June 13, 2013
Have you been hearing about “superfoods” lately? Foods that are supposedly the most nutritious food we can put into our bodies? Well, I have. The list of the top superfoods can vary by professional or article but I’ve seen enough written on the topic to know that quinoa, sweet potatoes, and spinach are all top contenders. So when I came across a feature in Cooking Light magazine of different low-calorie quinoa combos, I was drawn to this Roots, Greens, and Shoots combination.
With nothing more than roasted sweet potato, baby spinach, toasted pecans and scallions, this quick meal is about as nutritious as you can get. If you have a spare sweet potato or some leftover cooked quinoa, you also have a speedy meal. But if not, either roast a sweet potato in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or buy a super-simple pre-wrapped sweet potato and microwave according to the directions. Quinoa, which has become an easy replacement for rice in my house, can be cooked in 15 minutes with a 2:1 water ratio. Although there isn’t any dressing or other flavoring to this dish, you might think this would be pretty bland but on the contrary, the combination of the sweetness in the potato, the crunch of the pecans and the zing of the scallions made this easily one of my favorite quick meals I’ve ever made. In fact, it’s super.
Combine chopped sweet potato, torn spinach, and sliced scallions in a bowl.
Top with toasted pecans.
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light magazine
June 10, 2013
Sorry for the two week silence and no blog posts. I’ve really tried not to talk too much about work here but my work situation has been so stressful the last several months, specifically the last few weeks, that I come home at night and don’t do much but lay around in the dark, watch television and eat take out or fried egg sandwiches. My weekends, which is usually when I do my cooking, have been a lot more of the same. I’m probably depressed but I’ll be changing jobs at the end of the month so I’m hoping things start to get better. Usually cooking calms me down and helps me to decompress but I haven’t even been up for doing that much. The only good thing that comes out of eating badly for two weeks and laying around is that finally I want something better to eat, something somewhat healthy and something that maybe includes a fruit or vegetable. So I finally got off my butt and made some food, specifically these Lemon-Braised Chicken Tenders and Cauliflower.
Frozen chicken tenders (yes, frozen) are mixed with onion and cauliflower before sitting in a lemon juice-chicken broth bath until mostly cooked. After finishing cooking in the oven, spinach and scallions are added as well as slightly sweet dates and nuts (I used pecans instead of pistachios). This is a truly unique mixture of flavors which all works together wonderfully. I’m shocked that I like cauliflower as much as I do considering I wouldn’t go near it as a kid. Or spinach. Or scallions. Or onions. Or dates. Hmm, who is that in the mirror looking back at me?
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add frozen chicken tenders. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to plate.
To the same Dutch oven add onion and cauliflower. Cook 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 30 seconds more. Add lemon juice. Stir, scraping up brown bit in bottom of pan. Add chicken broth and lemon peel. Bring to boiling; cover and transfer to oven.
Bake 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). Add spinach and green onion; cover and let stand 2 minutes to slightly wilt spinach.
In a small bowl combine olives, dates, and pistachios. Spoon chicken mixture over cooked rice, if desired. Top with date mixture and additional lemon peel, if desired.
Overall Rating: Like It
Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine
April 29, 2013
I think I might have found the perfect meal. For someone who didn’t eat much Asian food as a kid, I have identified Asian flavors as being my favorite thing to make and eat. When I have nothing else to eat, my go-to is either chicken, rice, pasta or veggies with some kind of soy sauce-rice-vinegar-sriracha sauce. This Honey Cashew Chicken is exactly right up my alley. A little bit of protein, a little bit of veggies, a little bit of carbs in a sweet, spicy and salty sauce – Yes!
Bite-sized pieces of chicken are tossed in a light coating of cornstarch and cooked in a hot skillet with canola and sesame oil. Fresh broccoli, red pepper and edamame are added and stir-fried until perfectly crisp before being mixed with cashews and a perfect concoction of soy sauce, honey and sriracha. Served with a side of brown rice or quinoa, this will be a meal I will make again and again.
Combine chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl; toss to coat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
Increase heat to high, and add broccoli, edamame, garlic, onion and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat.
Serve with rice or quinoa.
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light magazine