Chicken & Broccoli

Dave and I always say we would probably pick Asian food if we only could have one type of food for the rest of our lives.  It’s too hard to decide within that realm… we LOVE spicy Thai food, Szechuan, good old Chinese takeout, Vietnamese, Sushi… it’s all so good!  I try really hard to not order takeout during the week, so sometimes I end up picking recipes during my menu planning that are healthier versions of some of our favorite takeout dishes.  And subsequently needing to buy a Costco size jug of low sodium soy.

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Stir-Fried Lemongrass Chicken

Happy New Year everyone!  Yesterday, Dave and I started a two-week Food Lover’s Cleanse.  The Cleanse is from Bon Appetit- it’s all about getting back in the kitchen and cooking healthy whole foods.  They limit refined starches, sugars, saturated fats, and dairy.  After eating like pigs over the holidays, we could use the cleanse!  If you feel like taking the challenge and joining in… let me know!  The cleanse and all recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks can be found here.  I’ve already been cooking up a storm making fresh sauces and dressings to get ready for the next few days.  It’s been a lot of work but it’s been fun so far!

Meanwhile, another goal for the new year besides getting back on track with eating is for me to continue to blog!  It’s been so hard with my new job, planning our wedding, and now it’s even more difficult with our new puppy, Snoop!

Our puppies!!

Our puppies!!

Stir-Fried Lemongrass Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (or Sriracha)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemongrass Paste (or sliced peeled fresh lemongrass)
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Garlic (or 2 cloves)
  • 1 cup sliced Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced thin
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, shredded
  • 8 oz Haricot Verts, trimmed
  • 1lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Cashews
  • 1 Thai Chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds to garnish

Preparation:

1. Combine brown sugar, chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sambal oelek.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add lemongrass and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a small bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, carrots and haricots verts to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; add to lemongrass mixture. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken in a single layer; cook 2-3 minutes or until browned. Add cashews and chile to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in stock mixture and vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until sauce begins to thicken. Serve immediately and top with sesame seeds.

Adapted from:  Cooking Light

Still lovin' my Gourmet Garden herbs.  I use the garlic with everything and it's great to use the Lemongrass when needed so I don't have to buy it fresh and take the time to peel it!

Still lovin’ my Gourmet Garden herbs. I use the garlic with everything and it’s great to use the Lemongrass when needed so I don’t have to buy it fresh and take the time to peel it!

Such a nice RED on that bell pepper...

Such a nice RED on that bell pepper…

Yummy Cashews!  I love the  buttery crunch they add to this asian dish.

Yummy Cashews! I love the buttery crunch they add to this asian dish.

Everything ready to be stir-fried!

Everything ready to be stir-fried!

Finished product!  Usually, Dave and I like our asian stir-fries to be a little saucier, but this one is so flavorful, it's okay that it's not drenched, I promise!

Finished product! Usually, Dave and I like our asian stir-fries to be a little saucier, but this one is so flavorful, it’s okay that it’s not drenched, I promise!

Something I have always loved about Stir Fry recipes is that you can customize it so easily according to what veggies you have available and what you and your family enjoy!  Try it with broccoli, spinach, peanuts, or really anything!

What is everyone doing for the New Year?  Any good recipes to try?  I am saving some good ones to make after our cleanse!

 

 

 

Pineapple Chicken & Homemade General Tso Sauce

Just when you thought I was off my Asian kick…

Time for a new recipe for Pineapple Chicken with Homemade General Tso Sauce!

Ingredients for the chicken:
3 Chicken Breasts
2 Slices Pineapple (canned, in pineapple juice)
2 Tablespoons Pineapple Juice (from the can)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Hot Cherry Pepper, diced
1/2 Onion, diced or sliced however you desire
1 teaspoon Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 Tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
1 Bag Steamfresh Snow Peas, cooked

3 Servings Instant Brown Rice

Ingredients for the sauce:
2-3 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 pinch Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Honey
1 teaspoon Garlic
1 teaspoon (or more) Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon Cornstarch (plus 1 teaspoon Cold Water)
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds

This amazing dish was so simple!!

For the chicken: Start by sauteeing the onions and garlic in a grill pan with 1 teaspoon Olive Oil. Cut your chicken breasts into small pieces or 1-2 inch long slices and add into the grill pan. Season with the Cayenne Pepper. After chicken is almost cooked (just a few minutes) add the rest of the “chicken” ingredients EXCEPT the snow peas and brown rice (the peas will fall apart if they are added in too early). Mix to combine well with the sauce. It shouldn’t be too saucy.

For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, combine the Teriyaki Sauce through the Sriracha Hot Sauce and stir with a whisk. Toast the sesame seeds and add them into the sauce. Now, stir a teaspoon of corn starch in with a teaspoon of cold water in a separate container. Add the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, lowering the heat to medium. Stir the sauce until it becomes thick.

Serve the chicken mixture over some brown rice and spoon the sauce ontop for a quick, healthy, spicy & sweet dinner!

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Sesame Beef Stir-Fry

Dinner on my diet night #3… and what do I decide to make?  You guessed it… Asian!  Before you judge, let me explain.

If you were to order a comparable dish at a Chinese Takeout restaurant, you’re looking at a meal that takes up over half your daily calorie allotment!  Chinese Beef & Broccoli can have over 1,000 calories and up to 65 grams of fat.  For a dish that has a vegetable in its title, that’s pretty disgusting!

This is exactly why I wanted to give up Chinese food for my Challenge.  Dave and I could live off of it, we just love it… and for a while were eating it once a week.  The funny thing about Chinese Food and my past dieting, is that every time I would eat it, my diet would go astray for a few days.  The reason for this is because it is VERY difficult to find nutritional information for Chinese Food.  All of the places we order our takeout are local, neighborhood, Mom & Pop shops.  None of them have websites let alone nutritional information… and I bet you can agree about the restaurants you go to!  So, in the past, I would go a few days keeping track of my food, eat Chinese, and then give up since that day couldn’t be tracked.

I did find a few websites recently that you can use to help you track Chinese Food.  Here is one of them!  And another!

Although I’ve given up Chinese Food for the obvious nutritional value, it’s more important to me that I’m keeping track of my food diary.  If I make my own asian inspired meals, I know exactly what’s going into it and I can still continue to track.

With all of that being said, you HAVE to try out this Beef Stir-Fry!  This is another recipe I tried out from Cooking Light (Nov 2011) – where a lot of my recipes come from.  This recipe in particular claims to be a “20-Minute Dinner”… so I put it to the test!

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry Recipe:

1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic 

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 pound presliced stir-fry meat (such as flank or boneless sirloin steak)

8 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)

4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves 

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

½ teaspoon hot chili garlic sauce (optional… I added this!)

This recipe is pretty simple.  Mix the first five ingredients (ginger, garlic, soy, sugar, red pepper) into a bowl.  Heat the sesame oil in a wok or sauté pan.  Once the oil is heated, stir in the sliced beef and cook for 3 minutes or until browned.  Mine took about 5 minutes.  Add the green onions and sauté for one minute.  Pour on the sauce waiting for you in the bowl and stir for 30 seconds.  Pile on a bag of spinach.  Let it sit for a minute until it starts to shrink, then stir until it shrinks completely.  Add the sesame seeds, stir, and serve!

Ginger, Garlic, Asian, Deliciousness!!

I love piling the spinach on...

When I was done cooking the stir-fry, I checked the clock and it turns out that it took me about 23 minutes.  Not too bad!  This is only the second time I’ve ever cooked with fresh ginger.  I’m happy with the way it turned out, it tasted fresher and less salty than the normal store-bought sauces we stir-fry with.

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry

Unlike its takeout twin Beef & Broccoli, this recipe only has 230 calories and 11 gramsof fat per serving.  The recipe should make 4 servings, but I only got 2 out of it… I guess I was pretty hungry!  I ended up buying a bigger than normal bag of spinach leaves (not baby spinach) and used the entire thing.  I also didn’t check the weight of the beef I purchased, so there’s a chance it was less than a pound.  However, 460 calories is pretty good for a delicious Asian dinner that was made in 23 minutes!