Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tasty Recipes Which Fail

I am coming out of a cooking rut. For the past month, our eating simply has not been that exciting. I wish I had a great post about Passover eating, but I really don't. We tried more processed foods than I would have liked during Passover, and my kids didn't even really like those foods much. Once the week of Passover had passed (ha ha), I started thinking again about what I wanted to be eating and what I wanted my kids to be eating. The answer hasn't changed much - real food, a variety of it, and of course I want it to taste good.

This week I tried 2 new recipes which Aaron and I loved and the kids absolutely rejected. I did not try both recipes at the same meal because I figure I'll have better luck getting the kids to try something new if there isn't too much truly new at a meal. Without further ado, here are the recipes for you to try. Perhaps your families will enjoy them.

Maple Pecan Chicken
From SparkRecipes - 5 PointsPlus per serving
Serves 6

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 6 pieces
1/2 c. halved pecans
1/4 c. plain bread crumbs
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. reduced calories syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the pecans and bread crumbs into a good processor. Combine until all of the pecans are chopped into the same consistency as the bread crumbs. Put into shallow bowl. Put syrup into another bowl.

Put chicken into the syrup, coating both sides completely. Put chicken into the pecan and bread crumb mixture. Coat each side completely.

Lay the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Coat the rest of the chicken pieces.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until all of the chicken is cooked through.

I do not measure pepper, and I don't actually remember using it. I use panko in place of bread crumbs. I also used our local maple syrup rather than a store purchased reduced calorie syrup. I did not end up using all of the syrup to coat my chicken.

Aaron and I really enjoyed this recipe for chicken. The chicken breast was much moister than I would have expected, and the breading was crisp and crunchy thanks to the pecans. The pecans get toasted in the oven, which makes them even yummier than they are when uncooked. Caleb rejected the chicken saying that it did NOT taste like maple syrup and that it tasted like chicken. Once he rejected it, Ellie didn't even want to lick it. She did end up trying a bite in the end and saying she liked it but didn't have any more. Aaron thinks calling this dish "maple candy chicken" would have been more successful. I'm not so sure. I think I'll make this again anyway because repeat exposure may change my kids' opinions.

This next recipe makes a great side dish to fish and probably anything else.

Asparagus Risotto

From Weight Watchers - 5 PointsPlus per serving
Serves 6

1/2 tsp. salt, for cooking water
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 sprays cooking spray
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 small shallots, minced
1 c. uncooked arborio rice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 c. canned chicken brother
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. table salt or to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper or to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add asparagus to pot; blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus from pot and place them into ice water to stop them from cooking and help retain their bright green color. Set aside.

Coat a medium pot with cooking spray and set over medium heat; melt butter. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add rice and toss to coat; cook for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice; cook, until all lemon juice has been absorbed, stirring continuously so rice does not stick to sides of pot, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer (in separate pot); keep warm.

Add 1/2 c. of hot broth to pot at a time; stir until absorbed. Repeat with remaining brother, making sure each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes.

When rice turns creamy and just done (should be slightly chewy and not mushy), remove pot from heat; add cheese and stir well. Stir in asparagus; season with salt and pepper.

1 serving = 1 scant cup.

When trimming the asparagus, make sure to remove the stiff woody ends. You probably could substitute vegetable broth if you want to make this vegetarian.

Again Aaron and I loved this recipe. I was hopeful that Caleb would like it because he loves asparagus. I was certain Ellie would at least eat the rice since she often requests cheesy rice for meals. I was absolutely wrong.
Unfortunately Caleb does not like creamy foods with the exception of Trader Joe's black cherry yogurt and Annie's mac and cheese. The creaminess overruled his love of asparagus. And again, his opinion affected Ellie's eating. Argh. She wouldn't even SMELL the food and spent the meal begging for her piƱata candy, which I refused to give her (mean mommy). I'm sure I'll make this again anyway, and I'll just provide a different vegetable option for the kids.

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