When I was a little girl, my Aunt Mikki came to visit us all the way from Japan. I wasn’t sure where exactly Japan was, but I knew it was far, far away. While Aunt Mikki was with us, she prepared Chicken Chow Mein for our family. The whole process included a trip to the market for fresh ingredients and a lot of chopping. I have loved Chicken Chow Mein since that day. I cook it often for my own family. It’s one of those dishes everyone around the table stops talking and just eats. My Auntie’s version included crispy fried noodles. I now make it with regular boiled noodles and sprinkle some wonton strips or sliced green onions to add some crunch. I also use cabbage in place of bean sprouts because it is more easily available, but you can certainly use bean sprouts if you desire.
Chicken Chow Mein
• 2 pounds chicken breast sliced in 1-inch strips
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoon mirin or sake
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons minced ginger
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
• 3 tablespoons oil, divided
• 1 onion, sliced
• 2 ribs celery, sliced on diagonal
• 2 carrots, sliced
• 2 cups chopped cabbage
• 8-ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
Serve with soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, sliced green onions, fried wonton strips.
1. In a medium bowl mix together soy sauce, mirin or sake, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and chili paste. Add chicken to marinade while you chop the vegetables.
2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to large skillet or wok. Add ½ the chicken and quickly cook. Remove from pan. Repeat with second half. Set aside.
3. Heat last tablespoon of oil in skillet. Quickly cook the vegetables, starting with onion, celery, and carrot. Adding the cabbage after vegetables soften a bit.
4. Return the chicken to the skillet with the vegetable mixture.
5. Add spaghetti and toss.
6. Serve with desired toppings.
“Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”
Charles Pierre Monselet (1825-1888)
Weight Watcher friends: 7 Smart Points. If you use edamame spaghetti you can take it down another point. It has 24 grams of protein and only .5 grams of fat and 3 sugars. It has 4 Smart Points for a 2-ounce serving. I used the Seaport Farms brand.
Need something satisfying and easy for a weeknight supper. This will do the trick. I have made this for years, and it always pleases. It is a great dish to serve to company, take to a party, or share with a friend who is need of a meal. I have included the changes to make it Weight Watcher friendly.
Easy Cheesy Lasagna
• 1/2 pound Italian Sausage *See note
• 2 cups pasta sauce, I used Classico Tomato & Basil
• 5 no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
• 2 cups cottage cheese, I used nonfat. Ricotta can be used if you prefer
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, I used nonfat
1. In a medium saucepan, cook sausage. Add pasta sauce and heat.
2. In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, egg, basil, and parmesan cheese.
1. Spread ½ cup of sauce in bottom of 6×9 inch casserole.
2. Place one pasta sheet in middle. Don’t worry. Sheets expand during the cooking process.
3. Spread about ½ cup of cottage cheese mixture on sheet.
4. Top with about ½ cup sauce, sprinkle with ¼ cup of mozzarella.
5. Top with another pasta sheet, cottage cheese mixture, and mozzarella. No sauce in this layer.
6. Repeat layer 1 and 2.
7. Top with remaining pasta sheet, sauce, and ¼ cup of mozzarella. If using nonfat mozzarella, lightly spray with cooking spray. This will help the cheese melt.
8. Tightly cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
9. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Life is a combination of magic and pasta.
*Weight Watchers on Freestyle: I make my own Italian sausage by adding Italian sausage seasonings to ground chicken breast. See recipe here. I add 1 pound of it to this recipe to increase the protein and flavor. If you use this method, your lasagna will be 8 Smart Points. If making your own sausage seems like too much I would suggest using ½ pound turkey Italian sausage for 2 extra Smart Points per serving. It would also be quite tasty without the sausage if you prefer. Enjoy!
I have a new gadget in my kitchen. Well, maybe not exactly new. I purchased a counter top pressure cooker last year, and I stared at it quite a while before I actually put it to use. The delay probably resulted from my upbringing as a child. I was well-versed in the dangers of pressure cookers as a child. I remember wondering each time my mom would use it whether it would result in an explosion. Lol!
Today’s cookers are much safer and easier to use. Once I used mine, I realized what a wonderful gadget it is. I have only made a couple of things so far, but I can already see what a benefit they are. Meat can go from freezer to finished in no time. And those same meals you cook in the crock pot for hours, can be done in thirty minutes.
Here’s what I tried last night.
Balsamic Apple Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup apple juice or chicken broth
- 1 apple, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 springs thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Turn on sauté function and heat. When hot, add oil.
- Brown tenderloin on all sides. Approx. 2 minutes per side. Remove tenderloin to plate. Set aside.
- Add onion to pot and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic. Stir.
- Add balsamic vinegar. Stir.
- Add juice/broth, apple, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Stir well.
- Add tenderloin, nestling in the mixture. Cancel sauté function. Place lid on cooker and lock. Close steam release vent. Press cook. Adjust time to 10 minutes. Longer if meat is frozen: 15 minutes. When cycle finishes, let pot rest in the warm function for 15 minutes.
- Release any remaining steam and remove lid. Check internal temperature of pork for doneness: 140 degrees F.
- Remove from pot and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Switch on sauté function. Add butter and incorporate.
- Remove 1/3 cup broth, whisk in cornstarch, and return to pot to thicken sauce.
- Turn off pot.
- Slice meat and top with sauce.
No pressure cooker? This recipe can be made in the crockpot or the oven. Just adjust times accordingly.
Weight Watcher Friends: This has 5 SmartPoints if made with chicken broth, 6 with juice. I used beer which doesn’t add any points to the overall dish.
Good food ain’t cheap and cheap food ain’t good.
This week when Tuesday arrived, tacos were on my mind.
I don’t know if Taco Tuesday is a thing other places across the country, but here in SoCal it’s pretty popular. So, instead of heading out to the local taco place, I thought I would just create some at home.
So glad I did.
I tried a new recipe for a Mexican chicken marinade and was it good. Even though the recipe called for fresh lemon juice, I used the “from concentrate” I had in the fridge. It turned out fine, plus made it effortlessness to prepare. The grilled chicken that is the result is pretty delicious. You don’t wait until Tuesday to try it. Any day could use a little extra yumminess. And don’t forget to invite your friends. They’ll thank you.
Mexican Chicken Marinade
¾ cup lemon juice, I used a combination of lemon and lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoons dried oregano
2 pounds chicken, I used boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Mix juice, oil, salt, pepper, and oregano into a large zipper bag.
- Add chicken and marinate for thirty minutes or longer.
- Grill chicken until done, 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer.
I’m trying to eliminate negativity from my life. Therefore, Mondays are now “Taco Tuesday Eve” until further notice.
I don’t always know in the morning what I’ll be in the mood for at the end of the day. Sometimes, I just opt for throwing some meat along with a little broth and salt and pepper into the crockpot and wait for inspiration to come. That is how this recipe came about. I started a small roast cooking and then did some investigation into my options. Originally, I thought maybe green chili pork, but it got pushed aside for this recipe. It’s still pork and chilis but taken up a notch with the smoky flavor of chipotles.
This isn’t quite as easy as coming home to a fully cooked crockpot meal, but with fifteen minutes of prep and thirty minutes of simmer time, you can have something pretty yummy on the table. Just add some cornbread, tortilla chips, or crusty garlic bread for a hearty and satisfying dinner.
Smoky Pork Chili
• 1 ½ pounds pork roast
• ½ cup chicken broth
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobo sauce
• 1 ½ dried oregano
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 2 15-ounce cans of pinto beans, rinsed
• 1 15-ounce can corn
• 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• Sliced green onions or chopped cilantro for serving
1. Place roast and broth in the crockpot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat shreds easily. The pressure cooker will also work here.
2. On medium heat add oil to soup pot; heat until hot. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
3. Add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chipotle, and oregano. Cook the mixture, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and the shredded pork; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.
6. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallion greens or cilantro and serve. Enjoy!
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points per 1 1/2 cups.