Monday, July 30, 2012

Orange You Glad?

I am lacking in energy and inspiration tonight, and still have some other non-blogging things to do before I lose myself in the Olympics, so lets get right to it.

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry
Source: The Carb Lovers Diet Cookbook by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth

  • 2 navel oranges, cut into segments (1 c.) and squeezed to make 1/4 c. juice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (used minced)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 2 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil (used canola)
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds
  • 2 bundles watercress (used broccoli instead)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Whisk together OJ, vinegar, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper and scallion whites in a large shallow bowl. Add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.
  • Cook rice.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from marinade and transfer to hot skillet. Cook about 3 mins or until partially cooked through; stir in almonds and watercress. Cook, stirring until watercress is wilted and chicken is cooked. Gently toss orange segments and sesame oil into stir-fry, serve over rice.
Yield: 4 servings (4oz chicken mix; 1/2 c. cooked rice)
Per serving: 378 cals; 10.1g fat (1.3g sat, 3.9g mono, 3.6g poly); 54mg chol; 26g protein; 47g carbs; 135mg sodium; 6g fiber

Eh. The intro graph for this recipe promises a taste similar to Chinese takeout. I haven't had real Chinese takeout in years (seriously - it is so, so unhealthy I can't justify it on my worst days) - but I can tell you that this didn't fill that void. It was uber-healthy, so that's a plus. The hubs picked out the broccoli and oranges, and the kid discarded his oranges, so that was a minus. The orange taste itself didn't come through - I mostly tasted the sesame oil. One other positive? Super easy for a weeknight.

Gratuitous swimming picture of the day: Matt Grevers. I won't ruin the results for you, like CNN does for me

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Olympic Effort

Olympic fever has hit our house, with the hubs reporting on and watching almost every event possible. I have to admit, even when the hubs isn't around to lord over the TV (and he was gone doing his Man Weekend thing most of this weekend), I switch on the channels to try and get a glimpse of my boy Lochte or listen to some of the inspiring stories that inevitably make me get a little choked up every time. I'm a total softy at the core. Just don't tell anyone.

While tonight's feast would certainly not make for a carb-loading pre-race choice, it was a major effort in prep work. Once all of the chopping was complete, the sprint to the finish was almost as fast as Lolo Jones. (See how I did that?!)

Rosemary-Scented Turkey Quesadillas
Source: Clean Eating, November/December 2011

  • 8 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 4 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped (thaw if frozen)
  • 1 large green pear, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp evoo
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 10oz ground turkey
  • 8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
  • 2 oz shredded mozzarella
  • Make salsa: Combine 2 stalks celery, half onion, cranberries, pear, 1 clove garlic and OJ. Add 1/4 tsp sea salt. Set aside.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on med for 1 min. Add remaining celery and onion and saute for 3 mins. Stir in rosemary, remaining garlic and 1/4 tsp sea salt and saute for 2 mins. Add turkey and cook for 5 mins. Drain turkey mix and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Wipe out skillet and return to med heat. Working in batches, add tortillas to skillet (I could do 3 at a time). Top each with 1/4 c. turkey mix and 1 tbsp cheese and cook for 3 mins. Gently fold 1 side of each tortilla over to make half circles and cook for one more minute, lightly pressing the top of the tortillas down. Repeat with remaining tortillas, etc. Serve with salsa.
Yield: 4 servings (2 quesadillas and 1/2 c. salsa)
Per serving: 345 cals; 10g fat (4g sat, 1g mono, 1g poly); 42g carbs; 7g fiber; 23g protein; 523mg sodium; 65mg chol.

Ugh - the prep on this was annoying. I could have bought pre-minced celery and onions, but I decided to chop away. Regardless, once it was done, it was super fast to cook. I am not a big fan of cooking food in batches because we eat as a family (sans baby, who for now goes to bed way too early), and I always try hard to make sure the food I serve is very hot and fresh. As far as taste - I was kind of expecting the boys to turn their noses up at this one, due to the carefully chopped fruit - but I was pleasantly surprised as the hubs really liked the salsa. The kid? Not so much. Me? Not worth the effort, but it made the entire meal very fresh tasting. The quesadillas were good - despite the batch annoyance, I liked the overall effect once they were done.

Silver (Get it? Going with the medal ranking this week). Good taste, major effort.

PHOTO: Ryan Lochte reacts after finishing first in the men's 400-meter individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012.
Nothing silver about this performance! Lochte Nation!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Fruity Foil

Continuing on with my clean eating efforts, I decided to try a very new dish from one of my fave cookbooks, Clean Eating Classic Comfort Foods. Of course, since it is summer and just a teeny bit warm out, most comfort foods aren't necessarily the best choice for a dinner, but I thought I'd go with it anyway.

So, the meal for tonight - Chicken & Fruit Tangine - includes three ingredients that I have never, ever cooked with: Olives, apricots and prunes. I know for a fact that I do not like olives, so I omitted them immediately. Prunes and dried apricots? I don't know that I've really ever eaten either dried delicacy. In fact, whenever I think of dried apricots, I am reminded of my father calling them "little ears" whenever my mother had them around. You are welcome for that visual.

I wasn't totally sure how any of us would react to this, so rather than typing out the recipe (which I don't feel like doing anyway), I will instead provide you with a snapshot of our reactions. The recipe is very saucy, so I thought the boys wouldn't notice - or might actually like - the prunes and apricots. Plus, I cut them up into little pieces in hoping that they wouldn't be too intrusive.

Me: Yum! Easy to make, delish sauce. Seems like a huge portion for not a lot of calories (429 cals for 1.25 c. chicken mix and 1 c. couscous).

Hubs: Sauce is tasty. I don't do texture or fruit (i.e., he ate only the chicken and couscous).

Kid: Chicken is great! I picked around every single other thing. How many times do I have to tell you I don't like couscous?

In summary, I was the only one who really liked this meal in its entirety. Because peeps, in my book, picking out the prunes and dried apricots and eating the chicken doesn't really count as "liking the food."

Two Forks - ONLY because of the boys. Up to me? Four forks. Yum!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not-So-Meatless Monday

When I cook several nights in a week, as I am hoping to do this week, I typically try to throw in a Meatless Monday. First, I like the challenge of finding a meatless recipe that the boys will eat, and two, there are a ton of studies out there proclaiming the health benefits of going meatless for a day. I totally subscribe to that theory, and think the whole Meatless Monday movement is a good thing.

However, tonight was not one of those meatless nights. When I was meal planning, I basically picked the first several recipes that jumped out at me, mostly because we had just gotten home from vacation and I didn't have the patience to find something meatless that would appeal to the boys. Plus, this particular recipe has been calling my name for a while, but I never got around to cooking it until tonight. And it has loads of mushrooms!

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes
Source: Cooking Light, June 2011

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12-oz ground sirloin
  • 2 (8-oz) packages pre-sliced crimini or button mushrooms
  • 1 c. pre-chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. no-salt added tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh oregano (didn't use fresh)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp salt (skip)
  • 3/4 tsp pepper (skip)
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • Buns
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat. Add beef, cook for 4 mins or until browned, stirring to crumble.
  • While beef cooks, finely chop 'shrooms in a food processor. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to pan; cook for 3 mins or until onion is tender. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to pan; cook 5 mins or until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates. Stir in pepper and hot sauce.
Yield: 4 servings (1 c. beef mix/1 bun)
Per serving: 439 cals; 14.7g fat (4.6g sat; 6.8g mono; 1.9g poly); 27.3g protein; 49.7g carb; 4g fiber; 55mg chol; 618mg sodium

The kid devoured his sammy and asked for seconds. Methinks he did not notice the mushrooms, because he is not typically a fan of the fungi. I, on the other hand, pretty much love all things mushroom, so the taste was kind of lost on me. The hubs grunted his approval as he shoveled in the food. Overall, this was a good dish, but I didn't find it to be that different from other sloppy joe/jane dishes we've had in the past. One note: Cooking Light did include this in its 20-minute "Super Fast" section, and it took exactly that amount of time - and I even chopped my own onion!

Three Forks

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back to Reality

Well peeps, vacation has officially come to a close. After stops in the historic burgs of Fredricksburg, Jamestown, Williamsburg and Norfolk, we hit the Outer Banks and did a significant amount of beaching and family-ing (YES, I know that is not an official word, but it is in my world). And now we're back home.

My mood re: vacation being over matches this song. Plus I tend to dress in black.

Some quick notes for you re: the vacation. I heart Fredricksburg and Williamsburg. Way different than I expected - lots of shopping and super quaint. In Norfolk, we hit two spots from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Get Fresh Cafe at the Five Points Community Farm Market for dinner and Doumar's to taste ice cream from the place that originated the ice cream cone. The kid is mildly obsessed with "Triple D" and has decided to email the show to suggest Guy visit the amazing Duck Donuts.

On to the recipes. Whilst on vacation, I volunteered to make dinner two of the nights. I like to cook, so this really wasn't a problem or burden, and, as I've mentioned, my family is always over-enthusiastic about my cooking abilities, so who wouldn't like that little ego boost? To keep things simple, I selected the recipes in advance, and made No-Boil Lasagna and Turkey Enchiladas, both from "500 Low-Sodium Recipes" by Dick Logue. I also made Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake from Kraft Food & Family (Summer 2007). All of the recipes required few ingredients and all received standing ovations from the crowd (I kid, I kid).

As we are just returning from vacation, I felt like our meals needed a clean kick-start this week, since we did some minor indulging (although I did manage to squeeze in a few morning walks and runs!). So tonight we had Chicken Rotini from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, by Tosca Reno. I don't feel like typing in all of the ingredients, but let's just say that it involved fresh chopped tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, basil, sweet potato, and more.

The kid was not a fan. He liked the chicken (plain) and that's about it. The sauce "wasn't his thing." Despite all of the offending veggies, the hubs liked the meal, as did I. The hardest thing with this one was the chopping, but otherwise it was pretty easy. I feel cleaner already.

Three Forks

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Turkey Tuesday

Last week we had Taco Tuesday, so today we're going with Turkey Tuesday. Color me creative.

Today we could also go with Tired Tuesday as I am feeling a little spent.

Luckily, tomorrow is my last day in the office for about a week and a half, as we are heading to the beach with the fam. I'm not sure if I am going to blog while I'm being lulled to sleep by the ocean, but I do have a couple of meals planned and will catch you up on my exciting (non) adventures upon our return. So yes, peeps, this is probably your last blog for a while.

Road trip!

Turkey Tenders
Source: Cooking Light, March 2011

  • 1 pound turkey tenderloin
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 c. panko
  • 2 tbsp grated parm
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt (used garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut tenderloin in half lengthwise; cut into 20 (2-inch) pieces.
  • Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg substitute in another. Combine panko, cheese, garlic, salt in another dish. Dredge turkey in flour; dip in egg, and dredge in breadcrumb mix.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high, swirling to coat. Add turkey pieces to pan; cook 2 mins on each side. Place turkey pieces on a broiler pan. Bake for 5 mins, then turn over and bake 5 more mins or until golden brown.
Yield: 4 servings (5 pieces/serving - I assumed 4oz)
Per serving: 227 calories; 6.1g fat (1.2g sat, 2.7g mono, 1.3g poly); 32.9g protein; 11g carb; 47mg chol; 237mg sodium

We also had:
Lemon-Herb Rice
Source: 500 Low Sodium Recipes, by Dick Logue

  • 2 c. cooked rice (used brown)
  • 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth (used no-salt added)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (skip - didn't have)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (skip - don't like)
  • Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat through. Eat.
Yield: 4 servings (I assumed 1/2 c./serving)
Per serving: 105 cals; 2 g protein; 0g fat; 9mg sodium; 0mg chol.

I changed up the turkey recipe a smidge. Because I am not the most adept at pan searing, and I don't like smelling my my kitchen after I do it, and I was being lazy (please refer to song selection "A" above), I instead just put all of the tenderloins on a baking sheet and sprayed them with cooking spray, then flipped after 10 mins and sprayed again. I think the result worked. I also think these are like pretty much every other tenderloin/finger/nugget recipe I have - nothing special, but tasted good. The rice was also nothing special - a nice little switch-up from plain brown rice, but it did not garner any oohs or aahs from the crowd.

Turkey: Three forks
Rice: Two forks

See you in a few!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quiet Kids?

Two quiet boys obviously means they are up to no good... or that there's one delish meal happening!

We have a guest for dinner tonight - our neighbor and one of the kid's best friends. And when these two are together (which is pretty much almost every waking moment when they aren't busy) they are not exactly wallflowers.

As I am writing this blog they are finishing up in golden silence, so I will take these precious few moments to breathe deeply and relish in the quiet.

This song actually bores me to tears. You?

Grilled Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon
Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray, June 2012

  • 1/3 c. soy sauce (used low-sodium)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp mirin or dry sherry (used sherry)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1clove finely chopped garlic (used minced)
  • 4 skin-on, boneless salmon fillets at room temp
  • Vegetable oil for brushing (used canola)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • In a small saucepan, bring the soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin/sherry, ginger and garlic to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half, about 15 mins. Divide the sauce into two small bowls; reserve one for serving.
  • Preheat grill to high. Oil the grate (sprayed it). Pat the salmon dry, brush with oil, then brush flesh side with some of the sauce. Arrange salmon on grill skin side down, cover the grill and cook, occasionally basting with more of the sauce, until the sides are opaque, about 8 mins.
  • Transfer salmon to plates and drizzle with reserved sauce. Top with scallions.
Both kids had very, very high praise for this dish. I even got a "best salmon ever" from the buddy. I don't know that I would agree with this assessment. The salmon was good and the glaze was nice - probs too high in sodium and calories (the nutritionals are not provided immediately under the recipe and I am way too lazy to look them up), but this certainly wasn't the best ever, IMO. I didn't drizzle the salmon with the remaining sauce b/c I let it simmer too long and it became a goopy, slightly burned mess. Overall, the meal was super-fast to throw together. We had equally-fast mushroom risotto from Trader Joe's and steamed broccoli.

Update (because I know you are wondering): The boys are still somewhat subdued, most likely because they have rec'd multiple death stares from me and the hubs due to the sleeping babe upstairs.

Three Forks: Easy peasy, especially for a week night.

The salmon was not burned, despite what the picture looks like

Sunday, July 8, 2012


To know me is to know that I love cheese. In fact, I love it so much that I don't keep it in the house unless absolutely necessary for recipes, with the exception of swiss slices (low sodium) and cheese sticks for the kids (low taste).

This unabashed, lifelong love of cheese was going to be fulfilled tonight when shredded Mexican was to serve as a topper to the main event. Except that I forgot to add it. And just realized it as I was sitting down to type this post.

Who forgets the cheese?

Luckily - I pretty much had nothing to say, so this omission served as the jump-start to tonight's post.

In addition to cheese, I love dark chocolate. Luckily I can manage to keep that in the house without shoveling it in by the fistful (thanks to those ingenious pre-packaged individual chocolate squares from Ghiradelli). I don't often bake with dark chocolate, but a few days ago I happened upon an amazingly easy fudge recipe that catered to my dark chocolate needs. So we'll start with that because honestly peeps, it is so so so easy to throw together that you must make it immediately. And bring me some.

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Fudge
Source: Cooking Light (not sure of issue)

  • 1 (14oz) can of fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (used dark chocolate)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder (used regular unsweetened)
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 c. salted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Line an 8-inch square dish with wax paper.
  • Place 9 tbsp milk in a microwave safe bowl. Add chocolate chips, cocoa and coffee. Microwave at high for 1 min or until melted. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla. Spread into prepared pan.
  • Combine the remaining milk, peanut butter chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 min or until melted. Stir in remaining vanilla. Spread evenly over chocolate layer and sprinkle with peanuts.
  • Cover and chill 2 hours (I chilled overnight). Cut into 25 squares.
Yield: 25 servings (1 square)
Per serving: 123 cals; 4.7g fat (3.1g sat, 0.7g mono, 0.1g poly); 3.5g protein; 47mg sodium; 2mg chol

For tonight's (cheese-free) meal, we had:
Charred Corn Chop Salad with Chipotle Cream Dressing
Source: Clean Eating, August/September 2011

  • 2 c. fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears corn)
  • 1 med. poblano pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 15-oz can no-salt added black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 c. low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • lettuce of choice
  • 1/2 c. low-fat cheddar cheese
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss corn, poblano and potato with oil. Spread mixture onto a 9x13 baking sheet and roast for 30 mins, tossing every 10 mins.
  • In a large pan cook turkey until browned. Add 1/4 c. water to pan and scrape browned bits from bottom. Add cumin and beans and stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, buttermilk, chile powder and white scallions. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • Plate: Divide lettuce among plates and top with turkey, veggies, etc. Sprinkle with remaining scallions and cheese, and top with dressing.
Yield: 4 servings (2 c. lettuce; 1/2 c. turkey-bean mix; 1/2 c. veggies; 3 tbsp dressing)
Per serving: 470 cals; 11g total fat (3.5g sat; 3g mono; 1g poly): 61g carbs; 10g fiber; 31g protein; 220mg sodium; 40mg chol.

Fudge: My family went a little insane about the fudge (it was for a 4th of July gathering) - to the point that I had to fight them to bring some leftovers home for me us. I made the fudge on one of those super-hot nights, and it was so fast and easy, and the results so stellar that this is a must-do for pretty much everyone.

Salad: The kid requested a salad for dinner, so a salad he received. He did not appreciate the sweet potatoes, and the hubs made a nasty face when he saw the veggies sullying his turkey/bean combo. If it wasn't for the annoying chopping associated with this dish, it would be very easy to throw together. I liked it a lot - despite the lack of cheese - and we have enough leftover for lunches this week.

Fudge: Four Forks
Salad: Three Forks

Did you really think I'd use the "clean" version of this song?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Taco Tuesday

Not a particularly creative blog post title, and I know I've used it before, but... my brain is officially turned off until the 5th.

Tonight, the oven was totally turned off too as I continued my salad/grill plan. And I almost completely screwed this one up because it requires an hour of marinating, which I completely forgot about until one of my neighbors asked me about the recipe. She has three kids under 4 (!!) and is more on top of my recipes than me. Awesome.

Luckily, I managed to pull it together and you know what else was awesome? The marinade.

Korean-Style Beef Tacos
Source: Cooking Light, June 2012

  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 5 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp chile paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips
  • 1/8 tsp salt (skip)
  • 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Combine first 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a shallow dish. Add steak, cover. Marinate in fridge for an hour, turning after 30 mins.
  • Preheat grill to med-high heat.
  • Remove steak from marinade. Thread steak onto skeweres, sprinkle with salt. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
  • Grill tortillas 30 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide steak onto tortillas.
Yield: 4 (2 tacos/serving)
Per serving: 270 cals; 6.3g fat (1.6g sat; 2g mono; 1.4g poly); 18.1g protein; 37.1g carb; 21mg chol; 568mg sodium; 3g fiber

We also had brown rice tossed with a tablespoon of sesame oil, per the suggestion of Cooking Light.

No chopping. No oven. No stove. Chef Hubs once again manning the grill. Great! We all really liked the marinade. I can't necessarily comment on how "Korean" these tacos truly were, but they were pretty delish. I found the grilling of the tortillas pretty pointless and in fact they ended up a little chewy. I would probs just use my whole-wheat low carb wraps next time (or no-salt hard taco shells). The sesame oil added to the rice was a waste of calories. I don't know that the boys even noticed.

Three forks because the main event - the steak - was really good. The rest was meh.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello, It's Me

Channeling a little Todd Rundgren for you.

(BTW - my spellcheck isn't working tonight. Go ahead and judge. I would.)

So, I've been totally MIA for a while. Mostly because of the same old excuse - schedules haven't allowed for much cooking here. Partly because I'm getting a little bit bored of the blog. But mostly the schedule thing. As I've noted before, I'm not tired of the challenge or the cooking in and of itself, but the whole documenting all of the meals thing is feeling a little tired.

Luckily for you (ha) I'm in the mood to post tonight, and I have a feeling that there might be a bunch of posts in the next week before we hit the beach. Plus, as of tomorrow night, all of our travel sports will be done for at least a few weeks. Woo!

Now let's get on with the task at hand.

Unless you are reading this from some faraway locale, you are experiencing the same heatwave we are. I am not going to complain about it because I prefer to reserve my weather-related complaints for the winter/snow/ice/gray, and I think it would be a bit hypocritical on my part. I despise the winter and will always take 100 degrees and humidity (and bad hair) over snow any day.

The heat inspired me to focus on salads and grilled items this week. Peeps, we don't have air in this old house, so the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove or fire up the oven for an extended period of time. Plus, it gives me a fun theme for these posts.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Almonds
Source: Cooking Light, December 2009

  • 1/4 c. fig vinegar or white wine vinegar (used white wine)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
Remaining ingredients:
  • 2 c. chicken broth (used no-salt added)
  • 1.5 c. uncooked wild rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lbs boneless, chicken breast
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion (skip)
  • Prepare dressing: Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add oil, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Cover and chill.
  • Combine broth, rice and butter in a med saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 mins or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove rice from heat and cool.
  • Grill chicken; cool; cut into cubes.
  • Combine rice, chicken, celery, carrots, cranberries, almonds and onion in a large bowl. Add dressing, toss to coat. Cover and chill.
Yield: 6 servings (1-1/3 c./serving)
Per serving: 352 cals; 10.3g fat (2g sat, 5g mono, 2.5g poly); 25g protein; 40.6g carb; 4g fiber; 49mg chol; 357mg sodium

My laziness overpowered my budget-consciousness, so I bought pre-chopped celery, pre-shredded carrots and pre-sliced almonds. This resulted in a super-easy-to-throw-together meal. Chef Hubs pitched in and grilled (and cut up) the chicken, so the most time-consuming portion of this recipe was the sitting around and waiting for the rice to cook. I only wish I had more time (patience) to let the salad cool down more (I stuck it in the freezer for 10 minutes), but we all really enjoyed the chow.

Four Forks