Clean Eats

Oven Barbecue Beer-Can Chicken

This may be shocking to those who know I like to cook and have cooked for some time, but I’ve never really made more than one or two roaster chickens in my day.  Perhaps, I hesitate because I’m never quite sure if the chicken is done.  I know cookbooks say when the thermometer reaches a certain degree the meat is done, but I always have my Mom in my head saying, “Nobody likes dry meat!”  And when it comes to meat sadly many overcook it.

I’m proud to say this recipe came out pretty good.  I did trust my cooking time gut and pulled it a bit sooner than the recipe read and was glad I did.  The meat was delicious and the barbecue sauce went very well with it.  My other half said the sauce was a bit too spicy (and he likes hot/spicy things) and that’s why he gave the recipe four out of five stars.  We both decided it would be in our best interest if I made it again and tried other roaster recipes.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (3 3/4-pound) whole roasting chicken (The smallest one I could find was 4.25 lbs.)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 tbsp chili sauce (I used sriracha)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 (12-oz) can beer (I used Modelo)
  • 3 tbsp barbecue smoked seasoning (such as Hickory Liquid Smoke)

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  (Lower oven rack to the lowest shelf, and the recipe should have mentioned this.)
  2. Remove and discard the giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat.  Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.
  3. Combine ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, vinegar, pepper, salt, and garlic.  Reserve 1/4 cup ketchup mixture for sauce, rub the remaining ketchup mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks.  Lift wing tips up and over back, tuck under chicken.
  4. Discard 1/2 cup beer.  Add barbecue smoked seasoning to remaining beer in can.  Holding chicken upright with body cavity facing down, insert beer can into cavity.  Place chicken in a roasting pan, spread legs out to form a tripod to support the chicken.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. (I increased my roasting time by 5 minutes because my roaster weighed more.)
  5. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees; bake an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in meat part of thigh registers 170 degrees. (After I increased the oven temperature the top of the chicken was becoming really crispy so I covered it with a small piece of tinfoil.  I also checked the roaster at 25 minutes and decided it was done, and the thermometer supported my decision and I probably could have taken it out sooner.)  Lift chicken slightly using tongs; place spatula under can.  Carefully lift chicken and can; place on a cutting board.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Gently lift chicken using tongs or insulated rubber gloves.  Carefully twist can and remove from cavity; discard can.
  6. Remove skin from chicken, and discard.  Carve chicken; serve with the reserved 1/4 cup ketchup mixture.  Yield:  4 servings (serving size:  5 ounces meat and 1 tablespoon sauce.)

This recipe is from The Best of Cooking Light 8, Special Edition (2007)and can be found online here.

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Garlic Pork with Tomato and Basil

For a long time we ate a whole bunch of pork tenderloin in this house and then over time phased it out and only featured it occasionally.  Slowly, pork has been making a place in the weekly menu rotation again and this recipe gets better every time.

I really discovered this dish when reading, “Way to Cook – The  Complete Visual Guide to Everyday Cooking,” by Cooking Light.  I did grow up cooking watching my grandfather (Miss ya, Pops!), and my mother, but there are certain basic cooking techniques and knowledge I feel I still need to learn to improve my cooking.  Many assume because I love to cook I know more than I do and are surprised to find out I really had never made homemade mashed potatoes until a couple of years ago.  Shocking, I realize, but it’s just something I never got around to until that point.

I found this book in T.J. Maxx for next to nothing and it’s been pretty insightful.  For example, when I would cook with tomatoes normally I would just cut them up seeds and all and throw them in the dish.  Even if the recipe called for me to seed the tomato, I didn’t think it matttered.  Well, after making two batches of salsa this past summer and reading this book seeding a tomato really brings out the flavor of a tomato.

Besides the tomatoes, this recipe keeps it simple.  As you can see pork, tomatoes, green onions, and fresh basil are the main ingredients.  Sure, there’s some seasoning and cornstarch, but otherwise pretty simple.  I’ve always been a supporter of less is more.  We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we have, and now you have one more use for your upcoming summer tomatoes!  Ciao…

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 cups chopped, seeded plum tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice

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METHOD

  1. Combine pork, 1 tsp cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, tossing to coat.
  2. Combine water, oyster sauce, sugar, Sriracha, and remaining 1 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, swirling to coat.  Add minced garlic and pork mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until pork is done.  Add chopped tomatoes, sauté 1 minute.  Add cornstarch mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened.  Add basil; stir to combine.  Remove from heat, and sprinkle with onions.  Serve with brown rice.

Cheddar Cornbread Jalapeno Poppers

According to my Mom, I never liked eating hot food until I was around eight years old.  When I say hot, I mean anything that was spicy, had a little bit of heat, or anything like it.  She said that when I would eat Chinese food I would only eat white rice and wonton soup if that gives you a visual of my bland eating ways.  In my defense I was young and needed to develop the diverse food palate I have today.  Luckily, today I eat a variety of foods and love spicy.  (Even when I was pregnant there wasn’t a spicy food out there that bothered me, and I had heard when you are pregnant those type of foods don’t normally agree with you.)

Well, if you like just a little heat the following recipe is for you, and if you like more heat you can make it hotter. These jalapeno poppers are lower on calories than your traditional poppers but still big on flavor and that’s why I break them out on occasion, like this past football season.  Enjoy! (Courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine.)

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INGREDIENTS

    • 20 medium jalapeno peppers
    • 1 cup spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
    • 1 cup cornmeal, finely ground
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp cumin, ground
    • ¾ cup low-fat plain yogurt (I think I added more)
    • ¼ cup egg whites
    • 3 tbsp raw honey
    • 1/3 cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
    • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
    • 1 ¼ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, divided
    • 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream (optional)
    • 1/3 cup all-natural jarred salsa (optional)
    • Plastic gloves (jalapenos)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Wearing gloves cut stem end off each jalapeno and discard.  Cut peppers in half lengthwise, and using a small paring knife or a teaspoon, carefully cut or scoop out seeds and discard.  Place peppers cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet; set aside.  (NOTE:  Most of the heat in a jalapeno pepper is in the seeds.  By removing the seeds, we’re left with a flavorful pepper with a great little kick.  Always wear gloves when handling hot peppers.)
  3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, chili powder and cumin; set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, egg whites and honey.  Add yogurt mixture, plus cilantro, green onions and 1 cup cheese to dry ingredients and mix well until just combined.
  5. With gloves, spoon about 2 tsp mixture into the center of each jalapeno half.  Smooth tops of mixture and place jalapenos back into baking sheet, filling side up.
  6. Place tray into oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle stuffed jalapenos with remaining ¼ cup cheese and continue to bake for 2 more minutes or until top is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Let cool at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.  Arrange on a platter and serve immediately with sour cream and salsa for dipping, if desired.

Product Euphoria – Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

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I was strolling through Costco because I pretty much live there, and as I was passing some frozen cases on my way to grab baby wipes these popped out at me!  Now I think chocolate & mint are the perfect combination, but I also love ice cream.  My grandfather, Pop, ate ice cream every night after dinner, and yes, I loved spending the night because I got ice cream.  When I saw the frozen greek yogurt label I wasn’t sure how much I would like these bars, but they’re pretty damn good.  Plus, they are only 100 calories!

Of course when I picked up the box to read the nutrition label I was pleasantly surprised.  I would say they are mostly clean.  As you browse the label below some of my super clean eaters might disagree, but after sampling these (and I’m sure the whole box will be consumed by me), I will search out their other flavors to see if they are just as yummy!

mint-chocolate-chip-nutrition

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Sauce

When it comes to poultry I have never really had a need for dark meat or have really cooked much with chicken thighs.  Perhaps it’s the gristle or that I can never tell if it’s cooked all the way through, but this recipe has convinced me to keep trying new recipes with chicken thighs.  (Thank you, Cooking Light – Annual Recipes, 2008.)

KEEPERS

The flavor was awesome, especially if you’re a lover of Indian food.  No, there was no curry present, but all the other familiar spices were present.

CHANGERS

This recipe is just meat, spices, and couscous (I used whole wheat orzo because that’s what I had).  I think next time I’ll add some mushrooms or tomatoes to the couscous mixture.  I love veggies and I felt like it needed something else.  I chose to make the yogurt sauce first and put it in the frig while I was preparing everything else.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous (I used orzo.)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  c chopped fresh cilangro
  • 1 tsp bottled minced garlic
  • 1 (6 oz) carton plain fat-free yogurt
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)



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METHOD:

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. Combine cumin & next 4 ingredients in a bowl; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Spirnkle spice mixture over chicken.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add chicken to pan; cook6 minutes on ewach side or until done.
  3. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, chopped cilantro, garlic, and yogurt in a bowl, sitrring well.  Serve with chicken and couscous.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs; if desired.

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Saturday Supper – Fiery Flank Steak & Tomato Jam

This past week I figured it was about time I got off my arse and starting updating this blog.  Thus, I delved into my cookbooks and found something to try where I wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store.  Sometimes I call it the “big freezer cookout” when we have no business buying more food, but this time I’m trying to use what we have so perhaps I can spend more on decorating the movie room. 😉  Accessory is everything after all!

FIERY FLANK STEAK WITH TOMATO JAM (Cooking Light Annual Recipes, 2008)

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KEEPERS:  Tomato jam was AWESOME!!  For some reason I thought grating a tomato would be a bugger, but was done quite quickly.  I used the tomato jam a couple days later and it was still AWESOME!  Always marinate flank steak for 8 hours or longer, because this cut of beef is so tough it needs that amount of time to make it carvable.

THINGS I CHANGED:  I did half the entire recipe since the flank steak I had was almost a pound, with that being said I used green onions instead of a regular onion in the jam.

INGREDIENTS:

JAM

  • 6 lg ripe tomatoes, cored & cut in half crosswise (about 4 lbs)
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c grated onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

STEAK

  • 1 tbsp grated lime rind
  • 1/3 c fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lbs flank steak, trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cooking Spray

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METHOD:

  1. To prepare jam, grate tomatoes, flesh side down, over a large bowl to form 5-1/2 cups pulp, discard skins.  Combine pulp, sugar, and next 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a  boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 2-1/4 cups (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Cool to room temperature.  Stir in cilantro, 3 tablespoons juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. To prepare steak, combine rind and next 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add steak, seal.  Marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.
  3. Prepare grill.
  4. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.  Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Place steak on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Cut steak diagonlly across grain into thin slices.  Serve with jam.

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Product Euphoria – Chobani Bites

Product Euphoria - Chobani Bites

I was attending a school training a couple of months back and my co-worker had one of these yogurts for breakfast. I do love Chobani yogurt but don’t get them most of the time because of the sugar content. However, this little number has reduced sugar and many delicious flavors. I could totally replace dessert with the chocolate and mint variety.

(The most amusing part was my co-worker ate it with the foil lid because she forgot her spoon. Well played, well played.)

Breakfast on the Go!

Sometimes I think if I had all the time in the world I would cook everything I need for an entire school year and store it in the freezer.  (If you saw how much tuppeware I went through in a school week you would understand.  I should probably have a dishwasher just for tupperware).

Anyways, I mentioning this because if I want lasting energy all day I know must put aside food prep time and make the foods/meals that give lasting energy (this is where the freezer comes in).  One of the items that I fix on occasion and store are Clean Egg Muffins.  Sure, I could do hard-boiled eggs or Greek yogurt, but I like to mix things up and not get bored.  And there’s zucchini in these muffins which I’m normally known not to eat.

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Clean Egg Muffins (Cleaning Eating Magainze)

Ingredients:

  • Oil spray
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 red pepper, minced
  • 1/2 zucchini, shredded
  • 14 egg whites
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • Dash sea salt and pepper

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METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-muffin tin with a little oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Combine vegetables in a big bowl. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 full with vegetables.
  3. Whisk eggs and seasonings in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop egg mixture and pour slowly into each muffin tin. Egg mixture should fill tin the rest of the way. Bake 30 minutes or until muffins have risen and are slightly browned.

STORAGE TIP: Muffins will keep up to one week in the refrigerator or can be frozen. If freezing, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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The Flavors of Protein

When looking for a quick snack or perhaps a meal, I was always on the hunt for a good granola bar, protein bar, or something that would taste good and be nutrional.  Choosing the bar is a quick fix for those of us who are super, hyper busy sometimes.

There’s so much out there today and those bar options beg the question, do I really want to read every single bar ingredient label that I come across??  If you’ve ever read any of them, most of them are this long:

protein bar ingredients

I get through the first ingredient and I’m literally exhausted.  

When I came across Quest Protein Bars, I was quite pleased at it’s simplistic approach to ingredients, and more importantly the taste and how many flavors they offer.  Here’s a sample of their ingredient list:

quest protein bar ingredients

11 whole ingredients!!  20 grams of protein and only 3 carbs!!  17 grams of fiber!! WINNER!

Not only do I enjoy these protein bars because less is more when it comes to ingredients, but they offer tons of flavors (Cookies ‘n cream, chocolate chip & apple pie are my favorite), they taste good, and they keep me full.  So, if you need a new protein bar, go on a ‘Quest‘ and try this one out.  🙂

quest protein bars