Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grilled Chicken Skewers and Asian Noodle Salad

One of my favorite websites to find recipes is The Pioneer Woman - I'm not sure how I stumbled across it, but I am very happy I did! I had saved a recipe for a cold Asian "pasta salad", and was waiting until I had all of the insane amounts of veggies it called for to give it a whirl. Here's a link to the recipe on the Pioneer Woman site - she explains the steps and has way prettier photos that give my pics an inferiority complex.

I halved (halfed? halved.) the salad ingredients, and kept the dressing amount the same. I used half of the dressing to marinate chicken, then had Mike skewer the chicken and grill it (that's what she said....?).

Here's the finished salad - even with half the recipe it still filled a huge serving bowl (I would guess 5-6 servings). Everything came out well, but fair warning: I had to make trips to two different grocery stores to get all of the ingredients, and was chopping like a maniac for hot minute. I'm of the opinion that the noodles and dressing are what "makes" this recipe - you could probably sub in any veggies you have on hand. But hey - I got in my five servings of fruits and veggies right? I'm super healthy right now! Take no notice of the oil in the dressing! Ahem...

Please note: I seriously considering making a themed dinner in honor of tonight's "Jersey Shore" premiere. Lasagna....pickles....and tequila shots?

Ed. note: This noodle salad does NOT make for good leftovers. It got super watery and turned almost into soup - I think it's due to all the veggies, especially the cucumbers. Mushy cashews are not cool. If you're going to follow the recipe as is, eat it immediately. I'm guessing if a lot of the veggies were omitted (or replaced with less "watery" veggies  - I'm thinking whole snap peas and broccoli) it would hold up better in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WTF at the Grocery Store

Am I the only one that while grocery shopping, happens to look at other people's shopping carts - especially when the shopping carts are filled with, say, 50 2-liter bottles of Sprite and nothing else? I seriously saw an elderly woman pushing around a shopping cart with enough Sprite to fill a kiddie pool the other day. And what's the deal with people who have two overflowing carts like they're shopping for the end of days? Last time I checked there was no major natural disaster. It's like, how do you go about drinking 10 gallons of milk before the expiration date? Please explain your life to me. I am confused.

And then when I check out, I'm the jerk who uses 20 coupons and holds up the line. Meh.

End rant.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mom's Mushroom and Chardonnay Chicken (AKA "Second Date Chicken")

This is the first of many recipes I have "borrowed" (stolen? pilfered? inherited? Yes, let's go with "inherited") from my Mom, the best home cook ever. She has an affinity for certain ingredients; namely boneless skinless chicken breasts, pesto, garlic salt, pastas and rice of all sorts, and pine nuts. She's strange. I'm also strange. But that's neither here nor there. Anyhoo, this recipe is a riff on a basic chicken piccata, and is deceptively easy.  I made this dish for Mike on our second date, and now we're married. I'm not making any promises, ladies! Just sayin', is all. ;)

The ingredients...don't mind the bottled lemon juice and pre-chopped garlic. Yes, Anthony Bourdain would probably sneer, but whatever, I'm all about saving time people! The chicken is missing but um, let's be honest - raw chicken kinda looks grody.
Heat the oil, and carefully place the breaded chicken breasts in the pan.
Once they start getting brown, flip them.

Let them brown up on the other side...
...then remove to a plate.
Drain the oil. Don't worry if there is still some nasty breading bits in there - it adds flavor!

Pour in the lemon juice and wine (don't freak out if it steams and bubbles like crazy), add the mushrooms and garlic. Taste the sauce - it may need a little salt.
Place the chicken in top, add the capers, and simmer covered over low heat until mushrooms are cooked.

Mom's Mushroom and Chardonnay Chicken

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup white wine, preferably Chardonnay
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Cut chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, to end up with double the amount of chicken breast pieces (this is easier to do if chicken is semi-frozen). Chicken should be 1/2" thick - if needed, cover with plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or mallet to make chicken breasts thinner.

In a large skillet, add 1/4" of oil and heat on medium high. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Toss dry ingredients with chicken breasts until well coated. Add chicken and pan fry until golden brown.

Drain the oil, add the wine, lemon juice, mushrooms, and garlic. Simmer on low heat, covered, until mushrooms are cooked. Garnish with capers.

Note: I like to serve with either steamed broccoli or asparagus, and chicken flavored Rice a Roni. That's right, I said Rice a Roni - it's the San Francisco treat! Besides - here's a tip - add an extra 1/2 cup of regular uncooked long grain rice, and an extra cup of water to the Rice a Roni. Cook as directed and pretend it's your own rice creation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Howdy! An Introduction.

Hi. I'm Rachel. Welcome to my blog! 

I'll be posting on various and sundry topics, mostly food related. It's a hobby of mine to collect recipes to try - I'll share the wins and epic fails as I trudge along. Recipes will be posted or at least linked, unless they come directly from a book or other published media (I'm not trying to have Bon Appetit send me a cease and desist order anytime soon). Plus, there's this thing called Google, it's kinda awesome, so if you want to find a recipe, have at it.

As for the title of this blog, Diet Starts Monday!, it has been a rallying cry of sorts for basically my entire chubby life. I spend a fair amount of time justifying having eaten an entire wedge of Trader Joe's double cream Gouda with a freshly baked French baguette for dinner. Or a combo meal #1 from Chick-fil-A. Such is life - don't worry, the Diet Starts Monday!