I am going to try something new with wednesday's meal ideas for a short while ~ a meal and a side dish or treat/dessert.
starting with a favorite of mine:
Chinese Red-Cooked Chicken
Do you or your family love Chinese food? I do especially dishes with Star Anise and Szechwan Peppercorns. Knock their socks off with this Asian-infused slow cooker recipe featuring ginger, soy sauce, and cilantro and my two favorites.
2 1/2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks and/or thighs, skinned
3 whole star anise
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
3 inches stick cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon whole Szechwan peppercorns or black peppercorns
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry sherry (optional)
1 8 - ounce package Chinese egg noodles
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Place chicken in a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. For the spice bag, place star anise, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, and peppercorns in center of a double-thick, 8-inch square of 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Tie closed with clean 100%-cotton kitchen string. Add bag to slow cooker. In a bowl, combine green onion, broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and, if desired, sherry. Pour over chicken.
Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions. Remove chicken from cooking liquid. Strain liquid, discarding spice bag and solids; skim off any extra fat. Serve chicken over noodles in shallow bowls. Drizzle chicken and noodles with cooking liquid and garnish with cilantro leaves.
* Use a vegetable peeler to remove 3-inch-long strips of peel from an orange, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 244 cal., 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 90 mg chol., 576 mg sodium, 24 g carb. (1 g fiber, 2 g sugars), 26 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 3
Trail Mix Balls
Sunflower seed kernels, sesame seeds, and rice cereal provide subtle crunch to this fun twist on a party mix. The coconut flakes and honey add sweetness to this chewy, melt-in-your-mouth snack that can also be a an after dinner treat for your Red Cooked Chicken. These can be shaped anyway you want to make it festive and fun.
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup crisp rice cereal
3/4 cup rolled oats, toasted*
1/3 cup dried fruit bits
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/4 cup lightly salted peanuts
1/4 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
In a small saucepan, combine honey and the water; cook and stir over low heat until the honey liquefies. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla, whisking until peanut butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine rice cereal, toasted rolled oats, fruit bits, sunflower seed kernels, peanuts, coconut, and sesame seeds. Pour honey mixture over cereal mixture; stir to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or just until firm.
Using your damp hands, shape mixture into 30 balls, each about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Chill balls until ready to serve. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 30 balls (2 balls per serving)
* To toast oats, place them in a dry medium skillet; cook over medium-high heat until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 153 cal., 8 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 48 mg sodium, 17 g carb. (2 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 4 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1.5; Starch (d.e): 1