30 June 2008

This is a recipe I discovered when we lived in Texas. I cannot remember where I found it, however. The mustard flavor is milder after cooking than you would expect. It really seals in the moisture of the chicken so it's really nice and juicy when done. Very simple dish.

Mustard Chicken

4 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup brown mustard
4 egg whites
1-2 cups Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix together the mustard and eggs until well combined.

Dip each chicken breast in the mustard/egg mixture, then coat in bread crumbs. Place on baking sheet and bake about 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings.

23 June 2008

I used to buy those boxed rice mixes all the time. They are tasty and easy to prepare. However, they are often loaded with salt and fat. I learned a great way to make rice by reading Cook's Illustrated, the companion magazine to America's Test Kitchen. I now make rice by using the "pilaf" method. This means cooking the grains in hot oil briefly before adding liquid to impart a toasted, nutty flavor.

This recipe is almost word for word from Cook's Illustrated. I made the addition of the peas and carrots. I like to add them halfway (or more) through the cooking so that they stay crisp and not mushy like vegetables can get.

Rice Pilaf

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced shallot
1 cup long grain white rice
1 ¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded carrots (the matchstick kind)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant but not browned. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir frequently until the rice just begins to become golden brown.

Add stock and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and add peas and carrots. Return lid to pan and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.

Fluff with a fork and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

20 June 2008

This is a recipe I make regularly. It is an amended recipe from Rachael Ray. She made it on "30 Minute Meals" a few years ago. I changed a few things about it.

Orzo is rice-shaped pasta. It cooks fairly quickly.

Primavera Orzo

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 cup orzo (I use whole wheat)
1/2 cup reduced-fat grated parmesan

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic, shallots, zucchini, squash, and carrots. Saute 5 minutes. Add curry and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally until pasta absorbs the liquid and is al dente, about 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 265
Fat/Sat. Fat: 11/2.5
Cholesterol: 10
Sodium: 640
Fiber: 7
Protein: 14

The original recipe calls for parsley and peas to be stirred in towards the end. I think it's better without. Also the original called for zucchini and carrots only, but I think it's nice to do half zucchini and half yellow squash. The colors make this a very pretty summertime dish. (Actually I think "primavera" means springtime, but oh well.)

Another variation I sometimes do with this dish is to add grilled, diced chicken to it. That makes it a wonderful one-dish meal (and much healthier than Chicken Helper!)
We eat a lot of salmon, and I have been looking for different ways to prepare it. I like to marinate it in different marinades and bake it. We tried grilling it, but that didn't work out so well because it falls apart too easily. Last week I remembered a packet I had in the pantry. It's A Taste of Thai Spicy Peanut Bake. It's really easy to do; you simply coat the salmon (or chicken or whatever) in this peanutty coating and bake it for 20-25 minutes (4-6 oz. salmon fillet.) It's really good. Kind of sweet, kind of spicy.

So then I needed some kind of side dish to go with it. I created this recipe all on my own. It can be made with rice noodles (which would make it more authentically Asian), but I don't care for them too much.

Asian Noodles
4 oz. vermicelli (angel hair pasta)
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp ground ginger (can use fresh if you have it)
¼ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp spicy peanut sauce (add more if you like it spicier)
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Boil pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking, combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and peanut sauce in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined.

Drain pasta well and add to dressing bowl. Turn pasta in the dressing until evenly coated. Add sesame seeds and toss to evenly distribute.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 112
Fat/Sat. Fat: .5/0
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 300
Fiber: 1
Protein: 4

This picture doesn't show the sesame seeds because I didn't have any the night I took this picture. They kind of a nice touch, I think.
This meal is great because of the way the saltiness of the soy sauce balances out the sweetness of the spicy peanut coating.
Now Jim asks for this meal once a week.

17 June 2008

This is a rhubarb crisp recipe I got from a fellow pastor's wife, Kristin. She got it from a church cookbook. I thought it was better when she made it than when I made it, but haven't yet figured out what is different. I will definitely try it again, though. Jim really liked it. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream.
Rhubarb Crisp
4 c. diced rhubarb
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
3/4 c. quick oats
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. melted margarine or butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla and place in 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, and margarine to make the topping and spread over rhubarb. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Back for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly and topping is a little crunchy.

15 June 2008

This is a potato salad I made out of some grilled potatoes that we had left over from the evening before. Jim's not usually a fan of potato salad, but he couldn't get enough.

Grilled Potato Salad

1 lb red potatoes, cooked, cut into large chunks
2-3 cloves garlic, cooked along with the potatoes so they are soft
2 tbsp dill relish
3 hard boiled eggs, diced
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard

Mix all ingredients together.

Makes about 4 servings.

I made this on Father's Day. It was served alongside burgers and baked beans. An American classic! It doesn't need much in the way of seasoning since the potatoes were seasoned when first grilled. The only thing I didn't like about it was the. They seemed to peel off the potatoes and just kind of float around by themselves. Next time I might try to peel them.