Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1/2-inch thickness
1 European cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 head of leaf lettuce
2 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar with the sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic and the crushed red pepper and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the sweet seasoned vinegar with the remaining 3 teaspoons of garlic and the soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Set aside 2 tablespoons of this soy marinade. Add the chicken to the remaining marinade in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Light a grill or preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let it drain, then grill or broil for about 2 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and mound in a bowl.

In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber with the remaining sweet seasoned vinegar. Put the bean sprouts, mint, cilantro and peanuts in separate bowls. Arrange the lettuce leaves in a basket. Add the water to the reserved 2 tablespoons of soy marinade. Let guests wrap the chicken and garnishes in lettuce leaves and pass the soy marinade and cucumber salad separately.

Yucatan Roast Chicken

20 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pure ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons hot paprika
4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Two 3 1/2-pound chickens
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey

In a food processor, mince the garlic with the vegetable oil. Add the orange and lemon juices, chile powder, paprika, salt and cumin and blend well.

Loosen the skin on the chicken breasts and around the legs. Put each chicken in a bowl and cover with the marinade. Rub the marinade under the skin and in the cavity. Turn the chickens breast side up and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the chickens breast side up in a large roasting pan and season with salt. Add the marinade to the pan, along with 1 cup of water. Bake for 1 hour. Spoon 1/4 cup of the pan juices into a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of the honey; pour over the chickens and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thighs registers 160°.

Drain the cavity juices into the roasting pan. Transfer the chickens to a carving board to rest for 10 minutes. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey, bring to a boil and season with salt. Carve the chickens and serve with the sauce.

Chicken and Dumplings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 cup finely diced celery
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the casserole and let melt. Increase the heat to moderately high and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour over the mixture. Cook, stirring, until the flour begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the sauce to return to a boil and thicken between additions. Once all the broth has been added, stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Keep the stew warm over moderately low heat.

In a medium bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of flour with the baking powder, chives and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Gently stir in the buttermilk and egg until the mixture is evenly moistened. Drop generous tablespoons of batter over the chicken stew. Cover the casserole and cook over moderately low heat until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup hickory wood chips
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Vegetable oil, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Light a gas grill. Wrap the hickory wood chips in heavy-duty foil and pierce the packet all over with a skewer. Add the foil packet to the grill. Cover and let the wood chips begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.
Brush the chicken with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, covered, over moderately high heat, turning and shifting the pieces occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the vinegar, apple juice, horseradish, lemon juice and cayenne and season with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a pitcher and serve with the chicken.

MAKE AHEAD The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Yucatan Chicken with Chayote

Finely grated zest of 1 orange, plus 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
Finely grated zest of 2 limes, plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 8-ounce chicken breast halves on the bone, with skin
1 large chayote—halved lengthwise, pitted and cut into 12 wedges
1 seeded poblano, cut into thin rings
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 tablespoons each of thinly sliced cilantro and mint

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a blender, puree the orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, garlic, ancho powder, oregano and 1/4 cup of oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish, skin side up, and make 3 deep, crosswise cuts in each breast half. Season the chicken with salt and cover it with the puree, rubbing it into the slits. Spread the chayote, poblano and onion on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt. Roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes, basting a few times, until just white throughout; rotate the pan once halfway through. At the same time, roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until browned and the chayote is crisp-tender.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the chicken 6 inches from the heat until well glazed, 2 minutes. Garnish with the Herbs and serve the chicken and vegetables with the pan juices.

Lemongrass Grilled Chicken

5 plump lemongrass stalks, inner bulb only, coarsely chopped
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1 large jalapeño, chopped
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs and breasts

In a food processor, pulse the lemongrass until finely chopped. Add the scallions, garlic, jalapeño and sugar and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a steady stream and process to a fine paste. Season the paste with salt and pepper.

Using a small, sharp knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slashes into the chicken and rub the paste all over, working it into the slashes. Marinate the chicken for 15 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
Light a grill. Brush the chicken with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 head green leaf lettuce, separated into leaves
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
3 scallions, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
Lime wedges, for serving

Light a grill. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce with the soy sauce, honey, grated ginger, minced garlic, chili-garlic sauce and sesame oil. Season the barbecue sauce with salt and pepper.

Brush the chicken lightly with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken over a hot fire, turning occasionally, until golden and almost cooked through, about 10 minutes. Brush with the barbecue sauce and grill, turning and brushing, until golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let stand for 5 minutes, then cut it into 1/2-inch strips.

Arrange the chicken and lettuce on a platter. Allow guests to make their own wraps by brushing a small amount of hoisin sauce on a lettuce leaf, topping it with cucumber, scallions, chicken and a squeeze of lime and rolling it up.

Curried Chicken Pitas

1 1/4 cups plain low-fat yogurt
4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 8-inch whole wheat pita breads
4 romaine lettuce leaves
1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 medium cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into thin crescents

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the yogurt with the garlic, garam masala and curry powder. Add the chicken strips and stir until they are thoroughly coated with the yogurt-spice mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the sliced jalapeños, red onion and coated chicken strips, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the chicken strips are just white throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let stand for 1 minute to let the chicken, jalapeños and red onion cool slightly. Fold the remaining 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons of yogurt into the chicken, jalapeños and red onion until well combined.

Heat the pita breads in the oven, about 30 seconds. Set the pitas on plates and top each one with a lettuce leaf, tomato wedges and cucumber slices. Spoon the chicken in yogurt sauce on top and serve right away.

Braised Chicken with Fennel

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the fennel, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fennel is golden brown and almost done, about 12 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the fennel is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the fennel and the cooking liquid from the pan.

Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the chicken to the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon of rosemary and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about 3 minutes longer. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the fennel and its cooking liquid and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let steam 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

Pulled Chicken

2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 3 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken
4 hamburger buns, split
1 cup prepared coleslaw

In a medium saucepan, combine the cider vinegar with the water, white wine, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, sweet paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove the warm vinegar sauce from the heat.

Meanwhile, remove all of the meat from the chicken and shred it. Discard the skin. Add the chicken to the warm vinegar sauce and heat through, stirring gently. Pile the pulled chicken on the buns and drizzle with extra vinegar sauce. Top with the coleslaw, close the sandwiches and serve right away.

Superquick Posole

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound mild green chiles, such as poblanos and Anaheims—halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
3 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (keep some seeds for spicier flavor)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Lime wedges, warm corn tortillas and rice, for serving

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until almost smoking. Season the pork cubes with salt and black pepper and add them to the casserole. Cook the pork over high heat, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, green chiles, serrano chiles and garlic. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer the stew over moderately low heat until the pork is just tender and the broth is reduced by about half, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the 1/4 cup of cilantro and season with salt and black pepper. Garnish the stew with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, corn tortillas and rice.

Curried Egg Salad

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 teaspoon plain 2-percent-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sriracha, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar, or to taste
1/3 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
Kosher salt

In a mixing bowl, combine one of the eggs with the whites of the three remaining eggs. (Discard the three yolks or reserve for another use.)

Using a fork, chop or lightly mash the eggs. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sriracha, vinegar and curry powder. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.

Mix well and adjust seasonings as needed. If desired, spread egg salad on any healthful fiber cracker with single-digit carbohydrates per serving (in grams), and top with sliced cucumber.

Easy Mac and Cheese

3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 pound elbow pasta, boiled in salted water until just tender, drained, and rinsed under cold water
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Salt
2/3 cup whole milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine grated cheeses and set aside two heaping cups for topping.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cheeses, cayenne (if using) and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Raise heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crusty on top and bottom.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.