Tag Archives: Shallot

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 4—Chicken quesadilla with black beans and pickled red onion

mexican_quesadilla_1

If a quick meal is what you need, look no further than the versatile quesadilla. The quesadillas of my youth were nuked in the microwave and made with Mission flour rounds filled with a couple of Kraft singles. Not healthy and totally uninspired–a sad meal for my 10-year-old self.

My grown up tastes have led me to greener pastures, quesadilla-wise. I’ve found pure bliss in wonderfully-gooey Oaxaca cheese, salty cotija crumbles and the acerbic bite of pickled jalapenos.

To make the quesadilla at top, use 1 uncooked flour tortilla (about 140 calories; less fake/processed ingredients) and 1.5-2 oz. of Oaxaca (Mexican white) or cheddar cheese. The chicken from our chicken tostadas (recipe) makes a flavorful addition to the meal, and I always throw a handful of pickled jalapenos into the mix.

Click here to learn how our friend Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly cooks up a proper quesadilla.

I chose to add black beans (recipe) and pickled red onions (recipe) because extra ‘good stuff’ never hurt–especially the addition of the black beans, which really turn this snack into a fiber-filled meal. Finish with some chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of cotija and a spritz of lime juice to round out the flavors of the dish, if you happen to have those items on hand.

Week 32: Killer kale

Off the top of my head, I can come up with a shortlist of foods we should all have regularly: blueberries, almonds, green tea, dark chocolate, salmon and … kale. I hardly ever ate it before, but the leafy green has been used a few times here on Fat Dude.

Full of vitamins and minerals, kale is a neutral green that goes well in a variety of dishes. That’s why Chef Brian decided to spotlight kale with our Week 32 menu:

Week 32, Meal 1: Honey-sherry marinated chicken over roasted butternut squash, kale and ciopolini onion

Week 32, Meal 2: Italian Sweet and Sour chicken over sauteed kale with balsamic raisins and toasted pine nuts

Week 32, Meal 3: Citrus and Adobo Marinated Tuna over roasted fingerlings, kale, and tomatoes with garlic-chile oil and adobo citrus sour cream

Each recipe makes two portions. Keep reading for the full shopping list.

Continue reading Week 32: Killer kale

Week 29, Meal 3: Salsa verde grilled chicken, roasted beet and goat cheese salad

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

(Yield: 2 servings)

Chicken
12 oz. chicken breast, butterflied
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 T tarragon, chopped
1/2 T parsley, chopped
1/2 T chives, thinly sliced
1/4 c pistachios, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Salad
5 oz. wild arugula
6 baby beets, different colors if possible
salt and pepper, as needed
1 t olive oil
1 oz. chevre goat cheese Dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 T vegetable or grapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a small roasting pan, with enough water in the pan to cover the bottom of it. Cover the pan with foil and roast the beets for 30-40 minutes, until easily pierced with a pairing knife.

Remove from the oven and, using paper towels, rub the outer  skin and stem off. Cut beet pieces into wedges.

2. In a Magic Bullet or blender, mix the lemon juice and oil to make the vinaigrette. Reserve.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, shallot, tarragon, parsley, chives, pistachios and olive oil. Reserve.

4. Preheat your grill to high. When ready to grill, cook chicken until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. When chicken is cooked through, slice  into strips and toss with the salsa verde. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix the arugula and beets  in a bowl and dress with vinaigrette.

To plate: Lay the greens out thin over the whole plate, as  opposed to a mound  in the middle. Disperse the beets evenly. Top with half of the chicken and sprinkle each salad with 1/2 oz. of goat cheese.

Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

A bunch of my ingredients for Week 29: Salads that don’t suck went bad prematurely, and because I’m on a budget like most everyone else, I chose to postpone the blogging and use my remaining food dollars on meals that I could stretch over a few days.

One of my favorite cheap meals is homemade marinara sauce or meat sauce over parmesan polenta. If you buy grits or polenta once,  you pretty much have grits or polenta in the pantry for a while. Marinara sauce can be made with a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

You can add meat, or pretty it up with fresh parsley or a couple of extra ingredients, but if you need to be cheap about it, you can get outta dodge with a handful of meals-worth of flavorful sauce for about $3, maybe less.

Keep reading to see how easy it is. Continue reading Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

Week 29, Meal 1: Salmacado salad and the no-oil salad dressing

I think years of processed and fast foods muddled my expectations of what food could be, because every time Chef Brian puts together an all-star dish, I’m like “Dang, this is the best thing ever. How’d he get fill in the blank to taste like this?”

For this dish, the “blank” is a salty-sweet honey and fish sauce glazed salmon sitting on a salad of creamy avocado and tropical fruit. A no-oil salad dressing, made with light coconut milk and peanut butter, and punctuated by jalapeno, shallot and cilantro, tie this whole plate together. It’s fresh fare prepared with care; light, but enough to satisfy this fat dude.

While the fish was fresh, the protein for my other two salads went bad within a day (thanks Whole Foods), and because I’m on a blogging budget, I’m holding off on making those other two salads until I can afford to next week. But without further ado, here’s Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado and coconut-peanut dressing. Continue reading Week 29, Meal 1: Salmacado salad and the no-oil salad dressing

Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Back in November 2010 when I started this blog, I facetiously wrote that this was for “people who hate the gym and think salads suck.”

It’s been a year now, and while I’m still struggling with that whole gym thing, I will readily admit that salads don’t suck. A year ago, my vegetable intake seriously consisted mostly of french fries and grilled onions. (I just asked Wifey Nadia and she couldn’t think of anything past those two either.)

In that spirit, I asked Chef Brian to whip up a menu of “salads that don’t suck.” I’ve known for some time that Brian is a salad machine, but surprisingly, he said that this menu stumped him a little because he’s turned a lot of his favorite salad combinations into dinner entrees for this supposed salad hater.

But here we are, and here’s the menu:

Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado and coconut-peanut dressing

Week 29, Meal 2: Smoked paprika dusted chicken “milanese” with mixed greens, manchego, dried cherries, pine nuts and orange-sherry vinaigrette

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

As always, each recipe makes two servings. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.

Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.

Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.

Feel free. I won’t tell.

Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Week 27, Meal 3: No salt. No pepper. All flavor!

Ever since I started cooking, I’ve been told that salt and pepper are the building blocks of flavor. This is especially true for me, considering much of the food is simply seasoned with just salt and pepper, and then thrown on the grill.

But for the first time all blog long, we’re doing a recipe that has no salt (soy and fish sauces yes, but no added salt) and no pepper.  It may sound naive, but I was really surprised at how much flavor can be built without those two ingredients.

This also marks the first time we’re using catfish on the blog, and it’s definitely the first time I’ve had catfish that wasn’t battered and fried. On the whole, it’s a pretty delicious, mild fish.

A delicious fish, with a Thai twist. Here’s Week 27, Meal 3: Grilled catfish with Thai tamarind-chile sauce over cabbage slaw. Continue reading Week 27, Meal 3: No salt. No pepper. All flavor!

Week 27, Meal 2: (Coconut) chicken soup for the soul

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to order at any Thai restaurant is Tom Kha Gai.

The sweet citrus scent, the succulent chicken and the freshness of so many aromatics–this stuff awakens the senses with its vibrancy.

Chef Brian’s homemade version of the classic soup is no different. Here’s Week 27, Meal 2: Tom Kha Gai.

Continue reading Week 27, Meal 2: (Coconut) chicken soup for the soul

Week 27, Meal 1: Mean green shrimp curry

I joked on the Fat Dude Facebook page recently about how I thought green curry paste only came in jars from Trader Joe’s. But the fact that this recipe calls for making Thai green curry paste from scratch reminded me of how far I’ve come in the kitchen.

I used to rely on boxed items as side dishes and pre-marinated meats for the grill or the oven. Now, I freaking make curry paste, and dishes using ingredients I’ve never even heard of before (Thai eggplant, wut?!).

For the first meal of Week 27, Chef Brian serves up a plate of vibrant Asian comfort cooking. Here’s Week 27, Meal 1: Shrimp green curry. Continue reading Week 27, Meal 1: Mean green shrimp curry

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