Jammin’ Orange Chicken

I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch which caters towards weight loss and diabetes diets. It made for a tasty, quick, healthy and satisfying dinner.

What to use

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (seasoned with 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of kosher salt , juice of half of a lemon and 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper)

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 onion (finely chopped)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup chicken broth

7 tbs sweet orange marmalade

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1  1/2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce

What to do

Wrap the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and place on a cutting board.  Gently pound each breast with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness.  Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-heat.  Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until well browned and cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a place and cover.

Add the remaining teaspoon of the oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.  Pour in the broth, orange juice, marmalade, white wine vinegar and soy sauce and stir until smooth.  Cook until slightly thickened. Return the chicken to the skillet and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes while coating with the sauce.

Served with a some green beans sauteed in butter, sea salt, black pepper and minced garlic.

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Egg fried rice

No long story or clever anecdote tonight.  Just dinner! Chinese without the takeout.

What to use

3/4 cup long grain rice

2 eggs (beaten)

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves  (minced)

1 tsp lemongrass (ch0pped finely)

4 stalks spring onion (diced)

1 can peas and carrots

2 tbsp soy sauce (preferably reduced sodium)

a few sprigs of chives for garnishing

Chines five spice powder ( a couple dashes)

sea salt

What to do

Cook rice, drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.  Scramble eggs over low heat. Heat the oil in a wok or deep skillet until really hot.  Add the garlic, spring onions, lemon grass and peas and carrots and saute for about two minutes.  Stir in the rice and then add scrambled eggs.  Add soy sauce, five spice and salt to taste.  Saute for a few minutes more and then transfer to serving bowls.

Marinated seared tuna with wild rice

What a day! I’ve been making a real effort to eat regular, healthier these days but sometimes my work schedule wreaks havoc on my best laid plans.  Like today, all I had for the entire day was an unspectacular breakfast of  two slices of toast, a boiled egg and an apple! The only thing that got me through the day was the thought of this lovely, fat tuna steak that was waiting for me at home!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

I was pretty much ravenous by the time I got home from work so I decided to do a quick marinade and sear the tuna.

What to use

1 fresh tuna steak

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs soy sauce

6 tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 lemon

1 tbs chopped cilantro

few sprigs of thyme

ground black pepper

sea salt

What to do

Whisk together olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, cilantro, thyme, salt and pepper. Marinate tuna in mixture for about 15 minutes. Heat heavy skillet and add a little olive oil. When oil is hot, add tuna and sear for two to three minutes on each side over medium high heat.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake tuna for about 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes.  I know a lot of people prefer their tuna rare but I like mine medium to well with just a hint of pink on the inside.

Sprinkle steak with a little more sea salt and coarse pepper.

I had my tuna steak on a bed of fresh herb salad with some wild rice that I quickly sauteed in some butter, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, onion powder and finely chopped parsley.

I washed it all down with some fresh watermelon juice. (I blended some fresh watermelon, strained it and added some fresh lemon juice and wedges.)

Not a bad way to end the day!

 

Roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwich

Roasting is fast become my favourite way of preparing vegetables.  I absolutely love the resulting flavours. I was on the hunt for a recipe to try  and adapted this recipe from Ina Garten for  dinner tonight. Ina’s recipe was a little too long and involved for a quick dinner for one so I did a few short cuts which I don’t think hurt the recipe one bit.

What to use

1 red bell pepper

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs olive oil

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

pinch of coarse ground black pepper

pinch of sea salt

2 tbs goat cheese ( I used a garlic & herb flavoured one.)

handful of fresh spinach leaves

thick, chunky ,crusty bread of your choice (e.g ciabatta)

What to do

Cut pepper in half and remove seeds and stem. Place on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.   In the meantime, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and salt and set aside.  When pepper is done, allow to cool for a few minutes and remove skin.   Place peppers in vinaigrette and let sit for a few minutes while you toast bread.  I used an Asiago cheese bread. You can also place bread under the broiler for a minute or two.  Spread goat cheese on toasted spread, add roasted pepper and top with spinach.  And there you have it! Delicious, satisfying and healthy.

 

 

Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Goat Cheese

Giving up meat for Lent?  Don’t know what to cook? Try this earthy, rich, delicious pizza.  I promise you won’t miss the meat.

 

 

 

What to use

1 large zucchini (sliced)

1 Eggplant (sliced)

1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced thickly)

1 Yellow Bell Pepper (sliced thickly)

1 small red onion (cut into wedges)

3 garlic cloves (peeled)

4 tbs olive oil

1 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped thyme

tomato sauce (See recipe below)

3 oz goat cheese

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

pizza dough (click here for recipe)

 

 

What to do

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay out vegetables.  Mix together oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and pour over vegetables.  Toss together and roast  for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

roasted vegetables

While vegetables are roasting, prepare tomato sauce.  You will need:-

2 tbs olive oil

1 small white onion

1 garlic clove

1 can chopped tomatoes

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper

What to do

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a further minute.  Add the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, bay leaves, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the sauce to boil, then simmer, uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes or until the sauce has been reduced by half.  Discard the bay leaves before serving.  Unused sauce can be bottled and refrigerated for about a week.

Roll out pizza dough and spread with tomato sauce.  I didn’t feel like mixing the dough tonight so I used naan bread in place of the pizza dough. You can use a flat bread of your choice or even a tortilla.

Lay out the vegetables and top with goat cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees until dough is crisp and golden (about 20 minutes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect steak

There’s nothing like a really good steak with a glass of red wine.

I think I’ve finally perfected the art of searing a steak.

The trick is to start off with a high heat and then lower the heat to just above medium cooking the steak fairly quickly on both sides. I find that simple seasoning is best.  You don’t need more than sea salt and pepper. You want to actually taste the beef.

I like my steak medium rare  but you can cook it longer if you like. Try not to overcook it though.

“Red meat is NOT bad for you.  Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!” – Tommy Smothers

What to use

1 good quality ribeye steak

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

What to do

Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat cast iron skillet over high heat and add olive oil.  Just as oil starts to smoke, place steak gently into skillet and press lightly with a spatula so that the entire steak is touching the skillet.  Cook to 4 to 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer to serving plate and let stand for 7 minutes.  Serve as is or sliced.  It’s as easy as that.

Start with a great steak with lots of marbling.

 

Look at those juices!

 

Salmon with herb roasted potatoes and mango salsa

I found these cute little potatoes today at the supermarket today and decided I was going to build tonight’s dinner around them.  They’re called Peewee Medley potatoes.  Aren’t they adorable?  They look a lot bigger in the photos than they actually are.  They are probably only a little bigger than cherry tomatoes.

 

 

 

Preparing them was a breeze.  I pierced a few holes  and them tossed them in olive oil. I added salt, black pepper, 2 grated garlic cloves and chopped dill and popped them in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Next, I prepared some mango salsa by combining the follow ingredients.

Mango Salsa

1 mango (peeled and diced)

1 tomato (diced)

1/2 small white onion (diced)

1/2 green sweet pepper ( diced)

2 tbs parsley (finely chopped)

1 chili pepper ( de-seeded and finely chopped)

1 tbs lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Finally, the star of tonight’s dinner was lovely fat, juicy salmon fillet.  I seasoned it on both sides with salt and black pepper.  I then pureed some tarragon, dill and parsley in the food processor.  I added about 1 tbs of melted butter to the herb mixture.  I melted some butter in a skillet and seared the salmon for about 2 or 3 minutes flesh side down.  I then flipped it and covered the other side with the herb mixture and popped it into the oven to bake for about 8 minutes.

 

Dinner is served!

Lemon chicken breasts

I went to the bookstore this weekend with the sole intention of just browsing.  Who was I kidding? I left with two spanking new cookbooks – The Barefoot Contessa’s How easy is that? and Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.

I could hardly wait to delve in. So tonight I decided to try the Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Chicken Breasts for dinner since I had all the ingredients to hand.  Can I say how much I LOVE Ina Garten?   Her recipes are so simple with easy to follow directions and gorgeous pictures.

Here’s Ina’s recipe:-

1/4 cup good olive oil

3 tbs minced garlic

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tbs grated lemon zest

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tsps dried oregano

1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless chicken breast, skin on

1 lemon

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to brown.  Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 tsp salt and pour into a 9 x 12 inch baking  dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce.  Brush the chicken breast with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.  Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned.  If the chicken isn’t browned enough, place under the broiler for 2 minutes.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

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Now I must confess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  Firstly, I used skinless chicken breasts to reduce the calories and fat content.  Also, I pre-seasoned my chicken with lemon juice, salt, pepper and green seasoning.  The Caribbean girl in me could not put unseasoned chicken straight into the baking dish like that. Also,  I was distracted by a phone call from my girlfriend so I forgot to add the lemon juice to the sauce.  Oops! I don’t think it made much of a difference since the chicken breasts had been marinating in lemon juice.

I think it turned out pretty great but a little too salty.  I don’t really think it is necessary to add the final sprinkle of salt if the sauce has salt and the chicken is seasoned with salt.  I would definitely advise that you go easy on the salt if you are trying this recipe out especially if like me, you have a tendency towards high blood pressure.

 

Into the oven we go!

 

The finished product.

 

I made a quick salad to go with this using arugula, baby spinach and tomatoes topped with tomato and basil feta cheese, garlic croutons and balsamic vinaigrette.

 

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