‘Lite’ At the End of the Tunnel
I’m faced with a dilemma; I live in a land of unbelievable bounty and choice, where an unlimited supply of fresh, affordable and tantalizing food options are available to me 24 hours a day, every day. My car has been transformed into an International Travel Pod, where once exotic and labor-intensive meals and delicacies are now just an arms-length away from my driver’s side window. I merely have to voice my meal mandate out loud in front of a brightly colored menu board full of photographic representations of my deepest food desires. Why, I can even ‘supersize’ my choices, all while sitting comfortably behind the wheel listening to the harmonic melodies of my own choosing.
Up ahead a smiling face awaits at an open window delicately holding my expertly prepared and lovingly wrapped meal, which they conveniently stowed in a festive paper bag. After a quick monetary exchange I’m handed my culinary travel clutche and a tall, cool waxed paper vat of sweet, sweet liquid. “Adios” I reply to my Spanish compadre-in-white. And even before I can merge into traffic my fingers are seeking out one of those golden fried sticks of masterly salted carbohydrates and starch.
Ah, yes. What’s a fat bastard to do?
Man, I am pathetic! I don’t remember what happened to me and my relationship with food but at some point I totally bought in to the slogans and catch phrases that tell me I deserved it, I’m worth it and that it tastes soooo good! A 1220-calorie Deluxe Breakfast? “I’m loving it!” A 1090-calorie Mesquite Chicken sub? “Mmmm…toasty!” A 590-calorie pack of French fries? “It’s Way Better Than Fast Food!”
I’m to the point now where I call my bib overalls my ‘skinny jeans.’
So it’s back to the lighter fare in this column. I know that it’s not what you eat but how much you eat, however that doesn’t help when I’m making a meal and it turns out so good that before I know it I’m eating it right out of the serving dish and I look up to see my dinner guests sitting around the table staring at me in disbelief. (My friends call it ‘Dinner and a Show!’)
So here it is ESers; a tasty low-cal meal that’s healthy and good for you. Just remember, this serves 6. That doesn’t mean dinner in 6 acts, it means dinner for 6 people or 6 different meals. Just do as I say and not as I do and you’ll be squeezing back into your XXLs in no time! Enjoy.
Katt’s “Now That’s Using Your Noodle” Udon bowl
3 large bone-in skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of chicken stock
8 oz dried udon noodles
1 large cucumber chopped
1 bunch of chopped green onions
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
2 tablespoons of dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 teaspoons of garlic chili relish
1 tablespoon of honey
¼ cup of rice vinegar
Start by baking your chicken breasts. Normally I would sear each side in an oven-proof skillet and then finish it in the oven but we’re trying to skim off some calories here so I season the breasts with salt and pepper and grab a pan with a lid that will hold all three. Pour in the chicken stock, add the breasts, pop on the lid and throw it into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through pull it out, let it cool and remove the meat. I like bone-in breasts because I think that they have more flavor than boneless but use what you like. Cut up the meat and set it aside.
Then chop up your ginger, onions and cucumber. I used a large Japanese model and boy, was it full of seeds! I peeled it, cut it in half length wise and scooped out the seeds with a spoon. (You won’t have to do this with a regular cuc.) Then I split each half again and chopped up the whole mess. Get a bowl large enough to mix all of the finished ingredients in.
Now boil up the noodles. And follow the directions on the package! It makes a big difference. After it comes back up to its final boil dump the udon noodles into a colander and hit ‘em with cold water until they’re cool.
Next, grab another bowl and toss in the ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and vinegar. You can substitute your favorite hot sauce for the garlic chili or just use sriracha, but I really like the relish. You can probably find it in the same isle as the sriracha. I like to add it to the wet ingredients and then spoon a little on top when I serve it but then I think years of cigar smoking have fried my tongue, so you may not enjoy eating food at napalm spice levels. (Just thought I’d warn ya). Mix it well with a whisk or a spatula and get ready to assemble!
Now, everybody in the pool! Take a large bowl and mix the chicken, onions, cucumber, noodles and the wet ingredients and toss together. Mound a huge hunk, er…a normal portion into a bowl and nom, nom, nom!
Umm! Now that’s some good eatin’! Think I’ll have me some more…uh, some more WATER.
(Boy, this is gonna be tuff…)