Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dinners for Friends

At my work when someone falls ill or needs a little help we all sign up and chip in to create meals for the family. I signed up and made a simple but elegant and healthy meals for two different people at work, one for a person that was in the hospital for a surgery and one for a new mom! Basically I buy the tin foil packing trays, create the meal and then give them print outs not only on how to make the meal itself but also how to reheat. The technique that I tell them to use is called "flashing" it is something that caterer's do to quickly reheat food without overcooking and drying it out. Basically you set your oven to 450 or 475 and then reheat whatever you want (I have done chicken and veggies this way) for 2-10 minutes. This is especially great for meats, I hate chicken reheated in the microwave for example. So to begin for this meal I get the chicken marinating and then I make a big batch of rice, and usually since I am making this for someone else I go ahead and make it for my family too so the rice is for two dinners.
Brown Jasmine Rice
2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups water
1. In a strainer with small holes, wash the rice. Add to a pot (or rice cooker if you have one) I just use a pot on the stove. Add water and a pinch of salt.
2. Heat till boiling, cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for 20-25 min until done.

Grilled Asian Chicken Breasts

4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
[1] In a Ziploc bag mix together the soy sauce, honey, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and sesame oil and add the chicken. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Marinade while the rice is cooking. If you can remember to make it in the morning that is even better but I never have time for that, believe it or not you get a lot of flavor for even a 20-30 min. marinade.
[2] Grill the chicken (outside BBQ, or inside grill your choice... I convinced my husband to go outside in the cold and plop it on the grill for me :-) ) for about 20-30 minutes.
[3] Place the cooked rice and chicken breast in the tin trays and affix a nice cooking label on top.
*Since this is a Relish recipe I used their note card recipes from their website and just print them out.

Sesame Green Beans

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes
2 pound green beans & carrot pre-trimmed bag from grocer
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
[1] Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans & carrots and cook, uncovered, until crisp tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and since this will be used tomorrow and flash cooked to reheat immediately dunk it in an ice bath. This helps stop the cooking process and keep their colors bright otherwise you might have some dull/discolored green beans.
[2] In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Add green beans and toss to combine.
[3] Add these to a second tin foil tray and affix a cooking label.

*Both of these tin foil trays can be put directly into the oven and flashed at 450 for about 10 minutes to reheat, you might want to put a few drops of water on the rice to help moisten it up a bit.

This was our flashed/reheated dinner the next night. This time I made white jasmine rice instead of brown, but I thought it was very tasty (I especially LOVED the green beans and on weight watchers they are free so I tried to fill up on those). Chicken flashed is 10x's better than in the microwave!


  1. What a great gesture! I am sure your coworkers appreciate your kind efforts. I also use those handy foil containers - we call them 'take-homes'. When we have people over for dinner, we give everyone the leftovers in the containers. My hubby is a fantastic cook so our guests are more than happy when they get them.

  2. I love simple delicious recipes and this one looks amazing. I would love for you to link this or any of your recipes to my recipe blog hop. http://homeandpantry.blogspot.com/2011/01/cuban-style-picadillo.html

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.


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