Tag Archives: Red onion

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 2—Rice bowl with braised chicken and pickled red onion

mexican_ricebowl

My main problem with restaurant rice bowls is the amount of rice they use. I’ve flipped out a rice bowl from Flame Broiler before and counted full 2 cups of rice. That’s 400 calories of non-nutritious filler before you even get to the stuff on top.

A better serving of rice is 1/2 cup, which will leave you with enough grains to feel substantial without drowning the dish in carbs. With less rice in the mix, you can fill up the bowl with better ingredients including lean meats and veggies. Brown rice would be best, but I’m still working on giving up white rice and pasta, which is hard for me anyway, because I don’t eat much of either so I think

Here’s a recipe that will leave you with four rice bowls:

Make the rice, Chef Brian’s version: Saute 1/2 onion, small diced, adding 1/2 t ground cumin and 1/2 t ground coriander. Add 1 cup of rice and mix well. Use a ratio of just under 2 cups of liquid (chicken stock or water), subbing in 2/3 cup of the amount of water with tomato sauce–preferably El Pato brand, which has some good spice to it. Throw some frozen peas and carrots in too if you’d like.

Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, pickle the onion: Slice 1/2 red onion into thin slices and coat with a healthy pinch of salt and the juice of 3/4 of a lime. Give it a few stirs within the 20 minutes the rice cooks and by the time that’s ready, so will the onions.

Prepare the chicken (recipe here): Instead of shredding the chicken as we did for tostadas, cut the meat into larger chunks. Use 1/2 chicken breast for every serving–2 breasts total. Warm the chicken in a pan with a little cooking spray, 1 can of black beans, drained, and 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels.

Assemble the bowl: When the mix is warm, add it to the rice and scoop into bowls for serving. Garnish with the pickled onion, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, cilantro and a squirt of lime from the remaining 1/4 you saved.

Up next: Poached shrimp with cotija-lime corn!

I had a mental breakdown while making coconut-crusted chicken

fatdude_coconutchicken_1

I’ve been trying to cook every meal at home since the new year began. I’ll delve deeper into that on Saturday when I post the first weigh-in of 2013, but, to get to the point, I’ve had all but three meals out (one breakfast and two lunches) in the last 10 days.

It wasn’t a resolution necessarily, but a goal I’ve had for a long time. For some reason, this time, it’s finally starting to click.

The idea for “coconut crusted chicken” popped into my head a couple of nights ago. I found a link to “Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders” from the Can You Stay For Dinner blog. I went looking for chicken and left with a whole new outlook on weight loss.

The blog is written by Andie Mitchell, a 27-year-old who lost 135 lbs. by cooking and exercise. Her honesty is encouraging, and seeing that she lost so much weight without any gimmicks is inspiring. She writes about taking it one day at a time, one choice at a time, and that truly is the right mindset to make it happen.

So, back to the chicken.

I wasn’t so much looking for an exact recipe as I was just to see how someone else did it without messing it up. I planned to de-bone the chicken thighs I had cut down earlier in the week, but they were still slightly frozen by the time I arrived home. It was a pain to get the bones out and more then a few times I wanted to call it quits.

Because I wanted to add more coconut flavor, I soaked the meat in coconut milk while it came to room temperature (better for cooking evenly). Then came the batter station:

fatdude_coconutchicken_2

Drain the excess coconut milk from the chicken, drop it in flour, then in egg, and finally into the coconut/panko mix. Pan fry for 3 minutes per side and bake on 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

I’m terrible with batters, especially using wet and dry hands. I’m always running back and forth from the sink. That, paired with the hunger of having to stop at the grocery store for a couple of ingredients, then waiting to marinate, AND THEN  … AND THEN!!! … fighting with monster batter hands. I had enough.

There were obscenities, more obscenities, and this: “I don’t want to BLEEPIN’ cook, I’m over this, let’s just go out already!”

I slumped against the kitchen cabinets and slid all the way to the ground in protest.

“Screw you coconut chicken.”

Nadia, who was napping before dinner, woke up, came to the kitchen and calmed me down. She said she’d help with the batter and we pushed through. The chicken was done and in the oven before I knew it. The slaw– 2 cups of shredded cabbage and 1/4 thin-sliced red onion soaked in lime juice with salt plus cubed pineapple and scallion–took about as much time to assemble as it did for the chicken to bake and then rest.

We almost went out. Because I almost gave up. It wouldn’t have been worth it, and nothing could have been better that night than the coconut-crusted chicken WE worked together to make.

There are going to be nights where I don’t want to cook, but, if I truly want to control what’s going into my body, I’m the one who has to take control.

I’m the one behind this wheel.

Now, on to the next one.

Mission Impossible: Tracking down elusive Dutch Crunch bread

I’ve had a bad craving for a sandwich on Dutch Crunch bread ever since I received the Bouchon Bakery book for my birthday. Thomas Keller (not the only chef I read, but seemingly the only chef I talk about) just released the beautiful tome dedicated to all things baking last month and it’s a truly stellar collection with step-by-step photos to guide the baking newbies (myself included).

His recipe for roast beef on Dutch Crunch caught my eye, and I’m not much of a bread baker … YET. But I must have caught the world in a Dutch Crunch deficit, because the bread was super hard for me to find. I looked in OC, and even in NorCal when I was up there last week. Couldn’t find it here, and up there one place was seriously sold out. I found some finally at Zonotto’s in San Jose. I bought a small loaf, brought it in my luggage … and finally, SANDWICH BLISS.

I split the bread with the wife to cut the calories in half and dressed it up as best I could while keeping calories in mind: 3 oz. each of angus roast beef (sliced at the deli counter), 1 slice provolone cheese, 1/3 roma tomato, mixed greens, thin-sliced red onions, a smear of yellow mustard on the top and the bottom and a dash of salt and pepper to finish.

Each half was 370 calories. You can cut another 50 calories per side by using half a slice of cheese instead of a full one. And even if you don’t like red onion, don’t skip it here. The acidic bite it provides works well with the mustard and accentuates the flavor of the lean beef.

Week 24, Meal 3: Veggie pizza sangwich

Right behind sandwiches on my list of favorite foods is another carb-o-fave-o: the pizza pie.

The final meal of Week 24 reminds me more of pizza than a sandwich because of it’s sweet red sauce, gobs of creamy cheese and a thick layer of delicious toppings.

Here’s Week 24, Meal 3: Grilled vegetable panini with ricotta and roasted bell pepper puree. It’s doesn’t exactly fill the same void a nice slab of pizza would, but it’s a worthy substitute for the most part. Continue reading Week 24, Meal 3: Veggie pizza sangwich

Week 24: Sandwitches

Chef Brian’s a good thinker-aheader.

He knew that I was ready to get back in the kitchen and thoughtfully put together an easy-to-make spread of one of my favorite foods: the noble sandwich.

Two of the meals are really quick to make and the finale to the menu isn’t bad either. Three cheers for an easy week in the kitchen. Here’s the menu:

Week 24, Meal 1: Prosciutto and goat cheese sandwich with fennel-apple slaw

Week 24, Meal 2: Roasted turkey with gruyere and cornichons

Week 24, Meal 3: Grilled vegetable panini with ricotta and roasted bell pepper puree

Each recipe makes two servings. Continue reading for the shopping list.

Continue reading Week 24: Sandwitches

Week 17, Meal 3: Western slice

If I’m ordering pizza, chances are it’s not going to be BBQ chicken pizza.

It’s nothing against BBQ chicken, it’s just that Canadian bacon tastes better.

But for one night only, I indulged in Chef Brian’s Week 17, Meal 3: BBQ chicken pizza, made with the leftover no-sugar, no-fat BBQ sauce from a few weeks back.

What a tasty way to put the leftovers to good use. Continue reading Week 17, Meal 3: Western slice

Week 7, Meal 3: Lamb burger with grilled red onion, feta, bell pepper yogurt, tomato and greens

Everything I would need to say about Week 7, Meal 3: Lamb burger with grilled red onion, feta, bell pepper yogurt, tomato and greens is in that picture.

So, instead of rambling on, I’m just going to give you the jump. Continue reading Week 7, Meal 3: Lamb burger with grilled red onion, feta, bell pepper yogurt, tomato and greens

Week 7, Meal 2: Turkey burger with balsamic red onion, basil yogurt, tomato and greens

I got sucker punched by a freakin’ turkey burger last night.

But this wasn’t the same ol’ onions, lettuce and tomato with mustard turkey burger that I’ve wolfed down on other weight loss attempts. This was Week 7, Meal 2: Turkey burger with balsamic red onion, basil yogurt, tomato and greens.

It’s a high-flavor take on the oft-overlooked turkey burg, which combines sweet and sour onions with a lemon-y basil yogurt. Dare I say it was as good, if not better than the previous night’s beef burger with bacon and egg? Continue reading Week 7, Meal 2: Turkey burger with balsamic red onion, basil yogurt, tomato and greens

Week 6, Meal 2: Red chicken enchiladas with queso fresco and pickled red onion

It’s funny how authentic Mexican food contains very little soupy sauce or loads of cheese.

Take Week 6, Meal 2: Red chicken enchiladas with queso fresco and pickled red onion for example. These are hearty enchiladas, complete with tons of smoky red sauce and a smattering of cheese crumbles — a far cry from the calorie-laden enchies at El Torito, Cafe Rio, etc.

Try these when you’ve got the craving for great Mex, without all the fat. Continue reading Week 6, Meal 2: Red chicken enchiladas with queso fresco and pickled red onion

Week 5, Meal 3: Grilled kalbi short ribs over Thai mango and peanut slaw

Though I’m partial to BBQ of the American variety, I’m not going to gripe about grilled short ribs marinated in soy sauce and sriracha one bit.

Though Week 5, Meal 3: Grilled kalbi short ribs over Thai mango and peanut slaw was an enduring run through my still-being-polished knife skills, the end result was worth all the slicing, chopping and julienne-ing (not a real word) that I put into it. Continue reading Week 5, Meal 3: Grilled kalbi short ribs over Thai mango and peanut slaw

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