Wish Upon A Dish: August 2015

August 26, 2015

Millet & Quinoa Salad with Grapes, Almonds & Feta Cheese ♥ my 1000 calorie day diet

I promise to make this short.
When I turned 53 I quit smoking. At 58 I got COPD.
When I hit 60 this year, I was warned I would be in serious trouble if I did not do something about my weight, by the time I was 70.

This post is a benchmark for turning my health around. With my diabetes in control, I put myself on a strict diet. I mean a 1000 calorie a day diet.

The only thing that I knew would work and I could stick to, was a diet of protein shakes, fruits, grains and lean protein.
No alcohol, no sugars and no cheating.

Today is my first full week. I have lost 7 pounds, I am sleeping better, so I am more alert and I have more energy. One could call that wishful thinking and tell me it's all water but it's incentive that I am on the right path.

I thought I would share with you a grain salad that keeps in the fridge all week and it's oober healthy (and filling) so I can graze on it when plain fruits just won't do. I plan on making a different variation every week.

I started by cooking 1 cup millet and quinoa. That made 8 cups cooked. I used two cups for this recipe.

I served it with a grilled rockfish and right before serving, I added chopped cucumber, almonds, red peppers, green grapes and feta cheese.
A tablespoon of Marzetti's lemon vinaigrette and dinner was served. It was so refreshing, even The Nudge enjoyed it.

Let's get cooking.......

Quinoa & Millet Salad
makes 8 cups

* 1 cup millet
* 1 cup quinoa
* 4 cups water/vegetable broth combination
* salt & pepper

Green grapes, quartered
Minced red pepper
Honey roasted almonds
1" slice feta cheese, crumbled (not the already crumbled)
Lemon Vinaigrette
Baby lettuce mix


August 18, 2015

Watercress Honey-Mustard Marinaded Chicken Breasts

I have gotten myself into the very bad habit of printing out a recipe instead of bookmarking them.
Why? Because I can do it while sitting in bed reading on my iPad.

It has become a ritual, that each morning when I finally make an appearance at my desk, I pick up all the printed papers strewn across my rug directly under the wireless printer.
It's not such a bad thing, I get enjoyment twice. Once when I discover a recipe I really want to prepare, and a second time sorting and filing them into piles of "shopping lists" & "this weeks menu".

This recipe was printed almost a year ago, was filed away a year ago and was forgotten a year ago.
TODAY I finally took it's picture and moved that recipe to the published list so that everyone can get the same enjoyment.
Finding, cooking and finally eating.

I think it's time to revisit those files to discover what other gems ended up on my floor and not in my tummy.

Let's get cooking.....

Watercress Honey Mustard Chicken

Serves : 6
* 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
* 1 cup chopped watercress
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 6 thin boneless chicken breasts
* Salt & pepper to taste

1. Process all the ingredients except the chicken.
2. Pour over the chicken in a zip bag and store in the fridge for as long as it takes to get the grill hot.
3. Grill the chicken about 3 minutes per side.

Notes: Can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Watercress beats kale in nutrition hands down. Yes, that's totally true. Another Super Green to add to your list. Makes a great soup and a wonderful addition to a salad. Used in many fine dining establishments, it has found a place in this home.

August 3, 2015

Hawaiian Fried Rice ♥ THE dish worth making rice for

I get so excited when a dish I create gets rav reviews and it's even sweeter when the reviewer had the nerve to turn his nose up when he heard the ingredients.

He thinks I am not aware that he always asks what's in it befire he takes a mouthful.
Now I turn that around to "take a bite and see if you can guess".
HA!! Take that!!

The man went back for seconds and thirds. The beauty of this dish is the amount of substitutions that can be used but I have to insist that those subs be of the same food group.

Like, for instance, the Hawaiian chicken should be another Asian flavored chicken. The salty Spam, a ham steak.
Peas and carrots can come out of the freezer in a box.

The only rules are in the technique. There is an order to which the foods enter the pan and the time needed to let the pan do it's work.
I am not a snob to shortcuts as long as you do not mess with the 5 food senses.
You want salty, bitter, sweet, sour and umami in this dish or it will taste like leftovers thrown into a big skillet.

You my think this is such a dish but only one ingredient was in another meal and that was this chicken (which on it's own was excellent and the inspiration for this).
I made the rice a few days ahead so that it had time to dry out, but leftover Chinese take-out rice will also work. If you are Diabetic you should take the time to make converted rice, the best rice (besides Basmati) for diabetics.

If you have never eaten Spam, this is the perfect dish for your first time. It really tastes like a canned ham and there is no spice for the kids to crinkle their noses at.

Let's get cooking.....

Hawaiian Fried Rice
makes 6-8 servings

* 3/4 cup rice, cooked in 1 1/2 cups salted water, day old best
* 1 small container Spam, 1/4-inch dice (sub: ham steak)
* 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie is fine but Teriyaki even better)
* 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
* 1 cup red onion, diced
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 can chopped water chestnuts (about 3/4 cup)
* 1/2 cup pineapple bits
* 1 cup scallions, green parts sliced
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup peas
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

* 1/3 cup shoya (good quality soy sauce)
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
* 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

* 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional but not mandatory)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Drop a piece of Spam into the oil and when it starts to sizzle, carefully drop in the remaining Spam. Stir to coat in the vegetable oil and then let it sit, over medium heat until the meat crusts (about 5 minutes). Stir and repeat.
2. Add the onions and cook another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the carrots. Lower the heat and cook until the carrots wilt.
3. Remove the Spam mixture to a bowl, add a teaspoon of more oil and add the eggs to the pan, swirling to the edges. Cook until the bottom sets and flip the egg into a rough omelet. Cook another minute and remove to a dish. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
4. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, up the heat to high and add the rice, stirring to coat. When the rice starts to obtain color, add the water chestnuts, pineapple, peas, chopped chicken, green onions, eggs and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly so the rice does not stick.
5. Add the pork mixture back to the skillet and stir to heat through.
6. Pour the sauce over the rice and stir to evenly coat the rice mixture.
7. Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro or more chopped green onions (I used chives from my garden).

You could add diced red peppers if you have them and if I had a fresh jalapeno, I would have added that. A little spice would have been nice.