Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rest day and Celery

Today was supposed to be a rest day so I can do 50 minutes of cross training tomorrow before Friday's Big 7.  The Big 7.  Instead, I did some cleaning, baking, babysitting and visiting with my family.  My little (not so much anymore!) nephew graduated from elementary school.  About time, that kid is half bear, half human.  He doesn't fit in the school's tiny desks.  His dad is HUGE, all mean muscle and charm.  My sister and my BIL made that kid a heart breaker.  He doesn't believe me now, but he will see.

Anyway, I didn't feel like cooking but didn't feel like having Subway again.  Subway is close to us and it's the place to go when I don't want to cook.  At $7 for our meals, it isn't a bad deal but we have to save as much as we can.  You have to.  I looked in my pantry and saw a can of condensed creamed celery.  Ew, celery?  But then, Roni from Green Lite Bites came to mind and it was set.  She's awesome at stocking her pantry, cooking on the spot, and simplifying recipes so that even people like me understand them.  I copied this meal from her "One Pot Creamy Braised Chops with Rice and Peas" and her "Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms with Peas" recipes.  I wished I had used pasta and then baked it topped with flax meal and breadcrumbs.

I ended up with a lot of sauce left over (almost a cup and a half) but I may just leave it in the fridge for my hubby to eat with a sandwich.  He comes home HUNGRY and I'd rather he skip Taco Bell.  Here is how I made my Chicken with Celery Gravy, Broccoli and Brown Rice.  I paired it with some of my home made bread.

Chicken with Celery Gravy, Broccoli and Brown Rice
Serves 2 (plus an individual soup bowl)

Sauce (1 2/3 cups)
1 can condensed creamed celery
1/2 c fat free milk
1/2 c fat free, low sodium chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t freeze dried chives
1/2 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder

1 chicken breast (mine was 13.8 oz raw) seasoned with salt and pepper, more garlic and onion powder

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 or more cup of veggies (we used steamed broccoli)
More black pepper to top (I love black pepper!)

Check it
It's dark in my kitchen, my phone has no flash :|

Heat up a large non-stick pan on medium heat, on my electric stove that'd be a 4.  Slice your chicken breast into manageable pieces.  I like mine rounded because they look prettier, don't they?  Season to taste on one side, and lightly spray with Pam.  Once the pan has heated up, place chicken pieces seasoned side down.  Lightly spray the unseasoned side and add your spices (if you added too much on the other side, you can skip it).

Cook chicken until lightly brown and flip over.  You don't have to cook completely, you'll finish cooking it after you add the creamed celery.

I love black pepper, I would travel the world for it.

Open up your canned creamed celery and measure 1/2 cup each of milk and chicken stock.  Water would work fine, but my husband was eating and I didn't want him to be all whiny about the fat free meal.  Men.  After the chicken has browned on both sides, put it in a foil pouch so it doesn't completely cool down.

Chicken, taking a break.

Add the creamed celery, chicken stock, milk and mix.  The creamed celery will be lumpy at first but as it warms up, it'll start thinning out.  Try adding a little milk and chicken stock until you like the consistency, you may end up not using the whole amount.  Season up.  I added more garlic and a little onion powder, some chives and more black pepper.  You can replace the dried chives for real chopped chives, I just didn't feel like dirtying up more dishes.  Let the sauce start bubbling a little, turn down the heat to LOW.

Boiling away.

After the sauce has boiled some, add the chicken back and cover so the dried spices have time to... blossom.  I read somewhere (how I learned to cook) that dried spices need time to rehydrate.  Taste the sauce, add more black pepper!  Or not.  I'm crazy about it.  I even take extra little black pepper packets from What-a-burger to keep in my purse.

You never know when you'll run out of black pepper!

Serve with brown rice with a side of broccoli and some of the sauce spread on top.  My husband kept calling it a gravy, which I guess it is, but it's a sauce to me.

I added a slice of bread because it had cooled and I just love bread.

Do you ever take a great picture, Nubia?  Nope.

Nutritional Information:
I used 1/3 cup of the sauce over the chicken.  The following information is only for the sauce made, a total of  1 2/3 cups:

Thank you, MyFitnessPal!  I couldn't cook without you.

This is my home made bread!  I really enjoy baking it, though it never gets to be the right size.  It's always a little deflated on one side.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong, it's my fourth try.  It tastes great and it's only 45 calories per slice.  I like it because it's a hardy bread.  I got the recipe from the manual that came with the food processor.  I subbed apple sauce and coconut oil for the butter.

Love me, don't toast me!

For the left over sauce, I think I may add some of the silken tofu to it.  The sauce tastes a little too sweet to be eaten like a soup, but it may just need some fat free, plain Greek yogurt on top.  I'll update after I have my husband taste it.

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