Dinner: Chicken Ranch Tacos


I made Chicken Ranch Tacos for dinner on Friday.  I had wanted to make these for a couple months now because I saw it on Laaloosh (a Weight Watchers recipe blog)– had purchased the taco and ranch seasoning but just never got around to it.  I preplanned some of my meals for the week and decided I was going to make this since I was home on Friday.  I had my boyfriend clean the chicken for me (I have this thing about raw chicken – I can’t handle touching it (outside of just moving I from a container to a pan) or cleaning it.  So I took the trimmed and rinsed chicken and placed it in the bottom of my crock pot, then topped it with a packet of taco seasoning mix, a packet of ranch dressing mix, a tablespoon of minced garlic and 2 cups of chicken broth.  I looked into the crockpot and decided it needed a little more taco seasoning so I sprinkled some of my McCormick Taco seasoning on top of it.  I then turned the crock pot onto high and walked away for 6-hours.  When I returned I took the chicken out of the pot, shredded it and returned it back to the pot, stirring to get the juice mixture over all the meat.
The original recipe calls for 12 ounces of chicken – I used 2 pounds, added in the garlic and extra taco seasoning.
I served this with shredded lettuce and diced tomato, with a tiny bit of medium taco sauce.  My boyfriend’s tacos are on regular taco shells and I enjoyed mine on wheat flax tortilla.  I enjoyed it so much it was my lunch on Saturday and ended up being my lunch today as well.  It’s a really unique and different way to have a taco!
I had 4 ounces of shredded meat which I calculated to be 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.

Homemade Beef Stew w/ Jamaican Dumplings

This is my first-ever homemade beef stew.  Growing up I used to watch my mother make beef stew so I had a general gist of what to do – so I went to the grocery store, picked up my veggies, my beef and I got a jar of beef stock (it’s like a really thick jelly consistency of flavored stock that you add to water).  I’d been craving beef stew because the weather had changed and all I wanted was something warm and something to make the kitchen smell “homey.”
One thing I will say is I like my stews thick.  I’m not really a soup person so stews are right up my alley.  I know everyone varies with thickness but thankfully my boyfriend also likes a moderately thick stew so I didn’t have to make this on the watery side.  This cooked for a fair while on the stove (a little over 3 hours) so it’s definitely not one of those meals you can just throw together in a flash – but undoubtedly it was delicious!
I used 2 tablespoons of olive oil to brown my beef, and then added 2 pounds of lean stew beef and let it brown up stirring it around in the pot.  I then added in my minced garlic.  When it was almost completely browned I threw in my large diced onion.  When done, I added in water (just eyeballing since I was making a big pot).  I added in my beef starter stock – covered and let simmer for an hour and a half.  After that I uncovered the pot, added in 2 pounds of chopped potatoes and a large bag of baby carrots.  While that came back up to simmer I made my Jamaican dumplings (flour, salt and water where you knead it into a harder rough – then rolled the pieces out in the bowl and then added them into the stew.  I covered it and let it cook for another near hour.
Ten minutes before serving I added in 1/3 cup cornstarch (mixed with cold water) and stirred it to have it thicken up to a delicious and perfect consistency.
Overall TWO thumbs up!  This was SO good!  What’s funny is my boyfriend didn’t know I was going to add Jamaican dumplings to the dish so when he was served his bowl and he spotted the dumplings he went “Awe, yeah!” HAHA.  We ate it for a few days, then frozen up the remainder into separate containers for quick dinners/lunches when we don’t have any idea as to what to eat.

Dinner: Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

 A few weeks back I had been looking for something new to throw into the eating schedule.  I had found this amazing website through one of the Weight Watchers girls I follow on Instagram.  Her photo looked amazing and I wanted to make them for dinner.  So I ended up picking up all the goodies needed to make this and when I told my boyfriend our menu I had mentioned the fact a dish was vegetarian.  That was my first problem (LOL) my boyfriend is not a fan of vegetarian dishes.  He literally looked at me like I had just kicked a puppy.  So I said “uh, do you want me to add hamburger or turkey to the recipe?” and he said “Yes…” so into the freezer I went and I pulled out a pack of lean hamburger and let it defrost.  I basically followed the entire recipe (see recipe here: http://www.laaloosh.com/2012/09/04/stuffed-pepper-enchiladas-recipe/) except I added meat into it and I mixed all my ingredients in a bowl and then filled the peppers.  Since my boyfriend does not like cheese I ended up putting cheese on half of the peppers and no cheese on the remaining.  I will say it’s a completely different twist and unlike anything I have ever had.  I did enjoy it and I ate it for lunch and dinner a few times.  I did enjoy them and will be making them again at some point in the future.

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Chow Mein!

 
 

For the past few weeks I have dying for some Chicken Chow Mein.  I figured instead of being tempted by all the foods that I used to love at my local Chinese restaurant that I was going to give a try in making my own homemade chicken chow mein for the first time.  Then again since I’ve been getting more and more into cooking, I enjoy trying to make dishes which are “foreign” to me and out of my normal comfort zone.
I was surprised with how simple this really was and how delicious it tuned out.  I actually ended up using rotisserie chicken meat for my chicken because I didn’t want to boil chicken/bake it/ etc.  I looked up how to make chow mein on allrecipes.com and kind of winged my vegetables and the measurements of my liquids.
I put 2 tablespoons of margarine in the bottom of a pan and put in my sliced onions, minced garlic, celery and red peppers.  I seasoned my veggies with black pepper, a dash of sea salt, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  I put them into the pan and let them sweat out, but I didn’t allow them to cook all the way ‘til they were soft.  I then added in my mushrooms and fresh bean sprouts.  I let them cook for a few minutes so the bean sprouts were more pliable.  I then put in some canned drained baby corn, water chestnuts and sliced bamboo shoots.  I then added in 3 ½ cups of fat free low sodium chicken broth and 1/3 cup water.  I mixed to combine, and then added in 1/4c low sodium soy sauce.  When all set I then took my chopped rotisserie chicken and added that in and stirred in.  I let it heat and added in some cornstarch to thicken.  Once everything was nice and hot (my chicken was cold since I cut it up the night before) I served with the hard chow mein noodles on top of the mixture.
I served with plain white rice and since I didn’t feel like making eggrolls, I took out a pack of Lean Cuisine Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls and microwaved them per package instruction and served.
Overall the meal was absolutely delicious!  The chow mein wasn’t as thick as it generally is at restaurants, but I didn’t want to overkill with the cornstarch – but I didn’t mind the consistency, I actually find I enjoy it more.  Better yet, it definitely cured the Chinese food bug.