A Barbecue Blanket

May 7, 2009

My husband shares a disease with a large population of the United States. It is an ailment that I am not fond of and become very frustrated with from time to time. Alex has an aversion to all condiments with the exception of barbecue sauce. He wants nothing to do with mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, or salad dressings. No matter what I add to it or what fancy aioli name I call it, he knows and is unwilling to venture into the strange substance zone.

He will and does put barbecue sauce on almost anything. Carefully crafted flavor profiles get destroyed by that sweet tangy blanket of sauce. I die a little inside every time he does it. This week I made Thai Peanut Chicken Burgers with a Cilantro Lime Aioli. The burgers were perfect; there was a subtle peanut undertone that was a great foundation for the Thai flavor to build on. The meal was complete with oven baked fries and even though the meal was overall healthy, the flavors were causing culinary cherubs to dance on my tongue.

What was Alex doing while I was enjoying this symphony of flavors, pouring barbecue sauce all over every inch of it. I do not think he even tried some without the smoky smothering. His critique: “This is really good. You cannot taste much of the peanut butter though.” I am sure that most of you are rolling your eyes with me now, but that barbecue sauce protects another secret: the burgers were made with carrots, Alex’s arch-nemesis of the vegetable world. So go ahead honey, pour that barbecue sauce on anything you like; those carrots sure taste good now, don’t they?

 Peanut Chicken  Burgerchicken-burger

Adapted from A Good Appetite and Cara’s Cravings (one of my favorite healthy blogs)

1 medium carrot, julienned
1 scallion, chopped
¼  tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
2 breast of chicken
2 Tbsp chunky peanut butter
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha chili sauce

Place the two chicken breasts in the food processor. Pulse the meat until most of the bigger chunks are gone and you have a smooth chicken paste with some bigger pieces of chicken in it.

Place all the ingredients together in a bowl. Work with hands to mix but to do overwork.

Cook on a griddle (turkey burgers tend not to hold together well on a grill) until done, about 6 to 7 minutes per side.

Serve with lettuce leaves, more julienned carrots & Cilantro Lime Aioli.

Recipe Notes:

– I added the peanut butter, sesame oil, sriracha chili sauce, and ground ginger to food processor after I had pulsed the chicken a few times. This helps to blend the flavors.

-I finished the burgers in the oven after they got golden brown on each side. It took about 10 mins in a 350 degree oven.

 Nutritional Info- taken from Spark Recipes (not including the bun or the aioli)

Servings per recipe: 4

Calories: 218.4    Total Fat: 8.5      Cholesterol 71.6  Total Carbs: 4.9   Protein: 29.9

Cilantro Lime Aioli

1 ½ tbsp light mayo

½ tbsp of lime juice

1 tbsp fresh cilantro; minced

1 clove of garlic minced

Dash of salt and pepper

 

Mix well and top burgers.

 

Oven Baked Fries fries

This fries are amazing and they are baked so they are healthier than the alternative.

 Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large baking potatoes, 12 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves –I omit

Other seasonings to your taste such as paprika, chili powder, Cajun seasoning, or cayenne powder

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks. In a large bowl, toss the oil, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes onto it in a single layer. Sprinkle with seasoning to your taste such as paprika, chili powder, Cajun seasoning, or cayenne powder. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.

Remove potatoes from the tray with a metal spatula. Toss with parsley and additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Nutritional Info- taken from Spark Recipes

Servings per recipe: 4

Calories: 283.5    Total Fat: 7.4      Cholesterol 0.0   Total Carbs: 50.0  Protein: 5.9

My FluffNutter “Victory”

November 13, 2008

One of Alex’s greatest loves is peanut butter. He could eat it for almost every meal and in almost everything. In complete opposites attract fashion; I really can’t stand the stuff. It is like green eggs and ham.

I do not like it on bread

I do not like it spoon fed.

I do not like it in dessert.

I do not like it there either pervert.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to put it in a dish. This inability always made me very sad for my husband (then fiancé) and this sadness played out at last year’s Christmas party. The house was filled with friends for our 3rd annual Christmas Family Dinner. Food was plentiful, Pit (a fantastic card game) was in full swing and the drinks they were a flowing. After a few too many Blueberry beers, my rosy cheeked self decided it was time to run to the grocery store. Enlisting the help of my evil twin, we set out.

I knew exactly what I wanted. I found the bread aisle and went to town. A loaf of the best white bread the store had to offer, the biggest jar of peanut butter I could find, and a vat of Marshmallow fluff. My husband deserved the greatest peanut butter sandwich and he was going to get it. When I got home, I proclaimed my victory and got to work. I thought I had created the best Fluffnutter sandwich in the entire world. I found out later I missed the bread with the marshmallow fluff and peanut buttered all sides of the bread. But, Alex ate that sandwich like it was the greatest peanut butter delicacy he has ever had. And that is why I broke down and today, peanut butter makes it into the menu. Because I really love that man and that man really loves peanut butter.

This is the best recipe I have found dinnerwise when incorporating peanut butter and it is a cooking light recipe. That is what we call a win-win situation.

peanut-flank-steak-019Flank Steak with Hot Peanut Sauce

By keeping the meat serving to a sensible three-ounce cooked portion and using the low-fat but flavorful flank cut, this entrée limits saturated fat while offering plenty of iron and protein. Prepare steamed rice and sautéed baby bok choy while the meat marinates.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and about 1/4 cup sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/3  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 2  teaspoons  sesame oil
  • 1  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 1  tablespoon  crunchy peanut butter
  • 1  teaspoon  cornstarch

Preparationpeanut-flank-steak-010

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place steak and 1/4 cup onion mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.

2. Combine remaining 1/4 cup marinade, 1/2 cup water, peanut butter, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Remove steak from bag, discarding marinade. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.