Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dinner Evolution

I got home from work tonight with no idea what I was going to make for dinner. Again my criteria is low fat, lean protein and good complex carbs/vegetables these days. I really have a hard time planning and rarely follow recipes. I usually just forage around the kitchen for ingredients and try to throw something together. Tonight it turned out to be curried chicken salad. I didn't set out to make this but it evolved as I was putting ingredients together.

I started by chopping up some raw broccoli into small bits. I was thinking of making some kind of salad out of it. I grabbed a carrot out of the fridge and diced that up to. Ah, there's garlic on my counter so I chopped up a clove of that and threw it in. I wanted some flavor so I went the fridge and found a jar of dijon mustard. In went a tablespoon. It needed some zing so I splashed in a tablespoon of rice vinegar. I also seasoned with some salt and pepper. I needed some complex carbohydrates. Fortunately I still had some cooked mixed grains that I have been using for everything lately. In went a half cup. I thought I had my salad all ready and I set my mind onto what kind of protein to serve with the salad. I had a chicken quarter leftover from the stewed chicken I talked about a few days ago. But how to serve it? Ah! Let's just throw it into the salad. Tasted ok but it needed a tablespoon of mayo just to hold everything together. But . . it needed something else. Bingo! Madras curry powder. Last but not least was a bit of dried cranberries. Voila! The evolution of dinner.

Well, that's not all. While I was foraging around the kitchen I spotted an eggplant just begging to be used. Now, I love aubergines. I usually slather them well with olive oil. Not that olive oil is bad for you but I need to cut the fat calories down right now. So, how to make a non-fat eggplant dish? Would it taste ok? The answer is yes! I sliced them into thick slices, laid them on a sheet pan, seasoned them with salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic powder. I then spooned a couple tablespoons of simple canned tomato sauce on top. This was baked in a hot 400 F oven for about 20 minutes until the eggplant was soft and well cooked and the tomato sauce had cooked and caramelized a bit. This was topped with just a touch of fresh grated parmigiano reggiano and melted for just a few minutes more in the oven. Just a touch was enough to flavor it nicely. I have to say it turned out full of flavor and delicious. Who said low fat lean cooking can't taste good?

Oh, and I've lost 5 pounds so far in 2008!


Nora B. said...

Congrats on losing 5 pounds in less than 2 weeks - very well done! I should send your blog link to my man who is also trying to lose weight but he doesn't like taking my advice about food. Who knows what he is eating while I am away in Singapore. ;-)

The dinner evolution sounds like our kitchen in Sydney on most nights. Unless I have a bit of time, then I like to (kind of) follow recipes. Your curry chicken salad sounds yum and the lowfat roasted eggplant parmigiana (can I call it that?)is a winner!

p/s: In support of your weight-loss efforts, I've written a fat-free post today ;-)

Nilmandra said...

You could also use low-fat greek yohurt in place of mayo. It tastes great with curry.

Congrats on the speedy weight loss within the first weeks of the year!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Congrats on your weight loss that is wonderful! I love curried chicken salad! It looks delicious. Like nilmandra suggests, I would suggest using non-fat greek yogurt in place of mayo.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Oh and welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Greg said...

Thanks for the comments and the suggestions. Yes, I love to use yogurt in place of mayo. You know though? Sometimes you just want a little mayo! :) I did limit the amount and counted it in my calories, so I could afford to splurge.

Jenn, thanks for the welcome! I was sure I had your blog on my blogroll too. I know I have it in my bookmarks. Anyway, I have added it.

bigfish_chin said...

Hi, hope you don't mind I added u in my list.
really happy you are lossing weight... How i wish i can loss my weight too.
I'm cooking at home most of the time...think food outside are all unhealthy and fat. Been tried to cook with less oil... but i think i need to work harder. haha

Astra Libris said...

Congrats on the impressive weight loss! Kudos to you! Go Greg!

I love how you wrote this post - the description of how your dinner evolved was so wonderfully vivid. The results look and sound delicious, too! I'm definitely going to try your eggplant prep - such a terrific idea!