I was invited to participate in a battle for culinary supremacy by the amazing folks at Cooking Matters Michigan. (Who can resist a challenge, when it’s worded like that…am I right?)
P.S. To view my entry, plus the other 4 participant’s entries, AND to cast your vote, click here
My Assignment: to recreate and ‘health-ify’ sesame chicken (or any kind of Chinese takeout).
The Rules: to create a healthy and affordable meal using the ‘unhealthy meal’ assignment as our inspiration. We must use ingredients from all 5 food groups and at least one of the 3 secret ingredients. (bonus points received if all 3 secret ingredients are used!). We were to also use as many ingredients that we had on-hand, as possible. All five participants were asked to post to various social media sites while cooking and to help get the word out about the contest and to gain votes.
The Secret Ingredients: plums, curry powder and fennel.
After doing a little research, here is what I came up with:
Healthy Almond Chicken served on roasted fennel & carrot brown rice with curried plums. And a bubble drink (minus the bubbles)
Healthy Almond Chicken:
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash salt & pepper
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
3 egg whites
1 pound chicken tenders
In a food processor (or blender) add almonds, wheat flour, and seasonings – pulsing until the almonds and seasonings are chopped fine and mixed well. Place mixture in a shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in a separate shallow dish. Dip chicken tenders in egg whites and then in almond seasoning to coat. Transfer tenders onto wire rack, which has been placed on top of a baking sheet and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 475 for 20-25 minutes.
Roasted fennel & carrots:
Clean and chop fennel and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, chop and toss with freshly cooked brown rice.
Wash, remove pit and chop 4 plums into quarters. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder and stir to combine. Place quartered plums into shallow baking dish and drizzle butter mixture over plums.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.
To serve main course:
Place sliced almond chicken on a serving of the brown rice with roasted fennel & carrots.
Chop 3-4 pieces of plum and add them to your plate. Drizzle everything with a little of the juice from the curried plums. Enjoy!
Bubble Drink, minus the bubbles
1 cup of strongly brewed black tea, chilled
1 cup of low fat milk
Add liquids to a martini shaker, along with a few cubes of ice. Shake well, pour and enjoy!
Ingredients purchased at the store: chicken & plums. Everything else was available in my fridge and pantry!
Approximate cost of meal (to serve 4): $14.00
I had a blast with this challenge and really enjoyed re-creating a well-known dish that I love, too!! You’d be surprised how easy it can be to make something healthier just by altering a few ingredients. And, I was bound and determined to include the 3 secret ingredients, as well; – fennel, plums and curry powder. If you’ve never tried curried plums I am telling you now, make this recipe!! The contrast of the sweet plus with the curry flavor—-WOW!!
My challenge to you….should you choose to accept it?? Pick one of your favorite recipes and recreate it in a healthy way! Looking for a bigger challenge? Shoot me a message and I’ll throw some secret ingredients your way. :)