Week 28: Southern comfort

It feels good to put that headline up. I’m so glad to be back in the kitchen. When last we cooked, we were enjoying dishes from Thailand, but for Week 28, it’s back to the States for some healthy Southern fare.

It’s a cuisine familiar to Chef Brian who worked for some time at the (now closed) second coming of Commander’s Palace, a Vegas version of New Orleans joint that’s been around since 1880 (Emeril cooked there too says the Wiki machine–bam!).

“I love me some Southern food,” Chef Brian wrote when he sent over the recipes. “I probably put on about 15 pounds working at Commander’s Palace because I ate so much there.”

He said he wanted to put a healthy twist on some of his favorites. Here’s what’s cooking:

Week 28, Meal 1: Blackened chicken over black eyed peas, kale and ham hock

Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits

Week 28, Meal 3: Shrimp gumbo

Each recipe makes two servings unless otherwise specified (like with the gumbo, which makes four). To the list!

Week 28, Meal 1: Blackened chicken over black eyed peas, kale and ham hock

Chicken
2 6 oz. chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
Cooking spray, as needed

Ham, beans and kale
1 smoked ham hock
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 bunch black, lacinto, or dino kale, stemmed and 1/4 inch sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Tomato salsa
1 ear corn, husked
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t cumin
1/2 T olive oil

Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits (Chef Brian worked it to 460 calories per serving)

Shrimp
12 oz. shrimp, shells on (size 16-20 or similar)
1/4 t black peppercorns
1/4 t celery seed
1 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t paprika
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 lemon
2 cups water
1 thick slice bacon (2 oz.), chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 1/2 t flour
1 roma tomato, seeded and small diced
1 T chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Grits
1 c low fat milk
1 c water
2/3 c stone ground grits
1 t salt and 1/ 2 t pepper, plus more to taste

Week 28, Meal 3: Shrimp gumbo (Serves 4)

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 T flour
1/2 yellow onion, small diced
2 stalk celery, small diced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t combined dried oregano, dried basil, and dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups cold water
4 oz. link andouille sausage. medium diced,  See if you can find chicken or turkey andouille. It’ll have the same seasonings but less calories.
2 pieces okra, sliced thin, tops removed
12 oz. shrimp, 26-30 size or similar, peeled and deveined.
salt and pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste

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