Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pork and Pineapple Skewers

Without looking at the weather for the week, I, naturally, planned a lot of grilled items for dinner. I'm not gonna lie, as soon as it reaches 60 degrees, we grill (or fire up the smoker) more than anything else. So, having made a few adjustments for the past few days due to mother nature's crazy tricks (50 degrees the day after it was 70 degrees... and then 60 today and 82 tomorrow.. come on now! I know mother nature is getting up there, but shouldn't she have gone through menopause by now. These hot and cold flashes need to stop!)  it's finally warm enough to get grilling again. So, I decided on pork and pineapple skewers. I found this scrumptous sounding marinade on iamahoneybee's blog that included pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and a hint of spice. Perfect for us since Emily isn't into the hardcore spices yet. She is only 15 months old, after all, but a little spice, she can surprisingly handle. I let the pork marinate for about 4 hours before skewering it all up. I used zucchini and peppers, omitting the mushrooms because I didn't have any. I also made a few other changes based on what I had on hand.

After marinating the pork, I made some rice to let it cool, and made some citrus fried rice to go along side. It was the perfect, light dinner!

Pork and Pineapple Skewers
2 1" thick boneless pork loin chops
1 cup pineapple, cut into 1" cubes
1 red pepper, cut into 1"x1" pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4" rounds

1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c pineapple juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 c diced pineapple
1 tsp sweet chili sauce
1 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper

I had bought only fresh pineapple, so I didn't have any juice on hand. My pineapple happened to be quite juicy, however, so before making the marinade, I used the back of a spoon to smash the diced pineapple up a bit, to release some of the juices. It didn't make 1/4 c, but it seemed to work well enough. Also, the recipe called for chili garlic sauce, but I opted for Frank's Sweet Chili  instead, for Emily's sake. I don't think her poor little system could handle more garlic or the spice a chili garlic sauce brings.

So, combine all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl or gallon bag. Cut your pork chops into 1" cubes and add to the bowl/bag. Stir/shake up to coat each piece and let marinate for at least an hour.  Meanwhile, soak some skewers in water for the hour as well, so they don't burn on the grill. When you're ready, set up a little station and skewer up the pork, pineapple and veggies.

Citrus Fried Rice

This is great if you have leftover plain rice, because you won't have to cook any the day of. If no leftover, boil rice ahead of time and let it cool/chill so it becomes hard. This way your fried rice doesn't become mushy!

1/2 T olive oil
1 c cooked rice
1 small carrot, finely grated
1 T orange juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 green onions, chopped

Heat oil in pan. Add rice, stirring to break up any large chunks. Add oj, garlic, onion, carrot. Cook until all is hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onion before serving.

Had I thought about it ahead of time, I would have fine chopped some onion and celery and sauteed them off before adding the rice to the pan. Unfortunatley, this was an after thought. Next time!

Well, there you have it. A simple, light dinner. 2 skewers as pictured come in at 220 calories (110 per skewer) , and one 1/2 c serving of rice comes in at 132 for a dinner of 352 calories!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Brie and Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breast with Brown Buttered Noodlesand Lima Beans

I have recently come to the conclusion that you really can't go wrong with Brie. It has a great flavor that is easily complemented, and when you melt it down, it becomes this creamy, smooth, yet gooey mouthful of bliss. Ok, that may be a little extreme, but come on, it really is delicious!

I had originally decided on just a simple brie stuffed chicken breast, but Cal threw me a curveball by recommending some pepperoni. So, I lightly pounded my chicken breast, laid down some dijon mustard, brie and pepperoni and rolled it on up. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper and tossed them into the oven. While they cooked, I whipped up some brown buttered egg noodles and lima beans. Cal  is a master when it comes to sauces, and proved it once again with a spicy aioli. 

The meal itself practically melted in my mouth. Another win in the kitchen for me. Especially since it comes in at only 365 calories!

Brie and Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices pizza pepperoni OR 3 slices sandwich pepperoni
2 oz brie cheese, cut into 4 slices
2 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Lightly pound out chicken so that it will be rollable. Paint one side of breast with mustard, then layer on pepperoni and brie. Roll and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until your chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Spicy Aioli

1/4 c mayonaise
2 T hot sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients, whisking until smooth. Serve with chicken.

Brown Buttered Noodles
1 cup egg noodles, dry
1/4 c salted butter

Cook noodles according to package directions. Melt butter in a pot, allowing it to brown. For those who may have not browned butter before, let it melt over medium high heat until it begins to foam. Continue to cook over medium heat until foaming stops and the butter shows brown specks. Pour over cooked noodles.

Lima Beans

1 c lima beans (I use frozen)
1 T butter
Salt and pepper

Boil beans in water and 1T butter. Drain, toss with salt and pepper.