Chicken Ramen Noodles

Chicken Ramen Noodles


3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbls dried parsley

1 tbls dried chives

1 tbls ground fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

2 tbls soy sauce

1 cup cubed chicken breast

1 carrot, thinly sliced (1 cup)

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (1 cup)

2 oz dry ramen noodles

In a large pan, stock, parsley, chives, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Over and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Add chicken, carrots and celery. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.

Add ramen noodles and cook for 5 minutes or until noodles are tender.

2 servings, 225 calories per serving

Hack: Find plain, dry ramen noodles in the Asian section of the supermarket

Hack: Check the produce department of your local grocery store for single carrots or stalks of celery to avoid having to buy an entire package. Frozen carrots and celery would also work in this recipe.

Hack: Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.

Hack: Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root? Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it! Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

Hack: Cooked leftover chicken can be used in this recipe. Add it in at the end of cooking the ramen noodles so it will have just enough time to get warm.



Cooking for one person – 14 Questions Answered

When starting down a new path in life, there are always questions.  The problem, at least for me, is I feel dumb when I ask them. I feel like people who would have the answers, those “In The Know” are looking down at me and wondering why I would attempt this when it’s obvious that I don’t even have the most rudimentary skills to make it happen.

Is this the truth?  Probably not but all it takes is that one person to make us feel like we would never be able to pull this off, right?  

I’m here to tell you that you can do it and I’m here to help!  I’ve got some answers to 14 common questions about how to get started on this journey to eat healthier and be successful cooking for one.

What Should I Eat When Living Alone?

What do single people eat?

Generally speaking, people who live alone tend to have poorer eating habits than those who don’t, men to a greater degree than women.  I’m not throwing shade here, it’s just a fact.

Why?  Theories abound but it seems most singles agree that it’s harder to keep fruits and vegetables fresh until they can be used and it’s harder to purchase portions of fresh food sized for a single person. And let’s not forget accountability…it’s easier to eat cake for dinner when there’s no one there to see you do it.

What should you eat when you’re single?

I’m not crazy about the wording of this question because it seems to indicate that there are things we are “allowed” to eat and things we are “not allowed” to eat.  We should be striving to add more whole foods to our diets and cutting back on empty calories as well as processed foods but let’s face facts: There will absolutely be (the very occasional) times when you’re going to eat cake for dinner.  And that’s ok.

What can I cook that’s healthy?


What is a healthy dinner?

There’s no one-size-fits-all healthy meal.  People have different likes, different eating habits and different beliefs on what is ethical food.  Based on what our bodies need to thrive, a meal should consist of protein, fruits and/or veggies, complex carbs and calcium.  And don’t forget that a tad bit of fat helps your body absorb all those nutrients!

How do single people eat healthy?

It’s easier to eat healthy when you have the healthy foods you need right on hand. Whether you like to shop for groceries daily, weekly or monthly, make sure you go with a  meal plan in mind and a list in hand.  

Take advantage of the butcher, seafood and deli counters to get the exact amount of product you’ll want to eat.  Shop for loose fruits and veggies in produce and don’t hesitate to ask the clerks in produce and meat if you can get portions smaller than the packages that are on the shelf.  Lastly, check in the frozen aisle for healthy foods that will keep for a while in your freezer!

How do you cook when living alone?

What are the easiest things to cook?

There are plenty of simple recipes out there that just take just a few minutes to prepare such as spinach feta pizza and pan seared scallops.  You could also just Google “simple meals to make” to get some great ideas as well!

How do you simplify cooking?

One of the easiest ways to simplify cooking, in my opinion, is to make something once and use it (at least) twice.  Make creamed spinach for a side to your steak and use the leftovers for eggs florentine. Dill Greek yogurt dip is great for dipping some veggies while watching your favorite movie but it’s also great as a chicken marinade or in egg salad!  

You’d be surprised how easy it is to whip up something delightful when you have a good selection of condiments and spices.  Szechuan style shrimp? Nothing but shrimp, rice and condiments. You can pick these up as you go along so don’t hesitate to invest in a new spice or additional type of mustard. These things have a long shelf life and come in handy when you’re on a mission to “throw something together”!

What should I cook for one person?


What should I make for dinner for one person?

I think too many people feel like cooking for one person is somehow different than cooking for an entire family.  It’s exactly the same. Oh, the proportions may need to be adjusted but that’s it. Spaghetti and meatballs? Just cook 2 ounces of spaghetti (the end of the bundle should equal the diameter of a quarter), top with a quarter cup of sauce and a few meatballs.  Viola! Spaghetti for one.

What should I make for lunch for one person?

My favorite lunch for one is a repeat of what was for dinner.  It was good then, right? Well, it’s good now, too!

What about breakfast?

What I make for breakfast is varied depending on whether I have to work or not.  If I have to be up and out in a hurry (because, let’s face it. We’re always in a hurry in the morning, right?) I will go for something very quick like a smoothie or something that I’ve pre-made on my day off, like a breakfast cookie or overnight oats.

If I have the time, I like to make eggs with…well…something.  It depends on my mood.  

Sometimes, (I’ll admit it!) I just grab whatever leftover comes to hand, even if it isn’t technically considered to be “breakfast food”.  

I guess what I’m saying here is just have something.  While we can’t always make time for breakfast, we can always grab something healthy and eat it on the way. Not hungry? Grab something anyway because I guarantee that you will be. Your body hasn’t had food in 12 hours or more and if you’re famished by lunch, I also guarantee that take out is going to look much better than that salad you packed.

What should I cook tonight?

So, it’s happened.  You were busy, you didn’t take the time to plan, you didn’t take anything out of the freezer.  There’s nothing for dinner.

Really? Nothing?

This penne pasta dish comes together in no time flat.  So do scrambled eggs, peanut butter toast or a hummus tabouli wrap.  Just take a deep breath, open your cupboard and your mind.  I promise there’s something to eat!

What can I cook when I run out of ideas?

This is actually one of my favorite things.  Why? Because I get to try something new. First of all, what do you have for ingredients?  Let’s say you have a chicken breast, a potato and some frozen peas. Just Google it! Seriously.  “Chicken potato frozen peas. Enter.” This method has never failed me.  

Still got questions?  Ask away in the comments below and I’ll get you the answer. 

All my best

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

Lemon Turmeric Dressing

Lemon Turmeric Dressing

(Courtesy: Penny Jacques)

¼ cup lemon juice

½ clove garlic, minced (½ tsp)

1tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp salt

⅛ tsp black pepper

½ cup olive oil

½ tbls grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients using immersion or countertop blender.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  

*Turmeric stains anything it touches so use caution!

6 servings (2 tbls), 165 calories per serving

Hack:  Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root?  Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it!  Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.



Cauliflower Buffalo Bites


https://cynthiaeats.com/homemade-ranch-dressing-dip/

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings


1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

½ cup flour

½ cup water

Dash hot, sriracha or wing sauce

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ cup hot, sriracha or wing sauce

3 tbls butter, melted


Preheat oven to 450℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, water, onion powder and garlic powder. Add a dash of hot sauce.

Add cauliflower to batter and toss to evenly coat. Lay in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

In medium bowl, mix hot sauce and butter. Add cauliflower and toss to coat. Return to baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes or to desired brownness.

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

4 servings, 190 calories per serving (excluding dressing)

Hack: To reheat, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat at 375℉ until heated through, about 10 minutes



Broccoli Coleslaw

Broccoli Coleslaw

1 cup red cabbage, shredded (about ⅛ head)

1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small stalks

½ cup raisin

¼ cup matchstick carrots

½ cup coleslaw dressing


Toss all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve immediately.

2 servings, 257 calories per serving

Hack: Cabbage, broccoli, raisin and carrot mixture can be made ahead and stored in a tightly sealed bag or container for up to 5 day. Do not add dressing until ready to serve.

Hack: Check the produce department of your local grocery store for pre-cut broccoli florets to avoid having to buy an entire head. You may also be able to find them in the salad bar.

Hack: Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage into wedges so you’ll only have to buy what you need. They’ll wrap the leftover pieces and put it back on the shelf for sale.

Hack: Matchstick carrots can be found in the packaged section of the produce department. Freeze any leftover carrots for use in cooking.



7 Foods That Pretend To Be Health…But Aren’t

Processed foods are the main reason that we, as a society, are heavier and sicker than ever. Unfortunately, food manufacturers have spent years and billions of dollars to convince us that there’s no better way to be happy, healthy and (gosh darn it!) full than to take advantage of the many foods they offer.

The foods (and claims) have evolved over time so I thought I would go over 7 of the current foods that pretend to be healthy…but aren’t.

The Big Empty (Calorie, That Is!)



Rice cakes and Pretzels

How did these guys become knighted heroes in the world of healthy eating? They’re nothing but highly processed foods that are full of empty calories. They must have a great PR guy!

Breakfast Cereals

The first commercial breakfast cereal, marketing in 1863 was called Granula. It was made from graham flour baked into a lump so hard it had to be soaked overnight to even be edible. Graham flour was, interestingly enough, named after Reverend Sylvester Graham, who soon joined forces with John Harvey Kellogg. After a falling out, Kellogg went on to start his own company to distribute his newest cereal, Cornflakes, which was considered to be more palatable than Granula.

In the years that followed, in the quest to make cereal desirable to the general public, even the healthiest brands have become highly processed products containing refined sugar while devoid of protein and nutritional value. In an effort to make them seem healthier, they are often “fortified”, which simply means synthetic substances have been added to replace the nutrition that was destroyed during the manufacturing process.

Microwave Popcorn

From the chemicals in the bags to the “buttery” flavor and “artificial and natural flavorings” , this stuff just has to go. Studies show that dangerous emissions (their word, not mine) released both during and after popping can lead to serious health issues including lung disease.

So what’s a girl to do when she really, really wants a crunchy snack? No, I’m not going to tell you to get a stalk of celery. I hate it when people say that because they know that’s not what I’m asking…

How about some good, old-fashioned, pop-it-yourself popcorn? It’s low in fat and calories but it also has a good dollop of nutritional value as well.



The Low Fat Low Sugar Wars


You see the claims blazing from every shelf in every aisle of the store. Low fat! Fat free! Low sugar! Sugar free! We all know that too much fat and sugar in our diets lead to a plethora of health problems so it’s best to stay completely away from it, right?

Well, no.

First of all, let’s clear up all the claims on those processed foods such as bottled salad dressing, baked goods, yogurts and the like. It’s a fact that when manufacturers reduce the fat in products that normally would contain it, they add more sugar or sodium.

Low sugar items usually contain artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose, which are associated with health risks.

Now for some real facts: Not only is fat necessary for our bodies to function properly, it’s also necessary for our bodies to actually absorb the nutrients from our foods. The same is true for sugar.

So, although we don’t need lots of added fats and sugars in our diets, we do need some and a balanced diet of varied whole foods will take care of that nicely!

Magical Healing Foods


Super food

There’s no scientifically based or regulated definition for super food but the word has long been used to identify a food that’s rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health.

The term was coined by the United Fruit Company around World War I to promote sales of bananas. This was right around the same time that the scientific world was beginning to isolate different vitamins and nutrients in regard to how their use (or lack of use) specifically affected the human body. When The American Medical Association published an article claiming that bananas cured Celiac Disease in children, United Foods ran with it. We now know this scientific finding to be faulty and that a banana is, sadly, just a banana.

You would have thought to be the end of the movement but, no. There was money to be made so the SuperFoods Express remained firmly on the tracks despite the fact that scientific studies show little benefit to focusing on them as a superior form of nutrition.

These studies look at the benefits of certain nutrients when used in very large quantities…certainly more than we could consume in a single sitting. They also look, in most cases, on just that nutrient or food, without considering that humans do not exist on a single source of nutrition. And the scary part? Some “super foods”, such as açaí berries and pomegranates, can actually damage your organs when ingested in large amounts.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit free radicals from doing damage to our bodies. They rose to media fame in the 1990’s when scientists began to discover that people with a low antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetable intake were more likely to experience damage from these free radicals.

As trials began to run on these findings, the food industry began to tout and market antioxidant-rich foods such as green tea and blueberries. Supplements also became popular.

Despite the fact that studies are inconclusive on the benefits of upping your antioxidant intake (and, in some cases, indicated it could increase health issues), these products continue to see – if you’ll excuse the pun – healthy sales.

One thing the studies did prove? That people who ate more fruits and vegetables of any kind were healthier overall than those who ate less,

The Bottom Line



Focusing your attention on certain foods that are perceived to have some magical advantage over other foods may draw you away from the balanced, yet varied, diet that is so important to your health.

Let’s just ignore the hype, shall we? Get out there and grab some whole foods…anything you want. Take any kind of fruit or veggie, any kind of lean meat, any kind of whole grain and turn it into something delicious! Feel free to take a stroll through the Let’s Get Cooking section of this website for some great recipes including homemade salad dressing recipes such as thousand island, blue cheese and Caesar!

Don’t forget to let me know how it turns out in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com






Pepper Steak Stir Fry

Pepper Steak Stir Fry

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

½ onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

1  clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

1 tbls olive oil

1 cup Korean Beef, thinly sliced

Heat olive oil in a heavy saute pan.  Add green pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic.  Saute until tender, about ten minutes.

Add beef and saute just until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Serve with rice or horseradish potatoes, if desired.

2 servings, 285 calories per serving


Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts

Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and washed

2 tbls olive oil

2 tbls pine nuts

2 tbls Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Place asparagus on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and toss to coat.

Sprinkle pine nuts and Parmesan over asparagus and toss to coat.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or to desired tenderness.

2 servings, 235 calories per serving

Hack: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.

Hack: Use leftover pine nuts in Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel.



Classic Bread Pudding

Classic Bread Pudding

2 loosely packed cups sturdy bread, cut into cubes (2-3 slices)

2 tbls raisins

1 tbls butter

1 egg, beaten

½ cup milk

3 tbls sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla

Toss bread and raisins in an oven-safe 4 cup casserole.

In a small bowl, mix butter, egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over bread and toss to combine.

Bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold.

3 servings, 260 calories per serving

Hack: Any type of sturdy, plain bread can be used for bread pudding. Stale bread works as well but wait at least 30 minutes to bake so the liquid can soften the bread.

Hack: Assembled bread pudding can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours before baking.

Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.



Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

(Courtesy: Jacqueline Letouneau)

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

3 cups cranberries (12 oz)

½ tsp finely chopped orange zest

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan stirring until sugar is melted. Add cranberries and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until cranberries pop and liquid just begins to thicken.

Stir in zest, cover and cool.

5 servings (½ cup), 175 calories per serving

Hack: Fresh or frozen cranberries will work equally well in this recipe.

Hack: Fresh cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days or frozen for up to a year.

Hack: Store sauce in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze leftovers in tightly covered freezer safe container.

Hack: To easily zest a whole orange, use a vegetable peeler. Lay unused zest in a single layer and freeze. Store, tightly wrapped, in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Hack: Puree the orange in the blender for use in recipes such as cakes, cookies or breads. 1 orange yields about ¼ cup, which can be sealed in a bag and stored in the freezer.