April 5, 2014: Mango Applesauce Chicken

photo 5

Nearing the end of break, I realized I still had a mango that I had bought last week, and wanted to do something with it. I had a few chicken thighs around too, as well as a couple of cups of 6-pack applesauce cups.

The first thing I did was poach the broccoli in the one pot, partly because I didn’t mind eating cold vegetables. Once the broccoli went into the pot, I started a microwaved baked potato in the microwave. While the broccoli was cooking, I started seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper.

Boneless chicken thighs

Boneless chicken thighs

After the broccoli was done,  sautéed the chicken. While they were cooking, I diced up a mango, and when the chicken was almost done cooking, I threw in the mango pieces to add some flavor. To be honest, it wasn’t quite as ripe as I would have liked, but I think the cooking helped bring out more flavor.

Cutting a mango

Cutting a mango

Chicken and mango

Chicken and mango

When the chicken was done, I took it out, leaving the mango pieces in the pot. I did a pseudo deglazing of the pot, adding some water, and a (half) cup of applesauce to the mango pieces.

Applesauce

Applesauce

I let the sauce-like mixture reduce a bit before putting it on the plate next to the meat. I thought it was a little sweet for my taste, and initially thought it would be better eaten as a dessert-like portion of the meal (actually, it made me think that a mango-apple pie might be interesting), but actually, it worked well with the meat. I put the sauce on the side of the plate with the chicken, and added the broccoli and half a baked potato for dinner.

Chicken thighs and mango and applesauce sauce, with broccoli and a baked potato

Chicken thighs and mango and applesauce sauce, with broccoli and a baked potato

 

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April 2, 2014: Chicken, Mushroom, Carrots

I bought a package of boneless chicken thighs at the market and thought I’d do something rather simple with them tonight. I started off by boiling some carrots for vegetables (yes I have some leftover asparagus from last time, but I wanted something new).

Boiled carrots

Boiled carrots

After that I seasoned the chicken – went simple today, just salt, pepper, and some Italian seasoning mix. I cooked the chicken in the pot with some oil at the bottom, I suppose a bit like pan frying (although I probably used a bit much oil, as I forgot to take into account the fat in the chicken).

Cooked chicken

Cooked chicken

I thought they had a pretty nice light brown/golden touch on the outside. I then used the leftover oil to saute some mushrooms to go with the meat.

Full dinner!

Full dinner!

March 30, 2014: Whitefish with Asparagus

Whitefish with asparagus

Whitefish with asparagus

I went shopping this weekend and picked up a fillet of Alaskan whitefish, with the intention of making an easy meal, wrapping the fish in  foil with a lemon and throwing it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

And then I realized today that I didn’t have any foil.

So onto plan B, cooking with my singular pot. I had bought asparagus to go with it (I seem to buy a lot of asparagus on breaks, though I don’t get it much on a regular basis). I did a quick steam of the asparagus first – I don’t mind eating it cold, and there’d be less clean up. For the fish, I cut the fillet into 3 pieces, I added some salt and pepper, and added some Italian spice mix on one piece.  I just put a little bit of oil in the bottom of the pot, and put in the fish to cook, flipping the fish halfway through. For the last 2 fillets, I added a couple of lemon slices about halfway through the cooking. I really liked the flavor, though I think next time, I’d add the lemon earlier.

July 14, 2013: Crusted Chicken with Mango Balsamic Sauce

I haven’t done much cooking this summer, but I decided to try something out today!  I’m spending the summer doing research in Pittsburgh, but my meals have generally consisted of 1) eating out, 2) lunch leftovers, or 3) microwaveable/add water meals, and as such, I haven’t been updating the food blog that much. But that changes today!

Inspired by last year’s granola crusted chicken, I decided to do another crusted chicken dish. I decided to use Crispix cereal (mostly because that’s what I had), and crushed that into crumbs. Lacking spices, I decided to add some crushed pretzels to add some salt.

Cereal and pretzels about to be crushed

Cereal and pretzels about to be crushed

Crushed cereal and pretzels for breading

Crushed cereal and pretzels for breading

Then I prepared the chicken. I purchased three chicken breasts at the market this morning (one for tonight, two for later this week, but I cooked them all tonight).  I dredged them in an egg mixture and then covered them in the crumb mixture.  I then put them into a hot greased pan and let them cook.

Chicken covered in crumbs

Chicken covered in crumbs

Chicken in the pan

Chicken in the pan

Chicken cooking

Chicken cooking

I would have liked finer breadcrumbs to get better coverage of the chicken, but I think it ended up alright. While the chicken was going, I started boiling a pot of water to cook the asparagus. I also cut up a mango, to help make a sauce – one of the things that I wish I had during the first time I made something like this.

Steaming asparagus

Steaming asparagus

Cutting up a mango

Cutting up a mango

Soon the asparagus and chicken were done, and I pulled them out – along with all the little crispy bits of cereal and pretzel that had fallen off into the pan! The “sauce” was pretty simple. Again, multitasking my ingredients, I had a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette dressing, which I put into the pan with some butter and mango slices. It was already pretty reduced and I didn’t  have to wait too long.

Cereal crusted chicken on top of steamed asparagus

Cereal crusted chicken on top of steamed asparagus

Mango pieces in a balsamic "sauce"

Mango pieces in a balsamic “sauce”

Cereal crusted chicken with mango balsamic sauce

Cereal crusted chicken with mango balsamic sauce

In the end, it was quite delicious! The asparagus would cooked well, and the chicken was still juicy. The crust on the chicken was sweet, and the balsamic and mango sauce had a nice mix of flavors. The sauce helped add flavor to the chicken, since I lacked other spices, and the crust didn’t cover the whole chicken. I’m not sure if I will get to cook again this summer (hopefully though!), but this was a lot of fun to do!

July 27, 2012: Steak Round 2, Time Battle!

So Friday night was another one pot wonder night – a whole dinner using my one pot; only this time I was up against the clock! I had been planning to cook the last 1/2 of my steak, from a few weeks ago, sometime during the week, but didn’t have a chance to do so until Friday. Friday, of course being the night of the Opening Ceremonies for the London Summer Olympics. I came back later than I had expected from the internship, and by the time I had gotten ingredients and gotten into the kitchen, the NBC coverage at 7:30 was only 40 minutes away, and by my count, I needed 45-50 minutes to cook the whole thing.

Steak!

So the first thing to do was cut the steak up into about three portions, because based on the first half, it should last for about three meals. And so I threw in some oil into the pot while I started cutting up the steak. The oil heated up quickly, perhaps more quickly than I could cut up the meat, but I threw in the meat as soon as I cut it – realizing then I had forgotten to add any spices! So quickly, I threw in some salt and pepper into the pot, trying to coat the meat. Not sure how effective that was though.

Cooking the steak

Anyways, I then had the different pieces of steak going. Everything up until then was quick – a little time for a break. But it was like a competition show! In fact, I’d like to see some of those shows give their chefs only one pot – it’d sure test their ingenuity! (And I’m sure they have a heck of a lot more than me!)

So the main challenge here was keeping the heat high enough to cook the meat fast, without burning – a task made harder when the sides of the pot also give off a lot of heat (though it can help the cooking too!) While the steak was going along, I washed some spinach.

It took a while for the steak to cook, because of its thickness. I ended up cutting some of the pieces; I know I lost some juice, but it was a faster cook time.

(Mostly) cooked beef

I took the steak out with the spatula, and then threw in the spinach right away (no need to rinse the pot for this, it’s a timed cooking session after all! I added some water, and covered it, letting it boil and steam, along with the beef juice, allowing it to shrink.

Spinach

I poured that out into a bowl, and threw in the butter into the hot pot for the Rice a Roni. To my dismay, they use MSG in their spices (perhaps I’d be better off at a cheap Chinese restaurant that says “No MSG”!). Anyways, I got that going, and by the end of its simmering, I had to run back and forth to see the start of the Olympics coverage  (granted it was directly around the corner; and there were other people, so no threat of buring down the place!). Luckily, the actual ceremony was about 20 minutes in, so I was safe. But I had it simmering, so I could run away for about 30 seconds. With about 5-10 minutes left of cooking time, I threw in my leftover rice to cook, and I was done!

One Pot Meal!

Truth be told, this picture was taken before the rice was cooked – I wanted a nice picture, so I took this one with the leftover rice while the new rice was cooking. Then after everything was done, I washed the plate and dishes, and ended up eating from plastic leftover containers so I could go to the TV room and watch the opening ceremony with everyone!