Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tarragon Chicken and Tasty Cauliflower

Chicken dishes are probably one of the most searched for online. You can use chicken in so many different ways, and it just so happens to be an excellent lean protein. Well that should come with a disclaimer: chicken without the skin, trimmed of extra fat, is an excellent lean protein. That being said I hardly eat red meat anymore, and with fish being quite pricey, erin and I tend to eat quite a bit of chicken. We are also living with family during our move and chicken is a perfect (low cost) meal when it comes to feeding a group.

As I was performing my "daily recipe website check" and I came upon Tarragon Chicken on After perusing the ingredients and realizing that I had pretty much everything needed to execute, I took it on! The next question is always: what to serve along side... Normally you would want a starch of some sort to pair with dinner, however I wanted to try and keep the meal fairly low-cal and the way I eat my starches is never low-cal. I had a craving for mashed potatoes and I knew that erin wouldn't resist that suggestion. I then remembered a recipe I had seen awhile back that used cauliflower instead of potatoes. Crazy? NO! The orginal recipe I had found used half cauliflower, half potato, however I found a Creamy Cauliflower Puree that seemed to only require Cauliflower, even better! After a quick trip to the store I was ready to cook.

I must say that these were two simple recipes to execute. While I steamed my cauliflower (i doubled that recipe) I was able to trim the chicken and get that cooking. By the time the cauliflower was ready to assemble the chicken was simmering/cooking on its final step. Perfect. I did not add the oil to the cauliflower puree, and I subbed Brommel and Brown for butter. I figure that everyone can add butter/seasoning individually and control their own calorie intake. I also used Fat free sour cream for the chicken and whole grain mustard!

Both dishes were a hit! As you can see above in the pictures I cut the chicken up into smaller pieces (just a little trick I try so that getting 2nd's really just means finishing your 1st) and everyone put tarragon sauce over the puree as well. Reading about Tarragon I was a bit nervous because it mentioned a strong smell of licorice, which I do not care for, however I think the white wine really balanced all the flavors perfectly. The cauliflower was also a bit of a risk because as mentioned in previous blogs erin is a potato lover...but she thought these fed her mashed potato cravings to a tee.

Must try dishes all around. The dinner earned an 8.4 rating from Erin.
We tried to save her Dad enough leftovers...but frankly he didn't see the cauliflower pan before we started as far as he knows he got his share...shhhhh!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy valentine's Day! I hope everyone indulged that sweet tooth, fried finger or take out taste bud that you have been longing to! I plan on taking my valentine to a yummy Sushi resturant tonight, however I couldn't let the holiday pass without a little baking!

My mom bakes the same butter cookies each and every Valentines Day and when I tell you they are to die for...I am not exaggerating! They are completely wonderful. She has made them every year for as long as I can remember. When I moved to NYC I started making them for Erin, however my mom continued to mail them in care packages every year, and this year she delivered them to us in person! Erin and I had to share, but I guess that's for the best seeing how there is a pound of butter in the recipe. Again, not exaggerating.

In my fashion I wanted to attempt to make something festive, yet still healthy. I had stumbled across this recipe awhile back and thought Valentine's day was the perfect holiday to attempt it. These Red Velvet Cupcakes sounded too good to pass by. Now to be fair I have never had real red velvet cake, so I am not sure how these compare. However the red made it festive and the cupcake element made it yummy.

These were super simple to make and although they didn't have a WOW factor for me, they were still good. I have a feeling that the red food coloring is suppose to trick you into thinking they were "red velvet" because to be honest I didn't taste much of a difference from normal cupcakes. I did subsitute splenda for half the sugar, and used completely Fat Free cream cheese for the frosting. I should warn you that after a day or so they tend to harden due to the fact that there is little to no fat in the mix.

Erin decorated each of these will a valentine's candy and gave her rating of 7.4. She claimed that she would have increased the rating had I let her add the whole tube of red dye to the batter :).
That's my Valentine for you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

finding comfort in butternut squash fries

I have been in the process of moving these past few weeks, and of course along with uprooting my life comes alot of changes. I usually crave the routine of eating the same breakfast and lunch and then creating something more interesting when it comes to dinner. I would love coming into work and researching my favorite websites to find my next recipe attempt. Changes has always been difficult for me, however when it comes to food I am always looking for changes and challenges. I love to see old dishes reinvented and new dishes that make me smile. With that said some days you just crave the familiar.

I think that's what makes people head back to comfort foods, because it give you the comfort of the familiar. Especially in a major life change. One of erin's favorite foods is chicken fingers. Its just one of those foods that can be done a million different ways and can cater to anyone's taste buds. When I came across the Hungry Girl Chicken Fingers recipe I knew it was a must try! I must admit I was a bit nervous because although I am a huge fan of Fiber One (the coating for these fingers) erin was not...however she LOVED these. Often when I attempted to make a well known junk food healthy, you could definietly tell the difference (even if it was still yummy) however with this recipie, erin thought, truly stood up well to your typical greasy, fried, chicken fingers!

Of course what goes best with chicken fingers but FRENCH FRIES. I always do the traditional cut up a regular potato (french fry style), spray with Pam, season to taste and bake in the oven...not to bad. I was then introduced to butternut squash fries!! These remind me alot of sweet potato fries, but you are eating squash...and it taste like could you go wrong?? The only change to this recipe is that erin seasons these with a bit of red pepper flakes as well, because I love the combo of hot and sweet. I normally do a mix of both for these meals because erin's not a huge fan of sweet fries.

I am slowly getting back into my routine of searching and cooking. But after a long day of finding my way around a new city/office/gym, it's nice to return to the dishes that deliever no matter where you are!