Chicken Biryani

For a house warming gift, my boyfriend Jeremiah’s sister bought us a box of food from Hello Fresh. She was telling us about it a few months back because her mother-in-law had bought them some as a Christmas gift. If you aren’t familiar with it, they are one of those companies where they ship you all the ingredients to make a couple of recipes. The focus is on fresh ingredients.

With Hello Fresh, you can select from 2 or 4 servings. They have two boxes to chose from – regular or vegetarian. Each comes with three recipes and all the ingredients you need to prepare those recipes (except oil, salt, and pepper). Each of the three recipes comes in its own individual box. At the bottom of the large box is all the fresh meat. All the recipes have similar ingredients. That means sense from a cost prospective. They also work it so you can reuse ingredients like chicken stock concentrate to cook peas and make gravy. They are pretty simple recipes and often increase less common ingredients like ginger, golden raisins, and parsnips. All the recipes called frying the meat. Since this isn’t how we normally cook our meat, we modified this recipe by baking the chicken.

This particular recipe had fresh peas in it. I hate peas. Jeremiah asked if I wanted to not include them. They looked very fresh so I said we could include them. I decided if I hated them, I could always pick them out. That’s normally what I do with fried rice. To my surprise, I did not hate them in this recipe and ate all of them. I think the sweetness of the golden raisins helped. I’m sharing this recipe because it was the most complex and flavorful of the recipes we prepared. We kept the recipe because Jeremiah wants to make it again. Although this recipe was supposed to be just two servings, we ended up with a lot of extra rice. We ended up added preparing a little more roasted chicken breast and getting two more servings out of it. The leftovers were pretty good too.

If you would like to check them out for yourself, I did see a Groupon for them last week. I’m not sure if it is still available but I think you were able to get a two serving box of three recipes for $40 – or about $6.50 per serving.

Chicken BiryaniCrispy Chicken Biryani by Hello Fresh
2 Chicken Thighs (bone in, skin on)
¾ c. Basmati rice
4 oz. fresh peas
1 red onion
1 plum tomato
1 lime
1 jalapeno
1 ginger root
2 cloves of garlic
¼ oz. cilantro
1 oz. golden raisins
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garam masala
1 packet of chicken stock concentrate
1 tsp. oil

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Coat a pan with oil and cook chicken. Meanwhile, prep remaining ingredients. Dice the onion and tomato. Peel and grate the ginger. Mince the garlic. Cut jalapeno (remove seeds for less spice). Chop cilantro. Slice lime into wedges. Remove chicken from pan but leave the leave the oil in the pan. Add onion and jalapeno to pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Then, add garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cumin. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato, rice, raisins, chicken stock, and 1 ¾ c. water to the pan. Season the pan with dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 12-14 minutes. Stir in peas. Cook uncovered for 3-5 additional minutes. Squeeze with a few lime wedges and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with remaining lime wedges.

Bean Paste Day 2

I was very nervous about day two. In theory, work should get my mind of the hunger. However, I work in a 217,000 sq. ft. warehouse full of food. If you read my post yesterday, you know how much I was thinking about food.

Luckily, my second day went better. I ate breakfast at 7:30 AM after working out. This kept my stomach from growling until just after 11 AM. Jeremiah took his to work and ate it. That helped him stay full until lunch time.

hummusLunch seemed to hold for me. I added a little Italian Seasoning to my hummus or what Jeremiah affectionately refers to as “Bean Paste”. It seemed to taste a little better. Jeremiah reported had a very difficult day at work. He wasn’t sure if it was just an issue with his update or a combination of also being hungry.

Unfortunately, I got a headache during my drive home. This is what my sister warned me about – the sugar headache. Stephanie got one when she gave up sugar and caffeine for two weeks on the Mayo Clinic diet. I know mine wasn’t from caffeine because I drink decaf half the time. I don’t drink soda very but I remember who painful it was when I gave it up. I told Jeremiah that this was probably the least amount of sugar my body has had in years. He agreed.

We had two very difficult social engagements last night. I opted not to attend a work function called Taste of Elegance. It’s an event where some of the best chefs in town cook pork dishes. As foodies, Jeremiah and I would have been in heaven at this event had it not been SNAP Challenge Week for us. Could you image going to mingle with your volunteers at a social function and not being able to eat or drink anything?

The second event was making our March meals at Social Suppers. I love this event and it helps us knock out preparing most of our meals for the month in about 30-45 minutes. Plus, the owners Jen and Jill are just so darn sweet. We decided to go and just not cook any of it until after the challenge. It’s amazing how quickly six entrees and one side dish add up to over $100. Yikes in comparison this week’s budget. We survived the experience of being temped by food.

When we got back to Jeremiah’s house, we ate a dish we had cooked on Sunday. Thank goodness we had since it was 6:45 PM. Normally, we are doing dishes by then. In fact, we usually go out to eat after we make Social Supper. Not in the budget this month.

The dish we made was Dave Ramsey’s Simple Red Bean and Rice recipe. I have to admit, Jeremiah and I got the recipe from a former coworker Chef Hild. He prepared for our Financial Peace University class a few weeks ago. He cooked enough to feed 80 people on just $30. Jeremiah and I weren’t able to get the price per serving that low. Then again, we can’t buy food directly from companies or shop at Restaurant Depot.

red beansSimple Red Beans & Rice by Financial Peace University & Chef Gary Hild
2 c. water
1 c. uncooked rice
1 – 16 oz. turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove of chopped garlic
2 – 15 oz. cans of kidney beans, drained
1/2 c. water
1 – 16 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Options to add at the table (not in our budget): Worcestershire sauce, salsa, Sriracha sauce, Tabasco sauce, or dried basil

In a sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in onion, green pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Pour in 1/2 c. water, beans, and tomatoes with juice. Season with oregano, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir and then serve over rice.

Notes:

  • The cost of the entire dish was $5.75 or just $.82 per serving.
  • Jeremiah and I found the cheapest place to buy bulk rice is at Sprouts. Plus, you can mix white and brown together to make it healthier.
  • Jeremiah and I over cooked our rice so we mixed the ingredients together. It was fine.
  • We also purchased all the fresh veggies on sale at Sprouts.
  • We brought two sausages in the fresh meat case at HyVee. We got between 5-6 slices of meat per serving.
  • We brought diced canned tomatoes to save time in prep.
  • We served this dish with a slice of corn bread and a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie.
  • The recipe wasn’t too bad – though not as taste as when Chef made it. Both our stomachs were growling around 9 PM. Jeremiah supplemented with a few crackers. 

 

Fried Rice Tuesday

One of the things I love most about working at my hotel is Fried Rice Tuesdays. Once a month, the kitchen will cook up the fried rice they serve our restaurant Nikko for associates to eat. If you haven’t been to Nikko Japanese Steakhouse, you have to go. Not only is the experience entertaining but the fried rice is phenomenal. It’s the best fried rice I have ever eaten. No excuse, buy a Groupon or call the hotel today to book your reservations.

Since I am off work today, I thought I would give a recipe I pinned on my “Skinny Mini” Pinterest board a try. One of the reasons I liked it because it doesn’t taste really salty. Plus, this recipe rings in at 10 Weight Watchers points instead of 34 Weight Watchers points you would have to count for eating out at a traditional Chinese restaurant. The recipe is also pretty quick and easy to make.

Skinny Chicken Fried Rice by Rachel Schultz (via the Skinny Mom Blog pin on Pinterest)
Skinny Chicken Fried Rice4 c. prepared rice
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast grilled
2 c. frozen carrots and peas
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
3 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. lite soy sauce

While rice is cooking and chicken is grilling, start sautéing veggies in oil. When onion appears cooked, add to scrambled eggs to the pan. Once eggs are cooked, add chicken, rice, and soy sauce to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and serve. This recipe makes six servings.

Nutritional Facts: 385 calories, 11 g. fat, 53 carbs, 3 g. fiber, 17 g. protein, and 1 g. sugar.

Notes:

  • I used Minute Rice. You could probably make it a little healthier by using a whole grain rice.
  • I hate peas. I just bought frozen carrots and cooked one cup of them. I could only find julienne style carrots so I had to cut them up with my spatula.
  • I though sesame oil was too expensive so I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I think it worked just fine. I used only 2 T. though.
  • I love to use Ready to Use Chopped Garlic. It comes in a jar and can be found by the fresh fruit and veggies in your grocery store.
  • I used one frozen chicken breast – probably about 1/4 lb. I thought the recipe still tasted fine with less chicken.
  • I used 3 T. (1/8 c. and 1/16 c.) of lite soy sauce. Soy sauce is loaded with sodium. Even using the lite version you are dumping 530 mg of sodium per tablespoon into your recipe. Cutting out just one tablespoon is hardly noticeable to the pallet but much better for your body.
  • I used regular eggs but you could use egg substitute to make this a little healthier.

With a Flare

I once dated someone whose parents were Hondurans. He was born in the U.S. while his father was attending graduate school. P wasn’t much of a cook before we met but I have to say we really enjoyed cooking dinner together. Although, I did eat a lot of marinated chicken breast and black beans and rice back then.

This is a recipe his mother cooked but he didn’t think it was a Honduran dish. They lived in the Dominican Republic for a few years so he thought that might be where this recipe came from. It isn’t an exact recipe so feel free to tweak to your liking.

1# of ground beef
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 or 2 potatoes, diced
1 can of tomato sauce
Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce (just a drop or two)
cooked rice

Cook rice according to package instructions. In deep pan, sauté onion and potatoes til cooked.  In a separate pan, cook ground beef. Add ground beef, tomato sauce, and hot sauce to the sauté pan. Once hot, serve over cooked rice.

Notes:

  • We used Minute Rice but you could use a whole grain rice if you wanted to be healthier.
  • P was particular about using Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce. At first it seemed a little ridiculous but I realized it is the best hot sauce because it isn’t too hot. They sell it at Price Chopper, Hen House, Hy-Vee, and Wal-Mart in Kansas City.
  • I modified this recipe a little bit. I make a cilantro lime rice (fresh cilantro, half a lime squeezed, a touch of oil, and Minute Rice) for the base. For the top, I used taco seasoned meat and mixed it with salsa. I think my version is a little more flavorful and a great way to use leftovers.