Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paella Style Chicken with Brown Rice

Way back in December of last year Judy prepared a wonderful Paella recipe, which she cooked in a crock pot.  It was a celebration of flavor, aroma and color, and a true gastronomical success.

Since settling into our summer home at Lake Tahoe we have been celebrating the wonder that each new day brings.  For example, yesterday was planned as a day for shopping, in Reno, to gather all of the last minute items we needed at the house in preparation for all of the guests we have arriving beginning tomorrow and throughout the summer. 

Driving over Mt. Rose on the way to Reno we encountered something that you don’t normally see in this area at the end of June…Snow.  Not only is there an abundance of snow still left on the ground, at the higher altitudes, but as we were driving over the mountain it began to snow….  SNOW!!!

So let’s celebrate that.  And what better way to celebrate than with delicious Paella.  I found the base for our recipe in a magazine, changed a few items in order to make it Weight Watchers friendly, and prepared it tonight for Judy and me. It’s really simple to prepare, but…….

The one thing we learned this evening is this; at higher altitudes it takes longer for some things to happen. It takes longer to boil water and it takes longer for rice to cook.  The directions for tonight’s featured recipe are to be followed when preparing this meal at or near sea level.  Remember…If you prepare this dish at your summer home in the mountains; add about 15 – 20 minutes of cooking time.

From our kitchen to yours.  Enjoy the adventure.


Paella Style Chicken with Brown Rice
1 Tbsp  Olive Oil

2 oz Andouille Sausage, Turkey or Chicken

½ cup Yellow Onion, chopped

½ cup Celery, chopped

½ tsp Salt

1 cup uncooked Brown Rice

1 tsp Saffron or Italian Seasoning

2 cups fat-free Chicken Broth, low sodium

1 pound Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless, four 4 oz pieces, cut into large chunks

1 cup Peas, frozen

1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips

¼ cup Parsley, chopped

1/3 cup Scallions, chopped


Heat Oil in a large skillet.  Add Sausage (removed from skin) and cook on medium high for 3 minutes, while crushing the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add Onion, Celery, and salt.  Sauté for 3 minutes.

Stir in Brown Rice. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir Saffron or Italian Seasoning into Broth, and add to pan.  Bring to a boil and add Chicken.

Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 40 – 45 minutes (per package instructions), until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. 

Stir in Peas and Peppers. Cover with a mixture of Parsley and Scallions, for garnish.

Yields 4 servings.  PointsPlus value per serving is 10.  Prep time is 15 minutes. Cooking time is about 50 minutes. Level of difficulty is Easy.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Tri-Color Peppers and Chimichurri Sauce

Tonight’s featured recipe is very special to Judy and me.  Because it’s the first recipe we’ve been able to prepare while alone.  Since arriving at Lake Tahoe a week or so ago we’ve had house guests.  I never realized how difficult it would be to stay on track, preparing two or three new dishes a week, but with so many guests it has really been hectic here. Staying on track has been impossible.

Tonight is the first night we’ve truly had to ourselves.  Not that we minded the company. We loved it, and we plan on having house guests all summer.  That’s why we’re here. 

Anyway, we had some Chicken is the freezer so I decided to use that as the base for tonight’s dinner.  I found a recipe for Grilled Chicken with a Chimichurri Sauce which sounded delicious; I couldn’t wait to try it.  The Chimichurri Sauce really delivered.  The meal was terrific. 

From our kitchen to yours.  Enjoy the adventure.


Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled  Chicken and Tri-Color Peppers with Chimichurri Sauce
1 Cup Parsley

½ Cup Cilantro

4 cloves Garlic, peeled, smash with side of a kitchen knife

¼ Cup Water

1 Tbsp Red Wine vinegar

2 tsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Fresh Lemon juice

½ tsp Kosher Salt

¼ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground

Other Ingredients

2 sprays Cooking Spray

1 pound Chicken Breasts, no skin, no bone, 4 four ounce breasts

1 medium Yellow Pepper, cut into 1 inch strips

1 medium Orange Pepper, cut into 1 inch strips

1 medium Red Pepper, cut into 1 inch strips

Dash Garlic Powder, to taste

Dash Paprika

Dash Cayenne Pepper, to taste


In a blender, combine Parsley, Cilantro, Garlic, Water, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper and blend until smooth. Set Aside

Season the Chicken with Garlic Powder, Paprika and Cayenne Pepper. Grill, turning periodically, until the Chicken is no longer pink in the center.

At the same time, grill the Pepper strips in a grill-top veggie pan, until tender.

When plating, coat the Chicken with a spoonful of Chimichurri Sauce.

Yields 4 servings. PointsPlus value per serving is 6. If serving with ½ cup Brown Rice add 3 Points per serving. Prep time is 10 minutes. Cooking time is about ½ hour. Level of difficulty is Easy.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 19th, Trying to get back on tract

Judy and I left Tulsa last Wednesday following a much too brief, though incredibly enjoyable visit. We were glad to have been able to post a few new recipes while in Tulsa; we had hoped to offer a few more. Time and the turmoil associated with Judy’s Mom’s move just wouldn’t allow us the opportunity.

Spending time with Judy’s family was most enjoyable.  A highlight of the visit was a three day bicycle race, the Tulsa Tough, in which one of Judy’s cousins, Kit Karzen, participated. The month we spent in Tulsa will long be remembered.  During our time there we began to prepare the house in which Judy grew up for our planned move there this fall.   Picking paint colors, carpet fabric and purchasing new furniture is so much fun. LOL!!!

Leaving Tulsa, we headed north to Kansas, then west at Wichita. I wanted to see Dodge City, home of Marshall Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty and the Longbranch Saloon.  Miss Judy was along for the ride.  We travelled along Highway 50 from Wichita heading toward our first “pit stop”, Pueblo Colorado.  For any of you who may ever be considering a trip along Highway 50 from Wichita Kansas to Pueblo Colorado with a stop in Dodge City… don’t bother, especially in early June. This is apparently the time of year they have chosen, in Kansas, to fertilize the entire state with steer manure. Try eating a Turkey Burger at Carl’s jr. with that fragrant scent in the air. Yummy.

Other than all of Kansas, and a few intense hail storms in Wyoming which included blackened skies on a sunny day and golf ball sized hail, the drive from Tulsa to Lake Tahoe was extremely beautiful and we were able to take quite a few gorgeous photographs.

We arrived at our Summer home in Tahoe City Friday evening, Winter having only just vacating the Sierra Nevada a week or so earlier.  As a matter of fact, as Judy and I drove the final leg of the journey along the Truckee River from the beautiful and quaint town of Truckee toward Tahoe City, there were actually large patches of snow along the banks of the Truckee River in several places.  We won’t be river rafting the Truckee any time soon.

The past few days have been spent gathering supplies for the summer. Today, while shopping for a shoe rack, a bathroom mirror and most importantly a lime juice squeezer, Judy and I each purchased a bicycle so that we may keep fit during our stay.  We topped that off with some non-fat frozen yogurt.  We live on the stuff.

June 22, 2011

So it’s been a few days since I last wrote and I haven’t posted a recipe nearly a month.  I am so sorry for that, but really, it’s been crazy.  Judy, Oscar the dog (who will henceforth be known by his real name…
Sir Oscar Raley Valentino, navigator first class) and I travelled down to the Bay Area to visit family and friends and pick up our boat, the G Wiz. 

We had an incredible evening at Forli on Monday with some of our closest friends, all of whom will be spending time with us at Tahoe this summer.  Tuesday we had a nice lunch with Nan, my Mom. And last night we spent the evening in Disco Bay with our gal pal Cheryl, picking up the G Wiz this morning and heading back to Tahoe.   

For a while everything ran perfectly, our new car  “floating" down the freeway boat in tow, until we arrived at the boat inspection station near Alpine Meadows. For the past several years all boats coming to Lake Tahoe have had to be inspected for a small Mussel which, if it ever reached the Lake, would beset the region like a plague.   

I’m all for what they are doing, but today we had a slight glitch as the boat engine became very stubborn and wouldn’t start when we needed it to, so heated water could be pumped through the engine to insure that no Mussels reach these pristine waters.

After two hours of engine problems we were still at the station trying to figure out what to do.  The problem is this; If you don’t pass the inspection, you can’t put your vessel in the Lake. Yikes!!!   To make a longer story shorter, we may have blown a fuse or breaker or something too technical for me to comprehend, and the G Wiz is now at the North Lake Tahoe Marina. Tomorrow Josh, the mechanic, will repair whatever the problem is and get her ready to go back to the inspection station to complete the here-to-for unfinished inspection.  No boating yet :=(.

Tonight is simply for relaxing and chillin’ from this relatively hectic and stress filled day.  Oh Look !! a Hot Tub!!!  Pineapple juice and Rum if you please, my Dear.

We hope to have a few new and delicious recipes to post very soon. For me, Judy presented me with a wonderful Crepe maker on Father’s Day so I plan on developing up to thirty or forty healthy and low-PointsPlus crepe recipes this summer.

From our kitchen to yours.  Enjoy the adventure.