Tag Archives: rice

WW Chinese Pineapple Chicken

27 Sep

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 015

How many wagons have you fallen off of? Have you fallen off of the sweets wagon? The alcohol wagon? The Friends reruns until 4 a.m. wagon? The “I’m tired of being treated like shit” wagon?

Eventually, we all find ourselves looking at the tread indentations of that friggin’ wagon trailing away from us while mud is kicked up into our faces. We’ve fallen off. A particularly erotic eclair spreads its legs like an elusive crush, or that box o’ See’s candies bares its nickel-shaped nipples like a shameless Brad Pitt seducing Geena Davis; or a bad day requires a friend named Martini and the rest is Absolut history; or a sleepless evening can only be comforted by Ross and Rachel and Phoebe and Janice; or perhaps you don’t know what being treated nicely feels like, so you’ll take shit over nothing.

The expression is an old one (early 1900’s, to be exact), yet we apply it to so many areas in our lives that require restraint, reflection, admission, and determination, at some point. Should you feel misery and self-loathing when you fall off? Fuck no. Get back on when you can and try not to make the same mistake twice, and if you do, get back on and try not to make the same mistake thrice, and if you do, get back on and don’t make the same mistake… get it. Keep tryin’, kid. You’ll get there.

I fall off of the Weight Watchers wagon regularly. Do I get pissed at myself? Yeah, but not enough to damage me permanently or make me wallow in a maelstrom of guilt. I’ve learned to enjoy dusting myself off, to be honest. It builds character.

I mention this because this Chinese Pineapple Chicken dish was the first Weight Watchers meal I ever made when finally, at 60 pounds above my “normal” weight, I got on the wagon and actually tried to help myself. I signed up for Weight Watchers, weighed in, went to meetings, stopped being a pussy, started walking a lot, and, fifty pounds later, was healthier.

And I’m glad this dish was the first because it’s excellent. If it sucked, I would have fallen off the wagon within a week. This dish gave me some hope, and it also made me realize that my “cooking” mind was way, way too narrow. There are plenty of ways to enjoy and indulge in good food without feeling after every meal like a goose being prepped for foie gras harvesting.

I got this recipe out of one of the first brochures that I received when I signed up for Weight Watchers. This recipe serves four, and each portion is a 6 on the old WW system (PointPlus and 360° can fuck off non-haltingly).

Note: Asian Black Bean Sauce favors vary, so find one that you dig, and go with it.

Chinese Pineapple Chicken

Serves 4


Cooking Spray

1 bunch of scallions (green onions), trimmed and sliced thinly

1 tbsp. chopped, fresh ginger (do not substitute for this)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

2 cups crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks, packed in juice

1/4 cup Asian black bean sauce

2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I used brown rice in the pictures; it has more fiber, holmes.)

Makin’ It:

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking spray. Add in the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Saute and stir this for about 4 minutes until it’s nice and pungent. Add in the chicken and saute it until it’s browned and almost cooked through, about 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add in the pineapple (juice and all) and the Asian black bean sauce. Stir it all together well. Get this to a simmer, lower the heat to medium, and cook it, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Put 1/2 cup of rice on each plate, and divide the Chinese Pineapple Chicken amongst the four plates. You might get this:

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 010

I put sriracha on the rice because I like spice to kick me in the nuts a bit.

It’s easy, fantastically tasty, and a good place to learn how to stay on the wagon.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013


Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

24 Jul

Garlic Chicken 022

Somewhere along the line, and I am thinking Emeril had a lot to do with this, people started going crazy with the garlic. I mention Emeril because every time he would add garlic to a recipe he was preparing, people started cheering in a “you shouldn’t do that, but fuck yeah” sort of way. In other words, it seemed that adding excess garlic to a dish became the equivalent of a Jagermeister shot at last call.

About 3 hours north of us in Gilroy, California, there is a garlic festival every year which draws thousands of people who get to sample everything from garlic bread to garlic ice cream. The health benefits of garlic have made headlines throughout the years as well. In an excellent memoir called Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, the two centenarian African-American women attest to eating a chopped raw garlic clove and cod liver oil every morning, which was one of their secrets to longevity.

The Stinking Rose is a restaurant to which I have been both in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, and they specialize in festooning almost every dish with garlic. When you arrive, a jar of spreadable garlic awaits you on the table and the saturation just mounts from there: 40 Clove Chicken, Gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce, garlic fish and chips, and the obligatory garlic ice cream which, for me, works only as a novelty. When my wife and I went there for dinner some years ago, people nosed us for days afterward and seemed to pirouette away from us when we bid them “HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIiiiiiii” in an”H” heavy, breathy voice. I chased them and my wife shook her head at me.

This garlic chicken recipe is garlicky, of course, but not to a level leading to the ostacization we experienced. I gleaned this from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and didn’t really mess with it much because it’s solid.  In fact, a portion of this with a 1/2 cup o’ rice is a 6 on the Old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off interminably). This is quick-to-make, filling, light, and will give you a garlic fix should you need one.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Makes 4 Servings

Old Weight Watchers Value: 6


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup water

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. oil

10 green onions, sliced into 1″ pieces

1 cup sliced mushrooms

12 cloves garlic (or more), peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (1/2 of a can drained)

2 cups hot cooked rice

Makin’ It:

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces (1/2″) and put them in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Pour this over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and set it aside for later.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook them for 2 minutes or so, until they’re tender. Remove these vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.

Now add the chicken to the skillet, cooking and stirring until it’s no longer pink, about 4 minutes or so. Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, give a quick stir to that reserved marinade (so the cornstarch doesn’t settle at the bottom), and pour it into the center of the skillet. Cook this until it’s thickened and bubbly (like Kim Kardashian), and then push the chicken back into the center and mix it all together. Return all of the veggies to the skillet and add the water chestnuts, too. Cook and stir this for a few minutes more and serve with rice.

Garlic Chicken 011

You can add cashews, too, but the WW points value will go up, of course. Piece of cake.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chipotle Spanish Rice

29 Jun

Chipotle Spanish Rice Top

Chipotle peppers have made quite a name for themselves over the last few decades or so. The eponymous restaurant chain has obviously spread the name a bit, but even before it, these little smokey chiles began popping up all over the place in recipes. Have you ever had Subway’s chipotle mayo? Do so. It kicks ass.

Over ten years ago, I remember reading recipes in Bon Appetit that called for “canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.” So I bought a can and looked/ marveled at it for some time, wondering what to do with it. Until then, I thought that the “chipotle” was the area that everyone else calls the “taint” on the human body. I guess I was out of the loop on this. Personally, I like chipotle better, you know: it imparts more of a spicy flavor profile, if you catch my drift. The taint, well, ’tain’t much soul there.

In any case, the first time I used these in a recipe, it was for enchiladas or something of the like, back in the early days of my learning to cook.  I remember the distinct smoky aroma as I chopped them up and I did notice a lot of seeds. “Bah,” said I, “seeds will give it more flavor. These can’t possibly be spicy.” Wrong. I can handle spice, but my wife, then my girlfriend/ roommate, looked as though her alabaster skin had been assaulted by scrub pads. Between trying to take bites and wiping her brow, she indicated that she could go on no further. While the enchiladas were great (lie), the chipotle spice had done her in, she said. I noted mentally to remove seeds from chiles and peppers thenceforward.

I posted a Spanish rice recipe a while back (, and I make this regularly. But as often happens, I started thinking. I wanted some variation on it. I looked in the pantry, saw that can o’ chipotle peppers, and my mental gears started cranking noisily, like a rickety North Korean space shuttle. The recipe below is what emerged, and it blew our socks off. Like my other rice recipe, this is simple to make and quite healthful, too.

Remember, remove the seeds from the peppers as you mince them. It’s a messy job, but the appearance of the peppers isn’t important because they blend in with everything else.

Chipotle Spanish Rice

Makes about 8 servings


1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. oil

1 tsp. chili powder

2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup water

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and peppers minced, reserving some the sauce

3/4 cup uncooked, washed rice

1 cup frozen green peas, somewhat defrosted or not (not that important), or fresh, if you have them.

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

Makin’ It:

In a large skillet, heat the oil  over medium- high heat and cook the onion until tender, about 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic during the last minute so as not to burn it. Add the chili powder and cook another minute.

Next, stir in the undrained tomatoes, rice, water, chipotle peppers, peas, salt, and pepper. Add in a tablespoon or so of the reserved adobo sauce, too. This is key to the overall flavor. Get this boiling. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer it 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid it absorbed.

(Note: A good trick for checking if the liquid is absorbed is to run a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan. If the spoon leaves a path without juice filtering onto it, you’ve nailed it.)

Add in most of the black olive slices and stir. Check for salt and pepper and adjust, if needs be. Transfer it to a serving dish and top with the remaining black olives. You’ll get this:

Chipotle Spanish Rice

‘Tis easy to make and ’tain’t bad for you or your chipotle. 3/4 cup of this is a Weight Watchers 3 on the old system (Points Plus and 360° can fuck off to an alarming depth). Top with some grilled chicken, and you have a meal unto itself.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Slow Cooker Country Captain Chicken

27 Apr

Country Captain Chicken 003

Being a California native, I asked myself in my head, “What the hell is Country Captain Chicken?” the first time I heard of it. During my first years of teaching, one of my colleagues, originally from West Virginia, said she was making this for her son that night because he was coming home from college for the weekend and this was his favorite.  When I heard this, I asked her, “What the hell is Country Captain Chicken?” I received but a nebulous answer that it was chicken. And lastly, when I was looking through my Weight Watchers cookbook, I saw a Country Captain Chicken recipe, and I therefore inquired aloud, “What the hell is Country Captain Chicken?”  I am somewhat implacable concerning some things.

Briefly, Country Captain Chicken is a full-on American dish comprised of Chicken (told you), mushrooms, tomatoes, raisins, and curry over rice.  I would never have guessed, based on the ingredients, that it would be a southern tradition, but ’tis, and ’tis another reason I love the south.

Wikipedia, a reference that I mock and scorn as a teacher teaching research (yet I embrace as a lover of easily-accessible information in my private life), indicates that Country Captain Chicken could be regarded, as Chef Mamrej Khan has said, as one of the world’s first fusion foods.  Wow.  Wikipedia also describes that it was brought over here by the British probably through the port of Savannah with which the British East India Company traded.  Therefore, my Anglophilia is satisfied by this account and it is an Indian-British-American South dish.

Now with Weight Watchers, stews are very prominent because they fill you up, they can made without a lot of fat, and they still pack tons o’ flavor.  The Country Captain, whoever he is, does that job brilliantly here. The curry ties everything together, and you get a huge portion (2 1/4 cups) on rice (1/2 cup) for only 7 points on the old WW system (Points Plus and 360° can both fuck off indefinitely).  Moreover, it’s a slow-cooker recipe, so you can put this baby together before work and, when it’s time to eat, all you have to make is the rice.  Easier than a curious college student on Mardi Gras.

Slow Cooker Country Captain Chicken

Serves 4


3 cups mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom variety would work)

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 chopped bell pepper, seeded and membranes removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs), chopped into bite-size pieces

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chicken broth, fat free if possible

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp.  black pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes, or diced tomatoes crushed by hand

1/4 cup raisins or dried fruit

2 cups cooked rice, white or brown

fresh basil leaves (optional)

Makin’ It:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking spray or a tiny bit o’ olive oil.  Add the mushrooms, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute these guys until they’re tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add these to the slow cooker along with the chicken and mix it all up.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the broth until it’s smooth.  Add it to the slow cooker. Add in the curry powder, salt, pepper, paprika, tomatoes, and raisins.  Stir this together until it’s well-blended.

Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours.  Spoon 1/2 cup o’ rice on four plates (use a measuring cup to make the cool rice dome you see in my pictures). Ladle the chicken and sauce on each plate. You can serve it with fresh, torn basil leaves too, and it’s wonderful.

Country Captain Chicken 009

This has been a regular in my house for years.  Taste it and you’ll know why.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms

16 Mar

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms 3

The five or so local grocery stores all know me on a first name basis. I go to the market six days out of the week, sometimes twice a day if I forget something.  I didn’t think much about it until I ran into a former student at the nearest Vons.

It’s amusing to see students, even former ones, outside of the classroom because they usually get nervous as hell and ask me some of the most outlandish questions to fill the uncomfortable air.  I think the idea that a teacher has a life outside of school trips them out, and many of them are just beginning to acquire the social skills necessary to navigate out of the teenage universe, which can be daunting.  I will tell them in class, “I don’t just fold up and go in the closet when you leave.  I actually live.  I wear shorts. I even have feelings.”  The fact that I have a child, I know, makes them realize at some point that I had to have sex at least once, which probably just turns into an imaginative wonderland for them as they listen to me prattle on about how memorizing the beginning lines of Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is a rite of passage for any English-speaking human. Or perhaps I adopted, so then I never had to “do it,” which would make things easier for them, I’m sure.

Anyhow, the student at Vons had graduated the previous year.  She asked me, “Are you still at Pioneer?”  This is my favorite student question, and I get it often from graduates because they have no concept of a “career” yet; they think that I might just decide to quit teaching and move on whimsically to start working on the Christmas tree lot seasonally or fill in the void at the mall’s coffee shop to make ends meet.  This naivety is among the reasons why they’re endearing to me and why I love teaching them.

She then proceeded to tell me that her friend works at the store and that she said that I come in there every day, and that it’s kind of weird.  I attested that I do, indeed, shop often because I need certain ingredients for what I’m making, of course.  What I didn’t tell her is that going to the store for alcoholic beverages accounts for much of my ubiquitousness on those premises.

After this meeting, I have gotten a bit self-conscious about my shopping frequency, but not enough to change my ways totally.  Still, I will now try to “make do” with what I have in the kitchen, MacGyver-like, and see what happens once in a while.  Such is the case with this Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms.

When I opened the fridge, I had mushrooms and ennui-inspiring boneless chicken breasts.  I did some googling, found this recipe (,1-0,honey_ginger_chicken,FF.html), tweaked it a bit, and embarked on my mission.  It’s quick to make, easy, and awesome.  Serve it over rice and some stir fry veggies and you’ll be whistlin’ Dixie.

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms

Serves 4


1 bunch of green onions, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

1 large chunk o’ ginger, peeled and finely minced

2 tbsp. oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Makin’ It:

Heat the oil in a skillet (if you have a wok, have at it) over medium high heat.  Add the chicken cubes and saute them until they are browned all over, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes (if you need to add a bit more oil after removing the chicken, then do so).  Raise the heat, add the garlic and mushrooms, and saute for 2 minutes.  Return the chicken to the skillet.

In small bowl, combine the soy sauce and the honey.  Pour this over the chicken mixture.  Add the ginger and mix it all well.  Saute this for about 5 minutes longer, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the green onions and serve.

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms 4

This dish is so simple to make and quite fulfilling.  The ingredients are easy to find too.  If you have trouble with anything, I’ll meet you at the market to help you.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Cajun Jambalaya

3 Feb

Jambalaya 011

I have a few love affairs with certain cultures, and the culture of New Orleans is one of them.  Way back in the ’80’s when I was in high school, I rented a movie on VHS called The Big Easy starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin.  It’s a sexy legal thriller about the mafia and corrupt New Orleans cops.  The music, the accents, and the food depicted in it made me long to know more about it.  I told no one then, but I actually bought the soundtrack to the movie on cassette, and I still have it memorized.

From there, I developed quite an interest in New Orleans culture, and I got to know the music quite well. When I began playing the drums at 18, I practiced often to New Orleans-Zydeco-Funk music, and The Meters, Aaron Neville’s band, has had one of the most profound influences on my drumming.  Even more interesting is that, last year, a colleague of mine wanted to jam New Orleans music, and he asked if I had any knowledge of it.  Of any drummer he could have asked,  I have that background, which is a bit esoteric.  My wife and I went to New Orleans for our first time 6 months before Katrina hit, so I watched the tragic events that followed in tears, literally, because I love that city so much.  A big reason that I studied French all through college was partly due to my love of New Orleans, too.

It also happened that, as I got into that culture, a certain chef by the name of Emeril was festooning the TV channels with “Bam!”, heavy spice, garlic, and a laissez faire, confidence-building attitude to inspire amateur cooks at least to attempt to make good food.  I didn’t really start cooking regularly until my late twenties, but when I did start, I started with Emeril.  He made me want to cook.  Whatever one may think about him, just like Ringo on the drums, he got many people not to be intimidated by cooking and instead to try daring recipes.  I was one of them.

Jambalaya is the quintessential Cajun dish.  Simply put, it’s a spicy rice stew and, if made right, it’s a nut buster. For me, jambalaya is one of those dishes by which I will measure a restaurant.  If it’s on the menu and they make it well, I’ll be back.  If not, pox on them and their families.

The best part is that jambalaya is quite easy and somewhat cheap to make.  The recipe below is Emeril’s, and I really don’t mess with it because there is no need to.  I will say, though, that I will omit the shrimp sometimes just because I have to be in the mood for shrimp, but that would be my only alteration. If I don’t use shrimp, I add more chicken and sausage to it.

I put the recipe for Emeril’s Essence (the crack-like substance he “bams!” on everything) after the jambalaya recipe.  I always have a batch of it in a jar because I use it for a dry rub on steaks, chicken, whatever.

Cajun Jambalaya

Serves 4


12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (if you like shrimp; if not, omit and add more chicken and sausage)

4 oz. chicken, diced

1 tablespoon creole seasoning (like Emeril’s Essence, recipe follows)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (whatever color you have works, dude)

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 tbsp. chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes with some o’ the juice (my trick)

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegary hot sauce, like Tabasco or Crystal

3/4 cup rice, rinsed

3 cups chicken stock

5 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Makin’ It:

In a bowl, combine the chopped shrimp, chicken, and the creole seasoning.  Mix it together well and set aside.

In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the oil over high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, and celery.  Cook this for about five minutes.  Then, add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Cook this for a minute or two.  Then, stir in the rice and cook for a minute. Slowly add the broth and get it boiling.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook it, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the rice absorbs the liquid and becomes tender, about 15 minutes.  When the rice is tender, add the shrimp, chicken, and sausage.  Cook this until the meat is done, about 10 minutes more.  (At this point, I have even hit it with a 1/4 cup of white wine for good measure and it works out famously.) Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more Creole seasoning, if you want some more heat.

Spoon it into a bowl and serve with some French bread and alcohol of some sort, like red wine, a beer, or a Sazerac, if you have some class.

Jambalaya 009

Emeril’s Essence

2 1/2 tbsp. paprika

2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. dried thyme

Combine all of the ingredients well and keep in an airtight container.

And that’s it!  This is a great dish to serve company, too, as long as you are sure that they like some spice.

Mardi Gras is next week, so it’s apropos to share a jambalaya recipe.  Go on Pandora and find a Mardi Gras station, cook some jambalaya, get your gin-and-juice on, and laissez les bon temps rouler.

A la prochaine, mangez, buvez, et ayez surtout la paix.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chicken Satay Stir Fry with Orange Rice

31 Jan

Chicken Satay Stir Fry with Orange Rice 009

I want to hate Rachael Ray, I really do.  But I have to admit that I have yet to make a recipe of hers that isn’t good.  For many of the “celebrity” chefs and hosts, it follows that they have to have something that makes them popular or “TV worthy.”  And with few exceptions, when I make one of their recipes, I am usually pretty happy with it, whether or not I dilly and dally with it on a fit of whimsy.   As I get older, I am down with taking a tour bus, just like I am down with listening to someone who has an excellent idea or angle or dish.  In essence, I have no loss of pride or penis size in following a celebrity’s recipe, and neither should you.  So, while Rachael Ray’s scratchy voice might make me run to a cab if I had to engage in pillow talk with it, I welcome her recipes with gusto.

Such is the case with this Chicken Satay recipe (  I took liberties with it, to be sure, and it’s pretty damn good.  I harvested some of my oranges the other day, and I am always down with Thai food with a peanut sauce, so this recipe came out in a search, and it’s a keeper.

I tried to find the nutritional value of it and found little, really.  One website said that 1/2 of my recipe would be an old Weight Watchers 4, but just the stir fry (Points Plus can fuck off).  So, does that mean the sauce too, or just the stir fry?  The bastards, they weren’t specific.  But I would guess that 1/3 of my recipe below would be an old Weight Watchers 8, with rice and sauce.  The reason I say this is because there really isn’t much fat in it; the peanuts and peanut butter, and maybe some of the honey, are the only ingredients that make the calories go up. When all is said and done (and I’m a guy, so I can get away with it on Weight Watchers), give it a 9 or a 10 on old Weight Watchers.

I also learned that this is another great way to cook rice, and I will experiment with it in the future.  I have always been an oil-in-the-pan-and-then-the-rice-and-the-water sort of guy.  But her way works well here.  I did try to forget the scratchy voice telling me what to do, and I thank the local wine industry for helping with that.

The prep work is fun with this.  Just get all of the veggies ready to go, and get the rice cooked, and the rest is easy as pie.  You don’t even have to use EVOO, thank god.

Chicken Satay Stir Fry with Orange Rice

Serves 3 to 4

Orange Rice Ingredients:

2 cups rice, rinsed

the zest of 2 oranges

3 3/4 cups water

Makin’ the Rice:

In a saucepan, heat the water with the orange zest until boiling.  Add the rice and return to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.  Uncover it and fluff it with a fork.  It’s ready to serve at this point.

Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients:

2 tbsp. oil, canola or vegetable or peanut, dude

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces, and doused with a few squirts o’ soy sauce for good measure

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed well with the flat side of a knife

1 bell pepper, sliced into strips (take out the seeds and the membranes, wise guy)

2 carrots, peeled, and cut into 2″ matchsticks (totally fun to do)

1 bunch of green onions, ends removed and cut into 2″ pieces on an angle

1 cup green beans (partially cooked) or snow peas (note: I hate snow peas, so partially cooked green beans are a great substitute for them in a stir fry for me)

Makin’ the Stir Fry:

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat until hot.  Add the chicken, onions, and garlic.  Saute this for about 5 minutes until the chicken is browned and the onions are wilting a bit.

Add the rest o’ the veggies and saute this for about 6 to 9 minutes.  I actually covered the skillet for a few minutes because I’m anal about the chicken being cooked, but that’s me.  After about 8 minutes, it should be ready to go.  Meanwhile, get the sauce done.

Satay Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

4 tbsp. peanut butter (if you have chunky, great.  If not, add a few tablespoons of chopped peanuts)

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. honey

2 inch chunk of ginger root, peeled and minced

1 clove of garlic, either pressed or minced finely

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

the juice of 1 medium orange (use one of the ones you zested, wise guy)

Makin’ the Sauce:

Combine all of the ingredients and stir it over medium-low heat.  Use a whisk to really get this mixed and don’t let it burn.

To put it all together, take a scoop or two o’ rice and put it on the plate.  Put 1/4 to 1/3 of the stir fry on the plate next to it.  Take a few good spoonfuls o’ the sauce (1/4 to a 1/3 of it, duh) and drizzle it over everything, or just the stir fry, if you’re weird like that. You’ll get this:

Chicken Satay Stir Fry with Orange Rice 016

This tickled our taints.  It’s filling, flavorful, exotic, nutritious, and elegant.  No sriracha, soy, or any other condiment was needed.  So a big thank you to Rachael Ray, and may your scratchy voice remain at a bar and not in a cab ride home with me after gin and tonics.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013