A Spoonful of PB Helps the Noodles Go Down

What to do with this chicken from the other day? Hmmm… Chubby Hubby to the rescue!

We were watching TV and someone was eating some Asian noodles.

CH: “I could SO eat some noodles…”

Me: “Me too. We might could make some black bean noodles and peanut sauce.”

CH: “You know how to do that?”

Me: “I think so…”

CH: “Then why aren’t you doing it?” (He was kidding guys, I think he’s funny. Calm down.)

I start by putting the noodles on.

noodles

I got these at Costco and was thrilled to see how much protein they have! As a member of the “Tiny Tummy Club” (15 months post-op for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. That’s another post though.) protein is super important and empty calories are no bueno. Every once in a while you want a treat though, so these are a great choice even if they are a bit high in the calorie department.

nutrition facts

Click to enlarge nutrition facts

Obviously, rice noodles are customary with a peanut sauce. I’m also sure that regular noodles would taste good too. the thing I do like about these noodles is that they’re a bit more firm than regular noodles, reminding me more of Soba noodles than plain flour noodles, which worked perfectly for this recipe.

It was then a matter of making the sauce. I looked quickly online and saw that the basic ingredients for peanut sauce are peanut butter, chopped peanuts, Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Many of the recipes also used coconut milk, but since I didn’t have any I left it out. I honestly just kind of combined the ingredients and taste tested until I liked it and it passed the Chubby Hubby test.

Roughly, here are the amounts:

-2 Tbsp of creamy peanut butter

-1 1/2 Tsp low-sodium soy sauce

-1/2 Tbsp minced ginger

-2 1/2 Tbsp of sesame oil

-1 Tsp sesame seeds

-Sriracha to taste (we used about 1 1/2 Tbsp)

-1 Tbsp chopped dry-roasted peanuts (for garnish)

-1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken

Noodles and PB sauceI heated all of the sauce ingredients in a pot, tasting regularly, until warm and combined, and then added the chicken to warm up. I did notice that the sauce was a lot darker in color than I thought it would be, but it tasted good. I was actually really pleased with the taste, especially considering I was kind of making it up as I went along (don’t you love it when that happens!). Also, as much as I like these noodles the appearance is not very appetizing. This is really one of those recipes that tastes a lot better than it looks, and both Chubby Hubby and I ate a good bit of it (leftovers are being set aside for lunch tomorrow), and agreed we would make it again soon.

I hope this inspires you to try new things using the things you have on hand in new and creative ways! Let me know if you give this a try and if you like it!

Happy Eatings! 🙂

Two Whole (Rotisserie) Chickens…(and a Coke)

Hello my lovely followers! I haven’t been posting in a while and apparently you missed me! I feel so loved and honored!! So, since it’s November, here’s something you can be thankful for: new posts! 🙂

My friend Susan and I (HI, SUSAN!!) were out the other day and she mentioned that she needed groceries. I told her that we actually had plenty of groceries but needed some meat/protein to actually build meals around. We were at Costco later (HI, COSTCO!!) and I had an idea. Instead of going to the regular grocery store and getting individual packs of meat like normal, I decided to get the Costco package of two chicken fryers and use them for meat for the week.

Everyone loves the convenience of a rotisserie chicken. I try to cook mine in the rotisserie on permanent loan from my parents instead of buying them at the store for two main reasons: one, it’s incredibly easy and two, I can control exactly what goes into them. I did end up buying the regular chicken fryers even though I did STRONGLY consider the organic kind, just to save a bit of money. I ended up getting 11 lbs. of chicken for $12, can’t beat that!

Brought the “chicken baby” home–called it that because I carried these chickens around the store like an infant because I forgot to get a cart– and got them prepped and ready. Easy as pie. For those not familiar:

-Removed the giblets and dried the chicken with paper towels

-I seasoned the skin by rubbing it with butter (olive oil works well too), salt, and pepper

– I inserted some fresh rosemary (one of my absolute favorite herbs) into the cavity along with a lemon in one chicken and an onion in the other (each cut in half or quarters, to make it fit in the cavity)

-I trussed the chicken, which is not hard once you get the hang of it. For those unfamiliar, here is an instructional video on the “proper” way to do it. I don’t always do it this way, the important thing is to tie it so that the chicken isn’t flopping in the rotisserie and the contents don’t fall out.

-Cook the chicken in the rotisserie for about 15 minutes a pound. If you don’t own a rotisserie, no big deal! This is totally transferable to a roasting recipe. Instead, just roast the chicken (on a rack, if you have one) at 425 degrees for about 90 minutes.

Yay! Now I had two rotisseried chickens! (Full disclosure, I had planned to have a picture of them to post because they were so pretty. When I got up the next morning, apparently Chubby Hubby had located the chickens and had helped himself to a leg quarter. Oh well, you guys know how they look anyway, right?)

I let them cool completely overnight wrapped in foil before I broke them down. This is no fun, but is not as bad (in my opinion) as doing it raw. I cut the chicken up, deboned it, and cubed the meat. I saved some of the skin in case I wanted to use if for flavoring later, but I gave most if it to the pups (who enjoyed it).  This left me with two big bowls of cooked white and dark meat chicken to use as I saw fit for the week. I did not do it this time, but I try to save the bones when I do this to make stock (which, as Alton Brown says, is for another show).

Tomorrow, I’ll show you what I did with the first portion of this meat!

Happy eatings!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Alright, who’s missed me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Just kidding.

Been busy with school lately, but I did make time to make my hubby one of his all time favorites and I thought I’d share it with you, because I’m nice like that. 🙂

In all seriousness, my mom gave me a great tip a long time ago that my grandmother gave to her about how to make crust. They are a 1 to 1 ratio. For savory dishes, it’s 1 stick of butter/margarine, 1 cup of milk, and 1 cup of flour. For sweet dishes (like cobbler) it’s 1 stick of butter/margarine, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of sugar/sweetener.

So when I saw fresh rhubarb at the farmer’s market, I thought I’d give a go at the cobbler. Playing on Pinterest, howeverrhubarb, I found a recipe for a crisp, I thought it looked like an interesting twist. Found the recipe at Sugar and Spice by Celeste and it turned out quite good.

So we started with:

-2 stalks of rhubarb (her recipe calls for 6, but I had only bought 2, so I just rolled with it), diced

-1 pound of strawberries, hulled and sliced

-1/2 cup of sugar

Chubbystrawberries Hubby helped me wash and prepare the fruit…is rhubarb a fruit? I washed and prepared the filling and combined with the sugar and set aside to work on the crust.

 

 

Crisp Crust:

Looks pretty good, right?

Looks pretty good, right?

-1 cup of flour (I had whole-wheat all-purpose, so that’s what I used)

-1/2 cup of rolled oats (NOT instant)

-1/3 cup of sugar

-1/3 cup of brown sugar (packed)

-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon of salt

-1 stick of butter (unsalted and melted or softened)

I softened the butter in the microwave (low heat guys!) and added all the other crust ingredients together. I mixed with my hands until it had the consistency of wet sand. I like to do this with my hands because you can get a better feel for when everything is combined.

Chubby Hubby greased the dish with butter and added the filling to the pan. I put the crust on top and it was ready to slide into the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

When it was all done and bubbly, this is what it looked like:

all done

 

It would seem that this was a big hit with Chubby Hubby as only a small piece made it to daylight, and none made it to the following sun-down. Chubby Hubby reported that I could make this for him any time I felt like it. Contrary to what it may appear on this blog, I don’t make desserts often. We all deserve a treat now and then, and this was one to keep in the rotation for next now and then!

Happy Eatings, guys! 🙂

Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 7 (Hallelujah!)

Faithful readers, this week has taught me a lot of things.

1) We waste too much food.

2) We eat too little food. A lot of the stuff in my cabinets was/is heavily processed and full of edible ingredients that are not, in fact, food.

3) If planning to undergo such a challenge yourself, I strongly encourage that you make sure you have what you need to complete it. That was part of the challenge when I started was to not reinforce my supplies and just eat what we had. That being said, it has definitely been a challenge. 🙂

So, the final day of the challenge. We ate oatmeal for breakfast, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch (by sandwiches I mean he had an English muffin and I had a wrap since we were out of bread). Nothing we couldn’t handle and nothing we wouldn’t have done on a normal day anyway. I think the knowledge that we were so low on some things was messing with our heads more than the actual food we were eating.

Dinner was another one of our quick, simple, “I’m hungry-and-tired and you’re hungry-and-tired” weeknight meals that we both enjoy. Simplest thing in the world, but very good. Smoked Sausage with Potatoes and Onion. Simply take a smoked sausage and slice it up (I try to do it on the bias just so it’s a little bit prettier, Chubby Hubby just slices it…men 🙂 ) along with some potatoes and an onion.  There are options in regards to both to change the flavor or textures of the dish. We prefer to use Turkey smoked sausage as it’s a bit lighter in calories and is not greasy at all. We also generally use red potatoes because you can get such a nice crust on them when you roast them in a hot cast-iron skillet, and we prefer yellow or Vidalia/sweet onions to white because it’s a mellower flavor.

We just heat our trusty cast-iron skillet in the over before we start the prep at about 400 degrees. This helps make a nice, crisp, crust on all the ingredients (as Chubby Hubby refers to it: crusty goodness).  Then slice all the ingredients, toss them in a little olive or canola oil (we prefer olive in general) and season with salt and pepper, garlic powder, and cumin.

CUMIN IS IMPORTANT TO THIS DISH.

We’ve had it before with just salt and pepper, and it’s fine, nothing wrong with it. Add the cumin and it becomes a party. It’s just so much better with this little bit of extra smoky flavor. When the skillet is heated nicely, (carefully) add the ingredients to the skillet and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes get soft.

We generally add an egg to the meal, and I prefer mine either “sunny-side-up” or “over-medium” for this meal. Chubby Hubby hates and detests the idea of a runny yolk, but when it’s all mixed in with the sausage and potatoes of this dish, it makes like this rich, yummy sauce and it just can’t be beat.

So yummy, complete with "crusty goodness"

So yummy, complete with “crusty goodness”.

This is another one of our fallback meals, and it never disappoints.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading about this challenge and it has opened your mind to different methods and recipes to try when you get low on groceries. I, on the other hand, and heading to the grocery store! Later guys! 🙂

Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 6

OK, we really could use some supplemental groceries now! This has been a good experiment, but for future reference you may want to make sure that you have plenty of staples before embarking on such a process. It’s getting a bit hard to come up with things without some key ingredients. That being said, I think we did pretty well today!

Breakfasts were yogurt and bananas for me, and Chubby Hubby had oatmeal. Very bland as we’re out of milk to enrich it.

Lunch today was leftover chicken and pasta from last night.

Ok, dinnertime. The main event, so to speak. I found two more chicken breasts lurking in the back of the freezer. I do remember buying them, so they’re not that old, but this is pretty much the last protein remaining in the freezer. I have successfully cleared out the surplus. Yay!

So, this chicken. I don’t know what to do with it. Ever been there? I feel like I live there. I’m looking around to find what to pair it with, because if I find what I’m putting with it, maybe inspiration will strike for how to prepare it. I look in the cabinet and find a box of instant stuffing mix. I bought this not to long ago because my mom (hi mom!) was telling me that she made some with some turkey she slow-roasted with gravy and how good it was. I decided to make the stuffing and then thought that since the stuffing would be so soft that making the chicken crispy would be a good difference.

I coated the chicken in some corn meal seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and cooked in about 1/2 inch of canola oil in the skillet. It turned a beautiful brown color, much more than I expected, and crisped up so nicely! We paired the instant stuffing and cornmeal fried chicken and some steamed veggies and it turned into quite a nice dinner! I will definitely cook the chicken this way again, since I haven’t been able to eat deep-fried chicken since my bariatric surgery (anything greasy does not do well with “Oscar the Pouch”) and sometimes I miss the crispy texture. This was very crisp but not at all greasy.\

This experiment is teaching me a lot about being more creative, putting more thought into the meals I cook. One more day, and thankfully I have that dinner planned, so be prepared for our absolute favorite weeknight dinner!

I’m sorry that there are no pictures to accompany this post because my phone ate them. I apologize for the lack of eye candy, but instead I am attaching a picture of Zoe Dog in one of her two settings: running around crazy, or this:

 

Setting #2: Canine paperweight.

Setting #2: Canine paperweight.

Stay tuned for our exciting finale! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 5

So today is Wednesday and I got good news faithful readers. Your friendly blogger passed her licensure exam! Woo-hoo!! I’m officially on the way to becoming a professional counselor! *happy dance*

Ok, enough of that! I mentioned this only because it is an important part of the story. Since Chubby Hubby and I were celebrating, he cooked dinner.  He is actually a pretty good cook, but he ALLOWS me to cook the majority of the time so a break from the stove for a night was nice.

He found some chicken breasts in the freezer and baked them with salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon. I have to tell you, these were very simple but tasted AH-MAZING.

Ok, we're deep in the freezer clean-out week, so the chickens are not the largest cuts. STILL YUMMY!!

Ok, we’re deep in the freezer clean-out week, so the chickens are not the largest cuts. STILL YUMMY!!

I love lemon and/or rosemary anything, and the combination of the two is so yummy. In the cabinet, he found some sun-dried tomato tortellini and some garlic alfredo sauce so he boiled the pasta and tossed it in the sauce.

Not overly complicated for a weeknight but it was very good. We probably should have added a bag of steam-in-bag veggies (some green beans would have been good) but we didn’t. Next time.

Bravo Chubby Hubby. :)

Bravo Chubby Hubby. 🙂

Five days down and I have to tell you that my cabinets are emptying! This is a good thing. I went through and cleaned them out a bit but I’m using more stuff than I’m getting rid of.  Two more days to the challenge (which is good because we could really use some bread, and milk, and eggs, and cheese…) !


So who does more of the cooking in your house? Or who is the better cook? 🙂

 

Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 4

Alright ladies and gentlemen, I promised you something different and here it is–Chubby Hubby’s #1 most requested dinner: Korean Beef!

So delicious!

So delicious!

I found this on Pinterest a few months ago and it is so yummy and simple that it is probably requested at least once a week in our house. To give credit where it’s due, this recipe is copied from Damn Delicious‘s blog (source: http://damndelicious.net/2013/07/07/korean-beef-bowl) and I have to commend them on an easy and delicious dinner option.

Now to be honest, some of these ingredients are somewhat specialty (I’m looking at your green onions and ground ginger) but I bought a jar of the ground ginger in an Asian market for about $3 and have barely made a dent in it. I just have the jar in the fridge and use it when I need it. The green onions you can find at a grocery store for about a dollar, and can be put in many different things for color or flavor.

 


 

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (we use low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

So to make this, you whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper and ginger in a bowl and set aside.  Mince 3 cloves of garlic and brown in 1 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil. Add 1 pound ground beef, brown and drain (haven’t made this with ground turkey yet, but keep meaning to try it). Stir in the sauce and heat until warmed. You can either mix some of the green onion in the sauce for more flavor or add it to the meat at the end for color, I usually do a mixture of both.

Serve over instant brown rice and add a bag of your favorite steam-in-bag veggie (we usually do broccoli or snow peas) and voila! Yummy dinner in about 15 minutes. I can’t attest to how well this reheats because we never have any leftovers (Chubby Hubby REALLY likes it!), and the pics may not be reflect how delish this dish looks and smells. If you love Asian flavors though, just make this once and see if it doesn’t enter the dinner rotation.

Korean Beef2

Does not photograph well, but trust me!



Stay tuned! There’s more stuff in my cabinets! 🙂