Recipe: Asian Chicken Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing..And a Giveaway!!

Hi everyone!  I won’t regale you with tales of my convalescence and insane sickness that lasted for about five weeks and from which I am still recovering, but suffice it to say that not much good and healthy eating has gone on in Chez Weaver until recently.  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I get to pitch ideas for meals and then, if I’m chosen, get sent coupons or products to use in my recipes (both yay and yum).  When the option to create a salad for Fresh Express came up, I couldn’t resist!  Originally, it was part of a contest to get to attend the Foodbuzz Blogger Conference in San Francisco last week, but since I knew I wouldn’t be able to go, I took my time on getting the recipe together.

I’ve already disclosed it, but to be absolutely clear, I was compensated for this recipe in the form of free coupons for Fresh Express salad mixes, which I’ve used to make this creation, and which I intend to share with you!!

And now, I give to you:  Asian Chicken Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing!

Serves 6

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Ingredients:

Salad:

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The scallions were served on the side because one of my friends hates onions (Shannon, you’re such a hater;)).

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  • 3 Frozen Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, marinated for four hours (or overnight) in Japanese Ginger Dressing and Marinade, grilled and sliced

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Mouth watering yet?  And now, the piece de resistance….

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Dual Purpose Japanese Ginger Dressing and Marinade!

Adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes.com

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp honey

Mix the rice wine vingegar, soy sauce and honey; whisk well until honey dissolves.  Using a very fine grater or microplane, grate the garlic cloves, ginger, and onion into the vinegar mixture (the onion will turn into mostly water, but grating it prevents chunks in the dressing).  Drizzle the oils into the vinegar mix while whisking.  Ta-da!!!

I made a double batch and used half to marinate the chicken for four hours or so before grilling it.  It was so good.

The dressing will store well in the fridge for about a week.  I kept it in a smoothie shaker and shook it up before dressing additional salads.

Fresh Express, thank you for allowing me to share this recipe!

And the best part?  I’m giving away SIX coupons (good for one free bag of certain Fresh Express salad mixes) to one lucky reader…and you can get up to three chances to win!  Here’s how:

  1. Subscribe to my blog via email (just click the button to the right!) and leave me a comment when you’ve done so
  2. Subscribe to me in your Google Reader and leave me a comment letting me know that you’ve done so
  3. Link to this recipe on your own blog and leave me a comment with the link in it!

I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, November 15th.

Recipe: “No Food Waste” Vegetable Soup

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I’ll be the first to admit that I pretty much totally suck at food photos.  The other problem, however, is that this soup is not pretty.  No matter what cute bowl I put it in, it still looks drab and icky.  I absolutely promise you, though, that this is some of the BEST vegetable soup you’ll ever put in your face.

My version above isn’t vegetarian, but you could easily make it so by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock; mushroom stock would probably be awesome. 

makes various servings depending on the size of your crock pot

Ingredients

necessities:

  • 1 carton of chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used no-salt added)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

This is your soup base; after this, you can pretty much add whatever veggies you want; I’ve added just about everything to this soup at some time or another.  Here’s what’s in the above version:

  • 1 15 oz can french-style green beans (I used no-salt added)
  • 2 HUGE Vidalia onions, diced large
  • 1 8-oz bag frozen sweet peas
  • two chopped carrots
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil

Instructions

  1. Dump everything in crock pot
  2. Add enough water to cover
  3. Set crock pot on low
  4. Let go for 4 hours or so

All done!  I actually let mine go for about 8 hours (the time that I left for work until when Joey got home and set it on “warm” instead).  You can also do this in a regular pot…you’ll just need to simmer it all together for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  In the past, I’ve added zucchini, beans, okra, corn, ro-tel, salsa, potatoes, pasta, and a host of other veggies that showed up at the house.  It’s great for times when you’re afraid that your veggies are going to go bad in the fridge.  This pot made 11 1-pint servings.  I usually store them in old egg-drop soup containers, and I freeze half and put half in the fridge for lunch.  The frozen ones heat up just fine, and they’re great for days when you don’t feel like making lunch.  This week, on different days, I topped it with swiss cheese, feta cheese, and cheddar cheese.  Each added a different nuance, and was fantastic.  Want to bulk it up?  Add some rice or quinoa or shredded or diced chicken or beef!

Enjoy:)

Recipe: Summer Quinoa Salad

A little late, I know.  But here she goes!

Serves 1

  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared by package instructions
  • 1/4 slicing tomato, diced
  • 1/4 vidalia (or other sweet onion), diced
  • 1/4 an english cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 yellow (or red or orange) bell pepper, diced.
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Chill the quinoa after preparing; an hour or so in the fridge would probably do.  You could also make the quinoa the night before.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Eat up!

I probably wouldn’t use a green bell pepper in place of the red/yellow/orange…mild flavors are key here…the feta cheese should be the only strong flavor.  Feta and cucumber go particularly well together, so this was a winner in our house.  You could halve the serving and use it as a side dish, or you can do like I did and demolish the whole thing.

I’ve read lots of complaints that quinoa is too bland…I didn’t find it to be that way at all!  It is a mild flavor, but it’s a little nutty, a little like corn, and has a great texture…a perfect base for something like this!

I’f I’d had them, I would have added some chopped kalamata olives to give it a Greek feel, but it’s still awesome as-is.

Enjoy, peeps.

Simple Roasted Root Vegetables

Over the past 24 hours, we’ve gotten about 1 inch of snow and maybe another inch of ice.  It looks pretty, but it’s not so much…we did a six hour babysitting stint today, and ended up driving back after dark, so it was pretty scary.  And, in true Union County, NC form, they didn’t even brine the road the AIRPORT is on.  Anyway, on to better (meaning food-related) things..

I’ve had some turnips in the fridge since…well, Christmas.  I squeezed them a couple of days ago and they were still firm, so I decided that we should do some simple roasted Root Vegetables for easy meals.

First, I know Brussels Sprouts aren’t root vegetables, but it needed something green.

Ingredients:

  • 4 turnips
  • 5 carrots
  • 5 red potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 bags of frozen brussels sprouts

Instructions:

  • A couple of hours before cooking, thaw the brussels sprouts in a colander in the sink.  The colander will allow excess moisture from freezing to drain.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425*
  • Cut vegetables into medium-sized chunks (probably around the size of your thumb).  Leave the onion chunks together (rather than separating the layers)
  • spray a baking sheet (you may need two or three depending on the size)
  • lightly salt the veggies and spread out onto one layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but have some dark “roasted” spots.
  • Serve warm with whatever seasonings you’d like!

The first time I had them this week, I added ketchup.  For lunch today, I added a little garlic powder, onion powder, basil and oregano, salt and pepper, and some parmesan cheese.  Yum!

Enjoy, peeps!  We’re not going anywhere tomorrow; church is cancelled, so we’re spending the day in pjs:).

Pumpkin Pancakes: Perhaps the Most Perfect Breakfast Ever…

Yep, it looks kind of gross.  But, I promise you, if you’re looking for a healthy, filling, fiber-filled breakfast, this will definitely hit the spot!

Mel’s Easy Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup pancake mix (I used Wal-Mart generic light and fluffy…low fat and calorie)
  • 1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 packet of splenda
  • cinnamon
  • a splash of water

Mix together.  It will be thicker than a normal pancake.  Heat up your griddle and drop pancake-sized spoonfuls on it.  You’ll need to mash it down so it’s thin enough.  Cook like a normal pancake. 

I topped mine with sugar-free syrup and it was heavenly!  This morning, I added two egg whites to the mix and ended up with a GIGANTIC pancake…even more gigantic than the one above.

We made falafel again last night; this time, I used cornmeal instead of flour and just used cooking spray rather than pan-frying it in olive oil.  It definitely wasn’t as authentic, but it was still pretty good.  The leftovers were my lunch today, together with a simple salad with fat free Caeser Italian dressing. 

I’m totally falling in love with tahini; we bought some at the Teeter several months back and I’d been having trouble figuring out what to put it on.  I had some serious failures turning it into a salad dressing, so it sat in the fridge unloved for a while.  Since we’ve been doing falafel, I’ve discovered my love for the flavor nuances.  There will definitely be more tahini in my future!

My friend Katie is coming over tonight so we’re having veggie fajitas tonight.  Yumm!

And I made it to the gym yesterday.  Slowly, but surely, I’m getting back on the right track:)

Cream of Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

I finally actually cooked something tonight (It’s been a while, in case you couldn’t tell).  Last summer, Joey had six weeks of class where he had to go live at school during the week and was only home on the weekends.  It became a little tradition for us that I would make him a special “send-off” meal.  Tomorrow is his first day of French Class, and he’ll be at SouthEastern from Tuesday-Thursday for the next three weeks, so I decided to try something!

I started craving cream of broccoli soup at work today…dunno why, but I wanted some soooo bad.  We’ve had a head of broccoli sitting in the fridge for several days, so I knew that I needed to use it up.  I also had a head of cauliflower, so I figured I’d toss it in there too!

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Cream of Broccoli/Cauliflower Soup

  • 1/2 head broccoli diced, small, including stalks
  • 1/2 head cauliflower diced, small
  • 1 carton vegetable stock
  • water
  • 2 cups skim milk (or almond/rice/soy milk, whatever’s on hand)
  • 1 onion
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • Cornstarch and cold water

Toss the diced onion, broccoli, and cauliflower in a big pot.  Add veggie stock and enough water to cover.  Bring to a simmer and simmer until veggies are tender.  Transfer four or five ladelfuls into a blender and blend until smooth (remember to leave the hole at the top open so it doesn’t explode).  Add puree back to the soup and add milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  At this point, I used a potato masher and mashed the soup some more.  you don’t have to.  Then, I added four spoonfuls of cornstarch to about 6 oz of cold water and mixed it together and added to the soup to thicken.

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You’re seriously disrupting my zen moments in my window-fort, Mom.

And, on to soup-y goodness:

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We’ll probably have some birthday cake and low fat yogurt tonight before bed (sugar-free low fat birthday cake that my Mom made for Joey this weekend).

I’ll be tackling the clothes at the foot of the bed shortly…not sure about the papers from class.  Joey is stressing a little and I don’t know if causing a paper avalanche in the middle of the living room would really help.  Although, to be honest, I’m just so happy that I finally got off my ass and cooked something that the rest of my to-do list has become pretty incidental.

Frugal July Challenge Begins!

Thus far, our expenses top out at $20 for the Mexican takeout last night; it was unexpected, but since we didn’t need to do a huge grocery trip this week, that wasn’t too bad. I’ll be hitting the Wallyworld Wednesday to get some snacky stuff for my beach trip Thursday, so I’ll update then!