Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thai Meatloaf

This is probably one of the weirdest things I've ever made.  MJ loved it.  I'm going to tell you what I did, and then tell you what you shouldn't do.

What I did:
  1. Cook 4oz of spaghetti.  Drain and add 1 tsp oil. 
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay spaghetti pieces out in a flat, unclumped manner.  This is a pain and takes forever.  Especially if you first take the time to lay out your spaghetti on the baking DISH instead of the TRAY and then have to move all the spaghetti and do it again.
  3. Preheat oven.
  4. Cook sliced bella mushrooms for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  5. In a bowl, mix meat**, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp ginger, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1 egg, 2 tbsp water, and minced cilantro.  Then add 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs.
    • **The recipe called for ground pork.  We don't eat pork, so I used ground turkey.
  6. Fold in mushrooms
    • I asked MJ to do this step as I was fixing my spaghetti.  He was completely perplexed by my use of the word "fold" since there was no laundry to be seen.  I corrected myself and said "mix" and he then understood.
  7. Put meat mixture into a 9 x 5 baking DISH.
  8. Put both the dishes in the oven - the meat on top and the noodles on bottom. 
  9. Bake 20 - 25 minutes "do not over bake."
  10. Cut into 4 pieces and serve with baked noodles on the side.  Top with carrots and green onions.

What you should do:
  1. Completely ignore steps 1 and 2. This hard, baked spaghetti was awful and flavorless and we had no idea how to eat it. Real spaghetti or just some brown rice or any Asian style side dish would have been much better.
  2. Bake the heck out of the meatloaf. After 25 minutes my loaf was completely raw. I ended up flipping the dish so it baked through on each side and probably kept it in the oven for 45 minutes. Maybe use a dark coated loaf pan instead.
The good news: MJ loved this dish and it was really pretty. He said it was delicious and had great flavor. I, however, was so turned off by the baked noodles and frustrated by the amount of time it was in the oven that I refuse to make this meal again. However, I did tell MJ that I'm more than willing to try this recipe again, but making meatballs instead of meatloaf. I'll blog about that when I do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The night I vacuumed a plate

Last night was supposed to be an easy, yummy dinner.

We got whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joes, chopped up some fresh veggies.  We chose onions, mushrooms and green peppers. Then we added sauce and cheese to our liking (I like a little sauce and a lot of cheese, MJ likes a lot of sauce and a little cheese) and baked our own pizzas for 8 minutes.  Really, only 8 minutes.  That's all it needs!

Here is our delicious pizza:
Can you guess which side is mine?

And then, right when you're about to eat, after you've already served MJ his slice and you're pulling your perfect, personalized slice off the tray, your plate will go crashing down onto the floor and shatter into a kajillion-billion pieces all over your kitchen. 

The good news: no pizza was harmed in the process.  Nor humans.

I looked down at my feet, surrounded by the zillion-trillion pieces of plate and sighed.  And then I crunched across the kitchen (don't worry mom, I was wearing shoes!), got a new plate, served myself a perfect, personalized slice, and crunched my way over to the table, where I joined MJ for pizza. 

After dinner we did the only thing you can do when faced with a gazillion-million pieces covering your floor: we vacuumed the plate.  I first picked up the bigger pieces and when vacuumed the small, tiny, and microscopic sized pieces.  Then MJ swiffered and vacuumed again to make sure we got it all.  This is also how I know he loves me. 

A word to the wise: do not drop a Corelle plate.  It will shatter.  Into a gagillion-fantillion pieces.

At least the pizza was good.  Rest In Pieces, plate.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Seconds? How about Thirds!

Are you ready for a delicious meal?  This might be the most delicious meal I have blogged about in recent history.  Definitely going into the "favorite meals" page. 

Apricot-Glazed Asian Stir Fry with Cellophane Noodles
First, you're going to need to find cellophane noodles, aka "bean thread noodles."  I was disappointed to find that my local trader joes did not carry these noodles, so we were on a hunt to find them.  Last night I asked MJ to check with Whole Foods to see if they carried them.
I assumed MJ would look online.  Instead, I heard the following:

"Hi, I was wondering if you carried cellophane noodles?"
"Cellophane noodles."
(louder) "Cellophane noodles."
"Right, cellophane noodles."
"Yes, I'm looking for cellophane noodles."
(louder) "Cellophane noodles."
"Cell. O. Phane. Noodles!"
"Cellophane noodles!"
"You do?"
"Great!  Where are they in the store?"
"International aisle?  Okay thanks."

...and that's how I know MJ loves me.

As MJ went off to the store to get the Cell. O. Phane. Noodles! in the International Aisle, I started preparing dinner.

  1. Soak cellophane noodles in hot water for 10 minutes.  This can be just hot water from the sink -doesn't have to be boiling or anything.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Chop a white onion. (1/2 cup)
  3. Add 1 tsp safflower oil to a large wok/skillet.  Put on medium/high heat. 
  4. Add 2 gloved minced garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger, and your half cup chopped onions.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add chopped chicken.  The recipe calls for scallops, but MJ is allergic.  You could probably also use shrimp or beef.  We/I chose chicken.  Cook about 3 minutes until no longer pink.
  6. Mix 1.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce with 1/2 low sugar apricot preserves.  Pour in skillet, bringing to a simmer.
  7. Now, the recipe didn't tell me to do this, but I did it anyway and you should too:  Add cellophane noodles to skillet.
  8. (Optional) Steam some snowpeas. You can use fresh or frozen snowpeas. We like our cooked so I steamed them first.  Throw the snowpeas into the skillet.  Cook 30 seconds.
  9. Serve. 
  10. Eat. 
  11. Eat some more.

I loved this meal.  So did MJ.  I was happy when he went for seconds.  I was thrilled when he went for thirds!  And we still had some left over for me to take for lunch.  This meal was simple and easy and delicious. Will definitely be making this one again!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baked Burritos

You can probably tell from my recent blog posts that we obviously love Mexican food.  Maybe because it's summer and it's easy to make light, easy Mexican dishes.  Maybe because of the avocados.  Okay, definitely because of the avocados.

Fun fact: did you know that Papa Chickpea HATES avocados?  And Mexican food?  I guess my love of avocados is not genetic.  Momma Chickpea does enjoy avocados, but has avoided cooking meals that include avocados to accommodate Papa Chickpea.  True love, right? 

Tonight's recipe comes from the usual clean eating cookbook, but with obvious Julie Chickpea flair.

  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. Purchase fish and cut it into pieces/small strips.  I opted for the Trader Joe's "mahi mahi pieces" which already comes in tiny pieces because who doesn't love when the food does the work for you?    The mahi mahi was frozen, so I defrosted it as I prepared the rest of the meal.
    • Frequently Asked Question: Do I have to use fish?  Can I use chicken instead?  Can I make it vegetarian?
      • Answer: You can use whatever you want!  Just change your baking time and oven temperature to reflect whatever meat/non-meat you chose!
  3. Cook brown rice. Put in a bowl.
  4. Add to the bowl:
    • corn (less than 1 can)
    • chopped roasted red pepper (1/2 cup)
    • lime juice (1 tbsp)
    • black beans (1 can)
    • chopped onion (small)
    • really you can add anything you like.  In case you haven't picked up on my style yet, it's definitely "make it however you want."  If you don't feel like chopping up all the veggies you could probably just use a mixed chunky salsa of your choice.
  5. Season the fish with lime juice.
  6. Lay out a whole wheat tortilla.  Add 1/2 scoop of the rice/veggie mixture in a line.
  7. Top the rice/veggies with your fish pieces, also in a line. 
  8. Fold the tortilla over the rice/veggie/fish.  Place in a deep baking dish fold-side down.
    • Frequently Asked Question: How many burritos does this make?
      • Answer: When I made this, it made 7 burritos.  You can make more/less depending on the size of the tortillas you use and how much you stuff each one and how much of the rice/veggie mixture you make. 
  9. Top with light Mexican cheese, if desired.
  10. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes.
  11. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
  12. Serve. 
    • Frequently Asked Question: What should I serve it with?
      • Answer: With avocado!  Actually, the recipe calls for serving this with sour cream, but why make a perfectly healthy meal unhealthy?   If you don't like avocado (Papa Chickpea, I'm talking to you!) then I'd suggest some natural salsa as an accompaniment. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Typical Breakfast in the Chickpea/Jordan House

I know what you're thinking...
Julie, you only blog about dinners now.  What gives?  I know you eat other meals.  I miss hearing about those!  Tell me about those!

You're right, reader.  I've been so focused on sharing my clean eating dinners that I've neglected to tell you about the rest of my day.

Lucky for you, I snapped this picture at breakfast:

On the left, we have MJ's oatmeal and a smoothie.  MJ usually eats oatmeal 6 days a week.  Maybe 4 of those days he'll add some fruit - like pieces of bananas or strawberries.  If we have other fruit, like cantaloupe or honeydew he'll eat some pieces on the side. 
To accompany his meal of oats, he'll usually have a big glass of skim milk.  (Is it still called skim milk?  fat free? whatever, that's what I mean.)  Today, however, he made a smoothie for breakfast.  MJ loves smoothies.  He probably makes 6 smoothies a week, usually after getting back from the gym.  I don't like smoothies so I never share with him even though he always makes enough for two glasses.  He then drinks two smoothies.  Remember, he's trying to gain weight so he's allowed to have too many servings of smoothies.

On the right, we have a Go-To Breakfast that we've all grown to know and love.  In case you forgot, this consists of a whole wheat english muffin, toasted, topped with all natural unsalted peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana.  I'm nice and I give the other half of the banana to MJ to put in his oatmeal.

To accompany my go to breakfast, I usually have a half glass of non-fat milk and lately I've added an iced coffee, with only non-fat milk in it (no sugar!). 

So there you have it.  Thanks for joining us for breakfast.  Bring a plate next time and we'll feed you, too!

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