Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not-So-Crack Chicken

 I was going to write a blog earlier in the week about this Taco Pasta that I made and then I realized that the vast majority of my posts have involved ground turkey and some kind of noodle and I figured you all would think I don’t actually eat anything else, so I decided to hold off a few days. Tonight I made something called “Crack Chicken,” that alleges to be sodelicious that it’s like a drug. Now, normally I’d hesitate before running out to the store and buying a bunch of stuff I don’t already have especially when it’s used in such small quantities, but I figured if the chicken is this good then I’m going to be making it every other day, right? Eh, wrong.

Now, this one could be entirely my fault, because I forgot the cornstarch, but I highly doubt a little thing like that could turn what I made into something as addictive as described in the recipes I saw. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty! But, the pictures showed this gooey, kind of crunchy-looking, dark brown chicken that makes me want to lick the screen and mine turned out sort of beige and tasting generally crock-potty. The recipe was originally adapted from a non-crock pot recipe, so I’m considering making it that way next time and seeing if it turns out crispier and more appetizing, because the sauce was really good, kind of sweet and spicy at the same time. We had it over mashed potatoes because, as previously mentioned, Goober doesn’t like rice. It probably changed the style of the dish a little because it’s supposed to be vaguely Asian, but, you know, mashed potatoes go with everything.


So as I made it we had:

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
**2 tablespoon cornstarch** (forgot that)
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 garlic clove crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

It made four servings and each serving was 388 Calories, 11g Fat (2g Saturated, 1g Polyunsaturated, 5g Monounsaturated), 140mg Cholesterol, 919mg Sodium, 25mg Potassium, 20g Carbohydrates (0g Fiber, 18.8g Sugar), 51.2g Protein

Monday, April 8, 2013

Turkey Stroganoff

Oh my goodness friends, it has been far too long since I’ve posted and so many things have happened! Let’s see, since my last post Goober proposed and I said yes (of course) and then we went to New Jersey for Easter and found a wedding venue and ate lots of delicious, less-than-healthy food like cheesesteaks and soft pretzels and french fries and miraculously I only gained a pound. Now we’re back to real life with work, working out, and blogging!

So, can I talk for a minute about how much I love egg noodles? I don’t know if it’s a nostalgic thing because I loved this Hamburger Gravy my mom would make when I was a kid (basically homemade Hamburger Helper without all the processed junk) or if it has to do with the texture and flavor of the noodles themselves, but whenever I see a recipe that lends itself to egg noodles I gravitate toward it. I found this recipe for a Turkey Stroganoff that looked good, but I wanted to skinny it up a little bit. When I’m making a recipe with a flavorful sauce like this I like to use the 99% lean ground turkey, because it’s not as big of a deal if it dries out a bit because the sauce just makes it all better.

For the sauce I used the Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup over the low fat one because it’s an overall healthier choice, with lower sodium and comparable fat and calories. I used a low fat sour cream because there are very few fat free ingredients or foods I like. I think once you get to fat free most things cross over from being food to being overly processed junk. If you look closely at the labels between a fat free and low fat option of the same item you’ll find they’re not usually that different in calories (sometimes the fat free one is higher) but the low fat one has about half as many chemicals you can’t pronounce. I used the same whole-wheat egg noodles I used for the Turkey Noodle Bake, which I still love. I didn’t have any garlic salt, but I had some garlic pepper so I just used ½ teaspoon of that instead of ¼ teaspoon each of garlic salt and pepper.


The end result was a creamy sauce and slightly chewy (in a good way) turkey with mushrooms over always-delicious egg noodles. It was a little bit monochromatic for me, I like my food to have some color to it, but that’s just a downfall of anything with a cream-based sauce. I’d definitely serve it with a salad next time to have something colorful. Goober likes to get pretend mad at me for “sneaking” vegetables into our dinners, even though he was with me when I went shopping and put mushrooms and mushroom soup into the cart. He clearly wasn’t bothered enough to stop eating though…

(Goober joins the clean plate club)

Overall it made four servings and clocked in at a very reasonable 315 Calories, 6.8g Fat, 2.6g Saturated Fat, 73.1mg Cholesterol, 531.2mg Sodium, 343.8mg Potassium, 30.2g Carbohydrates (3.6g Fiber, 5.8g Sugar), 33.6g Protein.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Something I, and probably most people trying to change their eating habits, struggle with is portion control. And in that vein, not eating everything that’s in front of me even once I’m full. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. If you put food in front of me I will eat it. I can remember a time in third grade we were on a school trip and as part of the trip we were supposed to learn about sustainable eating habits and only taking as much as you think you’ll eat. At the end of the meal they’d weigh what we didn’t eat and the table that had the lowest weight won a prize. My table came up with an ingenious way to get around this. Anything they didn’t want to eat after they were full they put on my plate and I ate for them. It didn’t matter that I was full, too. I was effectively a human compost bin for them and I did what they said because it was an opportunity to do something “good” for my peers in hope of being accepted by them.

Fast forward twenty years and it’s still a big struggle for me to stop eating when there’s food in front of me. Call it Starving-Child-in-Africa-Syndrome or Eyes-Are-Too-Big-For-My-Stomach or really anything you’d like, but if I’m full and there’s food left on my plate chances are I’ll still eat it. Today Goober and I had a day off together so we went out for lunch. It was Pi Day, so I wanted to splurge and split a piece of pie for dessert (remember, everything in moderation). When the pie came he was too full to have more than a bite, so I said I’d still have my half and then we could go. I ate my half and then another bite. And another. Soon there was only about a quarter of a slice of pie left and I knew I’d keep eating it if I didn’t do something drastic. So I took Goober’s super messy marinara-sauced napkin and threw it right on top of the pie. Then two more napkins so I couldn’t even see it. It helped a little, but you know, I still wanted the pie. I didn’t dive in and finish it, so it was a small victory, but I don’t think I need to resort to throwing trash on my food so I won’t eat it. So help me out friends, what are your helpful tips for stopping eating?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Special Occasion Eating

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. My work schedule is kind of blowing up for the next few weeks as we enter Spring Break time for the tourists, so my posts might be kind of intermittent for the time being. For now, though, I want to talk a little bit about eating for special occasions.

Last night I had the opportunity to have dinner with my sister who I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. As nervous (and excited) as I was about seeing her, I was also a little concerned about making the right food choices. When you’re out with friends on a normal night you don’t think twice about asking for dressing on the side or skipping the bread. But this was a special occasion, and besides, I didn’t want to look like a weirdo to someone who was basically re-meeting me. So when the bread came, I had a piece. But I didn’t have two (or three, or four). I even put a little bit of butter on it. I skipped the cocktail menu and stuck with water – I gave up soda at the beginning of the year (more on that later). When it came time to order, I bypassed the steaks with cheesy potatoes and chose ahi tuna with garden vegetables; leaner protein with skinnier sides. Everyone else ordered appetizers, so I did too, but instead of a creamy pasta dish or a salad oozing dressing, I picked seared scallops.

The choices worked out well for me; this morning when I stepped on the scale I’d lost a half a pound, putting me firmly in 20+ territory. While I know I can’t attribute that all to the choices I made at dinner last night, I acknowledge that had I ordered the way I would have two months ago the outcome the next day would’ve likely been different.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fishy Fishy!

Can we talk for a minute about how good fish is? I love it for all of its deliciousness as well as its health benefits. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are chock-full of Omega 3s as well as protein. Goober is not the biggest fan of fish of any kind, but he is becoming more willing to try new things. I made him a Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia once, which he liked. For the health benefits, though, I prefer salmon. I haven’t figured out a way to cook it that I can serve it to Goober yet, though so I only have it when we’re out. Tonight I had a nice piece of plain grilled salmon with a small baked potato and broccoli. My salmon was a little bit bland; I would’ve preferred a ginger glaze or something else to spice it up a little. So what I want to know is, what are some of your favorite healthy fish recipes than can be easily adapted for non-fish-eaters like Goober?