Tag Archives: healthy

Kickin’ Cashew Chicken

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I have been looking for some new recipes to try. We have been in quite a rut food-wise and I was hoping for some new flavor profiles to enter our doors.

Then I saw this recipe on Foodgawker. It looked relatively healthy, simple, and naturally gluten free so I decided to give it a shot. It was definitely a winner in our house! Even the kids loved it.I love the flavors and the added crunch of cashews thrown on each portion at the end. Delicious!

It is not really very spicy, though the name seems to imply that. I actually added a few dashes of red pepper at the end because we love spicy around here.

I am pretty sure you will love this!

KICKIN’ CASHEW CHICKEN (Naturally Gluten Free)

*recipe courtesy of “Pinch of Yum”

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used 3 TBSP because I wanted a stronger tomato flavor and color)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (I used nonfat Greek)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used Olive Oil)
  • 1 lb. cubed raw chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Peel and quarter the onions. In a food processor, process the onion pieces for about 1 minute or until a smooth puree forms. Add the next 8 ingredients (through oil) to the onion mixture and process for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the spice mixture from the food processor into the pan and fry for 2 minutes. The lightly cooked spices will start to give off a nice aroma.
  3. Add the cubed chicken breast, half of the cilantro, and the golden raisins. Stir-fry for another 1 minute.
  4. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with remaining cilantro or cashew pieces.
Notes from “Pinch of Yum”:

I like the sauce to have some texture so I don’t process it all the way (check out the texture in the pictures).

I love cilantro and spices, and these amounts reflect my preferences. If you’re hesitant, reduce the amounts. (And actually, the sauce is not all that spicy. There are lots of flavorful spices, but it’s not firey-hot-get-me-a-glass-of-water spicy.)

For a more veggie friendly dish, add broccoli, peppers, potatoes, or peas!

 

ENJOY!

 

 

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Vegetable (Beef) Soup

This is my go-to soup recipe when I want to get lots of good veggies in my family.  It is really yummy and I can have the whole big pot made in about 20 min.  I’m not sure soup gets any easier than this.  I usually make it without any ground beef in it, but today I had some in the fridge so I added it. My family likes it either way.

Vegetable (Beef) Soup

This makes a BIG pot full.  I like to freeze about half of it for a quick meal another night.

Ingredients:

2 TBSP olive oil

1 large onion chopped

5 ribs of celery chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 16 oz bag frozen crinkle cut carrots

1  32 oz bag frozen mixed veggies

6 cups vegetable broth

2 cans petite diced tomatoes

1  29 oz can tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil in large soup pot and saute onion, celery and minced garlic for 6-8 min.  Pour in all the frozen veggies (bag of crinkle cut carrots and mixed veggies) and add 6 cups of vegetable broth.  Pour in cans of petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Add bay leaves and seasonings. Stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer.  You can simmer for about 35 minutes until the vegetables are tender or you can bring it to a boil, turn it off, cover it with a lid and leave it for about 30 minutes.  I like to do the latter method because it uses less energy from my stove and it allows me to walk away and be done.  If you leave it much longer the vegetables will get mushy.  I am really picky about my veggies in soup.  I hate when they are over-done.  I like them to have a little crunch to them.  You can adjust the cooking time until the vegetables are the way you like them.

*If you want to add ground beef:  Brown your meat in a separate pan, rinse and drain it and then stir it into the soup.

This soup is even better the next day after the flavors have mingled more.  Mmmmmmmmmm…  And you will love watching your kids eat so many good vegetables.  So satisfying!

Thick, chewy granola bars (gluten free)

If you are like me, you sometimes struggle to find time for breakfast. I know I need a healthy dosage of protein in the mornings, as well as fiber and some whole grains. But, man is it hard to get all that and still get kids to school on time, straighten up, and manage to get a shower.

Sure, I make oatmeal and I scramble eggs.  But sometimes I just get tired of that.  I started searching a few weeks ago for a good granola bar recipe.  Yes, I could buy them at the grocery.  The supply of gluten free ones is limited, but even most of those are packed with ingredients I’m not that fond of, including high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and tons and tons of sugar.  All that to say, after my searching, I have found IT.   The original recipe is from SmittenKitchen ( http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/thick-chewy-granola-bars/).  I didn’t change much and they turned out great.

And it is versatile. You can play with them and make them with the flavors you and your family like. I used cranberries, almonds, and walnuts in mine.  But you could use any dried fruits, nuts, even coconut.

So, if you are in need of a quick breakfast or nutritional boost in your day, give these a try for something new.   Or maybe your husband leaves at the crack of dawn some days like mine and you want him to have something tasty to take with his coffee? 🙂  I bet he would love you for these!

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (original recipe by Smitten Kitchen, with just a few variations by me)

INGREDIENTS:

1 2/3 cups old fashioned  rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown  sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar) (I used 1/2 a cup and I thought it was PLENTY. I might actually decrease it a bit next time because I don’t want this to be like eating a dessert  🙂  )
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender) (I used 1/3 cup flax meal instead and loved it!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts  ( I used a cup of slivered almonds, a cup of chopped walnuts, and a cup of dried cranberries)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used natural crunchy peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter (I didn’t have butter, so I used 3 TBSP olive oil and 3 TBSP vegetable oil. . . worked GREAT)
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP  honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (I used Maple Syrup because I prefer its flavor)
1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

I let mine cool on the counter for about 30 min and then put them in the fridge for another 30-45 minutes. They were easy to cut and didn’t crumble at all!

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.  To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

Honey Lime Chicken Tostadas with Cilantro Cream Sauce (Gluten Free)

My sister in law, Kristen, has been telling me about a fabulous enchilada recipe that they have been using.  It sounded like something we would enjoy so today she sent me the recipe.  I about to start making it, when I realized I was missing a few of the ingredients.  I didn’t want to head to the grocery in the snow so I brainstormed throughout the day and came up with these tostadas. They were a BIG hit with my family.  The flavors are actually very similar to my King Ranch Chicken Casserole, but I love that this dish has more texture, due to the crispy tortillas.  The marinade that you poor over the cooked chicken is from Kristen’s recipe and then I just made up the rest.  And don’t worry, I will be making the enchiladas very soon and likely posting that recipe.

This is really quite simple.  You cook chicken, shred it up, pour a honey lime marinade over it.  Then you toast up some corn tortillas in the oven and add layers of mexican goodness.

The Cilantro Cream Sauce is also super easy.  I’ll post that recipe at the bottom of this page. 4 ingredients and a blender/food processor and it is done!!

Honey Lime Chicken Tostadas (makes 10 tostadas)

Ingredients:

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

Marinade:

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup lime juice (or the juice of 2 large limes)

2 1/2 TBSP chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder (or fresh minced)

Layer Ingredients:

1 can rotel (mild, regular, or hot depending on your preference)

1 can fat free spicy refried beans

1 1/2 cups shredded mexican cheese

1 Jar Taco Bell Mild Restaurant Sauce (this is the sauce that is in their packets at the restaurant)

shredded lettuce (optional)

fresh chopped tomatoes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your chicken.  I like to either slow roast mine in the oven or do it in my crock pot the night before.  I generally don’t like to boil it because I think you lose so much flavor in the water.

Shred or dice it up.

Mix up the marinade by pouring all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking to combine. Pour the marinade over the chicken and set aside.  In my opinion, if you can do this an hour or more ahead of time you will get better flavor. You could even do this a day ahead and cover it with plastic wrap and store in your fridge until ready to use.

Now, preheat your oven to 350.  Take 10 corn tortillas and place them on a baking sheet.  Bake about 10 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Watch them carefully, as they can go from perfect to burned very quickly.  You shouldn’t need to flip them if your oven cooks evenly.  Some people like to fry these. I think baking them is fine and it gives them a great crispy texture without adding lots of fat and oil.

While the tortillas are toasting, drain your can of Rotel and then stir the refried beans and Rotel together.  Warm in your microwave until heated through.

When they tortillas are crispy remove them from the oven and leave it turned on.

Now, spread the refried bean/rotel mixture onto each crispy tortilla. 

Top with chicken that has been marinated (make sure to heat your chicken up. I just microwaved mine for 2 minutes).

Now sprinkle each one with shredded cheese and put the pan back in the oven. 

Cook in the oven for about 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Everything is already cooked so you don’t need to leave them in long.

Remove from the oven.  Drizzle lightly with the Taco Bell Sauce (which is so so yummy! I think I could drink the stuff).  Top with shredded lettuce if desired.  (I didn’t have any but next time I will make sure to add it because I think it would be a great crunch on top and add fresh green color)   Now, drizzle with the Cilantro Cream Sauce and serve.

This is a fun, messy meal to eat.  We just picked them up with our hands like little mini pizzas. 

But I suppose if you are feeling proper, get a fork and knife.

Cilantro Cream Sauce:

3/4  cup sour cream (light is fine)

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth.  You might still have tiny pieces of cilantro but it is yummy!

Serve over Honey Lime Chicken Tostadas.

My kids also just love dipping corn chips in this sauce.  It is that good!

Tilapia Parmesan (Gluten Free)

Let me start by saying that the blog should be a little easier to navigate now.  Thanks for being patient with me as I try to figure out how to do this.  On the right hand side of the home page you will see where it says “RECIPES”.  Under that there is a drop down menu that says “SELECT CATEGORY”.  If you pull that menu down you will be able to look for recipes under categories such as main dish, dessert, side dish, etc…  I am still looking for a way to make it even more simple but that should do for now.  If you know how to navigate wordpress accounts and have any suggestions for me please let me know.  I need all the help I can get.

Now, with that out of the way, on to the tilapia recipe.  I saw someone mention this recipe on a gluten free listserve that I subscribe to.  It sounded interesting to me and I usually have all the ingredients so I decided to give it a shot for dinner tonight.

This dish is excellent.  And about as easy as it gets.  I’m almost tempted to say that you will like it even if you don’t like fish.  Tilapia is such a mild fish and it is usually CHEAP, which is good for those of us on a tight budget.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Tilapia Parmesan

Adapted from All Recipes
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese

2 TBSP softened butter

3 TBSP sour cream or mayonnaise (I used sour cream)

The juice from 1 lemon (about 2 TBSP)

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 pounds tilapia fillets (I used 4 pretty big fillets)

Turn your oven to Broil.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.  Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for about 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Honey Chicken (Gluten Free)

Last night we had our weekly Bible Study.  Afterwards about 20 people came to our house to hang out and celebrate a birthday.  It was so much fun.  But, afterwards, Joab and I cleaned up and realized that it was 9:00 and we were hungry because we didn’t ever eat dinner. Oops.  Remembering that I had some chicken in the fridge, I quickly searched the web for a recipe.  I wanted something new and blog-worthy.  I came upon a recipe on “Our Best Bites” for this chicken.  It was not very spicy, at least to us.  We like things pretty kicked up around here so next time I will throw in some extra cayenne.  But for most people, it will be just right.  It was a  nice change of flavors.

The original recipe says to grill this chicken.  I highly recommend this for several reasons.

1) You get that good grilled flavor.

2) Grilling is fun. 🙂

3) I used an indoor grill pan and my house was full of smoke.  Oops.

The reason for #3 is that the glaze is a honey glaze and therefore there is no way for what drips off the chicken to not burn. Yep, it burns fast and makes a very ugly mess.  So, don’t do it like I did.  Turn on that grill and do it outside.

The original recipe also calls for using boneless skinless chicken thighs.  When I came across this recipe a few weeks ago, I made a mental note to get some thighs.  I wish I had used breasts.  I know they aren’t perhaps as tender and juicy as thighs, but I discovered that I don’t like thighs that much.  But, if you like thighs, go for it.  And if you prefer breasts, then do that.  I would recommend if you use boneless skinless breasts to pound them down a bit to tenderize.  Or you could buy chicken cutlets.  The flavor of the spice rub and glaze will work well with any of these cuts of meat.

So, now for the recipe:

Spicy Honey Chicken

2 t  oil

Rub:

2 t granulated garlic
2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1 t kosher salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder

for extra heat, increase chipotle or add ground red pepper

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Glaze:
1/2 C Honey
1T Cider Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the spices in a bowl and mix well.

Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces. Then toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there!

Grill chicken a few minutes on each side, until cooked through.

While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it’s not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2Tablespoons of the honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.

And for your entertainment, here is what happened in my kitchen:

you see that smoke?

I am warning you that this makes a hot mess.  Like I said before, it is sugar and it is  gonna drip. But the smelly smoke is worth it for a minute or two. If you do it outside, just leave your grill on for a few minutes after the chicken is done to burn off any excess glaze. It’s totally worth it once you taste this stuff.

If you insist on doing this inside on your grill pan (like me) or in your oven, open a window and turn on a vent.  You will have some smoke.

Now, remember that little bit of glaze you reserved??? After you are done cooking the chicken, put it on a plate and drizzle it with the remaining honey glaze.  Mmmmm….

We cut the chicken up and ate it on a salad.  You can do that or you can eat it as is, with some other side dishes.  I am going to try it next time on a bed of fresh mixed greens with avocados, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and some spicy ranch dressing.  There are lots of possibilities.  And my kids LOVED it.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes (Gluten Free)

Do you like artichoke hearts?  If so, you are in luck.  If not, shame on you.  So tasty, healthy, and mmmmm…. You should give them another chance. . . Perhaps in this dish.

I encourage you to try this.  I just made it for lunch.  We don’t eat much pasta, but this was a nice change from traditional spaghetti with red sauce.  The original recipe is vegetarian, which I enjoyed. But I think it would also be wonderful with some grilled chicken cut up on it.  Or, for a super quick meal, you could just pick up a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store and shred that up.

I found the recipe online from The Pioneer Woman.  I added more artichoke hearts than her recipe calls for.  I just like them so much and when I looked at the pan, I thought it needed more. Plus, my extra can of them was begging me not to leave them out.  🙂  I also added a little parmesan cheese to the top of the dish before I served it.  Can you have too much parmesan?  I think not.

Anyway, here is the link to her recipe and her thorough explanation of everything.  This meal really is quite simple.  Hope you enjoy!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/10/wednesday-night-dinner-spaghetti-with-artichoke-hearts-and-tomatoes/

*If you are making this gluten free, I recommend using Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice pasta.  I won’t use any other brand.

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth (More As Needed)
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti (Gluten Free if necessary)
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)
Preparation Instructions

Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.

*I think next time I make this I am going to throw in some chopped asparagus when I saute the onions and garlic.  I think it would taste great, add beautiful color, and get my kids eating their greens. 🙂