Tag Archives: Asian Foods

What’s For Dinner?

*** I’ve been thinking alot about what each dish I serve costs us per serving.  I’ve re-reading, again, alot of my older posts.  This particular one is from February 2, 2013 — WOW!  Over SEVEN years ago!  What I’ve done here, again, is to add the cost of items and then the total per serving in RED. ***

 

How often in your lifetime have you heard that question? DH has been watching very carefully what he’s been eating, I think I said that already, but it bears repeating. I not only plan and cook meals that are low in calories, but shop for them too. My method is to seek and conquer. I go to 4 different places to do my food shopping and it’s a blast! Since I’m retired, I have all the time in the world to just meander through and see what I see. It’s kind of like being on a scavenger hunt in a way. What to make, what to make?

Last week I was in Wal-Mart and normally I don’t buy produce there, I go to a green grocery down the road a piece more. This Wal-Mart Super Store is set up so that as you come in the half of the building with the food goods, you have to go past the fruits and vegetables. At the end of the aisle, for some odd reason, something caught my eye, Broccoli Slaw in a bag.

 

It’s just julienne broccoli stems, carrots and some cabbage. HHMMMM! That would make a great stir fry, DING DING DING, did you hear that? As I sat down to share this idea with the class and was perusing the Internet, I found several brands that put out this same thing, why have I never seen this before. Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp, Tofu, leftover whatever anything will make for a scrumptious stir fry.  When I told my husband how many calories were on his plate, he didn’t believe me; I didn’t give him any noodles.  This was my plate.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken-Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, sliced into thin strips   $2.99/lb — I used about 1/2 pound so $1.50

1 tsp. Cornstarch

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (we’ve talk about this, look for Aloha Shoyu)

1 tsp Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame oil    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Combine all of the above in a bowl and set aside for about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix:

1/2 C. Chicken broth    Approx. 38¢

2Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1tsp. Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

1/2 tsp Corn starch

Mince up 2 Garlic cloves and 1Tbsp. fresh Ginger    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Set aside 1 bag of Broccoli Slaw    $1.99

____________________________________________________________________________________

Total $4.87 ÷ 2 servings (not including any starch) = $2.43/plate

 

Over medium-high, heat a non-stick skillet with a scant tablespoon of canola oil. Toss in the marinated chicken and spread it out in a single layer in the pan, now, DON’T TOUCH IT!   Once the edges of the chicken starts to turn white, give a good stir with a wooden spoon (you don’t want to scratch that non-stick pan, do you?). When the chicken is almost done (and nicely caramelized), clear a small spot in the pan and add a little oil to heat and add the garlic and ginger; once you can smell it, stir everything up again. Dump in the entire bag of slaw, toss that around, just for a minute. Add the broth mixture, it’ll bubble and thicken up; stir everything together and serve. In our house we have this with either steamed white rice or Asian noodles.

Add or delete what you and your family like. Try some more veg in there like onions or peppers, mushrooms; make that protein stretch farther.  I was going for an easy dinner and really, all I did was cut up the chicken, garlic and ginger.  How much easier could a fresh, home cooked meal be?

Remember, a recipe is just someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.

Chicken Parm, My Way

Yes, I did say that we are back on our diet again and that this past Saturday was our last ‘free meal’. I wanted to share with you one of the dishes that we had as a leftover on our mixed plate that night.

Chicken Parmesan, sounds pretty pedestrian right? But I make mine a little differently. I am not  a fan of breaded foods once they get soggy. The way that most folks do their Parm dishes, with the three stage breading on the protein, be it chicken, veal, pork, what have you. That breadcrumb coating that has been shallow fried to a golden brown crispy deliciousness … I think that should not be destroyed in a sauce.

Chicken Katsu, my quick Cucumber Kim Chee and steamed white rice with Furikake and Soy Sauce

Chicken Katsu, Quick Cucumber Kim Chee and steamed White Rice topped with Furikake and Soy Sauce

That’s why we have Katsu-style chicken at our house. Bread the protein in Panko for a nice, light, crisp exterior. NO SAUCE, just a dipping sauce on the side.

For my Chicken Parm, I take boneless-skinless chicken thighs (of course you can use breasts, but we like dark meat) and pat it dry with paper towels.

Place the meat between plastic wrap or a plastic bag does well too. Take whatever means of flattening tool you wish, a pan, a mallet … me, I use my French rolling pin and pound the meat out to about a half inch thick, evenly. Set them aside on a plate (I use paper plates for chicken-yuckies then just toss them).

On another paper plate, shake out some all purpose flour or Wondra, not much, maybe a couple of tablespoons full for each cutlet; dredge each piece of chicken lightly and set aside on that paper plate.

In a good sized fry pan, (one that will be big enough to fit all of the culets you’re making) heat up some oil, vegetable, canola, safflower, whatever neutral oil you have on hand, over a medium to medium-high flame. You’ll know when the oil is hot enough, when you stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and little bubbles come up.

Slide your meat into the oil carefully, and cook until GBD (golden brown and delicious) and the meat registers 165⁰ on an instant-read therometer; set aside one a plate lined with paper towels to drain. In the mean time, pour off your oil (I save my coffee cans for this, never put oil down the drain) and wipe the pan out with more paper towels.

Love this stuff for a quick pasta dish

Love this stuff for a quick pasta dish

Heat whatever marinara you like in the pan.

Put the chicken back into the pan and cover each piece slightly with some sauce. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese over each piece, being careful that it’s ONLY on the meat. Cover the pan and allow the cheese to melt. Now, if you want the cheese to brown, instead of covering the pan put it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Chicken Parm My Way served with Rigatoni

Chicken Parm My Way served with Rigatoni topped with more cheese and torn Italian Parsley

Serve warm with your favorite sides; pasta, bread, salad, or all of the above.

Mangiamo!

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

We are still on our “nothing white” diet, I mean new way of looking at food, and I am finding it harder and harder to come up with tasty meals. Even though my DH says that he doesn’t care for Mexican food, he likes what I put on the table. I may have made mention earlier about New Mexico food, a different take and very good too. I was at my favorite green grocer, who also has a meat & fish counter, and I was just walking by with no intention of buying meats here. When something caught my eye, Carne Asada. YUM! On the grill, I’m thinking, no, we can’t have our preferred flour tortilla, what about as an Asian-inspired dish?

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

So last night, I got the gas grill going, charred some sweet red bell peppers and onions, set those aside. Next the meat, I charred that on high heat to keep it tender.

Earlier in the afternoon, I washed some red leaf lettuce (that’s all I could find) and set them in the ‘fridge wrapped in a clean tea towel.

Time for dinner.

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

In each leaf I spooned on a small amount of everything along with some salsa.

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

I made little bundles, like a burrito, securing them with a toothpick.

I held my breath as my husband took his first bite. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “it’s good. Real good. Where’d you find this?”

 

Favorite Dinner From Back Home

Back home in Hawaii, DH and I lived on the same property as my parents; I did a lot of the cooking for all of us. Once we all moved here to the middle of the desert, my mom decided that she wanted to have her own apartment. Mom now has to cook for herself, and it ain’t like my food, I’ll just say that! So when I invite mom up to our place for a meal with us, I make a point to make recipes that I’ve learned how to make from home.

Favorite Dinner From Back Home

This past Sunday we had mom over and I made Teriyaki chicken, my quick cucumber kim chee and marinated bean sprouts. My husband and I are back on our ‘no white foods’ diet, so that meant no steamed white rice for us, only mom.

Teri-chicken

I like to cut the chicken up and then garnish with more green onions and sesame seeds

My ono-licious (delicious in my world) teri-chicken was adapted from many recipes that I have found over the years.

½ C. low sodium Soy Sauce (you know I love Aloha brand)

¼ C. Vegetable oil

2 tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Garlic clove, smashed

1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger root, grated

1 tbsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. Mirin

2 Green Onions, minced

1 tsp. Sesame seeds

5 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs

Combine all the ingredients in a gallon-size zip top bag and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and refrigerate overnight, turning it over occasionally. Grill and EAT!!!

Bean Sprouts

The bean sprouts (Kong Namul) are a Korean dish that we would always have on our take-out plates in Hawaii. My sweet DH found this recipe for me in the newspaper. Before we left Hawaii, I made sure to collect what recipes I could. This is super easy, quick and makes a fantastic side dish with any BBQ meats. I’ve changed it ever so slightly for a milder vinegar bite.

½ lb. fresh Bean Sprouts (mung bean)

1 tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar

1 tsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. low sodium Soy Sauce (Ponzu would be nice too)

½ tsp. Sea Salt

2 Green Onions, minced

1/4 tsp. Sesame Seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss in the sprouts. Bring back up to a boil and cook about 1 minute, until they are crisp-tender but still pliable. Drain and rinse under cold running water. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients above until the sugar is dissolved; add in the sprouts and toss to combine with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

And we’ve talked about the quick cucumber kim chee before, it’s just so good! But, put all of these dishes together and you have a very typical meal back in Hawaii.  I asked my husband after we dropped mom off back at her place if he tought she enjoyed her evening and all he said was, “OH YEAH!”

ALOHA!

 

Real Quick Like, Okay?!

Busy, busy, busy today and not a lot of time on my hands. But I just had to share this with you; a friend of mine emailed this photo to me. At first I just chuckled to myself and then I started to think about it, Hey! Wouldn’t that be neat to try to make this?

sushi

The ‘Hello Kitty’ shape is Maki Sushi.  If you recall Maki Sushi For Dummies, Like Me ?  Same technique.  The Panda bears are another type of sushi, Musubi.  These guys don’t have any spam or hot dogs or any meat at all.  I have to share that with you another time.

Another Idea For Food As Gifts

This past Christmas, I made up a little something for both my mother and sister.  They both ask me over and over how I make my Quick Cucumber Kim Chee.  I have an old word processing program that has the cutest collection of recipe cards that you can make yourself.  So, I sat down and thought about it, printed out the cards and pulled down some of my empty spice jars.  My trusty label maker still worked, thank goodness.  And Bob’s your uncle, a nifty food gift.

food as gifts

You could make up a collection of different spices and rubs that you have in your own kitchen, and share them with someone else as a gift.  When we first moved to the middle of the desert, I went out to supply our new home.  I shared half of each jar of spice that I bought with my mom (she got me an entire case of spice jars 48 in all, when all I wanted was 12).

Repeat Of A Very Good Thing

I wanted to repost this about making my quick cucumber kim chee. As I was re-reading some of my past blogs, I noticed that I have more than one photo that includes this fast, easy and flavorful addition to just about any meal. If you are so inclined to make this side dish and you can’t find this product in your local ‘asian market’, try the hyperlink to Noh’s website and order it on line. If for some off chance you do not care for the kim chee, you can always create a unique gift for someone.

ALOHA!

My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert

I got a request today on the Cucumber Kim Chee, delish! And WAY easy to make.

I like Hot house or English Cucumbers, here in the middle of the desert, I can’t find Japanese Cucumbers. That varietal was developed by the University of Hawaii, and I highly doubt that I will ever find them here in AZ. No need to peel them, just a nice rinse under the tap.

I rough chop them into goodly bite-sized pieces, and plop them into a salad spinner. Take about 1-2 tablespoons of Sea Salt (or Kosher, whatever you have on hand), give them a mix around and leave them sit for 15 minutes. Rinse & drain well, that’s where the salad spinner comes in handy. In a non-reactive bowl (I use a glass one), dump in the cucs and hold your nose, this stuff will make you sneeze, cough, gasp. Sprinkle with some

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Looks Like Spring

As I went through the produce at the green grocer the other day, I saw asparagus, WHAT? Already? It seems a little early, but I’ll take it, I mean buy it.

Chinese style Chicken Asparagus

Chinese-style Chicken and Asparagus

 

3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces (or breast meat if you prefer)

An equal amount of Asparagus, cut into large bite size pieces

Garlic, sliced, as much or as little as you like

1 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, finely grated

Vegetable Oil

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. Mirin

1 tsp Sesame Oil

1 tsp Corn Starch

1-2 stalks Green Onion, sliced

 

Heat a large skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan; sauté the chicken until just done. Add the asparagus with just a little water into the pan. Cover and allow the veg to steam until crisp tender. Add in the garlic and ginger; cook for 30 seconds. In a small dish, mix together all of the liquids and whisk in the corn starch. Pour the mixture over the chicken & veg, once it comes to a bubble, add the green onions, reserving some of the onions to top your dish. Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, serve over steamed rice or noodles.

 

This recipe serves two very hunger adults.

This recipe can be adapted to any meat you prefer, as well as veggie.  If the snow peas look good that day at the market, go for it.

Remember that a recipe is just someone else’s idea, you take it and run with it.

ALOHA!

 

Maki Sushi For Dummies, Like ME!!

When we travel, I like to bring back very different things as souvenirs.

On our recent trip to Hawaii, I brought back a mold for Maki Sushi and powdered Sushi Seasoning mix. I had seen these the last time that we were back home, but passed it by at the time.

This morning I was clearing out the refrigerator and I was going to put a half of a pot of cooked white rice into the freezer. We eat steamed Calrose or sticky rice

(I think it’s a medium grain) with many of our meals.

DING! Why not try out my new toy?

Maki Sushi for Dummies

I heated the rice back up in the microwave and sprinkled some of the powdered Sushi Seasoning over it and gave it a mix. By using the powder instead of Seasoned Rice Vinegar, this keeps the Sushi Rice from getting too wet.

I had an English Cucumber that I julienned into lengths that were about the same as the sheets of Nori that I always have in the pantry.

Okay, let’s assemble.

sushi mold

sushi mold

The instructions on the back of the package of the Sushi press are in Japanese characters; fortunately, illustrations too, thank goodness.

This couldn’t be any easier.

sushi mold

The mold is a plastic sphere cut in two. I found after my first attempt that it was best to run the mold under water to insure non-stickage.

I just filled one half of the mold with the room temp rice, placed the sliced of veg on top.

sushi mold

 

I then put it into a third piece that has higher sides and fill to the top with more rice, pressing it down with moist fingers; with the other half of that spherical mold, press firmly.

Maki Sushi for Dummies 002

Lay a Nori Sheet, shiny side down, onto a piece of plastic wrap on the counter; unmold the now round rice-log out onto the edge of the sheet closest to you and roll the log up, like a cigar. I wet my finger again to moisten the farthest edge of the Nori so that it would adhere to itself.

Maki Sushi for Dummies

Slice and serve.

It’s probably at this point that you’re asking yourself, “Yeah, so what? Why didn’t she just use a sushi mat?”

I have tried for YEARS to roll Maki Sushi with horrible results. I’m not sure if it’s that I have such little hands; my husband teases me that our 13 year Niece is bigger than me. But, whatever the reason, I’ve tried and have found my solution.

I feel in the process, I’ve created a Sushi Monster. My husband wolfed down the two rolls that I finished and asked where the rest were. Well, that’s all the cooked rice that I had on hand, to which his retort was… PLEASE MAKE MORE!!

Maki Sushi for Dummies

A Quick Follow-Up

I got a request today on the Cucumber Kim Chee, delish! And WAY easy to make.

I like Hot house or English Cucumbers, here in the middle of the desert, I can’t find Japanese Cucumbers. That varietal was developed by the University of Hawaii, and I highly doubt that I will ever find them here in AZ. No need to peel them, just a nice rinse under the tap.

I rough chop them into goodly bite-sized pieces, and plop them into a salad spinner. Take about 1-2 tablespoons of Sea Salt (or Kosher, whatever you have on hand), give them a mix around and leave them sit for 15 minutes. Rinse & drain well, that’s where the salad spinner comes in handy. In a non-reactive bowl (I use a glass one), dump in the cucs and hold your nose, this stuff will make you sneeze, cough, gasp. Sprinkle with some Noh brand Kim Chee mix and stir; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Before serving, give it a stir again.

This is my last packette

This is my last packette

The Noh Kim Chee mix is very strong Korean chili pepper, use it sparingly to start, and then increase it to your liking. It can easily blow your head off, but in a good way.  I find this stuff, at least when we’re not in Hawaii, at Lee Lee International SuperMarket.