Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Thanks to their distinctive smokey flavor, canned chipoltle peppers really bring this recipe to life, but they can be a little intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before.

map of MexicoThe chipotle pepper is not actually a pepper, but rather the process of smoking jalapeño peppers. Such process is said to have originated in the area surrounding Mexico City.

The chipotle pepper, once smoked and dried, tends to be brown and shriveled. It loses very little if any, of its heat or spiciness through the smoking process. It is enjoyed by many for its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

You can remove some of the heat from a chipotle pepper by carefully cutting the pepper in half down the center and gently removing the seeds and membranes that hold the seeds to the inside of the pepper. There will still be a little heat, as the flesh of the fruit also contains capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot and spicy.

Be assured though, with the seeds removed, most of the heat is also removed.

A word of caution, if you choose to remove the seeds, be careful not to touch your eyes during the removal, as the pepper can be extremely irritating to the eyes and skin. If you want, just wear some gloves while removing the seeds.

Because of the chipotle pepper’s spiciness, only a small amount of the pepper needs to be used in a recipe, large or small to provide flavor without creating a dish that is too hot.

Freezing Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce For Later Use

can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauceMost recipes call for a very small amount of the chipotle, which means you will end up with an almost full can when you finish. To get around this, remove the peppers from the can and pour all of the flavorful liquid into a food processor.

If you don’t have one, use a small glass bowl. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out and discard the seeds. The seeds pack a lot of heat, so keep some of them if you like extra spice.

Place the peppers in your food processor and pulse them until a paste is formed. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them to the bowl of reserved liquid. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Next, line a large plate with plastic wrap and scoop the pepper paste in 1 teaspoon measurements onto the plate, leaving enough space between them that they don’t run together. Place plate in the freezer to harden.

Once set, wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the now-firm pepper paste portions and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Pull out 1 or 2 teaspoon-sized portions and use in your favorite recipe that calls for a little heat.

Start small with the amount of chipoltle peppers you use. You can always add more if you like a little more heat.

Our featured recipe is Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons himalayan salt
2 teaspoons frsh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teasapoons from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

spicy chicken wingsLine a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next add chicken wings to baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure wings are not touching.

Season wings with salt and pepper, then place in oven. Bake until skin is crisp, approximately 45 – 50 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the wings are done, add garlic and butter to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until garlic becomes translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add ginger, chipoltle peppers, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes syrupy.

Transfer the sauce to a glass bowl and add the cooked wings. Toss until coated and either serve immediately, or place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place under broiler for two minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with a side salad.

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How To Prepare Birria de Borrego

 

How To Prepare Birria de BorregoPreparing Birria de Borrego  can be considered a labor of love, as it takes more than three hours to prepare, and it is well worth it.

What is the difference between lamb and beef you may ask? Lamb tends to have less marbling than beef, and when you trim the fat around the edges after cooking, the meat ends up much leaner.

You ask what about the fat? Will to start, even though their are no studies that have linked saturated fat to heart disease or raising your cholesterol, you will be happy to know that how you prepare meat influences its healthiness. Grilling, broiling, and roasting, For example, meat that is grilled, broiled, or roasted tends to reduce fat, were as pan-frying will increase it.

Buying Your Lamb At Market

Organic standards help lower the risk of contaminated feed and organic lamb has higher nutrient quality. But to assure you are truly buying an organic raised animal, make sure that packaging say 100% grass-fed. However, remember that the word “organic” by itself does not guarantee a natural lifestyle for the lambs.

As long as a lamb is fed purely grass from a pasture it can have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Birria de Borrego on a serving platterIn Australia, where lamb is eaten frequently by both children and adults, recent studies have shown lamb to rank among the top omega-3 foods in the daily diet.

Grass-fed lamb has shown to average around 25% more omega-3 than grain fed lamb, including as much as 49% more alpha-linolenic acid.

The World’s Healthiest Foods (WHF) website used their nutritional profile of grass-fed lamb, and found on average that 100% grass fed lamb’s meat to have 40 milligrams of omega-3 per one ounce of roasted lamb loin.

WHF says that’s 50% of omega-3 found in an ounce of baked cod or broiled tuna, and 67% of the amount found in one ounce of sesame seeds.

Our featured recipe is a locally grown 100% grass-fed Birria de Borrego or Roasted Lamb, and here is what you will need.

By the way, if the area were you live doesn’t raise lamb, check out these websites…

www.localharvest.org

www.eatwild.com

They can help you find small local farms in your area, and both sites are searchable by zip code.

Preparing Birria de Borrego

2 pounds lamb roast

Dried Anchos with description6 ancho chilies, dried

3 chilies Negron, dried

1 ½ cups water

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons wine vinegar

2 tablespoons avocado oil

8 tortillas – Link here for homemade recipe

Salsa Verde – optional

Guacamole – optional

Place lamb roast in a large pot with tight lid. Add 1 ½ cups of water, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, vinegar and bay leaves to the pot.

Bring the pot of lamb to a boil. Once the lamb is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid over the pot. Simmer for two hours until the lamb meat comes off the bone easily with a fork. Remove pot from heat.

Allow to cool some, then remove the lamb from the pot and place on a plate or cutting board. Shred the lamb with a fork and cut with a knife if necessary. Salt to taste and place shredded meat into a large pot.

Cut the stem off the chilies and slit them lengthwise. Remove the seeds and place the chilies in a small saucepan with two cups of water. Bring the chilies to a boil and boil for two minutes or until the chilies are tender. Remove chilies from the water and chop coarsely.

Birria de Borrego - plated

Add the chopped chilies to the lamb and mix thoroughly. Reheat the lamb before serving. Serve on tortillas with salsa or guacamole topped with cilantro. A great meal for your Cino de Mayo celebration this May 5th, 2016.

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How To Spice Things Up When Cooking

Large collection of metal bowls full of herbs and spices -How To Spice Things Up When CookingHerbs and spices are used to enhance the flavor of food, either it be for cooking spaghetti carbonara or baking an apple pie.

An herb or spice can be a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or leafy part of the plant. They are principally used for flavoring food among other uses. They can be used fresh or dried.

Herbs And Spices Through The Ages

It is said that by the Middle Ages, the most common spices and herbs being traded and used were black pepper, cinnamon (including the alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

Herbs and spices are useful for many things, among others are medicinal uses, cosmetic or perfume production uses, and of course they are used add flavor to a meal.

By 1000 B.C. medical systems based upon herbs were found in China, Korea, and India. Also the Egyptians used herbs and spices for their embalming practices and their demand for exotic herbs and spices helped stimulate world trade.

Extracting A Spices Flavor

The flavor of an herb or spice is derived by exposing the volatile oil compounds of the seed or leafy part, that oxidize or evaporate when it comes in contact with air.

As an example, fresh ginger is usually more flavorful than its dried form, but fresh spices are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life.

Flavor of herbs and spices can be maximized by storing them whole and grinding when needed, as grinding greatly increases its surface area and so increases the rates of oxidation and evaporation.

If you decide to use dried spices, be sure to use them within 6 to 8 months of purchase. Ground spices are better stored away from light, as it also increases the oxidation of the volatile oils.

metal bowls filled with spices

How To Use Herbs And Spices

When using herbs and spices you’ll want to pick flavors that complement each other, such as the spice mix known as “pumpkin pie spice.” The ratios of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg add great flavor to the pie, and each spice doesn’t over power the other.

The key or rule of thumb to spicing things up is that less is more. Avoid adding too much all at once. Instead, add a little at a time and add more to taste.

A good example of over spicing and unable to fix it, is when you use oregano or cloves. Their volital oils are great for flavoring culinary and pastry dishes, but they are strong in flavor, and only require a small amount.

When using spices to flavor your meat or vegetables, use only 3 different types at a time. You can even use herbs and spice to replace salt. Choose your spice or spices, add a little lemon juice and unsalted butter.

Which spices pair well together for the best culinary dishes you can make? Let’s examine some of the most commonly used spices and which spices pair well with them.

The Have To Know Food Preparation Techniques

college of hands of chefs in the process of cooking Sometimes preparing food to either cook or bake can seem like a tedious job. Yes a job which takes up far too much time that you just don’t have.

But there are ways to save time with your food prep so you can spend more time doing other things you like or want to get done. Check out these creative food preparation techniques to help you save time in the kitchen.

Peeling Garlic Cloves

Image GIF Credit: America Cooks For Health

Peeling Garlic Cloves – Lay the clove on the cutting board and place the side of your knife over the garlic.

Place the knife on the garlic clove and with the palm of your hand push lightly over the glove, and the papery skin will peel fight off.

Need to peel multiple garlic cloves? Hit the head of the garlic with the palm of your hand, and then put all the cloves in a large jar.

Place the lid on tightly and shake vigorously. Remove lid, and pour garlic cloves and paper skin into a large bowl. You’ll have these cloves peeled in less than ten seconds.

How To Soften Frozen Butter Fast – You know putting the frozen butter in the microwave can often end up melting instead of softening. You can never get it quite right. So instead, take a cheese grater to the frozen butter and shred it. It will be softened before you know it.

Peeling Pearl Onions – These little devils can be a royal pain to peel. Well, not anymore. Chop off the tip of the onion – the end opposite the root end.

Cook in boiling water for two minutes and drain. When they’re cool enough to touch, simply squeeze each one at the root end, and they’ll slip right out. Chop off the remaining roots, and you’re done.

Shucking Ears Of CornCorn on the cob is the perfect summer side dish, but preparing it can be a shucking mess. No longer do you have to sit there and peel ears of corn and pull off every little hairy strand.

Some individuals do, but if you don’t have any concerns using a microwave, than put two ears of corn in with the husks still on and microwave for 8 minutes – that’s 4 minutes for each ear of corn place into the microwave. Remove with a pot holder, cut off the end without the stringy parts, then simply squeeze the ear of corn right out of its husk, silky pieces and all.

Removing Tough Stems – You don’t even need a knife to separate those tough stems from vegetables like kale, collard greens, and chard. With one hand, hold a leaf at the bottom by the thickest part of the stem. Use your other hand to gently pinch the leaf with your index finger and thumb, and then pull it up and off along the stem.

Removing An Avocado Pit – Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise. Take your knife and chop into the exposed pit, then twist and pull. Out comes the pit. Watch your fingers when you remove the pit from the blade of the knife. Now you can scoop out all of the yummy avocado goodness.

How To Peel A Hard Boiled Egg – Soft boil the eggs for about 12 minutes (or until eggs are hard boiled) with about two inches of water above the eggs and one teaspoon of baking soda.

How to cool boiled eggsRemove eggs from water. While still warm, give one end of the egg a tap on the counter and remove the shell pieces from the tip. Repeat with the other end of the egg.

Now cup your hands with the egg, raise your cupped hands with the egg to your mouth and blow. The egg falls right out of the shell! No peeling necessary.

Be sure to get your hard boiled eggs into cold water right away. If not you will have some issues as demonstrated here in the image to your right.

Peeling A Potato – Simply cut the peel lengthwise with a knife, all around the potato. Put in a pot of boiling water and boil until it’s soft inside. Then immediately remove from the water into ice water. Allow to soak in the ice water for 10 seconds and remove. Rub between your hands and the peel falls right off.

a womans hand squeezing a lemonHow To Get All Of The Juice Out Of Citrus Fruits – No need to purchase expensive juicing tools. Get all of the juice out with a simple pair of tongs.

Cut the fruit in half, place between tongs over a bowl or pitcher with the cut half down, and squeeze. You’ll be amazed at how much juice you have been missing from your fruit.

You can also place the palm of your hand over the citrus fruit while rolling it back and forth over the kitchen counter-top. Cut the fruit in half and see all the juice squeezed from it.

How To Peel A Kiwi – Slice both ends off the kiwi. Put a tablespoon between the flesh of the fruit and the skin and move the spoon all around the kiwi. This will ease the kiwi right out of its peel.

Fishing Out Egg Shells – We’ve all accidentally dropped a small fragment of egg shell in the mixing bowl from time to time. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to fish this minuscule piece of shell out of the yolk, but it can be one of the most frustrating moments of cooking when it happens.

Simply wet the tip of your finger with water and lightly place your finger over the egg shell, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly that piece of shell will stick right to your finger.

cutting round vegetables Cutting Round Vegetables – Nothing can be more frustrating like chasing down that carrot, or potato to chop it up.

Next time you have to cut a round vegetable, cut a thin slice along the length of the vegetable to create a flat side, turn it cut-side down on the cutting board and slice away.

When you get to the point where it starts to roll again, flip it onto the flat side from your last cut and continue to slice.

Separate Egg Yolks From Egg Whites – This might not be a time saver, but it’s a fun way to separate an egg. Crack an egg into a bowl. Gently squeeze an empty plastic water bottle and hold it over the egg yolk. It should suck up just the egg yolk, allowing you to transfer it to another bowl.

Prevent A Pot From Boiling Over – They say a watched pot never boils, but if you don’t watch it then you have a mess on your hands. So to keep that pot from boiling over. Simply place a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. Any spoon will do really, but a wooden spoon won’t get scalding hot.

These are just a few food preparation tips we have used. There are many more. Tell us, what are some of your  Food Preparation Techniques?

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Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.

Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.

Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.

red kale2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces pork chorizo sausage, 1-inch slices

1 medium red onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 medium purple carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt optional

4 cups red kale, stemmed and leaves torn

spooning from the sauce pot - Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoOver medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.

Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.

a large sauce pot of Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoBring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo - close upTo thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry.  As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.

In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).

The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish.  Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.

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South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup

South of The Boarder Chicken Tortilla SoupTortillas are used faithfully in Mexican cuisine as bread is used in the United States. There are corn tortillas and flour tortillas, which are mostly consumed in Northern Mexico.

Tortillas are a main food staple eaten daily in all Mexican households. Just as you would walk to the corner store for Tortilleriaa gallon of milk, so do Mexicans walk to the corner and buy tortillas from the “Tortilleria” were machines spit out dozens of corn tortillas hourly. I personally know this, as I lived in Mexico for 5 years, and bought one dozen tortillas about every two days.

Tortillas are also used to make a Mexican inspired South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup, which by the way is our featured recipe.

Here is what you will need.

6 tablespoons avocado oil, divided

6 corn tortillas, cut into 1×1-inch strips

1 small white onion, dice

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups of non-gmo natural chicken broth

1 cup water

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen non-gmo sweet corn kernels, thawed

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

Diced avocado, and fresh chopped cilantro, for optional garnish

frying tortilla stripsPlace a large ceramic coated frying over medium heat. Next add 3 tablespoons of avocado oil. Once the oil has warmed add the corn tortilla strips and fry until they are crisp.

fried tortilla stripsRemove from heat and using a slotted spoon, remove strips from oil and place onto a plate and set aside.

A ladle of South of The Boarder Chicken Tortilla SoupNext 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to a 4 quart soup pot. When oil is heated, add the diced onions, minced garlic, diced bell peppers, and saute until fragrant. Next pour in the chicken broth, water, cumin, and chili powder. Stir to mix all ingredients. Next add the black beans, sweet corn, and shredded chicken.

South of The Boarder Chicken Tortilla SoupBring the soup to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Ladle soup into soup bowls and garnish with the tortilla strips, diced avocado, and chopped fresh cilantro.

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Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsWith little more than your favorite spaghetti sauce (we used a sauce made with cream and vodka – from the Whole Foods Market), cream cheese and a shredded Italian cheese blend, you can have yourself some chicken roll-ups. They are super easy to prepare.

Here is what you will need:

2 oz. of cream cheese softened

¼ cup bell pepper; diced (red, yellow, orange, green, use all colors, or your choice – we buy tri-colored frozen bell peppers)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

4 chicken breasts; boneless skinless

1 cup Italian 5-cheese blend, finely shredded

½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup spaghetti sauce (your favorite)

salt to taste, optional

Heat oven to 400°

ingredients for Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

 

mix ingredients  togetherIn a medium bowl mix cream cheese, ½ cup of cheese, bell pepper, oregano, garlic and salt to taste.

When we salt in our recipes, it is always use Himalayan salt.

After you mix up the ingredients, set aside.

slicing chicken breast and flatting it with a robber mallet

Cut chicken long ways across breast. Place each cut chicken piece one at a time in a large plastic bag, seal it and with a rubber mallet or rolling pin flatten chicken to ¼-inch thicknesses.

preparing chicken roll ups

At one end of chicken strip roll up with cheese mixture, tucking in ends around filling to completely enclose the filling.

Place seam sides down in 13 x 19 inch baking dish coated with olive oil. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over chicken, and cover with aluminum foil.

chicken roll ups out of the ovenPlace in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove foil, sprinkle chicken with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

 

 

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsPlate and enjoy your Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups with a salad or your favorite vegetable.

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