What’s New for Dinner: Chicken Satay

Last year, my husband and I did Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 DVD which also came with a meal plan. I was nervous about what types of foods she was going to make us eat but in the first few days, one item on the meal plan was Chicken Satay. I had never tried it before so I had nothing to compare it to but I have to say I was very impressed that this meal was “allowed.”

You marinade chicken for awhile, skewer them and then grill them. You can then top it with an almond butter sauce but honestly they were just fine without it. This recipe is also in her book, The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook which I’m anxious to check out. I saw her recipe was shared on the Today Show so I thought it was OK to share it with you, too. Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients You’ll Need (I’m going to divide them by the marinade and sauce to make it easier)

1 pound of boneless/skinless Organic Chicken Breast
1/2 cup of low-sodium tamari
Juice of one Orange (about 1/2 cup)
Juice of one lime (About 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Organic Natural Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Organic Raw Honey
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced
1/4 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon Low-Sodium Tamari
1 Garlic Clove, Chopped

1) Slice the chicken breast into thin strips 3 to 4 inches long

2) In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup tamari, orange juice, lime juice, and two of the garlic cloves. (I put in a little extra garlic as I forgot to save a clove for later!)

3) Add the chicken slices. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to overnight.

Note: Before you grill the chicken, soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes. (An easy way to do this is to lay them on a cookie sheet with some water.)

4) Place the rice wine vinegar, almond butter, honey, ginger, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon tamari, and one garlic clove, in a blender or mixing device. Blend or process until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.

5) Take the chicken out of the marinade and pat the chicken slices dry. Thread two slices onto each skewer. (Mine were a little smaller so I put extra)

6) If using a gas or charcoal grill, carefully spray the grill with olive oil and prepare a medium-hot grill. If using a grill pan, spray it with olive oil and heat over medium- high heat.

7) Grill for two to three minutes per side. Arrange the hot skewers on a platter and either drizzle the sauce over or serve the sauce in a bowl alongside the skewers.

You can see Jillian’s recipe and notes as she has them written, too. Probably easier to print from there,too.

I actually didn’t mind them without the sauce. So if you don’t have the sauce ingredients on hand, you could always try just the marinated chicken grilled.

This is a fairly new recipe to us and one that we decided to try to keep the meal plan a little new. Hope you enjoy it, too! You can check out some of the other “What’s New for Dinner” posts that I’ve shared in the past for more ideas, too!

How to Make Croutons

This last week, we had a loaf of bread that got stuffed back behind a few other bread products and I didn’t notice it was even there. By the time I realized it, the bread was fairly stale. In the past, I probably would have fed this to our wild birds or worse…even tossed it. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, there’s usually a way you can use things that aren’t still the freshest, but are still safely edible. I’ve turned stale bread into bread crumbs before but I wanted to try to make some croutons this time.

I found a real basic Crouton Recipe on AllRecipes.com. This one was just for regular croutons with a little garlic flavoring. You could probably toss in some spices if you want more flavoring.

1) The first thing you need to do is to cut off the crusts of your bread. This will give you a typical crouton. If you want to leave them on, I’m sure you could.

2) Next, you need to butter both sides of the bread with melted butter. I had my kids help with this. They kept saying they were “painting bread.”

3) Once buttered, cut the bread into cube shapes. If you want them to have a garlic flavor, sprinkle them lightly with garlic salt. Then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4) Bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until browned. If you want, you could flip them over halfway through for an even cooking, but I didn’t and they turned out just fine.

That’s it. Simple and a great way to be sure any stale bread you have doesn’t go to waste. I put these in a Ziploc bag and we’ll be enjoying them on several salads we’ll pick from our garden.

I’m hoping that if you come across things in your house that aren’t the freshest but are still safe to eat, that you’ll find other uses for them, too. If you need some inspiration, I love to follow Teresa from Money Saving Maine-ac in her “Yucky Stuff is the Lucky Stuff” series. She always has such great ideas!

This was a fun little activity for me and the kids. I got a good laugh over when I told my kids that we were going to make Croutons and my son said, “We’re going to make Coupons?!” Can you tell Coupons are a big part of our life? :)

What’s New For Dinner: Asian Lettuce Wraps

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is series sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. You can see some of the past recipes I’ve done during the What’s New For Dinner this year.

I didn’t get to post my recipes for the last few weeks but I tried a few new twists with rhubarb making both the Rhubarb Salsa Recipe and a Rhubarb Fruit Soup Recipe. Both of them were very good and a nice way to use up what I bought at the farmer’s market those weeks. Thank you to my reader friends for helping me find those!

The recipe for this week was made because I found some great Bibb Lettuce at Costco. I’ve always wanted to try to make an Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe but just never seemed to have gotten around to it. I found what turned out to be a good one on AllRecipes.com.

I followed the recipe just as they had it, leaving out the Asian Chile Pepper Sauce as it was optional and I didn’t have it. Here’s how mine turned out–I didn’t catch a picture of one rolled up into a wrap:

I couldn’t quit eating these. I guess that’s why I don’t have a fully wrapped one to show you, as they went so quick once they were made. I had leftover mixture so I took a chance and froze it. I’ll see how it turns out for a quickly defrosted meal on another day.

I think it was the taste of the hoisin sauce that made it taste so different to me. So if you make these, I would try not to skip that ingredient. My kids called them “lettuce tacos” and they enjoyed them, as well, so this one will probably be added into our menu plan every now and again for something different.

This is my latest recipe that I’ve tried. I’m hoping that you are also adding new recipes into your weekly menu plan as a way to keep meals fun and to try out new foods.

What’s New For Dinner: Potato Leek Soup

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is series sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. You can see some of the past recipes I’ve done during the What’s New For Dinner this year.

It’s been awhile since I posted a recipe. I have been keeping up with my challenge but it’s been hard to find time to post everything each week. Two recipes I made were Baked Tilapia with Dill Sauce and Bacon Roasted Chicken. I also tried this recipe a few weeks ago and loved it so much that I made it again this last week for my parents who were in town for a visit. What I love about this Potato Leek Soup Recipe is that it has few ingredients and is super easy to make. I’ve never had leeks before and have always been intrigued by them when I see them in the store. They look like a giant green onion but the question was what did they taste like? I’m not a fan of onions so I was glad they didn’t taste much like them. Here’s the recipe as I found it on AllRecipes.com:

You’ll need:
8 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Pound of Bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces, Reserve 3TBs of Bacon Grease
3 Leeks, sliced
1 Cup of Heavy Cream

1) Bring the chicken broth and potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan.

2) Saute the Leeks in a skillet with the 3 TBs of reserved bacon grease. NOTE: You could have cooked the bacon in this skillet beforehand, keeping only the 3TBs of grease in the pan after. I microwaved my bacon while I was chopping up my potatoes and leeks so the prep-time would go faster.

3) When the potatoes are tender, stir in the cooked bacon and leeks and add the heavy cream. Heat a little and then serve.

The Verdict: A new favorite for me! I’m wishing that I had tried it before our cold-spell ended. The original recipe calls for 1″ pieces of bacon but I think next time I’ll cut mine up smaller as it was a little chewy for a soup. The first time I made this, I was the only one that ate it that day and the potatoes sort of sucked up the broth after awhile. It then made for a nice side salad the next day! But this last time I made it, it was well-received and there weren’t really any leftovers. Each of us had a second helping. I actually ended up planting leeks in my garden after eating this so I could continue to make this soup again. And when my Mom got back home from their visit, I received an email saying, “Don’t forget to send me that soup recipe!” :)

This is my What’s New for Dinner Challenge recipe for this last week. I’m hoping you are also making attempts at trying new recipes and foods to keep your meals from getting too boring.

Coming Soon on Coupon Geek!

It has been a very busy month of May with Easter, Mother’s Day and some other projects I’ve had going on. So I hope to spend the next week catching up on some on my postings that I’ve fallen behind on.

I have been keeping up with my challenge of trying a new recipe each week for “What’s New for Dinner.” Some of them have been: Baked Tilapia, Bacon Roasted Chicken and two others that I want to share separately as I thought they were really great and are definitely part of my permanent monthly meal plan going forward!

But I have some fun things planned for this summer on Coupon Geek.

Last year, I did a Wednesday’s Reading Day and shared what I was reading with my children and did a giveaway for you guys to pick your own new books. I will be sharing books again this year but I am going to do the giveaways in one big one at the end of each of the summer months with several winners for new books–and one additional giveaway to kick off our fun!

My garden is ALMOST set-up now and I’ll be sharing some pics with you and some ideas for getting your own garden started this year. Produce coupons are so rare still and having your own garden is an amazing way to save money and have some fresh veggies worked into your meal plans.

I am also working on a “Time Out with Kids” series, sharing some frugal ideas that I’ve done with my kids throughout the week. We had a fun little outing last week that I can’t wait to share as my kids keep asking me to repeat our adventure this week. You’d be surprised at how much fun you can have for free or nearly free. (A special thank you to my friend Keri Lyn for making my button for this series!)

Some of you have asked what my plans are for fitness coming up. June starts off my 5K training again with hopes of signing up for the Susan G Komen Chicago 5K Race. I am also digging out an old DVD of mine of my favorite fitness instructor, Denise Austin, called Blast Away 10 Lbs. It has some fun kickboxing routines on there and Denise is one of the most motivating trainers I’ve found. So I’ll be doing these along with several walks with kids and loads of outdoor fun with them, taking advantage of Chicago’s limited warm weather months!

So stay tuned for some fun and as always, thank you so very much for stopping by Coupon Geek and following in my adventures and coupon savings!

What’s New For Dinner?: Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta and Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn.

I didn’t post what I made a few weeks ago because I still haven’t decided if I truly liked the recipes. It was a Blueberry Mango Swiss Chard Smoothie along with some Kale Chips that we had for a snack one day. I found them in the last issue of Natural Health Magazine. My hubby said the smoothie was OK, which is saying a lot since there was Swiss Chard in it and he typically doesn’t like “greens.” Both recipes were just so-so and things I’d probably never make again but I didn’t want you to think I skipped out on trying something new that week. :)

But last week, we tried two new recipes that turned out very well. One was a Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad and the other was Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta. If both of those titles made you do a double take…then you did exactly what I did when I saw them.  Driscoll’s sent them to me and I was totally intrigued by the idea of adding berries to an otherwise typical recipe. And here’s just one of the reasons why–my hubby hates tomatoes. So I rarely make bruschetta. This is a little sad for me as I am a big tomato-eater. But with strawberries…what a neat concept! And the kids thought Mom was just a genius for putting strawberries in their pasta–two great things in one!

And the best part was—both of these recipes were really simple to make. I got the biggest kick out of the kids saying, “Goat cheese?” when they asked what was on their bread. LOL. I had never tried it before either so it was another fun addition to our adventure that week.

VERDICT: These will both make it into our meal plan, especially when berries are in season. I didn’t care for the mozzarella balls in the pasta salad and since they were expensive, I’ll probably just use shredded cheese next time. I also didn’t have any fresh basil at home and the store was out so I just used dried basil and it worked out OK. When I was picking up my ingredients, I didn’t see any baguette slices at my Jewel but a sweet bakery worker was able to quickly cut up some of their loaf bread for me. So if your store doesn’t have them, you might want to ask if they offer the same service. Goat cheese can be a little pricey, as well, and next time I might try to make them with some cream cheese, instead. Here are some pictures of our meal:

The kids helped me assemble the bread–spreading on the cheese and topping each with a strawberry.

I had all the ingredients ready and the kids helped me make the pasta salad, too.

And this was our final meal shot. It made for a nice light lunch.

Well, that was our adventure last week. It was fun trying out some new ingredients, along with the new recipes. Did any of you try to make anything new recently? I’d love to hear about it!

What’s New For Dinner: African Peanut Butter Stew

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn.

This last week, I wanted to try a recipe that I could make in my new Cuisinart Cast Iron Dutch Oven. I found it on a great deal on one of those daily deal sites. While I knew the pans tend to be heavy, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how heavy. I was off balanced grabbing the box from my front step and almost fell off of it as I was bowled over by its weight. I keep telling myself I’ll have to continue to keep cooking with it more so I can build up those biceps! :)

Anyway, when I was checking out reviews for it on Amazon, I saw that several people also bought the Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Healthy Approach to Dutch-Oven Cooking book. So I had to check it out to see what kind of recipes it offered. When I was flipping through it, the one that caught my eye was one titled, “African Peanut Butter Stew.” Hmmm, a peanut butter stew sounded like something I might be able to get the kids to try—so I chose that as this week’s adventure.

Here’s the recipe and some pics to follow:

Canola oil or 2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup white rice
3/4 cup plus 1 TB broth (chicken or vegetable) or water
1/2 to 3/4 lb chicken breasts or thighs
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
2/3 cup milk or water
2-4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne
Sea salt, to taste
3 TB peanut butter, chunky or creamy
3 to 4 tomatoes, diced or one 14 oz can diced, drained
1/2 sweet potato, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 handful of fresh spinach or 5 oz frozen

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2) Spray the inside and lid of a cast-iron Dutch oven with canola oil or wipe with peanut oil
3) Scatter the diced onion in the pot.
4) Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice and the broth/water and stir to make an even layer.
5) Place the chicken on the rice. Add the bell pepper.
5) Whisk the milk, garlic, cayenne, sea salt, and peanut butter in a measuring cup until the peanut butter dissolves. Pour over the chicken.
6) Layer in the tomatoes, sweet potato, and spinach.
7) Cover and bake for 45 minutes or “until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven.” Serve immediately.

Here are a few pics from ours:

This is how the pan looked after it was done.

This is a picture of the meal, though not a good one as the veggies all seem to be hidden on the bottom.

I did enjoy the stew but I think I will do a couple things differently next time. I put the chicken breasts in the pot whole, and I think they’d be better cut-up and spread out across the stew as it will be easier for the kids. I also will add more spinach to it. While it looked like a lot when I put them on there, I forgot how much spinach wilts down and it didn’t seem like much after they were cooked. (If you don’t like spinach much, though, stick with the original recipe!) And lastly, I will definitely check my rice before taking it out of the oven. Only some was completely cooked, while the other was only halfway done, making it a crunchier stew. :)

So this was my cooking adventure for last week. (Side Note: Jenn won’t have recipes up for awhile. While she’s continuing to make one each week, she’s in the process of moving–and with three little kids. So you can all imagine just how busy she is and hasn’t been blogging much! ) Did any of you try to make anything new? I’d love to hear about it!