Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spicy Asian Chicken Breast on Salad Greens

The first time I put this meal together was a couple of weeks ago, and it was designed to meet several needs.

You see, my sister and her husband were on their way to visit with us for a few days.. from Calgary.  It’s a comfortable 2-day drive from there to Vancouver Island, but they weren’t sure where they would spend that first night along the way, and they had no idea what time they they would board a ferry from the mainland.  They run every couple of hours this time of year.

I wanted to make sure that I fed them a nice dinner that first night with us, but there was no way to know just when they would arrive – nope, they don’t use their cell phone!  So, I wanted to have something to put together quickly, at whatever time they might appear.

My sister is following a very high protein, very low carb food plan, and I know that she eats a lot of chicken breasts.  My brother in law is not a fan of plain baked chicken breast at all.  I am eating mostly Paleo these days, and The Captain… well he will eat pretty much whatever I put in front of him, other than cauliflower or obvious broccoli!

So, I opted to make salads with slices of baked chicken breasts… but not plain chicken breasts as I might use if I was making Caesar salad.  No, these chicken breasts had been marinating all day in the refrigerator, in a lovely mixture of Asian inspired ingredients. I wanted something with lots of flavor that would be nice and tender and moist.

I baked them in the oven and just as I was taking them out, the buzzer sounded and our guests arrived!  It was perfect timing, because we had time to visit and enjoy a drink (club soda with fresh lime juice for the ladies) while the chicken breasts cooled enough for  me to slice them and assemble the salads for our dinner.

They were a bit hit!  Either that, or my guests were tired and very hungry, I am not sure which really.  But The Captain loved the meal and asked for it again this past Saturday… so I decided to make note of the ingredients I put together in the marinade and write this blog post.

Spicy Asian Chicken Breast on Salad Greens

Spicy Asian Chicken Breast on Salad Greens
Makes 4 servings
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbs Mirin or sushi seasoning
  • 2 Tbs white or rice vinegar
  • 1 packet Splenda or Stevia (use sugar, honey, or even omit)
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce, tamari soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp ginger root, grated fine
  • salad greens of your choice, enough for 4 plates
  1. Mix the onions, Mirin, vinegar, sweetener, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger in a small bowl and then place in a container large enough to hold the 4 chicken breasts. 
  2. Allow chicken to marinate at least 2 hours – you could leave overnight – in the refrigerator.
  3. Discard marinade and then bake chicken in a 375° F oven for approximately 45 minutes or until done.  Test with meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.
  4. Allow to cool about 15 minutes before cutting crosswise on an angle into slices approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  5. In the meantime, place salad greens on 4 serving plates.
  6. Arrange chicken slices on salad greens and serve.
Per serving, including salad greens.
Weight Watchers P+ = 8.
Calories 329; Protein 45g; Carbohydrates 6g; Fat 13g; Fibre 2g.

The exact N.I. is going to depend on the size of your chicken breasts and the ingredients you choose, of course.  These chicken breasts were fairly large, about 5 ounces each after baking.  And I have counted all of the marinade ingredients, not taking into account that most of it is actually discarded.  For greens, I used Romaine lettuce, cucumber and some broccoli/cauliflower/carrot slaw. Shhhh, don’t tell The Captain!

I did make up a dressing to have just in case the chicken breasts came out too dry, but didn’t need it at all. In case you think you might like to have some, it was a mixture of:
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
If my guests had not arrived when they did I would have refrigerated the baked chicken breasts and then sliced them quite thin before adding to the salads.

It would make a really nice lunch or picnic box addition, too, I am sure.

Sept 29 Marianated Chicken Breast 001
Plated greens…

Sept 29 Marianated Chicken Breast 003
Topped with baked chicken breasts.

How do you acomodate different food/nutrition needs when people come to visit?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New ebook Launch - Healthy & Delicious Single Serving Recipes

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of Kamila Gornia’s new ebook

Healthy & Delicious Single Serving Recipes


You many know Kammy from her blog, Sensual Appeal.  I read her posts regularly and have been getting support in my workout efforts from her recently, too.  #FitBuddies

This book is a visual delight!  The pictures will make you drool… and the recipes are full of tasty little dishes, just for one!  There are 43 different ideas for breakfasts, snacks, and desserts.  The ingredients are things that you likely already have in your pantry and your fridge.

There are all kinds of reasons we like to make single servings...  Perhaps we aren't sure we will like something... or we don't want to have leftovers to deal with.... or we don't want to have to purchase lots of ingredients.  Whatever the reason, this book is for anyone who ever wonders how to make 1 muffin from a recipe that makes 12, or 1 piece of candy from a recipe that makes a whole pan full.  You don't have to do the math 'cause Kammy has figured it out for you already.

This is Kammy’s first cookbook and I am sure that she has a huge success on her hands.  I have already tested a few of the recipes on The Captain… much to his delight!  We are kinda working our way through it and he couldn't be happier... I am finding things I really love, too!

Thanks, Kammy, for letting me in on your secret!  Now go get it for yourself or for your friend!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spicy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

I decided to celebrate the First Day of Fall by making my first homemade soup of the season!  And a good soup day it was…. gloomy, wet, and quite cool for our little corner of the World for this time of year.

It was like Summer was bidding us a very tearful goodbye!

The Captain has been purchasing lovely locally-grown squashes and sweet potatoes for me this past couple of weeks so I selected a butternut squash for my soup… and then decided to add some sweet potato, too, for a bit of extra thickness, rich color, and of course, great taste!  You know I love me some orange YAM!
I am going to share the proportions and the method I used, but I know you will adjust it to suit your own dietary needs and tastes.  Whenever I make these types of soups, I use the same method…. it’s only the ingredients and spices that tend to change.

And I was fortunate to have some homemade turkey stock on hand today so of course I used that, too.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 8 one-cup servings

  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup sliced white onion (6 oz.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 5 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (1-1/2 lb.)
  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (9 oz.)
  • 4 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • healthy/liberal sprinkling of dried ginger and nutmeg

  1. Place coconut oil in a large saucepan over MEDIUM heat and sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash, sweet potatoes and saute a few minutes more.
  3. Add several sprinkles of ginger and nutmeg, stir into veggies,  and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add broth broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and when cooled, blend until smooth with immersion blender.
  6. Reheat, to serve, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt if you like.

Per 1-cup serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3. Not including garnish.
Calories 102 ; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 20g; Fat 2g; Fibre 3g
Sept 22 Fall soup 001
Cook the onions and garlic till just translucent, not browned.

Sept 22 Fall soup 002
Add the sweet potato and squash to the pot.

Sept 22 Fall soup 003
Cook for about half an hour and then let cool.

Sept 22 Fall soup 004
Puree.  An immersion blender is a very good tool for this job.

Sept 22 Fall soup 005
Creamy and thick and quite delicious!

Do like to make homemade soups, too?  What is your favorite?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Roasted Squash and Protein Sludge Bowl

I love squashes of all kinds and I am happy that we can purchase them all year long… but in my little corner of the world, we can buy locally grown in the Fall.

And they taste so much better! Kabochas (you may call them Buttercup), Acorns, Delicatas, Butternuts, and Spaghettis... love them ALL.

I like to have some every day and can make a meal of them… but I have learned that I do need to have some protein at every meal, too, not just carbs.  So I have had this tasty little concoction for dinner a few times lately and thought I would share it with you.

It is basically just some cut up squash, spritzed with EVOO and sprinkled with cinnamon, roasted in the oven and then topped with nut butter, hemp seeds, and a protein powder sludge.  Delicious.  Filling.  Good for you!  What could be better?

And my handy dandy little oil sprayer is the perfect tool for this job.

I have done it with kabocha squash, and with butternut squash, and later today I will be having some with acorn squash.  Think I may try it with chocolate protein powder, too.

Sept 2 Kabocha bowl 001

Roasted Squash and Protein Sludge Bowl
Makes 1 serving
  • Squash of your choice, enough for 1 meal size serving… this could be 1/2 acorn squash, 1/2 butternut squash or about 1/4 of a kabocha squash, about 2 cups
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 Tbs almond milk
  • 1 Tbs almond butter
  • 1 Tbs hemp seeds
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  2. Wash the squash and then cut it into large chunks. You can remove the peel at this point if you will not eat it.
  3. Place squash pieces on roasting pan, cut side up. Spray them with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft.
  5. Meanwhile mix protein powder and milk in a small bowl or measure cup to make a sludge.
  6. Place the cooked squash pieces in a serving bowl. Drizzle the protein powder mixture over the top.  Spoon the almond butter over the top. Sprinkle the hemp seeds over everything.
  7. Serve warm.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 10.
Calories 388; Protein 32g; Carbohydrate 39g; Fat 14g; Fibre 9g.

The N.I. will depend on the ingredients you select, of course, but this is my calculation for the kabocha squash and vanilla whey protein as illustrated.

You could certainly  make a smaller version for lunch, or use less nut butter if you like.  I hope you will get creative with your own bowl!

Sept 2 Roasted Kabocha 001
I like to roast a whole kabocha at a time; then I will have some already cooked for egg scrambles, and salads, and snacks.

Sept 16 sqiash dinner 002
This one was done with peeled butternut squash.

Are you a squash fan?  What is your favorite kind?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pin It Party

So fun to be taking part in this edition of Lindsay’s Pin It Party!

pin it party Pin It Party 2

Are you following me on Pinterest? If not CLICK HERE.  And please leave a comment where I can find you too!

Here are 5 of my posts that I would love to see pinned:

I have made it very easy for you… if you click on the picture itself, you will be linked to my own Pin of the recipe.  If you click on the text below the picture, you will be linked to the recipe on my blog.



Enjoy the Pin It Party! I know we are all going to find some great new ideas to try and share!

Pin Away...

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Fresh Pineapple… How to Prepare and Ideas for Eating

It had been some time since we enjoyed a fresh pineapples in our kitchen, but we have had 2 of them very recently… about 2 weeks apart. 

Fresh pineapple is so delicious, but I think I always am afraid it is going to be too messy, or that there will be too much of it and it will go to waste.


I am happy to say I was wrong on both counts!

First, The Captain prepped both of them in the following manner:

1.  Cut the top (leafy) end off.

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 002

2. Cut the bottom end off.

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 003

3. Stand the pineapple on end and slice off the brown skin, and make sure to remove the spiky bits around the ‘eyes’.

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 004

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 005

4. Lay it on an edge and cut it in half lengthwise.  Skip this step if you want to have round rings/slices.

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 006

5. Slice each piece crosswise as thin as you like.

Sept 1 Pineapple cutting 007

Some pineapples have tough core sections, while others don’t. so cut away the core if yours is one of the tougher ones.

It will stay nicely in a covered container in your refrigerator for 2 or 3 days,as you find lots of ways to enjoy it.

Second… here are some ideas to eat up that fresh pineapple:

Aug 20 pineapple slaw 002
Mixed into an Asian-style slaw.

Sept 1 Pineapple Pizza 002
Added to homemade Hawaiian pizza… check out my low-carb grain free flax crust.

Sept 2 Pineapple Bnana Blueberries 001
Mixed with other fresh fruit… here banana slices and blueberries.

And of of course you just eat the slices just as they are!

Fresh pineapple is a Weight Watcher’s best friend.  It is a zero P+ food on the program and comes in at only 76 calories, with 2 g of fibre, for a whole cup!  You’re welcome.

What’s your favorite way to eat fresh pineapple?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

I love gadgets.  I can spend hours looking at them in a kitchen shop. I don’t own a lot of them anymore though… since downsizing our inventory of ‘possessions’ when we moved onto the sailboat a few years ago.   Even though we are now land-based again, I have only been buying things as I find a need for them.

But there are a few tools in my kitchen that I find myself reaching to use over and over again… and I thought I would share them with you today.  These are all non-motorized gadgets and tools... not appliances.

The first is my new Oil Sprayer.

Aug 30 Oil Sprayer 001

It is distributed by Weight Watchers... see that little swoosh logo?  And yes, I am a meeting receptionist/employee of Weight Watchers Canada, and no, they didn’t pay me to talk about this on my blog!

What I love about this particular sprayer is that you can pump it 10 times, and then the oil actually comes out of it in a nice light spray.  I also have a much more expensive one made by Paderno, without the pump, and the oil comes out of it in blobs.

And another bonus with this new sprayer, which only Weight Watchers members will appreciate, is that one full spray amounts to 1 tsp of oil, which counts as 1 P+ on the Weight Watchers program. No guessing how much oil you have used.

I spray my veggies before making chips and you can also spray your popcorn…. easy and no mess!  It comes apart very easily for cleaning too.

The second gadget I want to share is my Lemon Juicer/Reamer.

2013-01-28 001 007

I picked this up in Calgary last year when my older sister pointed it out to me in a shop we were visiting.  She had just purchased one for herself and raved about it, so I had to have one, too.

It is a handy little tool and I love it…. every morning I squeeze the juice from half a lime into a glass, then toss in the lime, and fill the glass with cold water.  It is my morning cocktail, and this little gadget helps prevents a big mess on the counter, believe me. 

The juice falls through some holes in the cup but the seeds stay behind.  Very clever.  I used it whenever I need to have fresh lemon or lime or orange juice in a recipe.  This picture was taken a while back when I was making Babaganoush.

The third is an Egg Ring… actually I have a pair of them.

Aug 31 egg circles 001

Aug 31 egg circles 002

I was kinda skeptical when The Captain brought them home.  And it did take some experimenting before I finally realized I need to coat the insides with a non-stick spray to prevent the eggs from sticking to them.  (Hey I should be using my new oil sprayer now for this.) 

But I do like to use them for making breakfast sandwiches for The Captain.  He likes his on waffles or pancakes and these little rings keep the eggs compact and neat.

Aug 31 egg circles 003

Aug 31 egg circles 004

I just coat the insides and set them in the skillet, and then break the eggs into them.  I normally put a cover over it so the eggs cook quicker.  And sometimes, I pierce the yolks and spread them throughout the white too.

The fourth gadget I want to share today is my Grapefruit Knife.

Sept 1 grapefruit tool 001

That’s The Captain, using the serated edges of this little tool to slice around the inside of the grapefruit, to separate the flesh from the rind.  You can certainly use a sharp knife for this, I know, but this little tool is curved just right for the job at hand.  Love it.

Tupperware, hmmmm…. Can you even buy that anymore?

I think I have a few more… but will save them for another time.

Do you have any favorite gadgets I should know about?

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Red Curry Crock Pot Pork

I love to use my crock pot.  And I do, very often.  Several times a month probably.

One of the things I really like about it is that I can make up a large batch of something and then divide it into individual portions and put them in the freezer… especially nice for dinners on days I am working or not feeling particularly inspired to cook! 

This particular recipe was given to me by one of my Weight Watchers buddies and she said it came from the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.

I was a bit hesitant when I read the ingredient list. I have never ever thought to buy or use fish sauce and have always shied away from recipes that call for it.  I like fish, but I don’t like fish soups or stews and I guess I think of those things when I hear about fish sauce.  I have no experience whatsoever with Thai food.

But I polled some friends on Facebook and they told me that fish sauce is not fishy tasting but very salty, and that it offers a unique flavor… andsome advised me not to smell it!  Okay, then…. I am game.  I do love a good curry.

So when I went shopping for fish sauce, I really didn’t even know what I was looking for.  I did think it would be with the other Asian-inspired ingredients but I had to read practically every label on every bottle on the shelves before I found it. I thought it would be in a little glass bottle that looked more like hot sauce.

And I have to say, I was quite surprised at the size of the bottle I found… much larger than I thought it would be… and the price… much less than I thought it would be.  That was a good surprise!  This 700 ml (almost 3 cups) bottle was only $1.77 in price.

Aug 30 Fish Sauce 002

I made a couple of changes to the dish based on ingredients I happened to have on hand. I used light coconut milk, instead of the full fat version the original recipe calls for.  I couldn’t see where it would make much difference here… and I also used a green pepper instead of red or orange or yellow.  The green pepper turned out to be kind of bitter… and I won’t chance that the next time I make it. And I would also add several  more carrots to the pot as well.

But wait… did I say next time?  I did.   All day longThe Captain kept telling me how good it smelled to him while it was cooking… while all I could think about was that fish sauce, worrying about how it was really going to taste. 

When he served it up, I tasted a piece of the pork right away, and realized that I did like this dish… very much in fact, and went back for a spoonful of the creamy coconut sauce.  It is a very mild curry, and not too salty at all and certainly not fishy!

So I will share the recipe as I made it… and the Nutritional Information is mine too.  I divided it into 6 good sized servings.   I took my pictures before remembering to go out and cut some fresh cilantro for garnish.

Aug 30 Red Curry Slower Cooker Pork 003

Red Curry Slow Cooker Pork
Makes 6 servings
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 pounds pork loin cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 can light coconut milk, well shaken
  • 2 rounded Tbs red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium to large bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced vertically
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. Place coconut oil in large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
  2. While oil is heating, toss the pork in the Chinese 5 spice and stir to coat the pieces evenly.
  3. Add  the pork to the coconut oil and saute for a few minutes till slightly browned.
  4. Remove the pork from pan and place in slow cooker.
  5. Add coconut milk to the skillet the pork was cooking in and whisk to scrape up any bits of pork left behind.
  6. Add broth, curry paste and fish sauce to the milk, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Pour milk mixture over pork in the slow cooker.
  8. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
    Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 279; Protein 34g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 12g; Fibre 2g.

Aug 30 Red Curry Slower Cooker Pork 001
I served The Captain’s over white rice. I think barely or farro would be good too.

Aug 30 Red Curry Slower Cooker Pork 002
I had mine over spaghetti squash.  Next time I may have it with cauliflower rice, or even sweet potato or kabocha squash.

Are you a slow cooker fan?

Do you ‘batch’ cook so you have meals made ahead of time.

What about Thai food… yes or no?