Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lemon Sage Roasted Chicken + a BONUS recipe!

Wow. I'm already getting behind on my goal to post 2 recipes and 1 information/support/rambling a week and it's only January 16th! It's ok, I'm cooking more, I'll get better! I shall press on toward the goal!

As I've stated here (and facebook) before, when in doubt for what to cook for dinner, I roast a chicken. I love pretty much everything about it: the juicy, flavorful meat; a golden, crispy crust (skin... you shouldn't eat it. But just one bite fulfills my roasted chicken fantasies!); and leftovers. How I love roasted chicken leftovers. They're perfect on a simple salad for lunch, great to throw into a simple chicken pot pie, a nice topping on a homemade pizza-- I could go on and on. So for today's recipe, you shall get 2 in 1. A new chicken recipe (I try not to get into a rut with the same roasted chicken EVERY time) along with a Chinese chicken cabbage salad for the next day. Enjoy!!

Lemon Sage Roasted Chicken
adapted from Health Magazine
  • 2 lemons thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 (6-pound) chicken
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • bunch of carrots (depending on how many you want to eat, and if you want leftover veggies), washed and chopped in equal sized chunks (about 1 1/2-2 inchs)
  • bunch of mushrooms (chopped into chunks equal to carrots)
  • bunch of broccoli (yep, I said it. You're roasting broccoli. Trust me.), chop these evenly with other veggies, too.
  • any other root veggie you want (Think parsnips and turnips. I do not recommend potatoes), chop.
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In roasting pan, place all chopped vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Using hands, mix veggies until ALL are evenly coated with oil. You don't want any dry spots. Dry spots won't taste as good.
3. Remove giblet and all that jazz from the chicken cavity. Place chicken on top of veggies in roasting pan. Use your fingers to make some space between the chicken meat and skin on top of the breast and cut a slit between the leg and thigh areas to get your fingers between the meet and skin of those areas. Rub all meat with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Place 6 lemon slices and sage leaves under skin of chicken, distributing between breasts and thigh/leg areas. (if you have a large chicken, and use more than just 6 slices, that's ok.) Put remaining lemon into the cavity and maybe a couple sage leaves if you have them. Brush about 1 tsp of olive oil over skin of chicken.
2. Roast for 45 minutes, then check to make sure skin isn't burning. If skin is already golden brown, cover with aluminum folk. Roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the chickens thigh (away from the bone) reads 165. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Carb options
could be served with a potato of your choice (mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato "casserole" would be beautiful and delicious, I think) and/or a dinner roll.

Chinese Chicken-Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 bottled thai peanut sauce (this can have a lot of sugar in it. So if you can't find a sugar free version, make your own using smooth natural peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, white pepper and ground ginger.)
  • chopped napa cabbage (about 2 cups per salad)
  • shredded carrot (a few pinches per salad)
  • 1 green onion (green and white parts), sliced (more if you're making several servings)
  • left over roasted chicken.
1. Whisk together rice wine vinegar, olive oil, and peanut sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Toss together cabbage, thinly sliced, shredded carrot, green onions, and chicken in a large bowl, or in individual serving dishes.
3. Pour peanut dressing over the salad, and toss together until evenly coated.
4. Season salad with black pepper and some black sesame seeds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thai Hot and Sour Soup

This recipe tastes as though it's straight from Surin of Thailand, my favorite restaurant back home in Huntsville, AL. It's a great soup to warm the soul, without feeling heavy afterwards. The taste is light and refreshing; plus, it's from Cooking Light, so you know it's not bad for you!
Scott RAVED over it.

I served this with some quick stir-fryed snow peas. Just heat some oil in a skillet on high heat and throw in the peas. Season with kosher salt, black pepper and ground ginger to taste. Stir or flip in pan until crisp.

Thai Hot and Sour Soup
  • 6 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 (4 inch) lemongrass stalk, halved and crushed (NOT optional)
  • 1/2 habanero chili pepper, minced (increase for spicier soup)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled * deveined
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Combine chicken broth, lime leaves, lemongrass, and habanero in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done (seriously, 3 minutes). Add juice, fish sauce, tomato and onions to pan; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in coconut milk and cilantro. Discard lemongrass stalk and lime leaves.

Carb Options
Serve with a small bowl of brown rice, or maybe even a few crab rangoon.

PS: This photo is from Cooking Light's website because my camera battery died and I haven't got to purchase the $40 charger yet. Hopefully tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spiced Braised Beef

Hello, my dears! Welcome to 2010!

January 1st is the traditional time to set goals for the upcoming year. I have a few holding over from last year (finish the weight loss!! 50lbs down, 30 to go!), but I've added a few, too. My goal related to this blog is to post 3 times each week. Two of these times will be new recipes (with photos, hopefully!) and one will be something else related to weight loss whether it be some exercise tips I've picked up somewhere or a spiritual link or even just a rant on my personal frustrations. As always, the recipes will be low-carb and relatively low-fat. So let's get started on the first recipe of 2010!

This recipe originated in Cooking Light back in September. However, the original recipe had about 7 Tbsp (tablespoons) of brown sugar in it. I made it in the original form for a dinner party we had in the fall, and it was fabulous! So if you can have the sugar, do it. Seriously. I will include the sugar options along with the recipe instructions. However, the spices and the slow cooked beef is delicious without the sugar, and is a great home cooked meal for your family.

I do realize that many of you don't have 3 hours to cook a week-day dinner. I promise recipes in the future will not be so time consuming. But hold this recipe in your pocket for a day that you need something comforting and delicious on a Saturday or Sunday evening or after a holiday off! Serve with a lightened coleslaw, or the Chopped Coleslaw Salad recipe following.

Spiced Braised Beef
for roast:
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (can adjust according to desired heat)
1 (3 pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (can adjust according to desired heat)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. To prepare roast, combine paprika, 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional), garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, dry mustard and ground red pepper; rub over roast. Place roast in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but it's better if you let it marinate overnight.
2. To prepare sauce, heat a large oven proof pan with a lid (Dutch oven, braiser, iron skillet with a lid, etc) over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, crushed red pepper and minced garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, water, 6 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional), red wine vinegar, and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (if you don't have time to simmer 30 minutes, this step could be skipped if absolutely necessary). Stir in salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 325°.
4. Remove roast from bag. Add roast to sauce in pan. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Serve with sauce.

Note: Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead, just reheat before adding the roast.

Chopped Coleslaw Salad
Be sure to allow to marinate 2 hours to make the cabbage more tender.

2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/3 cup sugar (optional)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups green cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups red cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup julienne red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup sliced green onion

Place mustard seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook, partially covered, for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove mustard seeds from pan. Add sugar and vinegar to same pan; bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat; stir in mustard and salt. Combine mustard seeds, vinegar mixture, cabbage, bell pepper, and onions in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Carb options
Well, first, add the dark brown sugar! It's like a spicy BBQ sauce. So delicious. Second, this would be great with some cornbread or cornbread muffins. Also, you can go all-in on the bar-be-que idea and have baked beans and potato salad for your side dishes. Feels like I'm back home in Alabama!