Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, & Brussells Sprouts Skillet

This is a traditional German dish I adapted to remove the high sodium culprits (which meant I had to remove the delicious, delicious bacon and their drippings 😭). But even though the bacon had to be sacrificed, this dish is still *plenty* hearty and flavorful, and would be perfect for a cool Fall day (not that we get many of those down here in New Orleans).

And in case you're a parent cooking for littles like me, the bite sized pieces are perfect for little hands to grab and munch, which makes this dish close to perfect since it includes protein, fruits, and veggies for them in one fell swoop!

Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, & Brussels Sprouts Skillet
Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp avocado/olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups raw Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter (this is a sodium-free substitute for chicken broth)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high, until hot and shimmering. Add the chicken and black pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. 
  2. Pour in remaining 1 tbsp avocado/olive oil and allow to heat until thin and runny. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and the onions are beginning to look translucent, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in 1/2 cup of the water/butter mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup water/butter mixture. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Crispy Rosemary Chicken & Fries

Adapted from this recipe

This is one of those super easy dinners you can have in the oven within 15 minutes, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights, lazy Sunday afternoons after church...pretty much anytime, really. It's simple and delicious (the juices from the chicken soak into the potatoes while they cook and Mmmmmmm), which also means kids and toddlers will enjoy it - always a perk in our household! And completing the trifecta, the ingredients are cheap. In a nutshell, you can't go wrong making this!

Crispy Rosemary Chicken & Fries
Serves 4

8 chicken thighs
6 small red or yellow potatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (1 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
Olive oil, drizzle in to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over them and toss to coat, then sprinkle in herbs and garlic and continue tossing until evenly distributed.

Scatter evenly on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake uncovered for 1 hour. 



Heart-Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins

My wonderful friend Heather made some of these for Ray while he was in the hospital, and we've been hooked ever since! I tweaked the recipe a bit (no surprises there) to make them a little more in line with Ray's dietary restrictions, and also to reduce the sugar because they were a little too sweet between the mashed bananas and all the honey. 

Even if you aren't on a diet, I highly recommend making these because they're delicious, my uber-picky toddler loves them, and the abundance of oats make them great for breastfeeding moms like me ❤️ They're the definition of a crowd pleaser!

Heart-Healthy Banana Oat Muffins
Yields 1 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts - whatever your preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pans.

Place the oats in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. Pour in a large bowl, and stir in flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients - Greek yogurt, eggs, honey, vanilla, and mashed bananas

Make a well in the center of the dry mix, and pour in wet ingredients. Stir in pecan pieces, and spoon batter into muffin pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.


Green Lentils & Rice with Chicken

I always knew I had a tendency to tinker around a little bit with recipes, but I didn't realize my habit was a full-fledged addiction until I started cooking every single day. It just feels so right for some reason....

This recipe originally started as more of a side dish, but I quickly morphed it into a full-fledged dinner by adding shredded chicken and some spices - yum! I have a feeling I'm not done messing with it though, so stay tuned for future experiments 😉

Green Lentils & Rice with Chicken
Serves 6-8

1 cup dry green lentils
2 cups water
4 tbsp olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp portions
1 cup basmati rice (brown rice also works)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pound chicken breasts, grilled and shredded

Place the lentils in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a roiling boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then cover and remove from heat.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and cook for about 1 minute (toasting it a bit heightens the flavor), then stir in the lentils, onions, spices, and water. Bring the rice mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low for 5 minutes. Stir once, then re-cover and reduce heat further to low, cooking until the rice is tender (about 15 minutes). 

When rice mixture is finished cooking, toss in chicken and serve. 

Helpful tip: This makes quite a bit, so you'll probably have leftovers. It dries out a little in the fridge, so I'd recommend stirring in a touch of olive oil before reheating. 


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Steelhead Trout (or Salmon) Kabobs with Basil Lime Marinade


Ray met with a sweet friend who's a nutritionist this week to make sure we're on track with his diet, and she encouraged him to try and eat fish at least twice a week (which is no hardship for us 😉). So while we were at Costco yesterday spending a ridiculous amount of time in the seafood section (my apologies to any poor souls that got caught behind us 😬), we spotted Steelhead (aka Rainbow) Trout and after some extensive Googling, figured we'd roll the dice and give it a whirl. I'd never had it before, and it had been a looooong time since Ray had, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. To our delight, it tasted almost exactly like Salmon, and was a dollar cheaper per pound to boot! #winning

The great thing about this recipe is you can use pretty much any veggies you have on hand. We used yellow squash, green pepper, and a skinny eggplant, but you could substitute zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. The sky's the limit!

Steelhead (or Salmon) Kabobs
Makes about 8 kabobs

About 1/2 pound Steelhead/Salmon, cut into 1-1.5" cubes
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1" cubes
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 small eggplant, cut into 1" pieces 
8 10" wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

For each kabob, you'll need 2 pieces of each of the 4 ingredients listed above. Thread them onto a wooden skewer in an alternating pattern, and set in a Pyrex dish when finished.

Basil Lime Marinade

3 large garlic cloves 
1 small jalapeño, cored and seeds removed
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup basil leaves 
3/4 cup avocado or olive oil
4 tbsp lime juice (1-2 limes)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse garlic cloves, jalapeño, mint and basil for about 10 seconds. Then, with the food processor running, gradually pour in oil, and then lime juice and pepper. Reserve 1/3 cup for basting, and pour the rest over the kabobs and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Grill for about 10 minutes, brushing every few minutes with reserved marinade.

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