In case you're not from around these parts, I need to tell you that our beloved Houston Rockets are in the playoffs right now. They're playing our former favorites, the Dallas Mavericks. My husband will tell you I'm FAR from a sports buff much to his dismay, but when it comes to basketball, I'm all over it.
I lived in Houston when the Rockets won their first two championships during the 93-94 and 94-95 seasons. Those were the good days! Robert Horry...Hakeem Olajuwon...Vernon Maxwell...Kenny Smith...Sam Cassell...Otis Thorpe...those were some of my most favorite players (even though Maxwell had quite the temper). I will never forget the celebrations that followed their victories. I remember hopping into the bed of my dad's white double cab Ford truck (GASP!!!!!) with all the other kids at our Rockets watch party and driving down the street honking the horn and screaming at the top of our lungs. The excitement was palpable. And then hopping in the car with my cousins...after decorating it with shoe polish and Rocket's paraphernalia...and driving circles around the Summit (now Lakewood Church). Clutch City, anyone?!?!?! Times sure have changed! HA!!!
I got to feel that same kind of excitement all over again when the Dallas Mavericks went to the playoffs in 2011. We went to every.single. home playoff game that year. Some of our most favorite date nights!!
We couldn't go to Orlando for the final playoff game that year, but we did meet some of our best friends downtown close to American Airlines Center that night. We sat on the patio at St. Ann's (my favorite Dallas restaurant...hello HUMMUS!!!!) and watched the game...with hundreds of other fans...on the big screens outside. We all erupted into serious fits of screaming and cheering when they won the championship. I remember walking from St. Ann's down to the AAC and celebrating with the hundreds and hundreds of people who filled the streets of the city. GAH!!! That was genuinely one of my most favorite nights of all time!!!! I loved my boys in blue!!!!
When we moved back to the Houston area a few years ago our family insisted we get right on board with our hometown team. A move from the Metroplex meant a change in our sports team loyalty (I've NEVER been loyal to the Cowboys...NOT a fan at all. #sorrynotsorry). While we loved our Mavs (#MFFL) we really wanted to root for our hometown team. We're #RedNation all the way these days, but watching my two favorite NBA teams go head-to-head tugs on my heartstrings thismuch.
We couldn't wait to cheer on our Rockets Tuesday night and I figured a #RedNation themed dinner was in order. Enter "FIRECRACKER CHICKEN" because, well...Rockets & Firecrackers sorta go together...no?! Okay. That might have been a stretch, but in my tiny little mind, I think the two things have a connection. Word association anyone?!
Even if you're not a Rockets fan, I guarantee you'll LOVE this dish!!!!
1 TBSP. olive oil
1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (sliced into thin strips)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bag of snow peas, ends snipped
1-2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 (8 oz.) can of sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 Cup + 1/4 cup of Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (Kraft)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (more if you like it hot!!!)
2 Cups of rice, cooked
Salt, to taste
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium/high heat and toss in the chicken and garlic. I sliced my tenderloin into thin strips to help speed up the cooking process and make for a more manageable bite :) Saute until the chicken is browned.
While the chicken and garlic are satueeing, cook your rice. I'm a boil-in-a-bag kind of girl, so that's what I did. #easymultitasking
Toss in the snow peas, bell peppers, and onion. You can sub 1 red pepper for a green pepper or omit 1 altogether. I love veggies...especially red bell peppers!!!...so we piled 'em in. Saute veggies in the chicken/garlic for about 4-5 minutes or until they're tender and chicken is cooked through.
Now toss in the water chestnuts, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 C. of the dressing. This is the dressing we used....
Cook until heated through (4-5 minutes). Now let me tell you that we like heat, so we added a bit more crushed red pepper...and a pinch of salt for good measure. Once the mixture was heated through, I added another 1/4 C. of the dressing and mixed well to combine and reduced the heat to low for about 2-3 minutes. I wanted a bit more of the dressing added to the mix since we were serving this over rice. You could always omit the extra, but I would suggest adding it in :)
Seriously one of the yummiest meals we've had in a while! The perfect game night meal or any night meal for that matter. As you can see, this was extremely easy to prep and my total time in the kitchen was about 20 minutes! Quick, easy, and tasty...a winning trifecta. I'm thinking this meal was a lucky charm for us because our boys won on Tuesday. I guess I'll just have to make it tonight and for the rest of the playoff games as well...I sure would hate to jinx us ;) NO complaints from these fans!!! HA! SO good!