Monthly Archives: August 2012

Banana, Strawberry & Chia Seeds Smoothie

Beginning from the past weekend, I have been making banana smoothie for breakfast. I am trying to take breakfast seriously and this super easy and fruit laden smoothie has been a great motivator. It is surprisingly filling and I have been feeling a bit more energetic than usual ever since (perhaps it’s psychological hehe!).

The beauty of homemade smoothie is that it can be jam-packed with fruits. I sometimes find smoothies from the shops do not contain as much fruits as I would like. They tend to be heavier on the fruit juices, sorbet and yoghurt which can be a wee bit too sweet. Having said that, I did enjoy my fair share of adding sorbet and flavoured yogurt in my smoothie. Whoops!

Since this is my breakfast smoothie, I want to keep it simple and as wholesome as possible. For a start I remove the sorbet from the equation as I wonder how others feel about me starting the day with sorbet in my smoothie. :P

Banana, Strawberry & Chia Seeds Smoothie

Makes about 300ml/10 fluid ounces – about 2 short glasses

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 bananas, peeled & sliced
  • 6 fairly large strawberries (almost 200g/7 ounces), hulled and diced
  • 1 cup low fat milk or soy milk
  • 2 tbsps Greek yogurt (vanilla flavoured is preferred)
  • 2 tsps chia seeds as toppings

Equipment – a stick blender + a large tumbler or bottle

(1) Hull and dice strawberries. Add to a large tumbler. (2) Peel and slice bananas and add to the tumbler. (3) Then add milk and yoghurt with the bananas and strawberries. (4) Blend until smooth. Transfer to 2 glasses and top with chia seeds. Serve immediately.

 

 

“Creamy” Chicken, Corn & Rice Soup

As a continuation of my love for substance, may I present you with my alternate take on our beloved Asian-styled chicken and corn soup?

For those who are long time readers, you may remember in my last post on chicken and corn soup, I added spaghetti. You may also remember my Western take on rice soup (aka congee, rice porridge – whichever way you want to call it).

Aha! You probably can see where I am going with this now right?

Basically, this is an amalgamation of chicken and corn soup plus rice soup. I know I really, really should treat chicken and corn soup as what it is – an entre. However, I feel it makes an easy light meal. We all have one of those days, haven’t we?

“Creamy” Chicken, Corn & Rice Soup

(Serves 3 – 4 people)

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 cups of cooked rice ( I used cooked Basmati rice)
  • 1 – 2 chicken breasts depending on the size (I used 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 2 inches (lenghtwise) of fresh ginger, peeled and slice into 2 large chunks
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • White pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Recently boiled water (get ready a full kettle of boiling water) – may vary depending on your preferred consistency and how long cook it for; it took me about 4 cups of boiling water
  • Spring onion/scallions, sliced – as garnish

Equipment required – a stick blender or a food processor.

Note – if you don’t have leftover rice, you can add 1 cup of uncooked rice instead. That means additional time is required to cook the rice in the stock until fully cooked.

(1) To make chicken stock – add chicken breasts, ginger slices and hot water into a pot. Cook over high heat until the stock is boiling and then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the chicken breasts are fully cooked. While making the stock, skim off the scum with a ladle.  (2) When the chicken breasts are cooked, discard the ginger and transfer the chicken breasts on to a plate. Set aside while you add the cooked rice.  Let the rice soften a little in the stock by cooking it for say 5 minutes. (3) Then take the pot off the heat and use a stick blender to process the rice mixture until smooth. (4) Return the pot to the stove over low heat. Add frozen corn and cook the rice soup to thicken to your desired consistency. In the meantime, finely shred the chicken breasts (I used my fingers for this) and add the shredded chicken to the rice soup also. At this stage, you can add more water or continue to reduce the rice soup to your desired consistency. I prefer the consistency to be like fresh cream. Once you are happy with the consistency, add salt and sugar to taste, 2 drops of sesame oil, 3 dashes of white pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients. (5) To serve: scatter some slice spring onion, a dash of white pepper and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve immediately.

 

Macaroni & “Nachos” Bake

I love nachos but I don’t feel like it is enough for me as a main meal. Oh yes, when it comes to main meals especially dinner, I love substance! It is no surprise that some of my peers think that I have an appetite of a man.

One lucky guy at work had nachos at work the other day. Sometimes this is the kind of reminder you need to reignite a craving. Nachos is ridiculously easy to make and needless to say it is one of those dishes that I find to be irresistable on any day. However, I wanted to bulk it up a little as I don’t usually have leftovers when I make nachos for dinner.  So my love for substance has led me to this macaroni & nachos bake.  Basically it is my attempt of a simple homemade salsa with macaroni and kidney beans on the bottom of the dish. Then top with handcrushed corn chips with gooey blistered cheese.

(Bulked up nachos dish anyone?)

Macaroni & “Nachos” Bake

Feed about 4 people

What you’ll need:-

  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g/8.8 ounces mince chicken or beef
  • 2 green bell peppers (capsicum) – about 400g/14 ounces, deseeded & diced
  • 1 x 400g/14 ounces of  canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 x 400g/ 14 ounces of canned diced tomatoes
  • 500g/18 ounces uncooked macaroni
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Hot water to cook the macaroni

Toppings:-

  • 2 – 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (feel free to add more should you like it cheesier)
  • Corn chips
  • 50g/2 ounces of black olives, sliced  *optional*
  • Picked jalapenos *optional*
  • Scallions (spring onions), finely sliced *optional*

(1) In a large pan, saute garlic and onion in olive and a pinch of salt over medium heat. (2) Add mince chicken and brown it over high heat. (3) Then add green bell peppers, saute for a minute and then add red kidney beans. Stir to mix the ingredients together. (4) Pour canned diced tomatoes and cook over high heat until the mixture is bubbling. Then turn the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer while you start cooking the pasta. (5) In a separate large pot, fill it with recently boiled water and some salt. When the water the boiling, cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Undercook the pasta by one minute from the specified time on the packet. Drained and toss the cooked macaroni into the sauce and mix well. Let it cook over low heat until the macaroni achived the texture you desire. (6) Transfer the macaroni to a large baking dish. First top with a little cheese. This is to create a barrier between the crushed corn chips and the sauce, avoiding the corn chips to turn soggy. After you have sprinkle some cheese, add corn chips, hand crushed. Then add more cheese, up to your preferred cheesiness. This is optional but if you have some sliced black olives and pickled jalapenos in the kitchen, why not add them for some flair. Bake under a griller to blister the cheese. Sprinkle some chopped scallions before serving.