shoyu chicken

today we have a snow day!!!  yay!!! i love snow days and because we live in the dc area we actually get a fair amount of snow days/late openings considering we don’t get all that much snow.  the district just is a bit over cautious and tends to freak out even with a couple inches of snow.  but i’m certainly not one to complain.

because now i have some extra time to write a blog post and share with you a recipe for one of my favorite local (hawaii) foods – shoyu chicken.  kind of funny writing about food from a nice sunny warm place since it’s cold and snowing here, but it’s actually the perfect comfort food, so rain or shine this is a great dish to make for you and your family.

shoyu is soy sauce in japanese and in hawaii people frequently refer to soy sauce as shoyu.  so pretty straightforward, this chicken is cooked in a soy sauce or shoyu based sauce – it’s almost like a teriyaki sauce, made with shoyu, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and a touch of rice vinegar.  the chicken thighs (or breast – though i prefer thighs because they have less of a tendency to dry out) are cooked in a slow cooker in this lovely sauce for a few hours.  once the chicken is done, the sauce is slightly thickened with some cornstarch and the chicken is ready to serve is a bowl of steaming rice.  my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

i hope you give this simple, savory recipe a try and get a taste of hawaii.  enjoy!

first, mix all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl – it’s just shoyu, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, and rice vinegar.

then place the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the bowl of your slow cooker/crockpot.  you could also chicken thighs that still have the bone in and/or skin on it.  whatever you prefer.  chicken breast may work, but i have found it to get too dry.

pour the sauce over the chicken.

there you go…

but now you need to mix the sauce and the chicken to make sure that each piece of chicken is covered in sauce.  this will ensure all of the chicken will absorb the flavor of the sauce.

now cook the chicken on low for 4-5 hours  or on high for 2-2 1/2 hours.

take the chicken out of the pot and slice each piece.

the sauce will have a bit of fat in it, especially if you use chicken thighs.  so carefully skim off as much of the fat as you can.  this is what it looks like pre-fat skimmed.

once you remove the fat, mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and then pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce.

mix and then cook until the sauce is thickened slightly.

put the sliced chicken back into the sauce and stir to coat the chicken with sauce.

serve the shoyu chicken with a sprinkle of chopped green onion.

aloha!

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buffalo chicken taquitos

a while ago, i made some baked creamy chicken taquitos that were on many, many different blogs.  everyone had rave reviews about them and after i tried them, i definitely understood why.  so when i came across these baked buffalo chicken taquitos on pinterest, i couldn’t wait to whip up a batch.  i mean, come on, taquitos + buffalo chicken = absolute deliciousness!

you all know i love buffalo chicken flavored dishes and i’ve made buffalo quinoa bites (they are especially a-to-the-mazing!) and buffalo chicken wonton already before.  p.s. i make buffalo quinoa bites all the time – they make the best healthy lunch (i’ve actually been leaving out the chicken completely and just making them all quinoa which works out great!).  well, i have no doubt these buffalo chicken taquitos will be added to our lunch rotation.

they are easy to make and actually not too unhealthy considering the alternative – buffalo chicken wings that are fried and stuff.  plus to up the healthiness factor, i used reduced fat cream cheese, low fat mozzarella cheese, added in some celery, and used whole wheat tortillas.

but do not fret, these changes do not affect the taste at all – they are still as delicious and satisfying as ever.

step 1, mix the cream cheese and buffalo sauce (i used frank’s) together.  i made a double batch of these taquitos so don’t be alarmed that the amount of ingredients looks a bit more than what the recipe calls for.

lovely.

then pile on the rest of the ingredients, chicken, celery, mozzarella cheese (i don’t know if you can see it but i used a little cheddar cheese because i didn’t have enough mozzarella cheese), blue cheese, and green onion.

mix everything together and the filling is ready.

now to assemble the taquitos, spoon 2-3 tablespoons (or a bit more depending on the size of your tortilla – mine were a bit bigger than the 8 in ones called for in the recipe, so i added more filling) of the filling together the bottom half of the tortilla.

then roll it up tightly.

ta da!

place the taquito on a baking sheet and continue assembling the rest of the taquitos.

spray the taquitos with cooking spray and then sprinkle some kosher salt onto each one.

bake the taquitos for 17-20 minutes.  i should have baked mine a bit longer – unfortunately, they did not get as golden brown as i had hoped so just keep an eye on yours and if the tortillas aren’t quite crisp enough leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.

ooo look at all of that beautiful ooey gooey buffalo cheesy goodness!

serve the taquitos warm with some celery and carrot sticks.  you could also include some blue cheese dressing, but i found the taquitos to be creamy enough that they didn’t need any dressing.

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spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

sorry the picture above is not all that pretty.  but you know what the one downside with food blogging is?  having to wait to eat dinner because you’re trying to style your food just right so that you can take a pretty picture to post on your blog.  poor chris has to wait all the time – just one more second and we can eat, i promise!  a million seconds later and it’s finally time to eat.

well sometimes, i’m just so hungry that i’m not able to take all the time i would like to make the plate of food pretty.  this happened when i made these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells for dinner.  it was already past our dinner time and when i’m hungry, i get just a little cranky.  so i just plopped a few of the shells on a plate, snapped a couple pictures and we dug in.

so please forgive me for the less than beautiful pictures, but please don’t let that keep you from trying out this recipe – because it’s amazeballs.  yes, that’s totally a word (anyone else watch giuliana and bill?).

anyway, i stuffed the shells with a flavorful mixture of spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic, onions and herbs and then topped it all with some crockpot bolognese sauce and melty mozzarella cheese.  if you don’t happen to have bolognese sauce on hand (but who really does?  we only had some since i was on a crockpot/slow cooker kick) just use a large can of diced tomatoes or a large jar of your favorite pasta sauce.  the original stuffed shells recipe i used had sausage in the stuffing mixture, but i took it out since the bolognese sauce already had meat in it.  but if you plan on using just diced tomatoes or pasta sauce, i would definitely suggest adding the sausage back in.

start by boiling the shells.

once they’re done, rinse and drain the shells well and set them aside to cool.

then make the filling mixture.  saute some onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  once the onions are translucent, turn the heat off and allow the onions and garlic to cool.

in a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and basil.

then add the onions and garlic.

now the filling mixture is ready to be stuffed into the shells.

get ready, this is going to make a lot of shells,  so get 2 pans ready one 9 x 13ish and 1 8/8ish pan.  spread a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of each pan.

then start stuffing the shells and line them up in the pan.  big pan done…

and the little one.

now spread some bolognese sauce over the shells.

cover each pan with foil.

then bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.  take the foil off and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce,

and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

i’ll warn you, it’s going to smell really really good and you’re going to want to dive right in.  once you try it, hopefully you won’t blame me for not wanting to wait and take pictures and you too will want to just gobble these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells up.

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black bean cakes

so remember how i made a big ol’ batch of slow cooker black beans not too long ago?  well one of the reasons i made some beans was because i wanted to try out these black bean cakes that my coworker told me about.

she found the recipe in cooking light and absolutely loved it.  i love cooking light so i knew it was going to be good.  she actually told me about the recipe a while ago, but finally this past weekend i got a chance to make some.  the bean cakes are full of flavor with cumin, cilantro, and green onion and a big plus is that they are nice and healthy for you, packed with lots of protein.  served over a bunch of field greens (plus some condiments like avocado, sour cream, and salad) and you’ve got a delicious, healthful meal ready to go.

i planned on having them for lunch this week but we had some other leftovers that i needed to get through first.  but today i have them waiting for me in the fridge and i can’t wait to eat them.

first, add the beans, a little oil, egg, cilantro, and green onions to the bowl of a food processor.

pulse until the mixture combined and the beans turn into the roughly chopped paste (paste, yum).

then add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.

along with the panko breadcrumbs.

mix it all together and the bean mixture will tighten up a bit.

pour a bit of panko into a bowl or plate.  form 1/4 cup patties of the bean mixture and coat the patties in the panko.  i didn’t end up taking pictures of this process because it was quite messy.

but here are the cakes ready to be fried up.

heat some oil in a large sautepan.  cook the cakes for 2-3 minutes on one side…

flip them over…

and be sure to not to be like me and get distracted by your absolutely adorable puppy and allow one side to cook a bit too long and end up more toasted than you would like.

oops!

then serve it up with some salsa or sour cream or avocado or all three!

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crockpot butternut squash risotto

whenever i think of crockpot or slow cooker recipes, i automatically think of cooking some kind of meat whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, whatever it may be.  but i had no idea that you can make so many other things in the slow cooker like desserts and even risotto!

if you read miki’s kitchen regularly, you know i love risotto – and now i may love it even more knowing that you can make it in the slow cooker!  i had resigned to the fact that in order to have risotto i had to stand in front of the stove stirring and stirring and stirring.  not anymore!!!

although it’s not authentic risotto because it isn’t made on the stovetop with lots of stirring, it still is perfectly creamy and amazing just like stovetop risotto.  this risotto is full of tender butternut squash and a sprinkling of peas.  isn’t it pretty! i just love the beautiful orangey-yellow color of the squash and the bright green of the peas.

if you’re looking for an easy and actually relatively quick slow cooker meal (it only takes a little more than 2 hours, compared to most slow cooker meals that take 4-6 hours), please try this crockpot butternut squash risotto.

of course, the risotto starts with the butternut squash.

peel and chop that bad boy up.  i ended up getting about 5 cups of chopped squash from mine, so i saved some of it for later.

set the squash aside and saute the onions and garlic in the melted butter.

once the onions are translucent, add the arborio rice.

cook for a few minutes, making sure each grain of rice is covered with the butter.

then add the white wine (i was actually out of white wine, so i added the same amount of chicken broth).

stir constantly for about 5 minutes until all of the wine or broth is absorbed.

pour the rice mixture into the bowl of your crockpot/slow cooker.

then add the chicken broth and chopped butternut squash.

mix it up and put the cover on – then set the cooker to high and cook for about 2 hours.

after about 2 hours, it ends up looking like this…

you should take a closer look.  checkout how creamy it is, even without the cheese and even without being made on the stovetop!

so now, add the frozen peas and stir to incorporate the peas throughout the risotto.

allow the risotto to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

turn the crockpot off and add the cheese, salt, and pepper.

mix and it’s ready to eat!

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