easy dinner

Totally Necessary

I’ve noticed lately (like within the last two weeks) that when I work out my heart rate is a bit higher than it’s been thus far. I’m guessing that’s the pregnancy stuff. I had the day off and slept in a little bit, then as I was being lazy in bed, cuddling with Bella and Fat Kitty, I got a wicked Charlie Horse in both calves. The left one subsided quickly, the right one crippled me. OUCH! It hurt so bad. It was like my calf muscle just decided to explode. And I felt the effects of it for the rest of the day and it was honestly sore the next day too! 🙁

I’d had plans to run at the gym but after the Charlie Horse I decided not to. I did upper body weights instead and then 2 miles on the elliptical. Calories burned:
gym2

I got home, it wasn’t raining and it was actually kind of sunny out, so Bella and I took a 1 mile walk to enjoy the weather. I burned another 100+ calories on that walk. Burning a lot lately, without even trying. It’s so odd.

For dinner Michael and I went out on a date night. He was craving pizza (as per usual) and I was craving BBQ. Pregnant lady wins. 😀

bbq1

We went to Podnah’s! One of my favorites. It was a packed house for a weeknight but we got a table for two right away, thankfully. I got the brisket (my favorite), cornbread and collard greens and mac n’ cheese. (I like the mac n’ cheese at Reverend’s better, though.) Michael got the “meat” plate. LOL It was a sampler plate of the sausage, brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Everything was so good and satisfied my craving!

After dinner we headed to IKEA to check out the baby stuff. We got some essentials, of course:

ikea

Then looked at their cribs. We both liked this one:

crib

I liked the drawers on the bottom, I liked that the mattress levels were adjustable and it converted into a toddler bed, too. We’re just in the looking phase right now, but we did end up buying the most important things:

shark2

Michael recently sent me a link about how IKEA is transforming kid’s art into stuffed animals for charity. It was SUCH a cute idea! The little green guy on the left was one of those creations and even though it’s kind of derpy looking, it was too cute not to get! The shark was Michael’s impulse buy. The little foxes are going to go nicely with our nursery theme. 🙂

shark

Fat Kitty was super curious AND freaked out by the shark. Haha!

The next night I tried my hand at making a new recipe I’ve had saved for awhile. Sadly, we haven’t been much into cooking the last few months–making basic meals without trying any new recipes or doing much out of the norm. Part of that was two and a half months of me suffering from morning sickness and no appetite and just eating pasta. Part of it was being busy and tired and just making easy go-to meals (like steak and vegetables, chicken and vegetables, salmon and vegetables, you get the picture).

ONE-POT PAPRIKA CHICKEN THIGHS

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Category: baby, BBQ, calories, Date Night, Dinner, food, Food update, Low Calorie Recipes, Michael, Portland, Portland Restaurants, Pregnancy, recipes, Recommendations, Restaurants, Review, Shopping

Servings: 8 servings

From: http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/09/one-pot-paprika-chicken-thighs/

Ingredients

  • 3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • McCormick Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Pressed garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb. red and white small potatoes, in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup white wine (or white grape juice)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a Ziploc bag, combine about 2 T. smokey paprika, 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Mix together and add 4-5 pieces of chicken at a time, lightly shaking. Pull the chicken pieces out and put on a large plate. Repeat the process, adding more spices if needed, until all the chicken has been coated.
  2. In a large heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat the process until all the chicken has been lightly cooked.
  3. Add the garlic and onion to the frying pan, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Gently whisk the flour into the wine. Gradually pour into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock; stir. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering until the chicken and vegetables are cooked. Cook for about 30 minutes. Right before serving, stir the chicken and vegetables; add in the thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve on farro, rice, or quinoa.

Nutrition Facts

ONE-POT PAPRIKA CHICKEN THIGHS

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories Around 400 calories
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=48649

I omitted mushrooms, because I hate them. I also didn’t have any carrots so I skipped that. Other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely. It was a spur of the moment attempt at the recipe and I used what I happened to have on hand.

chicken1

It was pretty easy to make this recipe. After simmering for about 30 minutes the sauce thickened up like a gravy. The gravy tasted really delicious and flavorful. I made some quinoa and topped with all with the chicken/potato/gravy mixture.

chicken2

I liked the flavors a lot but Michael and I both agreed that the recipe would have been better with the carrots. Next time! I would make this again, but I’d add the carrots and use chicken thighs instead of breasts.

Sandy, Salmon and the Sixes

I admit, I got sucked into the drama of Hurricane Sandy this week. My brother lives in Philly, and while I talked to him the morning it was supposed to hit Pennsylvania and he wasn’t too worried, it was still pretty nerve-wracking to see the progression of the storm and the horrifying photos of New York and New Jersey! I hope everyone on the East coast is okay and that the property damage isn’t too much. Mother Nature is absolutely amazing and it just goes to show you things can change on a dime.

It got me thinking: am I prepared for any kind of natural disaster? Not really. Michael and I have a bunch of canned food. And our BBQ outside is gas, so we could cook on that if the power ever went out. (We did have the power go out over Christmas a few years ago. We woke up Christmas morning to no power or heat! That was not pleasant.) We have a little bit of firewood from last winter to heat the fireplace, but not much. We do not have enough bottled water for the two of us and the cats. This is probably something I should be more diligent about. After all, Portland is due for a “mega earthquake” and the city is definitely not prepared! Hell, most of our bridges would end up in the Willamette River.

To keep busy, I tried to get caught up on season 4 of “White Collar”, tried not to check CNN and Weather.com every 10 minutes, and made dinner on Monday night. I wanted a recipe I could use the leftover ricotta in. It had been sitting in my fridge for a week after making my first attempt at lasagna. I haven’t cooked with ricotta very much so I went to google. What do I do with ricotta?? I found this recipe and it sounded pretty good to me. Easy peasy.

Baked Salmon with Ricotta and Parsley

Category: Book review, Books, calories, Dinner, Family, food, Food update, Low Calorie Recipes, Portland, recipes, salads, salmon, What I'm Reading

Servings: 6

From: http://www.momlogic.com/blog_content/dianes_daily_dish/baked_salmon_with_ricotta.pdf

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch salmon filet, skinned
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • RICOTTA MIXTURE
  • 16 oz. container part-skim ricotta
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic; minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Combine all ingredients for ricotta mixture in large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  3. Rinse salmon ?llet and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Place salmon on bottom of large casserole dish drizzled lightly with olive oil.
  5. Pour 1 tsp. lemon juice over salmon and turn to moisten completely.
  6. Spread ricotta mixture on top of salmon with a rubber spatula.
  7. Sprinkle parsley on top of puree evenly.
  8. Grind pepper over top.
  9. Baked covered for 15 minutes. Lightly baste with pan juices.
  10. Continue baking 10 minutes or until salmon turns pale pink.
  11. Enjoy!
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=34754

I added a few things to the mixture because it was a tad on the bland side. I added a no-salt seasoning we got from Costco recently. I also added a pinch of dill, onion powder, and extra garlic. I think I got the ratio right according to my taste test as I mixed it all together.

Originally, I was going to make salmon with some tiny tortellinis for dinner. But considering that ricotta is cheese, and the tortellinis were stuffed with three different kinds of cheese, I thought that might be overkill. Although, I debated for a very long time on giving up on the pasta. It sounded so good to me! And cheese is awesome, so why not use more cheese? 🙂 Yeah, I guess not.

Plan B: the salmon on top of a green salad. I chopped up red peppers, yellow peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli and added some sunflower seeds to the salad.

I wrapped the salmon in little foil “pockets.” It’s the usual way I bake salmon. It’s so easy, there’s nothing to really clean up because you just throw away the foil, and it cooks the salmon evenly. I wrap the foil loosely.

The entire dinner was less than 500 calories and filled me up for most of the evening. Salmon is always really satisfying to me. I bet this recipe would work great with the tortellini….next time! If you wanted to get fancy and pair a nice wine with a dish like this, you’d probably want a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio (which I happen to be out of at the moment). I think the tartness would have balanced out the richness of the salmon and the ricotta.

Michael’s opinion of the dinner: it was okay. He said he liked some of the other salmon dinners I’ve made better than this one (like the Wild Salmon with Dill and Cucumber Salad).

I liked the flavors a lot. The additions I made to the ricotta mixture made it more flavorful. I probably could have added a bit more lemon juice, and maybe some salt? It was a bit weird putting it on the salad…even though I liked the flavors mixing with the veggies. I’d probably make it with a side salad (or tortellini!!!) next time.

After dinner, I headed to bed–away from the news, the endless twitter updates and anxious feelings about mother nature, and settled in with a good book. I discovered a new author (new to me, anyway) and wanted to pass on the tip. Check out “The Sixes” for a good read!

Follow-up:  I went back to physical therapy this week and he showed me a few different option for taping my knees. Then he had me walk and jog on the treadmill to test them out. I jogged for about half a mile with no pain! Yay! It was encouraging.

He taped both knees differently to see if I felt a difference. One knee looks like the photo above, the other knee was taped to directly address the internal rotation I have in that kneecap. I’m going to try these two methods for 3 weeks and when I return to see him in November, he is going to show me another method to try. I hope one of these methods turns out to be the magic cure.

QUESTION: Did Sandy pay a visit to your town?