Tag Archives: scallions

WW Chinese Pineapple Chicken

27 Sep

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 015

How many wagons have you fallen off of? Have you fallen off of the sweets wagon? The alcohol wagon? The Friends reruns until 4 a.m. wagon? The “I’m tired of being treated like shit” wagon?

Eventually, we all find ourselves looking at the tread indentations of that friggin’ wagon trailing away from us while mud is kicked up into our faces. We’ve fallen off. A particularly erotic eclair spreads its legs like an elusive crush, or that box o’ See’s candies bares its nickel-shaped nipples like a shameless Brad Pitt seducing Geena Davis; or a bad day requires a friend named Martini and the rest is Absolut history; or a sleepless evening can only be comforted by Ross and Rachel and Phoebe and Janice; or perhaps you don’t know what being treated nicely feels like, so you’ll take shit over nothing.

The expression is an old one (early 1900’s, to be exact), yet we apply it to so many areas in our lives that require restraint, reflection, admission, and determination, at some point. Should you feel misery and self-loathing when you fall off? Fuck no. Get back on when you can and try not to make the same mistake twice, and if you do, get back on and try not to make the same mistake thrice, and if you do, get back on and don’t make the same mistake…..you get it. Keep tryin’, kid. You’ll get there.

I fall off of the Weight Watchers wagon regularly. Do I get pissed at myself? Yeah, but not enough to damage me permanently or make me wallow in a maelstrom of guilt. I’ve learned to enjoy dusting myself off, to be honest. It builds character.

I mention this because this Chinese Pineapple Chicken dish was the first Weight Watchers meal I ever made when finally, at 60 pounds above my “normal” weight, I got on the wagon and actually tried to help myself. I signed up for Weight Watchers, weighed in, went to meetings, stopped being a pussy, started walking a lot, and, fifty pounds later, was healthier.

And I’m glad this dish was the first because it’s excellent. If it sucked, I would have fallen off the wagon within a week. This dish gave me some hope, and it also made me realize that my “cooking” mind was way, way too narrow. There are plenty of ways to enjoy and indulge in good food without feeling after every meal like a goose being prepped for foie gras harvesting.

I got this recipe out of one of the first brochures that I received when I signed up for Weight Watchers. This recipe serves four, and each portion is a 6 on the old WW system (PointPlus and 360° can fuck off non-haltingly).

Note: Asian Black Bean Sauce favors vary, so find one that you dig, and go with it.

Chinese Pineapple Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Cooking Spray

1 bunch of scallions (green onions), trimmed and sliced thinly

1 tbsp. chopped, fresh ginger (do not substitute for this)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

2 cups crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks, packed in juice

1/4 cup Asian black bean sauce

2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I used brown rice in the pictures; it has more fiber, holmes.)

Makin’ It:

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking spray. Add in the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Saute and stir this for about 4 minutes until it’s nice and pungent. Add in the chicken and saute it until it’s browned and almost cooked through, about 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add in the pineapple (juice and all) and the Asian black bean sauce. Stir it all together well. Get this to a simmer, lower the heat to medium, and cook it, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Put 1/2 cup of rice on each plate, and divide the Chinese Pineapple Chicken amongst the four plates. You might get this:

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 010

I put sriracha on the rice because I like spice to kick me in the nuts a bit.

It’s easy, fantastically tasty, and a good place to learn how to stay on the wagon.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

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Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

24 Jul

Garlic Chicken 022

Somewhere along the line, and I am thinking Emeril had a lot to do with this, people started going crazy with the garlic. I mention Emeril because every time he would add garlic to a recipe he was preparing, people started cheering in a “you shouldn’t do that, but fuck yeah” sort of way. In other words, it seemed that adding excess garlic to a dish became the equivalent of a Jagermeister shot at last call.

About 3 hours north of us in Gilroy, California, there is a garlic festival every year which draws thousands of people who get to sample everything from garlic bread to garlic ice cream. The health benefits of garlic have made headlines throughout the years as well. In an excellent memoir called Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, the two centenarian African-American women attest to eating a chopped raw garlic clove and cod liver oil every morning, which was one of their secrets to longevity.

The Stinking Rose is a restaurant to which I have been both in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, and they specialize in festooning almost every dish with garlic. When you arrive, a jar of spreadable garlic awaits you on the table and the saturation just mounts from there: 40 Clove Chicken, Gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce, garlic fish and chips, and the obligatory garlic ice cream which, for me, works only as a novelty. When my wife and I went there for dinner some years ago, people nosed us for days afterward and seemed to pirouette away from us when we bid them “HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIiiiiiii” in an”H” heavy, breathy voice. I chased them and my wife shook her head at me.

This garlic chicken recipe is garlicky, of course, but not to a level leading to the ostacization we experienced. I gleaned this from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and didn’t really mess with it much because it’s solid.  In fact, a portion of this with a 1/2 cup o’ rice is a 6 on the Old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off interminably). This is quick-to-make, filling, light, and will give you a garlic fix should you need one.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Makes 4 Servings

Old Weight Watchers Value: 6

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup water

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. oil

10 green onions, sliced into 1″ pieces

1 cup sliced mushrooms

12 cloves garlic (or more), peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (1/2 of a can drained)

2 cups hot cooked rice

Makin’ It:

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces (1/2″) and put them in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Pour this over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and set it aside for later.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook them for 2 minutes or so, until they’re tender. Remove these vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.

Now add the chicken to the skillet, cooking and stirring until it’s no longer pink, about 4 minutes or so. Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, give a quick stir to that reserved marinade (so the cornstarch doesn’t settle at the bottom), and pour it into the center of the skillet. Cook this until it’s thickened and bubbly (like Kim Kardashian), and then push the chicken back into the center and mix it all together. Return all of the veggies to the skillet and add the water chestnuts, too. Cook and stir this for a few minutes more and serve with rice.

Garlic Chicken 011

You can add cashews, too, but the WW points value will go up, of course. Piece of cake.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Easy Coconut Chicken Curry

15 Nov

Asian food has fascinated me since my twenties.  Before then, I had had hardly any because my mom just didn’t make it.  So through the years, I have gleaned and stolen and learned what I could to get a working knowledge of Asian food, particularly Thai food, because I love the kick-in-the-groin-with-passion-and-with-loud-exotic-noises spices that are used.  Yan Can Cook?  Goooooood.  Bourdain in Asia 15,000 times?  Goooooood.  Where I live in bible-thumping cowboy country?  Not so good.

This is a Weight Watchers recipe on the old points system.  It’s in one of the little booklets they gave me when I joined, the doughy and pastey bastard that I was…and still am when I don’t watch it.

I tried to find this recipe online, but the Weight Watcher brownshirts have forbidden it; they have even threatened to hunt me down and glaze me with gravy and Crisco, but that’s another story.

There are variations if you look hard enough, but you have this blog, and I love to write recipes, and you don’t even need the booklet, so what’s stopping you?  Nothing.

The old WW points value is a 5 without the rice.  Add a 1/2 cup of rice, which you should, and add 2 more points.  The serving is substantially filling, and incredibly flavorful, even for a WW dish.  If you want to say “Screw you, Weight Watchers!” use regular coconut milk instead of the light version.

Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 pound of boneless chicken (I use breast, but thighs work too), cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 tsp. salt

Cooking spray (weight conscious cooking) or oil (I’m impervious cooking)

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (if you don’t like bell pepper, substitute a thinly sliced onion for the effect)

1 bunch scallions, sliced

3 tsp. Red Thai Curry paste

2 tsp. sugar

1 can (14 oz.) light or reduced fat coconut milk (regular if you want)

1 head cauliflower, core removed and broken into florets

3 or 4 carrots, skinned, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (half-moons, dude)

Black pepper to taste

Sliced fresh basil leaves

Makin’ It

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the salt…pepper is good too.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add the spray or oil, and cook the chicken pieces until brown, 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove this from the skillet and set aside for a bit.

Re-spray or re-oil the pan and add the bell pepper and scallions.  Cook this over medium high heat for about three minutes.

Add in the sugar and the curry paste; mix it up a bit so the paste is broken down and mixed with everything, somewhat.

Then add the coconut milk, mix well, and add the cauliflower florets and carrots.  Mix it all up, bring it to a simmer, cover it, lower the heat to medium low, and cook it for about 7 minutes.

Add in the reserved chicken, and let it cook another 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender or to your liking.

To serve, divide it between 4 plates with 1/2 cup of rice on each one (alternatively, make two dinners and two lunches).

Top with torn fresh basil leaves and you’ll get this:

I put sriracha sauce on it, as you can see, because I’m ghetto like that.  With the rice, this is 7 points on old Weight Watchers.

If you like crunch, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, get some Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.  For whatever reason, curry and these chips go together.  It also is one of the reasons I ended up in Weight Watchers, but once in a while, I have to reminisce about those bad romances.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.