Chow Mein – Sort of

Well, it’s a cold, rainy, breezy day. Am at work and thinking, ” Haven’t made chow mein for awhile, and it would taste pretty good tonight.” So off I go to the grocery store after work. Pick up the ingredients, pause at the celery and think that I have plenty at home, so don’t get it. There’s no bok choy, so I substitute, napa cabbage figuring that will work.

I get home and have to finish cleaning the kitchen before I cook (not a good start). And then there’s no celery. My husband ate it earlier! That set me off a bit. So I get in the car and head to town. (We live in a rural area, and town is a 5 mile drive). At the store the celery is in such poor shape, I wouldn’t take it if they paid me let alone being asked to pay for it. So I go home and finish the chow mein sans celery. Added another half onion and more cabbage, but it’s not quite the same. But in the end, it tasted pretty good.

Anyway, here’s my chow mein recipe. I got it from a blend of what my mother makes and what my husband’s sister made once when she was out here. I call it chow mein… not sure the Chinese would accept it, but we like it and that’s what we call it.

Chow Mein
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cut up (I’ve used pork loin and round steak also)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
4-5 carrots, sliced
1 head bok choy, chopped (I’ve used napa cabbage, broccoli, or snow peas)
2 cans bean sprouts
1 can water chestnuts
8 oz. carton mushrooms, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch, heaping
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water (may need more)
2 cups brown rice, cooked in 4 cups water
Dried chow mein noodles, if desired

Directions:
1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive oil in large pan on medium high. Add garlic, red pepper, ginger and sesame oil. Sauté 30 seconds or so.
3. Add chicken. Cook until chicken is done and lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
4. Add 2nd tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and sauté 3-5 minutes.
5. Add broth and heat mixture until it is simmering. Add bean sprouts and water chestnuts. Heat until simmering.
6. Add bok choy and cook until bok choy is almost done.
7. Add chicken back.
8. Combine cornstarch, soy sauce and 1/2 cup cold water. Add to chow mein and cook until thickened. Add more water if you feel the mixture is too thick.
9. Serve over rice and top with chow mein noodles if desired.

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Breakfast Smoothie

Well, was going to work today and as I was walking out the door, got a phone call from client cancelling the visit until later. No complaints from me… emailed my boss and said I was cancelling work today and  taking a vacation day :-). So thought I’d do a post this morning.

I’m a big fan of eating a good breakfast no matter what time you have to get up. I have several items I like to rotate through for breakfast — one of my favorites is to make a smoothie. I’ve made a variety of smoothies, depending on what’s in the house and what I feel like having. I now have a smoothie I really like for now based on a couple recipes on the Internet and ideas from friends and family. Here is my current favorite smoothie to enjoy 🙂

Breakfast Smoothie

1 Tbsp wheat germ
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (I buy whole flax and grind it in an old coffee grinder I no longer use)
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 Tbsp whey powder
1.5 Tbsp psyllium powder (great source of fiber & gels the smoothie a bit)
1/2 cup frozen fruit (I’m into 1/2 blueberries & 1/2 raspberries at the moment)
1 small banana (if not available, just add another 1/2 cup frozen fruit)
1/2 cup water
1/2 juice (have used orange, grape, grapefruit, pomegranate, & cherry so far)
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (this is really a matter of taste and optional… i just like cinnamon in lots of stuff)

Mix all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. I actually use my trusty immersion blender and mix it in a 3 cup container. I LOVE my immersion blender (almost as much as I love my 500 GB small external hard drive — which is another post some day).

This smoothie keeps me filled up until past noon easily. Have put a small container of vanilla/plain Greek Yogurt in for the 1/2 cup water which is also good. So what’s your favorite smoothie?

Garlic Roasted Dill Potatoes

Happy Easter to all….. had an enjoyable time at our niece’s place. Brought my “famous” garlic roasted dill potatoes, and they were a hit as always. Got the recipe several years ago when our church prepared a Seder meal to celebrate Easter/passover. It was my dish to prepare for the feast – not sure where it came from. Of course,  couldn’t just leave it, so put my own twist on it… the main change being the use of olive oil/butter instead of margarine. I just cannot consider margarine a food. And this change made a huge difference. Adjusted the amount of fat used (decreased) and also changed seasonings. Here’s the recipe as I use it:

Garlic Roasted Dill Potatoes
5 lbs. new potatoes cut in quarters
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. dill weed
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 large garlic bulb – peel and separate cloves, cut in half if large.

Preheat oven to 375

Mix all ingredients in a large roaster pan. Roast 2.5-3 hrs. Potatoes should be starting to turn brown.

Green Tea Poached Salmon

Well, decided to try a blog with Word Press and see how it went for me. So far I like some of the options here better than Blogspot.

It’s Easter weekend and getting together with family for food, conversation, and fun. Since we are not hosting the event, it means I can lie low and relax. With nothing major in my kitchen tomorrow (except my dish to bring), decided to try a new salmon recipe I found in my latest issue of Clean Eating — Green Tea Poached Salmon. It was absolutely awesome. Tried to find an online version of the recipe to link, but can’t locate one. It’s from Claire Robinson who hosts “5 Ingredient Fix,” but didn’t see this recipe in her list.

Anyway, the recipe has salmon poached in a liquid of green tea, ginger, honey, and lime. Also a bit of salt and peppercorns for some additional seasoning. It went over great at the supper table with not a bit left over. Served it with roasted asparagus.

This recipe is so good, I didn’t even have the desire to change one thing on it!!

UPDATE: Decided to put this recipe down since I “lost” the magazine for awhile and was frantic when I couldn’t find this recipe… so here it is:

Green Tea Poached Salmon

2 limes, halved
4 Tbsp honey
1 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (don’t skimp on this!)
4 Tbsp loose-leaf green tea, put in an infuser or cheesecloth or use 6 green tea bags (this last is definitely easier)
4 6-oz salmon fillets, skin and bones removed (I just bought a couple lbs of salmon and cut it up in serving pieces – wild-caught if possible)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Instructions:
1.  Put 6-7 cups water in a straight sided skillet or pot with lid.
2.  Add 3 lime halves after squeezing the juice into the water.
3.  Add 3 Tpsp honey, ginger, salt and peppercorns.
4.  Bring liquid to boil, reduce to simmer, cover & cook 10 minutes to infuse water with flavor. Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and set aside.
5.  Remove skillter from heat and add tea, allowing to brew for about 5 minutes. (Taste the broth/liquid at this point — it is truly a delightful flavor experience!)
6.  Put skillet back on heat and slide salmon into the liquid. Poach for 7-8 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
7.  While tea is brewing in broth, put the 1/2 cup reserved liquid in a small pot along with 1 Tbsp honey, juice and zest of remaining lime half. Simmer until this is reducted by 1/2 and thickens slightly. This takaes about 10 minutes for me. Plan accordingly.
8. Remove salmon from cooking liquid and plate. Drizzle with the reduced sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Enjoy and maybe you’ll have enough for leftovers… I never do :-(.