Friday, January 28, 2011

Rollin' with the Homies...Chicken Roulade

Sometimes food can be made a whole lot more exciting just by the package it comes in.  For instance who doesn't love normal foods in their mini form?  Mini cupcakes, sliders, lil smokies, mini quiche, even shots!  For some reason I also loved food that is rolled, maybe it's cause I like to roll with my homies yo!  But seriously - that pumpkin roll cake at Thanksgiving, spring rolls, sushi- the list goes on!! 

I developed this recipe one day because I wanted to do my take on a chicken roulade.  I had some Kale sitting in my fridge from the Farmers Market that I needed to use, as well as a bag of brown wild rice I wanted to use up.  If you haven't tried the blend of wild rice and brown rice- go out and get it ASAP!  Ok get ready to roll!!!    

Wild Rice Chicken Roulade with Kale

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin)
3/4 cup cooked wild rice
5-6 stalks kale
4 slices turkey bacon
1/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil.  Lightly spray with cooking spray. 
2.  Thinly slice kale, discarding stems and dice turkey bacon.  Heat skillet over medium heat and cook turkey bacon.  Once the bacon starts to brown, add 2 tsp of olive oil and add in kale.  Cook till kale is slightly wilted and season lightly with salt and pepper.  (Set aside to cool)

3.  Prepare wild rice (instant, frozen, etc it doesn't matter) and let cool.

4.  Take chicken breast, lay a piece of saran wrap or wax paper over the chicken and pound thin (about 1/4 inch thick).  You can do this with a mallet, rolling pin or even a heavy frying pan.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.    
Work out your frustrations for the week

5.  Add wild rice to kale and bacon mixture.  Add in greek yogurt and mix well.  Spread mixture evenly over chicken breasts and roll chicken jelly roll style.  Roll tightly and lay seam side down. 
Optional: Tie chicken rolls with string or hold together with toothpicks

6.  Drizzle with olive oil (so it gets nice and brown!) and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Served with some additional wild rice and roasted brussel sprouts

Sooo good!  The yogurt adds a nice tang and keeps it super moist, with the nice surprise of the yummy turkey bacon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Friend!

I'm at that age where my friends have started to have babies...  For some reason I have never been fond of giving flowers for the birth of a baby.  In my head I imagine the parents being so busy that they never get a chance to enjoy the flowers (poor flowers!) and lately it seems everyone gives the same things for baby from Target or Baby Gap.  And even though I would love to gift Sophie the giraffe or the baby favorite Moo Baa La La La- you never know if the baby already has it.  If I were a new mom, I would want someone to cook me a meal!

On Friday I went to visit my new friend Baby John and his mom and dad!  John was born in December and is a cutie patootie.  His mom is often my lunch buddy and we often try to keep it healthy or follow the 80/20 rule.  With that in mind I brought over a healthy but deeelish Chili Chicken Verde and some yummy cornbread.  But knowing the new mom, I knew I had to go the extra mile and create a dessert!  Since the meal was pretty healthy (I lightened up the cornbread a bit) I went for a dessert that was bright, yummy and easy to eat.  (She might only have one hand to eat it while holding baby John!)  I had some Meyer Lemons left over from my last trip to the farmers market that were just begging to be used.  So I decided on a Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake.  I made some slight edits to lighten it up, I need to try this again since I think I might have made one too many...

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake (Slightly Lightened Up)
      recipe adapted from

2 2/3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 1/3 cups sugar (I used 2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs (room tempature)
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used yogurt)
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
juice of 1 Meyer lemon (optional)
1 stick plus 7 Tablespoons butter (I used 1 stick plus 1/2 cup applesauce)

For the Syrup
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of 1-2 lemons

Baking the Cakes:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 8 1/2 x4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

2.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. 

3. Put sugar and lemon zest in the bowl and mix together till the oils from the lemon peel are infused into the sugar. 
4.  Add in the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are incorporated.  Whisk in the vanilla extract and the yogurt. 

5.  In 3-4 parts slowly add in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.  Finish by adding in the lemon juice, butter and applesauce.  Pour the batter into the two pans and smooth the surface if necesary. 

Sprinkle some almonds on top!
 6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly from the center of the cakes.

For the sauce:

1.  Stir the water and sugar together on medium heat till the sugar is disolved.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add in the lemon juice.  Remove the syrup from heat and let cool. 

2.  Brush cakes with syrup while cakes are still hot so that the cakes absorb it all. 

The cake came out pretty and the taste was bright and sunny,  However I didn't really love the texture of the cake.  It was a little crumbly, kinda like a polenta or olive oil cake.  I reread some of the comments at Joy the Baker and it seemed some people did mention a crumbly texture...  If I were to redo it, I think I would either just replace the butter OR the heavy cream.  (I think reducing the sugar was fine, esp since there is sugar in the glaze)  Perhaps taking away both took away the dense, creamy texture too much.  Hopefully John's mom and dad won't notice- since they are so tired with the new baby and happy to eat!  The Brazilian gave it two thumbs up (but he loves all sweets).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff for the Brazilian

My boyfriend, the "Brazilian" is originally from Brazil, and often talks about how he misses the great food from there.  He is also my work out partner and the trainer put him on a healthy eating program as well.  However, the Brazilian is blessed with great metabolism, so his diet- while low fat, is focused on helping him put on weight/muscles.  Sadly he does not cook, but I thought I would surprise him and attempt to create a healthy version of Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff to eat over the long weekend. 

If you've never had Brazil's version of Stroganoff, they traditionally use a tomato base and a heavy cream which makes it dreamy... In Brazil this dish is typically served over rice and topped with crisp potato sticks (like Piknik stick chips).  This dish is so popular in Brazil that it's served in fast food chains, as a topping on pizza, baked potatoes and other creative creations. 

To lighten it up I nixed the heavy cream and substituted Greek yogurt.  (If you haven't jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon do so ASAP!)  Greek yogurt is great as it is super creamy, low in calories and packs in extra protein.  My three favorite brands to use are Fage, Chobani and the Trader Joe's 0% Fat.  My attempt below is a combination of 3 different recipes that I found online. 

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 basket white mushrooms (sliced)
1 lb chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup fat free chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
3/4 cup Greek yogurt or non fat sour cream

1.  Put the chicken, garlic, spices and 1/2 the onion in a bowl and mix.  Let marinate for at least 1 hour. 

2.  Heat up olive oil in pan and add in the rest of the onion and mushrooms and saute until tender.  I ended up adding in a variety of dried mushrooms in as well, since I thought it would amp up the taste.

3.  Add in the chicken with marinade, let chicken start to brown.   Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock (I've seen some other recipes use cognac or wine, which I'm sure is yummy, but since we are trying to keep this healthy I went with the chicken stock) to make a thick sauce.  Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat or until chicken is done.  If mixture looks dry add in a splash more chicken stock. 

4.  When done mix Greek yogurt, mustard and ketchup in a bowl and add in to pan. Mix briefly and serve with potato sticks.

Notes: In hindsight I wouldn't cook this again in my cast iron pot, since it didn't provide a nice brown on the chicken.  I might also use the 2% Greek yogurt since the 0% seemed to separate a little (maybe due to the protein?), though the taste was fine.  Oooh an even better choice instead of the chicken broth + Greek yogurt might just be a low fat cream of mushroom soup! 

Served over brown rice with sauteed spinach

This dish is traditionally served with rice and maybe some Pan de Queso.  I ate it over brown rice and the Brazilian had it over some mashed potatoes (his healthy complex carbs).  Below is the instant mix to make Pan de Queso (cheesey breadballs) and the potato sticks I got from the Brazilian market by my house. 

Brazilian yumminess

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ramen Eggs (Ni Tamago)

Hello, welcome to my blog!  After a couple of years of reading and trying recipes from healthy eating and dessert blogs, perusing Tastespotting daily - I was inspired to start my own blog.  In the last year I started working out with a trainer and eating healthier and this year he amped it up by asking me to keep a food diary.  :(  (No cheating allowed!)  Last year was also a super busy one at work and as part of my stress release I found myself baking up treats almost every Sunday to bring into work.  This year I hope to eat healthier by finding new healthy food combos I love; as well as lightening up caloric favorites.  And we do all this so we CAN eat the crazy delish desserts and treats! 

To kick it off I'll start with an easy and simple recipe, that is soo good and can kick a lot of dishes up a notch.  Yes, I'm talking Ramen Eggs!!  Otherwise known as Shoyu Tamago no Zensai or Ni Tamago.  These are the yummy seasoned eggs often found in your hot bowl of Ramen.  Recently I've added them to Bento lunches, on salads and I bet they would be great with noodles or hot rice dishes as well. 

Ni Tamago in Ramen!!
This recipe comes from "Harumi's Japanese Cooking" by Harumi Kurihara (Japan's Martha Stewart), a wonderful Christmas gift from my friend LT. 

Shoyu Tamago no Zensai

6-8 Small hard cooked eggs (See how to get the perfect yolky egg below)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Shell the eggs.  Mix the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar together, making sure the sugar dissolves.  Put the eggs with the marinade into a large plastic bag.  Leave to marinate for 2-3 hours, moving the eggs around in the bag to ensure even coloring.  (If you don't part of the egg will stain darker and the other side of your egg will be sad).  Note:  I actually let my eggs sit over night and they turned out fine.  In the morning I simply removed from the marinade and placed them in a container. 

How to Cook the Egg
I like my eggs to be a little yolky (that bright yellow color).  To achieve this start with room temperature eggs and fill a pot with enough water so that the water level is at least 1/2 inches above the eggs.  Bring the pot of water to a gentle boil and carefully place room temperature eggs into the water.  Quickly reduce heat to a low simmer and cover pot with lid.  For a soft boiled egg cook for 6 minutes, for a more well cook egg leave covered for 7-8 minutes.  Place cooked eggs in cold water or an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Super yummy!  Add in your Ramen or eat alone as a snack tonight!

Mmm in my Bento! I used my heart egg shaper mold for these...