Portion Control

January 11th, 2009

Oh what a food orgy the holidays were! And I loved every minute of it – from Kristen’s Christmas Eve Short Ribs of Beef, to Jeff’s Christmas Baby back ribs seasoned three ways and smoked slowly all day, to our New Years Day meal with friends. We have been gathering for New Years with our motorcycle “gang” ( or should I say over the hill gang) for a long time. The menu has become a tradition and each of us has a speciality. We have slow roasted fall apart pork roast, sweet potato casserole, black-eyed peas, turnip greens and Rosa’s corn bread, which is redolent of buttermilk, butter AND oil. But this post is supposed to be about restraint! I’m trying, I’m trying . . . I don’t believe in diets anymore. What works for me is portion control. OK, I was in the library the other day and ran across “The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook”, so the chicken recipe came from this obvious diet cookbook. But what I liked about it was that it was full of flavor and in order to get the 4 oz. chicken breast it called for, I had to cut the standard breasts I got from the grocery store in half. With this I served jasmine rice cooked according to package directions but with the addition of orange zest to complement the chicken. And to be sure we were eating the right portions, I put the rice in individual 1/2 cup molds, kept them warm in the oven and unmolded on the plates when dinner was ready. From The Barefoot Contessa ( does she ever fail to deliver?) I made Broccoli Rabe with garlic. If you don’t like bitter greens I’m sure you could substitute broccolini. It was a satisfying meal and I felt righteous in my restraint even as I scoured the pantry for chocolate. Just a small piece.


3 Tbls frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)
3 Tbls lower-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbls freshly minced garlic
1 Tbls hot sesame oil
1 tsp chili garlic sauce or chili paste
3/4 cup canned unsweetened mandarin oranges in juice
6 4oz. trimmed boneless, skinless breasts

In a large, resealable plastic bag or container, mix the juice concentrate, soy sauce, garlic, oil and chili sauce or chili paste. Gently stir in the oranges and their juice. Add the chicken, submerging it in marinade. Seal the bag or container and marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight, rotating once or twice.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the chicken to an 11″ x 7″ glass baking or casserole dish (or the equivalent) in a single layer and pour the remaining marinade on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.


2 bunches broccoli rabe
3 Tbls good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cut off and discard the tough ends of the broccoli rabe and cut the rest of it into 2 inch pieces. Place the broccoli in a colander and rinse. Drain well.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
Add the broccoli to the hot oil. Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook covered over medium to low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs, until the stalks are tender but still al dente. Add the reserved garlic, check the seasonings, and serve hot.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.