Thai-Style Chicken Legs is a fantastic summer recipe. Flavored with cilantro, garlic and fish sauce, and then cooked on a grill, this is one of the dinners that I look forward to when the weather gets warm and sunny. Cilantro looks great in the grocery store this time of year, too. It can be sort of hit and miss in the fall and winter. Since this recipe only calls for one quarter cup of chopped cilantro, it also works well in a “week of cilantro,” in which I plan multiple recipes in one week that call for cilantro in order to waste less of it. Searching this blog for the term “cilantro” will give you a selection of recipes to consider when menu planning.
If you don’t have a grill, or simply don’t want to go to the trouble of using your grill, you can also bake this in your oven, although I will say the grilled flavor adds something special to the final product. The blogger who wrote this recipe recommends serving the chicken with her mango slaw, which we’ve tried and is tasty, but grilled corn on the cob is nice too, and a bit simpler.
Avocado Mango Chicken is a recipe that doesn’t seem like it should work. With Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in the marinade, you wouldn’t think that it would go well with an avocado mango salsa, but it is delicious. Rather than serving a corn tortilla on the side, like the recipe suggests, I like to serve the cooked chicken chopped, on the tortillas like tacos, with the salsa on top. We use slightly more salt than is called for, but otherwise we do this as written. I also like to use just the salsa by itself on No Waste Tacos de Carnitas. Unfortunately, the salsa doesn’t keep well, so we try not to make more than we think we can consume in a single meal.
Introducing an avocado into any meal can make meal planning challenging, since the avocado has a fairly narrow window of perfect eating. One trick we have learned, is that uncut avocados can be placed in the refrigerator when they are ready to eat. This will slow the ripening process and give you a couple more days’ worth of potential perfect eating. When you buy groceries exactly once a week like I do, this is a bonus. I can grocery shop on Sunday or Monday and I can still plan this recipe on a Friday and not have to worry that the avocado will be brown and yucky by the time I need it.
Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream are now called Snapper Tacos with Chipotle Cream, but whatever you call them, they are delicious. I use tilapia for these anyway, so the original title makes more sense. I reduce the onion and tomato down to just one cup of each, but otherwise I do the recipe as written.
These tacos are served on flour tortillas. All of my recipes that use flour tortillas benefit from the wonderful tortillas I found a number of years ago. Tortilla Land Tortillas are thinner and less doughy than most grocery-store tortillas. You do have to cook them in a skillet for a couple of minutes on each side before using them, but they are totally worth the effort. In my area, they are available in huge packages at Costco. I take them home, divide them into freezer bags into single meal portions appropriate for my family, and then freeze them until they are needed. They don’t take long to defrost on the counter.
This recipe also requires a single chili from a can of chipotle chilis in adobo. Once you open a can of chipotle chilis, you have to remove whatever you don’t use from the can. You could keep them in a glass jar in the refrigerator, but I like to puree the whole can and freeze the resulting puree in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, I pop them out into freezer bags, label them, and then they are handy for any recipe that calls for chipotle chilis in adobo.
Thai Pork and Noodles is affectionately known as “Green Noodles” at our house. It calls for cilantro, so it fits well into a “Week of Cilantro.” Rice noodles come in two basic varieties: fresh and dehydrated. We’ve tried the fresh and have never discovered the secret to keeping them from staying in one big clump, so we always use the dehydrated. They sell dehydrated rice noodles in most mom-and-pop Asian groceries, regardless of whether their focus is Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian or Japanese. They are trying to fulfill the needs of a diverse niche market. We have the best luck re-hydrating the dehydrated noodles in a bowl filled with hot tap water. If you do it this way, you do have to let it sit for a couple of hours. This has become the job of my eldest daughter, who at eleven, is old enough to be “in charge” when we aren’t home. Some directions say to use boiling water, which cuts down the soaking time significantly, but in my experience doing it this way increases the risk of your noodles disintegrating into a puddle of goo in the bottom of your bowl. We reduce the number of red jalapenos down to two; if all I can find is green, which is typical, sometimes we just use one. Red jalapenos are sweeter than the green ones, so you can get away with using more if you are cooking for capsaicin-sensitive people, like children. We also use regular vegetable oil or canola oil instead of the peanut oil.
Red Snapper Cakes are quite the departure from the “blackened” snapper that my mother made us when I was growing up. The bread crumbs give the outside a crunchy texture, and the cakes likewise have plenty of flavor. I use vegetable oil instead of butter. It also calls for just a little bit of cilantro. When I’m meal planning, occasionally I’ll plan a “Week of Cilantro,” in which at least three of that week’s recipes call for cilantro, in the hope of using an entire bunch before it goes bad. I’ve tried all the on-line hacks for keeping cilantro fresh, and it has never lasted longer than a week for me. I’ve had equally dismal results attempting to grow it myself, so, week of cilantro it is. I’ve never tried the sauce that is supposed to go on this. We like tartar sauce, so we use that.