Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

After all the recent sweet and caloric posts, I thought I’d share a savory, light, healthy option. Serve it without the rice, and you’ve got a delicious, low carb entree–perfect for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

This is a copycat recipe for a dish served at P.F. Chang’s that I love.  There are so many items on their menu that I love to indulge in–Mongolian Beef, Crispy Honey Shrimp, Crab Wontons, Asian Lettuce Wraps, the Great Wall of Chocolate…the list goes on and on.

ginger-chicken

Ginger Chicken and Broccoli
by Chef Robert Nance of of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
Recipe on mysweetconnection.com

Yield: 3-4 Servings

Marinade for Chicken Slices:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
2 eggs
2 T cornstarch
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Sauce:
1/2 c soy sauce (Note: I used low sodium soy sauce)
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sugar
(Note: I used Splenda)
1/2 c chicken stock

Vegetables & Aromatics:
2 T minced ginger
2 T minced scallions
1 T minced garlic
1/2 pound broccoli, trimmed to 2″ – 3″ florets

Finishing Touches:
4 T (1/4 c) cornstarch
1/2 c water
1 tsp Pure Sesame Oil

Procedure:
Combine marinade ingredients and let chicken slices marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

In a seasoned wok or skillet place 1 ½ pints of chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

Carefully place marinated chicken slices into the simmering liquid. Carefully separate with a pair of chop sticks to cook evenly about 2/3 of the way (approx. 2-3 minutes).

Remove chicken from liquid and drain.

At this point you can either cook the broccoli until “tender crisp” in the liquid you cooked the chicken in, or steam the broccoli until “tender crisp” in a steamer. (Note: I steamed the broccoli in my fabulous Pampered Chef Microwave Steamer).

Assemble cooked broccoli in a ring pattern onto your serving plate. Keep warm.

Combine sauce ingredients, and set aside.

Drain liquid from wok, clean thoroughly and heat 3 T. of vegetable oil in the bottom.

Stir-fry the ginger scallions and garlic on medium heat until the flavors and aromas are released, about 5 to 8 seconds.

Add sauce to ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Add the cooked chicken back in while stirring and cooking until tender and cooked through about 2-3 minutes. *Always use an internal thermometer to attain a temperature of 165 F° and higher for poultry.

While sauce is simmering, combine cornstarch and water. Add half of the cornstarch mixture to the sauce to thicken. Cook briefly and check consistency. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon. You can add more cornstarch mixture is needed.

Taste sauce and adjust seasonings if needed.

Drizzle with sesame oil and pour chicken with sauce into the center of the broccoli ring.

Serve with steamed white or brown rice or noodles.

Bruschetta Linguine

Okay, so I really don’t know what to call this dish.

“Bruschetta Linguine” will work, I think.

And, sorry, but this is going to be one of the recipes that doesn’t offer specific measurements. Pretty much everything is “to taste.”

This is a dish that I enjoyed countless times this summer. I love that it is so fresh, so light, so healthy, so easy, and so fast!!! AND it’s scalable. I can easily prepare it for one, for two, or for many more!

Before I share the recipe, I need to endorse Dreamfields pasta. This pasta has changed my life! In my attempts to try to choose “good carbs,” I’ve tried so many brands of whole grain and whole wheat pastas, and I’ve never been impressed. Actually, I’ve been quite disappointed. My experience has been that most turn out mushy and/or grainy. For one who has texture issues, this is a deal breaker.

Fortunately, my husband discovered the Dreamfileds brand about a year ago and we haven’t looked back since. Other pastas, even the whole grain ones, weren’t helping me out on the scale the following morning. Quite the contrary! Dreamfields and my scale are happily compatible, though!

Not only does my waistline appreciate the consideration, but my tastebuds do, as well! YUMMY!

So, if you’re wanting to minimize your carb intake AND not sacrifice taste, this is the pasta for you!

Don’t see it on your favorite grocer’s shelves? No worries! Amazon will be happy to deliver some to your door. Can’t beat that!

Bruschetta Linguine

Linguine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tomatoes, fresh & diced
Basil, fresh
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
Parmiggiano Reggiano

Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.

Thoroughly cook chicken breast in a little olive oil. Slice cooked breast.

Dice fresh tomatoes and chiffonade basil.

Toss linguine, oil, tomatoes, and basil together. Place chicken on top of pasta. Liberally grate fresh Parmiggiano Reggiano over the entire dish.

Buon appetito!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

As of late, I’ve been trying to lower my postpartum spectacular carb intake.

Several years ago, I read The South Beach Diet, and I decided to give it a whirl. Those first two weeks of phase one were really tough on me, but I survived. I’m such a picky eater (I think it mostly stems from a texture aversion to a whole of foods) that I was even more limited than most on what I was willing and allowed to eat during Phase 1. My morning weigh-ins ultimately gave me the incentive I needed to persevere, though. Once I transitioned into Phase 2 (in which you’re allowed to introduce “good carbs” and “good fats” back into your diet), it got a lot easier.

Anyhow, after reading the book, I learned that sweet potatos actually have a lower glycemic count than your run of the mill white potato. Counterintuitive? Tell me about it!

And the great news? I like them SOOOOO much more than traditional french fries. I think the flavor is amazing!

A baby shower that my mom and sisters hosted for me earlier this year took place at a local bed and breakfast. At the luncheon, sweet potato fries were served, and I couldn’t get enough! YUM! (I realize that the intense craving may have been slightly tied to simply being pregnant, but I even crave them now–several months after delivery). I’ve been on the hunt for a good recipe ever since.

Special thanks to my friend, ReBecca, for pointing out to me that a great recipe was under my nose the entire time–in one my cookbooks!

South Beach Diet Baked Sweet Potato Fries
from The South Beach Diet: Quick & Easy Cookbook, page 282

Sweet potato makes these golden oven fries much healthier than the fried white potatoes we all grew up eating. If you want to add a spicy touch, use Hungarian hot paprika.

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika

Heat oven to 425.

Slice each sweet potato lengthwise into 8 pieces. Toss with oil, salt, and paprika. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on the bottom (about 15 minutes).

Turn slices and bake until bottom is browned and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Notes: I actually cooked mine longer because I like a crispy exterior. I also didn’t measure the ingredients–just mixed till it looked right. I also used Kosher salt instead of table salt because it is more forgiving & I didn’t want these to be too salty.

Yield: 4 servings

Kebabs

Once upon a time, I lived in the D.C. area, which is home to a sea of Kebab restaurants. This recipe is as good as anything I’ve ever tried in all those restaurants. A couple weeks ago, some friends came to visit, and we served these. They were a huge hit with us and with our guests. The marinade is absolutely a winner!!!

On this particular day, we used lamb, chicken, shrimp, red & yellow peppers, squash, zucchini, & mushrooms. After I filled the skewers beyond capacity, the extras went into the grilling basket.

The Overflow

The Overflow

I serve the Kebabs with Mediterranean pitas, Basmati rice, and Tzatziki. Delish!

Kebabs
Recipe from Sara Moulton on the Food Network

1 (2-pound) piece trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup Herb-Garlic Marinade, plus 1/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup, recipe follows
4 to 5 large red bell peppers, cut into 2 by 1 1/2-inch pieces
8 (10-inch) rosemary-branch skewers

In a large heavy-duty plastic sealable bag combine lamb and 3/4 cup marinade and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate lamb, chilled, for at least 4 hours and up to 8.Blanch the bell peppers in a large saucepan of boiling water 30 seconds. Drain peppers in a colander and, while still hot, in a bowl stir together with 1/4 cup marinade. Marinate peppers, covered and chilled, for at least 4 hours and up to 8.

Prepare grill. Soak skewers in warm water 30 minutes.

Drain lamb, discarding marinade. In a sieve set over a bowl drain peppers and reserved bell pepper marinade for basting. Thread 4 pepper pieces and 4 lamb pieces, alternating pepper with lamb, onto each skewer. Kebabs may be assembled 1 hour ahead and chilled, covered.

Cover ends of skewers with aluminum foil so they don’t burn.

Grill kebabs on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, basting with reserved marinade and turning them occasionally, about 12 minutes total for medium-rare meat. (Alternatively, broil kebabs under a preheated broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat about 4 minutes on each side.) Drizzle kebabs with remaining 1/4 cup marinade.

Herb-Garlic Marinade:

6 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup packed tender fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Mince together garlic, thyme sprigs, and rosemary with salt and mash to a coarse paste.In a bowl whisk together garlic paste and remaining ingredients until emulsified. Marinade may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Yield: makes about 2 1/2 cups