Food Tasting

The best thing about having a wedding – aside from marrying the most awesome guy in the world – is free food tasting! Many places charge for tasting, but ours was included in the package. Woot woot!

Kevin and I got to try two salmon dishes, two chicken dishes, and a vegan dish, along with six appetizers during a sampling session at our wedding venue last week.

It was a tough decision but we picked our favorites. I hope our guests will enjoy our menu selections!

Recovery Food: California Chicken Cafe

Currently recovering from the two days of pure Christmas dinner gluttony (first night at home and the second night with my fiancé’s family) with simpler meals.  The dinners were fabulous but it’s time for me to go back to my regular eating routine. Here’s today lunch, enjoyed after working out with my sister: a side salad, a bowl of vegetable soup, and chicken pasta salad from California Chicken Cafe.

By the way, there’s a saying in Japan that goes something like this: Women are like Christmas cakes – they go stale after 25.  This is completely ridiculous. evil On a contrary, I think we women are like fine wine and we get better and better with age.  So, all the ladies out there — forget the backward thinking and keep on shining!

Chicken Dish for the Tired Soul: Chicken Pancake

I’ve been sick for the last three days, and today was the first day that I was actually able to peel myself off from the bed and stay up for more than three hours. It truly sucks to be sick, especially on a long, holiday weekend … but I suppose I’d much rather take an extra day to recover than miss another day of work!

While I was tossing and turning in bed from the flu, all I could think about was a greasy chicken from KFC. I don’t usually eat KFC (I allow myself one visit a year) or fried chicken in general, but that was all I can think about for the last several days. Oh, and eggs. It’s pretty strange what your body craves when it’s out of whack (perhaps I was in the need of protein). Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have the energy to drive to the nearest KFC so I decided to satisfy my chicken craving by making a simple dish my mother used to make for me as a child. It’s a cross between a pancake and a frittata … and super delicious!

Special thanks to my fiancé for coming by last night to make me the world’s best congee and left me chicken breasts for me to use for this dish.

Chicken Pancake Still searching for a better name for the dish 🙂
(1 serving)

Ingredients:
4 – 6 oz skinless chicken breast, diced
2 eggs
5 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 cup water
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Instruction:

Dice the chicken breast into small pieces. Mix the chicken, 3 chopped scallions, eggs, all-purpose flour, and water in a bowl, until the flour is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the skillet on a medium heat and grease it with olive oil. Pour the mixture and cook one side for about 7 minutes, until it is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for about 5-7 minutes, until the chicken pieces are all cooked.

Sprinkle some scallion on top. Serve with some ketchup.

Healthier Alternative: Yogurt Chicken Salad in Pita

I am still not a huge fan of chicken but I do enjoy poached chicken. I like the texture of the plump and bouncy meat only pouching can bring. I usually keep the stock and use it for other dishes, like nabe, a Japanese hot pot, or a soup for Chicken and Dumplings for the extra layer of flavor. My new favorite dish using the shredded boiled chicken is a simple chicken salad that I use as a base for pasta salad or a pita sandwich, shown here. Instead of mayonnaise, I use plain yogurt that I make at home, so this recipe is a healthier alternative to a higher calorie / fat cousin. If you don’t make homemade yogurt, a regular plain kind will definitely do the job, as long as you don’t get the sweetened ones … that would be pretty yucky!

Yogurt Chicken Salad in Pita Bread (serves 4)

4 whole wheat pita
16 oz. Chicken breast, poached and shredded
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch green onion (chopped)
6 tablespoons plain yogurt (more, if you like the dressing drenched, like me) 🙂
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoon rice vinegar (more if you like it tangier)
1 teaspoon ketchup
Parsley, handful, chopped
Salt and pepper
Arugula, handful

Boil the chicken in hot water until fully cooked (I don’t season mine or add vegetable because I like to use the reserve for other dishes and don’t want an overwhelming flavor. However, a small handful of peppercorn can add a real nice flavor to the chicken).

While the chicken is cooking, put sliced / chopped the green onion, regular onion, and parsley in a bowl. In the same bowl, add the dressing by combining yogurt, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, ketchup, and salt and pepper, and mix well.

Take the chicken out of the hot water, pad the meat dry with paper towel, and shred the meat into small pieces using two forks. While the chicken is still warm, add it to the bowl with the vegetable and the dressing and mix well. It is probably best to let it sit for about an hour for all the flavors to come together but you can certainly enjoy it immediately.

Put the chicken salad in the pita bread that is cut in half. Add some arugula for extra flavor and crunch. Enjoy by putting a few drops of Tabasco if you like some heat!

For Pasta Salad: Add 2 cups of cooked pasta (short pastas like Rigatoni or Farfalle work best) to the chicken salad. Add more dressing, if needed.

Saturday Night Dinner for Two for Under $15!

chickenMy boyfriend decided to reduce his red meat intake to just once a week. As much as I want to support his commitment to better health, a part of me craves more beef now, knowing that I can’t have it as much when I’m around him. I’m usually good at making shrimp or other dishes that we can both be happy with, but for some unexplainable reason, my cow craving skyrocketed to another universe last night and I could no longer settle on anything else but a juicy piece of Rib Eye steak!

We both agreed that we wanted to keep the dinner fairly light so we decided to make a huge plate of salad with our choice of protein. I selected the boneless Rib Eye steak and he got a pack of chicken tenders at Trader Joe’s. The old us would have made it easy on ourselves and just gone to a restaurant, but we’ve become a little more cost-conscious about our meals in the last few weeks, since I moved into a new apartment. I guess I can say that the good old days of dining out every night of the week has officially come to an end, but it doesn’t hurt that the kitchen here is so adorable and I want to spend as much time as I possible can.

steak saladI took the Rib Eye steak and grilled to a prefect medium rare, and poured the balsamic reduction sauce I made with garlic, shallots, red wine and balsamic vinegar. I sprinkled the leftover feta cheese on top and made a satisfying plate of arugula salad that can rival any overpriced restaurant dish.

My boyfriend took the chicken tenders, seasoned them with salt and pepper and pan-fried them with a little bit of olive oil. He deglazed the pan with garlic, shallots, and capers to make this amazingly aromatic sauce. Instead of making it a chicken salad, he ate the salad separately as a side dish. (The dish pictured on top.)

Speaking of saving money, the total for both of our meals, plus a bottle of wine, came to $14.79, or $7.49 per person. I would have spent that much on a glass of wine alone had we gone out to eat! And this, all without having to put on a makeup or look for a parking space! This is my definition of a perfect Saturday night dinner at home with the loved one. 🙂