Step Aside Rachael Ray

Because THIS is how you do a healthy, easy 20-minute meal.

I posted the following picture to my Instagram with the caption “staple in my kitchen”:

That is definitely not an exaggeration. Chili garlic sauce is easily one of my favorite pre-made sauces. I put it in dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, etc. and I add it to soups or use it to dip my egg rolls into. I LOVE it. And tonight it was the showcase of my dinner. Twenty minutes is all it took to send me to chili garlic sauce heaven.

In this dinner, it is all about the sauce. I will be eating this dinner at least once a week from now on. I’m not even slightly joking. I’m already anxiously waiting for lunch tomorrow so that I can dive into round 2. I really, really hope that you give this a try!

Easy 20 Minute Garlic Chili Sauce Stir-Fry

Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large carrot (2 medium carrots), chopped into 1/4 inch coins
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • chili garlic stir fry sauce (see below for recipe)
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, 2 TBSP
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice/pasta per package instructions (this is optional).
  2. In a small/medium sized pot, place both chicken breasts into the bottom of the pot and cover with water (enough water so that there is an extra 1″ inch covering the chicken) and cook over high until boiling. Allow the chicken to boil for 3 minutes and then cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Let the chicken remain in the pot, off the heat, for 15 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, in a large pan over medium-medium high heat add 2 TBSP olive oil. Place all of the vegetables into the saute pan , and add salt and pepper. Allow to cook for approximately 5 min, stirring frequently. After the five minutes, turn down to medium-low heat and cover. Allow vegetables to cook for another 5 minutes (this steams the broccoli nicely).
  4. Once the chicken is done (after the 15 minutes have elapsed) remove from the poaching liquid,season with salt and pepper and chop into bite size pieces.
  5. Add the cooked rice/pasta, chicken and chili garlic stir fry to the sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine and enjoy! You may garnish with some chopped cilantro, if desired.

Chili Garlic Stir Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP chili garlic sauce
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • ground ginger, a dash or two

Directions:

  1. Measure out and combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust ingredient amounts as necessary.
  2. Add to your favorite stir-fry/pasta dish.

Please do yourself a favor and get on this!

 

A quick note: As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been watching my eats the past week or so, so this was a low-carb meal, and while I’m generally not a low-carb person, I had already had my fill for the day and I wanted a light, yet satisfying dinner. So given that, I tried a new item – shirataki noodles. They are a Japanese noodle (found in the refrigerated portion next to the tofu/health foods in my supermarket) made out of a “water soluble dietary fiber” (YUMMM) and are extremely low cal and low carb. I prepared them by rinsing them and running them under extremely hot water for a minute or two and then adding them my stir fry. They don’t really have a taste, and kind of remind me of the noodles you find in Pho. I’m a fan, but the above meal would’ve been equally great with rice or your favorite pasta.

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Here’s The Thing

Just a few days ago I was waxing poetic about how I can’t stand all the emails regarding New Years Resolutions and a “new healthy you!” A healthy diet is a lifestyle choice…blah blah blah.

Anyway, a few days later and here I am eating oat bran pancakes for breakfast. The truth is, those holiday pounds have added up! And although I can still fit into all of my clothing, there are a few extra pounds hanging here and there.

So, a few weeks of clean eating, more exercise, lots of water, and listening to those damn emails I spoke of last week are ahead of me.

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Oat bran pancake. Luckily, it tastes like french toast. I can get down with that.

Let’s just all agree that this is not about January/New Years Resolutions and more about the fact that I live in San Diego and bikini season is fast approaching…

P.S. If you are interested in the above “pancake” it’s really easy. It’s 1-1/2 Tbsp oat bran (you can find it in the cereal aisle, next to the Quaker Oats), 1-1/2 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt, 1 egg, a dash of cinnamon and a dash of sugar/splenda/honey. Mix it together and cook in a pan over medium-medium high heat for approx 2 minutes a side (I just wait until the pancake starts bubbling and flip it). Easy-peasy. PLEASE NOTE: I did not make up this recipe, it’s all over Pinterest/the interwebs.

Sometimes You Just Need Some Fritos

“Style is the perfection of a point of view” – Richard Eberhart.

Oh my, but I do believe this is true.

Like it or not, we are all judged by our appearances. Luckily (or perhaps not?), this is one of many facets upon which we are judged. This is a roundabout way of saying, I recently stumbled upon a fashion blog that I actually like – Capital Hill Style. I may not be working on the Hill, but I work in the legal field and I don’t want to look like a skank and/or a 20-year old! So this is a breath of fresh air.

Do you know what else is a breath of fresh air? Knowing that Frito Pies are a real thing!

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Oh my word!

I discovered this culinary treasure while in Atlanta, Georgia. It came with mashed potatoes, sauteed greens, beets, a piece of fried chicken, and corn bread. I ate everything. I might prefer my usual fare of grilled chicken and salad, but man, sometimes you just need some food.

Happy Friday everyone!

On The Couch

Because after this

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And this

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Where else would I be?

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Are Women Inherently Less Funny Than Men?

I was honestly wondering that the other night, as I was sitting, watching and mostly laughing my way through an evening at the Comedy Store in La Jolla (good call Adam!). I say mostly, because there were two comediennes that night, that unfortunately, were not funny. In fact, they were painfully unfunny. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some funny ladies out there – Jane Lynch, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey come to mind fairly quickly. But more often then not, when I see something labeled “female comedy” it’s usually ends up being something along the lines of Chelsea Handler’s brand of comedy, which personally, I do not find humorous at all. Ladies – insinuating that you are a lazy, drunken, slut is not funny! It’s not empowering. It’s crude. Am I prude? Maybe. But I don’t care. I’m not advocating that women shut up, put on a dress and slave away in the kitchen all day. I’m just saying – lay off the slut talk. I’m aware that this is a complete double standard, because many of the jokes told by the men were along the same subject line and there I was laughing away hysterically… So there you go: I’m a hypocrite, I think women aren’t funny, and men rule!

Speaking of slaving away in the kitchen all day (segue!) – that is something I have not been doing lately. It’s summer and it’s hot and honestly, a big meal sounds horrible.  But, I am still a snack-monster, so here’s a little something I managed to whip up the other night that involved minimal effort and no heat. It also helped me clear out my refrigerator of some strawberries and a cucumber that were on the brink of being spoiled.

I present to you Strawberry and Cucumber Salsa!

Ingredients*

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup cucumber
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (or 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger)
  • healthy handful of cilantro, chopped (probably about 1/4 cup)
  • black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. This is ridiculously easy – chop the strawberries, cucumber and red onion into small pieces. Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl, chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, and serve with tortilla or pita chips.

* As usual, measurements are approximate. Feel free to play around with the proportions/work with what you have.

Anyway, try the salsa – it’s sweet and it pairs perfectly with the saltiness of tortilla chips. Also, definitely check out the Comedy Store. Wednesday and Thursday nights are local nights and there are definitely some genuine laughs to be found.

Bored This Sunday Evening?

Get thee to a Trader Joes and buy these ASAP.

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You’ll thank me later. Promise.

La Dolce Vita

So I’ve already told you I’ve put on a few lbs. these past few weeks. Now, let me show you how it happened.

Recently, some girlfriends and I spent an evening at La Villa in Little Italy. Let me preface this by saying, having the girlfriend of the chef as a dining companion is wonderful….and extremely dangerous.

We each started out with individual servings of two different appetizers.

striped jack crudo with cucumber, radish, sugar snap peas and lemon

foie gras with early grey poached stone fruit and a balsamic gelee

And then the three of us split 3 entrees.

lobster tortellini with sweet corn

short Ribs

pasta with spicy lamb sausage, peas, tomato, and mint

Everything was amazing. The standout dish was definitely the lobster tortellini. The sweet corn burst in your mouth, and the lobster was delicate and not too heavy. The foie gras appetizer was also amazing. Mostly because the chef gave each of us a portion that would easily be split between 4 people. I know, gluttonous. But you try to send back half of that specialty uneaten!

This is why I’m getting fat.

But it was worth it. I would highly recommend La Villa. We sat out on the patio, and it was the perfect relaxed setting for an evening filled with wine, great food, and the best company possible. All of the ingredients are fresh and whenever possible sourced from local farmers and fishermen. You can definitely taste the freshness.

I can’t wait to make a second trip.

I Was Reminded Of Two Things Today

1. Don’t go to Trader Joes on an empty stomach.

2. Cooking at home, with real food, is a good, good thing.

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I think it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve set out and cooked an actual meal (as opposed to heating up something pre-made or grabbing something to-go). And even though it was simple, it was light and summery and the perfect antidote to the torture I put my body through over the holiday weekend.

Greek-Inspired Quinoa Salad
Serves: 2, or 4 as a side-dish.
Total cooking and prep time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • boneless, skinnless chicken breast (2)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped. I used: basil, oregano, and parsley (You can substitute dried herbs, but the fresh herbs really give it an extra fresh punch of flavor)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa in a saucepan according to directions.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a seperate pan place 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the chicken breasts 4 minutes per side over medium heat. When the chicken is cooked, remove and set aside. Let cool, and slice or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In the same pan you used to cook the chicken, add the onion and garlic. If you need to, you can add another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then  add the red bell peppers. Continue to cook for another four minutes, or until all of the vegetables are cooked through, but still firm.
  4. Add the 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and the chopped herbs to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Slice the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add all of the ingredients, including the cucumbers, into a large serving bowl and enjoy!

I enjoyed this both hot and cold, and I liked it both times. It’s easy, not very expensive, and surprisingly filling.

The only thing missing that would have made this an absolute home run, would have been a nice piece of crusty bread. I also think the addition of some greek olives would add a nice salty dimension. Can’t wait to make this again and experiment further.

Best…or Greatest?

I mean… does it get any better?

I’ve been in this serious cooking rut, but with the days getting hotter, work getting busier, and always finding myself with a refrigerator full of cheese…it’s hard not to fall back on my old standard: the cheese plate.

I have plans to make something delicious this weekend (perhaps some pulled pork?). But until then, you’ll find me happily munching away on various plates of fruit, cheese, and the occasional deli meat.

I’m the very picture of health.

There Went Peter Cotton Tail

Uh, what happened? It’s already TUESDAY night? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the days after a holiday are always a time to play catch up. But it was worth it. I had such a lovely weekend. Here are some photos…

Nothing says spring, or Easter, like tulips!

I may have borrowed Tino's ears

Don't you just want to squeeze his little cheeks?!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!