Saturday, April 30, 2011

Food Scoop: Cooking with a Chicken Substitute

First of all, I wanted to give you guys some tips on how to switch to a chicken substitute after eating the real thing your entire life:

1. The first time you use it, do NOT try it as part of your favorite meat recipes. It will not taste the same, and the texture will be different. Chances are you won't like it because it won't taste how you expected.

OR even better, the first time you cook it, try it in a completely new recipe so the taste expectation isn't even there. (If you're planning on switching permanently to a meat substitute, you will eventually be able to use your favorite recipes. You just want to make sure you've gotten used to the new texture and taste of the substitute before you do this.)

2. Don't think of it as "chicken". If that's too obscure, then think of it as chicken that was ground and then mixed with a bunch of beans and veggies before being formed into a patty. Still expect a chicken taste to be there…but along with the taste of vegetables.

This recipe is measured for a dinner for two and uses the Gardein Chick'n Scallopini. Gardein is actually the only brand I've like so far because I find it's very simple and easy to use--and they have a bunch of recipes on their website. This is a modified version of a "Dinner Idea" I found on the back of my Gardein bag.

Chick’n Scallopini in a White Wine & Lemon Sauce
For a dinner for two, you will need (~approximately):
2 Chick’n Scallopini patties*
1 to 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
~2 tablespoons of your preferred cooking oil
~1½ cups of white wine
A pinch of basil
~1 tsp of dry rosemary
1 tablespoon of butter
~2 tsp of lemon juice

What to do:
  • Dust Chick’n with whole wheat flour.  Pour the oil in your skillet and heat it up.
  • Add Chick’n to pan and cook both sides for 2 to 3 minutes without overcooking. Remove Chick’n from pan and put on a plate.
  • Add white wine to pan and bring to a boil. Toss in the basil and rosemary. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half.
  • Add the tablespoon of butter and cook until completely melted.  Add 1 to 2 tsp of lemon juice--I used fresh squeezed--Cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Turn off heat. Add Chick’n back to pan. Let Chick’n sit for one minute.
  • Serve Chick’n with preferred side dish.  I like to steam some carrots and broccili and then pour some of the sauce on them. Definitely drizzle some of the remaining sauce on top of the chick’n too. Some other meal combination ideas with this recipe would be pasta, couscous, brown rice, white rice or quinoa. I think an Italian vinaigrette or Mediterranean salad would go great with this.
* Gardein Chick’n can go directly from the freezer to the pan, no need to defrost.

I hope some of you will try this! At the very least you'll be able to impress the vegetarian in your life. Let me know what you think below or if you have any questions. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!