Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Carnitas-style Shredded Pork



Marlene Koch's latest cookbook, EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES is quickly becoming my go-to, healthy eating bible. This recipe, though good as written, needed some flavor boosts and some changes in the cooking time. Following is my "new and improved" version. It yields 8 small or 4 regular-size servings. I served it with black beans, yellow rice, and street taco slider-sized soft tortillas. With avocado slices, light sour cream, and salsa, it had everything you need to satisfy a variety of tastes.

2 - 2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 smashed garlic cloves
3 bay leaves,
8 oz light orange juice
1 tsp garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice the roast vertically and horizontally to make 4 even pieces.
Spray a large, ovenproof pot (I used my LeCreuset Dutch oven) with cooking spray and place over high heat. Sear pork on all sides until brown. Remove from pot and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pot.

Combine the cumin, oregano, onion powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Coat the pork with the spice mixture, rub in,  and let sit for 15 minutes.

Return the roast to the pot and add the garlic, bay leaf, orange juice, and 1/2 cup water. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook 70 minutes (until pork shreds easily with a fork).


Transfer the pork to a cutting board, discard bay leaf, and using 2 forks, shred the meat and spread it on a baking sheet. Simmer and reduce the liquid in the pot until it coats the back of a spoon. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid over the meat to moisten it, and toss.

Just before serving, turn on the broiler, sprinkle meat with garlic salt, and broil 3-4 minutes until the edges of the meat are browned and slightly crisped.

1/2 cup serving is 2 SP
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TASTE NOTES

The first time I made this dish, I knew it was a keeper; but, I also knew it needed some tweaking. Pork loin is a lean meat, so overcooking it can be problematic. The 1 1/2 hour cook time that Koch noted was too long. I reduced that to 70 minutes and it was perfect (don't forget you put it under the broiler, too, so you want it moist to begin). Also, the original recipe called for less spice mix and the juice of half an orange. I've used light OJ in other recipes and substituting a full cup in place of some of the water was a good addition. This is a dish I've made with a fattier cut of pork. Truthfully, I don't mind using the loin at all since the flavor is excellent and the health benefits of reducing the fat are huge.



Monday, July 8, 2019

Orange Chicken (Quicker Than Takeout)


Because I use this blog as a place to store my favorite recipes, I don't speak in superlatives unless a dish is really, really worthy. This quicker-than-takeout orange chicken from Marlene Koch's EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES was the very best Chinese food I've ever cooked (and I've been making Chinese food since I bought my first ethnic cookbook in the early '70's).

If you've eaten orange chicken in a Chinese restaurant, you might be thinking greasy, deep fried, battered chicken swimming in a cornstarch-rich orange sauce. That is NOT what this is. I had to rein it in or I'd have eaten a second portion. While the list of ingredients may seem long, this isn't a difficult recipe. It does require you to prepare the components in a timely fashion, but with a bit of mis en place, you CAN have dinner on the table faster--and far better--than if you got takeout.

FOR THE SAUCE
1/3 cup light orange juice
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
4 packets Stevia (or your favorite no calorie sweetner OR sugar, adjust accordingly)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (don't omit; it adds just a bit of heat)
1/2 cup water

In a medium saucepan whisk together the sauce ingredient. Place over medium high heat and bring to a low boil. Cook for 1 minute, then keep warm while you finish the dish.

FOR THE CHICKEN
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup all purpose flour (add more, if needed)
2 tbs canola oil, divided
1 small red, bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch squares
1 small onion, cut into 3/4 inch squares

Coat cut up chicken breasts with beaten egg and toss with flour to coat. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat Add half the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining 1 tbs oil and the rest of the chicken.

Add the red pepper and onio to the skillet and cook 4-6 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the orange sauce over, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.
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TASTE NOTES

I served this with white rice and spicy green beans and it far surpassed my expectations. The recipe serves 4 and is low fat and low calorie (5 SP, if you follow WW). I can't wait for the leftovers.



Thursday, March 28, 2019

Chicken and Spinach Rollatine

Chicken and Spinach Rollatine (8 SP each roll)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets, 4 oz each
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons egg whites or egg beaters
  • 5 oz frozen spinach, squeezed dry of any liquid
  • 6 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz part skim shredded mozzarella 
  • olive oil non-stick spray
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

  1. Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper.

  2. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp grated cheese in one bowl and 1/4 cup egg beaters or egg whites in another.

  3. Combine 1.5 oz shredded mozzarella with remaining grated cheese, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry), 2 tbsp egg beaters, and ricotta cheese.

  4. Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 1/4 of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet.

  5.  Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

  6. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed).

  7. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil. Bake 25 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven, top with sauce then cheese and 
  9. bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes.
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  11. TASTE NOTES
  12. I adapted this recipe to provide for a reasonable portion size. I could have decreased the mozzarella, but decided the extra points were worth it. This was a delicious dish that goes equally well with a side of pasta or a side of sauteed broccoli rabe or escarole. One roll is a perfect serving and the only thing that could make it better would be to use homemade tomato sauce.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Stuffing Crusted Turkey Sheet Pan Supper



Love the tastes and smells of Thanksgiving? Have 20 minutes to prepare a week night supper? Then this is the recipe for you.

Makes 4 servings (10 SP per serving)

Ingredients

1 box Stove Top stuffing mix
1 tbs I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light
3 tbs low sugar raspberry jam or preserves
2 tbs Dijon mustard
4 turkey cutlets (1 lb total; 1/4 lb each cutlet)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix and butter. Boil 1 2/3 cups of water, pour it over the stuffing mix, and stir lightly to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine jam and mustard.

Place the 4 cutlets on the prepared baking sheet. Spread each piece with 1/4 of the jam mixture. Mound 1/4 of the stuffing on each cutlet. Spray top of each with nonstick spray.

Bake for 17 minutes.

Serve with roasted brussells sprouts and carrots for a filling dinner.
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TASTE NOTES

Every time I make this, I marvel at how something so simple can taste so good! I adapted this recipe from Marlene Koch's Eat What You Love:  Quick and Easy, my favorite healthy-eating cookbook.


Monday, January 14, 2019

(The Best Ever) Chicken and Dumplings



Could there be a more perfect comfort food, particularly for these cold weather days, than chicken and dumplings? It's not something I make often since I try to limit carbs and fats. If I do make it, I tend to use a lightened recipe. This time, though, I was looking for the "full Monty" and this recipe, with some slight modifications, delivered.

 I had bought the November issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and tore this recipe out. I will say I was surprised that it was a poorly written recipe, missing steps and without the usual fine detail of a Martha Stewart recipe. A staff member's name was on it. Below is my version, edited a bit for clarity, but without much change to the ingredients. (OK, I used just a tad less fat and added the parsnips.) I recommend reading through the recipe first so you can do all the chopping at once.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 - 3 lbs bone in, chicken thighs
4 cups water
2 tsp Kosher salt

For the broth:
3 tbs butter
1 medium diced onion
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
8 oz red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 cup frozen sweet peas
3 tbs chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste


For the dumplings:
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbs chopped parsley
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbs cold butter
3/4 cup milk


MAKE THE BROTH AND COOK THE CHICKEN

Combine the chicken thighs, the water, and the Kosher salt in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked--20-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, let cool, then discard skin and bones and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain the broth. You should have 4 cups; if not, add more water.

MAKE THE ROUX

Melt 4 tbs of butter in the Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnips, potatoes, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup of flour and cook about 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the reserved 4 cups of strained broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

While the veggies simmer, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, and parsley. Cut in 4 tbs cold butter. Stir in the milk until the dough holds together. Drop 8 heaping spoonsful of dough on top of the chicken and veggies mixture. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, 12-15 minutes.
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TASTE NOTES

It's a good thing there's a bit of prep involved in this dish, or I'd be making it much more often. At 15-18 Smart Points a srving (that's Weight Watcher talk), it's very close to my daily allocation. But, oh, my, was it ever worth it! The carrots and parsnips rendered a sweet, flavorful broth. The dumpling was swoon worthy. Somewhere between a stew and a soup, this chicken and dumplings is love in a bowl. The entire dish was like being wrapped in a big, fluffy blanket. It was well worth the bit of effort.





Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Broccoli and Cauliflower Cakes



On a recent episode of The Kitchen, actor Teri Hatcher shared her recipe for broccoli-cauliflower cakes. They sounded good, so I decided to make them as a side dish with center cut pork chops.

Ingredients - Makes 12 small (2") cakes

1 cup grated broccoli florets
1 cup grated cauliflower florets
1/4 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
OPTIONAL:  2 tbs capers

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Use a box grater or a food processor (I used the latter), to grate the broccoli and the cauliflower, making sure to get 1 cup of each.

Beat the 2 eggs.

Combine the grated broccoli and cauliflower, grated cheese, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, and salt and pepper with your hands until it is moist.

Divide the mixture into 12 parts and shape 12 patties, about 2 inches across each.

Place the cakes on the cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, turn, and bake 15 minutes more on the other side.

Serve as a side dish. I combined several tablespoons of light sour cream with sirracha sauce and put a dab on each cake.

1 SP per cake.

TASTE NOTES

I liked the texture and taste of these cakes. The inside was reminiscent of the inside of a potato pancake. The outside achieved a small degree of crispness (I'll try these in the air fryer next time). I enjoyed 3 with my pork chop for a satisfying meal.