Posts Tagged ‘ chicken ’

What’s for Dinner: Grilled Zucchini and Pasta Medley

So this week has been a little different in the dinner department. I’m not sure why, but my dojo is closed all this week, so no class. What does this mean? It means I get to cook five meals this week instead of three.

So, what does one do when faced with options? See what’s on sale! And this week, fresh zucchini and summer squash were on sale. There isn’t much that’s better in the way of fresh summer ingredients than that. So, to mix it up, I decided to try grilling my veggie’s, an serving them with dill pasta and chicken medley.

To make the recipe a bit more interested, I found Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Balsamic Vinaigrette, a great 0 calorie cooking aid. It packs a ton of flavor to the point where I like to cook with it a bit more than slapping it on a salad.

Skimming over the pasta, as it was the standard (cook chicken and pasta, add pasta to chicken, add dill, cook in pan),  we’ll get into how I prepared the zucchini and summer squash. I began by slicing them at an angle, creating what is more of an oblong disk than the standard spear, or cucumber style cut. This was to expose more flesh, and angle the seeded centers so that they wouldn’t soften too much, and fall apart while cooking. Next, I threw my veggie’s into a bowl, and added some salt, pepper, garlic, and my balsamic, hand tossing it all together lightly.

While I was preparing this, I had started to preheat my pan. I wanted it up to a good high heat so that I could produce some nice dark grill marks, and at the same time keep some firmness to the veg while it cooked. Once my pan was hot, and the veggie’s had marinated a little, on they went. I had thrown down a little cooking spray to keep them from sticking too bad. After a couple minutes, I flipped them over, and there were those gorgeous grill marks that make a food stand out. Same on the other side, and I was off eating dinner.

This was incredibly easy, and tasted amazing. If you’re looking for a fresh food, and a fun and easy way to cook it, try grilled zucchini and summer squash. Oh, and yes, for once I actually provided my own picture. I’ll try to be better about that when I talk about my cooking. Helps when you can see what I’m talking about. Oh, and before I forget! Zucchini and summer squash: zero points baby!!!

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Midnight Food Runs: Fear the Burrito

You know it’s the sign of a good weekend when you find yourself at a Taco Bell drive up, closer to midnight than not, and toting two inebriated friends in the car. Oh yeah, it just makes for a nice change of pace, and makes you feel young and rebellious again.

That’s how my friends and I ended our Saturday last weekend. I needed a chicken burrito, and ended up with that, and a re-fried bean one, while my cohort Kyle ended up with a 5-layer, and a volcano burrito to top of his SoCo filled stomach. Oh the shenanigans we twenty-somethings can get into.

Well, besides the craziness of the situation, it still doesn’t top when another friend of mine ordered everything under the word burrito…yeah, you heard me right. Still, this is about the food. I’m a big fan of the chicken burrito at Taco Bell. It’s simple, and tasty. That said, I still wanted to try the re-fried bean burrito as, well, I like re-fried beans. Aaaaaaand that’s what I got. It was re-fried beans wrapped in a tortilla. That’s it. It was a bean log. And if that doesn’t conjure a nasty image, then you’re not trying hard enough. It was…well, I won’t get it again.

There you go, three crazy guys and a bad burrito (and three tastier burritos). Yeah, weekends are fun.

Subway: A New and Improved Website?

Lately, a week can’t go by that I don’t write some post about Subway. Some are good, some are bad, some are simply informative. This is an interesting note, especially after my call for more transparency on Subway’s main website.

After a friend had suggested that I try Subway’s new Orchard Chicken Salad sub, I decided to see what kind of nutrition Subway was toting with what, in my mind, could never be that good for you. Well, after a brief struggle at Subway.com, looking in the nutrition and menu section for information about this sandwich, I was redirected to a whole new site: SubwayFreshBuzz.com.

Now this was interesting. Instead of fixing their original site, it looks as if Subway simply redesigned it at another URL. Well, I must say that I was able to find my information here, and then some. This site has some serious chops compared to the old site.

To start, the UI is much better, looking to have climbed out of the 90’s, and early 2000 website style previously sported by Subway. Now we have some good features on the site.

Of course my first stop was the menu/nutrition tab. Along the right side of the page are expandable sections of Subway’s menu. Click on an item, and in the left and center area, you get a nice picture of the item, and a description. What is that right below? Nutritional Information? Don’t mind if I do! Click on this button, and you get a nice clean breakdown of your sandwich’s “stats”.

Now, you know how I asked for transparency? Well, opening up the nutritional information triggers the “your build” button to be revealed. Click on this, and the picture is replaced by an ingredient selector. This serves a two-fold purpose. First, it gives a clean representation of what comes on the sandwich with the nutritional information provided. Second, its dynamic so as you customize your sandwich, the nutritional information changes to reflect your ingredients.

Now that’s what I’m talking about Subway! You have officially one me over with your new site. Now an OCD eater like me can figure out even more accurately what I’m taking in at my favorite sub shop. You have restored my faith with your new website, and smart design.

With these new tools in hand, I was able to calculate the point-age of the orchard chicken without further struggle. It joins the Sweet Onion Chicken Terriyaki as a 7 point 6 inch sub on the menu. Not bad, and definitely worth a try in my mind. Thanks Subway!

Healthy Cooking: Zucchini and Summer Squash Pasta Medley

Ok, so vegitables aren’t for everyone. Exhibit A is my roommate. He has nothing against them in particular, but won’t go seeking them  out any time soon either. Me, I’m a different story. I LOVE fresh produce in my cooking, but due to expense, time, yadda yadda yadda, I usually limit it to some salad, green peppers, and onion.

Well due to an uncertain dinner schedule this past weekend, I came into my Monday night meal cooking with a little extra weekly produce: green and yellow zucchini, and of course an onion.

Now I know the whole zucchini and summer squash like group of veg isn’t for everyone. To some it’s taste, others texture, and still some simply un-adventurous people. Well dieters, and specifically Weight Watcher’s in particular should take note of these because they’re free (that’s 0 points folks) and can be cooked in any number of ways.

Well, at first I was thinking about grilling these things. It looks great, and tastes better, but laziness, and a lack of balsamic dressing scratched that plan. Instead I decided to create a pasta medley with my ingredients. Here’s how it went:

  • 1 green zucchini sliced (like cucumber), and then quartered to get reasonable chunks
  • 1 yellow zucchini chopped up the same way
  • 1 onion (your pick) sliced into half rings
  • 1 perfect portions chicken breast cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta
  • calorie free butter spray (my cooking crutch)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoning (Italian blend, garlic, pepper, salt, and dill…and more dill)

So clearly my ingredient list wasn’t that awe inspiring, but still it was what I had. So after all the chopping, and prep work, I got my vegis cooking in one pan, chicken in another, and pasta boiling on a back burner. All of these things are pretty easy to cook, and fairly forgiving with their finishing times.

Once the chicken was cooked, I just dumped it in with the zucchini and onions to start those flavors working together. Then the pasta was done so I drained it, and chucked it in with everything else. A couple minutes, and some work with a spatula, and wallah: something edible looking.

Really, not that hard to do, and delicious would be an apt description. Oh did I mention that it made a TON!? It could probably feed two people, but it’s so low in points (2 for chicken, 4 for pasta, and just say 2 for the vegis due to volume), and I needed to get a bit closer to my total for the day, so I ate the lot. I walked away happy, and that’s all there is to it.

Nom!: Fueled by Caesar

Ok so I’ve mentioned that I am now taking Shaolin Kempo lessons twice a week. Well, as the crazy person that I am, I’m still running my 4+ miles before class. With that, I understandably have a limited meal time. To the left is my healthy, light, and refreshing dinner…Well at least half of it.

I believe I’ve mentioned the Perdue Perfect Portions Chicken Breast previously, but if not, check them out. I cook one of these hunks of tasty bird up the night before, and shred/chop it up. Into a this bag of awesome it goes, and walla shake for instant dinner.

The best part is that this Fresh Express Caesar Salad doesn’t taste lite. I think the only difference between it and the regular is a lack of cheese…Hmm, should probably check that…Anyways, this acts as a nice refueling meal, hitting my body with vitamins, minerals, and punch of chicken-tastic protein before my class. Also, it is diet friendly at 8 points with the chicken added. Can’t go wrong there!

Healthy “Fried” Rice

Minute Rice So I think that we’ve all seen this box floating around in the cupboard at some point. Some of us keep it for that emergency dinner, while others use it as a staple for every meal. No matter how you use this rice, you can give it a bit more life, and make a healthy, delicious, 7point weight watchers dinner.

To start, simply cook a single serving of the rice (that’s half a cup people). Once the rice has cooked, throw it into a Tupperware container, and toss it into the fridge. I try to do this in the morning before work so that I don’t have to worry about the cooling process when I get home.

The key to GOOD fried rice is to pre-cook it, and let it cool thoroughly.

Now when you get home, prep some vegis. I like to use red onion and green pepper, but feel free to be a bit more traditional and through in some green onion or bean sprouts. Once they’re all chopped, get them sauteing in a decent sized fry pan. To keep it healthy, use liberal amounts of calorie-free cooking spray; NO OIL!!! Through in some salt and garlic powder for flavor.

Now to get some chicken going. I use Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts in Roasted Garlic and White Wine. These are 2 points a piece, and like the name says, the perfect portion. Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, and toss them into another fry pan with more cook spray,  and some pepper. Also give them a liberal dousing of Worcestershire sauce.

Once your chicken is going, get that cold rice into the fry pan with your vegetables. Hit it with another liberal dousing of cook spray, and also add salt, pepper, and some more Worcestershire. Keep this on a high heat. Once your chicken is done, toss it into the rice and vegis, but keep the pan on the heat. If you have it empty a package of egg beaters into the pan, and scramble that.

As a note, you can buy packages of three two serving cups of egg beaters in the grocery store. One while cup, two servings, is only 1 point.

Once your eggs are done, throw them in the rice, and turn it all together. Make sure that you are getting a slightly brown color, and you will just know when your rice is there. It sounds a little hectic to make, but is actually pretty easy.

Now sit back and enjoy a heaping portion of healthy chicken fried rice. 🙂