instead. No matter what, it will be delicious. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.

Thank you as always for reading and stay tuned for Wednesday when I am launching my free 10-week basic cooking course “Kitchen Clueless to food independent” and remember to subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post.


Creamy Tuna Pasta

A new take on the old school Tuna Casserole. A quick meal your family will love.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Fish Recipes, pasta, pasta recipes, Tuna, Tuna Casserole
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 can Tuna In Water 170 g
  • 1 box Rotini 500 g
  • 1 sm Onion, diced
  • 1 med Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Diced Roasted Red Pepper
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 1 cup Cream
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Put a large pot of salted water on the stove on high for the pasta.
  • Put a large frying pan on over medium heat.
  • Add the olive oil and butter into the pan.
  • Once the butter has melted add in the carrot, onion and celery.
  • Sauté until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and roasted red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Open the can of tuna and drain the liquid into the pan and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the cream and peas. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Put the pasta into the boiling water and cook as per the directions on the box.
  • Add the tuna into the sauce.
  • Once the pasta is cooked drain it and add it into the sauce along with the parsley. Toss to evenly coat the pasta.
  • Taste the pasta and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Thai Coconut Curry Soup In 30 Minutes Or Less

Thai Coconut Curry Soup In 30 Minutes Or Less

Happy Monday everybody! Yes, it is Monday and we all know what that means. It’s 30 Minutes or Less! Today we are going to be taking a look at how to make Thai Coconut Curry Soup. This soup is sweet. This soup is spicy. It is loaded with vegetables, and even a bit of chicken. Better still, it can be made in under 30 minutes. What’s not to love?

To get that Thai curry flavour we are going to use the same Thai Red Curry Paste that we used for the Thai Red Curry Salmon a few weeks ago. You can find that post here. Along with the curry paste, we will be using ginger, garlic, fish sauce, lime and coconut and really bring the flavour together.

As always the fully written/printable recipe is at the bottom of the post. You can skip the walkthrough and get right down to it if you’d like but I do recommend giving the walkthrough a read as it will have some information not found in the recipe.

Okay, let’s get to it. This is…

Thai Coconut Curry Soup in 30 Minutes or Less


7:00 pm – Getting Started

I started cooking at 7 pm and the first step was to get a pot heating up. I put a large pot on the stove over medium-high. While the pot was heating up I started in on my vegetables. First, I peeled and sliced an onion. Next up, I washed and sliced a celery stalk. Then, I peeled and sliced a carrot.


7:04 pm – Chicken

By the time I was done with the onion, celery and carrot my pot was nice and hot. I add in about 1 tbsp of canola oil along with 1 tsp of sesame oil. The sesame oil is there mostly for flavour. With the oil in the pot, in went about 2 cups of diced chicken thighs. I cooked them until they were brown on all sides.


7:06 pm – Garlic & Green Onions

While the chicken was cooking I got back to my vegetables. First thing, I peeled and sliced 2 cloves of garlic. Next, I cut 1 bunch of green onions in half setting the top bit aside for later. The bottom half of the green onions, I sliced and added to the rest of the vegetables. Of course, I discarded the very end of the green onion bottoms where the root is.


7:08 pm – Vegetable in the pot

By the time I was done with the garlic and the green onions the chicken was nice and browned (I stirred it once or twice). It was now time to add the vegetables into the pot. I added everything in at once and cooked it for a few minutes. The key is that you want the onions to soften a bit before moving on to the curry paste.


7:10 pm – Ginger

With the vegetables cooking away it was time to add in the ginger. I used my Microplane to grate the ginger, which was frozen, right into the pot. In total, I used about 1 tbsp of grated ginger. I cooked the vegetables for about 2 more minutes at which point the onions were softening and I could add in the curry paste.


7:12 pm – Curry Paste

This is a Thai Red Curry Paste that I buy at the grocery store in the international food section. It is good, not great but it does the job. The reason I use this brand is that it is both gluten-free and shellfish-free. Most Thai Curry Paste has shrimp paste in it to add flavour. I am allergic to shellfish. So, generally, I can’t eat Thai Curry. Luckily, this brand exists and it is fairly cheap, under $4 for the bottle. I used about 1/4 cup of this paste in the soup.

I added the paste into the vegetables and cooked it for 2 minutes. This opens up the flavours in the paste. That is just a fancy way of saying it makes it taste better. Don’t skip this step. If you do, your soup will be missing some of the key flavours.


7:14 pm – Seasoning

Once the curry paste had “opened up” I added in the rest of the seasoning for the soup. This was 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp fish sauce, and 1 tsp salt. I stirred this into the mixture then added in 1 L water of hot water. As I poured the water into the pot I made sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with my spoon. This lifts any stuck bits off the bottom of the pot which helps to flavour the soup and prevents anything burning to the bottom. Then I brought the soup to a boil, turned the heat down and simmerd for 5 minutes.


7:16 pm – Coconut Milk

While I was waiting for the soup to come to a boil I opened my can of coconut milk and set it aside.


7:18 pm – Prepare the garnish

I was going to add beansprouts to the soup but they were out of stock at the grocery store. Luckily, I had a but if Nappa cabbage in my fridge so I used that instead. You, of course, can use beansprouts or cabbage. Either one will work well. I also cut up the tops of the green onions, about 1/4 cup of cilantro and 1 jalapeno. I was going to and would have preferred to use Thai Red Chilis but the grocery store was out of stock on those too. It was not a great day at the grocery store.


7:22 pm – Adding the garnish

The soup has been simmering for about 5 minutes at this point. Now, it is time to add in the coconut milk, cabbage (or beansprouts), cilantro, green onion tops, and the jalapeno. Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for another 3-4 minutes.


7:25 pm – Lime

Finally, add in the juice of 1 lime. To finish the soup taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. Mine needed just a touch of salt.


Conclusion

Prior to this post, I had never had Thai Coconut Curry Soup before. To make this, I did a bunch a research online, wrote a recipe based on that research and made what you’ve seen in this post. It was delicious. There was a slight sweetness, mild acidity, and just a touch of heat (not quite enough for my taste so I added some sriracha to my bowl). I recommend giving this a shot especially if you are in the mood for something a little different.

Some of the other versions of this soup I saw online have shrimp or tofu instead of chicken. I think both of those would be great options. I think scallops would be good too. Some of the other versions also had rice noodles which would be a great way to bulk the soup up a little for a very little extra cost.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

What's not to love about this Thai Coconut Curry Soup? It's a little sweet, a little spicy, and a lot delicious. Exactly what you need after a day of work.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Chicken, chicken recipes, Quick Recipes, Thai Curry, Thai Food, Thai Red Curry
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cubed Chicken Thighs
  • 1 med Onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 med Carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, sliced
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, Whites and Greens Separate and Sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Thai Red Curry paste
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock or Water
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 cup Thinly Sliced Nappa Cabbage or Bean Sprouts
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the canola oil, sesame oil, and the chicken thighs. Cook the chicken until it is brown on all sides, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add in the onion, green onion whites, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the ginger, and curry paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  • Next, add in the fish sauce, sugar, salt and water. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat to low. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the cabbage, cilantro, green onion tops, and the coconut milk.
    Simmer the soup for another 3-4 minutes then add in the lime just, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Fish Fingers and Roasted Potatoes in 30 Minutes or Less

Fish Fingers and Roasted Potatoes in 30 Minutes or Less

Good morning everyone and happy Monday! Today on 30 minutes or less we are going to take a look at an absolute classic. We are going to make a version of Fish Fingers with fries. But, rather than having fries we are going to make really delicious pan-roasted potatoes. The fish fingers are going to be homemade. And, we are going to make a delicious sauce to go with them.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get to it. This is…


7:45 pm – Getting Started

I started cooking at 7:45 pm. The first thing I did was get the oven going. I turned it on to 425°F. I also put an oven-safe pan on the stove and turned it on over medium heat.

With the oven on and the pan heating up, I started working on the potatoes. I used 4 Yukon gold potatoes (any yellow flesh variety will work) I cut them into wedges, about 8 per potatoes. Once they were cut I set them aside for a minute while the pan finished heating up.


7:47 pm – Carrot

I had just enough time to peel a carrot before the pan was hot enough to add in the potatoes.


7:48 pm – Potatoes in the pan

At this point, the pan for the potatoes (I used a castiron pan) was ready to go. I added in about 2 tbsp of olive oil, added the potatoes in, and then seasoned them well with salt and pepper. I tossed the potatoes to make sure they were coated in oil and to evenly distribute the seasoning. Then, I left them alone to cook and sear.


4:49 pm – Cutting the Vegetables

We all know that we can’t have a well-balanced meal without a nice big serving of vegetables, right? So, with the potatoes cooking it was time to start prepping the veg.

I thinly sliced the carrot that I peeled while waiting for the pan to heat up. Next, I sliced half a red bell pepper. To the carrot and bell pepper, I added a big handful of fresh green beans. That’s it.

You may notice that I often cut vegetables on an angle. In cooking, we call this cutting on a bias. This is done because it looks more professional. However, there is a secondary reason. When cutting round vegetables like carrots, or even green onions or chives, they have a tendency to roll away if they are cut straight. Cutting them on an angle keeps them in place and prevents them from rolling onto the floor.


7:51 pm – Sauce

Before I got into making the sauce I made sure to give the potatoes a big stir to prevent them from burning on the bottom. This also helps to ensure a more even browning on the potatoes.

The sauce I made for my fish fingers is called a sweet chilli sauce. You may have had it at restaurants or even bought it at the grocery store. It is the easiest sauce in the world to make. I’m serious.

All you need to make the sauce is…

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (crushed red pepper flakes)

Those four ingredients get put in a pot, brought to a boil and then simmered for about 10 minutes. That’s it. Not only is this sauce delicious and ridiculously easy to make but because of the high sugar and acid content, it will virtually last forever in the fridge.

So, at 7:51 pm I measured out all the ingredients for the sauce. Put them all in a pot on the stove and turned the burner on high then I moved on to my next task.

7:52 pm – Potatoes in the oven

By 7:52 the potatoes were looking pretty brown and ready to go in the oven. I gave them a quick stir and popped them in the oven on one of the center racks.

7:53 pm – Setting up the breading

At this point, I’ve been cooking for almost 10 minutes and haven’t even touched the fish yet. I’d say it’s about time I did. But, in order to do that, I first need to get my stuff set up for my breading.

I am going to use what is known as the standard breading procedure. It’s the same process I used to make the turkey fingers in the 5 Turkey Hors D’oeuvres post. The basic idea is that the food you are breading is first dusted in flour which sticks to the food. Then it is dipped in some beaten egg that sticks to the flour. Finally, it is rolled in bread crumbs that stick to the egg. This process gives you a really solid bread coating that is going to stick to the food.

The flour and bread crumbs I used for this are gluten-free but you can obviously just use the regular stuff. First up, I combined 1 cup of flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. I used a fork to stir it up then set it aside. I measured out 1 cup of bread crumbs and I beat 2 eggs.

With the breading station set up and out of the way I also took this time to grease a sheet pan. I used about 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and evenly spread it on the sheet pan. It may seem like a lot of oil. Honestly, it could probably use more. The oil isn’t so much there so that fish doesn’t stick to the pan. It is actually going to help crisp up and brown the breading. I highly recommend you don’t cut this oil back.

7:56 pm – Fish

Right around this time, the sauce started to boil. I turned it down to a simmer and left it alone.

Now, it was time to get to work on the fish. I used 3 haddock fillets which made enough for about 4 people. I first cut the loin (the thicker part of the fillet) off, then cut that into 2 or 3 fingers depending on how thick it was. Next, I cut the other half of the fillets into finger-sized pieces too.


7:56 pm – Bread the fish

With the fish cut, it was now time to bread it. Each piece went into the flour first then the beaten egg, and then the bread crumbs. Once the fish fingers were breaded they got placed on the greased sheet pan. I left about a 1/2 inch between each finger. This helps them to cook and brown more evenly.

Once all the fish was breaded and on the sheet pan, I put them in the oven on the center rack. I set a 7-minute timer and left them alone.

Since I was opening the oven anyway I took this opportunity to give the potatoes a quick stir. Then I washed and dried my cutting board and wiped down my counters.

8:04 pm – Pan on for veg.

Once everything was clean I put a pan on over medium-high heat for the vegetables. I let it heat up for about 2 minutes then added in 2 tsp of grapeseed oil along with the vegetables and a bit of salt and pepper. Next, I sautéed the vegetables for about 3 minutes, put a lid on the pan and took them off the heat. I let the vegetables sit until the rest of the food was cooked.

This technique with the vegetables was something I came up with the other day. Essentially, you sauté the vegetables in a bit of oil in a really hot pan with a bit of salt and pepper. The vegetables get cooked only until they are heated through. This takes about 3-4 minutes. Then the pan gets covered and taken off the heat. As the vegetables sit they release moisture which condenses and falls back down on them and onto the surface of the hot pan. Essentially, the vegetables steam in their own juices.

I have used this technique multiple times now, with multiple varieties of fresh vegetables and they have come out perfect every single time.

At this point, I also took the sauce off the heat and set it aside.


8:09 pm – Flip the fish

Okay, at this point the sauce is done, the vegetables are sitting off the heat with the lid on and there is still some time left to go. I took the fish out of the oven, flipped each piece, then popped them back in. I also gave the potatoes one last stir.


8:15 pm – Dinner is ready

At 8:15 the fish and potatoes came out of the oven and were perfectly cooked. The vegetables were hot and ready. And the sauce was good to go. It looked to me like dinner was ready.


Conclusion

This is the exact type of meal I ate a lot growing up. The difference is that this version was all homemade. But, what’s interesting is that even though it was all homemade, it took about the same amount of time as the boxed, store-bought stuff. Honestly, I made this in 30 minutes and you can too. Oh, and you can even make extra fish fingers and freeze them. Why not right?

Thanks for reading and enjoy the recipe! Oh, and it would mean a lot to me if you could share this on Facebook, Pinterest, or wherever you prefer.

Thanks everybody, see you Wednesday!

Fish Fingers with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Delicious and quick homemade fish fingers with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Fish and Chips, Fish fingers, Fish Recipes, Sweet Chilli Sauce
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 3 fillets Haddock
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free Flour
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (crushed red pepper) more or less depending on tolerance
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°f
  • Combine the salt and pepper with the flour and stir.
  • Pour the olive oil onto a baking sheet and spread evenly.
  • Dip the fish in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs and place on the sheet pan with at least 1/2 an inch of space between each finger.
  • Put the fish in the oven for 7-8 minutes, flip and then bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
  • While the fish is in the oven combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and chilli and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Sweet & Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps – In 30 Minutes or Less

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps – In 30 Minutes or Less

Good morning everyone! Happy Monday, happy new year, and happy to be back! Today, in honour of the new year, and the fact that many of you are probably watching what you eat for the next few weeks, I thought I would make a recipe that is a little lighter than usual. And so today, we are going to make Sweet and Spicy Chicken lettuce wraps in 30 minutes or less.

Some of you more keen-eyed readers may remember that way back in June we made ginger beef lettuce wraps. The basic idea is the same; make a filling and wrap it in lettuce. Basically, I just want to show you that lettuce wraps don’t have to be one thing. They can be comprised of a multitude of ingredients and flavours. Today we are using ground chicken, last time it was beef, next time it might be pork or fish, or tofu! Who knows?

Alright, that’s more than enough of a set-up Let’s take a look at how to make…


12:30 pm – Rice

First things first, we need something to serve with the lettuce wraps. I thought sticky rice was a logical choice. You, of course, can serve whatever you would like with your lettuce wraps. Cauliflower rice would be a good option if you are currently anti-carb. Either way, the first thing I did was get the rice going.

I measured out 1 cup of sticky (or sushi) rice, 1 1/2 cups of water, and put it on the stove on high. Follow the direction on the package your rice comes in as they may be slightly different.

The rice, like most rice, starts on high until it comes to a boil, then it is covered and left to simmer on low heat. This particular rice only needs to simmer for 12 minutes and then rest for 5 minutes. This short cooking time makes it perfect for these quick 30 minute meals.

Along with getting the rice going I also turned a wok onto medium-high heat. You don’t have to use a wok for this, but I found it worked really well. Wok or not, your pan should be on and pre-heating.


12:32 – Getting Started

Now that the rice is on the stove and coming up to the boil, it’s time to get the other ingredients prepped. Up first is half an onion which should be diced nice and fine, minced even.


12:34 pm – Take the chicken for a wok

In the time it took to dice the onions, the wok has sufficiently heated, and the rice has started to boil. I added 2 tbsp of sesame oil to the wok along with 1 lb of ground chicken. Next, I gave the rice a little stir, put a lid on it, turned the heat down to low, and set a timer for 12 minutes.

The now diced white onion is not the only vegetables going in this dish, it isn’t even the only onion. That means, that it is time to get back to some knife work. I took 4 green onions, cut them in half and set the top half aside for later. I finely diced the bottom halves and added them to the white onions.


12:37 – More Knife Work

Once the green onions were chopped I took a second and gave the chicken a stir. Then I got right to work dicing half a red bell pepper.


12:39 pm – Garlic

With the bell pepper chopped I gave the chicken another stir and chopped up 3 cloves of garlic.


12:41 pm – Onions in

Okay, the chicken is nice and browned and the veg is all chopped and ready to go, let’s start cooking. First up, I added the white onion, green onion bottoms, and the garlic to the chicken and cooked for about a minute.


12:42 pm: Sweet pepper, hot pepper.

Next up, I added in the red bell pepper and 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper (chilli ) flakes.