Tag Archives: Chicken Breast

Sriracha Quesadilla: Bigger and Better!

23 Feb

Do you remember the sriracha quesadillas from ages ago? Well I certainly do, because I’ve been eating them several times a week (which probably explains the extra couple of kilos that have crept up on me). Anyway, believe it or not, I’ve found a way to make them better.

I cook everything exactly as before, but omit the butter at the start, and add a (pre-cooked) chicken breast to make it more filling. Which is good, because James had begun to request 3 quesadillas instead of 2. 2 chickenless quesadillas are just shy of filling – 2 chickenful quesadillas on the other hand, are just right.

Today I had some leftover broccoli with it to make me feel less guilty about the paltry vegetable content. I am so, so full.

Also I need James to come home. There’s much less motivation to eat healthy when there’s only me to feed.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
2 quesadillas: 850 calories, 40% fat, 39% protein, 21% carbs

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

31 Jan

Chilli. Coriander. Fish sauce.

I’ll pretty much eat anything with that holy trinity of deliciousness. So luckily this recipe from Taste hits all three. It’s a fabulous light dinner, and it’s perfect hot weather food, especially if your chicken is already cooked. It’s refreshing to have a cold salad for dinner, and since this one is packed with noodles and chicken, it’s more substantial than eating leaves.

I’ll have to look through my Vietnamese cookbook for a more authentic version, but this one is pretty awesome. I’ve already tweaked the proportions from the original recipe and I’ll probably keep on tweaking, depending on what I have in my fridge at the time.

I’m thinking of doubling the sauce (so it would be 4x the original quantity) because the sauce is where all the flavour comes from, and it’s lip-smackingly good. The recipe is very flexible – next time I think I’ll try it with skin-on chicken breast for more fat, and no noodles for fewer carbs.

I also think it would be better served in a big bowl, since it’s a bit hard to mix everything together on a plate. There were bits of carrot all over my kitchen bench.

My version serves 2.


  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • 150g rice stick noodles
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 4 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 2 TBSP sweet chilli sauce (or if you want it spicier, a couple of bird’s eye chillies)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 100g (2 cups) finely shredded Chinese cabbage
  • 1 carrot, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 4 green onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh coriander leaves
  1. Place chicken in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken to a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Coarsely shred chicken and place in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Stir with a fork to separate. Drain well.
  3. Place vinegar, lime juice, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce and oil in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined.
  4. Add the noodles, cabbage, carrot, green shallot, mint and coriander to the chicken and gently toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to combine. Divide the salad among serving plates and serve immediately.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 625 calories, 16% fat, 40% protein, 44% carbs
(if you omit the noodles it’s 357 calories, 29% fat, 67% protein, 4% carbs)

Ghetto Banh Mi

6 Jan

Awhile back I wondered, if I could only eat three things for the rest of my life, what they would be (not taking into account nutrition and calories). It took a lot (OK 5 minutes) of soul searching, but this was my eventual list:*

  • Fish and chips
  • Pepperoni pizza
  • Salmonella buns

When I was a kid mum would take me and Cat to Victoria street in Richmond and we would go to LeeLee’s bakery and gorge ourselves. All I knew these rolls by was what mum called them – “yue lan mian bao” (Vietnamese sandwich). And then there was a salmonella outbreak in Victoria street which made the news and I was all like “hey I eat those sandwiches!” so Cat and I started calling them salmonella buns. It took another 10 years before I discovered that everyone (except the Vietnamese) calls them banh mi.

Unfortunately my salmonella buns are few and far between, because even though Richmond is geographically quite close, I’m too lazy to head there just for the rolls. But about a month ago I discovered how to make my own!

Well they’re not proper salmonella buns, but the rough flavour profile is there.

It’s only slightly more work than a regular sandwich, and worlds better. It does require a bit of forethought though, and you need to have some pickled carrots and daikon radishes on hand. This is the Everyday Daikon and Carrot Pickle from Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.


  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
  • 500g daikons, each no larger than 2″ in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water


  1. Place the carrot and daikon in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 tsp of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl. Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break.
  2. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. Transfer them to a large jar for storage.
  3. To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, vinegar and water, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

In the photo I used marinated grilled chicken for my protein. Sometimes I use leftover roast chicken or turkey slices, depending on what I have on hand. The marinade recipe I got from an online forum (you may have to be a member to view, not sure):


  • 2 TBSP oyster sauce
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP minced lemongrass (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • sriracha (chilli garlic sauce) to taste


  • Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate chicken for half an hour.
  • Grill over high heat, 4 minutes a side.

James likes the taste of this marinade, but is not overly fond of cooking it on the barbecue since the sugar makes it stick to the grill.

The other necessary elements:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Maggi Seasoning
  • Coriander
  • Bun

And the nice but not essential parts:

  • Cucumber
  • Spring onion

The bun is supposed to be quite important – it’s supposed to be shattery on the outside and soft on the inside, but to be honest the bun isn’t a huge part of it for me. I’ve used ciabatta and plain white rolls, and they’re both fine. I think I actually prefer the soft rolls, since they’re easier to eat. And after a couple of days, crusty bread gets a bit stale and hurts the roof of my mouth.

I like to use copious amounts of mayo, maggi and coriander for that “wooh! Flavour party in my mouth!” feeling, but you can adjust to taste.

James detests salmonella buns (he doesn’t like the copious amounts of lard or whatever it is they use – homemade mayo?) so he was convinced he wouldn’t enjoy this. I had to force him to take a bite, and he kind of got this surprised look on his face. And he went for a second bite when I offered it to him. =D

I don’t think salmonella buns will ever make James’ top 3, but I’m pleased that I was able to take a sandwich that he dislikes and turn it into something he requests!


* In case anybody is curious, James’ list was lamb vindaloo, chocolate cake, and supreme pizza. I remember asking Cat as well, and her preliminary list included 2 kinds of pizza, and James was like “Cat is stupid! She should just get supreme and pick bits off!”


Playing with my food

9 Dec

Liz’s Garlic and Coriander Chicken Marinade

11 Nov

Earlier this week I bought a monster bunch of coriander, and even though I used about 2/3 of it, the 1/3 that remained was about the size of a regular coriander bunch. So it was a perfect opportunity to try out the recipe that Liz sent for a garlic and coriander marinade. The original recipe specifies quails, but I used skinless chicken breasts. Happily it was just as delicious as I remembered, with the pungency of fish sauce perfectly offset by the fresh coriander.

Preparation was quick and easy – perfect for a warm Spring afternoon. I served it with grilled asparagus for a light, healthy lunch. Next time I might add a side salad to increase the vegetable count.

James and I have been doing a lot of chicken breast for lunch, usually with some sort of spice rub for flavour without extra calories. It’s then served with broccoli, asparagus or a salad (dressed with lemon, not oil) for a meal that is packed with nutrition and protein, and relatively low in fat and carbs. Baked goods are fun to blog about (and eat!), but it’s these kinds of healthy meals that are the staples of my diet.


  • 2 chicken breasts (nutritional guide is based on breasts that are roughly 240g)
  • 1.5 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP peanut oil


  1. Pour fish sauce over chicken breasts.
  2. Mix other ingredients together, either by hand or with a blender. Spread over chicken and marinate for 2-3 hours.
  3. Barbecue on high heat, 4 minutes each side.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide
1 chicken breast: 324 calories, 23% fat, 74% protein, 3% carbs