Weather: 35 degrees, drizzly
What I’m listening to: Light Me Up, Ingrid Michaelson

The carved pumpkins are gone, the Halloween costumes are put away, the candy is stashed for mom-supervised rationing. This year was the best Halloween yet because my 11-year-old son had the brilliant idea that he would dress up as a hot dog and my partner and I would be ketchup and mustard. I haven’t personally worn a Halloween costume for years, having focused my energies on costumes for the kids instead. But this food writer couldn’t resist the opportunity to dress up as a classic American food trio. We trick-or-treated up and down the rather crowded streets of our new neighborhood, saying, “Happy Hallowiener” as we went, and got more laughs and compliments on our costumes than I can count. The weather was warmer than I recall it ever being for October 31 and we made it all the way through the neighborhood without freezing to death. It was an all around Halloween success.

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I can hardly believe it’s already November and daylight savings is upon us. If your fall has been flying by as quickly as ours has, you will appreciate this quick weeknight dinner that I made in a pinch between trips to the bus stop, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, the grocery store, between deadlines, piles of laundry, bags of dog food, and pages of homework. Life can be crazy, but food is a constant, and a quick homemade meal around the table can be just what everyone needs to remember to stop and laugh and enjoy the little things.

Sticky Chicken Rice Bowls

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Yields: 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups steamed jasmine rice
  • For serving:
  • cilantro, chopped
  • salted peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges

To a medium bowl, add the sweet chili sauce, chicken broth, soy, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, lime juice, and garlic. Whisk everything together until the sugar is dissolved. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture to marinate the chicken. Lay the chicken breasts in a shallow dish, pour the reserved 1/2 cup of the sweet chili mixture over top of the chicken, making sure it is evenly coated. Cover the dish and refrigerate. Meanwhile transfer the remaining sauce mixture to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.

Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan with oil and add the marinated chicken to the pan, searing it on both sides, occasionally spooning some of the thickened sauce over the meat. Cook until the chicken is browned and caramelized cooked completely through. Allow the chicken to rest for 3-5 minutes, then slice the breasts at an angle. Add the steamed rice to 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with a sliced chicken breast. Drizzle each bowl with the remaining thickened sauce. Sprinkle the bowls with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

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