Archive | February 2013

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

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On Saturday I am selling my oven and all of the pans that go with it.  So tonight, knowing that I have a few veggies and quinoa in my house that need to be eaten up before I leave Korea for ten days.  I was also excited to use my Korean jjigae pot again!

I sliced up 2 medium potatoes into small cubes.  I threw a cup of quinoa into the pot with the potatoes and about 2 cups of water.  I put it on the stove to boil and covered the pot.

I kept my eye on the pot, as I knew for a fact that I didn’t put enough water in for the quinoa.  When the quinoa had soaked up most of the water, I added the rest of the ingredients.  I added one jar of pablano pepper alfredo sauce, then I filled the jar half way full of water, shook it up and added the water as well.  Next I added 2 diced up chicken breasts, 1 diced onion, 1 red bell pepper diced up, and a large handful (maybe two tablespoons) of capers.  When this started to thicken, and I checked that the potatoes were just about done, I added one crown of diced up broccoli, and changed the bowl from the ceramic pot to a glass baking dish.  I would have just baked it all in the pot, but my tiny convection oven was too small.  Once I put the mixture in the dish,  I baked it covered with foil for about 20 minutes, just to finish cooking the quinoa and chicken, and then pulled it out and covered the top with a few slices of Colby jack cheese.  When the cheese was nice and brown and crusty, I pulled it out and served.  It was super easy, really yummy, and it had tons of flavor. You can season to taste after adding the alfredo sauce.  We added just a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper to the plate, and it really was not bad for such an easy meal.  I did not cook anything ahead of time, and it all went raw into one pot

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My First (and maybe only) Korean Dinner!

Korean dinner

 

This week was the Lunar New Year celebreation in Korea.  This is a huge holiday, where you people are often given a three or four day weekend.  It is a time when Koreans meet with their families, and the women and girls make tons of traditional food.  The families take some of it and offer it to their ancestors at their grave sites, and then they celebrate usually at the husband’s parents houses.  The children bow before their grandparents and are given money as well.  I don’t know a ton more about this holiday, but I sued it as an excuse for me to make a meal out of traditional Korean foods.

Whenever I go to a traditional barbecue restaurant, they always serve a tofu soup that I really like.  It is not super flavorful, but it is good spooned over rice, and since I have gotten over my aversion to tofu, I have wanted to try it…especially since I got my new traditional Korean soup pot!  I learned in the Cooking in Korea facebook page that the soup was called deonjang jjigae, which is fermented soybean paste soup.  This is the one soup I have really tried, and I enjoy it, so I was determined to make it.  I paired it with smoked duck breast, as that is an easy protein, and one of the meats that we most enjoy in Korea, and of course rice.

DSC01892First I made the soup.  I put the ceramic pot on the stove, and prepared the DSC01891ingredients.  I wish I would have had some kale or bok choy but I didn’t so I just used the veggies I had, which are not nontraditional on their own.

 I used 4 small potatoes, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 2 tablespoons of garlic, 2 teaspoons of Korean red pepper paste, and three tablespoons of deonjang paste in this soup.

First I washed, peeled, and cubed the potatoes.  Next I quartered one carrot lengthwise and then cubed it up as well.  I sliced the onion, and threw in the pulverized garlic.  Next I put it into the soup pot and turned it on high to let it boil, and cook all the root veggies.

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I turned the flame on high, and put the lid on.  I let it cook for about 10 minutes, came back and stirred, and checked the carrots and potatoes.  They were already getting soft, so I removed the pot from the stove, since I can only use one burner at a time.  Next I made my rice.  I have a brown and black rice blend, so my rice tends to look redish purple…you can use whatever rice you have.  I boiled

2  2/3 cups of water, and then turned it down to simmer with 1 1/3 cups of rice and covered for 15 minutes.  I added a drizzle of olive oil in hopes of keeping my rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan (I am good and getting rice stuck on pans!)

DSC01897When it appared that the water was gone from the pan (looking through a glass lid), I took the lid off, stirred it a bit, and removed the pot from the burner.

Next I used my grill pan.  I opened my package of smoked duck breast, and grilled it over the grill pan, just for a few seconds on each side, as it is actually pre-cooked.

Smoked duck is dense like ham, and smells a combination of ham and bacon, which is interesting considering it is a flying animal, not a pig!

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Using the grill pan for this is nice, because duck is very very fatty!  The grill pan allows for the fat to run off, and although it is a little dry, it is still very good…especially with the honey mustard sauce that the store included with it!

Once I had the duck cooked, I threw the pot back on the stove for another minute, just to make sure the soup was hot.  Over high heat, it started boiling again within two minutes, showing that this pot can retain heat very well.  At this point, I realized I forgot to throw in the tofu.  So I cubed up a chunk of firm tofu, and threw it into the pot, letting it simmer for a few more minutes.  I should have done this before taking it off the heat the first time, but it still turned out okay.  I tasted it and realized I was in fact missing a little something so I threw in less than two tablespoons of Braggs Aminos (aka soy sauce), and the salty flavor helped.  At the last moment before serving, I also threw in some chopped up green onions which were the perfect complement to the soup!

This is what it looked like done!

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Now in Korea, they would give each persona  spoon, a set of chop sticks, and all serve yourself on community plates and bowls.  I don’t have very many dishes in my house, so I did take advantage of this!  I set out one plate of duck, one large bowl of rice, and because the soup pot was so large, I did serve us each our own bowl of soup, although traditionally, it is brought to the table in the pot, and everyone just scoops from there.  My favorite way to eat the soup is with rice.

So anyway, here is my duck and doenjang jjigae.  It was not the best meal I have ever made, but it was pretty good, and my soup was close to those I have had at Korean barbecue restaurants around here.

Now on the the special dessert we got in Itaewon today…strawberry rhubarb pie!

Miracle Fettuccine ????

 

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I got some miracle noodles in my last batch from Iherb.com, and they were herb and garlic fettuccine noodles.  So tonight, I tried to make fettuccine alfredo with them.  I used three packages of Miracle Noodles, and made an awesome almond milk Alfredo sauce.

The first thing I did was cook up two chicken breasts in a little olive oil and butter.  Once they were crusty and golden brown, I removed them from the pan, and put in one sliced white onion and some garlic.  I sliced up the chicken, and threw it back into the pan.  Next I added 5 cups of homemade almond milk.  I let it simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce started thickening up.  I rinsed off about a cup of marinated/rinsed and chopped artichoke hearts.  I added about 1/3  cup of grated parmasan cheese, and salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and parsley to taste.

I opened and rinsed the noodles under hot water, and sprinkled a tablespoon of flour into the sauce just to get it a little thicker.  Then I put the noodles into the sauce, and let it simmer for a minute. I flavored with a little chicken bouillon and it was perfect!

I was looking forward to trying this, although had a  little trepidation because I was not sure if the texture of this noodle would really hold up to a cream sauce.  It turns out that the trepidation was well founded, as the texture was really really off, and I found myself craving starchy noodly goodness!

SO, my experiment didn’t work  as I had hoped.  The sauce is amazing, but not with the particular noodles that I made.  In fact, for lunch tomorrow, I am going to make some pasta for lunch tomorrow and make another batch of the sauce.

3 packages of Herb and Garlic Miracle Noodles (My suggestion is skip these and use a nice whole wheat pasta or even make your own)

5 cups almond milk

1 large onion

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons of crushed garlic (more or less to taste)

1 1/2 cups of marintated (or any kind) artichoke hearts

salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and parsley to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

First cook the chicken in the oil and butter until it is golden brown and crusty on both sides.  Then take it out and while it is resting, slice up one large onion and toss it in the pan with the left over oil.  Slice up the chicken and add it back to the pan.  Pour in all of the almond milk, and simmer until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 stirring every few minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan.  sprinkle a teaspoon of flour in at a time until it begins to thicken I didn’t use more than a tablespoon.  Grate in parmasan cheese, and continue stirring.  Also add the artichoke hearts, and let cook for just a few minutes.  Once the sauce is done, add the noodles into the pan.  Once they are all mixed together you can serve.

The sauce is so easy, and on real noodles it tastes amazing.  However, this meal was very low in carbs and had lots of protein in it.  I have not figured out the WW numbers, but this honestly can’t be too bad!

Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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A few weeks ago, we bought some bananas, but I was on my diet and couldn’t eat them, and my husband wasn’t really in the mood to eat them.  They started to turn black when I came across this recipe.  It is the most simple thing I have ever seen, and it actually worked out beautifully.
All you do is slice up the bananas into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.  Then you freeze them.  The original recipe has some beautiful pictures, and a great explanation, so maybe go check it out.  She froze them flat on a cookie sheet over parchment paper for about two hours.  I actually froze them a few weeks ago, and threw them into a plastic freezer bag and just froze them in a big chunk in the freezer.

This morning I pulled the bananas out of the freezer, and let them thaw for about 15-20 minutes.  Next I threw 1 cup batches into the food processor and chopped and mixed and blended and stirred until it became smooth.  I had about three batches of that, as I had about 5 bananas frozen.

Once all the banana is blended, it turns into an amazing creamy ice cream textured ice cream.  I stirred about 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips, and threw it back into the freezer.

It is important to blend the bananas frozen, so you get this creamy whipped texture, rather than a banana mash, as you might for banana bread.  It does not seem to have an overwhelming banana flavor, and hey, for someone who can’t eat eggs, and is allergic to milk, it is a perfect solution (if only I liked bananas more)!

This would also be good adding peanut butter, or cocoa powder, etc…any number of add-ins that  can be good with banana.

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As for WW points, since bananas are 0 points, and 1/3 of a cup of chocolate chips is 7 points…the entire container of ice cream is 7 points…break that up as you will 😉