Sous vide chicken with vegetables. 1/19/21

Sous vide chicken breast with chicken mushroom gravy, Brussels sprouts, and green beans with shallots and mushrooms

A little different spin on our classic chicken dinner tonight. Instead of having a protein, a vegetable, and a starch, we opted for two vegetables with our sous vide chicken breast. Not to boast, but the Brussels sprouts were the real ace of the dinner. But it was all good. If your are looking to lose weight or up your vegetable ante, try making two vegetables instead of that higher calorie, carbohydrate laden starch. I admit to preparing a larger amount of vegetable so we would be filled up. if you are satisfied with protein and vegetables this is the dinner for you!

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Chana dal, mixed greens, rice. 1/18/21

Chana dal (split chickpeas) with a combination of mustard, collard, and kale greens on a bed of white rice and cauliflower rice

Chana dal is a stew of spices, tomatoes, and split chickpeas that we make frequently in our Instant Pot. I posted the recipe in December for the way we make it. We served the Chana dal with a mix of hearty greens that come in a pre-washed combo pack. Rice, pita, or some other Indian bread are the usual accompaniments. For my plateful I used a combination of cauliflower rice and white rice. It is good for soaking up lots of the broth. I also gave my dish a squirt of sriracha for a little more spiciness. As usual this stew came out very yummy and no doubt you will be seeing it again sometime in February.

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BFD, Egg, kale, and refried beans tostada. 1/17/21

Corn tortilla with refried beans, scrambled egg, wilted greens, salsa, and cherry tomatoes

Sunday’s Breakfast For Dinner was so enjoyable that after I cleaned my plate for the first time, I retooled and made a second tostada. I really enjoyed the contrasting flavors, spiciness from the salsa, bitterness from the wilted greens, and psuedo fatiness from the eggs and refried beans. I am definitely a fan of non-fat refried beans! My dinner also had variation in texture, temperature, and color.

John, who does not need as much excitement in food as I do, made his usual perfect omelet with ham, mushrooms, onions, and cheese.

When you cannot think of what to make for dinner, think eggs! They are so versatile!

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Weekly Menu. January 18 – January 24, 2021

I would say that this coming week could be called a Classics Week what with classic chicken dinner, pan-roasted salmon, and beef/mushroom Bourguignon. But it is also a little French with the aforementioned Bourguignon and also a salade Niçoise on Saturday. Plus there’s an Indian dish, Chana dal, on meatless Monday. Enjoy!

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LFD – Pasta with mixed greens. 1/16/21

Saturday’s LFD (Leftovers For Dinner) consisted of leftover pantry and refrigerator items. We used the other half of a box of orecchiette and part of a bag of mixed greens. I was really not sure how it was going to turn out because these greens were much more bitter and tougher than the ones I have used before. Sadly we were out of mushrooms so the greens were going to have to be the star with only onions in the supporting cast. Then I decided to cut up a couple of ounces of leftover turkey sausage and those little pieces of sausage really made a difference.

Orecchiette with mixed greens, onion, and turkey sausage

Since John was nom-nomming as he was eating, I could tell that our thrown together pasta dish was a hit. We used a little olive oil and pasta water to make the liquid part of the sauce (don’t forget to finish your pasta in your sauce!) and a sprinkling of Reggiano-Parmigiano and our best olive oil to gild the top of our dish.

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Sheet pan turkey sausage with vegetables. 1/15/21

Sheet pan turkey sausage with onions, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts

What could be easier than a sheet pan dinner!? John and I pre-heated the oven with the sheet pan in it to 450F. After shaking the vegetables with olive oil and salt in a plastic bag, we dumped and spread them out on the hot sheet pan. After 15 minutes, we added the turkey sausage which was already pre-cooked and just needed heating through. In another 10 minutes everything was done. Clean-up consisted of balling up the aluminum foil covering the sheet pan and throwing it away.

Roasting meat and vegetables is a great way to impart lots of flavor with minimal fuss. I am trying to think up other dinners to make like this!

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Mushroom Bourguignon, mashed potatoes, mixed veg. 1/14/21

Mushroom Bourguignon over mashed potatoes with mixed vegetables

Mushroom Bourguignon is a NYTimes Cooking site recipe. If you have a NYTimes Cooking subscription you can access it. Sometimes people post a recipe from the site on the internet so if you are interested in it and do not have a subscription you might try googling it.

This recipe has a lot of steps and ingredients. Since we did not want to spend hours making this, we opted for pre-sliced mushrooms and frozen pearl onions. I think fresh pearl onions would definitely improve the dish but they are a pain to peel.

Our version of Mushroom Bourguignon included less fat but it still came out great. The sauce was thick, dark, and tasty. We added a drop or two of red wine vinegar at the end to up the acid content. Having mashed potatoes is always a treat and they went perfectly with the mushrooms in their sauce. As far as the other vegetables are concerned I just cobbled three odds and ends and sautéed them to give color to the plate.

I think this recipe would be great with beef as well. I am thinking of getting some quick cooking tender beef and adding it to our leftovers for LFD (Leftovers For Dinner) on Saturday.

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Vietnamese sour soup with shrimp. 1/13/21

Before COVID John and I used to do quite a bit of traveling and in November, 2019 we took a trip to Southeast Asia. We started a cruise in Hong Kong and made our way down Vietnam, then to Cambodia, and ended up in Thailand. One of the things we signed up for was a cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City. The chef in Vietnam took us to the Ben Thanh market and discussed ingredients and then we went back to the Saigon Cooking School and made a three course meal. Here are some pictures.

Our chef discussing different vegetables at the Ben Thanh market

The seafood section

Spices and coffee galore

At the Saigon Cooking School we each had a super hot and scary propane cook top and sharp knives. We needed to watch the chef and try to duplicate what she was doing. Most of us had trouble just turning on the cooktop. My towel caught on fire!

Chef cooking Sour Soup with Prawn with a student (not me) watching

What the soup looked like when we made it in Vietnam

Here at home our ingredients are not quite the same. After our okra slimed out yesterday we decided to use use what we had in the refrigerator which was some broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, and cilantro. Although John is skeptical about the non-traditional ingredients, the soup turned out great! The tart flavor of the tamarind coupled with fish sauce and brown sugar gave an authentic taste to everything. I think I would put more shrimp in it next time. I posted the original recipe from the Saigon Cooking School the first time we tried to make it at home.

This is the third time making the soup and it came out the best so far. I think we are figuring out the ratios of what tastes we like best.

Our homemade Vietnamese sour soup with shrimp

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What I eat for breakfast. 1/12/21

We were supposed to make Vietnamese sweet and sour soup for dinner on Wednesday but discovered that the okra had turned entirely into slime and had to make an alternative plan for dinner. This plan was more like the old me. We ended up eating popcorn, tater tots, and potstickers.

So while I am a primo dieter most of the time, I do have my moments of unrestricted glee. But it is back on the straight and narrow today and I have started out with a hardy, nutritious breakfast. Yes, of course, I thought about eating nothing all day to make amends but that is just dumb. I would have ended up being hungry and tempted by more gleeful food.

This is the kind of breakfast I eat most days. It consists of an egg or eggs and toast. I find the eggs keep me satisfied until lunch time. Other breakfasts I eat are plain non-fat Greek yogurt and blueberries over some cereal or oatmeal with fruit. I know it is all the rage to be fasting through breakfast but missing a meal does not appeal to me at all. I have lost over 60 lbs. eating three meals plus some snacks every day.

Scrambled eggs on half a pita with kale

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Chilean sea bass, new potatoes, asparagus. 1/11/21

Oven roasted Chilean sea bass, steamed new potatoes, and asparagus

What can I tell you about this dinner other than it is quick, easy, and delicious! We get frozen individually wrapped portions of Chilean sea bass at Costco so the fish is not quite so expensive but is excellent quality. These 5.5 oz. portions were expertly roasted by John in a 400F oven for 14 minutes. Perfection!

My contribution in addition to steaming both the potatoes and the asparagus (notice the stem end is peeled) was a butter, lemon, tarragon sauce. Now that I have finished the losing portion of my diet, I think I can add a few extras. I melted a tablespoon of butter and cooked it very slowly with chopped tarragon, garlic, and fresh lemon juice. I gave the lion’s share to John but the spoonful that I had was really nice with everything on the plate.

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