Weeknight Chicken Teriyaki

Slow Cooker TeriyakiHappy Monday!  I have been extremely busy these last few days as my husband and I are desperately trying to make a decision about our living situation.  Since the move to South Carolina, and the SUPER fun craziness that I mentioned here (please note the heavy sarcasm in that statement), we have been renting a smallish house while we build our home.  But finding a builder, closing on a plot of land, designing a house, etc is keeping us very occupied.  I have literally been running from one place to another, always with Evelyn, Eli, and Lane at my side and I haven’t been home all that much to prep dinner ahead.

So.  Quick and easy stovetop recipes have been my main go-to choices this summer.  Especially since our grill broke.  Say what??  Yes.  It broke.  In July.  Talk about rotten luck.  Maybe Mike and I should make shopping for a new grill our next date night?!  A little dinner, a little dancing, a little flirting over BTU’s and automatic ignition switches…

My slow cooker has also gotten a ton of use as well and there will be several recipes coming your way soon.  I have been keeping it by my side more than usual.  And I don’t mean that figuratively; sometimes I set it on my nightstand for safe keeping while I sleep… because yowzah!  Its true what they say!  South Carolina is HOT!  Granted, its not unbearable and we are kind of loving it, but heed my words friends.  Yes!  South Carolina summers are hot and I ain’t just whistling dixie!  So anytime I can get away with ignoring the ‘ol oven is a good day.

This chicken teriyaki recipe was one I had been messing around with the last few months we were still living in IL.  I really really love teriyaki of any kind and I have been making several different versions over the years.  But when I decided to just break it down to the basic teriyaki ingredients with no extra frills, I discovered we all really liked that best.  Go figure!  The simplest and easiest version  is our favorite!

A few things to note:  There is white rice in these pictures because when I photographed this recipe, I was cleaning out my pantry for the move and found some instant white rice in the back corners of the cupboard.  I rarely purchase white rice anymore so PLEASE be sure to eat this with brown rice for the crazy amounts of nutrition it contains.  That said, its your life.  This is fantastic with any kind of rice, rice noodles, or plain old linguini.  Heck!  Scoop it up with cardboard and this stuff would still be outrageous.  I won’t tell.
Slow Cooker TeriyakiWeeknight Chicken Teriyaki 
Inspired by Nigella
Cut up the chicken and make the sauce the night before and you can have dinner on the table in no time!  Mirin is traditional to teriyaki and gives it a flavor you can’t skip.  It is a Japanese rice wine that has a sweet taste and I keep the open bottle in my pantry just for asian recipes.  I easily use a small bottle before it spoils.  Look for it in the asian/international food section of your store.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into large, bite sized pieces (about 8 thighs)
1/4 c mirin
1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
1 heaping tsp of sesame oil
1 heaping T of brown sugar
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated, about 1 T
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste

Mix all ingredients together and let marinade for half an hour.  Heat a large skillet-preferably non-sitck-and add just a bit of olive oil.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the chicken out of the marinade and fry over medium heat until it gets good color and is almost cooked through, turning so it doesn’t burn, 5-10 minutes.  Add the marinade to the pan and let bubbly slowly while the chicken cooks the rest of the way and the sauce thickens, a further 5 minutes.  Sauce will thicken a bit more as the dish cools.  Serve over brown rice with fresh veggies!

Quick & Easy Pita Chips

Pita ChipsJust popping in to post a quick recipe for an easy snack!

We really love crunchy pita chips at our house.  However, the five of us can easily finish off a whole bag in one sitting so generally, it just makes more sense for me to make them myself.   Very easy and much cheaper to do.  In addition, I can control the level of crunchiness and get them a toasty as we prefer them.  My husband likes things VERY crunchy and just one head scratch away from burnt so I always leave a handful or two on the pan a bit longer for him.  For those of you that prefer your food toasted, but not cooked to ashes, just a few minutes is all you need.
Pita ChipsAbove, these beauties are all set and ready to pop in the oven!  Below?  Toasted and perfect to dip in some hummus!
Pita ChipsQuick & Easy Pita Chips 
These do lose their crunch after a day or so.  My advice is to make them fresh when you need them so you can finish them off while perfect and toasty!  If you have access to different flavors of pita bread or even flavored oils, this would be a good application for that.  These are pretty basic so please experiment with herbs and spices to customize your chips!

Pita Bread-homemade or store-bought (I usually buy it whole wheat and fresh from the bakery.  Then I tuck them in the freezer for whenever I need them!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut your pita bread like a pizza, into 8 or even 16 pieces, depending on what kind of dippers you like.  Spread them out in a single layer on a dry sheet pan and spray or lightly drizzle evenly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 10 minutes.  Check on the chips and continue to toast until desired crispiness.  How long it will take will depend on your oven, your individual tastes, and the moisture content of your bread.  Just keep and eye on them so they don’t burn.  You can turn them over halfway through if you like, but it isn’t necessary.  Cool slightly and enjoy!

Loaded Roasted Pepper SandwichIt is hard for me to convey just how spectacular the combination of these flavors are.  The only thing I have been able to come up with is, thats so good, you will want to eat it even when you are pregnant and so sick the though of a sip of water makes you want to hurl.

Because really, that is what I associate with this sandwich.  Three times over (baby 1,2, and 3), I was sick the entire 9 months of my pregnancy. As in, I threw up in the delivery room bathroom a few hours before my daughter was born because even then, I was still puking.

In an effort to make me ANYTHING that I could keep down, my husband handed me this sandwich when I was still in the early stages of pregnancy #1.  Needless to say I was skeptical.  I will spare you the details of what happened when I was finished with it, but I will never forget how amazing it tasted.  Fresh, creamy, tangy, crunchy-it was outstanding.  Once I was my non-pregnant self again, I made sure to make the sandwich the exact same way to try and replicate that joy.  It was even better than I imagined!  And when I was prego again, it was often the only thing that sounded good, regardless of wether I could keep it down or  not.  I mean, just LOOK at that sandwich!  Does it not make your mouth water??
Loaded Roasted Pepper SandwichNow, I make them for my kids.  I have tried changing a few things-adding cucumber, skipping the step to toast the bread, or even using plain hummus-and all changes were good.  But not this good.  Something about these particular ingredients just go so great together.  The hubby knew what he was doing when he built this one!  I feel like I should mention that ripe tomatoes are key.  Don’t bother making this without them.  Loaded up with fresh spinach and avocado, it is chock full of good for you foods!  Which we all need, wether you are expecting a baby or not.
Loaded Roasted Pepper SandwichLoaded Roasted Pepper Hummus Sandwich

Whole Grain Bread-toasted
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus- homemade or store bought
Fresh Spinach
Avocados, pitted and sliced thin
Sliced Tomatoes
Thinly Sliced Cheese-CoJack is GREAT on this sandwich!

Assemble your sandwich in whatever fashion allows it to stay together the best. :)  Enjoy!