Thursday, July 25, 2019

Pork Fried (cauliflower) Rice

I've made cauliflower fried rice before, but this recipe from EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES by Marlene Koch yields a fried rice far healthier, but every bit as delicious, as what you'd get at P.F. Chang's. While simple to prepare, there is some prep involved. Have everything at the ready and dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes.

Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as an entree (4 SP per 1 cup serving)

2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (about half a cauliflower)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup diced carrots
1 tsp minced ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped, fresh mushrooms
6 oz lean ground pork
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup cooked rice
2 tbs oyster sauce

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the cauliflower and let cook for 2 minutes without stirring, until the underside begins to brown. Stir and cook another minute. Push to the edges of the pan and add the beaten egg. Scramble it until mostly cooked, then stir into the cauliflower.

Add carrots, mushrooms, ginger, and scallions and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Add pork, breaking it into a few clumps. Using a fork, work it into the vegetables, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. When pork is no longer pink, add water chestnuts and rice.

Add the oyster sauce and toss well. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil then turn rice over so oiled rice is on bottom on pan and cook without stirring for another 2 minutes, or until the underside is nicely browned.

Other recipes I've used  for cauliflower fried rice have not contained any real rice. The addition of 1 cup of white rice made a huge difference in taste. I prefer to start with a fresh cauliflower, but the recipe states that you may use frozen riced cauliflower if you choose. The serving size is generous, even if you eat just one cup, as I did. I chose to eat mine with some Lean Cuisine spring rolls for a still low points dinner.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.