This is another lesson in how to stretch your dinner intake. Along with cooking the chickpeas in the Instant Pot I also added the stems from the kale. John made some rice and I combined my half cup of white rice with a half cup of cauliflower rice. I also added a layer of kale leaves which wilted between the heat of the rice on the bottom and the chickpea stew on top. Finally it is topped off with some cilantro and sriracha to give it some zing.
We made extra so that we could have the chickpea stew again on Saturday. In case I don’t feel like cooking on Saturday, no worries!
What can I say? We were busy on Wednesday and I just did not feel like cooking. Even to me there are days when the prep and cooking and clean up just seem like too much.
We have a new grocery store in the area. It is called Lucky’s California and it is kind of like Whole Foods. It has an extensive ready-made section. Not only is their sushi good but they also have poke that I am interested in trying. It is an expensive way to eat but not as expensive as going to a restaurant.
I have various tricks for making my pasta seem like more than it is. What I would really like is to eat half a pound of pasta at a time but I know that is not in the cards if I want to maintain my weight loss. So I have come up with a variety of ways to stretch my portion and make it seem larger than it is.
The number one thing that I do with strand pasta is break it in half. I know that this is not a thing you are supposed to do but it doubles the amount of strands and takes longer to eat. Secondly I add vegetables that are not traditionally in the dish. Pasta puttanesca does not usually have mushrooms and kale stems in it. But I like them and it is more food for me. Lastly I serve pasta over raw hearty greens, in this case the leafy bits of kale (I put the stems in the sauce.) Having done all these things, John and I end up finishing at about the same time even though he eats a larger quantity of pasta than I do.
We buy whole grain Barilla pasta. Tonight’s linguine was great with the highly flavored sauce. In addition to my dietary adds listed above, the sauce contained petite diced tomatoes, olives, capers, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano. I finished the plate with some cut up basil leaves. My bowlful was delicious and filling!
This dinner can be made easily using some convenience products. John shredded some rotisserie chicken while I sautéed onions, garlic, and chopped jalapeño peppers. I combined the chicken with the veg and added some jarred salsa verde and shredded cheese. John cooked the tortillas in a little spray until they were pliable and I rolled them around the chicken mixture. They went into a baking dish that had a coating of salsa verde on the bottom. A little more salsa verde on the top and a sprinkling of shredded cheese and they were ready to go in a 375F oven for 15 minutes.
I had a pack of shredded cabbage and added some spicy tomato salsa, cumin, plain yogurt and a couple of tablespoons of light mayonnaise to it. After tasting it I adjusted salt and pepper levels.
Sure, you could cook your own chicken, make your own salsas, and shred a head of cabbage but using already prepared items makes chicken enchiladas an easy weeknight dinner. And it was pretty tasty besides!
I know this looks a lot like last Sunday’s BFD (Breakfast For Dinner) but I love this combination. This week I added a couple of handfuls of cole slaw mix to my sauté. I season the vegetables with ginger, rogan josh, and soy sauce. The hot sauteed veg wilts the greens underneath. Every bite is something a little different. I am definitely full after eating a bowl of my BFD!
Today is our actual anniversary day and we are cooking together as we do almost every day. Since today is special we are starting off with a first course of sushi and seaweed salad that we purchased at a local upscale grocery store.
For our main course John is roasting Chilean sea bass and I am making steamed new potatoes and the Vichy carrots. John cooked the fish perfectly at 400F for 14 minutes. I gave the potatoes a head start and kept them warm when they were cooked since I wanted to use the same pan for the Vichy carrots.
While I was shopping at the above mentioned upscale market I picked up some of those thin carrots with the tops attached. Making Vichy carrots is basically cooking the carrots in a little liquid with some shallot, butter and sugar. I also made a mango salsa which included chopped Fresno chile and red onion.
This was a fine anniversary dinner! But now I need to start thinking of what we can make and do for our 50th anniversary next year!!
Because we had such a fabulous dinner on Thursday, I decided to make myself a saner dinner on Friday. I am using chicken breast meat from the Costco rotisserie chicken, Power Greens Earthbound Farms greens, and some cut up cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and pickles. As a starter to my salad-y meal I microwaved an artichoke and ate that with some butter spray.
Weirdly I have noticed that having a big meal makes me hungrier the next day. By eating carefully the week before our dinner out and again on Friday, the damage at the scale has been minimal.
Thursday John and I went out to celebrate being married for 49 years. The actual date is Saturday and we will continue celebrating then as well. We did not actual have a wedding but eloped instead finding a Justice of the Peace in the yellow pages (when actual books of phone numbers existed!) Anyway John and I have been married a long time and cooking together for a long time. Maybe cooking together is a key to a successful marriage!
So the following are pictures of our dinner last night and it will show that I do not diet every day of my life plus I did not feel guilty while having our celebration dinner. No doubt I will pay for this at the scale this week but I am confident in my ability to just eat correctly the rest of the week and the extra pounds will come off.
In looking over what I have just pictured, this dinner minus dessert would not have been too bad from a diet point of view. After all there was lots of fish and vegetables! What I failed to mention, however, is that this restaurant is associated with a winery so there was also copious amounts of wine. Good thing that our anniversary only comes once a year!
Woo hoo, pasta twice in one week!! We were scheduled for salmon on Wednesday but changed direction when we found out that our restaurant dinner on Thursday would feature salmon. Making pasta was a simple solution since I had all the ingredients on hand.
I got a new mini food processor which, although noisy, makes short and great work of chopping up garlic and onions. Once I have the mushrooms partially cooked I drop in the chopped up onions and garlic followed by some dried oregano and red pepper flakes. And salt, do not forget to season as you go.
John cooked the orrechiette (little ears in Italian) for 8 minutes and then drained and added the pasta to my vegetables. Stir, stir. Add the reserved pasta water (1/2 to 1 cup) and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Stir a little more and serve. Yum!