Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chicken Jalfrezi and Grandma's Rice Pudding

Tonight, I cooked Chicken Jalfrezi, which is a dish using Indian spices, chicken, and peppers. I found it on a candida (yeast) diet site (scroll down the site for the recipe).

I have never cooked with turmeric, coriander, or garam masala before. It ended up being pretty good, but a little bland, which was surprising to me. Next time I'll season the chicken first for sure, maybe the peppers too. But it was a nice change of pace with different flavors than I'm used to eating and cooking with. I will probably try a different Indian recipe in the future because I do enjoy the warmth of the spices.

After dinner, I made a brown rice pudding and frittata so I can heat my breakfast quickly and easily in the morning. I used my grandma's recipe for the rice pudding, except substituting brown for white rice, almond milk for regular, and xylitol for sugar. It turned out well and can be eaten hot or cold.

Here is the original recipe:

Grandma's Rice Pudding
1/2 cup white rice
3 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

Heat the milk and rice in a double boiler to a gentle boil. Cook until rice is done, about 30 minutes (note: longer for brown rice). Temper the egg and add it to the rice and milk. Add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and bring back to a gentle boil for a few minutes. Add raisins if desired. Eat hot or cold.

I used less than 1/2 cup of sugar (xylitol) and it tastes sweet enough to me.

If you've never had rice pudding, you should try it. It's such a warm, comforting food. The rice and milk just meld together. I have many fond memories of making this with my grandma. I'd always request rice pudding or grilled cheese and tomato soup whenever I was there for lunch. I remember the rice pudding taking so long to make in my young mind, since it took more than an hour to cook. It was always such an anticipation to take that first bite. Delicious.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beef and Pepper Stir Fry

This is actually based on a kabob recipe I have used before, but after a mishap on the grill with the flames flaring up and singeing my veggies, I decided to take the kabob ingredients, add a few other things, and make it into a stir fry. It was DELISH!

Here is the kabob recipe. The only change I made to the marinade was to sub Xylitol for the brown sugar, and Tamari for the soy sauce.

It's great to use as a stir fry because then you can add whatever veggies you want. The veggies I used were:
  • Red, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
I stir fried the meat (sirloin sliced thinly) in some canola and sesame oil first, then removed it from the pan. Drained off the grease, added some more canola and sesame oil and threw in the veggies to stir fry. Once the veggies were about done, I added the meat back in along with the rest of the marinade and stirred it all together for another couple minutes until it was all hot. Obviously, this would be great over rice, but it was very good plain too!

It was very flavorful and filling. Try it!

No sugar, no dairy, no what do I eat???

That was my initial reaction when I was told last week that, in order to help get rid of the persistent thrush my breastfeeding daughter and I have been passing back and forth for the past 2 1/2 months, I needed to make a drastic change to my diet. The American diet is so full of carbs and sugar, it's ridiculous! The idea with this diet regarding the thrush is to "starve" the yeast so they can't grow and multiply. So, in addition to medication, sterilizing and washing everything, probiotics, and other supplements, I decided to go ahead and try the new diet.

My midwife gave me the guidelines, and here is what I can eat:
  • Veggies (excluding potatoes)
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Most nuts (no peanuts/peanut butter)
  • Berries 
  • Citrus
  • Green apples
  • 1 serving of a whole grain per day (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, etc)
What can't I eat?
  • All dairy products (this is the hardest for me)
  • All processed food
  • All refined sugar
  • All white flour
  • All simple carbohydrates in general
So, rather than feeling defeated by my limited diet, I decided to take it as a cooking challenge! I have been making lots of yummy recipes and have found that, because I was cooking a lot from scratch already, it wasn't such a huge jump for me to modify our diet. I knew I had been eating too much sugar but lacked the motivation to kick the sugar habit. This was the motivation I needed. DO I still crave sugar? Absolutely. But thankfully, I can still eat berries, which are my favorite fruit and very much in season and sweet right now, which helps to curb my craving. I have also been using a no-sugar/carb sugar substitute called Xylitol to help sweeten things like iced tea, salad dressing, and my "quinoa pudding" breakfast I made.

I am excited to be able to post several new recipes I have tried that are part of my diet and all of these will be ones I will continue to make even when I am allowed to have dairy/sugar/grains again. Because of this diet, I have learned so much more about food, nutrition, and how the body processes what I eat. I am planning to keep a mostly low carb diet. And an added perk? Shedding some baby weight! I have lost 6 pounds in the past week!

Stay tuned for recipes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sixth Annual Fall Feast

This Saturday I am hosting our sixth annual fall feast. It is a special dinner I like to give for my closest friends and family where they can come and eat a nice meal without having to worry about cooking it or paying for it. It’s a small thing, but it’s something tangible I can do to express love to them.

This year, I am making braised beef short ribs, mashed potatoes, polenta, acorn squash, roasted asparagus, and pumpkin cheesecake.

Interestingly, when I called Cub to see about the short ribs, the butcher told me they haven’t sold beef short ribs since sometime last year, and he also said most Twin Cities grocery stores don’t carry them. That got me nervous. But after calling around to a couple other places, I found that the “nicer” or more specialty stores do carry them. Lunds/Byerly’s does, but they cost quite a bit more (almost double) than where I have ultimately decided to buy them: Widmer’s in St. Paul. The butcher I talked to was very knowledgeable and the price was right at $4.99/lb. He said he’d cut them how I wanted when I go and pick them up. Great service.

Here is the recipe I’m planning to use (scroll down for the recipe): I’m making the ribs gluten free by using rice flour for dredging the meat so my dear friend Jamie can eat a gluten free meal.

All of the recipes I’m using seem to be fairly simple, and that’s on purpose. I am 18 weeks pregnant and still not feeling the greatest, so I’m trying to make the meal a little simpler than usual. I am also using paper plates this year. They are nice looking and heavy duty, and I think they’ll hold up just fine. But that is 16 less plates to wash! I’ll probably do the same for dessert plates and save myself another 16 plates worth of dishes.

Here are links to the other recipes I’m using.

I’ve never made polenta before, and I may decide not to make it for the feast. I’ll see how the day goes.

Acorn Squash
I am trying to decide whether to make this recipe as is or modify it to make a squash puree instead.

Roasted Asparagus
Simple but, I’m sure, delicious. I love asparagus.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
I made this cheesecake one other time and it was very good. I will make a Maple Pecan drizzle to go over the top using the top commenter’s recipe. Yum.

I'll be posting details about the party next week, including a cost breakdown and how each recipe turned out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chicken and Pasta in Creamy Pesto Sauce

For dinner last night, I made a really yummy meal based on this one. It made a lot of food, probably a total of 6 generous servings. Here is the recipe with my modifications.

Chicken and Pasta in Creamy Pesto Sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 T dried basil
2 t dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" strips
1 package tri-colored rotini pasta
4 T olive oil, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 large onion, diced
1 T sugar
Sun dried tomatoes
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 cup whole milk

  1. Prepare marinade by combining the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken strips.
  2. Bring pot of water to a boil; add salt and pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to a pan. Add onion and sprinkle onion with sugar. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes, carrot, and the chicken in its marinade. Simmer chicken pieces, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. 
  4. Add pasta, pesto and broccoli to the skillet. Stir in the milk and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Adjust salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and a thick slice of warm bread.  
The great thing about this recipe is that you can add whatever veggies you like. I think it would taste great with artichokes, summer squash, zucchini or fresh cherry tomatoes.This is a recipe that will be in regular rotation at our house, and our 17 month old liked it, too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pound cake with peaches and yogurt whipped cream

I've been away from home for a few days recovering from an appendectomy and have a lot of leftover ingredients in the fridge that needed to be used up. We had a big party here on the fourth and I had leftover pound cake I had purchased from Costco, and I also had leftover heavy cream from the whipped cream I made to go with the pound cake and strawberries over the fourth. So I decided to whip up a quick dessert/snack for Matt and me this afternoon.

First, I whipped the cream, adding about a teaspoon of sugar as it came together, and then folded in some vanilla yogurt for a little more sweetness and tang. While the cream was beating in the mixer, sliced up the pound cake. I had a jar of peaches I canned in the fridge, so I pulled that out. Then I just layered the dessert into two bowls: 1 slice of pound cake, a dollop of yogurt whipped cream, about 6 peach slices, another slice of pound cake, and another dollop of whipped cream. Voila! In 5 minutes, I made a very simple, yummy treat using whatever ingredients I had on hand to use up.

What creative dishes have you made using up leftovers?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken with Veggie Saute

Ever since we moved, I've been struggling to get decent dinners on the table. I think I must still be overwhelmed and don't feel like I have it together yet. For dinner tonight, I took a look at my All Recipes recipe box and decided to make this Dijon Tarragon Cream Chicken recipe again.

I have not been good at getting a variety of veggies incorporated into our meals either. To accompany the chicken, I made a veggie saute of asparagus, yellow squash, and red potatoes.

Both turned out great! I made a couple modifications to the chicken recipe: I added some white wine to deglaze the pan, and I didn't have fresh tarragon so I used a teaspoon of dried tarragon instead. From start to finish, it took 30 minutes.
Veggie Saute
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Baby red potatoes, diced
Asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
Yellow squash, sliced
  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add garlic and potatoes and saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add asparagus and squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for 3 minutes.
This veggie saute is very flavorful. I loved it!