Tag Archives: brown rice

Gluten-Free Main Meal Poultry

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken

Hi friends! Anyone else glad that it’s Wednesday already? Me, me, me! This week is cruising along and I am not complaining. Travis and I have fun weekend plans on the horizon, so I am itching to get there.

I’ve got an AWESOME weeknight recipe for you guys today. This Spicy Basil Chicken is definitely going to be on regular rotation for me. I’ve made a lot of stir fry recipes and this is easily one of the best.

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli

Reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It’s freaking delicious. Duh.
  2. You can make it under 30 minutes. (Because who has more time than that on a weeknight?)
  3. The veggies are completely customizable, so you can just use up what you already have.
  4. Many of the ingredients should be pantry staples – especially if you like to cook Asian food.
  5. Leftovers are REALLY good.

Shall I go on?

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli

I think this recipe would also be delicious with shrimp, but for a vegetarian alternative, I’d bet tofu would be great, too!

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli


Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
Chicken + Vegetables
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • brown rice for serving
Spicy Basil Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2.5 teaspoons sriracha or other asian chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Whisk 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken cubes and coat the chicken in the soy sauce mixture. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine all of the Spicy Basil Sauce ingredients. Whisk together to incorporate the cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of canola oil and once hot, add the shallots. Saute for 1 minute, until they begin to soften. Add half the chicken to the pan, browning on all sides for 2 minutes. Do not cook fully. Remove the chicken from the pan and place into a bowl. Add the second batch of chicken and repeat. Add the browned chicken to the bowl.
  4. Add an additional Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the broccoli and saute for an additional minute. Add the garlic to the pan, adding additional oil as needed to ensure nothing burns. Saute until the vegetables are soft and cooked.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan. Then add the Spicy Basil Sauce and mix thoroughly to coat the chicken and vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil.
  6. Serve immediately with brown rice.




Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Products I Love

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods

Hi friends! Happy Friday! I am traveling for work today, but I wanted to post this for you guys before your weekend grocery shopping.

Over the past few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of healthy foods I’ve found in the freezer aisle. For years, all you could find were Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen dinners that disguise themselves as “healthy,” but in reality are swimming in sodium and added junk.

I’ve tried A LOT of frozen foods at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and below are some of my favorites. As always, make sure to check the ingredient lists on the items you pick up. General rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or you’ve never heard of it, put the item back on the shelf.

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods // www.littlechefbigappetite.com


  1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza // This is one of our favorite options on a night we don’t have time to cook. This gluten-free crust tastes REALLY good and it’s SO much healthier than traditional frozen pizzas! For an added nutritional boost, we sometimes add chicken or extra veggies.
  2. Whole Foods 365 Vegetable Medley // Whoever said frozen fruit and vegetables aren’t healthy is totally wrong. In fact, frozen fruit and veggies can actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts because they’re flash frozen to lock in nutrients. I love having a bag of these veggies in my freezer to heat up alongside any protein. So quick and easy.
  3. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles // A healthy and fast breakfast option. I even like these as a mid-day snack with a smear of almond butter.
  4. Dr. Praegar’s California Veggie Burgers // These burgers are packed with veggies! I like to stick mine under the broiler to get it extra crispy. Then I top it with sliced avocado and a little bit of all-natural ketchup.
  5. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice // On busy nights, who has 40 minutes to wait for rice to cook? This pre-cooked brown rice is the easiest thing! Just plop it in the microwave and healthy whole grains in minutes.
  6. Australis Barramundi // I find this at Whole Foods and it’s A+++++! This is what I use to make my Barramundi with Balsamic Tomatoes
  7. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles // A meat alternative that doesn’t contain soy!? I’m in! I love using this “Beefy Crumble” in place of regular ground beef to make pasta sauces or tacos!
  8. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries // While maybe still not as good (or clean) as my homemade sweet potato fries, these fries are GOOD. Get them extra crispy by baking them on a single layer and then sticking them under the broiler for the last few minutes. Delicious with chicken, a veggie burger, the list goes on.
  9. Whole Foods 365 Blueberries // Same thing as a veggie medley – there is NOTHING wrong with frozen fruits and vegs! I defrost these in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add them to yogurt. Fresh berries in the middle of winter, yes please!


While I absolutely love fresh, homemade meals, sometimes it’s just not an option, so I love having a few of these items in the freezer for when I am in a pinch.

I’d love to know if you guys have any favorites that aren’t on this list!




Kung Pao Chicken

Last weekend I flew home to Boston to surprise my older brother for his birthday. Living in LA now, I don’t see my family nearly as much as I would like to. We are all very close, and the fact that I am 3,000 miles away from them now can sometimes be pretty tough. I can’t make frequent trips home and keeping in touch can be hard due to the time difference. I like to make phone calls on my way home from work, but usually everyone is in bed on the east coast by that time.

I know that most people say they have the best siblings, but totally straight up, Dave is the best brother in the world.

No question.


It is just the two of us. We are 9 years apart in age, so growing up we were always at very different stages in our lives. I remember going on college tours with him when I was only in 4th grade. But, I think this age gap made us closer. We were never forced to be competitive with each other and he always looked out for me, giving me guidance and support every step of the way. Fighting (while it did occur occasionally) was pretty rare for us.

My mom loves to tell the story about when I was born, Dave used to come into my room every morning before he left for school just so that he could kiss me goodbye. That love never stopped. When we were younger, he constantly spoiled me with his hard earned allowance, taking me out to meals or buying me special presents. In middle school it was always a thrill for me whenever he drove to pick me up (which unlike most older brothers, he did willingly, of course). I remember wanting to show him off to everyone because he was the “cool older brother” who drove an awesome car with black tinted windows (and a subwoofer that you could hear from a mile away).


Dave is also the #1 gift-giver I know. He has a real knack of remembering the little things you mention you like in passing and he is always the first to discover new tech gadgets before everyone else. His gifts are always thoughtful and perfect. But, because of this, it’s always really hard to match his gifts, and since Dave got married a few months ago (to the most awesome sister-in-law I could have ever imagined), he pretty much has everything he needs.


So this year, I decided to fly home and surprise him as his birthday gift.

Luckily, he had no clue and was completely surprised and appreciative. Being home was great (although I have to say, I LOVE not dealing with snow and cold temps anymore!). We celebrated over a meal looking out onto beautiful Boston.


I appreciate being home more than anything now. While I love my new life in LA, my family is so important to me and I was so glad I was able to celebrate with Dave this weekend 🙂


Okay, okay, enough sappy talk. Now let’s talk food.

As you can see, I am on a bit of an Asian kick, so we’re making real deal Kung Pao Chicken.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

After picking up some dried peppers from the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, I was eager to make some authentic Asian food.

These peppers added the perfect level of heat for me. I don’t like things too spicy, but you could certainly add more peppers or use a spicier variety if you prefer you food really hot!


If you have all of the ingredients already this meal can come together fairly quickly. While the chicken marinated in the fridge for half an hour, I chopped and prepared all of the other ingredients.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This was really yummy and I thought it tasted pretty darn authentic! It also stays pretty well – I enjoyed great leftovers for lunch today 🙂


Surprises and Kung Pao Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-2" inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch, divided
  • peanut oil
  • 3 scallions, whites minced and greens finely sliced, separated
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha (or another Asian chili garlic sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 12 hot Chinese dry peppers, seeded
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • Brown rice for serving
  1. Combine the chicken, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons dry sherry, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours.
  2. In a small bowl combine the scallion whites, garlic and ginger. In another bowl combine the remaining soy sauce, remaining dry sherry, remaining corn starch, white vinegar, sriracha, and sugar and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1T of peanut oil. Spread half of the marinated chicken in an even layer. Cooking without moving for 1 minute and then cook, stirring constantly, for another minute and remove to a plate (the chicken should not be cooked through yet). Repeat with the second half of the chicken and remove to the plate.
  4. Add another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Add the onion and the pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add the peanuts and the dried chilies, then add the reserved chicken. Make a center in the wok the add the garlic/ginger mixture and cook until fragrant (about 20 seconds). Then add the soy sauce mixture, stirring constantly until the chicken is fully coated.
  5. Serve immediately with brown rice.


Beef and Lamb Main Meal

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

Friends often ask me how I dedicate so much time to cooking “elaborate” dinners every night. I’m 22, young, new in my career, and in their minds it just doesn’t make sense that I devote an hour + every night to making dinner.

I always explain that it is my “thing.” It is what I enjoy doing after a long day. Some people want to vedge on the couch in front of the TV or with a good book and are totally happy with take-out. But me, I just really want to cook.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

But, confession time…it’s not like this happens every night. Sometimes, I get so busy that I don’t want to bother trying a new recipe. I get home and I am so hungry (and I mean ready-to-bite-my-hand-off hungry) that I eat the easiest and fastest thing I can. I am talking scrambled eggs, PB&J, take-out, basically anything in sight.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

But when I have the time, my absolute favorite thing to do is search through my bookmarked recipes (I must bookmark at least 5 recipes a day) and try something new.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

This dish is a take on a Korean Bibimbap. It is something I have wanted to make ever since I tried an amazing little Korean restaurant near my college campus last year.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

This dish is honestly pretty simple to make.

The flavors in the steak marinade are outstanding and the whole dish really comes together with a final touch – a fried egg on top. The idea is that you mix the hot egg into the steaming hot rice bowl and the mixture sort of becomes like fried rice.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

I can’t wait to make this again. Next time, I am going to try chicken instead. I am sure vegetarians could make this with tofu, too. If you do, let me know how it is!

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1.5 lbs skirt steak, punded thin
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry (or sake)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb baby snap peas
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Brown Rice for serving
  • Gochujang (or Sriracha) for serving
  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring often (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the sesame seeds to a small bowl and allow to cool. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the sesame seeds, salt, and chile powder (I used the back of a spoon and small bowl because I don’t have a mortar and pestle).
  2. Place the steak in the freezer for 1 hour (this helps you slice it more easily). Cut the steak crosswise into ⅛ inch thick slices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons of the sesame oil, green onions, sugar, dry sherry, and garlic. Toss the steak in the mixture and let marinate at room temperate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil. Saute the snap peas until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with the salt mixture. Tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill the steak until just browned, about 1 minute per side (or desired doneness). Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  5. Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Crack the eggs on the hot skillet and cook until the white are set, but the yolk is still runny, about 2 minutes.
  6. Divide the brown rice among bowls. Top with the snap peas and steak and finish with a fried egg atop each bowl. Mix the egg into the mixture while still hot. Finish with more of the salt mixture, gochujang and/or sriracha if you desire.




Curried Mango Chutney Chicken

A lot has happened since my big move:

I settled into a new apartment.

Set up my new kitchen (the most important room in the house, obviously).

Bought my very first new car (which I treat like a newborn baby).

Explored my new neighborhood.

Celebrated my 22nd birthday.  I stuffed my face like mad with a delicious meal (thanks Trav) and a massive piece of carrot cake (Thanks Justine for treating and helping – without you I probably would have died from a food coma).

(Yeah, I know you want in on that.)

I started a new job…and I can watch the sunset over the Hollywood sign like THIS every evening from my office:

Oh, look! This piece of paradise is within walking distance from me:

Needless to say, as an east coast girl, none of this feels like real life. It still has not hit me that I actually live here and that I can call this beautiful place home. (Don’t worry M&D, home will always be home 🙂 )

My new kitchen is exponentially better than my college kitchen. There is fantastic lighting, enough counter space for more than one cutting board (this is huge), and no more mice! Oh, and the oven here actually stays on one temperature for more than five minutes at a time. Big steps, people.

I have made some truly incredible meals since I have been out here, and I figured it just wouldn’t be fair of me to keep them from you 😉

This recipe, curried mango chutney chicken, is one that I have had bookmarked for two years now and just never got around to making it.  The original recipe serves it has a pasta dish, but I substituted the pasta for brown rice.

The mango chutney gives this dish incredible flavor.

If you are hoping for leftovers, you may want to make extra because this dish is bound to be scarfed down.

Curried Mango Chutney Chicken Recipe


Curried Mango Chutney Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups diced peeled ripe mango (about one large)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1in. pieces
  • ½ cup light coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (if you don’t have this, you can whisk together 1 teaspoon soy sauce with one squeeze of fresh lime juice as a good substitute)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • Brown rice for serving
  1. For the chutney, combine the first 9 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As everything begins to soften, break down any larger pieces of mango with your spoon. The chutney is done when most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture is thick. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.
  2. To make the chicken, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, then the garlic and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and Thai fish sauce, stirring everything together.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the broccoli and cover the pan, cooking for about 5-6 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir the chutney into the chicken/broccoli mixture and toss well to combine. Serve immediately over brown rice.
Recipe adapted from: Cooking Light