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Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce and Cookbook Review

chicken thighs in peanut sauce with green beans

The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook – Book Review

I recently had Julia Konovalova’s cookbook, The Ultimate One-Pan Oven, sent to me to review from Food Bloggers of Canada. I prepared one dish from the book for my review: Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce with Green Beans. It was soooo good. I’ve tried a lot of homemade peanut sauces over the years, with most recipes being duds, but this one was tasty and full of flavour. If you’re interested in family-friendly, easy and delicious recipes, read on.

The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook was written by blogger Julia Konovalova, creator of Imagelicious. I have to admit, this is my first cookbook review. I have been reading cookbooks since I was a little girl, and somehow thought this would be a fun and easy activity. Well, of course, browsing through any cookbook is fun, but reviewing one is not as easy as I thought.

I realized as I was going through this book, that there is a lot more to a good cookbook than just the recipes. Everything about the book has to make you want to use it: the photos, the names of the recipes, the layout of the book, the style of writing, the categories of recipes and of course, the recipe instructions.

I will break my review down into the categories mentioned above.

The Photos

Every recipe in this book is complimented with an eye-popping, mouth-watering photograph. I love that the photographs are light and bright and really expose the natural look of each dish and are not over edited. The dishes look just the way they would on your kitchen table at suppertime. And that’s nice.

Recipe Names

While browsing through the cookbook, I was drooling over the food adjective-heavy names. She includes recipes such as Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Back Ribs with Chocolate BBQ Sauce, or Roasted Berries with Orange Mascarpone. The names, ingredients, accoutrements – so simple, so delicous-sounding.

Layout

I really like the layout of this book. The book starts out with a short two-page intro of how Julia got interested in cooking, as well as what she likes and doesn’t like. This helps the reader decide quite early on if they’re on the same page as the author. Julia doesn’t like stress in the kitchen. She likes healthy family-friendly recipes with minimal effort and washing up. Also, the abundance of photos really entices the reader to use the book.

Writing Style

Julia’s experience as a food blogger is evident in the personal anecdotes she includes at the beginning of every recipe. She always has a nice paragraph at the beginning of every recipe explaining what she loves about a particular ingredient in the recipe on the page. Her comments and dialogue are very insightful and help us get to know her and learn what is important to her: her family, fresh produce and a no-muss no-fuss style of cooking. This book is so perfect for people that love home cooked meals, but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking dinner.

Categories

I love the categories in this book. Because this book is primarily savoury dishes, with ten sweet dishes at the end, all baked in a pan in the oven, it could be challenging to divide the recipes into interesting and different groups. But her categories are brilliant: Oven-Made Breakfasts, Complete One-Pan Oven Meals; Hands-Off Main Dishes, Simple Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Easy Sides, One Pan, Many Nibbles and ending with Delicious and Unique Desserts.

Recipe Instructions

The instructions are clear and precise. I like how she uses metric and imperial measurements, as we Canadians still use a mix of both.

She also has many helpful Notes at the bottom of the recipe.

 

chicken thighs in peanut sauce with green beans

If you’re looking for a cookbook as a gift this Christmas, definitely have a browse through this book. It is full of imagination, creativity and some very delicious meals anyone would be happy to prepare for suppertime.

Here’s a link to her cookbook on Amazon.ca The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook by Julia Konovalova.

Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce with Green Beans

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 30

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup 45g smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) orange juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) Sriracha (I used Sambal Olek)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) green beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). While the oven is preheating, mix 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the olive oil with the peanut butter, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a bowl. (Julia mentions that she likes to use a small glass jug for this. She recommends heating the sauce ingredients, as it's much easier to mix when the peanut butter is warm).

2

Place the chicken thighs in the middle of a 11 X 17 inch or 28 X 43 cm nonstick baking pan. You need room for all the ingredients to spread out. Make sure that the chicken thighs are fully flattened. Pour half the sauce over the thighs, then flip and pour the rest of the sauce, making sure that it fully covers the chicken. Alternately, you could mix the thighs in a bowl with the sauce. However, that would add one extra dish to your washing up.

3

Spread the green beans around the chicken thighs in one layer. Pour the remaining 1 tbsp (30 ml) of olive oil over the green beans, season with salt and pepper to taste and lightly mix with your hands or tongs to cover them with oil and seasoning.

4

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked to 165 degrees F (74 C) and the sauce is thickened.

5

Serve with rice, if desired, or double the amount of green beans and cook on a separate pan.

Cooking

Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings Recipe

spicy chicken wings

Chicken Wings are one of the easiest and quickest meals anyone can make. You can buy chicken wings all year round from your local supermarket, which is great. Also, they’re inexpensive and quick to prepare and cook: no chopping, marinating or deboning.  And they’re finger foods. Who doesn’t love that!

Normally I bake them slathered in barbeque sauce, but I wanted to try and get crispier chicken wings. This Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings recipe works a charm.

spicy chicken wings

My Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings are super quick to prepare. They are seasoned with a balanced combination of spices and herbs including chili powder, chipotle chili pepper, oregano and a few others. The cayenne pepper is adjustable. I used 1/2 a teaspoon, but if you are making these for wee ones, just leave it out. It’s not super hot, just a nice warm flavour, but too much heat for small ones.

spicy chicken wings

This recipe makes about 1/4 cup of spice mixture. You could also multiply the recipe by 3 or 4 and keep it in a jar and just measure out 1/4 cup every time you make wings. You could also sprinkle a bit of this spicy mixture on chicken breasts to use in wraps or fajitas.

For a fantastic finger food dinner, serve these up with some veggies, pita bread and hummous or one of your favourite dips. Then you could eat the whole dinner with your fingers! Less dishes, more time for fun!

 

 

spicy chicken wings

Enjoy!

Quick'nSpicy Chicken Wings

Print Recipe
Serves: 3-4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken wings (rinsed and patted dry)
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 T dark brown sugar

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2

Mix spices together.

3

In a large bowl, sprinkle spices over chicken wings.

4

Coat the wings with the spice mixture with your hands.

5

Place the seasoned chicken wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6

Bake for 45 minutes, turning once after about 20 minutes.

7

Bake until a deep golden colour.

8

Serve hot or room temperature.

Notes

Chicken wings give off a bit of oil when cooking. When you're turning them over, just place them on a clean portion of the parchment paper.

Cooking

Fragrant Thai Chicken with Chilies and Basil

thai chicken with chilies and basil with rice on a plate

Thai Chicken with Chilies and Basil is the perfect comfort food. Tender pieces of bite-sized chicken nestled in a fragrant spicy sauce with basil added at the end. Served over top of a mound of rice completes this dish.

This dish, Thai Basil Chicken is considered comfort food in Thailand. I read about this dish when I was following the news story about the Thai soccer boys trapped in a cave. One of the boys said that the first dish he wanted his mom to cook for him was ‘Gai Pad Krapow’ (Thai Basil Chicken).

ingredients for thai chicken with chilies and basil

Comfort food is so very personal. We have a few favourites in our house and they always hit the spot when I serve them at dinnertime. Comfort food can be personal or cultural. It can also be sentimental and remind us of dishes our moms cooked when we were little.  I often prepare our family’s favourite comfort dishes after a stressful week, during a blustery cold winter day or even for a celebration. And my family is always happy when I do. Even the aroma of these dishes cheers everyone up.

After following the news story of the thai boys, and learning a bit about Thai people, I was eager to sample comfort food from Thailand. This comfort dish is made from garlic, sambal oelek, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, chicken and basil. And it’s a snap to prepare.  In Thailand, they make this dish with Holy Basil, which is extremely difficult, if not impossible to find outside of Thailand. I used regular basil from the local supermarket and it tasted delicious. In Thailand they also use local chilies, but I like using sambal oelek, as there is no chopping involved and it is very easy to adjust the amount of heat I want to add to the dish.

Thai Chicken with Chilies and Basil is so delicious. One bite combines a hit of chilies, tender chicken pieces, sweet herbal basil, comforting rice and aromatic fish sauce. It may actually become a new comfort food for our family.

thai chicken with chilies and basil and rice

What’s your comfort food? Write back and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

Fragrant Thai Chicken with Chilies and BAsil

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 6 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 Tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

1

Prep all your ingredients: cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, peel and crush the garlic, measure out the sambal oelek, stir together the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugars and wash and chop the basil.

2

Pour some oil into a frying pan or wok. Add garlic and sambal oelek. Saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds or so.

3

Add the chicken. Saute on medium until the chicken is cooked, about 5-8 minutes.

4

When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, add the soy, fish sauce and sugar mixture. Stir this mixture and continue cooking on medium, until everything is mixed thoroughly.

5

Stir in the basil and then remove from heat.

6

Serve over jasmine rice.

 

 

Cooking

Sweet’n’Spicy Asian Chicken BBQ Marinade with Sake

asian chicken on a barbeque

I’m sure most people will agree with me that there is nothing more summery than cooking outdoors on the barbeque!

Living in Canada with four distinct seasons, means that each season is only about 3 months long, June, July and August are the warmest months of the year, so we like to cram in as much outdoor activities during these months as possible. So, lots of bike rides, swimming, picnics at the beach and farmer market visits. And for mealtimes, it’s all about barbequing out on the patio.

ingredients for asian chicken marinade

This Asian Chicken BBQ Marinade with Sake ticks all the boxes for a lively summery grilled chicken dinner. Nothing says big flavour like this combination of sweet asian pear and honey, aromatic ginger, green onions and sake, salty soy, nutty sesame oil and spicy sambal oelek!

When I was growing up, my Dad mostly barbecued hotdogs and hamburgers. And that’s fun, if you’re in a pinch for time or cooking for four very hungry kids. But my favourite barbeque dinners are with meats that have marinated for hours and then grilled to perfection. In my house we all have our favourites, jerk pork, steaks coated with a sizzling spice mix or my favourite – marinated chicken.

Chicken is the perfect vehicle for a marinade as it is a milder meat than beef or pork. After marinating for a few hours, grilled chicken comes out moist and tender with a crispy exterior brimming with flavour.

grilled chicken breast on plate with meat thermometer

Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit and the juices should run clear.

And my favourite part about barbequing chicken is coming up with new maraindes. Marinades really up the game when barbequing adding lovely sweet, spicy, salty, boozy flavours.

This marinade is so simple and easy to make. All the liquid ingredients are poured directly into the blender. Chop the asian pear, green onion, ginger and garlic and throw them in too. Blitz the marinade on high for 3-4 minutes until it is very smooth and then pour over the chicken to marinate for a couple of hours. Then you’re ready for grilling.

asian chicken on a bed of lettuce

I hope you enjoy this Asian Chicken Marinade.

Quick'n'Easy Asian Chicken BBQ Marinade with Sake

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-8 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1\4 cup sake
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 1 asian pear

Instructions

1

Measure all liquid ingredients into blender.

2

Add chopped garlic, green onions, ginger and asian pear into blender.

3

Blitz for about 3-4 minutes until smooth.

4

Place chicken in a plastic container or freezer bag or glass bowl.

5

Pour marinade over chicken. Cover.

6

Place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

7

Remove chicken and place on plate.

8

Simmer remaining marinade in a pot for 10 minutes. Use this marinade to brush on chicken while barbequing.

9

Grill the chicken on barbeque until thermometer reads 165 degrees fahrenheit.

10

Serve on a bed of lettuce with a simple oil and vinegar dressing. You can also serve this grilled asian chicken on italian or ciabatta buns with your favourite toppings such as lettuce, tomato and raosted red peppers and barbeque sauce.

adapted slightly from Sauces by Steven Raichlen