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Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

21 Mar

Today I tried the crossfit open workout 13.3 and the wall balls killed me.

I thought I was going to get to double unders no problem, but I didn’t even make it. So, while having a pity party for myself, I’m trying to focus on the positive, and how far I’ve come since starting crossfit last June.

I have been mostly Paleo since January. I would say I have two cheat meals a week, and they aren’t eating a whole pizza, but eating out at a place that probably uses vegetable oil in stir frying my fajitas.

I feel great, have increased energy. Finally feeling comfortable in the kitchen, I’ve been going through old recipes and attempting to make them Paleo. A while ago, I posted a Thai Peanut dipping sauce. I switched out some of the ingredients, and this is what I came up with. It was delicious! Perfect for dipping reheated chicken and drizzling on some salad. I really had to contain myself to not just eat spoonfuls of it.

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coconut aminos

Wisk all the ingredients together then put on top of everything. Protein, veggies, whatever you can think of. I had it with leftover grilled chicken.

 

Meat Pizza

21 Mar

I was pleasantly surprised by this for “Meatza Pizza” recipe from Melissa on theclothesmakethegirl.com. Frankly, while I was making it I was a bit skeptical if this would be good, let alone hold up in the freezer for a week. But it came out great and was a lifesaver on a busy night. Here is my adapted version:

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Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 25 minutes. Makes one individual Pizza.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef
3 tbl. tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
assorted toppings: suggestions of bacon, garlic, olives, tomato, spinach. The possibilities are endless!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Mix ground beef and seasoning until well-combined.

3. Press the meat into a 8- or 9-inch round pie pan or into a rectangular roasting pan. Try to make it an even thickness. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the edges are starting to brown.

4. While the meat is baking, chop the toppings.

5. When the meat is ready, spread with the tomato paste and top with your veggies.

*At this point you can wrap the whole thing in tin foil and freeze. This was great for a Sunday prep, so during the week when I come home exhausted I just popped it in the oven!

6. Pop it back in preheated to 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes if fresh, 25-30 minutes if frozen, or until it looks delicious and is warm in the middle.

Cut and serve!

Go to breakfast

14 Mar

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Eggs and bacon from Davis farmers market.

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Sunday Prep Day

11 Mar

Sunday Prep Day

Dinners
baked chicken breasts + green beans, leeks, and bacon
sausage + spinach
baked halibut + rutabaga fries
meatballs + zuchini noodles
Maki Rolls + rice
shrimp “paella”

Lunches
Tuna Salad
Carnitas + Bell Peppers, and Guac

Snacks
Boiled eggs
Blueberry muffins
Fruit and Nut Bars
Strawberry, Kiwi, and Blueberry bowls

Shrimp “Paella”

5 Mar

Lately I have been following the “Paleo” or Caveman diet. Although it may be a bit of a fad, a lot of the trainers at Crossfit follow it and I have experienced some of the benefits of higher levels of energy, no afternoon slump, and no more tummy aches after eating. I’m finally getting comfortable with cooking within the guidelines so I thought I’d start posting here. Last night was a Shrimp and Cauliflower “rice.”

 

Ingredients

  • Head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • Italian Seasoning Mix
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbl spoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Prepare the cauliflower rice:

  1. Chop the cauliflower into florets. Place in food processor and process until the size of rice. Short pulses are a good method to check on it every once in a while.
  2. Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for one minute on high.

Put together

  1.  Coat bottom of pan with olive oil. When warm, add the minced garlic cloves and stir until brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the shrimp for four minutes, until brown on one side. Flip and move to one side of pan. Add seasoning and lemon juice to pan.
  3. Add cauliflower to other side of pan. Let cook for four minutes.
  4. Add spinach to pan, mix all together. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in bowl and serve!

 

I added tomatoes to mine. There are endless variations of vegetables and seasonings to this dish. I thought this was a pretty good go to for a quick weeknight!

Sweet Potatoe Chicken Curry with Rice

13 Apr IMG_6548

Pinterest is again sparking creativity in the kitchen. It is just so useful to be able to bookmark recipes and then seem them all in one spot with pictures! Some of my connections on Pinterest are doing this Paleo diet. According to wiki it’s: “a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era.”

I’m not doing this diet. But some of the recipes sound great and I just change them to make it how I want!

Here is an example of a sweet potato chicken curry here, in Paleo form. Below is my non-Paleo adaptation (with more specific instructions and scaled down for two).

Serves 2 . Prep time: 10 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • About 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 sweet potatoes diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 zucchinis
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons of curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Rice
  • Cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Coat the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil and brown the chicken chicken. About 2 minutes on each side.
  2. Add chopped carrots, onion, zucchini, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and garlic into the same pan and saute. About three minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, potatoes, the rest of the spices, and coconut milk.
  4. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  5. During this time make your rice.

Dish up rice, top with your curry and some optional cilantro and serve.

1 head of cauliflower

Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce

27 Mar IMG_6284

A few weeks ago we had a glimpse of spring T-shirt and short weather so the first thing I did was pull out the BBQ. I decided to make Chicken Satay Skewers based on this recipe from Eclectic Recipes.

I took pictures and had every intention of posting… and then completely forgot. Going through the photos on the camera I rediscovered them. And now that it’s the more March appropriate 50 degrees, I’m longing for our flirt with spring. So here’s the recipe to egg on more spring weather.

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Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 8 strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 8 bamboo skewers

Directions

Marinade:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon curry paste, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Place cut up chicken in marinade. Then skewer the individual pieces chicken and place in on lined cookie sheet.  Marinate for 2 – 3 hours–or as long as you have time.
  • Marinade: The recipe originally wasn’t written very well to indicate a marinade. The first time I tried it I didn’t realize this, so I only had 30 minutes and it came out just as tasty.
  • Skewer Tip: skewer each piece with two skewers to that they are easier to turn.

Grill:

  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. Place chicken on grill and cook until done, about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, mix ingredients for peanut dipping sauce.
  4. Serve chicken with peanut dipping sauce.

I served as main dish with rice and salad. It was so delicious and easy that the next time we had a guest for dinner I made it again and it was a hit. Could also work well as appetizer or side.

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Mon Poulet Roti

17 Mar IMG_0052

For the most part, Northern Califoria has looked like this for the past couple days:

To boot I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments with painful swollen lymph nodes in my neck and a truck load of school work to do. What do I want to do in times like this? Cook! So last night on my way home I picked up a fryer chicken to roast. Now, this might seem oxymoronic, but the labeling of the chicken doesn’t stop me from doing with I want with it. Fryer chickens are generally smaller and more tender… which means I can roast it for about an hour and a half and it comes out perfect. Although it was a weeknight, this really was not that complicated of a dinner. Just come home, rinse chicken, salt, pop into oven. Do chores/homework for an hour and a half and bam! amazing home cooked comfort food dinner.

Now, I don’t always buy all organic and sustainable raised things. But I try. Yesterday I did my shopping at The Nugget, a locally owned grocery store that does provide affordable organic and local food. They also provide little recipe options in case you don’t know what you want. I knew I wanted roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, but I didn’t know what veggie. Basic green salad seemed to summery so when I saw their recipe for Braised Greens I thought it was a perfect compromise.

Although I considered this a very fancy meal, I was shocked at how little it cost! I decided to share:

CHICKEN
Rocky Whole Chicken (sustainably, humanely, raised without antibiotics) $5.71 ($1.5/lb)

POTATOES
Red Potatoes $.54 ($.50/lb)

SALAD
Sunflower Seeds $1.32
Organic Pumpkin seeds $1.15
Organic Mustard Greens $2.99
Organic Red Chard $1.99
Organic Mustard Green $2.99
Shallots $.92

TOTAL $17.61

Such a deal! Really, I was so impressed. There was enough food that this meal probably could have fed 5, really. I’m going to make soup with the left over chicken, and we have enough greens for about two more salads. Although there aren’t any more potatoes… not sure where they all went!

The mashed potatoes I made with no fuss during the last 20 minutes of the chicken roasting. The Braised Greens I made as soon as I took out the chicken and it was resting. The chicken, was TO DIE FOR!

I basically followed this “Favorite Simple Roast Chicken” from epicurious, with a couple deviations.

Mon Poulet Roti

Ingredients

  • One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Truss the bird. There are lots of videos on how to do this. As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t do it exactly right. But it didn’t matter. I just tied the legs together and it came out fine.

Salt and pepper the chicken. I basically ground fresh sea salt over the top of the chicken and rubbed it in. When it was done, the skin was crunchy and you could get little bits of the salt–heavenly.  Season to taste with pepper.

I used my chicken pot, but you could use any roasting pan. Then put it in the oven, and forget-a-bout it. Really. I left it alone. No butter, no basting. Nothing. 

I was using an old fashioned meat thermometer so every once and awhile, I’d just peak to check on it, but other than that, nothing.

My bird was about 3.5 lbs. So it was about 1.5 hours before it reached the FDA recommendation of 165 degrees. Make sure you check your bird is done. Then bring it out and let it sit–good idea to baste it now.

 

While the chicken was resting, I made the Braised Greens according to the Nugget recipe, carved up the chicken, and served! Well, I ate the wings and the butt (the best parts) before the chicken even got to the table, but Andrew didn’t even notice.  Amazing weeknight meal and completely satisfied my need for comfort food (and my wallet thanks to the Nugget!)

German Oven Pancakes

24 Feb IMG_6206

We just had the best dinner in a long time. Really, it was so that good. What is this amazing dinner? It’s easy really: Beer, Pancakes, & Bacon. Real maple syrup doesn’t hurt either.

As you can see, these were no ordinary pancakes. We had visited our friends house over the weekend and they served these magical pancakes, BAKED IN THE OVEN! Andrew and I were both stunned. We have both been through out entire lives without tasting pancakes made in the oven, or “German pancakes.” How are these not served at every breakfast joint? I have no idea. They are beautiful, fluffy, easy to make, and so much fun to fill with different toppings.

It has been our habit to have pizza every Thursday night. Last week, Andrew didn’t feel too good after our pizza, maybe as we get older we can’t handle all of that grease… So we were looking for something fun and easy to replace pizza. Andrew summed it up: “I think this is better than pizza Thursdays.” Enough said.

Well, except the recipe, which I took fromSteamy Kitchen. She had it for breakfast, which I guess is also an option.

German Oven Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 450F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 425F.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter, salt and sugar. Gradually add flour to egg mixture, a spoonful at a time.  Make sure the flour is well incorporated in the batter with no lumps, but do not over-mix, as you want to keep the pancake light.

Lightly spray a 9″-11″ oven-safe skillet with cooking spray (I used my cast iron, which may have resulted in less poof in the middle, but the sides climbed like crazy!).

Pour batter in the skillet.

Bake 12-18 minutes, just until the edges are golden. Mine was perfect at about 15 minutes. It wasSO much fun to watch it rise so quickly, seriously, Andrew and I were acting like little kids giddy with excitement–maybe the pre-dinner beer also helped.

Serve with whatever toppings you have around. We had peaches, blackberries, and strawberries. Throw in some sweet with powdered sugar and maple syrup. But you could really do this what ever favorite toppings. If you wanted a super fancy dessert, we were thinking chocolate syrup.

Me, now excited for oven pancake Thursday.

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

21 Feb IMG_6066

Trying new things is fun when they are like things you already love! Such is the theory behind Oven-Fried Chicken. We are known to crave the occasional fried chicken or chicken nuggets. So why not tried an oven-baked at home version for a healthier option? This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens recipe. Andrew was very impressed with my first attempt, so these pictures were from my second round. Second time was better, and I think I could improve on it every time.

Tips:

  • The main obstacle was getting the coating to stick to the chicken, which I think comes with practice. Make sure the crackers are crumbled before you put the butter in, so that they arehard enough to crack into little pieces that are small enough to stick to the chicken.
  • A baking rack is essential to making sure that the bottoms of the chicken tenders are tender all the way around. No need to flip half way!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbl milk
  • 1 3/4 cups crushed crackers (I used flavored ones to add some spice to the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tyhme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut up into tenders

Directions

1. In a small bowl combine egg and milk. For coating, in a shallow dish combine crushed cornflakes, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper (make sure the pieces are small first); stir in melted butter. Set aside. Dip chicken pieces, 1 at a time, into egg mixture; coat with crumb mixture.

2. Arrange chicken on baking rack, with baking sheet underneath to catch falling crumbs. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching. Sprinkle chicken pieces with any remaining crumb mixture so they are generously coated.

3. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Do not turn chicken pieces while baking.

Nutritional Info: Per 4 tenders

  • 250 cal
  • 7 g total fat
  • 112 mg chol.
  • 336 mg sodium
  • 16 g carbo.
  • 0 g fiber
  • 29 g protein
  • 7% vit. A
  • 23% Iron