Monday, January 16, 2012

Ziploc Owns It and Trader Joe's Spices It Up

Two heck yeahs today.

First, thank you, Ziploc, for making something so totally awesome that simplifies my life and helps my diet.

So far I have only used these for cooking chicken breasts but I have heard they are great for cooking vegetables, too. For the past week I have gotten to work, thrown one of these bags containing a frozen chicken breast into the microwave for 5 minutes, and had some awesome protein for breakfast. I am finding that having a protein packed breakfast really starts my day off right. Anyway, these are amazing bags and have definitely earned a place on my permanent shopping list.

Another heck yeah is this Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.

I sprinkle some of this into the aforementioned bags with chicken and it flavors the chicken so much! I have yet to try it on scrambled eggs but I am looking forward to it. I think it has superceded my previous favorite (a Cajun Creole mix that's also good).

You have got to go try these items. They will change your life!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Thai Chicken Curry with Cauliflower

I made this Weight Watchers recipe a week or so ago and liked it but wanted to figure out how to make it slightly better. Whenever I've had red or green curry in a Thai restaurant it was soupier than the original recipe. I definitely wanted to replicate that as well as add more vegetables. So, I did! Here's the original recipe, courtesy of Weight Watchers:

3/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken thigh(s), boneless, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp canola oil
1 item(s) (medium) uncooked bell pepper(s), yellow, seeded and thinly sliced
6 medium uncooked scallion(s), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 tsp thai curry paste, red variety
2 tsp sugar
14 fl oz light coconut milk
12 oz uncooked cauliflower, florets only
6 oz shredded carrot(s)
1/2 cup(s) basil, fresh purple or green leaves

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt. Heat 1⁄2 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon oil to the same skillet, then add the bell pepper and scallions. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the scallions turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir in the coconut milk, cauliflower, and carrots; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.

Return the chicken to the skillet and heat through, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Yields 1 1/2 cups per serving.

OK, on to the photos!

First, get the mise en place set up so when it's go time you don't have to worry about measuring. My additions to the recipe are green beans, bamboo shoots, chicken broth, fish sauce, and I used broccoli slaw this time instead of shredded carrots simply because that's what I had on hand. Also, I used a different color pepper but it was still a sweet one. Finally, I omitted the table salt.

After setting all of that up, I figured I earned a drink. What? It was Saturday night!

Go time. Sauté the chicken thighs.

After they're sautéed, let them hang out for a bit.

Sauté the peppers, green beans, and onions.

After a few minutes add red curry paste according to your taste. I used two of these dollops but probably could have used one more.

Gimme some sugar!

Stir constantly for about a minute and then add the liquids: light coconut milk, 3/4 c. chicken broth, and a tablespoon of fish sauce.

Let it come to a boil then add the cauliflower, broccoli slaw, and can of bamboo shoots.

The smell at this point is utterly amazing.

Put a bird lid on it and let it simmer for about 5 or so minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

Finally, add the chicken and stir in the basil.

Now ... eat! 1 1/2 cups is a great portion. I added 3/4 cup of brown rice and it was so filling and delicious. This scratches the Thai food itch that I get quite frequently and I love that I can eat Thai food without guilt!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Trader Joe's Finds

One meh, one yeah!

First, the meh:

Freeze Dried Raspberries.
They are very, very tart. They also are very seedy. Honestly, even though the bag is one serving and I was kind of snacking on them all afternoon at work I couldn't finish the bag. Between the extreme tartness (and I usually like tart!) and the excessive seeds there was no way this was a pleasant experience, unfortunately. They are 3 Points Plus for the whole bag.

Now, the yeah:

These fiber bars are kind of like Fiber One's Oats and Chocolate bar only better. Less calories, and actually more chocolate-y. And more peanut butter-y. This was a win-win here. Instead of practically inhaling it like I sometimes want to do with Fiber One bars I savored it. It was really rich and pretty dense so well worth taking my time with it. I actually put it down halfway through eating it. I LOVED it and hope Trader Joe's keeps them around for a long, long time. These bars are 3 Points Plus each and well worth it. (Fiber One Oats & Chocolate is now 4 Points Plus each.)


By the way, HI! :D I am cooking a bit more but my kitchen is small and not very maneuverable. I am doing Weight Watchers again but for real this time. I'm really interested in reviewing food that's WW friendly. It could be a warning or recommendation to others. And you all know I've got an opinion!

I will do other recipes as well. Tomorrow I'm going to cook a WW recipe that I'm going to modify a bit because while it was good when I first made it I think I have a way to make it KICK BUTT. And life is too short to eat things that don't kick butt!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


What has happened in the past year?

My cousins and I have opened a nice restaurant in Seattle. It opened January 3, 2011. I stuck with it until August when I decided that the restaurant business isn't really for me at this time due to my family situation. I went back to insurance and have been trying to get into a routine. That said, I fully plan on making this blog active again.

Tomorrow I am going to my parents' house and will be brining chickens and putting them on the grill. We used to do this over a year ago and they came out so awesome. I'm going to do it again and I'll bring my camera to document the process.

In the meantime, this was how I spent a lot of the summer:

Not bad, right? Chateau Bas rosé is delicious. And, yes, that's the patio of our restaurant.

I learned a lot about wine over the past year and I anticipate writing more about it here in the future.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wine Pairings

Today I am working on wine pairings for my cousin's menu. I know wine...but the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know much about it!

I have got one pairing down. I need to do two more. I wish I could sneak my camera into the event tonight to show photos. I may be able to sneak some cell phone photos, though!