Browsing articles in "Main Course"
Jan 5, 2014

Baked Chicken with Soy, Honey and Sriracha

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: 9 pieces
Total time: 10 min to prep, 45 minutes to bake

Well helloooo Pretty Tasty Things readers! I’m baaaack! It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, I think it was back in September with my Billy Bread French Toast. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! So, lets start off my New Year’s resolution with this childhood dish: baked chicken with soy, honey and sriracha aka the holy trinity…haha! This recipe reminds me of a dish my dad makes at home. He bakes chicken wings with a similar blend of sauces. I just tweaked it slightly by using chicken legs and thighs, and adding sriracha for some kick while keeping the same flavors as my dad’s recipe. The Filipino way is to eat this chicken dish with rice. Just ladle the heavenly sweet, salty and spicy sauce over the rice, it’s seriously my favorite part. Thanks dad for the inspiration! Enjoy, all!


1 package of chicken legs and chicken thighs (9 pieces total)
salt + pepper
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha (or more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1. Preheat oven to 350° and prep chicken.
Remove chicken from packaging and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. Place chicken legs in a 9×12 oven safe pan. Meanwhile, trim off the excess skin from the chicken thighs and add it to the pan. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.


2. Flavor chicken. Drizzle the soy sauce, honey, sriracha, brown sugar and Worcestershire over the chicken. If you like it spicy, feel free to add more than one teaspoon of sriracha. With hands, mix the chicken well to ensure everything is covered with the sauce.




3. Bake chicken. Place uncovered chicken in the preheated 350° oven for roughly 45 minutes. Every 15-20 minutes or so, remove the chicken and base the chicken with the juices. By doing so, the skin gets nicely caramelized. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature for thighs reaches 180°.




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Nov 25, 2012

Happy Bellies on Thanksgiving

I don’t know about you, but I had my fair share of food on Thanksgiving day. It hurt to move. Ha, seriously it did. This year, my husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my mother-in-law. It was just the three of us this year, which meant more wine and leftovers for us. Haha. This was also the first time I actually made a “Thanksgiving” meal since we typically go home either to D.C. or Roanoke, but we decided to stay put. The first thing I had to do was create the menu. I did lots of searching online for some new recipes I wanted to try. I did what I could to prepare some ahead of time, while the rest I cooked the morning of. Check out these recipes I created for our first Thanksgiving meal that I will certainly keep in my back pocket:

1. THE TURKEY & GRAVY: My first experience roasting a turkey went pretty well. Not gonna lie, it wasn’t perfect. We used a roaster with a cover which helped keep the turkey moist and tender. We removed the cover at the last 30 minutes of the roasting process, which wasn’t enough to brown the skin. We couldn’t leave it in the oven much longer because the turkey would have dried out. So we sacrificed the crispy skin for moist meat. Next time, I want both! With the pan drippings, I made a homemade gravy by just starting a roux (butter and flour) in a saucepan and gradually adding the drippings, stock and seasoning. Definitely much better than anything in a jar.

2. GARLIC & PARM MASHED POTATOES: I got two secrets to the perfect mashed potatoes. One, use gold potatoes. They have a great consistency when mashed. Two, simmer milk/heavy cream with finely diced garlic (about 4-5 cloves), some butter and a few herbs you have on hand. Simmering this mixture while the potatoes are boiling will just infuse all the flavors so nicely. This is a full proof way for flavorful mashed potatoes. Once you combine everything, add salt to taste.

3. FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE: I’ve had the typical canned green bean casserole. It’s not that bad, but it could be better. I found this particular green bean casserole on a cooking blog called Brown Eyed Baker. What appealed to me about this recipe is the the fact you can prepare this ahead of time and nothing came out of a can (besides the fried onions). The night before Thanksgiving, I made the casserole and refrigerated it overnight. The day of, I made the topping, popped the casserole in the oven for 10 minutes to reheat and added the topping to crisp up. This is not the moist figure-friendly recipe, but it had a fresh and clean taste to it without the use of anything canned.

4. SOURDOUGH BREAD STUFFING. Step away from the Stove-top and check out this amazing recipe for homemade sourdough bread stuffing from Dave Lieberman. Ahhhh, it is SOOO good. Like seriously. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I purchased the sourdough loaf from Panera and followed the recipe. The directions were pretty straightforward and simple, but the dish itself was rustic, moist, earthy and just delish. The sourdough just soaked up the flavors so perfectly. This dish is even better reheated since we did have lots of leftovers.

5. DINNER YEAST ROLL: So, I didn’t make these from scratch. I just couldn’t make myself! I cheated and purchased a bag of Sister Schubert’s dinner yeast rolls from Kroger. These were just delicious and didn’t require any work from me, which I liked. I just placed the rolls on a cookie sheet, added a smear of butter on the top and popped them in a hot oven for 10 minutes. These were the last thing we baked before we ate. Easy peasy!

6. CREME BRULEE: Last, but not least, the dessert. So I have something to admit. I am not a fan of apple, pumpkin, fruit pie. I don’t know why, I just never had an appetite for them. So, I decided to make something different. I made creme brulee from an easy recipe I found online. I noticed just from searching recipes, that creme brulee require the same few ingredients – egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract (or vanilla bean). I made these Monday evening and refrigerated them until I was ready to serve. I bruleed the top and popped them back in the fridge to harden for a bit. This dessert is super rich and decadent. A little definitely goes a long way. I loved it, but maybe next time I’ll try to lighten it up a bit.

So, that’s what we ate for Thanksgiving! I hope you give some of these recipes a shot because they were really good especially that bread stuffing! I just love trying new recipes. Did you find a recipe for Thanksgiving and absolutely loved it? Please share with me by leaving a comment below. Would love to hear from you!

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Sep 5, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

From the kitchen of:  Makes: 10-12 tacos
Total time: 5 min to prep, 15 min to cook

Step away from the packet. Seriously. I found something better.

We’ve all gone down the taco aisle at our grocery store and picked up a taco seasoning packet for less than a buck. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Everyone has done it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong it, but don’t you ever wonder what exactly goes into that packet? I’ve realized through all the meals I’ve made that if you can make it better homemade, why not? I found a taco seasoning recipe online that I’ve used several times now and have tweaked it a bit. I will say that I will never go back to a packet. I’m a true believer that people should make their own taco seasoning. The flavors are just so much bolder and brighter. Nine simple ingredients, that you probably already have in your pantry, is all that it takes to make homemade tacos.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/4 – 1/2 cup water
1 pound lean ground beef

1. Combine all the spices.
In a small bowl, combine all nine spices together. The spices are just a base so feel free to adjust the measurements to your taste buds.

2. Brown ground beef. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium temperature. No need to add any oil since ground beef tends to have some fat. Once warm, add the beef and brown the meat thoroughly, roughly 5-7 minutes.

3. Add seasoning and water. I used relatively leaner meat (93% lean, 7% fat) so I didn’t need to drain it. If there is a lot of fat, I would drain it before adding the seasoning. Add the seasoning to the meat, stir and gradually add some water. Continually stir on medium low heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture has reached the right consistency. If it’s looking dry, add a little more water.

4. Make your taco! Assemble your taco by adding some beef and all your favorite toppings. You’ll never go back to the packaged stuff. Enjoy!

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Aug 19, 2012

Pork and Collard Greens over Rice

From the kitchen of: Seamus, my brother-in-law  Makes: 6-8 servings
Total time: 10 min to prep, 6-8 hrs on low in crock pot

I won’t take credit for this recipe. I have my brother-in-law, Seamus, to thank. He makes this crazy awesome pork and collard greens in a crock pot every once in a while. Since we moved out of their home a few years ago, we don’t have the luxury of eating this all the time. So recently, I emailed him for the recipe because we wanted to make it ourselves. When I asked for it, I learned that he got the recipe from his friend, James. So, a big thanks to James for sharing your recipe with Seamus and in turn, with Pretty Tasty Things readers. My husband and I absolutely love the salty and intensely flavorful combination of Old Bay seasoning with Worcestershire sauce. These strong spices permeate the pork and collard greens for hours in the crock pot allowing everything to get super tender. The juices from the pork and spices create such a bold taste. It’s perfect served over a bed of rice to balance out all the flavors.

1/4 cup Worcestershire
3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 bunch of collard greens, 2 if you have a big crock pot
1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
2-3 lbs pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
steamed rice

1. Prep collard greens.
Carefully rinse the collard greens under cold water to remove any dirt. Pat dry. With a sharp knife, slice the collard greens 1-inch thick.

2. Pack the crock pot. Place the sliced collard greens in the crock pot. Remove the pork shoulder from the packaging and place directly above the collard greens. Over the pork, add the Worcestershire and then sprinkle the Old Bay Seasoning. Cover and allow to cook in the crock pot for 8 hours on low.

3. Add mushrooms. About 2 hours before you serve, add the quartered mushrooms into the crock pot. Allow the mushrooms to cook down and about an hour before it’s ready, break up the meat and mix everything together with a pair on tongs. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy!

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Jun 19, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Red Onions and Blue Cheese Burger

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: 4 burgers
Total time: 10 min to prep, 30 min to cook

The combination of blue cheese and balsamic vinegar packs a huge punch in this burger. Literally. I took a bite of it and the flavors were unbelievable strong, but so amazingly delicious. I love blue cheese. It has a very pungent taste. The blue/green veining in this cheese may not look too appetizing, but don’t let that scare you. The cheese is texturally creamy, it has a sharp and tangy bite. Blue cheese has an acquired taste, so if it’s not your favorite, there are hundreds of other cheeses to choose from. The red onions roasted in balsamic vinegar adds another dimension to the burger. The slight crunch from the onions gives it more texture. The roasted balsamic vinegar adds some sweetness and tartness, which help cut the sharpness of the cheese. Everything about this burger is bold and flavorful. So, if you love blue cheese and balsamic vinegar, this combination is for you.

1 large red onion, sliced
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar, plus a few more dashes
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic power
blue cheese
olive oil
salt + pepper

1. Roast red onions.
Preheat oven to 350º. Meanwhile, slice the red onion about 1/4-inch thick. Place the onions on a baking sheet and season with 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/8 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Once the onions are roasted, remove from oven and add a few more dashes of balsamic vinegar. Mix together.

2. Grill the burgers. While the onions are roasting, heat a grill pan at medium temperature. Place the ground sirloin on a cutting board. Season with worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix together and then divide the seasoned beef into four equal parts. Flatten each portion to desired thickness. Place the patties on the hot grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.

3. Assemble burger. While the burger is cooking, slice the blue cheese into relatively-thick slices. It will crumble, but no worries. It’s good either way. On a toasted hamburger bun, place the burger and top with sliced (or crumbled) blue cheese and balsamic vinegar roasted onions. Add a touch of mayo and enjoy!

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