30 Minute Challenge – Chicken and Chorizo Paella

It was a little crazy to try and get back into blogging at 40 weeks pregnant but saying that I need some distraction from this slow waiting game of wondering when she will come. Between an anxious toddler who doesn’t understand why her sister isn’t here now, a sick hubby and my own body struggling with the issues of the uncomfortableness of being 40 weeks pregnant I am starting to unravel a bit at the seams. So blogging is actually something I am trying to use to keep me slightly sane.

In continuation with my 30 minute challenge this month I decided to attempt some homemade paella. Until I moved to the UK I had never tried paella, although it is similar to Jambalaya. Paella is more commonly eaten with mixed seafood but since working in the food market world for the past 2 years I have been introduced to chicken and chorizo paella which I have fallen in love with. Traditionally this would be cooked in a wide, shallow, flat-bottomed paella pan but I found it worked out well in a deep, frying pan. The flavour in this dish is fantastic and while the toddler found it too spicy hubby and I were in love.

Chicken-and-Chorizo-Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried parsley
113g (4 oz) chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 onion, chopped
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
300g (1-1/2 c.) Paella Rice*
750mL (3 c.) chicken stock
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 generous pinch saffron threads *optional
150g (1 c.) frozen peas, defrosted
1 lemon, juiced
*I used Arborio rice this time and it worked out well
Adapted from Healthy Delicious

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Chicken and Jiu Cai Stir-Fry (Flowering Chives)

I am back! Second trimester is here and I am feeling more alive. I have really missed blogging but no matter how much I wanted to blog I just had no energy these last few months. I didn’t have too bad of a time morning sickness wise but for weeks all I wanted to eat was avocado toast (you really can’t get the Californian out of me) and as much as I think avocado toast is the best thing ever spreading fresh avocados on toast isn’t really a recipe so not really blog worthy. But while I haven’t had energy to blog I have been compiling an amazing list of recipes that I want to share with you.

Today’s recipe has me so excited I almost feel like I am shaking. Now why on earth would a recipe excite me this much, well let me explain. I have probably mentioned before that I grew up in Hong Kong and we spend about 8 months in Nanning, China. While we were there we were introduced to some incredible local dishes and ingredients that outside of that area we never saw again, including a vegetable that looked like the vines of a pumpkin. One of our favourite dishes included a long thin green with a slight flowered head, we were told they were garlic greens. I have served for what feels like forever for this ingredient. No Chinese restaurant that I went to seemed to have ever heard of it and as time went by I started to forget about it. But the other day we went to our favourite Chinese supermarket and there in the veggies were jui cai, or flowering chives. I got so excited I tried to explain to Chris how amazing this find was but he said I was so excited I wasn’t really making any sense.

I am not even positive if these are the exact vegetable that we had but boy does it look, smell and taste like it so surely it must be, right? I cook Chinese meals all the time, some of them are dishes I remember for Hong Kong or inspired by China and sometimes they are inspired from dishes I had in the US or here. But this is the first time I made something that smelled so much like Nanning for a second I could actually close my eyes and see images of it in my head. This dish blew my mind because it was the closest authentic taste of the food from that area of China that I have had since I left 14 years ago.

Chicken and Jiu Cai Stir-Fry

100g (3.5 oz) Jiu Cai (flowering chives), chopped into 1 1/2-inch lengths
500g (1 lb) chicken pieces, diced
80mL (1/3 c.) water
1 garlic clove, minced
For marinade:
2 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Adapted from Pig Pig’s Corner

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One-Pot Lentil Chicken #SundaySupper

I am so excited about this weeks theme. When I think of one pot meals I don’t just think about how much easier it is to make but how little clean up there is. I hate cleaning up, if I was wealthy I would pay someone to clean dishes as I went so my kitchen never got into that crazy messy state that it does after dinner preparations. In my dream world, right?

This recipe was both a huge success and a bit of a failure. In order to try and be healthier I chose a boneless, skinless chicken. I also used too large of a pan and this resulted in the chicken being pretty dry. But on the other hand the lentils ended up being the best lentil dish we have ever eaten. Seriously we made just a big bowl of the lentils the next night because we loved it so much. The other thing I loved about this recipe is it made just enough for two and was healthy.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Sunday Supper crew have come up as I am in need of more simple one pot dishes. What is your favourite one pot dish?

One-Pot Lentil Chicken

1 tsp vegetable oil
2 rasher lean dry-cure back bacon, trimmed and chopped
2 large pieces of chicken*
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tsp plain flour
2 tsp tomato purée
150ml (2/3 c.) dry white wine
240ml (1 c.) chicken stock
50g (1/4 c.) dried brown lentils
1/2 tsp dried thyme
85g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large
*The recipe calls for chicken thighs, I used chicken breasts, this might have been why it was drier
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1982/onepot-lentil-chicken

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Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers

I have to say sticking to crock pot meals is a lot easier these days with the weather being so rubbish here. There is something about cold weather that makes me want warm comfort food and it is so easy to create comfort food in the crock pot. This time I decided to make a Mexican inspired pulled chicken. Let me warm you the smell when you walk in your door at the end of the day will make you salivate. So far with all of the crock pot meals I have made over the past few weeks this one smelled the most amazing. It was hard to then wait until Chris came home to eat it.

Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers

4 large bell peppers, any colour is fine
3-4 chicken breasts
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
400g (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
120mL (1/2 c.) chicken stock
1/2 onion finely minced
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tps. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
226g (1 c.) salsa
4 slices of cheese
recipe adapted from Life as a Plate

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Napa Cabbage wrapped Chinese Spring Rolls #SundaySupper

Today’s Sunday Supper it is all about lighter options. Which works well for me since I have a few pounds I would like to lose before my brother’s wedding in May. Today I decided to share something that I have been wanting to make for a while. I am a big spring roll fan but I avoid making them at home because they are usually fried. But I started thinking about lettuce wraps and wondered if I could do something similar with napa cabbage that I had on hand. It was a bit of an experiment and at first seemed rather daunting but to be honest it turned out to not be as hard as I worried it would be. And it was so tasty. Although something like this is normally served as an appetizer I served it with some fried rice as a main course and we loved it.

Napa Cabbage wrapped Chinese Spring Rolls

1 head napa cabbage or savoy cabbage
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine (or white wine)
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
500g (1 lb) ground chicken or turkey
2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 stalk green onion, chopped
2 carrots, thin julienne cut
2 Tbsp oyster sauce

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