Thursday, March 13, 2014

Semi Homemade Chicken Pho

Semi Homemade Chicken Pho... I've blogged about my love of Pho before but only eating it at a Vietnamese restaurant. I have never dared to venture on this journey at home, but this weekend at my local Mariano's I found something totally inspiring. This package called Happy Pho - made by a company called Star Anise Foods. It's a Pho kit essentially that provides the spices and the brown rice noodles, then you do the rest. I also figured this would be a perfect opportunity to use up my second week of shredded chicken and set out to prepare it last night. It was perfect & I am so excited to have found this lovely product.

First of all the ingredients are so simple and organic that there is no fear of adding something totally fake and toxic to your broth. Here is the list of ingredients in the seasoning pack.

  • Organic star anise
  • Saigon Cinnamon
  • Dried shitake mushrooms
  • Spring onion
  • Black cardamom
  • Ginger

I mean what isn't enticing about that list? Unless you don't like mushrooms (cough cough - MOM), then you can choose the Ginger Pho kit instead!

It also came with a package of brown rice noodle's - that ingredient list was just as impressively simplistic:

  • Brown Rice
  • Water
  • Organic Green Tea
  • Salt

I mixed this with water instead of chicken broth

The brown rice noodles and the spice packet

Happy Pho!

How to:
Bring a pot of 4-6 cups of stock (chicken or veg) to a boil - I used water and Better than Bouillon. Then add the seasoning and simmer for a couple minutes. At that point I added my refrigerated homemade shredded chicken, a few stocks of diced asparagus and let it cook for another minute or two. I tossed in the rice noodles and let them soften on a simmer for another minute and voila - insta Pho! The best part it you can add any veggies or protein you want - tofu would be a great substitution for the protein and adding something like water chestnuts or sprouts would be a good additional crunch.

I added a tiny bit of soy sauce and a squeeze of lime while it was still in the pot, then I proceeded to top it with fresh cilantro, sriracha and another lime wedge. It.was.perfect.

I never ended up using the Hoisin but kept it as an option

Dahlicious Pho goodness

A second bowl... how could I not??
I am so excited to have found their Dahlicious product and will continue to report out on them if I find new ones!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken

Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken... I have had a slow cooker for years, probably 6 or 7, and I don't think I have used it once. Many a time I have seen recipes that call for a slow cooker that look just fab and I think "I NEED to make that" - and then inevitably I don't. The idea of  slow cooker should be that it eliminates the labor of a meal cooked over an open flame which needs a watchful eye, however I always get bogged down by the recipe's which ask for the cook to brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. To me it defeats the point of why I'd use a slow cooker (though I suppose the real reason is to cook things long and slow so they are tender and full of flavor). Anyways, I'm essentially preaching to myself here.

This past week I don't know what inspired it but I just HAD to use that slow cooker. I did a quick search of the proportions one should use if they want to make simply shredded chicken in the slow cooker and I got to work. It was simple as can be. A few chicken breasts, 2 cups of liquid, some seasoning - 4 hours on high and shred with a fork.

Here is what I used:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
You could use 2 cups of chicken or veggie broth instead, heck you could just use water if you didn't care too much about the extra flavor. I plan to use this chicken for dinners a couple nights this week where it will be seasoned according to the meal so it wasn't essential to have much more flavor infused in the chicken than from my list above. Everything on that list is optional - except the chicken and the 2 cups of liquid. Once the chicken is ready, 4 hours on high, you can fish it out with a fork and it literally just falls apart with the slightest prodding.

Now that I've gotten past the first use of the slow cooker, if anyone has must try favorites please let me know!

Hope everyone finds this super simple and Dahlicious way that I'm learning to love chicken helpful in their weekly cooking routine as well!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.... I actually hate that phrase but I couldn't get it out of my head, hence it had to be used.

In yoga we were told that Fall was the transient season, where we were likely to feel flighty, flakey and in the process of change. I have to say that for me winter and especially the start of 2014 has aligned much closer to that description than Fall 2013. It feels as if everything is in flux and as if I can hardly control a single thing, least of which my dinner. Despite that I have,I suppose, been cooking - and in fact even trying a few new things. But I have been so swamped with non-blog life (so sad) that nothing has made it's way onto Dahlicious in far too long.

My experimenting last week was with chicken, done in the slow cooker and shredded to perfection. I've mentioned time and time again how I loath grilled chicken so finding ways to make chicken tolerable for me is a constant battle. But this solution seemed to work quite well and I'm even going for it again this week.

I'll do a separate and brief post about the chicken process, but here is what I made with my big batch of shredded chicken throughout the week:

  • Whole wheat pasta tossed in vodka sauce with chicken and roasted asparagus
    • Last week was one of those weeks that was totally and utterly draining in every sense of the word. All this girl wanted was a big bowl of carbs - but the lean chicken and the fresh asparagus added a good healthful touch
  • Chicken salad for lunch
    • Simply mixed with a little mayo, salt, pepper, and the obligatory celery for crunch - I served it atop an arugula salad and it was perfection
  • Shredded BBQ Chicken with wild rice and roasted asparagus
    • This one was odd but I hadn't planned on the wild rice until I realized something weird happened to my sweet potato and had to toss it. It looks funny but it was quite Dahlicious, well rounded and yummy

  • Beyond that I whipped up a quick tofu stir fry on Monday and a pretty Dahlicious Chicken Picatta with charred broccoli and onions atop a bed of quinoa.
    • First I sliced the chicken breasts in half to make them nice and thin, then I dredged them lightly in flour with salt and pepper. I gave them a quick fry on high heat in a bit of olive oil until both sides were golden. Popped them in the oven at 325 to finish cooking for about 15 minutes while I worked on the sauce. Using the drippings I added lemon juice, sliced lemon, white wine, chicken stock, garlic, butter and capers (plus a few more pinches of flour to thicken the sauce up). I just kept whisking and adding more of each ingredient over a light simmer until the chicken was ready.

Hope this Chicken post inspires some of you to get creative with foods that you know are healthful staples but might not be your favorite. There will be more chicken posts to come - happy Tuesday yall!