Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dinner for 1

Going through my current "lifestyle change" has left me with the quandary of what to nourish my system with... Typically, this time of year I make at least one pot of soup a week and eat off that for a while... My housing situation has changed and I am not as free to make those decisions as I once was (and hope to be again in the not-too-distant future). I have been left with making GF pasta (which gets old really fast) or purchasing frozen dinners. Now, don't get me wrong, frozen dinners have come a long way from the cardboard crap of the past... With steam bags and trays, frozen dinners seem a mighty good (and healthy) option... However, with my dietary restrictions, I can only eat about 1/5 of the offerings, and of those 1/5, I usually only buy 1/4 based on my own tastes... You can see where things get challenging and I end up just going to McD's and getting a plain bacon cheeseburger...

Case in point - I purchased a potsticker entree for my lunch one day... It had red peppers in the "veggie mix" but I was willing to overlook that addition and just pick them out... I also neglected to read the KIND of potsticker that was listed on the front... Getting a tofu one instead of chicken or pork is kind of a let down... Since I was the stupid one who didn't read the package all the way, I made myself eat it... or at least I tried to eat it... The potstickers tasted like sweet and sour feet and the "veggie mix" was entirely made up of red peppers... Yuck!

I had an epiphany! I can purchase potstickers that I like, add some frozen brown rice, and the veggie mix of my choice and make my OWN frozen entree! So I got a small bag of chicken potstickers (a little bit healthier than the pork variety, but still tasty) and some already-frozen brown rice. I added about 1/2 cup of the brown rice to the bottom of a plastic container and added 3 potstickers on top (the # 3 came from the amount in the original "tofu" packaging). Then I topped off the container with broccoli. **IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL THE INGREDIENTS STAY FROZEN... MAKE THESE, THEN EITHER MICROWAVE IMMEDIATELY OR PUT THEM BACK IN THE FREEZER**
Still frozen, with a bit of sauce added....

Now, I know that this is NOT a GF dish - the potstickers are made with flour... But since I'm allowing myself to eat the potstickers, I prefer to keep it "gluten-lite" and use teriyaki sauce made with tamari rather than soy... It's a personal preference. If you have a better "sauce" then by all means use it... Pour some over the potstickers (to add a bit of moisture to the skins while they cook) and a bit over the broccoli... Then put the lid on and stick it in the freezer for future use... Don't go overboard or your rice will be overloaded with teriyaki sauce and it probably won't be as good. BTW - Yoshida's sauce would probably be awesome on these!

Cooked, and ready to eat!
When you are ready to eat it, just open up one of the corners of the container to allow it to vent and microwave for around 5-6 minutes... This is very easy to put together and keeps well in the freezer. Great for a night when you are by yourself and don't have the time or inclination to cook a meal... And this way, you know pretty much what went in to it (other than the potstickers, of course) because you picked all the ingredients yourself. Season however you want... I typically add just a bit of black pepper...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Entertain Me

These olives are really good and easy to find. The yogurt was delicious too. Try the strawberry. Found at your local Kroger or Fred Meyer family of stores. Next time you're late for a family function or party, grab some of the private selection and be entertained.

Thanks BzzAgent for introducing me! 

Chicken's Done!

Want a quick easy alternative to marinating your own chicken? Try Purdue Oven Ready Roasters. :-)

BzzAgent sent me some promo materials. Thought I would share.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Raid the Fridge Bruchetta

I can't remember if I've spilled the beans here yet or not but I'm about 18 weeks pregnant at this point. (Translation - a little over 4 months along) Although I'm not experiencing the "normal" pregnancy symptoms all the books seem to talk about (frankly I feel like I'm totally allergic to pregnancy), I am starting to get a bit more of an appetite. I was hungry this afternoon and my cravings seem to center around things with HUGE flavor and that stay rather healthy.  I think I got lucky on that one. Hopefully the little one feels the same way. Either way, I did some fridge diving and came up with an old favorite I haven't made in quite awhile. It's quick, easy, and requires very little cleanup. These are all big plus signs for me so I'm going to share in case you feel the same. :-) 

Easy Bruchetta

-  Nice thick Italian or French Bread, sliced on the diagonal - my slices ended up being    about 4 inches across - average 2 pieces per person
-  1 clove fresh garlic, smashed and diced
-  1/4 cup finely diced onion
-  8-10 fresh basil leaves (estimate, it's ok), julianned
-  2 nice tomatoes, diced small (this will make about 5-6 slices)
-  2 slices of Capicola ham per serving - you can probably substitute any cured meat here, we just like capicola
-  a good quality balsamic vinegar
-  a good quality extra virgin olive oil (I noticed the irony too)
-  a pinch or two of salt
-  fresh grated Parmesan (again, optional but fantastic!)

Mix together the tomato, basil, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. 

Lay the bread out on a cookie sheet or your toaster oven pan. I like the toaster oven because it's a little easier to control and way quicker. 

Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread evenly across all slices. 

Chop up the Capicola and sprinkle on top of tomato mixture. 

Drizzle each slice with balsamic and olive oil in about equal amounts. 

Place under broiler (or on broil in toaster oven) for 5-6 minutes. Keep an eye on it and when the exposed bread turns a little golden it's ready. The Capicola will also start to bubble and get crisp. It's like bacon but better! 

Take out and using a spatula transfer to a plate. Grate some Parmesan on top and add just a pinch more salt to finish. Salt is optional but I think it's rather tasty with it combined with the tomato. 

My Description of one serving

How much I actually ate, and savored every bite!

You get your essential oils in the garlic and olive oil, some spice with the basil and balsamic,  vitamins in the tomato, and well other than that it's just good! It's a great lunch or dinner. It's also really good paired with some mixed greens with a little of the balsamic and oil drizzled on top. Add a dash of oregano and it become spectacular.