Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dukan Style Loco Moco

Dukan Loco Moco

Hmmm...we were torn on this one.  There were some things about this we both loved and some we were just okay with.  First, the male half did NOT like that we used so much mustard.  He doesn't care for mustard, probably for the same reason he doesn't care for much vinegar in his food.  He did like that it was something different and in Hawaii, who doesn't love an over-easy egg over your food ;-)  The female half loves mustard, so the sauce was delicious, but it could have use more spice.  We both didn't care for the not so tender beef, should have tenderized it first with a mallet.  The male half would have preferred chicken over beef because it's less fatty but we already had 3 chicken dishes planned for the weekend, so beef it was!

A Loco Moco is a very popular dish in Hawaii.  It was created decades far as we can remember, at least 30 years ago.  The original version consisted of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, then one or two over-easy eggs and smothered with gravy.  The male half likes to call it a "heart-attack on a plate".  Over the years many restaurants have offered variations of the dish including fish instead of a hamburger patty, chili instead of gravy, all kinds of meats and some even offer you a choice on how you want your egg cooked.  

The female half has had her share of loco mocos growing up in Hawaii...her favorites are the original (but only with a homemade hamburger patty), the fish moco and the chili moco...with an over-easy egg of course.  Since Dukan, we've given up loco mocos but still love to "bust" the egg yolk over our we decided to add an egg to this beef dish and call it our Dukan Loco Moco or Dukan Moco!

Serves 2 (during Attack, if we both ate brown rice, this would have served 3 or 4)
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: approximately 8 minutes, but it depends on how you like your beef cooked

1 lb. beef top round (we picked up a tray of pre-sliced beef strips)
1 serving of Skinnytaste's Garlic Dijon Herb Sauce (see recipe below)
2 T. Dijon mustard (if you don't want a strong mustard taste, omit this)
1/2 jalapeno with most of the seeds removed (we should have use the whole thing and left more seeds in)
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 egg per person

Skinnytaste's Sauce - mash together with a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor
3-4 cloves garlic
1 t. herbs de Provence
1 t. red wine vinegar
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. olive oil (if you are using it, we left it out)

Mix Skinnytaste's sauce and set aside.  As mentioned above, the mustard was too strong for the male half..the female half loved it.  If you want a lot of sauce, make double the amount of sauce instead.  Heat a grill pan over medium high heat, spray with some nonstick spray and place meat in pan.  Cook until a little over 50% cooked.  Flip meat over and quickly add half the garlic sauce on the meat.  Cook to your preference.  We are medium rare people, so our cooking time wasn't long at all.  Turn meat over again and add the rest of the sauce to the meat.  We turned it over one last time and serve with or without an over-easy egg over the beef.  

We cooked our eggs just before the beef was done cooking.

Enjoy...we both did...sort of :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dukan Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

We loved this recipe.

Pork and Chicken Adobo are popular dishes here in Hawaii introduced by the Filipinos.  You'll find it on many menus, even at the local plate lunch places.  Each person has their own way of making adobo...some like it with a strong vinegar flavor and some prefer a lighter vinegar flavor.   The female half loves the vinegar flavor but the male half prefers a lighter vinegar taste so Splenda brown sugar is added to cut down on the vinegar flavor when we're dining together or feeding other people.

Most restaurants and home cooks make their Pork Adobo with pork belly...lots of fat and if using chicken, they like to leave the skin on.  We usually make Chicken Adobo at home and have always used boneless, skinless thighs.  This is the first time we've Dukan'd our we used Splenda brown sugar, trimmed 90% of the fat off our chicken thighs and browned the chicken using non-stick spray and it came out great!  Of course, the female half could have done without the Splenda brown sugar :-)

We like making a big batch of Chicken Adobo for leftovers...this can be eaten by itself, over brown rice, shred the chicken up and make quesadillas or sandwiches.  We probably would even use it for lasagna.   Note:  We've made this in the crock pot, before Dukan, removing the fat and it gets dried out.  We may try to adjust the cooking time, but we are happy with the over the stove method.

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 5-30 minutes (depending on how much fat you're trimming from your chicken)
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (remove as much fat as you like)
1/2 red onion, sliced (you can use more, the male half wrinkled his nose when he saw the onion, but it melts down a lot during cooking)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt (optional)
1/2 t. peppercorns (or ground pepper)
1 lg. bay leaf, crushed
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 in. ginger root, crushed
1/2 T. Splenda brown sugar (optional, if you prefer a stronger vinegar taste, omit sugar)
1/4 c. soy sauce, low sodium
1 t. cornstarch, plus 1 t. water if you want your sauce thicker

In a pot over medium high heat, saute onions and garlic a couple minutes, do not burn garlic.  Remove onions and garlic, brown chicken on both sides, then add garlic and onions back to pot.  Add the vinegar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, ginger root and brown sugar.  Simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.  Add soy sauce and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce is too salty, add water in 1/8 c. at a time to taste.    Add cornstarch slurry in if you want your sauce thicker.  This is the first time we've made it with cornstarch and we prefer it without.

Before Dukan, we used to make this with red potatoes too adding in the cubes of potatoes in with the soy sauce.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pure Protein Weekends

Well, the weekend of Pure Protein days (4 days - we included Friday and this past Monday was a Hawaiian holiday) was a success.  The female half is wavering between 3-4 pounds loss and the male half is feeling better about the eating.

The week we had our uncle over, wow, we were bad.  We had lots of treats and it seemed like every meal was a Celebration meal...not good for our weight.  He only visits once a year, so there are quite a few family gatherings.

The Pure Protein weekend felt good....we were feeling a bit sluggish from all the bad eating although every bite was delicious!  We love eating great tasting meals like the Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon we had this weekend which filled us up but didn't put us into "Kanak Attack"mode.

This week we'll be doing more of a modified Cruise Phase week....mostly Pure Protein and Protein/Veggie days and if we have time to meal plan for this weekend, we may do a 3 day Pure Protein weekend!  Pure Protein or Attack Phases really only work for us when we meal plan.  Last summer, we tried to start the diet with no meal planning for the Attack Phase and after a day and a half, we failed.  The second time we tried it, we planned our Attack Phase meals and made it through...we had cravings, but at least we knew what we were going to eat.

We are still working on trying to lose the vacation weight, but are still maintaining the after vacation weight (meaning no real weight gain).  That's where we are at...still happy we tried the Dukan Diet and are happy we are choosing to cook lower fat meals.  We must admit though, we've been slowly increasing the fat and sugar intake which doesn't really work when you aren't getting your daily exercise in.

Our Dukan reboot includes the above meal adjustments, plus we are trying harder to work Zumba back into our weekly routine.  The hikes are great, but once or twice a week really isn't enough.

Skinnytaste's Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon (It's a Dukan recipe!)

Skinnytaste's Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon

Wow, we LOVED this!

If we remember correctly, Dijon mustard is ok during Attack.  This recipe came from one of our favorite lowfat recipe blogs, Skinnytaste.   While not all of Skinnytaste's recipes are easy to Dukan, quite a few of them are and there are a lot of them that fit into Consolidation or you could have them as a lower fat Celebration meal.

We found this recipe, thought it sounded good but we didn't realize it would be this good :-)  Oh, forgot to mention...on Thursday we discussed how we keep forgetting to have our Pure Protein day.  There are weeks we plan for it, then something happens and we push it back, push it back again until it's been forgotten.  So, the female half decided she would play catch up and have about 4 Pure Protein days in a row.  The male half's weight has been good, so he's only doing 2 Pure Protein days.  This is how this recipe was chosen, as part of our weekend of Pure Protein days.

NOTE: the asparagus in the photos are for the male half :-)

We're definitely making this again.

Serves 2 (as a Pure Protein meal)
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: about 10 minutes

4 garlic cloves
1 tsp. dried Herbs de Provence (if you don't have any, you can make your own following this recipe)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. olive oil (optional, we left it out)
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 lb. salmon fillets, 1" (we had a couple 1" and a couple about 1/2")
kosher salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving

Using a mortar and pestle or mini food processor, mash garlic with herbs, vinegar, oil if you are using it and Dijon mustard until it becomes a paste.  We didn't have either kitchen tool so we minced the garlic and herbs up really well first.  Set sauce aside.

Season salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Heat a grill pan or grill over high heat until hot.  Spray pan with a little bit of non-stick spray and reduce heat to medium-low.  Place the salmon on the hot grill pan and cook without moving for 4-5 minutes (we cooked ours until it was just over 50% done).  Turn and cook the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes spooning on half of the garlic sauce evenly.

Turn and cook one more minute spooning the other side of the fish with remaining sauce.  Turn once again and let the fish finish cooking about one minute.  Fish cooking time should be approximately 9-10 minutes per inch.  If your fish is thinner, reduce the total cooking time.  We prefer our salmon slightly undercooked, so we cooked it for about 8 minutes or so.

Serve with lemon wedges.  The male half had his with brown rice and asparagus grilled in the same pan with the same sauce and some kalamansi (similar to lemon).    We're thinking about using this sauce on our meatloaf...well, the female half would like to, but the male half doesn't care for mustard...although he did like this recipe!

Enjoy...we sure did!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dukan Cuban Pork Stir Fry

Dukan Cuban Pork Stir Fry
We liked this was a bit dry, had we not overcooked it, it probably would have tasted better. Cooking lean pork has always been a challenge for us. It's the, "gotta be sure it's cooked properly thing". We probably should've opted for chicken or beef since the male half of this couple tries not to each a whole lot of pork...but we have 2 or 3 other chicken recipes we wanted to try this weekend, so pork it was!

We did enjoy the flavors of this dish and it was very easy to make.  We found this recipe on La Cocina De Nathan which has a LOT of great Hispanic recipes.  The original recipe made by Nathan is a pork chop recipe but we decided to turn it into a stir fry.  We used less onions since the male half said he wouldn't have any.

We made this as an Attack/Cruise recipe, so we used our non-stick spray, but next time we will use some olive oil to cook the pork and onions.  We also trimmed the fat from our already very lean, thin pork time, we'll probably leave a little bit of the fat on to help keep the pork moist.   Nathan notes some of the garlic may burn, but it's fine for this dish.

Serves 2 as a Pure Protein meal (or 4 with a side of brown rice)
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 7-10 minutes

6 thin, lean pork chops, sliced into thin stir-fry pieces (remove as much fat as you want, note, you can cook your pork chops whole, you don't have to stir fry yours, be sure to cook your pork well)
4-5 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste using a mortar, garlic press or mini food processor
juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 red onion, sliced (optional, if you're ok with onions, the female half recommends you not leave them out)
juice of 1 lime (for onions)

Mash garlic with salt, cumin and lime juice (our garlic ended up minced due to lack of time and tools).  Rub mixture on pork.   Heat pan over high heat, spray some non-stick spray (or olive oil if you're using oil).  Note: If you are cooking your pork whole, use medium high heat, not high heat.  Cook pork until 75% done.  Set pork aside.  In same pan, add more spray (or oil) and add onions.  Saute until soft (we left ours a little crunchy since that's the way the female half likes her onions).  Deglaze pan with lime juice.  Add pork back in to heat everything up and serve after pork is cooked through.

The female half ate this as a Pure Protein meal and the male half had his with rice.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dukan Clean Out the Fridge Salmon

Clean Out The Fridge Salmon or Salmon Poached in Wine
We had an uncle in town the other weekend, so not much cooking again.  We did host a family dinner and made our Dukan Asparagus Chicken which was a hit.  We made it with chicken tenderloins and we definitely prefer chicken thighs for this recipe.  Our uncle made a fabulous salad...we will post the recipe later, but it's NOT Dukan!  It made a nice treat though.

The night before he arrived we were trying to clean out our fridge knowing he would be bringing over his salad ingredients so the leftover white wine and stuffed olives turned our salmon into a quick but tasty dinner.

If you are following Dukan rules to a tee, you probably won't want to use this much wine in your cooking unless you're well into Consolidation or in Stabilization.  This is something we probably would have made during Cruise though.  It's still low in fat.

Serves 2 (without any type of carb)
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: approximately 10-12 minutes

1 1/2 lbs. salmon filet, we cut ours into 4 pieces
3/4 c.  dry white wine
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. stuffed green olives
1/2 t. adobo seasoning (the garlic powder type, not canned chili type)

You'll be poaching the fish.   We used our stir fry pan which is small on the bottom and allowed the liquid to just cover the fish.  Add wine, water, olives and adobo seasoning to the pan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer the fish in the wine mixture until cooked.  We like our salmon slightly undercooked.  Cooking time will depend on how thick your salmon filets are.  Check them periodically.  If this is a Celebration meal for you, go ahead and use more wine.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dukan Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

Grilled Balsamic Asparagus
We loved this recipe!

Asparagus is on sale again...that means $4.00 per lb. off the normal price...woo hoo!  We usually use a bit of lemon juice and adobo seasoning to season our asparagus but we decided to try this recipe we found and we're glad we did.

Besides the marinating time, it's fast and easy.  We cut the recipe in half since there's just two of us.  If we were in Cruise, we probably would have omitted the 1/2 T. of olive oil we used.

Serves 2
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes, plus 30-60 minutes to marinate
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes (we prefer our asparagus crunchy so we cooked ours about 6 mins)

1/2 lb. asparagus, ends broken off and rinsed 2-3 times
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 T. olive oil (optional, but it's just 1/2 T.)
1/2 T. soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 a garlic clove, minced
1/4 t. kosher salt
pepper, to taste

Place asparagus in a ziploc bag (we cut our asparagus up).  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Seal bag and turn to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes (we did 60) turning bag occasionally.  Heat a grill pan over medium high heat, spray some non-stick spray, add asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how well you like asparagus done.  Ours started to char a bit so we turned it often....the female half doesn't mind the char, but the male half doesn't care for the taste of charred food :-)

Enjoy...we sure did!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dukan Mini Egg White Quiches

HE SAID: Very good.
SHE SAID: Delicious!
HIS FRIEND SAID: The quiche's were awesome!

Mini Quiches and grilled asparagus
UPDATED 3/22/2012: Reposting this recipe since we made them this past weekend.  Changed the recipe just a bit, meat free this time and we added cilantro.  Everyone loved it!    See below for the second option.

Quiche is great comfort food - the cheese, the crust...yum!  There's a deli near our office that sells quiche, it's delicious, but it's not Dukan.  We read a couple of Dukan'd Quiche recipes and actually found one on that we liked.  It wasn't a Dukan recipe, just a healthy recipe, but it fits the Dukan plan.  Again, we tweaked the recipe to include what we had on hand and what we could find in the local markets here.

The great thing about quiche is you can eat them pretty much anytime - breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack.  You can also put a lot of different things in them - you can make them protein only or protein and veggie....we didn't even miss the crust!

The local markets don't carry a lot of fat free cheeses.  Haven't been to Whole Foods in a while, we have a feeling we will find it there.  We have been able to find reduced fat cheese, but usually only in one or two types.

This is our recipe for a protein veggie quiche recipe, but just omit the veggies for your pure protein days.

Makes 6 small mini quiches
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1st recipe
3/4 c. egg whites
3/4 c. fat free or reduced fat shredded cheese (we used mozzarella because it's all we could find)
1/4 c. fresh asparagus, chopped into little pieces
1/4 c. red bell pepper, chopped into little pieces
1/4 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
2 slices low fat canadian bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, sliced
2 dashes of hot sauce (your choice)
Salt to taste

2nd recipe

3/4 c. egg whites
3/4 c. fat free or reduced fat shredded cheese (we used mozzarella because it's all we could find)
1/4 c. red onion, chopped into little pieces
1/4 c. red bell pepper, chopped into little pieces
1-2 T. cilantro, chopped
2 dashes of hot sauce (your choice)
Salt to taste

(for our second batch we added some adobo powdered seasoning)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stir fry veggies, canadian bacon and shallot (however long you like).  Remove from heat, mix in the shredded cheese.  Pour mixture into muffin pan.  Mix salt and whatever other seasonings you'd like to add into the egg, pour egg mixture into muffin pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until done.  Knife should come out clean when done.

We served our mini quiches with grilled asparagus (grilled for 3 minutes or so until they are bright green with salt, pepper and lemon juice).


Dukan Mexican Chicken

Lowfat Mexican Chicken

We loved this recipe...and always have!  (NOTE: We actually like it better with the 98% reduced fat cream of mushroom's not as thick and goopy.)

Cream of Mushroom soup (the large family size can) were on sale last week at our local drugstore.  Much to our surprise, the 98% fat free soups were also on sale (over here a lot of the fat free or lower fat products cost more than the ones with fat).  Mexican Chicken popped into our minds.  Back in college, this was the go-to-meal.  It was inexpensive to make, fast, easy and it was always a big hit with everyone we made it for.

The recipe was actually shared with us by the female half's cousin's husband at the time.  He called it Mexican Chicken but you could also call it Creamy Salsa Chicken.   We haven't had "Mexican Chicken" since the early part of 2011 due to being on the Dukan Diet.  Now that we're in Stabilization, we decided to try it with the reduced fat cream of mushroom soup to see how we like it.

A note about the salsa, making homemade salsa is always best since you can control what goes into your salsa.  If you're using pre-made salsa, be sure to read the label and find one that's Dukan friendly.  If you have a food processor or blender, making salsa at home is very easy!  We've made this dish over the years with bottled salsa and homemade salsa.  Our favorite bottled salsa for this dish is La Victoria Salsa Suprema, hot.  Mostly because it mixes in nicely and it doesn't have chunks of tomatoes (male half doesn't like chunks of tomatoes).

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45-55 minutes

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (all fat removed) - we usually cut the chicken into strips but you can leave them whole
1 - 26 oz. Cream of Mushroom soup (98% fat free), we used Campbell's
1 small pkg fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (we usually use 1 small can button mushrooms sliced but the male half won't eat those)
2 c. homemade salsa (see recipe)
OPTIONAL - 1 small can slice black olives - we didn't use olives since the male half doesn't like them
OPTIONAL - fat free or reduce fat shredded cheese to sprinkle on top of the dish (add during the last few minutes of baking just to melt the cheese), this is something the female half actually doesn't care for either.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix cream of mushroom soup in a bowl until smooth.  Add the salsa in one cup at a time, taste, add more salsa if you wish until you get the taste you like.  We like ours spicy so we tend to use a lot of salsa.  Mix in the mushrooms (and olives if you're using them).  Place chicken in a 9 x 13 pan (we like to line ours with foil for easy clean up) and pour the cream of mushroom mixture evenly over the chicken.  Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is cooked.  The female half has eaten this without any rice or tortilla chips in the past while on a low carb diet but if you're in Consolidation or Stabilization, some brown rice would be nice or homemade baked whole wheat tortilla chips for the sauce.

Enjoy...we always do!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dukan Salsa

Dukan Restaurant Style Salsa
We loved this recipe!

We love chips and a Mexican restaurant...but the chips have to be those homemade light and crispy ones with the "restaurant style" salsa.  We, maybe we should say one of us LIKES chips and salsa and the other could made a meal out of Mexican restaurant chips and salsa.  There aren't a whole lot of good Mexican restaurants here, but there are couple that are pretty darn good...and their chips and salsa...mmm.

We needed some salsa for our Mexican Chicken recipe which we will be posting this week so we dug out our salsa recipe and whipped up a batch.  It's Dukan friendly.  It went well in our Pre-Dukan Crock Pot Chicken Salsa For Two Recipe.  We want to try this recipe without the beans and corn soon.  We also want to make some whole wheat baked tortilla chips.

For this recipe, we used 1 jalapeno - one half we removed the membrane and the seeds and the other half we left the seeds in for some heat.  It was spicy but not too spicy.  If you love really hot food, we recommend leaving all the seeds in.  If you don't like spicy, remove all but a few seeds.

For our Mexican Chicken recipe, you really only need 2 cups, but can use all 3 cups of salsa if you don't want to have leftovers.

Yields approximately 3 cups
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Mix Time: 2-4 minutes

1 - 14.5 oz. can of whole tomatoes (use the juice too)
1 - 10.___ oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (use the juice too)
1 jalapeno, sliced into thin slices (see note above re: seeds)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 c. red onion, rough chop
a pinch or two natural sweetener (we used Truvia)
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. ground cumin
1/4 c. cilantro, rough chop (ok to use more, to taste)
juice from 1/2 a lime

Put all ingredients into a food processor or a blender.  We gave ours between 10 and 15 pulses.

Enjoy...we always do!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dukan Spicy Chicken with Apricots and Olives

Spicy Chicken with Apricots and Olives
UPDATE: Forgot to mention, if you are following the Dukan rules to a tee, you may want to substitute the honey with a natural sweetener.  We haven't tried it that way because we're in the "in moderation" mode...we don't use honey all the time, not even once a week and using honey once in a while hasn't made a difference on the scales.

We loved this recipe!  Before we bought the apricots for this recipe, I ran the idea by the male half of this couple and he said "apricots?!"...but no fuss after that exclamation so we decided to try this recipe.  It is spicy and sweet...full of flavor.  Reminded both of us of Caribbean/Mediterranean food.

This recipe came from Noble Pig's blog and we followed it exactly as posted.  We'll probably try this recipe again with 1/4-1/2 c. white wine added to the recipe.  If you're in Cruise and don't want to wait, try making it without the apricots.    You'll definitely want to serve this over brown rice, quinoa, Dukan bread or something to enjoy the sauce.  We used 1 t. of crushed red pepper flakes and it wasn't too hot for us, but we like hot food.  Adjust the heat to your taste.

Forgot to take photos of the different steps, eek!

Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10-20 minutes (again, we had a lot of fat to remove from our chicken, sigh)
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes plus 24 hours to marinate chicken

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (all fat removed)
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. honey
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. crushed red peppers (use 1/4 t. if you don't like spicy)
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. smoked Spanish paprika (recipe says do not substitute)
1/2 c. pimento stuffed green olives (rough chop)
1/3 c. dried apricots, (rough chop)
1/3 c. cilantro, chopped (plus some for garnish)

In a small bowl whisk everything except the chicken, olives, apricots and cilantro.   Stir in the olives, apricots and cilantro.  Place chicken in large ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken.  Marinade chicken for 24 hours (flipping bag over once in a while)...try not to skip the 24 hour marinade.

Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Place chicken in a baking dish (we used a square pan), no more than 2 quarts.   Pour the marinade over the chicken (including the olives and apricots).  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

We served this over quinoa (cooked with chicken broth).

Enjoy...we sure did!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Great Way to Get In Some Exercise

For the past few months we've been trying to get out more, hiking, exploring...even during our vacations. It's a great way to get some exercise and see some amazing sights.   We always take our cameras is actually what brought us together :-)

We believe a lot of you are already following Flamidwyfe's blog, but just in case you aren't, Flamidwyfe also does a lot of hiking and day trips and check our her blog post on Taoguang Temple near West Lake in Hangzou!  Awesome photos :-)  Photos are a great way to see the world through someone else's eyes.  We often comment on getting our nephews inexpensive digital cameras, encouraging them to take photos (as in give them photo assignments) and cataloging's always fun to see what they end up photographing.

Here are some of Flamidwyfe's photos (you can see all of her photos here)...sharing them because we love them, one of us is part Chinese and has never been to the "mother land" this is a great way of seeing part of China!

Zumba is fun and great exercise...but exploring with a camera in hand is priceless!

All photos featured in this post are all copyright Flamidwyfe and cannot be sold or reproduced without the written consent of the photographer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dukan Chicken with Olives

Chicken with Olives
We loved this recipe.  It reminded us of a southwestern inspired pasta.  (BTW, we love Flamidwyfe's blog and noticed she like a lot of other food bloggers post pics of their dishes during various cooking when possible, we will try to do the same!)

It was another busy weekend, but we were able to try two new recipes from two of our new food blog finds!  Our uncle is coming to town and he's staying with us so we spent a good part of Sunday prepping his room and doing some spring cleaning.

We chose these recipes because a storm system which brought chilly weather, amazing lightning displays, a lot of rain (as in some areas were flooded and received over 30 inches of rain within a matter of a few days) and even marble sized hail...we wanted something warm and "comfort foodish".

This first recipe by the Pioneer Woman went well with whole wheat linguine but would also go well with brown rice, quinoa or by itself!  We definitely had to Dukan this recipe as the Pioneer Woman cooks with a butter, etc.

Onions, bell peppers and garlic cooking
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes (or more if you're removing a lot of fat from your chicken)
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours (most of the time is baking time)

1-2 T. olive oil or non-stick spray
6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, fat removed (if you're feeding big eaters, 8 pieces would be better)
1 medium red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced (recipe calls for large pieces, but the male half doesn't like them in large pieces)
1 - 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, juices squeezed out and minced (recipe says chopped, but again, the male half won't eat tomatoes like that)
1 c. dry white wine (or low sodium chicken broth)
kosher salt and pepper
1/4 c. non-fat half and half with up to 1 T. cornstarch mixed in (depending on how thick you like your sauce - we used 1 t. since we didn't want it too thick)
1 c. whole green olives (stuffed)
12 oz. cooked whole wheat linguine, cooked al dente

Tossing chicken with pasta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  We don't own an oven proof skillet, so we made ours in our non-stick pan, then transfered the food to a square pan for baking.  Heat 1 T. oil in pan over medium high heat.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Transfer chicken to your baking pan.   Add more olive oil to the pan if needed, reduce heat to medium and add bell peppers, onions and garlic.  Cook for a couple minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in wine and stir.  Pour sauce over chicken, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, remove foil, add olives and half-and-half mix.  Shake pan gently to mix, cover and bake for another 15 minutes.  In the meantime, cook your pasta.  We tossed the chicken sauce with the pasta before serving.

This could be adjusted to fit into Cruise if you use the chicken broth and no pasta.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Quinoa - How We Prefer Cooking It

We recently started eating Quinoa.  We love it...but we usually have it maybe once every couple of weeks. Quinoa can be a rice replacement, made into salads, used in chili, etc.

Most bags of quinoa come with cooking instructions on the back and there are many recipes online on how to cook quinoa.  For us, we prefer cooking our quinoa with chicken broth and adobo seasoning in a rice cooker.  We also use less liquid than most recipes call for since we prefer our quinoa on the drier, crunchier side.  Our cooked quinoa resembles tabouleh.

You can serve your quinoa straight out of the rice cooker after you fluff it or you can add a number of ingredients to it including garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, spices, etc.

Serves 3-4 as a side
Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Cook Time: automatic with your rice cooker (ours takes around 40 minutes or so)

1 c. quinoa
1 1/4 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
1/2 t. adobo seasoning (or 1 /4 t. garlic powder)
splash of olive oil (optional)

Add all ingredients to your rice pot (the quinoa we buy is ready to cook, no washing required), give it a mix and turn your rice pot on.  As soon as your rice pot turns off (ours beeps when it's done), open the pot, transfer quinoa to a large bowl and fluff your quinoa.  Leaving your quinoa in the pot too long will dry the quinoa out.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dukan Pork Chops Marsala

Pork Chops Marsala

We LOVED this!

Wow, we loved this so much we want to make this in this week!   This week we found another recipe blog, the name caught our attention...Noble could we not take a peek :-)  The woman who owns the blog also owns a vineyard called the Noble Pig.  We just couldn't wait to share this recipe with you...staying up late to blog about it!

A few great things about this's delicious, we didn't have to change anything to make it fit our Dukan diet, it was easy and by the way, did we mention it's delicious?  The only thing we did change...the mushrooms.  As mentioned before, the male half of this couple doesn't like mushrooms...he doesn't like the "dirt" taste.  He will however eat straw mushrooms and other Japanese mushrooms...generally the ones grown above ground.

Serves 3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13-15 minutes

6 thin cut, boneless pork chops, fat trimmed (ours were 1/4" thick, if you're using 1/2" thick, use 4 chops)
kosher salt and pepper to season pork chops prior to pan frying
3 t. olive oil, divided or non stick spray
1 can straw mushrooms or 1 pkg. cremini mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
1 lg. shallot, chopped (1/4 c.)
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. cooking marsala wine
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. water

Evenly season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 t. olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Cook pork chops for approximately 5 minutes or until browned on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

In the same pan, heat 1 t. olive oil.  Add mushrooms, shallots and thyme.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until shallots are softened.  Add broth and wine to mixture and cook for approximately 2 minutes.  In the meantime, mix the cornstarch with the water.  Add cornstarch mixture to pan slowly while stirring.  Your gravy will thicken.  Pour gravy over pork chops and serve immediately.  We had our pork chops with jasmine brown rice and grilled asparagus.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Easy Parts and the Challenging Parts

Just like everything in life, the Dukan Diet for us has it's "easy parts" and it's "challenging parts".  Today we found The Pioneer Woman Cook's blog and wow, do her recipes look yummy!   You may have seen the Pioneer Woman's show on Food Network (we haven't).  A lot of her recipes use a lot of butter and naughty ingredients.  We saved a bunch of her recipes, signed up for email alerts and started to Dukan one of her recipes in hopes of trying it some time this weekend if we have time.

Oh before we forget...a bit of good news.  The male half of this couple started antibiotics for his infected gums and it seems to be helping.  The re-cutting of the gums has been postponed.

Back to the recipe...while Dukan'ing one of the Pioneer Woman's recipes which calls for sour cream and cottage cheese, we thought about how easy it was for us to give up regular sour cream and replace it with fat free sour cream.  Same with cheese, we have no problem using fat free or low fat cheese.  Not cooking  the fattier pieces of beef and pork was a challenge at first, but now we rather eat leaner pieces of meat.  Easy.

The two food items the female half has given up are desserts made with dark chocolate and thick cut french fries.  When baking at home, we have no problem using natural sweeteners...actually we only have natural sweeteners in our pantry since we used those long before we started the Dukan Diet.  It's the times when the desserts are made by someone's been quite hard to say no.  For the male half, peanut butter and chips were the hardest for him...actually he refused to give up peanut butter for the diet, but it didn't effect his weight loss.  He loves peanut butter so he'd probably marry it if that were possible!

During the Attack and Cruise phases, we both followed the diet strictly (except for his peanut butter indulgence which he only has on the weekends).   The "giving ins" started during the last quarter of the Consolidation phase which included two vacations and the holidays.  Kudos to those who have been able to go back to Attack or Cruise successfully because after many attempts, we just haven't been able to go all the way back.

We are still maintaining our weights and when we cook more, we tend to lose a pound here and there.

We're still happy we went on the Dukan Diet.  We are still planning on eating like we're in Consolidation.  After our visitors leave, we will definitely get back to daily exercising versus 3-4 days of exercise.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dukan Asparagus Chicken

Asparagus Chicken
NOTE: This is a scheduled post...we have friends in town and are going to be out and about for a week!

Another one of our favorite blogs is Closet Cooking's blog.  Kevin Lynch is the owner and he cooks everything from Canadian favorites, Hispanic favorites, Cajun favorites and Asian favorites.  We've spent quite a bit of time going through his older recipes and are now signed up for email alerts from his blog.

We've made a couple Chinese recipes from Closet Cooking's blog and have enjoyed it each time.  It's tasty, not too salty, easily Dukan'd and easy to make.  Last night we tried his Asparagus and Chicken recipe minus the cashews and we both loved it!  We used non-stick spray instead of oil to cook with but we may try this with a little bit of olive oil next time.  We also used just a splash of sesame oil but you can skip the sesame oil if you want.

This recipe would be great with quite a few different veggies - string beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.

Serves 2-4 (if you don't eat rice, probably only 2)
Prep Time: 10 minutes (but if you're removing fat from your chicken, add another 10-20 minutes), marinading time - 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6-10 minutes

1 lb. chicken thighs or tenderloins, boneless, skinless, fat removed, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cleaned, trimmed and cut into bit sized pieces
splash of sesame oil (optional)

Marinade ingredients:
1 t. garlic, minced
1 t. ginger, grated
1 T. soy sauce, low sodium
1 T. Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1 t. cornstarch

Sauce ingredients:
1 t. garlic, minced
1 t. ginger, grated
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (we'll probably use 1/2 t. next time)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 T. cornstarch
1 T. soy sauce

Mix your marinade ingredients and marinate chicken for 15 minutes at room temperature.  Clean and cut your asparagus.  Heat wok over high heat, spray with some non-stick spray, stir fry chicken until just cooked (approximately 3 minutes).  Set chicken aside.  Lower heat to medium high, spray pan again with non-stick spray and add asparagus with the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.  Saute for approximately 3 minutes (your asparagus will be nice and crunchy...let it cook longer if you don't like crunchy asparagus).  Mix cornstarch and chicken broth from sauce ingredients together and add to pan with the soy sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and add a splash of sesame oil.  Mix well and serve.

We had ours over jasmine brown rice.

Enjoy..we sure did!

Follow Us On Twitter!

Quick note before we run down to Waikiki for dinner with our out of town guests.  We finally set up a Twitter account!  Our account is @HapaCouple (no spaces).  We tried to add a "Follow Us" button but it seems to not be working.

Will work on it again next week.  We know some people rather use Twitter as a notification service :-)

Low Fat Spicy Korean Braised Chicken

Spicy Korean Braised Chicken
NOTE: This is a scheduled post.  We have friends in town so we'll be out and about a lot again!

One of our favorite Korean recipe blogs is Maangchi's site.  So far all the recipes we've tried from her site have been yummy.   This one was VERY spicy and yummy.

Just a note, this recipe uses a lot of gochujang which is not Dukan friendly but it's a great paste to cook with.  We've used it during Cruise and Consolidation in moderation with no effect to our weight.  Most of the recipes we've tried call for 1 T. of gochujang.  You can also use a chili paste available in your area and sweeten it with a little bit of natural sweetener...not too sweet though.

That aside, we both loved this recipe.  We cut down the amount of crushed red pepper used and it was still blazing hot!  We'll probably use only 1-2 T. of crushed red pepper next time....but if you love spicy food, use the recipe as is or use 1/2 c. of red pepper flakes like Maangchi does!

We added 2 small red potatoes for the male half of this couple since he's thin and can afford the calories, he just needs to keep his fat intake low for cholesterol purposes.

Serves 2-4 (depends if you're serving brown rice with this or not)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, fat removed, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. garlic, minced
1/4 c. gochujang or your own hot pepper paste with a bit of natural sweetener
1/8 c. crushed red pepper (next time we'll use 1-2 T. only)
1 T. natural sweetener (we used Truvia)
1 lg. red onion, cut into chunks
2 stalks green onion, chopped

Mix soy sauce, hot pepper paste, garlic, pepper flakes and the natural sweetener in a pot.   Add chicken and onion, mix well.  Turn heat to medium-high, add two cups of water and mix again.  Bring to a boil for 20 minutes.  Turn heat down and let simmer for another 20 minutes.  If you are adding a potato in, add the potato now.  Stir every once in a while.  After the 40 minutes of cooking, cover your pot and let simmer for 20 more minutes.  Remove pot after the 20 minutes and let cook 3-5 minutes.  If you're not using a potato, you can use cornstarch to thicken your broth or you can eat as is.  Garnish with green onions and serve hot.

Enjoy...we sure did!