Sunday, June 5, 2016

Asian Chopped Salad with Chicken and Mandarins

Asian Chopped Salad with Chicken and Mandarins
I used to LOVE going to Cheesecake Factory and getting their Asian Chicken Salad, but sometimes you need a lighter option of your favorite meal and I was so happy to realize just how easy this was to recreate and improve on.  All the flavor and a lot less guilt, both calorie wise and financially!  You could easily prep the salad in bulk and keep it in your fridge and just add your protein (Chicken or shrimp), dressing and toppings as you wish throughout the week!
1/4 head green cabbage
¼ head red cabbage
½ head romaine lettuce
4 large kale leaves, with the stem and middle of the stem removed
1 carrot
2 green onions
½ cup crispy Asian noodles (wontons etc. optional)
¼ cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup mandarin orange segments

2 tbsp. minced ginger (the stuff in the squeeze bottle works great)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
4 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
¼ cup rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar would be fine as well)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Sriracha (optional and to taste)

For the dressing, add all the ingredients to a small mason jar and shake! (How easy is that!!!!)

For the salad: chop all of your ingredients into small pieces, think half inches in size and toss together.

I served my salads with some grilled chicken for lunch but I think this would be an excellent dinner if you wanted to use some left over grilled chicken or even picked up a rotisserie chicken from the market and cut it into the salad!  Toss about 3 tbsp. of dressing with 1.5 cups of salad and add 4 oz. of chicken or shrimp.  I topped them with some crispy wonton noodles left over from a Chinese food run (love that they throw those in for free and we never eat them!) and some sliced almonds with some mandarin segments from a can.  Super easy, much cheaper and with about ½ the calories as that Cheesecake Factory salad!

Jalapeno Corn Cakes with Tajin Shrimp and Slaw (Or Shrimp Tacos!)

Jalapeno Corn Cakes with Tajin Shrimp and Slaw

Sometimes leftover can become the most killer aspect to a meal all it takes is a little transformation.  I had left over Mexican corn from a BBQ and I knew I needed a way to make a very light meal of grilled shrimp and slaw a little bit more filling.  Corn cakes were an easy way to make add some yummy carbs to a low carb dinner!  No time for corn cakes?  Put the shrimp and slaw in some tortillas with some sliced avocado, and Greek yogurt for a fantastic Taco Tuesday!

1 cup corn kernels, I used left over grilled corn off the cob but frozen cooked corn or canned corn would work as well
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced (use as much or as little as you like)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup milk
2 eggs

10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tbsp. Tajin or chili powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. olive oil

½ bag coleslaw shreds
½ small red onion, sliced thin
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
Cilantro, a handful of leaves, chopped (optional, to taste)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To Serve
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Greek yogurt or sour cream

For the Shrimp: In a Ziploc bag add all of the shrimp ingredients and let marinade a half hour up to six hours in the refrigerator.  If you do not have Tajin (go buy it!!!) you can use the chili powder in place of it to get a similar result, use as much or as little chili powder as you wish.   

For the Slaw:  In a mixing bowl add the lime juice and zest, the garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil and whisk together.  Toss the coleslaw shreds, red onion and optional cilantro in the mixture and set aside.

For the Corn Cakes:  Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until the batter resembles thick pancake batter.  Heat a non-stick pan and add coconut oil or whatever cooking oil you wish to use, enough to make a shallow layer in the pan.  Scoop the corn cakes in ¼ cups into the pan and flatten them out with the bottom of the spoon, cook until golden brown about 3-5 minutes over medium high heat on each side.  I like to keep them in the oven on a baking rack so that they do not get oily but remain crispy and warm while I cook the shrimp.

For the Shrimp: Heat your grill or grill pan and cook the shrimp until they turn pink and just form a “C” shape.  A rule of thumb with shrimp is that a “C” shape is perfectly cooked, straight shrimp are under cooked and once a shrimp turns into a circle it is overcooked and chewy.  I don’t want to estimate a cooking time for grilled shrimp as even though shrimp are a standard size they still widely vary as do grill temperatures. 

To Serve: I made my plates as stacks with the corn cake on the bottom, then added sliced avocado, the slaw and then the shrimp with some Greek Yogurt or sour cream on top.  Truth be told they were harder to eat this way but they sure looked pretty!    

Chicken Cordon Blue Re-Do! 197 Calories!

Chicken Cordon Blue
I love chicken cordon blue but I don’t love that it’s breaded and sautéed and then covered in ham and cheese, so everything that I love, I also hate and that simply wasn’t going to do.  Here is another recipe redo that allows you all of the deliciousness in a classic recipe with a fraction of the calories and time!
2 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
4 slices Virginia ham from the deli
4 slices Swiss cheese, from the deli
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
Salt and Pepper
Coconut oil for cooking

Cut your chicken into thin cutlets, and pound them very thin with a meat mallet, or back of a frying pan (careful if you have granite countertops!!!!).  Season all sides with salt and pepper.
Foil line a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, add your cooking oil of choice and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side.  Place cooked chicken on foil lined baking sheet and set aside.
Combine Dijon mustard, and honey in a bowl and drizzle each cutlet with the mixture.
Roll the deli ham up and slice into ¼ inch pieces, think ham strips.
Roll the deli Swiss up and slice into ¼ inch pieces, same as above.
Divide the ham and Swiss over the chicken cutlets.
Bake 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

I made this as a big batch of chicken and used it as a meal prep for part of the week.  I simply put it in containers with some green veggies and cauliflower rice for a low carb low calorie lunch!  Each serving of chicken (4oz of chicken with ham and Swiss) came out to approximately 197 calories per serving which with a cup of green veggies and half a cup of cauliflower rice was a great lunch!