VLOG City Life: What I Eat When My Husband is Away On Business Gluten Free/Flexitarian


Hi loves! I had to take a little break from blogging this week because I ended up putting my body through the wringer when my Jeep broke down and left me stranded at the grocery store. Subsequently, I had to walk 7 miles back to my condo carrying 7 bags of groceries, my purse, and a box while wearing a freaking floor length maxi dress and flats. I decided since I couldn't do any outfit posts I would do a post that I had been kicking around for a while. 

Last month I discussed my diet with you all and my revelation of what a Flexitarian is. I felt that my food pictures are not 100% an accurate representation of my diet because I always photograph my husbands plates because to be quite honest it's more aesthetically pleasing. So, often when my husband goes on his business trips my cooking is quite different because I don't eat a lot of meat and he does; which means I can just cook lighter (sometimes meatless) meals. I also really just enjoy cooking for him and watching him enjoy his meals that I make, I really never cook for my personal enjoyment if that makes sense... So, when he is gone my appetite often leaves with him. 

So, below, I have attempted to document what I ate this time that he left on business. This varies by what I am craving because to be honest when I have no appetite it's like pulling teeth to get me to eat. So this week the cravings were veggies, specifically baby corn, cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli. And guess what? I have included recipes! I know I never do that. There were only a few meals I did not photograph like black beans and rice and breakfast of eggs and turkey sausage- it wasn't that interesting.


BREAKFAST OR LUNCH- BIBB LETTUCE SALAD WITH GREEN OLIVES, GRAPE TOMATOES, AND EGGS


Most of my recipes are inspired by things that I eat in restaurants or things that I grew up eating. This salad was a craving 100! I love the house salad at Charley's Steakhouse as well as Texas Cattle Co. I usually crave it and my husband just shakes his head because I will ask him to drop in on the way home and pick up a salad for me. This is basically my interpretation of their house salad. It's super easy and just throw everything in the bowl and finish it off with Ken's Light Cesar dressing.

Ingredients
6 leaves of bibb lettuce (or whatever lettuce you prefer)
8 Green olives (chopped)
6 plum tomatoes (sliced)
1 boiled egg (chopped or sliced)
black pepper
Ken's Light Cesar dressing (this dressing has cheese already in it)


BREAKFAST OR LUNCH- MILLET & BROWN RICE NOODLE SOUP WITH CABBAGE AND BOK CHOY 



DINNER MOO GOO GAI PAN WITH GRILLED SHRIMP & WHITE RICE


This was my favorite thing to eat growing up. We lived near a Cantonese place and my parents always ordered fried rice and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Once I moved from my hometown I noticed not a lot of Chinese restaurants sold it. P.F. Changs used to have it on their menu, but about 2 years ago they also stopped making it. I usually pine away for some Moo Goo Gai Pan every few months and while I was wondering "What the heck am I going to eat tonight?" It dawned on me, why not make Moo Goo Gai Pan?

This recipe is super easy and if you love veggies like I do you will get your life. As usual I don't eat a lot of meat or rice so what is shown looks like mostly veggies because it is; there is a very small amount of rice underneath.


Moo Goo Gai Pan

Ingredients

If you live near a Trader Joe's or any specialty market like Whole Foods or Sprouts you can get the stir fry veggies already chopped an in a plastic container. These came from Trader Joe's and it's everything you need for about six dollars. This container had broccoli, baby corn, bok choy, snap peas, red bell pepper, peas, red onion,white onion and green bell pepper. 

The only thing I would have added in addition is water chestnuts which you can buy in a jar (La Choy brand).

1 tablespoon Sesame oil

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cup of chicken broth

optional garlic

White rice (however much you like to eat)

Heat your cast iron up medium heat or 5 on your glasstop stove and pour in some Sesame oil. Once that is hot place in your veggies and 1/4 cup of water and let them cook covered. You don't want them to get soft so if you cook them for about 8 minutes they will be slightly crunchy. In a bowl pour in your chicken broth and cornstarch and whisk it until it is blended. Once that is done pour the mixture over the veggies and reduce your heat to 4. The cornstarch will start to thicken up as you stir the veggies. You can control how thick or thin you want your velvety sauce to be by adding more chicken broth. I added an additional half cup to mine before removing it from the stovetop. After 5 minutes pour your Moo Goo Gai Pan over your rice!

 I happened to have grilled shrimp from another meal so I just heated those up and ate it with it. You can pretty much make this with any meat or seafood substitute. You can cook your meat in the sauce and it just adds one extra step to the recipe.


BREAKFAST OR LUNCH- SPICY BAMBOO NOODLE SOUP WITH CABBAGE


This looks very similar to the soup above, but it's not. With omitting the bok choy the flavor changes completely as well as the addition of the jalapenos. 



LUNCH- PAN SEARED BOK CHOY WITH WHITE RICE


This is another simple recipe. I usually do not eat meat at all for lunch ever because I tend to get nausaiated. This has been a long time favorite for me because its savory and filling. Bok choy is in the cabbage family and you want to make sure you don't over cook it or it will get bitter. If you want to cook it in water you really only need to blanch it or your vitamins and everything will cook out.



Bok Choy & Rice

Ingredients

1 head of Bok choy (on head is pretty small about the size of your hand)
White rice (I prefer Kasmati by Lundberg)
Seseme seeds
Chili Oil
Seseme oil
Salt
Garlic powder
Soy sauce (Organic low sodium Tamari)

Heat up your cast iron and pour in just half a tablespoon of Sesame oil. Next, lay each leaf of Bok Choy side by side and flat a poor a small drizzle of Sesame oil over the top. Sprinkle on a little garlic and let it cook for 2 minutes and then flip (or you can stir them) them.

 These will burn quickly if your pan is too hot or if you cook them for too long on medium heat (electric range in between heat setting 5 and 6). Once the bok choy is lightly toasted and still bright green remove from the pan and place on top of your white rice. Sprinkle a few more Sesame seeds on top, a tablespoon or less of Tamari and a few drops of chili oil for heat. I usually don't eat a lot of rice so what you see in my photos is 1/4 cup.

Rice
2 sheets of seaweed
Seseme seeds
2 tbspoons of butter
.5 cup of Kasmati rice
1 cup of water
salt
and a small dash of Seseme oil

Combine all the ingredients in your pot and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from burner and let sit for 5 minutes. When your ready to eat fluff the rice up with a fork.




DINNER- WALHALA PASTA (OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE)



I did make sure to test the seasoning to make sure it was gluten free. It's not specifically listed as GF on their menu, however there are menu items that are listed as having seasoning on them and are labeled GF. I called Outback and just asked if I could buy a few ounces of their seasonings (the one in Orlando actually sales bottles of theirs) and they were fine with it. I got Poultry and Steak seasoning for $10.00. I will say if you are recreating a dish from Outback Steakhouse the seasoning is key because they have their own special blend of "Aussie" seasonings. This is a step you don't want to skip and it literally took me less than 5 minutes to drive up to the restaurant and they brought it out to me.

Outback Steakhouse used to have the Walhala pasta on their menu in the early 2000's and it was my favorite thing to order. They eventually took it off their menu, but you could still order it if you asked. I don't know if you can now, it's not relevant to me anymore since I am on a gluten free diet. I did look online and no one has made a copycat recipe for the Walhala pasta so here is my interpretation of it as best to my memory!


This was my pasta the first night when I used the cheese with the cellulose in it unknowingly. the noodles were pretty dry because the cheese would not melt.


This was the second night when I used the Parmigiano Reggiano which melted down perfectly


This was the third night and it made 4 servings total


Ingredients

1 head Broccoli
2 Squash
1 bunch of Carrots ( I bought the organic ones that come in a little bunch, see above photo)
1 box Gluten Free Penne Pasta
2 Chicken breasts
Parmagiano Reggiano*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt
Outback Steakhouse poultry seasoning


Copycat Walhala Pasta- Outback Steakhouse

I am starting by boiling my pasta first because I will be reserving 1.5 cups for later.

Heat up your cast iron skillet along with some grapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once it is hot drop in your butter and seasoned chicken breasts. You don't need to use much of the Outback Steakhouse seasoning because it is strong. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes turning occasionally. Once it has reached an internal heat of 165 degrees you can remove it from the pan and set to the side.

Roughly chop your veggies at a diagonal angle. In the same pan drop in your roughly chopped veggies and let them simmer  in the chicken juices and butter.  After 5 minutes add a quarter cup of your pasta water and cover and let the veggies sweat for 10 minutes. You don't want them to be soft just lightly cooked.

While your veggies are cooking you can start the alfredo sauce. I found a really great alfredo sauce recipe that involves no cream! You can find it here and I will also post it below.

Once your sauce is done put your drained penne pasta in a bowl then add the veggies and spoon the alfredo sauce over it. Lastly, slice your chicken diagonally and place on top of the pasta. Voila! You now have pretty much a copycat of the Walhala pasta that Outback Steakhouse used to sale years ago. 


  • Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano (buy it in a block and grate it)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups reserved pasta water

  • Alfredo Sauce (this is a light sauce, not creamy since it has no cream)
Take your reserved pasta water and pour it into your sauce pot on medium heat (5 on a glass top stove). Add your butter, I cut mine up and added them one piece at a time and whisked it until it melted. Once it has all been added you want to add your cheese in a little at a time and keep whisking. After 5 minutes you should have a nice thick cheese sauce and you want to spoon it over your food while it's still hot so it doesn't start forming a skin on the surface in the pot. Remove it from the burner so it doesn't burn and let it cool with the lid on once your done.



Here is a special note: I found out the hard way Parmesan cheese is not 100% cheese nor is authentic Parmesan cheese- who knew right? Apparently, Parmesan cheese is supposed to be the same as Parmigiano Reggiano that is made specifically in the Italian city of Parma. You can trace back to etymology of the word to see Parmesan is just what it was called by the French. Parmigiano Reggiano is made a very specific way in the city of Parma and has no additives and no cellulose! Apparently, in other countries it is illegal to even say a cheese is Parmesan cheese if it does not come from Parma and is Parmigiano Reggiano. However, in the United States they do not adhere to this rule and basically everyone and anyone can say this is 100% Parmesan cheese even when it isn't.



 This is important to know because a lot of these cheeses have cellulose in them, even if you buy a block cheese which is suppose to be free of cellulose it can still be in there. If you were wondering what cellulose is it is an anti caking agent that is made from wood shavings! Cellulose prevents shredded cheeses from sticking together. I mention this because my first batch of alfredo sauce was ruined because my "Parmesan" cheese did not have cellulose listed in the ingredients list and it was printed on the front in small letters. This will completely ruin your sauce. 



If you don't mind splurging for it I recommend buying the real authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. I got 1/4 of a pound for 12.00 from Whole Foods. 



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