Friday, July 30, 2010
Wow. This dish reall turns up the heat. If you don't like caliente, move on. This will wake up your tastebuds for sure. The chipotle sauce is another of my Big Lots finds. It is Clemente Jacques Chipotle Toppers. Basically, peppers in Adobo Sauce. It has 4 carbs for 2 Tablespoons, but trust me, you won't be needing 2 tablespoons of this stuff. There is a teeny bit of sugar in there, but it is the 7th ingredient, so there is not much. The smokey pepper is what comes through. They call this sauce a topper as it is intended to top burgers or chicken. I thought it would spice up some grilled shrimp. Oh Yeah.
The whole dish goes together so easy, it just has to be an E.Z. Fix meal. I use frozen precooked and peeled shrimp. Can't get any easier than that. Here's my method.
Chipotle Shrimp Kabob
4 ounces cooked, peeled shrimp
8 grape tomatoes
1/2 small onion
2 teaspoons Chipotle Toppers Sauce
Thaw the shrimp and cut the onion half into 8 chunks. Thread the onion, tomatoes and shrimp onto soaked wooden skewers. Brush with Chipotle Sauce and broil in the toaster oven.
Spicy goodness. I like this sauce because it is easy to add just a touch of the chipotle peppers to any dish without having to open an entire can just for a tablespoon in a recipe. If you can find the sauce, try it in soups, chili, on chicken, in dips and salsa--or even on a burger like they show on the label.
My label, by the way, was in English, so my version must be marketed to the U.S. Perhaps if it is not in your Big Lots it might be in a grocery store nearby, in the condiments or the Latin food aisle.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is a cheater chicken rollatini I have been testing out for a while now. I think I finally have a workable recipe, so here you go. Hubby can't stop raving about our near gourmet lunch we are enjoying today.
I love the idea of chicken rollatini, but I hate trying to pound chicken breast to an even thickness. I never get it right--then it ends up all funky shaped and hard to roll. Don't even go there with the abundance of toothpicks I have had to use to hold them together. Then there is the extra oven time and testing to make sure the chicken is cooked through. Now it is easy peasy!
The secret to this recipe is using ground chicken, then cooking it just a bit before rolling. The hardest part in knowing when to remove the chicken patty from the pan and stuffing it. I'll do my best to give you a good tutorial here.
2 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless and trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon McCormick's garlic and pepper seasoning blend (or any Italian blend without salt)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Trim chicken and grind it in a blender or food processor. Add the spices and blend again until incorporated into the meat.
Heat a griddle or skillet until hot. Place half the chicken mixture onto the hot skillet. Working very quickly, use the back of a spoon to spread the chicken into an oblong patty. Make the patty about the size of your hand. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When that is spread, turn the first piece over to quickly grill on the other side. The point is to not cook the chicken through, but to sear it on both sides.It is important not to over cook the chicken in this process, as you want to be able to roll it.
While the patties are just seared, but still pink in the center, remove them to a plate. Place about a cup of spinach on each patty and roll them up. Secure with a food pick. Bake these in a toaster oven until the chicken is cooked through. Mine took about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from the oven and serve with a spinach and tomato salad. Drizzle a bit of salad dressing over the rollatini if desired. Serves 2
These would be good with a slice of cheese stuffed inside as well, or a sprinkle of parmesan. Since I have been a bad blogger as of late, I am going to go ahead and give you the salad recipe today as well, in hopes you will forgive me for being absent. This is a very low calorie salad and yet it is bursting with flavor. It is beautiful too.
Grilled Tomato Spinach Salad
fresh spinach (use am many veggies as you want for two)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic and pepper seasoning blend (or your choice of Italian blends)
1 packet Truvia
1 ice cube (strange, but read on)
In a bowl, mix the vinegar, and seasonings. Grill the tomatoes whole on a hot griddle or grill. When charred spots appear and they are beginning to split open, remove them. Add them to the vinegar mix and let them rest about five minutes. Break open one tomato, and mix it into the dressing with a fork. Add the ice cube to melt, dilute the vinegar and chill the tomatoes a bit. Mix the dressing and tomatoes into the spinach and serve immediately. Pour any leftover dressing over the chicken or meat entree.
This salad is so good. We like sweetened vinaigrettes, but you can easily leave that out. It would also be good with Balsamic vinegar.
Who could know we could love an Italian dish without cheese? This is really good, and pretty enough to serve company.
Since it is Sunday, I am now back to the kitchen for prep day to make some more ground chicken, but this time it will be patties. Not so pretty, but tasty and great for easy lunches and dinners when it is too hot to cook. Having these on hand is easier than going to the drive through.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Whew, it is hot! I love teas, but it is just too hot to enjoy a cup of hot tea. This cold version is so flavorful, it makes the heat bearable. At least for a while. I picked up this new ginger flavored chai tea last weekend at Big Lot's sale. I have a hard time shopping there without buying a new tea...
The spice mix is great, and this is a super low cal version of a summer cooler. Even better, it is made with green tea, which is so good for us. If you aren't watching calories, then by all means, up the cream. This tastes great just as it is though. It tastes like a high carb, high calorie treat. No need for all that frozen yogurt RR uses in her recipe. The spices are really the star.
1 cup prepared chai tea (I used Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Ginger Green Tea Chai)
1 mini-moo or 1 Tablespoon cream or milk
sweetener to taste
1 cup ice
Brew tea and cool to room temperature. In a bullet blender, whip remaining ingredients. Adjust sweetener and enjoy.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I love trying new interesting flavors. Tonight I tried mixing up a new spice blend. This one combines cumin--one of my favorites--with cocoa. I used it on two different meats to see how it does. First, I sprinkled it over beef fajitas. Nice flavor to perk up some beef that had already been grilled on prep day as our Triple Play choice. The smoke from the grill combined with the spices was a hit. One boy had it with on a salad witch cheese and salsa. (Please ignore the corn in that salsa--it happens to be his favorite, but is a no-no for lowcarbing) The next boy had his on some salsa rice. The third can choose when he gets home from work. That will finish off the beef. Grown boys sure can eat!
John and I had tilapia. Let me tell ya, this does wonder for that little fishy. I just sprinkled a little over some small frozen fillets and baked them in the toaster oven until they flaked. Very good. I love making this fish in the summer because it is a true E.Z. Fix meal. The toaster oven does not make my kitchen unbearably hot. On the side was some sautéed celery and green onion. I sprinkle mine with jalapeño salt for a bit of heat. John? No. He did let me put a little of the Yucatan spice mix on it though. One warning--my cayenne is getting a little old, so it may have lost some of its fire. You may want to adjust yours accordingly!
Yucatan Spice Mix
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 packet Truvia or equivalent sweetener
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tilapia is nice light summer supper. My big boys can handle heavier dinners, but with the heat index over 110 degrees around here, I am just as glad to have a lighter meal.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Many years ago, my friend Tracy--also a Diner, btw--introduced me to a marvelous smokey tuna spread. Very yummy. Since then, I have always loved the flavors of smokey tuna. Thanks Tracy.
This morning, as I was pondering lunch box snacks, I thought about this spread. Very good, but not so good for a lunch box in the heat we are having. I wanted to leave out dairy. I thought about making them into smokey tuna patties, but don't have any eggs. Remembering how much my hubby loves my recipe for smokey mustard, I decided to give this a go. They are a little on the chewy side. While these are admittedly not the greatest recipe of all, the little bites are convenient, travel well, and offer lots of flavor. Even better--super low calorie! Yes, even low carbers need to pay attention to that.
Smokey Tuna Bites
1 can of tuna packed in water and drained
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
black pepper to taste (I used the smoked pepper from McCormick)
Blend everything together. Fill silicon baking cups with the mixture and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes. Let cool before removing from cups.
It would be easy to play around with the flavors on this one. If you need a protein snack, this is easy to put together. They would work well as an entree with a side salad too. If you are not a canned tuna lover, sorry, there is only so much a girl can do. I sent them to work for hubby's lunch still in the muffin cups, but they hold together just fine to pop out and stand as a true finger food.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This meal came together from a list of coincidences. First, I was reminded of a good idea for dividing bulk packs of ground beef for the freezer. The idea is to spread the beef flat in a ziploc bag--quick to thaw or easier to brown from frozen. I have done that with full pounds of beef, but I never thought of doing it with quarter pounds for individual servings. Check idea one.
Second in my string of coincidences was a really good sale on steak for the Independence Day weekend. Being frugal, I got some. A ten pound pack. Oh, my. What to do with ten pounds of steak? I like steak, but I never want a large one---especially for weekday meals. I needed to divide it in order to stay thrifty. Check idea 2.
Thirdly, I went to purchase some lean ground beef. It was pricier than the steaks. Hmm. Why not use my Ninja to process some into ground sirloin for myself? I did it, and it worked great. I saved a dollar a pound. Check idea 3.
Now combine all those ideas to see how it comes together. Grind the steak with some liquid smoke flavoring, or any seasoning blend you like. Pack ziplock sandwich bags with ground sirloin. Spread them out very thin and very flat. Freeze them flat. Then combine all the little steak cubes into a larger freezer bag. What you end up with is a small steak which can be cooked on a hot grill in almost no time at all. Don't thaw them or they will lose their shape. Just put them frozen on the hot surface. Tonight I used my cast iron griddle to make ours, but a George grill would be great too. I added some McCormick Smokehouse ground black pepper. Excellent for a spicy, smokey bite. I made some mustard vinaigrette coleslaw as a side. Nothing like a hamburger, and nothing like those minute steaks from the grocery store. Best part? No need to wait for the coals...and fork tender.
Want to try the pepper? Look for this.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I have to convince myself to like cucumbers. This does the trick for me! I get to play with my food. I know cucumbers are super summer food--especially good as sides with heavier meats. This technique, not really a recipe, comes from my Laptop Lunches recipe book. I thought it was fun, and encourages me to enjoy my cukes. Low carb. Low cal.
1 teaspoon vinaigrette dressing or vinegar
herbal seasoning to taste
Peel the skin from a cucumber if desired. Cut the cucumber into 3 inch chunks. Remove the inner seeds. Slice into 1/4-1/3 inch rings. Cut through the ring of half of the slices. Assemble a chain. Season with vinaigrette and herbs. Let marinate for half an hour or more and serve chilled if possible.
I like sweetened vinaigrettes, so my recipe is just a little sweet. You can use whatever appeals to your tastebuds. These are good with dill as well, but I was out today. These are going into my lunchbox for my afternoon curriculum planning session. Stay cool as a cucumber!
Friday, July 2, 2010
I made coconut flour mini muffins this morning with a patriotic twist. These are filled with blueberries and strawberries. I just used the recipe from the e-book for Citrus-c Muffins, but ommitted the juices. Instead, I added a handful of berries. Whole fresh blueberries and chopped strawberries. The photo doesn't do them justice. They are pretty, especially with my junk store find retro coffee cup. I spray painted the base of the cup last night. When I purchased it, the color was avocado green. As much as I love retro, I just don't care for that color. I love the design, and love the red.
These are dense muffins-as most coconut flour breads are. I prefer mini muffins for these recipes. A little coconut is quite filling.