Cooking · Dinner · Health

A Dinner Creation

Happy Sunday afternoon, blog readers. Hopefully everyone is having a cozy weekend wearing sweaters, hats and scarves, under blankets or in a sauna somewhere! It is a crisp 9 degrees out there right now!

My weekend started a little after 5 o’clock as I was driving home. As ever, I was impressed with my body’s impeccable timing. As I was sitting in traffic I started feeling under the weather. Before I knew it, the glands in my throat were swelling and I was 100% sure I was coming down with something. There has been a dozy of a cold going around my building – and so far this winter I had not come down with it. But at lot of my friends had and on Friday three of my friends were out sick with said cold. I sighed, and continued to sit in traffic as I slowly made my way home, consuming cough drops as I went.

Thankfully my other half was kind and brilliant enough to pick up food for dinner. I feel so lucky that Wegman’s is right between his office and home. I lucked out! He bought me spicy shrimp sushi for dinner, and a container of really wonderful tomato bisque soup and lots of fruits and vegetables to get us through the weekend. I had the sushi for dinner on Friday and saved the soup for Saturday.

On Saturday I woke up with a sinus headache, I was congested and just felt miserable in general. I skipped breakfast (but not my morning coffee) and did not eat anything until 12:30 when I heated up the tomato bisque and made a piece of toast with the wonderful Rosemary Olive Oil bread from Wegman’s. This lunch was perfect for a sick wimp!

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I exercised on the treadmill for 45 minutes in the afternoon on Saturday. I was walking at an incline at a 4.1 pace – it was a good cardio exercise and I definitely got my sweat on. After the speed walking, I needed a snack since I had not eaten much all day. An apple and almond butter was just the thing I wanted:

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This is such an old school snack for me – and there is nothing better. I can’t remember a time in my life that I did not eat apple slices with a nut butter. I’m so glad my parents introduced me to this brilliant pairing as such a young kid. Nom. Nom. Nom.

For dinner I made a ‘creation’. We had grilled chicken and roasted butternut squash from Wegman’s. I cooked up some brown rice and just figured we would eat that with the other two ingredients for dinner. But my other half had another idea. He asked, “Can you put all of the ingredients together and make something like a chili but not really out of it?” I was up for the challenge. It sounded like fun, and thankfully I had started feeling better (thanks to some ibuprofen, a decongestant, some exercise on the treadmill, and a long hot shower).

I gathered up some key ingredients for this surprise dinner:

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The ingredients I had gathered:

1 cup of an onion chopped (about half of a medium onion)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Red pepper (cayenne)

Paprika

Cumin

Grilled chicken breast (2)

A container of roasted butternut squash with cranberries, shallots and spinach

I also used brown rice, chicken stock, white wine, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. I sautéed the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for five minutes, then I added the garlic. Cooked for another minute or two (stirring frequently because you never want your garlic to burn). Then I added some chicken stock, to deglaze the pan (about 1/4 of a cup) then I added the butternut squash mixture. More stock, a little white wine, then I added the chicken. More stock and wine as the liquid was cooking down. Then I added the brown rice. This whole thing took maybe twenty minutes… Things were coming together nicely in the pan:

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It smelled so good. I added a dash of curry powder and two little cubes of frozen basil (I love this little ingredient that we picked up at Trade Joe’s at some point in the fall). We poured some red wine and plated everything up:

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Not bad for a random dinner creation! It kind of reminded me of a brown rice risotto or something… we both liked it a lot. he went back for seconds, I settled for a few dark chocolate M & Ms instead. 🙂

Happy weekend, blog readers! Stay tuned for Sunday night’s dinner – homemade turkey meatballs, homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti squash. Perfect comfort food for another day in the single digits!

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