Friday, February 27, 2015

Grape Nuts Chicken

As I left for work today, now remember I headed in for day seven of seven at six thirty this morning, my daughter asked me if she could have her new BFF over for dinner.

New BFF. New this week. Have I mentioned that this middle school thing is hitting ME hard? Apparently, this school year's original BFF has moved to another social group.

It's amazing how the social behavior of tween and teen girls doesn't end in PTSD. I think I might me having a few flashbacks just seeing what my daughter is starting to go through.

So, I raided the meats on clearance. Four pounds of ground beef, on sale this week, discounted for quick sale, AND I had a cartwheel. I think each pound ended up being about $2.50. Then I hit the chicken. Two family packs of chicken breasts (2 pounds each), with discount price and cartwheel, equalled about $6 each. I also got a small pack of Bare chicken breasts. $3. That was what we had tonight.

So, the friend thing wasn't definite. I put all my superstitious traditions into effect. I wore ratty sweatpants, didn't clean and didn't make extra food.

The friend accepted the invite.

This recipe feeds three, but I made it work for four. I just trimmed a "finger" off each breast after cooking and kept that for my serving.

I used to have a promotional Kraft cookbook and in it was a Grape Nut chicken. I looked online and found a salty/crispy version. But I didn't quite like the idea of adding salt as my salt content has been ridiculous lately... So I made my own variation. 

Preheat oven to 425.

The ingredients:
• 3 chicken breasts
• mayonnaise 
• Dijon mustard
• blackstrap molasses
• grape nuts cereal
• ginger

I lightly oiled the bottom of my dish with extra virgin olive oil.

I mixed about a tablespoon each of the mustard and mayo. I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses and mixed into a sauce.

I brushed both sides of the chicken very heartily and placed them in the dish.

I sprinkled with ginger.

I then coated the top with grape nuts.

Bake for 35 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes as you nag your daughter to come set the table.

It was so delicious & juicy. I'm sad I didn't make more. And it's rich in iron and protein.

I ate mine with leftovers of last night's stew.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Almost vegan, a little African

Today's dinner was completely an inspired blur. Let's hope I can record it because I think it was really yummy.

It started with noticing a package of Saffron Road harissa simmer sauce in the cupboard, with a can of chick peas right above it.


Into the big old Le Creuset pot went:
• one package Saffron Road Harrissa Simmer Sauce
• a more or less equal amount water
• about 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock (if I hadn't added this, the stew would have been vegan; I added it to keep the stew from getting too spicy)
• about one cup great northern white beans. I make them from dry beans, unsalted, and freeze them in individual portions
• one can garbanzo beans, rinsed

Now the vegetables... 1/2 to 1 cup each, based on personal preferences:
• three color peppers
• baby carrots
• zucchini
• butternut squash
• peas
• Brussel sprouts (which I chopped)

And meanwhile, I started couscous in the steamer. I started with a normal portion of 2/3 cup couscous to 1 cup water but I had this odd 1/4 cup or so of uncooked couscous left so I tossed that in, too. I added a generous amount if ras el hanout and a drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

I was concerned about protein. I wanted to keep the low proportion of animal products therefore I made Morningstar veggie patties. 

Which ended up in the stew.

And I can't believe how delicious it was.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Afternoon drinks

I made myself my standard hot matcha latte... 4 ounces skim milk, 4 ounces hot water, about a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of matcha powder. Whisk.

I asked my ten year old if she wanted something and she said to surprise her.

So I made her a decaf coconut chai/chocolate latte. I heated the skim milk (4 ounces), mixed in about 1 1/4 teaspoons honey. I dropped the tea bag in (Celestial Seasonings Decaf Coconut Chai) and added 4 ounces almost boiling water. Next I added about a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips and stirred until they melted. I topped with whipped cream & fresh ground cinnamon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken Rice Egg Drop Soup

It's miserably cold and I found myself lamenting that we couldn't make soup. And then I realized the idiocy of that, because I dropped all my frozen chicken drumstick stash into the crock pot Sunday to feed the family and make homemade stock.

So I've had chicken stock bubbling away for two days.

I asked the child if she wanted to make Daddy soup. She said sure. We had leftover rice from a Chinese take-out order and the leftover drumstick meat, so we started with that, in the strained homemade stock, for the base.

I asked her what kind of soup she wanted and she said Chinese. We cane up with the following ingredients:

- peas
- corn
- sesame seeds
- a few drops sesame oil
- teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

We got it crazy and bubbling and then drizzled an egg into it.

Winter Omelette

Another Snow Day.

So I made omelettes with a side of butternut squash "home fries."

The omelette (for 3)
- 4 eggs, some water
- 3 tablespoons bleu cheese
- 2 ultra thin slices of colby jack
- more than 1 cup spinach (maybe 2)
- about 1 cup peppers
- 2/3 cup dark meat chicken
- garlic pepper
- paprika 

Served with Bolthouse Farms blue cheese yogurt dressing.

The butternut squash... About 2 cups fried in 1 tablespoon butter, drizzled with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Disappointment cheesesteaks

We had a snow storm last night that meant schools closed and my husband and I shoveled wet snow for 30 minutes at six a.m. this morning so I could report to duty at Target.

I am cursed-- every time we have a snow storm it is on a day I am scheduled to do cash office. 

Today turned out to be an interesting day. My female issues for this month have hopefully ended, but it was a wild ride that really left me feeling emotionally and physically drained despite constant monitoring of my iron intake.

My passport returned from getting extr pages. Nancy Scott, the blind poet I assist with submitting her work, called to schedule our next date.

At the same time, I received a rejection from the prestigious Ph.D. program I had applied to. That stung. But hey, I'm sure they had stunning candidates from which to chose.

All of this added up to one thing.


I asked hubby to stop in the middle of the snow storm and flash icing to buy me steak meat. He did. Because he's awesome.

I made the steak meat plain so everyone could build their own sandwich.

I fried some tri color peppers and prepared some Archer Farms take-and-bake baguettes. These would be our rolls.

We pulled out various cheeses, sauces, lettuce, and bacon.

And we made a mix of sweet potato fries, steak fries and onion rings. My husband spiked some Yuengling with ginger brandy. 

My daughter made a steak sandwich with cheddar, ranch, bacon and lettuce. Mine featured A1 spicy AND Frank's fiery buffalo wing sauce and spicy gouda.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tropical Ginger Crock Pot Pork

This is one of those meals made from what I had on hand. While it didn't turn out as scrumptious as some of my favorites, I did want seconds.

In the crock pot on high until tender:

(I started this around 11 a.m. with a frozen chunk of meat and we ate at 4 p.m.)

- the leftover pork loin from Christmas which at most was two pounds
- two cups frozen butternut squash
- 8 ounces apple juice
- about 12 ounces Simply Balanced organic mango lemonade
- about 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- about 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- one packet ginger honey crystals