Chicken Satay

Mr. Prevention has this habit…of putting wing sauce on e-v-e-r-y piece of meat I set in front of him. It doesn’t matter if it’s marinaded, slow-cooked, or grilled to perfection…it’s bound to get slathered in sodium-packed, high-calorie, and often high-fat wing sauce. And P.S. it’s not the cheap stuff, either (hence, I’ve started buying pure maple syrup behind his back…fair is fair).

Unless your taste buds are DEAD, or you have some inexplicable love affair with wing sauce like you-know-who, you would love this chicken satay. Though not native to Thailand, chicken satay is sold on most any street cart…and this version looks the same (it’s so rare that happens!).

Furthermore, it’s super healthy. I think chicken gets a bad name because it is really healthy, but it can also be really boring if you don’t add flavor. This recipe is a perfect example of how to add flavor without a lot of calories or fat. It’s never chicken that’s the issue, it’s the boring cook behind the chicken ;) Try some new flavors…soon!

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Chicken Satay adapted from Asian Cook

1.25 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk lemon grass, thinly sliced (optional, I omitted)
1 inch ginger root, grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Slice chicken length-wise into pieces about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

Combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix in the chicken pieces, coated chicken on all sides. Cover and set aside for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, soak bamboo skewers in water for about 20 minutes to stop them burning under the grill.

Preheat the grill to medium heat and thread the chicken on the skewers. Grill 4-5 minutes on each side and serve immediately. Yield: 12 skewers.

Nutrition Information (per skewer): 55 calories; 0.4 g. fat; 23 mg. cholesterol; 208 mg. sodium; 0.9 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 11 g. protein

Result: This chicken had perfect flavor, and the color was stunning! It was like being in Asia all over again. If satay is your thing, this is a must-try! So simple, too! Enjoy!

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I had plans to take Mr. Prevention to a new sushi place last night, but he talked me into Thai food with a Groupon. So glad I caved. The food was delicious and the portions…oh my heavens. I think we have lunch + another meal to enjoy!

Lily and I are off to the farmer’s market in a bit. This weekend looks to be a continuation of this humid, disgusting weather so the workout will be indoors today. For sure.

Question: What’s your favorite way to flavor chicken (or meat substitute!)?

Happy weekend!

Roasted Veggie and Pesto Pasta Salad + Weekly Menu

I decided after making Eggplant Parmesan that I loved eggplant. So much so, that I’m growing trying to grow it this year. And after the cooking demonstration I lead a few weeks ago and using pesto, I have fallen back in love with pesto. My point being, this recipe tickled my fancy…big time.

I also loved the loads of veggies in this recipe — the veggies piled (barely!) into two 9″ x 13″ baking dishes for roasting. It provided a nice balance between a veggie side dish and a pasta side dish, married together with a simple oil, vinegar, citrus, and pesto dressing and lots of bright, summer colors.

This would be a great dish to consider making for the 4th of July or any upcoming barbecue or get-together you may attend. Zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers are quickly approaching peak season! Get’em while the last!

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Roasted Veggie and Pesto Pasta Salad adapted from The Art of Living

Pasta Salad:
2 bell peppers (any color), diced into 1/2″ pieces
1 red onion, diced into 1/2″ pieces
2 zucchini, diced into 1/2″ pieces
1 eggplant, diced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 oz feta
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
8 oz dry pasta

Dressing:
3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp pesto
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine all veggies with some olive oil, kosher salt, and coarse black pepper. Roast veggies for 35-45 minutes, tossing occasionally. While the veggies are cooking, cook the orzo per package instructions. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the hot pasta so the flavors blend well. Once the veggies are done, add them to the pasta and mix well. Refrigerate. Note: Best made the day before.

Just before serving, add the feta cheese, pine nuts, and basil. Yield: about 12 servings (1 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 187 calories; 9.3 g. fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 123 mg. sodium; 22 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 5.3 g. protein

Result: I loved this! So did guests! This was a last minute recommendation and I’m so glad I decided to make it. It is packed with veggies and the ingredients are all so simple. Best part, is that it is best made a day ahead and it keeps well for 5 days – it was great as leftovers taken for lunch. Good thing, it makes a ton! I will certainly be making this again! Enjoy!

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I did end up doing a mini duathlon yesterday. After the 10 mile bike to and from the farmer’s market, I went out for a 3 mile run. Mistake #1 was going during the afternoon heat, and #2 not hydrating well at all after my morning bike. Mistake #3 was going out way too fast. I had finished 2 miles in 18 minutes and during the last mile I stopped to walk 4 times for about 45-60 seconds each time and still finished 3 miles in 29:22 – below my average pace, for sure. I was pooped afterwards! Glad I took advantage of the nice weather yesterday, it has already left us…again :(

Last night, Mr. P and I tried out a new (to us) Greek restaurant and it was AMAZING! I love Mythos Red beer, and their gyros were incredible. They served them with banana peppers, onion, feta, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and a sweet tzatziki. Drool. Mr. Prevention loved his spicy chicken gyro, as well…and the falafel and hummus appetizer was divine. Love finding new eats in town! :-D

The weekly menu is partially completed…

Weekly Menu: June 26th – 30th

Question: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten so far this weekend?

Enjoy today,

Money Matters: Foil-Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn

While I would love and adore to buy everything organic, local, and all that jazz…it is simply not feasible (for me) for a lot of reasons. Accessibility and cost being the main barriers. It’s also not feasible because I would have a husband ready to go ballistic over my spending and… well, I just don’t have $700 a month to spend on food…for 2. And if I did, I don’t know that spending all that money on food is how I would LIKE to spend such large amounts of money. I like vacations and shoes far too much for that… ;)

Now some of you are probably thinking, “But you’re a dietitian and you are what you eat.” And I agree with that statement entirely. However, I still think shopping smart is something I am not only learning how to do more effectively, but I feel it’s making me a better practitioner in the process. Generally speaking, people do not have unlimited, or even plentiful funds for which to buy groceries. As much as I like rare cheeses and to support organics, I have to prioritize where my money is spent. And I try to do my best with my garden and shopping locally and organic, when possible…especially when it comes to meat and dairy. Keeping my grocery costs within a budget (albeit pretty flexible) is important to me as a consumer, and as a practitioner.

Now might be a good time to mention the updated “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15″ lists. Here’s a great way to prioritize where to and where not to spend your money on organic produce:

  • Dirty Dozen: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, blueberry, lettuce, kale/collard greens.
  • Clean 15: onions, corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms

Back to the recipe. Not only did it catch my eye because it contained some of my most favorite foods, but it struck me as a quick, easy, healthy, and cheap meal. And that…it was :) I dare say this was one of the best meals we’ve had in awhile, and it really does accomplish so much with flavor, hands-on time, and cost. Oh, and one-bowl clean-up, too!

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Foil-Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn from America’s Test Kitchen, The Best Simple Recipes, as seen on Pink Parsley

4 4-ounce white fish fillets, such as tilapia
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp Smart Balance Light, softened
2 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels
1/2 red onion, minced
2 scallions, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 450 degrees

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1 teaspoon chipotle, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well-combined. Spread butter mixture over the fish.

Combine the beans, corn, onion, scallions, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle, remaining garlic, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.

Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly over the lower half of each piece of foil. Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal.

Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 327 calories; 8.3 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 551 mg. sodium; 35.8 g. carbohydrate; 10.3 g. fiber; 32.5 g. protein

Result: So, I found the perfect meal…and this is it! Not only is it delicious (really, really, really, delicious)…but it’s also uber healthy — carb-controlled, low in sodium (for a meal), high in lean protein, and packed with fiber! It’s also cost effective…and creates just one dirty bowl leaving very little clean-up! :-D

Money Matters: The most expensive ingredient was the tilapia which was on sale for $3.99/lb. Navel oranges were $0.50 and the not-quite in-season corn was $0.98 for the 2 ears that I used. The can of beans was $1.19 and the rest accounted for small additions to the total. The meal total was $8.29 for 4 servings, equaling $2.07/serving!

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Cost savings tip! I use a LOT of chipotles in adobo sauce in my cooking! While these flavor-packed peppers are commonly found in the ethnic aisle of any grocery store, you often use a very small portion of the can. Don’t throw out the leftovers — freeze a pepper or two (with sauce) in an individual ziplock and pull them out as you use them!

This is the first of several new recipes I am including in a second round of a “Money Matters” series. I hope you guys enjoy!

I slept like a baby after a 9pm workout last night. I have been busy prepping for this weekend when we will be hosting about 18 guests. Until last night, I hadn’t worked out since the duathlon on Sunday and my body was feeling sore and achy from the lack of movement. I could tell my sleep patterns have been messed up, as well. Exercise…it does the body good!!

And hallelujah! It is FINALLY Friday! I’ve been thinking it was Friday since Wednesday morning and alas, it is here :-D

Question: What do you buy organic, if anything?

Happy weekend!

Winners!! And…loser (me!)

Happy weekend!!!

Thanks for helping me celebrate my blogiversary in true fashion! Of course, the doughnut pans were a huge hit! :-D Sorry there weren’t more to go around!

Congrats to Becky, Dana, Rebecca, JW, Heather H-F, Matt, Christine, Becca B, Erin, Samantha, Melanie, and Andrea!!

I have sent emails to all the winners. Thanks again for entering, everyone!

And for losers…well, ME! I am down 1.2 lbs this week! It has been a very slow upward climb, or the scale has remained unchanged for a few weeks now, so I’m glad to be back down, for a total of 12.2 lbs since January. I’m batting for the “Slow and Steady” team…and I like it that way!

It’s great to get through a week like last week which was filled with emotional highs and lows and still make it a healthy one. I didn’t mention anything before now, but one the patients I worked very closely with passed away at the clinic last Saturday and the wake was on Tuesday. It was tough, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet the patient’s family and to say goodbye. And it was from the wake that I went to teach our new weight management class – sans any mascara left on my lower lashes. Oy! And while those were the highest of highs and lowest of lows for the week, there was so much more – like an anonymous donation coming into the clinic in my name!

So I am very much so looking forward to a better (and shorter!) week. I mean, school is out for summer!!!!! :-D I think I was just as excited as my students! It’s not the teaching I dislike (I love it!), it’s the hours! Being away from home all day -and- night 2 days a week is really tough. Those days are so jam-packed that it makes the rest of the week busy + playing catch-up. But hey, I’ll worry about that in another 10 weeks ;)

Rest day today (and yesterday) in preparation for my duathlon tomorrow. I purchased my (oh so sexy) bike helmet yesterday. I will post tomorrow after my event, and when things get tough tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of Samantha running a marathon on her own. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is!

Lily and I are off to the farmer’s market! :-D

Question: What was this week’s high and low for you?

Lots of love,

Vanilla Bean French Toast with Rhubarb Compote + Weekly Menu

I am the exact opposite of my high school self. I used to roll over, see 10:00 AM on my bedside alarm, roll over, and head back to sleep without a care in the world. Now, if I roll over and see 8:00 AM flash I about fly out of bed, assuring myself the whole day hasn’t been wasted. I am my mother’s (and father’s) daughter. I did what I never thought I would do — become a morning person. And like it.

My favorite “me” time is in the morning and it includes things like coffee, breakfast, occasionally a workout, maybe some TV during a quick morning cuddle with Lily, and when the weather is nice here in the Midwest: the farmer’s market!

Early bird gets the worm, especially when the weather has been poor conditions for growing and farmers are selling their slim pickings. Literally. So this past Saturday morning, I snagged a multi-grain loaf of bread from the Amish, a 2lb bunch of rhubarb, and another huge bag of spinach for $7. There’s no way you can get that at your local grocer for that cost, especially at that quality…and have it be local :)

When I returned home, beaming with pride over my farmer’s market steals, Mr. Prevention wanted to know what I was going to do with all that rhubarb and all that spinach. The spinach I could figure out – it’s so versatile. But the rhubarb, hmm. Seeing as this was my first shot at creating anything with rhubarb, I was at a loss. After a quick Google search, I was certain a rhubarb crisp of some sort was in order (more on that another day…yum!), but I also wanted something then. At 9am.

And since I was feeling brave and adventurous (2 things I am normally not), I decided to just wing it with a little inspiration on the side. Lesson learned: rhubarb needs sugar. The stuff alone is enough to make anyone pucker up, and not in a good way. Though, I’m not one of those individuals who sucks on lemons and limes and enjoys it. If you are, you can get by with less sugar. Rhubarb is tarrrt! But when reduced by means of heat with a source of sweetness, it’s incredible…and perfect to start off, finish off, or compliment any day! Cheers to the first yield of spring!

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Vanilla Bean French Toast with Rhubarb Compote inspired by Tesco Real Food

1 cup fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 Tbsp sugar
4 slices multi-grain bread, cut 3/4-inch thick
2 eggs
2/3 cup fat-free half and half
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
1/4 cup lower-sugar syrup

Directions:

Slice rhubarb and put into a small sauce pan with 2 tablespoons sugar. Toss to coat. Simmer rhubarb and sugar over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine eggs, half and half, and vanilla bean in a shallow dish. Soak each slice of bread on both sides and place into a pre-heated skillet over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Place 2 pieces of french toast onto each of 2 plates and top each with half of rhubarb compote. Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons syrup. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition Information (per 2 slices with 2 tablespoons syrup): 502 calories; 10.5 g. fat; 215 mg. cholesterol; 629 mg. sodium; 87 g. carbohydrate; 9 g. fiber; 17.5 g. protein

Result: A breakfast fit for a queen! Or king ;) This was a splurge, but very satisfying…and filling! This is a perfect spring brunch item, showcasing in-season rhubarb sweetened to perfection. A quick breakfast delight that is sure to “wow” anyone! Enjoy!

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Weekly Menu (a day late): May 29th – June 1st

Lots of leftovers this week. I also made oven-fried pickles over the weekend, and there’s leftovers of those. I choose exercise and enjoying the nice weather over cooking too much this week!

I was planning to work today, but I think the weather is too nice (91 and sun, thank you!) to spend it in a cold, stuffy clinic. Plus, I slept in (til 8:30!!!) after a late hockey game last night. ;) Mr. Prevention and I went on amazing 11 mile bike ride on Saturday, and I think I want a repeat today :) Maybe a mini duathalon is in order?!

Question: Do you like rhubarb? Any favorite recipes?

P.S. I did weigh-in on Saturday morning – +0.6. I strongly recommend not weighing in the morning after a 10pm dinner of sushi. The restaurant didn’t even have low sodium soy sauce…I knew it would be ugly. Not discouraged, though. :)

Happy Memorial Day!