Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Tonight was Menu Planning night for the week. But instead of going to the grocery store after the girls were in bed, I took an opportunity to go before dinner. But I didn't have anything planned or prepped and I walked in the house with all the groceries with t-minus 30 minutes until our very prompt 5:30 dinner. I walked in, popped 4 potatoes in our convection oven, quickly put away the groceries with hubby and whipped together a fast cheesy bechamel sauce to make this fast and tasty dinner.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli stuffed Potatoes

4 baking potatoes
3 slices of bacon
2 tbsp flour
1.5 cups of milk
3-4 oz cheese
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 cup shredded leftover chicken

Bake your potatoes in a convection oven at 400 for 35 minutes (yeah, dinner was a bit late tonight.) Or you can microwave them. A regular oven you'd probably have to add another 10 minutes to the baking time.

Cut up bacon into thin strips and cook it in a small pot over medium high heat. Stir frequently until crispy. Remove the bacon but leave the grease. You need about 3 tbsp of grease, if you don't have enough add some butter or other oil. Sprinkle in flour and whisk for a few minutes. Add milk and continue to whisk until sauce starts to thicken. Add shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and remove from heat. Steam broccoli in another pot or in the microwave. In a small bowl, add shredded chicken, broccoli and enough cheese sauce to coat. Reserve the rest of the cheese sauce to pour on top of potatoes. Cut potatoes open, dallop with butter and salt. Smoosh in cheesy chicken broccoli. Pour extra sauce on top and then sprinkle reserved bacon. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy Roast Chicken

Best ever Roast Chicken. Juicy and succulent. This is a free range chicken and they are known for being a bit more tough than the poor little chickens that don't get any exercise. But if you cook them low and slow, they are moist and perfect. I got this recipe from Nourished Kitchen, and I've made it several times. I never have slowed down to take a photo though because we all devour it so quickly! Since it takes a few hours to cook, your house smells heavenly. I don't take the time to truss up my chicken, so it doesn't look as fancy. This time I seasoned it with butter, orange and rosemary (and salt and pepper). In the past I've just done butter, salt and pepper and it's been super good too.

Easy Roast Chicken

1 Free Range Chicken
few tbsp of butter
salt and pepper
any other seasonings you want

Wash up your chicken and pat it dry. Smear butter all over and under the skin between the skin and breast meat. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you want. I cook mine in a stonewear casserole pan with a lid, I think the stonewear keeps an even temperature. Eitherway, make sure you have a lid or at the minimum foil. Cover and cook for 3 hours at 275 degrees. Low and SLOW. Then uncover and cook at 375 for 30-45 minutes to get the browned affect. Delicious! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

What's for Dinner at my house: Coconut Lime Shrimp

This was a sort of strange dish I concocted. It did not get raving reviews from the family so I won't post the recipe. Everyone did eat it though, even while sort of complaining about it. I actually liked it and went back for seconds. Basically I sauted some shrimp, red bell pepper and garlic and set it aside. Then I mixed part of a can of coconut milk, lime juice, chicken stock, a bit of fish sauce and arrowroot and simmered until thick. Then I added chopped and steamed cauliflower and the shrimp back in. It looked like shrimp and grits, but had a coconut-lime flavor. Anyway, it's what we had for dinner, I guess they can't all be winners!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grain Free BLT

For me, a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato) Sandwich is comfort food. Of course, since I usually don't like tomatoes, I'd normally just fix me a BL. But I do like cooked tomatoes, so today when making this sandwich, I took the time to grill some cherry tomatoes while the bacon was cooking. Using homemade "bread" and homemade mayo made with healthy fats makes this a pretty awesome, nutrient dense sandwich!  For the bread, I borrowed the Paleo Bread recipe from Elana's Pantry, but instead of cooking it up as a loaf, I made savory pancakes out of it. They came out so delicious!

Paleo (Grain Free) Pancake Bread

1 ½ cups almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup golden flaxseed meal
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
5 eggs
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix the almond flower, coconut flower, flaxseed meal, salt and baking soda together. Melt coconut oil, if your oil is solid and whisk it together with the eggs, honey and apple cider vinegar in a second bowl. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Ladle about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter on a medium heat griddle. I found I need to smoosh the batter down a bit with my ladle and even finger tips, because it was pretty thick. When the first side sets, flip over and cook the second side. Let cool on a cooling rack and store in a zip bag in your fridge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fried "Rice"

I'm so funny about carbs lately. One day they are fine and the next I'm all about eliminating them. Overall, I'm definitely trying to reduce the amount of carbs, especially grains. The more I read about wheat the more concerned I get. The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our great grandparents ate. It physically is a different plant not by natural selection, but by genetically modifying the plant to something a lot of people think is not truly digestible for humans. And as for other grains, like rice, I hear conflicting things about too! Only eat brown rice, wait! Too much phytic acid, white rice is actually better. But white rice is more processed, eat brown! And back and forth. Anyway, all this is to say, that I am trying to make more recipes that are grain free, and this is my latest addition.

Using a trick I've read about here and there on the internet I decided to try a "rice" replacement, you take cauliflower and pulse it in your food processor raw until it makes small rice sized pieces. Then you steam it and use it in place of rice. Everyone in the family ate this meal last night, it was really good! And I did not taste a strong cauliflower presence. While I'm not a huge fan of substituting an ingredient, using a whole food like this didn't bother me. The meal may or may not feel like Fried Rice to you, but it was still a good bowl of American-Asian flavored vegetables and ham!

Fried "Rice"

1 large head of cauliflower
1 tsp soy sauce
2 carrots
1 cup of peas
1/2 cup bean sprouts
5-6 button mushrooms
4-5 oz ham
2 eggs
2 green onions
2 tbsp lard
1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 freshly grated garlic clove
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp arrowroot powder

Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until you get rice sized crumbles. I found doing 1/3-1/2 of the head at a time gets the best results. Place in a bowl and put a pat of butter and a 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat lard. Chop carrots to bite size pieces and start cooking them in the skillet on med-high heat. Add mushrooms, peas, bean sprouts and ham. Beat eggs with a tbsp of water and  pour them in a smaller non-stick skillet on high heat. You don't want them to scramble, but make more like an egg pancake. When it starts to brown, flip it over. Remove from heat to a cutting board and cut into strips. Reserve.

Mix together sauce in a small bowl with a whisk. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Add steamed cauliflower to vegetables and add the sauce. Pour sauce over vegetables and stir gently until thickens. Add eggs and mix together. Last add chopped green onions.

This post is linked using The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's for Dinner Tonight: White Bean Chicken Chili

Friday night I made some homemade tortillas and reserved some for today. Sunday night I sat my beans out to soak. Monday I cooked the beans, put some in the refrigerator for this recipe and then I stored the rest away in the freezer for future meals. This afternoon I'm making a roasted salsa for tonight's meal and I'll ferment some for a Taco Salad meal later in the week. But for dinner tonight, with a bunch of thought and love put together, I'm making a White Bean and Chicken Chili.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Easy Cheese Bacon Chicken

File this recipe/idea under easy, fast and tasty! It was perfect for tonight where I didn't want to do anything super complicated. Took less than 10 minutes to assemble and then it cooked in the toaster oven for another 20 minutes, not even having to heat up the entire house with my big oven. Win/win!

Easy Cheesy Bacon Chicken

Chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into thin strips)
1 piece of bacon per chicken
1 slice of cheese (I used colby jack) per chicken

Salt and pepper each chicken breast. Wrap with bacon and place in a very hot skillet for about 3 minutes per side. If you are using an oven proof skillet, top each chicken with cheese and place in the oven to cook all the way through and cheese gets bubbly and browned at 350 for 20 minutes. I transferred my chicken to a small brownie pan (one layer of chicken) and cooked it in my toaster oven for the same heat and time. Serve with sliced avocado and homemade ranch dressing to dip!

Pork and Plantains

I found this recipe on The Mango Duck, and took the idea and ran with it. What I got was a super tasty dish, that was unlike any flavor profile I've cooked before in my kitchen! I love that!

Pork and Plantains

For the Pork Filling:
1 lb of pork (I used pork chops)
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 c orange juice
juice from a lime
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 can of coconut milk

Cut the pork into tiny pieces. Place in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom skillet and cook on medium high heat until almost cooked through and remove to a bowl. Cut onion into same small pieces and add to the now empty skillet. Cook it and diced garlic until translucent. Add pork back to the skillet and then put in all of the dried herbs and seasonings. Go ahead and salt, but go lightly because the dish will reduce down and get stronger. Add orange juice, lime juice, coconut milk and chicken stock. Simmer for 30-45 on a med high to high heat to reduce the liquids down. Taste and adjust salt.

For the Plantains:
3 plantains
oil (I used lard)

Cut plantains in about 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Get oil hot and fry until golden brown. Place each fried plantain in a mini muffin tin and while it is still hot, smash down with a spoon or I used these sauce cups which fit perfectly in the mini muffin tin.

Fill each plantain cup up with the pork mixture and enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lobster Pizza

Growing up in New England there are several foods that indicate summer is upon us…One of those foods is the LOBSTAH! Oh Lobster, how I love thee..
Now if you are ever lucky enough to have left over lobster, there are many things make with the left over deliciousness, such as the Lobster Roll or Lobster Bisque, or even Lobster Chowdah. However a lobster pizza is a great option, especially if you want to stretch a little left over lobster pretty far.
Summer 2011 279
Lobster Pizza
Pizza Dough
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 Cup of medium hot water (105-115 degrees to the touch, but not scalding)
1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 salt.
3Cups or more of flour

1 Tablespoon of yeast dissolved in 1 Cup of med-hot water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. When it "proofs" (20 +- minutes), add 2C flour with a spoon then add, by kneading, 1C or more of flour.
Grease the bowl, turn dough in bowl, cover and let rise. Place in warmish room. Several hours later punch down the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin or with hands pressing into pan.

Let rise again then add the fixings.
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Pizza Fixings
After the first amazing lobster dinner, or just with cooked lobsters, removed all meat from the shell, including the tail, claws, smaller claws and around the belly. Chop up the lobster into bite size chunks. Reserve tasty meat for later.
After the dough rises in the pan, spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on dough and sprinkle on shredded cheese. For a nice rich blend of cheese, use mozzarella, cheddar and a little parmesan. Throw on some thinly sliced Vidalia onions. Cook pizza until 3/4 done, about 20 minutes at 425 F. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle Lobster meat on pizza. Put the pizza in the oven for about 10 minutes more until the cheese is bubbly, crust is golden and lobster meat is hot.
Then gorge!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Green Salsa Chicken

I made up a pretty terrific slow cooker meal today. Wanted something low carb so instead of serving this on tortillas, I served in in lettuce leafs. The other great thing was the girls loved helping make the salsa. They peeled all the garlic and tomatillos and they helped brush on the avocado oil. The salsa could be made up the day before without any problems making it a super simple crock pot meal the next day. And of course, you could stuff burritos or tacos with this juicy tender meat!


Green Salsa Chicken

Roasted Green Salsa
1 white or yellow onion
1-2 hot peppers of your choice, preferably green ones
8-10 tomatillos
4-5 cloves garlic
3-4 tablespoons of oil (I used avocado oil, but olive oil would work too.)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Peel garlic and tomatillos. Cut tomatillos in half. Cut onion in quarters. Cut pepper in half and discard stem and seeds. Toss everything with oil (or use a pastry brush and brush it on each vegetable.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. Let cool complete, and then blend in your blender until you have a chunky consistency.

Shredded Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/2 can of coconut milk
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
salsa recipe from above
salt to taste

Pour half the salsa in your crock pot. Place chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt. Pour in the rest of the salsa, the lime zest, lime juice and coconut milk. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Take chicken out 30 minutes towards the end and shred. Place back in sauce and stir. Adjust salt as needed. Serve with cheese and lettuce for the photo above, otherwise use as a stuffing for tacos or burritos.
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