Chicken Thighs with Orange-Ginger Glaze and Dijon Green Beans from Cooking Light's Fresh Fast Food Cookbook

A quick meal is sometimes just the way to go. That’s what happens with days are filled with activities (like a Tae Kwon Do open house), followed by a short respite, then small group at the house. That’s what today held.

In fact, this was so fast and easy that you’re getting a two-fer; the chicken on the left and the green beans on the right. Not bad, huh.

The Process
Fifteen minutes from start to finish. Who can argue that? That’s what boneless, skinless chicken thighs will do for you. They’re already thin enough so there’s no pounding needed. Just a sprinkling with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

A simple task of heating oil in a skillet and add the chicken to cook until browned, which also just about cooks it until done.

While it’s browning, grate some orange zest and squeeze the juice. Combine the zest, juice, honey and some grated ginger in a small bowl, then pour it in the skillet with the chicken. The instructions say to bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and let it boil down until syrupy. I found that it reduced just about immediately and I barely had time to turn the heat down before it was done. There just wan’t enough here to reduce properly. Be wary of that.

To make the beans, simply microwave them. While they’re nuking, mix together melted butter, Dijon mustard, fresh parsley, lemon zest and a little salt. Toss the beans in the sauce and they’re ready to go.

The chicken should be done now and all you have to do there is spread the orange glaze over the thighs and serve. Dinner’s ready.

The Verdict
Hubby and I found the chicken to be fine, but nothing spectacular. Dudette, on the other hand, loved it and ate two thighs worth. We both thought that it was a little heavy on the orange flavor.  As far as the beans went, none us enjoyed them and what wasn’t eaten went in the trash. I hate to say that because we don’t like to waste food, but it’s true. They were bitter and the Dijon and lemon clashed instead of blending.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I don’t think I’d bother to try and fix the beans, but if you’re really looking for a way, try leaving out the lemon and adding a splash of wine with the Dijon instead.

As far as the chicken goes, simply doubling the sauce would take care of the reduction issue. I would personally leave out the orange zest and would probably add some minced or grated garlic.

Chicken Thighs with Orange-Ginger Glaze - print this recipe
from Cooking Light’s Fresh Fast Food Cookbook

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 navel orange
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
Chopped green onions (optional)

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned.

While chicken cooks, grate rind and squeeze juice from orange to measure 1 teaspoon and 1/4 cup, respectively. Add orange rind, juice, honey and ginger to chicken, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 7 minutes or until chicken is done and orange mixture is syrupy. Sprinkle with green onion, if desired.

Dijon Green Beans - print this recipe
from Cooking Light’s Fresh Fast Food Cookbook

1 12-ounce package trimmed fresh green beans
1 tablespoon light butter melted
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt

Microwave beans according to package directions.

While beans cook, combine butter and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place beans in a serving bowl. Add butter mixture; toss well. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Stroganoff from Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast Cookbook

 

One of the rules of parenthood is that you think of yourself last. Yes, yes, I know that if the air bags on the plane drop you’re supposed to put your own on first, then take care of your child. That’s an easy one. What’s hard is when you’re eating the perfect burger and you’re down to that last, saucy, cheese-laden bite and you hear that voice next to you pipe up and say, “Mommy, can I taste your burger, please?” You just weep quietly and hand it over.

But every once in a while the clouds part and the sun shines down upon the poor, deprived parents. Like when a special episode of Scooby Doo comes on and you’re given the opportunity to take a shower. Uninterrupted. For longer than five minutes. A glorious, hot, relaxing shower.

Or, when your in-laws stop by for a brief visit and leave a container full of beautiful mushrooms with you. And that little young one hates mushrooms. The sun shines down. While she’s at school, all the fixings are taken out and Mushroom Stroganoff is created. Just for you.

The Process

This recipe isn’t in the October issue of Cooking Light, but is, instead in their Fresh Food Fast Weeknight Meals cookbook. Since life sometimes drops mushrooms in your lap and you need to use them sooner than later, and since I’ll run out of recipes before I run out of days in the month by just using the magazine, I’ll be grabbing a few dishes from Cooking Light’s cookbooks as well. Like this one.

This recipe begins with the pasta being cooked. While the noodles are simmering away, coat a Dutch oven with butter-flavored cooking spray (I have a little trouble with using that, but I did it anyway), add the sliced mushrooms and chopped onions and saute them for about 10 minutes, until soft.

While the mushrooms cook and the noodles simmer, whisk together flour and milk along with sherry, melted butter, salt and pepper.

Once the mushrooms and onions are done, remove them to a bowl and whisk the milk mixture into the Dutch oven, whisking constantly until it thickens. Add the noodles, sauce and mushroom mixture together, then stir in sour cream. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

The Verdict

Bland. Not bad, but bland. The pasta while cooking is unsalted. The mushrooms and onions while cooking are unsalted. The only salt is a half teaspoon in the sauce. I admit that I like my salt, but I asked Hubby to taste a noodle sans mushrooms and give his opinion and even he said it was bland and needed salt. And the only thing he salts is popcorn. It’s a pity, because if it had just a bit more salt in the given recipe, I would have given it high praise. I added salt and loved it. But, the written recipe is bland.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Add salt.

Mushroom Stroganoff from Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast Cookbook
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups uncooked medium egg noodles
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 5 4-ounce packages fresh gourmet-blend mushrooms
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons light butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While noodles cook, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Generously coat the pot with the cooking spray. Add the mushrooms and onions, sauteing 10 minutes or until soft. Stir frequently.
  3. While the mushroom mixture cooks, place the flour in a bowl and gradually add the milk, whisking all the while, until the milk is smooth. Add the sherry, melted butter, salt and pepper, whisking all the while.
  4. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture to the Dutch oven, stirring with the whisk. Cook, whisking constantly, for three minutes or until thickened.
  5. Add the sauce and cooked noodles to the mushroom mixture. Stir in the sour cream; sprinkle with chives if desired.