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Soy and Sesame Chicken with Cucumbers and Mint

We adapted this recipe from Cooking Light and it was a perfect weeknight dish with amazing flavor.


6 Skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 Cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced


1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 Tsp ground red pepper

To prepare chicken, place each chicken thigh between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl or zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to soy sauce mixture and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

To prepare cucumbers, place cucumber slices in a colander/strainer; sprinkle with salt, tossing well. Drain for 1 hour. Place cucumber slices on a few layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels, pressing down occasionally. Combine cucumber, shallots, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; mix gently. Cover and set aside.

Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place 4-6 thighs in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining thighs if necessary. Serve 2 thighs over a bed of cucumbers and enjoy!


Ginger Stir-Fried Tofu with Kale and Carrots

We adapted this recipe from a recommendation in the NY Times, and one important point is that kale is a great choice for stir-fry because it retains its texture.

1 Bunch (about 10 oz) kale stemmed and washed
1 14 Oz package of firm tofu, sliced about 1/4 thick in the shape of dominos
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
1/4 of chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tsp of corn starch
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp ground pepper (white if you have it)
1/4 Tsp of sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil (canola and peanut oil work as well)
1 Tbsp of minced garlic
1 Tbsp of minced ginger
1/4 Cup of carrots cut into 2 inch julienned
1 Tsp of House of Tsang Szechuan Stir Fry Sauce

Bring a medium sauce pan to a boil (lightly salted). Add the kale and blanch one minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set up in a bowl near your wok.

Lay the slices of tofu flat on a paper towel and cover with another layer of paper towel.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, stir fry sauce, rice wine vinegar, stock and corn starch. Combine the salt, pepper and sugar in another small bowl. Have both bowls in arms reach of the wok.

Heat a 14-inch wok or a 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately when added. Swirl in the oil at this point, coating the lower sides of the pan and swirling the pan to coat the bottom then add the tofu. Stir-fry for one to two minutes and/or until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for no more than 10-15 seconds. Add the carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the kale, salt pepper and sugar and then toss together. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat, and serve with noodles or rice. For this meal we went with a basic brown rice.

Another note from the original recipe is that blanched kale can keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Sesame and Orange Cedar Plank Pork Tenderloin

1 to 2 Lb pork tenderloin
Zest of 1 medium orange
Juice of 1 medium orange
1 Medium shallot, diced
4 Garlic cloves, diced
1/3 Cup soy sauce
3/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 Cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1-2 Sprigs of rosemary
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Soak cedar plank for at least an hour before grilling. Wash meat, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

For the marinade, combine the orange zest, orange juice, shallot, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme in a resealable plastic bag. Mix well and then add the meat. Be sure to gently move the tenderloin around so the meat is completely covered with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator around 30 minutes before grilling to allow the meat to come to room temp.

Prepare the cedar plank by placing the plank on the hot grill. After about 1-2 minutes flip the plank over and place the meat on the side that was facing down. Close lid and grill for about 20 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads between 150 and 160 degrees. Remove meat from the grill and allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes.


Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry with Udon Noodles

1 19 Oz Package of firm tofu
1 Package of udon noodles
1 Cup snow peas
1 Cup of broccoli florets
1 Cup of bean sprouts (white)
1/2 Cup sliced zucchini
1/2 Cup sliced Italian squash
1/4 Cup white onion
1/2 Cup of stir-fry sauce, preferably Spicy Szechuan if you want to heat things up!
2 Tbsp of peanut oil

Heat peanut oil in the bottom of a medium to large wok. We usually use 3/4 of the 19 Oz package of tofu, it is really personal preference add as much as you like! Cut tofu into roughly 1/2 inch cubes and - when the oil gets hot - add tofu to the wok (take care to not splash oil). Cook tofu for about two minutes and then add vegetables, stirring all ingredients together. Continue to stir and slowly add stir fry sauce making sure to coat everything evenly. Cover wok using a wok cover or a regular pasta/soup pot cover to create some steam that will cook the vegetables, cook with cover on for about 3 minutes. Temporarily transfer the contents of the wok to a bowl and add peanut oil to the wok and prepare to heat the udon noodles by removing from the package and separating the strands as best as possible without breaking. Add noodles to the wok and cook on a medium-high temperature for 1 min; add additional stir fry sauce to noodles if desired. Once the noodles are warm, add the original ingredients back to the wok and stir everything together thoroughly. Heat all ingredients together for a few minutes and your are ready to serve.


Spinach Salad with Chicken and Wild Rice

2 Pouches of Uncle Ben's* brown and wild rice
1 Cup halved cashews
3 Cups shredded or diced chicken
1 1/2 Cups fresh spinach
1/4 Cup chopped green onions
1 Red bell pepper diced

1 Tsp crushed garlic
1/2 Cup rice vinegar
1 Tsp Dijon
1/2 Cup veg oil
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper

*Dressing recipe makes more than enough dressing, so don't use it all, you can save it for something else.

Remove skin and fat from bone-in chicken breast and place in a medium sauce pan; fill pan with water until breast is completely covered. Bring water to a boil and lower heat to medium temperature (maintain boil) - boil the chicken for about 20-25 minutes for a medium sized breast. Once chicken is done, remove from water and set on cutting board to cool. Once slightly cooled, use a fork to shred the chicken and set aside.

For rice, follow directions on the bag using a saucepan: cut slit in top of the bag and stand upright in boiling water for 90 seconds. Remove bag from water and set aside.

In a separate bowl add all ingredients and toss together.

*Near East Wild Rice or home made also work great.

Spinach Salad with Chicken and Wild Rice

Spinach Salad with Chicken and Wild Rice

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