Whore Pasta! (Pasta alla Puttanesca)

I first heard about whore pasta when I was a little kid watching Lidia Bastianich make it on her PBS cooking show. I remember her describing it as something “pungent, briny and spicy” that’s made with inexpensive, easily accessible ingredients. It’s something that’s perfect for the purported “woman of the night.”

..and it’s apparently also perfect for me. ūüėÄ

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Thanksgiving with the Chungs! A Food Network Holiday

This Thanksgiving felt more like a giant science experiment than anything. Since it was only me, my mom and my dad this year, we didn’t make that much food. Our feast consisted of one 14-lb turkey a la the genius, Alton Brown (I love how he smacked down Michael Chiarello for not separating an egg properly), cranberry sauce the Tyler Florence way, and mashed potatoes the..we have a sack of potatoes we don’t know what to do with way. Since the recipes are there for you to follow, all I really wanted to do was show you my science experimenty photos, and also tell you how NOT to mess up a recipe.


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Healthy Italian

The¬†temperature¬†is dropping and fall is in full swing here and Japan. I wish the weather would stay like this forever. This three-day weekend marked the anniversary of the founding of this prefecture, Gunma, so I decided to try my hand at something I’ve never made before.

First let’s talk about the pesto that tops the whole wheat pasta. It’s been about 3 years since I’ve set foot on my native soil in America and it’s probably been much longer since I’ve had pesto. I think I got the flavors right, but I wasn’t sure if the consistency should be a bit thinner. The pesto was quite easy and fun to make. I ripped fresh basil leaves off the stalk (die die die) and packed it in the food processor (die die die) leaving just enough room for 3 cloves of garlic and a handful of pine nuts. I pulsed it for a bit (die die die die) then I slowly added extra virgin olive oil a few tablespoons at a time and I continued to blend until the mixture became smooth.

Next the chicken breast tenders. I marinated them in extra virgin olive oil and Italian seasoning while I made the soup. When the soup was completed I broiled the chicken tenders about 5mins on each side.

Now the veggie soup. This was my first attempt at the soup and I made A LOT. Which I divided into 6 portions and stored in my freezer. I started with about 7 cups of low sodium chicken broth, 2 red potatoes cut into 1″ cubes, 1 medium carrot cut into thin quarter moons, half a medium yellow onion diced, and 1 cup of sliced celery. I brought the ingredients to a boil then reduced the heat to medium and covered until the potatoes began to get tender.

Then I added 2 cups of sliced zucchini, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, and 1 limo pepper for a little heat. I brought the soup back up to a boil then reduced to a simmer until the zucchini was tender. I seasoned with only a bit of black pepper, there was enough heat from the limo pepper, and a pinch of salt.

total time including prep: 1hour

Broiled Cod and Steamed Bok Choy

Wednesday evening here in Japan and this wind is killing me. My bike ride to and from school was at least 10mins longer since I had to pedal against the wind. The sudden drop in temperature has made my¬†appetite¬†rage for some reason, so I’ve been trying to fight off the hunger by drinking more water or just going to bed earlier…but I’ve been waking up STARVING. Hopefully I’ll get used to the cold and my appetite will return to normal.

Tonight I made very a simple meal. I”m not sure what the red thing is called but I call it kimchee daikon, it can be bought premade here. I steamed a head of bok choy, I like my veggies to have a crunch (die die die die die) in them so I don’t like to steam longer than 5mins or until they reach a bright green color, because over steaming can just cook all the vitamins out of your veggies which defeats the purpose of eating them in the first place. The best way of course is to eat your veggies raw, to preserve the most vitamins. For the main portion of the meal I broiled 6oz of cod (5mins each side). I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper and while it was broiling i squeezed fresh lemon onto the¬†fillets.

Total prep and cook time: 15mins

Insane Grilled Cheese Meat Cheese Thing

It’s Thursday evening here in Japan and after an all around crappy day I decided that tonight would be my cheat meal for the week. After¬†conferring with luciables on what I should eat, she suggested I make that “insane grilled cheese meat cheese thing”….which only meant one thing, so here it is. Enjoy.
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Guilt Free Chicken Tenders

It’s Tuesday evening here in Japan, and I wanted some comfort food. Something I really loved as a kid were chicken tenders mmmm….deep fried goodness, which is the exact reason I cannot eat them. In a stroke of¬†genius I found a way to bake chicken tenders and still have that satisfying crunch (I love to crush things) without the extra fat from deep frying. The secret is in the coating.

First I took about 6oz of chicken breast tenders and marinated it in soy milk, poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, paprika, and 1 large egg white. As for the crunchy coating I took about a cup of bran flakes and crushed them into a coarse powder in a food processor (die die die die die die).

*you can see my chopped broccoli ready to go in the steamer basket in the upper right hand corner*

Next I took about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and spread it onto a sheet of tin foil with a paper towel. After dredging each tender in the bran flakes I placed them on the sheet and broiled (I only have a broiler here) them for about 6mins on each side.

Now you can’t have chicken tenders without dipping sauce. I made a super easy and¬†relatively¬†guilt free honey mustard dipping sauce. It calls for 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of mustard, simply mix together, and enjoy!

Chocolate Protein Pancakes

I dunno why but Sunday is pancake day for me. But since I started taking my fitness and nutrition seriously I had to dump the traditional style pancake. My usual Sunday morning pancake is usually made with buckwheat flour and oats, but today I decided to try a different kind. It was very simple and easy to make:

6 egg whites

1 pack of quaker instant oats

2 scoops chocolate flavor whey protein powder

Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth. Unfortunately in Japan, non-stick cooking spray has not caught on, so instead I used a tablespoon of canola oil to coat my non stick pan. Then simply cook like a normal pancake.

As a topping I used 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.The texture really reminded me of a traditional pancake, and I was more than pleased with the flavor. All in all you can still be healthy while having a comfort food such as pancakes. It was an enjoyable treat after my morning cardio workout.