Posted by: dinainsuburbia | March 1, 2015

Spiced Chicken Stew

So this is one of my favorite recipes. It really isn’t a strict recipe though, it’s more of a method. I’ve used different vegetables- in combinations of fresh or canned (shocker I know) as well as different cuts of chicken (boneless, skinless thighs or chicken breasts cut up into pieces). Aside from what’s listed below- feel free to experiment- add fresh tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, etc. Really it is all up to what you have on-hand that day and what you favor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 chicken breasts cut into small chunks or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighsstew
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 16 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 -3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 16 ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Garden brand)
  • 1 16 ounce can chic peas, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4-1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • brown rice or brown rice pasta cooked to package directions

DIRECTIONS

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown chicken pieces or thighs on all sides. Once brown, take out of the pot and set aside (leave all those delicious browned bits in the bottom).

Reduce heat to medium- to the pot add your vegetables (onions and peppers first, then garlic, then kale or any other leafy greens at the very last minute) and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

While vegetables are cooking, measure out your spices into a cup with the liquid amino and water. Whisk with a fork until incorporated.

Add the chic peas, canned tomatoes – use a spoon to scrape up the chicken “bits” at the bottom of the pot, and finally the chicken back into the pot. Stir in the Braggs-spice mixture. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice pasta or brown rice!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Crock Pot Vegetable Stock

So- this really isn’t a recipe, but more of a methodology. Ever since we started our clean-eating lifestyle, it seems like we’ve been using chicken and vegetable stock more-and-more to impart flavor into various recipes. Good-Quality stock can be pretty pricey- even more so if you purchase organic. I wondered, could I make a stock out of the scraps of vegetables I would have otherwise thrown away? The answer is yes!

For 2 weeks I froze all sorts of vegetable ends: onion ends, red and green pepper ends, broccoli stalks, parsley stems, etc. Whatever i was left with, I threw in a gallon ziplock and froze. By the end of two weeks I had 1 1/2 gallon ziplock bags filled with vegetable scraps. Scraps that would have ended up in the garbage.FullSizeRender-6

I took those frozen scraps, threw them in my crock pot, and covered them with water. I then covered the crock pot and set it to low, allowing it to cook 14 hours. What developed? A flavor-intense, delicious stock with a deep color (thanks to those onion peels- leave ‘em on!).

I strained the stock through a fine sieve and store in mason jars in my freezer. Let me know if you try making your own vegetable stock and what you do with the final product?

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Almond Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

I’m always looking for fun, new side dishes. I’ve always love pesto.. the brightness and freshness of the basil.. and of course the pine nuts… left me wondering, could I replicate pesto using almonds?

The answer is yes. So.. this pesto doesn’t have any parmesan cheese (I’m off dairy) but it is SUPER tasty and I was able to even make it “creamy” by incorporating some pasta cooking water into the dish!

I served the pesto over brown rice pasta, but it would be equally delicious as a sauce over rice, chicken or fish.

Almond Pesto

  • 1/3 cup unsalted, raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley (flat parsley)
  • 1 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperFullSizeRender-5

In a food processor, combine almonds, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse until almonds are completely pulverized. Scrape down the sides of your food processor. Re-attach lid and slowly pour in olive oil until combined. Set aside.

Boil water and cook pasta to directions. I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy, Brown rice fettucini style pasta. Before draining pasta, ladle about 1/2 cup cooking water into a small bowl and set aside.

Mix pasta with pesto mixture, and add in a little bit of pasta water at a time until desired consistency is reached.

TIP! – This is a great base recipe! Kick it up by adding cubed grilled chicken, a handful of sliced kalamata olives, 2 chopped plum tomatoes, and a can of drained & rinsed cannellini beans.

I served mine with beans, a side of roasted broccoli, and some straight-from-the-farm sirloin (if you live on Long Island, please consider checking out Goodale Farms for food delivery. FullSizeRender-4They raise their own beef and are a dairy farm. It’s comforting to me to know exactly where my food comes from, and that it isn’t pumped up with antibiotics. Their animals are raised with love and live their lives on a family farm. Check out www.goodalefarms.com.

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Kale Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

Lets talk kale. I love it for so many reasons.. it’s unbelievably good for you. Jam-packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, a good source of calcium, and even a little protein! What’s more, kale is a pretty hearty vegetable. It stands up to cooking, but for the purpose of today’s blog, it make a great salad because you can dress it and marinate it without fear that the kale will get all soggy.

As we’re off sugar and dairy, sometimes it can be a little difficult to find a good salad dressing. Enter tahini. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and can be found in your ethnic aisle (or nut/seed butter section) of your grocery store. Paired with lemon & garlic, it makes a gorgeous dressing or dip (equally good on a regular tossed salad or spooned atop a piece of grilled chicken or salmon).

Kale Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

  • 1 16 ounce bag of chopped kale greensFullSizeRender-3
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/3 cup sesame tahini
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons warm water

In a large bowl place your chopped peppers, scallions, and kale (I like to pick through the kale, removing the leaves from the woody stems). Set aside.

In a small bowl mix tahini, lemon zest, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, warm water, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pour over kale and vegetables and toss to coat. Make in advance and allow salad to marinate!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 19, 2015

Snack Ideas for Nutritional Cleansing

A few of my cleansers were in need of some snack support. So below, please find a list of snacks you can enjoy!

  • Green Apple with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter
  • unsalted brown rice cake with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 protein truffle ball
  • 1/2 ezekiel english muffin toasted with 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • unsalted brown rice cake with 1 tablespoon of organic hummus, 1/4 sliced avocado, and sliced cucumber or red pepper with a sprinkling of cumin and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 1 slice of ezekiel toast (once you pull it out of the toaster, rub quickly with a peeled clove of garlic- this will turn your toast into “garlic” bread. Top with 1/4 of avocado and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, a sprinkling of cumin and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 slice of ezekiel toast with 3 scrambled egg whites topped with 1/4 of an avocado sliced
  • egg white omelette (3 egg whites with onions & your vegetable of choice) served atop 1/2 ezekiel english muffin
  • 1 serving of Mary’s Gone Crackers (13 crackers) with hummus and fresh red pepper slices
  • 1 hard boiled egg with yolks removed and replaced with hummus or fresh mashed avocado (mash that avocado with a squeeze of lime and a dash of cumin and cayenne pepper)
  • Fresh Roasted Chick Peas (check out this amazing recipe from eatyourselfskinny!
  • Homemade Kale Chips 
  • Lemony Tuna Salad 
  • small tossed salad with oil & vinegar

Happy Eating ;) if you have any other snack ideas I’m missing- let me know!! I want to hear them.

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 15, 2015

Protein Truffles

The challenge- make something for Valentine’s Day that both my sweetheart and me would indulge in for Valentine’s Day. After much interest research I found two recipes. One on epicurious.com and one on jesselanewellness.com. Recipe links posted below.

5-minute truffle recipe

  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter (or nut/seed butter of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or honey, agave nectar or pure maple syrup)
  • 2/3 cup packed protein powder (I used chocolate IsaLean by Isagenix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk if necessary
  • Suggested coatings: unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder, matcha powder, finely chopped almonds, toasted sesame seeds.

1. Mix the nut or seed butter, honey, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Add the protein powder, stirring until completely combined (mixture will be firm).

2. Protein powders vary in terms of their dryness. Hence if the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more protein powder, or some ground oats or flaxseed meal, until the mixture comes together as a dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add some milk (I used almond milk) or water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together as a dough.

3. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hands and shape into 1-inch balls.

4. If desired, place one or more of the suggested coatings in small shallow dishes. Roll each ball in the coating, gently pressing to adhere. Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

I was able to make about 12, 1″ balls. They come in at approximately 145 calories per serving. They’re super dense and filling. We rolled ours in organic unsweetened flake coconut.IMG_9796

Chocolate Almond Protein Truffles (I found these to be more like a no-bake cookie)

  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used vanilla IsaLean by Isagenix)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (to roll truffles in)
  1. In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients, protein powder, cacao, & cinnamon
  2. In another bowl mix together almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Place the mixture in the fridge to stiffen for 30 minutes.
  4. Form the mixture into 12 truffles and roll them in the finely chopped almonds. Place in the freezer to set for at least an hour.
  5. The protein truffles are best enjoyed straight out of the freezer because they tend to melt as the warm up.

These came in a little higher at 185 calories (probably due to the coconut oil). Again, super dense and totally worth making. Please make sure to keep both of these in the fridge!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 4, 2015

Easy Peasy Chicken Stock

So, this is more of a method than a recipe. You really can adjust the “recipe” depending upon what you have on hand. Have parsley? Throw it in. Have celery? Throw it in.. you get the point.

Whenever I make a roast chicken I am religious about saving the carcass. I fix all the ingredients right away in the slow cooker, and put the slow cooker insert & lid in the fridge. That way it’s ready to go in the morning and I don’t need to fuss!

INGREDIENTSstock1

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 2 carrots, roughly cut into 3-4 pieces each (no need to peel)
  • 2 ribs celery, same as above
  • 1 large onion, washed, peel on, cut in half or in quarters
  • one bunch parsley
  • salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS

In your slow cooker, place the chicken carcass, and all the other ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper and cover with cold water until all ingredients are covered (don’t worry if a bit of the breast bone sticks out). Cook on low 10-12 hours. stockWhen done, strain over cheese cloth or a fine strainer into a pot (use for chicken soup) or into mason jars for freezing (these keep very well in the freezer- and it’s great to have stock on hand whenever you need).

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 4, 2015

Perfect Roast Chicken

To some, roast chicken is, “old people food”.. I never really got that. I can only imagine that they’ve never had a properly delicious roasted chicken.

A good roast chicken is a thing of beauty. Moist, delicious, and something you can make many meals out of. I’ve paraded many  roast chicken in front of company, Christmas dinner.. well, you get the point.

There are some VERY important rules when roasting chicken. FullSizeRender

1.  Bring your chicken to room temperature. This allows it to cook evenly.

2.  Roast your chicken on high heat. REALLY high. I’m going to ask you to cook at a temperature you may have never cooked- that would be 500 degrees!

3. You want to cook your chicken (or, for that matter any meat) to its proper temperature. Don’t hack into the chicken to see if it is cooked. All that will accomplish is you’ll dry out the bird. I suggest you invest in this amazing meat thermometer. It has a probe that you place in the thickest part of the meat, and the thermometer sits on your counter, eliminating the need to keep opening the oven and releasing the heat. This is the exact one I have on Amazon.com (note- I don’t make any commission off of this if you purchase it). I’ve had it for over 5 years and it always gives me consistent results.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roasting chicken- preferably all natural, no antibiotics, etc. (5-7 pounds)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of sage, 8 leaves rolled and sliced and reserved.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt & fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your own to 500 degrees. Gently pat dry the chicken, inside and out with paper towel (take a look inside and remove the giblets & neck- either reserve for a future use, or discard). Pour a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan, smear about and then place the chicken in the roasting pan.

chickenFullSizeRender

In a small bowl, mix garlic, reserved sliced sage leaves, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Mix well.  With your finger, carefully separate the skin from the chicken breast to create a pocket on both sides of the breast bone, taking care not to rip the skin. Once teaspoon at a time, “stuff” the garlic-sage mixture into the space between the skin and the chicken breast. There will be some sage-garlic mixture remaining. Rub the remaining mixture on the outside of the bird, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the oven and roast at 500 degrees until the internal temperature of the chicken is 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer figure 10 minutes per pound of chicken (so 1 hour for a 6 pound bird).

Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes on a cutting board prior to carving, or your run the risk of allowing all the juice to run out and the chicken to become dry. chickendone

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. And remember, do NOT throw out the chicken carcass.. I’ll be posting an easy-peasy method to make chicken stock in your slow cooker! You’ll never have to buy stock again :)

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 1, 2015

Super Bowl (or anytime) chili

Here’s an adaptation of Rachael Ray’s feed-a-neighbor turkey chili. I made a few changes as I omitted the corn and pumped up some of the vegetables.. see below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, 97% or 99% lean (I used 99%)
  • salt & coarse black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons/palmfuls of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons/palmfuls of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon/palmful of ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño or spicy pepper of your choice, chopped finely
  • 2 medium zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken or turkey stockchili

Heat a deep pot or dutch oven (I’m partial to a good enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pot. Add ground turkey and brown and crumble until the turkey turns white. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and coriander, and stir to mix into the turkey. Add onions, peppers, garlic, zucchini and jalapeño (or other spicy pepper) and cook 8-10 minutes to soften. Add the tomatoes, beans and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Check for salt & pepper- re-season if necessary.

I make mine a day ahead, and let it chill out overnight in the fridge to let the flavors really develop.

Approximately 8 servings at 355 calories per serving.

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 29, 2015

Moroccan Salmon

Unfortunately, I do NOT live close to a Trader Joe’s. OK.. well.. depending upon your definition of close.. I suppose I do- being that it’s 20 minutes away. But that’s sometimes annoying when going to the market. Yes, I know, first world problems. BUT I just want to add that the Trader Joe’s parking lot is a legitimate circle of hell. No joke.

Anyway- I bring up Trader Joe’s cause they have really great frozen fish at excellent prices (like everything else in the store- excellent prices). Their wild caught salmon is GREAT- because.. well.. it’s wild caught. I like that it’s frozen ’cause then you don’t have to like bug out and be all stressed like, “hey OMG I bought this salmon so now I MUST go home and cook this salmon”.. or you can just say.. “you know, I think I want salmon tonight and oh, hey- i have some in my freezer”. (Does it say something about me that this is what I get stressed out about?)

So.. back to the salmon. There is something about fish that intimidates people. I don’t know why. But also, I feel like people tend to cook it all the same way.. sauté in olive oil, salt & pepper.. squeeze lemon. YAWN!

Here’s an awesome, spiced-up Moroccan salmon. You can do this with steaks or filets (I used a filet). Obviously if using steaks, you’re going to need to adjust you’re cooking time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 filets of salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oilmoroccan salmon

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, then pat into the flesh of the salmon. In a heavy-bottomed skilled (preferably cast iron, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Place salmon skin side DOWN into the pan and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Flip the salmon with a spatula and cook flesh-side down 3-5 minutes (depending upon thickness).

Serve with roasted vegetables (I served with brussel sprouts) and brown rice :) Yummy deliciousness!

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