I’m back from our little road trip to Portland, OR and so happy to return in my kitchen. While away I tried to eat some things that I don’t make at home. I had pho twice and even found a place to try the veggie combo Ethiopian style. I feel excited to try some new things.
However, the food landscape at our house was looking pretty bleak when it comes to making dinner last night. I resolved to use as many vegetables as I could that were looking mighty sad in the refrigerator. With me chopping and John sautéing we were ready for dinner in no time.
The lentils in the soup are bolstered by chicken stock and turkey sausage. To make it filling I used carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, green onions, jalapeño, leaf lettuce, and parsley. The jalapeño kind of took over the flavor but John likes spicy stuff so it worked out.
Colorful and healthful lentil soup with turkey sausage
If you are trying to lose weight while vacationing, you probably should not be vacationing. What I always aim for is to try not to gain weight. This goal is doable if you are aware of what your choices will be ahead of time and make the best choice. These days we have an advantage since most menus are on line. You will still get sabotaged sometimes but you will not be total undermined.
I have lost 27 pounds since I started on my weight loss campaign in mid-September. During that time I have been on a two week cruise, had my sister come for a week’s visit, spent five days with my best friend in San Antonio, and celebrated Christmas and my birthday. So I am pretty pleased with myself.
John and I are on a little road trip currently. Here are a couple of good choices I have made.
A bowl of chicken pho. I found a Vietnamese restaurant in Albany, OR on Yelp while riding along in the car.
Seafood is usually a good choice. All I had to do is not eat all of the giant pile of rice! (And try to avoid the sauce)
Granted this is a fried dish but it is lightly breaded razor clams, a delicacy that you can only get during their short season. Also green beans, and the potatoes that I only ate part of.
Friday was my last cooked meal for the week. On Saturday we are going out to dinner to celebrate our son’s birthday and on Sunday is our usual, “breakfast for dinner.” Next week John and I are going on a little road trip up to the Pacific Northwest—Portland, Oregon to be exact. I will try to post a couple of dinners. I am hoping for razor clams!
But back to Friday and we had some sautéed shrimp, rice, and broccoli. I made the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a pinch of sugar concoction that I made for the bok choy a week or so ago. It went well with the rice and broccoli and even the shrimp!
Shrimp, rice, and broccoli with an oyster/soy sauce
Chicken cacciatore means chicken “hunter style.” The chicken is usually braised with onions, herbs, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The other day I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco so the chicken part was already cooked and we just heated it up in the oven slowly so it would not dry out. While that was going on I made the “hunter” sauce. Because I wanted to make the dish more filling i.e., more vegetables, less meat, I used pearl onions (frozen), peppedew peppers, garlic, fennel, bell pepper, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, fresh oregano, and chicken stock. The whole thing bubbled together for about fifteen minutes. I served this with a little rice and the warmed chicken breast. Even though I pared down the calories, it was still very good.
Note: Sometimes you can find peppedew peppers in a store’s salad bar. They add a sweet, pickled flavor to the dish.
Chicken cacciatore served over rice
Red lentils are quick to prepare and delicious to eat! After sautéing onions, garlic, and ginger you add spices and stock. Then you add the picked over and rinsed lentils. Bring the pot to a boil and in 15 minutes your dish is cooked. All that is left to do is to add lemon juice, correct the seasoning if needed, and serve with a dollop of yogurt. (Omit dairy yogurt for a vegan version.) We made some rice and a salad to go along but having pita with the lentils is good too and even less work!
Red lentils with rice and salad
What is that thing that looks like an ice cream sandwich doing on a plate with collard greens you might ask! The ice cream sandwich is a piece of Chilean sea bass sandwiched between coatings of mushroom duxelles. And it is delicious! John whizzed up some cremini mushrooms, carrot, onion, parsley, and breadcrumbs in the food processor to almost a paste and then cooked it to drive the excess water out. Next he divided the mushroom mixture into four portions and coated it on the top and bottom of two pieces of fish. This “insulation” keeps the fish from drying out during its bake in the oven.
My contribution to dinner was smaller. I chiffonaded some collard greens and quick sautéed them in olive oil with corn , garlic slices, a pinch of sugar, salt, and a splash of rice vinegar.
This was a terrific meal which was enhanced by a bottle of Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay—truly a Tuesday dinner worth remembering.
Insulated Chilean sea bass with collard greens and corn