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By learning about basic ingredients and how to use them, you can create simple, quick and delicious meals your family will love!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rosemary's Ham and Split Pea Soup

Cooking a recipe that is a family favorite can be a little intimidating, especially when the recipe is from your husband's family! But I think this soup was pretty close to the original.

Since we moved out of state several years ago, this is an annual tradition that my husband has missed, so I figured it was time to try and recreate this soup.  My mother-in-law (Rosemary), would use the leftover Easter ham to create a thick, creamy ham and pea soup, with just a hint of clove in the background.  The addition of celery, carrots and potato makes this soup a hearty meal.

This soup does take some time to prepare, but the hands-on time is minimal.  Just let the soup cook low and slow and you have a pot of soup ready in about 2 1/2 hours. Serve with crackers, either crushed right into the soup or on the side.  The family is equally divided on the proper method of how the crackers should be served, lol.  Enjoy!!

1 pkg  Hurst's Ham Peas Green Split Peas
1  Large Meaty Ham Bone
2 cups  Cubed Ham
2 quarts  Water
1  Whole Onion
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp  Ground Cloves
2  Bay Leaves
2 stalks Celery, diced
3 large  Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium  Potatoes, peeled and cubed

Rinse the peas in cool water several times, return peas to the pot and cover with 2 quarts of water.  Add the ham bone and the cubed ham to the pot along with the whole onion (leave the onion whole so it can be removed later),  then add the salt, pepper, cloves and bay leaves.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 90 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the whole onion and discard, then remove the ham bone and place on a plate.  Remove any extra ham from the bone, return the ham to the pot and discard the bone.  Stir the soup and add the celery, carrots and potatoes to the pot.  Continue to simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes or until the veggies are very tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If a thinner soup consistency is desired, add a bit more water during the last 30 minutes of cooking.  Serves about 8 - 10 large servings.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shrimp and Blue Cheese Noodles

Tonight we revisited a favorite family recipe, Shrimp and Blue Cheese Noodles.  This is probably my favorite seafood and pasta meal because the flavors are just a really unique combination. We used to make this dish years ago when my kids were very young and I wasn't sure if they would even remember having eaten this dish before.  But once they smelled the garlic, shrimp and blue cheese aromas filling the kitchen, they were excited to try this again.

Once again the combination of a few simple ingredients come together in an easy to fix dinner that can be ready in about 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of steamed spinach or asparagus and a few stuffed clams shells and you have a tasty meal on the table in no time. 
1 lb  Raw Shrimp, about 30, peeled and deveined 
2 tsp Minced Garlic
2 tsp Olive Oil
3 oz Cream Cheese, sliced
4 oz Blue Cheese Crumbles at room temp (or Gorgonzola)
1/3 cup Milk
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 lb  Regular or Whole Wheat Linguine
Grated Parmesan and Romano Cheese

In a large pot, heat water for the pasta, adding pasta when water boils. When pasta is to an al dente stage, turn off the heat and keep warm, but do not drain yet.

While the pasta is cooking, using a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering, then add the garlic. Lightly saute the garlic over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the garlic in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat just until shrimp begins to turn pink, then turn the shrimp over.

As soon as you turn the shrimp, add thin slices of the cream cheese on top of the shrimp and reduce heat to medium-low.

Once the cheese starts to melt, drain the pasta and add the pasta to the shrimp mixture.  Add half of the blue cheese to the pan and fold mixture over gently. Add the milk and the remaining blue cheese and stir until the cream cheese is fully melted and all of the noodles are coated. 

Portion noodles and shrimp out onto warm plates, top with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan and Romano cheese and serve.  Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Smoky Pork and Chorizo Tacos

If you're tired of boring ground beef tacos, this is a great way to upgrade taco night.  These Pork and Chorizo Tacos get their great smoky flavor from canned chipotle peppers with adobo sauce.  If you're not familiar with these little peppers, this is a really simple recipe to experiment with chipotles. 

Chipotles are jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried, then packed in a smoky, spicy red sauce.  One word of caution, different brands of chipotles can vary tremendously in flavor and heat.  For some recipes one pepper will add just enough spice, but with other brands you might need two or three peppers for the same dish.  The important thing here is to taste test.  Start with the single pepper and a little adobo sauce, taste the sauce, and if it is too mild you can always add more peppers or sauce.

If you have leftover peppers when you are finished with this recipe, there are many ways to use up the extras.  Store the remaining peppers, with the adobo sauce, in a small glass jar covered with plastic wrap.  These can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks without spoiling.  For a quick sandwich spread, you can puree the peppers and sauce with a few tablespoons of cream cheese.  Or they can be chopped and added to omelets, soups, chili, or polenta.  You can even freeze the leftovers in a small Ziploc bag.  The next time you are making chili, just break off a piece and add it to the chili pot. The added smoky flavor will transform any dish into something amazing.  You can find canned chipoltes in the Mexican foods section of your local grocer for about $1.00 per can.  Such a bargain!

This recipe uses pork sirloin, which is a juicy, full of flavor cut of pork.  When combined with spicy chorizo, onion, garlic and a few spices, you get a smoky taco that just needs a few toppings to be the perfect masterpiece.  We added sliced avocados, crumbled queso fresco cheese and, for the more daring, heat-loving diners, a little hot salsa for even more heat.  Enjoy!!

2 lbs  Pork Sirloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp  Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 TB  Olive Oil
1/2 lb  Fresh Chorizo, casing removed
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 TB Minced Garlic
3/4 cup  Crushed Tomatoes
2 or 3  Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, plus 2 tsp sauce
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp  Sugar
Soft Tortillas
Garnishes: Avocado slices, sliced onion, chopped tomato, salsa

Place the pork in a large pot, cover with water and add the thyme and bay leaves, then simmer the pork over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender and cooked through.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pork to a plate to cool.  Reserve 1 cup of the broth and discard the remainder.

When the pork is cool enough to work with, use two forks to shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and cook 10 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spoon.  Add the pork, onion and garlic, stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the reserved broth, tomatoes, peppers, adobo sauce, salt, pepper and sugar, stir and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.  Adjust the sauce as needed by adding a bit more salt, pepper or adobo sauce.

Spoon the pork mixture into soft taco shells and serve with an assortment of toppings including avocado slices, queso fresco cheese, salsa, chopped onion or tomato.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gingerbread-Guinness Cake

This is a great cake recipe I came across several years ago and with this being St Patrick's Day, this was a great weekend to test a Gingerbread-Guinness Cake.  The cake was moist, rich and full of that distinct Guinness flavor, but it was not an overly sweet cake.  It needed a little surprise on top, and the final touch was a dollop of Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream and a drizzle of chocolate.


You will have to use some patience while cooking this cake.  During the cooking process it may seem like more of a science experiment than a recipe. The beer foams when combined with the baking soda and looks a bit like a small volcano.  But fear not, the foam will subside and leave a mixture that smells incredible.  The cake does a little more volcano action while cooking.  The top foams and rises, then relaxes and becomes something that looks more cake-like.  If you are cooking this for your family, not only will your kids love to watch this cake being made with all of that foaming action, they will love the end result. This cake received three thumbs-up from the under-21 crowd. Enjoy!!

1 cup  Guinness Stout
1 cup  Molasses
1-1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
3  Eggs
1/2 cup  Sugar
1/2 cup  Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 cup  Canola Oil
2 cups  Flour
2 TB  Ground Ginger
1-1/2 tsp  Baking Powder
3/4 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp  Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp  Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp  Ground Allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, then butter the parchment and the sides of the pan.

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the Guinness and molasses and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the baking soda.  Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes until the foam begins to dissipate.  Then stir for a few minutes until the foam is gone and the mixture has cooled slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars, then whisk in the oil.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice.  Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, adding a small amount at a time, and stir until blended.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 60 - 70 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently pressed.  Do not open the oven door until the cake is almost fully cooked, or the center of the cake might fall slightly.  (Patience here, try to wait until at least 50-55 minutes into the cooking time to check for doneness.)  Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes, then loosen the sides of the pan with a knife and release the sides of the spring form pan.  Cool completely before slicing.

Serve with a dollop of Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream and a drizzle of your favorite chocolate syrup.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream

1 cup  Heavy Whipping Cream
1/8 cup  Sugar
3/4 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp  Vanilla

Pour heavy cream into a chilled bowl.  (If you have a stand mixer this works great.  Just pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes.)  Beat the cream on medium speed and slowly add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  As the mixture begins to thicken slightly, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture is thickened.  Serve immediately.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Guinness Chili

Anything you cook with Guinness Beer is going to be blessed with its thick, dark and rich flavor, and this bowl of Guinness Chili is no exception.  The secret ingredient in this chili is a square of unsweetened chocolate, which adds a nice background flavor to the beer, beef and spices.  The spices are actually very minimal, with just a small amount of cumin and chili powder to provide that familiar chili taste.

This recipe was a real experiment and it was amazing how the flavor of the sauce changed the longer it was allowed to simmer.  If possible, hold off adjusting the amount of salt until the last 30 minutes of cooking time.  Just one teaspoon of salt at the end was the only seasoning needed.

This chili does need a little extra time to simmer, but it is well worth the wait.  We served this chili on top of whole wheat linguine noodles, with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese and fresh minced red onion.  A simple bowl of deep, dark chili with the unmistakable flavor of Guinness.  Cheers!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

2 lbs  Beef Chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 TB  Olive Oil, divided
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Chili Powder
1/2 tsp  Cumin
1 small  Onion, diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
14 oz can  Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup  Water
1 tsp  Sugar
1 bottle  Guinness
1 oz  Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
1 tsp  Kosher Salt, if needed

In a large Ziploc bag, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.  Push the mixture around to blend, then add the beef to the bag.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Brown the beef in the oil for 5 minutes while stirring, then add the onion and garlic to the pot, stir and cook 5 minutes longer.  Add the tomatoes, water, sugar and Guinness to the pot, bring to a simmer and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. 

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-1/2 hours, then adjust the seasonings as needed.  Add an additional 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or a pinch of chili powder for more spice, if desired.  Serve with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese and minced red onion and a cold bottle of Guinness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crispy Butter Chicken

Crispy Butter Chicken is an Italian dish that is simply the best chicken dish I have ever eaten. It's really that good!  Using very basic ingredients, and some more of those salty little capers that I've been enjoying so much, this dish is all things.  It's fast to prepare, it's something your kids will love, and the flavors of capers, lemon, oregano and basil make the chicken incredibly tasty.  Oh yes, and it's cooked in butter.....lots of butter!

OK, I know this is the time of year when everyone is trying to eat healthy, but once in a while you have to splurge and enjoy a special treat for dinner.  And I can't think of a better reward for all your days of calorie counting than this mouth-watering chicken.  Enjoy!!

3  Boneless /Skinless Chicken Breasts, about 1-3/4 lbs, halved horizontally (5 - 6 oz portions)
1 cup  Flour
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 cup  Italian Bread Crumbs
3 TB  Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp  Dried Basil
4  Large Eggs
1-1/2  sticks  Unsalted Butter
3 TB  Capers, drained
2 TB  Lemon Juice

Use a meat mallet to lightly pound the chicken so they are an even thickness, about 1/2-inch thick.

In a shallow dish combine the flour, salt and pepper.  In a second dish combine the bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, and basil.  In a medium bowl scramble the eggs.

Working in batches with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, then into the egg, then into the bread crumbs.  Press the crumbs into the chicken to help the crumbs adhere.  Place coated chicken onto a baking sheet.

In a very large skillet, melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat.  Add 3 pieces of chicken to the pan and cook until golden and crispy, about 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook 4 minutes longer.  Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.  Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.

When all 6 pieces of chicken are cooked, add the remaining butter to the pan and stir.  Add the capers and lemon juice to the pan and stir, loosening any browned bits, and saute for 3 minutes until the sauce is warm.  Place one piece of chicken on each plate, and add a few spoonfuls of sauce over the chicken.  Serve extra sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pork Chops with Capers and Olives

This is not your ordinary boring pork chop!  This pork chop is bursting with the bright flavors of capers and olives and is super easy to prepare.  I also think this a very elegant dish and it would be a great meal to serve guests.

I've really grown quite fond of capers recently and I love finding new ways to use them.  If you are not familiar with capers, here is a little background on these tasty little buds.

I say buds because that's just what capers are, baby flower buds.  They grow on small bushes in the Mediterranean, and are used quite extensively in Italian recipes.  Capers are usually sold packed in brine but they can also be purchased salted.  These little buds add a tangy flavor to many foods and they taste great with salmon, chicken or veal dishes, too.  The are also pretty inexpensive at about $1.49 for a small jar.  Well worth every penny!

The capers, combined with a cup of Italian olives, a little white wine, chicken broth and half and half, made a delicious, creamy sauce.  For this recipe you could use heavy cream, which will create a slightly thicker sauce, but tonight we opted for half and half to keep the sauce light, and we were thrilled with the results.  If you've never tried cooking with capers, this recipe is a great place to start.  Enjoy!!

5 - 5 oz Pork Chops, about 1/2-inch thick
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
1 TB  Olive Oil
1/2 cup  Dry White Wine
1/8 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup  Italian Mixed Olives, pitted and sliced in half
2 TB  Capers, drained
1  Bay Leaf
1/2 cup  Chicken Broth
3/4 cup  Heavy Whipping Cream or Half and Half

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the oil.  When the oil shimmers, add the chops and sear for 5 minutes, turn the chops over and  sear 5 minutes longer, until the edges are golden.

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients, except for the cream or half and half.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the chops from the skillet to a platter and keep warm.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the cream or half and half to the pan.  Simmer the sauce for 3- 5 minutes to reduce and thicken.  Add extra salt and pepper if needed, and pour the sauce over the pork chops.  Serve with rice or linguine noodles. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Whitefish and Potato Chowder

I love to cook with almost any type of fish, but one of the most versatile and flavorful choices in the fish counter would have to be whitefish.  The medium-firm meat is higher in fat content which makes it an excellent choice for smoking or grilling, and also makes it difficult to overcook.  The meat holds together very well, so it works great in soups and chowders.

Tonight we used whitefish as the base of a hearty potato-vegetable soup.  Nothing too fancy here, just a handful of ingredients that let the flavor of the fish and potatoes shine through.  We used the lower starch Yellow Gold Potatoes for this chowder since they add such a nice yellow color to the soup, without the heavier texture you get from russet potatoes.

There's even a little bacon in the chowder because, well, everything tastes better with a bit of bacon! Of course, if you like things a bit more spicy, we have a solution for you, too.  My husband added several drops of Tabasco sauce to his bowl of chowder and he really enjoyed the extra heat.

This is a really easy soup to prepare and the mild flavors just might get your kids to eat more fish, which is always a good thing!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

1 lb  Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup  Half and Half
1 cup  Milk
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

1/3 lb  Thick Cut Bacon, diced
2 TB  Butter
1 medium  Onion, diced
1 stalk  Celery, diced
1/2 small  Red Pepper, cleaned and diced
1/2 small  Yellow Pepper, cleaned and diced
2 TB  Flour
1 cup  Dry White Wine
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
1-1/2 cups  Chicken Broth
1 bottle  Clam Juice
1 can  Yellow Corn, drained
1-1/2 lbs  Whitefish Fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
Tabasco Sauce or Fresh Dill or Parsley for garnish

Place the potatoes, half and half and milk in a medium soup pot.  Add salt and pepper and cook the potatoes over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes simmer.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook 7 minutes longer, or until potatoes are cooked through and tender.  Be sure not to let the potatoes come to a full boil, so you do not scorch the milk.

While the potatoes cook, fry the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, then add the butter to the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.  When the butter melts and becomes foamy, add the onions, celery and peppers, and stir together.  Saute the vegetables for 3 minutes, or until softened, then add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables.  Add the wine and thyme to the pot and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture reduces and thickens, then add the broth, clam juice and corn to the pot and stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, use a slotted spoon to remove half of the potatoes from the soup pot  and add the potatoes to the chowder.  Place the rest of the potatoes and milk into a blender and puree until smooth.  (You could also use an immersion blender for this step.)  Pour the potato mixture into the chowder and stir everything together. 

Add the whitefish to the chowder, pushing the fish down into the broth, turn the heat off and cover the pot.  Let the chowder rest for 5 - 6 minutes, then check the fish for doneness.  If the fillets are off-white and flake easily with a fork, they are fully cooked.  If the fish is not quite cooked, push the fish back into the broth and cover for a few minutes longer.

Serve the chowder in large bowls with strips of pepper, a sprinkle of fresh parsley or dill or a few drops of Tabasco Sauce for extra heat.  Serves about 6.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Asiago and Black Pepper Drop Biscuits

If you are looking for a light and flavorful bread to serve with a bowl of soup or a light salad, this is a great recipe to keep handy.  The Asiago cheese adds just the right amount of richness to these biscuits while the generous amount of pepper adds a bit of a bite.

These savory drop biscuits are easy to make because you do not have to roll or cut the dough, you simply drop tablespoons of the dough onto a baking sheet and they are ready to bake.  If you prefer a bit more salt, sprinkle Kosher salt or sea salt on the tops of the biscuits before baking.  Enjoy!!

1-1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1-1/2 TB Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Fresh Asiago Cheese, grated
3/4 cup Fat-Free Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or use 2 butter knives) until the mixture is a crumbly texture.

Add the cheese and toss well to combine, then add the buttermilk and stir just until moist.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and drop dough into 8 equal mounds. Bake for 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Spicy Italian Frittata

Tonight we decided to revisit one of my favorite breakfast recipes, our version of a Spicy Italian Frittata. A frittata is a type of omelet that has the ingredients mixed with the eggs instead of being folded inside the way you would cook an omelet.  This also makes it easy to cook a family sized meal in one pan.  With the spices in the Italian sausage and a little extra heat from Tabasco and taco sauce, this is a flavorful meal that the whole family will enjoy.

The reason this recipe makes my list of favorites is because it also makes a quick and hearty weeknight dinner.  So, with our chilly weather, tonight was the perfect night to make breakfast for dinner.

This is a simple meal to prepare and if you already have the sausage cooked, the rest of the meal comes together in about 25 minutes.  Once you cook the potatoes, the eggs are scrambled in the same skillet and the seasonings are added at the end.  Very quick and easy.  We served our Spicy Italian Frittata with Asiago and Black Pepper Biscuits and a little hot salsa on the side.

6 medium Red Potatoes, diced
1 medium Onion, chopped
1/3 lb. (about 6 oz) Hot Italian Sausage, cooked and chopped
3 - 4 Jumbo Eggs, lightly scrambled
3 TB Sour Cream
3/4 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 TB Taco Sauce
1/2 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Green Onions and Sour Cream for Garnish

Place diced potatoes in a large skillet and add just enough water to cover potatoes. Cover the potatoes and simmer 6 minutes. Add chopped onion, hot sauce, garlic salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 5-6 minutes longer.

When potatoes are lightly browned, fold in cooked sausage. Move potato/sausage mixture to the side of skillet, add the eggs to the other side and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fold eggs into the potatoes and sausage. Add sour cream, grated cheese and taco sauce, stir gently into mixture, cover and remove skillet from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions.  Makes 5 servings.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Garlic-Sweet Chili Chicken Stir-Fry

Tonight we made a yummy chicken stir fry with a bit of a Thai influence from red pepper and lime, and it was a great way to use lots of ingredients I already had on hand.  That's the best thing about a stir fry, it's not an exact recipe, but more of a guideline that you can adjust and remix the flavors that work best for you.


We started with a selection of colorful veggies, shredded cabbage, onions, carrots, red and green peppers, and snow peas and sauteed them in peanut oil with ginger and red pepper flakes.  You could also use broccoli, celery, bean sprouts or mushrooms.  Next, we sliced up some chicken breasts and gave them a quick marinade in soy sauce and garlic.  For a simple sauce we used sweet chili sauce blended with lime juice and just a touch of cornstarch.  This wasn't a heavy sauce dish at all, the sauce was more of a compliment to the veggies and other flavors, and that helped keep the dish light.

The flavors were amazing and I loved how the hint of lime balanced with the spiciness of the red pepper flakes.  It wasn't hot and spicy, just a bit of heat to round out the citrus.  Everyone gave this recipe a thumbs up, and the picky eater in our family even tried the red peppers and snow peas. There is hope for her!  Enjoy!!

1 3/4 lb  Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup  Soy Sauce
2 TB  Minced Garlic
1 TB + 1 tsp  Peanut Oil, divided
1/2 tsp  Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp  Grated Fresh Ginger
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
2  Carrots, julienned
1 cup  Snow Peas, trimmed
1  Green, Yellow or Red  Bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cups  Shredded Green Cabbage
1/2 cup  Sweet Chili Sauce
3 TB  Lime Juice
1 tsp  Salt
1 TB  Cornstarch

Place the chicken in a glass bowl and add the soy sauce and garlic.  Stir to combine and marinate for 1 hour.

Add the peanut oil to a large skillet or a wok set to medium-high heat.  When oil shimmers, add the red pepper flakes and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the chicken to the pan, reserve the marinade from the chicken and set aside, and stir fry the chicken until browned.  (You might need to work in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.)  Remove the cooked chicken from the pan, and cover to keep warm.

Add 1 tsp peanut oil to the pan, heat until warm, then add the onion, carrots, and peppers.  Stir fry 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the snow peas and cabbage, stirring to combine.

When the cabbage has softened slightly, add the chicken back to the pan, stirring to blend in the chicken.

Combine the reserved marinade with the sweet chili sauce, lime juice, salt and cornstarch and stir.  Pour the mixture into the pan and stir, cooking 2 - 3 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Serve with or without rice.  Serves 6.