Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kid likes lunch

Previously posted recipes, cucumber soup and foolproof chicken.


Almond Dijon Tilapia

Why hello, deliciousness! I have been getting bored with my usual variations on tilapia (broiled or baked with citrus and/or vinegar) so I decided to venture out of my comfort zone into crusted. I grew up in a house full of picky people, myself included, where my mom often worked nights and my dad, while willing to cook, was not the most inspired chef. So I had never seen anything breaded and fried at home until the last couple of years. It's intimidating to me, in a way that othe reasonably advanced techniques (yeast baking) are not.
This was perfect as I found it, so I'll just send you to the recipe's author.

Thumbs up from Nigel!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Omg BBQ!

Delicious chicken cooking!

I made this to bring to a barbecue at a coworker's house yesterday, but then he forgot to bring it home with him from work so I took it and we fired up the grill at home tonight instead. This is a new one for me and it's so good!

Fiona's Phenomenal Green Chicken

Recipe adapted from the Nom Nom Paleo™ app for the iPad

6 servings

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1¼ cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons of Paleo-friendly fish sauce
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Wash and dry your herbs. Put the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, garlic, black pepper, apple juice, red pepper, fish sauce, and lime in a blender. Purée the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a gallon-size plastic bag. Pour in the marinade and squeeze out the air in the bag before sealing. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to a day.

Take the chicken out of the fridge at least an hour before you roast it off so it can come to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the bag. Roast the marinated chicken on a medium-hot grill for about 25 minutes, turning every 5 to 7 minutes. Serve the roasted chicken with lime wedges.

Et voila!


Breakfast break!

I'm doing blitz of dinners we ate this week but meanwhile, here's a picture of one of my breakfasts this week.

Poached egg over sautéed spinach with shallots, garlic, and Aidell's chicken apple sausage.


Easy Tandoori Chicken

I love this recipe so much! It makes a lot of food so I end up eating leftovers all week.

Easy Tandoori Chicken

Recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo™ app for the iPad

6 servings


  • 4 pounds chicken thighs (skin-on or off)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1½ tablespoon tandoori seasoning
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 3 limes, quartered

Liberally season the chicken with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Combine the coconut cream and tandoori seasoning in a small bowl. Squeeze the lime juice into the marinade. Stir the ingredients together until well-blended. Pour the mixture into the bowl of thighs and rub the marinade into the chicken. Allow the chicken to marinate for about 8 hours in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F on convection bake or 400°F on regular bake. Place a wire rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and grease the rack with a paper towel dipped in melted coconut oil. Arrange the chicken on the rack (skin-side down if you're using skin-on chicken) and pop the tray in the oven for about 40 minutes, flipping the pieces over at the halfway mark. The chicken’s done when there’s yummy charred bits all over, and the juices run clear when you stab the meat.Serve with lemon wedges.


Paleo Orange Chicken

I have a friend at work who is very fit and follows a mostly paleo diet. We talk about nutrition and exercise, and shes a good person to go out to lunch with because I'm less tempted to eat something I womt enjoy long-term. She also has a blog, and after hunting through her archives I decided to make a recipe I found there. I tweaked it a little, so here is my version:

Paleo Spicy Orange Chicken

Serves 4

  • 1lb chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch of green onions cut up
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tangelos (or oranges or tangerines) (zest one, juice them both)
  • 2tsp fresh ground/zested ginger
  • 1tsp siracha
  • 1tp Worchestor Sauce (or if you don’t have a soy allergy like me, Gluten Free Soy Sauce)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • Dash of red pepper (optional)
  • Spinach

Cut up raw chicken thighs into bite size pieces. Heat Coconut Oil in a pan and add garlic, green onions, and chicken thighs (if you like spicy things add the red pepper).

Add zest from Tangelo, juice from Tangelo, Ground Ginger, Siracha and Worchester sauce to a separate pan. Put on low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once chicken has cooked add it to the orange sauce. Cook a bit longer for about two minutes. Then pour chicken and sauce onto a bed of spinach.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Foolproof indeed

Boneless skinless chicken breast is an American staple if one eats meat. That said, I don't like making it that much because it always comes out dry or just terribly boring. This recipe has convinced me that I should eat more of it. It's incredibly moist and has just enough other stuff to make it delicious, without ruining the versatility. I made 4 servings' worth of this stuff and will be putting it on a salad tomorrow, stir fry on Thursday, and something else on Friday (I'm flying solo with the kid this week because my husband is taking care of his mother after minor surgery).

Almost Foolproof Grilled Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (I skipped this because I wanted versatility and don't love rosemary that much)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

In a large bowl, combine all but the chicken and stir thoroughly. Add in the chicken, using your hands to make sure the marinade thoroughly covers the chicken. Allow to marinate at least 30 min (mine was overnight because I have more time to do stuff in the evenings after the kid goes to bed).


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Once very hot, place chicken breasts smooth side down on pan. Do not touch until caramelized and the chicken releases easily from the pan. This should take 3-5 min. per side.


Remove chicken from the grill pan and place on a sheet pan and into the oven to finish cooking, 12-15 min. Chicken is done when the juices run clear. Allow the breasts to rest 5-10 min. Slice against the grain and serve.


I served it with Broiled Zucchini and arugula with leftover sherry-walnut vinaigrette. And of course a glass of the wine we didn't finish on Saturday and Sunday.


Steakhouse Sunday

Mmmmm meat! That's what my husband said when he saw this on the menu. The plate looks a little spare but this was a seriously filling meal.

Grilled Flank Steak

  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary
  • 1-2 lbs. flank steak

Grind peppercorns and cumin seeds. Combine remaining ingredients (except steak) in a blender, blend well, and pour over flank steak in ziplock bag. allow to marinate at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).


Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grate and grill meat about 5 min. per side or until done to your liking.


Coconut Creamed Spinach

  • 1 lb. frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut flour
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Thaw spinach completely and squeeze out liquid.


Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the coconut milk and 2 tsp. of the garlic. Whisk in the coconut flour until slightly simmering and remove from heat.


Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat and add shallot, remaining garlic, and paprika. Cook until shallots are just translucent. Add spinach and cream sauce, simmering until cooked through. Serve immediately.


Kitchen Renovation Cooking Extravaganza!

It is SUCH a relief to be able to use all of our house after having kitchen renovations done.  That very essential room was cut off for three or four days, and I for one missed being able to work in it.

My very fancy tofu in a very fancy bowl.
But now... now it's much, much nicer.  The first day of full operations was Saturday, and to celebrate the occasion, I made a variation of the Seared Tofu with Sugar Snap Peas that appeared in the NYT.

I didn't have fish sauce or sesame oil, so I filled in those amounts with soy and peanut oil, and omitted the sesame seeds (same reason).  Otherwise, pretty much the same thing.

Last night's dinner was a variation of that variation, which turned out to be Orange Chicken (recipe follows).  Tonight was the very easy + tasty Fresh Pasta Sauce with a little sauteed chicken and sausage added, and WOW was that good over egg fettuccine.

Living in a household with someone who is dieting to lose weight (to increase the success chances of surgery) is challenging in a lot of ways.  I have a very long history of not really feeding myself unless I'm feeding others, and I spend most of my day (ergo eating time) out of the house.  With dinners being generally low-calorie (and I've never eaten much dinner anyway), I've been having to really take my personal nutritional needs into account, to make sure that I'm not starving myself.

So besides cooking AWESOME food at home, I've also been schlepping granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, and other tasty nibbles with me to work, to make sure I eat enough.  I'm doing a bang-up job, if I do say so.

But!  Here's the recipe I promised.  Enjoy!

Orange Chicken with Stir Fry Vegetables

My very fancy stir fry in the same very fancy bowl! The kitchen may be usable,
but we have certainly not unpacked all the stuff that used to live in it!
Using the sauce from Seared Tofu with Sugar Snap Peas as a base, I created an orange chicken recipe.  We usually have TONS of greens in our CSA, so this is a good use for that baby bok choy that is so often neglected at our house.

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2 single breasts
1/2 cup chopped onion
Canola oil cooking spray
1 Tbsp peanut oil, divided
3 heads baby bok choy
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced with a vegetable parer
1 cup snow peas
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1-1/2 tsp sriracha
4 cups brown and wild rice
1/2 Tbsp butter (for cooking rice, optional)

Cook rice in rice cooker according to directions, adding butter if desired.
While you're waiting on the rice, chop bok choy and slice carrots lengthwise with vegetable parer, making long thin strips; set aside in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 tsp peanut oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, sugar and orange juice.  Cover and shake or mix until blended.
When rice is done, heat pan over very high heat, and spray with canola oil spray, adding 1 tsp peanut oil, if desired.  Add onion and chicken, and brown over high heat; when chicken is brown and mostly cooked, add bok choy and carrots.  Add additional 1 tsp peanut oil if the pan is dry.  Stir fry until bok choy begins to wilt, about 3 minutes.  Add sauce mixture and let simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.  Add snow peas and stir, letting cook 1 or 2 minutes more.

Serve over brown and wild rice.  Makes 4 servings.

Bonus: Fresh Pasta Sauce

I could have sworn I'd posted this before.  Well!  Now I will!

This is a highly customizable sauce.  Saute onion and/or meat, throw in veggies, saute until sauce-like, throw over pasta.  You can season it however you like, but I like it best when the flavors of the vegetables are allowed to shine through - I do very little more than a sprinkle of salt on top after cooking, although I may throw in some oregano or basil if I have it handy.

1/2 cup chopped onion
Olive oil or butter, as desired
Garlic, minced or smashed (to taste)
Boneless skinless chicken (optional)
Italian sausage (optional)
1 cup chopped tomato or whole cherry or grape tomatoes
2 to 4 cups chopped fresh vegetables (chopped zucchini or yellow squash, bell peppers, hardy greens, julienned carrots, thinly sliced celery, sliced mushrooms, spinach - you name it!)
fresh or dried herbs (to taste)
salt and/or pepper (to taste)

Heat a pan over medium to medium-high heat, add oil or butter and onion.  Saute until tender, then add meat if desired.  Saute meat until browned (or continue sauteing onion until browned).  Add tomatoes and other vegetables and saute until veggies are tender and tomatoes (whole) split or (chopped) start to fall apart.  Season as desired, letting simmer for a few minutes to incorporate the flavors of any herbs you use.

Serve over the pasta of your choice, and dig in!  Makes about 4-6 servings of sauce.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer soup & salad (and wine)

I had a new coworker over for dinner last night. It's been hot (the start of a long summer, I'm told) so I decided to make something cool and refreshing. My new friend said she would eat anything I made but that she doesn't usually eat meat, so I decided to do a cucumber dill soup and roasted beet salad with goat cheese, which we paired with some Torrontes, an Argentinian white wine. The downside to having a guest was that I felt silly snapping photos of the rather beautiful plates, so my only picture is of the leftover soup my husband gobbled up later in the evening.

This only took 5 min of active work (and 30 min letting the cucumbers sweat) so it will be a summer staple for me. The recipe is here.

The salad, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese with Sherry-Walnut Vinaigrette was a little more work but I made the full 8 servings of dressing and toasted nuts even though we only used 2 so it will be easy to throw together again. I used prepared baby beets but I've roasted beets before and it's not difficult, just a little messy.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Garlic-Balsamic Chicken Stew

I was so hungry the day we made this last week that I didn't bother snapping a picture--this was the following day at my desk. It was really good!
Garlic-Balsamic Chicken Stew
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skinned (I didn't cut or skin mine, but the broth was a little oily so perhaps this is a good idea)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can of chicken broth (I used homemade stock)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons AP flour (or arrowroot powder if you want to make this semi-paleo, but with the wine already in I just went for the flour)
  • 1 9-oz. package frozen green beans (I had a 1 lb. bag and used them all)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, cut into slices (I used canned diced tomatoes)
Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Combine the wine, tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper in a small bowl, then pour over chicken. Add 1 1/2 cups of the broth to the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is fork tender, 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.


About 40 minutes before the cooking time is up, whisk the reserved 1/4 cup broth, vinegar, and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the hot broth from the slow cooker until blended. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the liquid in the slow cooker, without disturbing the chicken. Add the beans and tomatoes in even layers. Cover and cook on high until the mixture simmers and the beans are tender, about 35 minutes.

Bonus picture of the kid chowing down on grapes! :) I don't usually let her eat in her bedroom but really, anything to get her to sit still for hair brushing.


Turkey spinach egg "muffins"

I've been looking for more portable breakfasts, so on Sunday morning I threw this plate together. Yum! The strawberries are just sliced for ease of eating, and the recipe for the muffins is here. The muffins also reheat pretty well, so I've been zapping them in the microwave all week either just before I leave the house or right when I get to work. I think I will try more variations on this theme soon!


Crispy Smashed Chicken with Chimichurri

I love chimichurri! The original recipe for this chicken suggested salsa but this sounded even better to me, so off I went to find a suitable recipe, which I got from here. I added some broiled asparagus and dinner was served!

Crispy Smashed Chicken

Recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo™ app for the iPad, which I really like!

Makes : 4 servings

Hands-On Time : 30 min

Total Time : 30 min


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee or fat of choice, plus more if needed (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Mango Salsa or Salsa Roja Asada (optional)

Preparation Steps:

If you're starting with frozen chicken breasts, dunk the package in a large bowl of super-hot tap water and weigh it down with a ramekin or small bowl to keep it completely submerged. A package of two large chicken breasts should thaw in about 10 minutes. Flip it and massage it a few times as it thaws.

Sprinkle the chicken with a few drops of water and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment. Then hulk out and smash the breasts with a meat pounder, rolling pin, or small cast iron skillet until the chicken is uniformly flattened into half-inch-thick paillards.

Melt the Ghee over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut flour, salt, garlic powder, and a few grinds of pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, and pat off any excess.

Once the cooking fat is melted and shimmering, place the chicken flat-side down in the skillet, and allow it to cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes.

Don't overcrowd the skillet -- if your chicken pieces are too big, fry them up in separate batches.

Flip the breast over, and cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the exterior is crisp and golden brown.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a wire rack, and tent it with foil while you fry up the remaining pieces.

Slice up the paillards, and serve it up with your favorite sauce. This chicken is fantastic with some lime wedges and topped with a spicy salsa.


Slow cooker pulled pork

Smokey Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • One 4 to 6 pound pork shoulder
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small white or yellow onions
Dry rub:
  • 1/4 cup Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
1) Peel your garlic and cut each clove in half. Using a thin knife poke holes into your pork shoulder and then press your garlic in. I like to stick a few pieces under the fat cap as well.
2) Mix your dry rub ingredients well in a bowl or large plastic bag.
3) Coat your pork shoulder with your dry rub as evenly as possible. Allow your spice coated pork shoulder to sit in the fridge overnight if possible. This step is not necessary, yet I find that this marination time helps the meat pull some of the spice in better. You can either use a large resealable bag or plastic wrap.
4) Slice your onions into thick slices and line your slow cooker with them. Place your pork shoulder on top of the onions with the fat cap facing upwards.
5) Set your slow cooker to low for 8 to 10 hours. Your meat is done when it easily pulls apart with a single fork.
6) Remove your fat cap and bone from the meat. Now simply use a pair of forks to shred your tender meat into pulled pork goodness serve it up with a veggie of your choice or toss it in a salad.


I steamed some broccoli and made a quick salad of baby spinach with avocado, almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette. Pretty yummy!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Swedish Meatballs

You may think these are ordinary meatballs, but they are not! They are delicious Swedish meatballs, resting before diving into their sauce. This is a family recipe, which has been tweaked over the years until it's exactly what we want.

Swedish Meatballs

Serves 8 generous portions

Prep time: 20 min, Cook time: 30 min

  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 t. ground allspice
  • 1/2 t. grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 t. ground pepper
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef chuck
  • 1 lb. lean ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground pork
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour
  • 14 oz. beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 T. dry sherry

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl. Stir and let soak 10 min. Add onion, eggs, and spices and use a wooden spoon to combine.

Break meats into small bits with hands (Note: when I'm being fancy it's worth getting veal and pork, but I just used ground beef this time) and add to bowl. Use wooden spoon to beat until well-mixed. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls; handle gently and rinse hands often to keep mixture from sticking. (If you have an ice cream scoop or dished about this size it makes things much easier to scoop and then use your moistened hands to shape into a ball). Arrange meatballs in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets (you'll need about 4 sheets).

Bake until well-browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan with wide spatula. At this point, you can cover and chill these for up to 3 days.

For the sauce, put butter and flour in a large saucepan. Blend broth and water into flour. Bring to boil while stirring. Add meatballs and sherry and bring to simmer, cover and gently simmer for 10 min.

Serve over egg noodles or baby red potatoes sprinkled with dill.


Summer berry balsamic salad

This is my favorite way to eat salad. You can tell because I forgot to take a picture until I'd eaten half of it! Plus it's super duper easy.

Summer berry balsamic salad

1 serving

Prep time: 5 min

  • A big bowl of Baby spinach
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 6 Raspberries
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 T. Toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken breast

The beauty of this salad is that, other than toasting the almonds, I didn't have to cook anything. I could have made my own chicken but we went to Costco today and they have the most delicious rotisserie chickens for not much more than it would cost me to buy the raw meat. I also used per-made balsamic vinaigrette, though I usually make my own. I just tossed the spinach in the dressing, sliced the strawberries, sliced up one of the breasts on my rotisserie bird, and threw everything on top of the spinach. Lunch is ready!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Curried bison meatballs

I made this new recipe tonight and it turned out great! I used ground bison instead of beef and served it with a little rice and a lot of steamed broccoli. I always feel better--not only healthy but proud and satisfied--when I make food from scratch at home.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013