Post # 53 Yum Yum In My Tum!

October 3, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

If any of you are a fan of the British sitcom called The Vicar of Dibley, you’ll recognize the quote that is the title.  I have a “blog friend” in New Zealand who is a great blogger, very sarcastic wit, and a great cook.  Several times a week, he posts what he is making for dinner for himself and posts before and after pictures.  His menus are inspiring, and occasionally he will also post the recipes for what he’s making.  I asked him if it would be okay for me to highlight his recipes and menus here and he said no problem.  So, I’ll be doing that once in a while.  In the meantime, I decided to post like him occasionally with before and after pictures of what I’m making for dinner.  And I decided to start tonight, hence the late post.

Except I forgot to take pictures.

So, I’ll just tell you what I made and how I made it and why.  I promise, in the future I’ll have the pics and be more diligent with recipes.

Today, Father-In-Law did not want to join us for our evening meal.  I’d made corn muffins yesterday from scratch, and made them in small popover tins.  I’d made them with honey and they had a wonderful different flavor and there were four of them leftover.  He broke them up in a tall glass and poured milk over them and ate it like corn meal mush.  It must be a generational thing, cuz my dad used to do this all the time, too.  The point is that I only had to fix dinner for myself and partner/spouse.

I made chicken breast braised in sesame ginger sauce, saffron rice, corn on the cob, and broccoli.

First let me explain why I made this combination.  I’m always aware of the nutritional value of what I’m eating.  Chicken breast is a good, low-fat protein.  It’s versatile and very tasty.  Rice is a good, inexpensive starch that can stretch any meal, and it takes on the flavors of what it’s served with.  Plus, I love it.  Corn provides good roughage and is a good source for B6, thiamine, riboflavin, etc.  And if I didn’t use it soon, it was going to go bad.  Broccoli is a green, leafy vegetable that is a good source of fiber, low in cholesterol, and high in a bunch of different vitamins and minerals.  And I like it.  In total, the meal was well-balanced, low in bad things, high in good things, and tasted very good.

In the overall scheme of nutrition, you should always try to fill your plate with vegetables or fruit to get the balanced nutrition your body needs.  To that end, recently I’ve started putting two or three different vegetable choices out.  I mix them up so everyone has at least one of their favorite veggies.  We also eat a lot of salads.  But not tonight.

I started the water boiling for the corn.  While that was working, I put a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and heated it.  Then I put in a cup of jasmine rice.  I stirred it around until the rice was toasted and turning a golden color.  I added two cups of lite chicken broth, and a very small pinch of saffron.  Saffron is a spice that comes from the stigma of the crocus flower.  It’s very expensive, but luckily a small pinch goes a long way.  Too much imparts a medicine flavor, while the right amount adds color and a rich kind of grassy flavor.  I covered the pot, reduced the flame to a bare trickle and left it to simmer for 25 minutes.  I then put another tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet and heat it.  Once the oil was hot, I put the chicken breasts in and browned both sides for about 5 minutes each.  I then put in about 3/4 of a cup of sesame ginger salad dressing I had in the fridge.  I covered the pan, lowered the heat to medium low, and left them to simmer.  By now, the water for the corn was ready so I salted it lightly and tossed in the corn cobs.  The rice still had ten minutes to go and my stove top was getting a little crowded, so I put the frozen broccoli in the microwave in a bowl with a little bit of water and a wet paper towel spread over the top.  This creates a steam bath for heating the broccoli.  After that, it was just waiting for the timing of the dishes to complete.  The rice finished first, but all I did was turn off the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, then put the lid back on slightly ajar so steam could escape.  The broccoli finished next, but that just stayed in the microwave until I needed it.  The chicken was done next.  I’d turned the chicken at five-minute intervals so it wouldn’t burn, and as the sauce cooked, it thickened and coated the chicken perfectly.  I turned the heat off, and took the cover off the pan to give the sauce a chance to thicken a little more.  The corn was ready by now, so I simply turned the heat off.

I usually set the dishes on the island in the middle of the kitchen and have everyone serve themselves.  I put the rice into a medium size ceramic bowl with straight sides.  It holds the heat well, and makes a perfect bowl for scooping.  I put the chicken in a shallow bowl with sloping sides and poured the sauce over the top of the chicken, then sprinkled a very few toasted sesame seeds over the top to make it look pretty.  I put the corn in a long plate and put a pat of butter on each cob.  As the butter melted, it ran onto the plate where the corn touched so buttering the entire cob was simply a matter of turning it.  And finally, the broccoli went into a deep bowl.  My family all have different tastes, so I didn’t put any seasonings on the foods, but left that to each individual.

I had my chicken with the sauce, some rice, and some broccoli.  I don’t like corn very much, and particularly don’t like it on the cob so all that went to partner/spouse.  I enjoy the flavors of food, and don’t put a lot of sauces or garnishes on my plates.  I will usually add a small pat of butter or a sprinkle of salt, but today didn’t do either.  Partner/spouse used a liberal sprinkling of seasoned salt but left everything pretty much simple.  Father-In-Law had his corn muffins and milk.  Twice.

The only leftovers were two corn cobs and about a third of a bowl of rice.  Yummy stuff!


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