Peanut Butter Beer Chicken

I’ve been on a peanut butter kick lately.  Remember my Peanut Butter Slaw?  Well this chicken gets its flavor from the almost the exact same sauce/marinade. If you want to skip the frying, you could bake these in the oven for about 35 minutes at 375 degrees until they’re not pink in the middle and call it a day.

I served this with a salad and a fancy swirl of sriracha, buffalo sauce and ketchup.

What to buy:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 beer
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

What to do:

  • mix all ingredients except chicken until smooth
  • add chicken and marinate for a few hours or overnight
  • roll chicken in breadcrumbs
  • fry in shallow oil in heavy skillet until browned and chicken is done

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Prosciutto Wrapped Pesto Chicken

I’ve been in my favorite state, NC,  all weekend to see my family and work on some wedding details.  So far everything has been going great and we are excited that the big day is feeling very real.  I’ve taken the weekend off from cooking but this is a dish I made last week that would be good for a Sunday night supper.

Y’all this is so easy and delicious, people will think you were hard at work for hours in the kitchen.  Only you know that it was only 7 ingredients and about 30 min of kitchen time.  I won’t tell…

I served with a big spinach salad but I think it would be great with some oven-baked fries.  

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons pesto
  • 4 slices slices prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

Prosciutto Wrapped Pesto Chicken: (serves 2)

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, and marinate for a few hours or overnight in pesto
  • lay a chicken breast out flat and roll the chicken breast in a slice of prosciutto, it should wrap tightly without toothpicks but if you need em, poke away!
  • add 2 tablespoons of butter to a skillet and heat over medium
  • cook chicken until it is no longer pink inside and the prosciutto is crisp, about 10 minutes a side, add mozzarella to the one side when you have about 5 minutes of cooking time left so it can melt before you serve


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Ham and Cheese Quiche in a Whole Wheat Crust

One of my spring resolutions was to learn how to make a pie crust.  This one is a good, no-fail, starter version with only 4 ingredients and no fancy tools.

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Quiche is great for a quick dinner or a delicious hot breakfast.  It works well with whatever cheeses, meats and vegetables you have on hand – what are your favorites?  This one is like a ham and cheese sandwich with prosciutto and mozzarella.

What to buy (serves 6-8):

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  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk

What to do:

  • combine all ingredients in a 9-inch pie pan and mix
  • use your hands to press dough into the pan, bringing it up on the sides
  • mix and pour quiche filling right into the unbaked crust

quiche filling:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha (optional)
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 4 slices of prosciutto

What to do:

  • whisk all ingredients except prosciutto and pour into crust
  • layer in strips of prosciutto
  • bake at 375 for 30 – 40 minutes or until middle  is set

Chicken Marbella in my Romertopf

I love this recipe and I think you will too.  It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate and I changed it slightly so I could use my newest toy: the Romertopf clay pot.

IMG_6113The Silver Palate was written by American cooks who opened and ran a gourmet food shop in New York City in 1977 called The Silver Palate. In the 1980s they wrote their first cookbook, introducing many Americans to French, Southern and Eastern European cooking techniques and ingredients and popularizing a richer and very boldly seasoned style of cooking.

In 2008, I won the 25th anniversary edition at a cooking class in Chapel Hill and I’ve been cooking with it ever since.  In 2010, I travelled across the ocean to visit my sister who was nannying in Prague and some law school friends who were studying abroad in Lyon.  My friend Mark is an excellent chef  and one night in France we were challenged  to a cook-off (I think they just wanted a good home cooked meal.)

I knew this recipe was a winner and set off to find prunes and Spanish olives at the corner market.  Mission accomplished, I whipped up some Chicken Marbella, served it on a bed of pasta and drumroll please….was pronounced the winner!  It was a great night with good food and wine and great people.  Maybe I can convince Mark to guest blog sometime soon?!IMG_6108

Don’t be put off  by the prunes.  They magically combine with the olives and spices to create a flavorful broth and whether you cook the chicken in a clay pot or a casserole dish as in the traditional recipe here, I promise it will be tender and delicious.

You could serve on a bed of rice, couscous, pasta or with some broccoli like I did this week.  Enjoy!

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup pitted spanish olives
  • 4 bay leaves, crumpled
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Chicken Marbella: (serves 2)

What to do:

  • combine all ingredients except brown sugar and marinate overnight
  • soak clay pot  in water for 10 min and allow to dry
  • add chicken and marinade juices to clay pot
  • sprinkle brown sugar on top of chicken
  • cook at 425 for an hour or until chicken is done

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Peanut Butter Slaw

I love slaw as long as it isn’t drowning in a sea of mayonnaise.  This version with a peanut butter base is spicy, crunchy and sweet.  Pick up a bag of pre-shredded cabbage to save you some time and  add any veggies you like (sugar snap peas or broccoli would be delish.)  Toss in some grilled chicken to make it a meal!

What to buy (serves 5-6):

  • 5-6  cups napa cabbage and red cabbage,  thinly shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated

for the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha, add more to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Peanut Butter Slaw: (serves 4-5)

What to do:

  • whisk together dressing ingredients until combined and pour over slaw
  • allow salad to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving so the flavors can combine
  • optional: sprinkle with chopped peanuts, sesame seeds and chopped avocados before serving

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Minty Mango Ginger Kale Smoothie

I’ve found that a smoothie or some green juice is the best way for me to get a good start on the 9 servings of fruits and vegetables we’re supposed to have everyday.  It makes me feel virtuous, gives me a shot of energy and it is just plain refreshing to have a frozen breakfast when the weather is warming up outside.

Previously  Fitzy shared  her delicious green drink recipe and y’all loved it so much I want to share another green beverage that I’ve been enjoying.  The flavors of ginger and mint are great together and ginger is a stomach soother and contains  potent anti-inflammatory compounds.

I’d love to know if you drink smoothies in the morning – do you have any secret ingredients? I’m thinking about trying chia seeds….
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What to buy (serves 1):

  • 1/2 fresh orange, skin removed, or 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1-2 cups raw kale, depending on how much you enjoy the taste
  • 1 cup ice
  • straws, an essential for me

What to do:

  • place all ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth – you can always add more liquid if things aren’t blending
  • pour in to 1 or 2 glasses and enjoy!

Chicken Chickpea Salad

My man loves chickpeas and I’m not complaining.  They’re cheap, low in fat and a great source of zinc, folate and protein. This salad will work  with whatever herbs you have on hand, I picked up some beautiful mint last week that I’ve been putting in everything.  It tastes like summer to me!

The chickpeas are hearty enough to carry the salad but add in some rotisserie or poached chicken and you’ve got a great warm-weather dinner.  See this post on how to easily poach chicken in your slow cooker.

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What to buy (serves 3-4):

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached
  • 1 onion, chopped then sauted or poached with the chicken
  • 1  red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (i used a buffalo chicken one)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

  • combine vinegar and oil, mustard, salt and pepper
  • add chickpeas, peppers, garlic and mint and stir to combine (stop here if you’re keeping it vegetarian)
  • add chicken, onions and hot sauce, tossing to coat
  • salad is best after refrigerating for a couple of hours to let the flavors combine

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the veggie version

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roll your mint into a tight ball to make it easier to chop

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Trader Joe’s whole-wheat naan is delicious – perfect with this salad

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Poached Chicken {in your Crockpot}

Poaching is an easy method of cooking chicken in liquid which keeps it from getting tough. Lately I’ve been experimenting with poaching in my slow cooker.

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Pour a few cups (just covering the chicken) of something flavorful like chicken stock into your slow cooker.   Then throw in some celery leaves, onions, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and garlic – go wild. I also like to add 1/2 cup of white wine or lemon juice to bring out the flavors.

Now put your raw chicken (I do 2-4 breasts at a time) in  your slow cooker and heat for 5-6 hours until the chicken is done and ready to use as desired. You can drain the flavorful broth and save for a tasty chicken soup or other base.

I like to shred the chicken to use on salads like this Chicken Chickpea Salad.

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(Masters Sunday) Spicy Shrimp Rolls

So it is a big day on sally cooks because there is a new recipe taking the title of Joe’s favorite dinner.  That’s right, I’ve finally come up with something to knock off reigning champ: Coco-Loco Chicken Strips with Sweet and Spicy Sauce.  This recipe for Spicy Shrimp Rolls was born on a lazy Sunday afternoon spent watching the Masters and not wanting to leave the house for dinner.

I had some egg roll wrappers and frozen shrimp and the desire to fry! IMG_5977

If you’ve never played with egg roll wrappers, I would recommend you track some down at your local grocery store (the Safeway in VA has them.)  You can bake or fry with them, having done both I recommend frying (southern woman at heart.)

I didn’t worry too much about how pretty they looked – the goal is to get the shrimp rolled up and tightly sealed.  I served these puppies with sauteed spinach (to assuage my guilt over frying) and a spicy dipping sauce.

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 15-20 medium to large shrimp
  • 10 egg roll wrappers
  • 1/2 cup canola oil  to 1 cup depending on how big your skillet is

for the marinade/sauce: IMG_5976

  • 4 tablespoons Siracha or Hot Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  • prepare marinade for the shrimp – just add everything under marinade/sauce list to a bowl and throw in the shrimp, stirring to coat
  • allow the shrimp to soak in the marinade for 15-30 minutes
  • while they’re marinating, make a sauce with the same ingredients and heat it over medium heat in a sauce pot
  • cut the egg roll wrappers in half to form triangles
  • place a shrimp on left side of the wrapper and spoon about a teaspoon of marinade on top(if yours have tails on, leave the tail sticking out and fold over the left corner wrapping the shrimp as tightly as you can) if you don’t have tails like mine didn’t just roll up the shrimp into a tight ball – (shape doesn’t matter too much, you just want the ends secured and sticking to one another)
  • in a pan, add about an inch or so of oil to fry the shrimp
  • heat the oil on medium-high
  • fry  shrimp  rolls in small batches depending on the size of your pan and cook them for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown
  • allow them to drain on a plate with paper towels and serve while they’re still hot!


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Spring Reset: Laura’s Ten Must-Dos

If you’ve been reading sally cooks,  you know that I love North Carolina, especially the Durham and Chapel Hill areas.  I went to grad school in Chapel Hill and this is where I met my soul sister, Laura when I worked with her at The Women’s Center.   I miss her dearly and I can’t wait to be back in the same city with her when Joe and I make our way South.  Tea With Lee 2009 001_2

Laura and I share a love of gardening, long walks, frozen-yogurt, non-profit work, bargain shopping, breakfast at Elmo’s diner, reading, reality TV and babies.  Laura is a beautiful person inside and out with an amazing eye for design and homestyle. She is a devoted wife and mother to the cutest little boy you’ve ever seen, and such a good friend.  Today I’m excited to share her Spring Must-dos for the Triangle area.

L: Inspired by Sally’s Spring Must (or Want!) Dos, I got crackin’ on my own list. Last spring I was gigantically with-child and missed quite a few things I would normally be diving into for Spring.

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Ben, baby Leo and Laura

I’ll start with my must- visits… the Triangle is seriously rich in activities…here are my favorites!

  1. Duke Gardens. Although I am a gumshoe gardener, I am inspired each spring to bring more color and depth to my own (fledgling!) perennial bed.  A yellow bearded Iris from my garden: image
  2. Sister’s Garden on Gimghoul Road in Chapel Hill. Again, this sweet, enviable home garden lends inspiration!  All pictures from: http://sweetbay103.blogspot.com/2011/01/twin-sisters-garden.html
  3. Logan’s in Raleigh or Stone Brothers in Durham: my favorite garden shops!!
  4.  Raleigh Flea Market. Ok, truly I could hit this gem any time of the year. But nothing beats a beautiful day spent strolling around hunting for treasures. Hitting the homemade lemonade stand is a must!

  5. Durham Farmers Market
  6. Durham Bulls game! image image_1
  7. Walking. It is my favorite form of exercise, and my favorite loop- Duke’s Buehler Trail– has intimidated me since having a c-section last summer. No more!

  8. Deep Spring cleaning!!! This is always on my list, but we are moving into a new house in the next few months, and I LOVE moving. Seriously. A chance to purge (moving makes me way more cut-throat!) and organize a whole new space renews my soul.
  9.  Start eating like I feed….It recently occurred to me I provide the BEST for my son, nothing processed, organic when possible, etc. Why do I not do that for myself?!? An example meal for Leo: mashed sweet potatoes with a little organic yogurt, strawberry slices, steamed broccoli and carrot rice cakes for dessert. A Spring Reset seems like the perfect time to get the whole family eating better (see #5- Durham Farmer’s Market here we come!). image_1
  10. Relax and enjoy the season. Everyone says babies grow so fast…and now it is reality. Leo’s first birthday is just around the corner and I want to soak up every last second of this first year as it comes to a close.  
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