Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Archive for December, 2010

Weekly Recipes – Dec. 13-17

Here we go – our next run down of meals from last week. We sort of went on a soup/stew rampage this week. If you haven’t went out to buy a slow  cooker yet – now’s the time. I promise, it will make your life so much easier. Also – this week, we only have 3 meals because I decided to substitute my Shakeology for breakfast and dinner a few times. I’ll be posting about Shakeology a bit later with some info in case anyone is interested.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stewhttp://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_sweet_potato_stew.html
Southwestern Bean & Barley Soup: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/southwestern_bean_barley_soup.html (seriously – click for details in the blog about this one below – it was awesome!)
Chicken “Carne” Adovada: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_adovada.html (we changed this one up a bit when it came to the cooking instructions to make it MUCH faster to make. Be sure to read details in our blog about it below)

Christmas is just around the corner – anyone have any family recipes they want to share?

Happy eating!

-Dre & RJ

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Quick Link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_sweet_potato_stew.html

Okay – have to admit, we failed on taking pictures of this one. Instead – you get a picture of RJ showing you how he felt about this dish.

RJ Says "Right On" to this Winter Stew

In all seriousness – RJ really did like this stew. I have mixed feelings about it. It WAS good – but sort of sweet since it uses the Sweet Potatoes of course. And I just couldn’t eat the whole bowl of it. RJ on the other hand, really enjoyed it. He described it as more of a sweet/savory – and he obviously gives it a thumbs up. It’s strange because I am definitely the one with the sweet tooth, yet this just wasn’t the right kind of sweet for me.

All in all, I’ve give you this – it was a unique recipe and definitely something different to serve at a dinner party to get people talking!

Here’s the info!

6 servings (remember – to add extra calories if you make all 6 but are only eating it 4 times!)

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes (this goes in a slow cooker!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat (we bought boneless chicken thighs to make it easier – you can also just use chicken breast if you aren’t into thighs)
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into spears
  • 1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 large shallots, peeled and halved (you can also use an onion if you prefer)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

Seriously – this one is easy, you just throw all the stuff in your crockpot and let it cook. So easy.

Happy cooking!!!

 

Chicken “Carne” Adovado

Smoky flavor and so many options!

Quick Link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_adovada.html

This recipe was really unique. It  calls for mild-to-hot red New Mexico chiles – so you can really pick how spicy you want this dish to be. You can find dried peppers in the produce section of your grocery store. Sometimes they are tricky to find – because they typically are NOT near the fresh peppers. In bigger stores you might find bins where you can pick them yourself and put them in a bag, smaller stores might have them prepackaged for you.

Ingredients:

Servings: 6 (don’t forget to take this into account with the ingredients below. We just made it all and had a bigger portion for each meal)

Active Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 1/4 hours (We changed up the cooking on this one so it only took us about 25 minutes – see below for details!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces whole mild-to-medium-hot dried red New Mexican chiles (16-20 small to medium), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

dReJSay: So i have to comment on the Chicken Thighs here. I have historically been opposed to cooking with chicken thighs as it just sort of grossed me out. BUT then i realized you can actually buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs at the store and that made it all better. I saw them in the butcher section of the grocery store, and they had some prepackaged as well. And honestly, chicken thighs are super tasty. Just be sure to trim any extra fat to keep the meal nutritious.

Preparation (dReJ Tip)

We felt that over 2 hours on this dish felt like too long. We wanted this to be for dinner – so we wanted something we could come home after work and gym time and be eating soon there after. So here’s what we changed – feel free to do it the way the recipe says – I’m sure its still tasty!

PREPARATION

  1. Heat up a pan on the stove to medium high with a touch of olive oil, add your chiles (be sure to rinse them first!). Cook them like this until they almost start to burn – they will be brownish and very fragrant.
  2. Let chiles cool, then break each chile into several pieces.
  3. Add chicken thighs to pan and brown them using olive oil while chiles cool.
  4. Puree the toasted chiles, onion, garlic, vinegar, oregano and salt with 2 cup broth in a blender (or food processor)  until only tiny pieces of chile are visible and all is smooth. You may have to split this in half and do it twice if you have an old blender that can’t do it all at once. .
  5. Add sauce to chicken in pan; stir to coat.
  6. We served this dish with brown rice and 2 corn tortillas a piece with a dollop of fat free sour cream!

Amazing and super versatile. And you cut out hours of baking time following our method. Let us know if you have questions.

 

Southwestern Bean and Barley Soup

Hearty Soup for Cold Days!

Link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/southwestern_bean_barley_soup.html

Okay – I know what you are thinking. Beans and Barley? BORING?! Or for some of you who are not down with the barley – you might just be thinking it sounds gross. I have to admit that growing up, I was definitely a full paying member of that same camp.  But i’m proud to tell you that my name is Dre – and I thoroughly enjoyed the bean and barley soup. So give it a try – it really was super simple.

I’ve heard thru the grapevine (since so many *ahem* ALL of our readers refuse to comment!) that perhaps some of the recipes sound too daunting. But the whole point of this site is to be a resource and share any tips and tricks and to let you know that a real person tried the recipe and it wasn’t so bad. I always feel intimidated by new foods, new ways of chopping or roasting or something – but honestly, if you aren’t comfortable with something, just substitute how YOU usually make it and go with it. You’ll figure out if it works or not. But you won’t ever enjoy all these new delicious recipes if you don’t give them a try!

Okay – off my soup soap box and back to the recipe at hand.

Here’s the ingredients and what we changed:

6 Servings, about 1 1/3 cups each

Active Time: 30 minutes (Total Time: 2 1/4 hours) – Don’t worry you don’t have to be stirring it the whole time or anything!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 9 cups water (this amount changes to TWO cups if you decide to use crock pot instead of stove top)
  • 4 cups (32-ounce carton) reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
  • Look for the following 3 ingredients at your grocer in the canned veggies aisle – just keep going until you see the bags of beans that are NOT canned. If you have access to a healthy food store where you can go and measure your own beans out – I’d recommend doing so – because you can’t buy just 1/3 cup of any of these beans!
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/3 cup dried black beans
  • 1/3 cup dried great northern beans
  • 1/3 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Now for the preparation of this one – you can make it on the stove, or in a slow cooker. Be sure to look at the variation on the quick link because you use less water and it cooks for a longer time. We went for the slow cooker (crock pot) variation.

dReJ Say: This was a HIT with us. It was super hearty and therefore, very filling. Not sure if ours turned out the way it’s supposed to, because it was less soupy and more like a thick chili….but that was just fine with us. Super easy to make – and it is a perfect meal to make ahead and heat up again later at work or for dinner the next day.

dReJ Tip: If you find that yours is a bit bland – a good tip for using the slow-cooker is that you need to add more salt to bring out the flavor. So season it up a bit and you’ll be good!

 

Weekly Review: Dec. 6-10

Here’s our quick snapshot for our meals last week, as usual – click on the posts below for more details!

Salmon (or Shrimp) Eggplant Curry: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/salmon_eggplant_curry.html (Sounds fancy, but really easy to cook!)

Hot Chile Grilled Cheese: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/hot_chile_grilled_cheese.html w/tomato soup (don’t worry – this one is NOT super spicy)

Garlicky Shrimp and Vegetable Pasta: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/garlicky_shrimp_vegetable_pasta.html (Super fast and easy to make!)

(dReJ Concoction) Rj’s Enchiladas: You’ll have to click on the actual post for details since this one is home-made!

Hope you enjoy – the one great thing about all of the meals this week was the easy factor. Nothing was overly complex, and with the exception of the cooking time for the Enchiladas – you should be ready to eat any of these meals in 30-35 minutes!

Sincerely,

Dre & RJ

 

dReJ Concoction: Enchiladas

Tex Mex Goodiness!

Alright – this meal is in regular rotation for us, but it’s RJ’s own creation, and we change it up from time to time depending on what we feel like. But this time around, here is our ingredient list:

INGREDIENTS

1lb Turkey Brest (ground – choose a low fat version)
1 package of your favorite taco seasoning (opt for lower sodium if possible)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion diced (red or yellow)
1 Bell Pepper diced
3 jalapenos diced (seeds and membrane removed, unless you want it hotter)
4oz mushrooms diced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can black beans (drained)
1/2 c fat free sour cream
8 flour Tortillas (choose a low carb or healthy version)
1 can enchilada sauce
1/2 c FatFree cheese (mexican blend)

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Shrimp & Eggplant Curry

Quick Link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/salmon_eggplant_curry.html

Easy Yellow Curry Dish!

So if you click on the quick link, you’ll notice the original recipe calls for Salmon – not shrimp. But i am not a salmon person but RJ & I both thought the curry sounded like a good meal, so we just traded it out for shrimp since we had another meal we were using shrimp in.

4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

Total Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Thai yellow curry paste, (see Shopping Tip on quick link) or 1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce, (see Note on quick link)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 pound skinned salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific (see Note), cut into 1-inch pieces (We used 1 lb shrimp)
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

Again – this is an easy meal to prepare. I’m not usually the one who does the actual prep and cooking of our meals – but I made this meal (all but peeling the shrimp & chopping up the eggplant) this week. So it’s easy. Don’t be afraid of eggplant if you haven’t tried it, or cooked with it before. You’ll find it in the fresh produce area of your grocery store – and it is a purple color. It’s not hard to chop up – just treat it like you would squash or zucchini. You don’t have to clean seeds out or peel it – just chop it up!

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