Friday, October 26, 2012

Pineapple Ginger Soy Chicken (from the cookbook)

When walking through the grocery store last night, I saw that they had fresh pineapple on sale.  I LOVE fresh pineapple!  I like it as is, grilled, and as part of a meal.  After picking one up, I thought to myself that my Pineapple, Ginger Soy Chicken would be a great choice for dinner!

The recipe calls for canned pineapple and the addition of water.  When using the fresh pineapple, you can reduce the amount of water used and use as little or as much pineapple as you like.  I used about half and cut it into tidbits.  Also, you will want to add the pineapple as soon as the chicken is cooked when using fresh. You can also omit the garlic and increase the ginger if you prefer - if you don't have fresh ginger, no worries - just use powdered.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
   (cut off all visible fat - cut into bite size pieces)
5 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
3 large garlic cloves, minced
   (more or less according to individual tastes)
½ inch cube of fresh ginger, minced
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 ½ c. water
cooking spray

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and cook chicken on
medium heat until golden brown. Add the water, soy sauce, garlic
and ginger and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add the pineapple
and let simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Nutritional: Per serving (without rice) - 137.5 calories; 1g fat; 6%
calories from fat
Cooking Temp: Medium, then low
Serves: 4
Price Range: $5 - $10
Comments: This dish is low in calories and fat and is delicious!  My
kids think cooking with pineapple is weird, but still love this dish.

Monday, July 9, 2012

No time for breakfast & coffee - on the go smoothie

3/4 cup ice
1 cup light vanilla or plain soy milk
1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein
1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein
1/2 tsp instant expresso
banana (optional)

Place ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Note that you can substitute soy protein for the whey protein.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Heart Healthy Breakfast Muffins

As I post more recipes (or if you have purchased my cookbook), you will notice that I do not make too many "clean eating" recipes or what most people think of when they hear health food.  Instead, my recipes are based around moderation and better choices, and would be considered "healthier" (although most do contain less than 30% fat from calories).  However, every once in a while, I will throw a "clean" recipe out there, especially if I feel that it is really good. 

I originally found  this recipe online and since, have made a few modifications that I feel really improve it.  Something to note about these muffins is that they are NOT your typical sweet, fluffy muffins.  They are very hearty and get most of their sweetness from the fruit.  Give them a try!  I bet you'll love them!

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup lightly-packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 T cinnamon
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
1/2 cup ground flax meal
4 bananas
1 T agave syrup (dark)
1 large egg
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, mix together the 9 dry ingredients into well combined.  In a separate bowl, beat together remaining ingredients (except blueberries) until smooth.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients until the batter is completely moist.  Gently stir in the blueberries.  Spray a 12-muffin cup pan with cooking spray and fill each opening to the top with the batter as these do not rise much.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Check doneness by inserting a fork and seeing if it comes out clean.

Wrap them individually in plastic wrap for a great fiber-packed to go snack!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Italian "fried" chicken and aglio olio

Growing up, one of my favorite meals was Italian fried chicken and aglio olio. Aglio e olio literally means garlic and oil in Italian. Aglio olio is a common dish in Italy and is a mix of spaghetti with garlic and chili flakes that have been heated in olive oil. Another common way of making it is by adding anchovies. Since my father was not a fan of the anchovies (or the chili flakes), he made his a little differently by adding walnuts, which is the start of how I make mine. As for the chicken, my dad would make his in an electric skillet and shallow fry it in about 1/4" of olive oil. In my revised version, the ingredients are all the same, but my cooking method requires less oil. The best part of this meal is that it is SO simple to make and only uses a couple of basic ingredients.

For the chicken, you will need:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (equally sized breasts)
Skim Milk
Seasoned Bread Crumbs (you can make your own, but it is just as easy to buy them from the store)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When prepping the chicken, remove all of the visible fat. I like to "pound out" the chicken a little bit, but you do not have to worry about this too much as you will be finishing the chicken in the oven. The most important thing is to make sure that all of your breasts are the same size.

Turn on your oven to 375 degrees.

Set up 3 dipping stations: Place your flour in one of the stations (season it with a little s&p), then in another beat together 2-3 eggs and a splash of skim milk with a fork. If you are making more than 4 breasts, you might want to use 4 eggs and a couple splashes of milk. Add the seasoned breadcrumbs to the 3rd station.

Turn your burner on to medium-high heat and place an oven safe skillet (large enough to fit all of your chicken breasts) on the burner and add just enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Pat dry the breasts with a paper towel and then dip each one in the flour first, shaking off the excess, then the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs to coat. If you like a crispier coating, dip it in the egg and breadcrumbs a second time. Place on a plate and then do the others. Once they are all done, place them in the skillet and cook on each side 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Then transfer to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Once it comes out of the oven, place the chicken on a plate that has been double-layered with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

For the aglio olio you will need:
Spaghetti (whole wheat or better yet, gluten free)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I use about a 1/4 cup per 8oz of pasta)
Crushed Red Pepper
Haricots Verts (or just plain ole green beans) cleaned, trimmed and cut in half
Parmesan Cheese to grate over the pasta

Rough chop the walnuts and garlic and set aside in a small bowl. I like my aglio olio with a lot of garlic, so I use about 7 cloves per 8oz of pasta, but you should use as little or as much as you like. For the walnuts, I use about 1 and 1/2 Tbsp, but again, use as many or as little as you like. Add about 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper to the garlic and walnuts.

Cook the pasta as directed, making sure to salt the water once it comes to a boil. When the spaghetti has about 4 minutes left to cook, place the olive oil in a small skillet on medium-low to medium heat. After you have done that, go ahead and add the haricots verts to your pasta so that they cook the last 2-3 minutes with your pasta.

Drain the pasta and beans and place on a large pasta plate or in a serving bowl. Take the oil off of the heat and test that it is hot enough by adding just one piece of the chopped garlic. If it sizzles, then add the garlic, walnuts and crushed pepper. You will want to gently move your pan around to get an even cooking on the mixture. It is important to make sure that your oil is hot enough to hear them sizzle, but not so hot that it has begun to smoke. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the garlic making it bitter. Once you have "cooked" the mixture in the oil for a couple of minutes, pour it over the pasta and beans and mix with a pair of tongs to coat all of the pasta. Top it with a little parmesan and enjoy.

By using heart healthy fats like olive oil and walnuts, this dish is great in moderation. The haricots verts are a nice addition of color and taste and help make sure that you are getting a serving of vegetables with your meal.

Once you give the meal a try, comment back with your thoughts on the dish and anything that you did to change it up.