Posts tagged ‘balanced’

January 27, 2013

Ground Beef, Farro & Feta Stuffed Peppers

I often like to start my process by thinking about how I can refine a common dish. This time are I was looking at Stuffed Peppers – they’re hearty, balanced, and just hit all of the taste buds. I’ve been experimenting switching out rice or pasta with other grains. Farro has enticed me for some years – a Tuscan grain (can also be found in regions of California), that tastes similar to barley, but fluffier. The rest of the ingredients are fairly standard to the dish, but the Farro really brought it together.

What you’ll need:

– 1 medium yellow onion, diced

– 2 yellow bell peppers, cut in half and cleaned

– 1 pt. white button mushrooms, diced

– 1 garlic clove, diced

– 1 can diced tomatoes

– 1/4 cup tomato sauce

– 1 cup dry quick cooking farro

– 1lb organic ground beef

– 1/2 cup fresh crumbled feta

– 1 tsp. olive oil

– salt, pepper, everyday seasoning, red pepper flake and Italian seasons to taste.

Method:

Heat up dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute’ until translucent, then add ground beef – cook until browned. Remove from heat and drain excess fat.

In a separate pot, bring water to boil. Add farro and touch of salt, boil for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set to side.

Return dutch oven to heat, add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and mushrooms saute for about 5 minutes. Add ground beef mixture and bring to simmer. Mix in cooked farro and reduce mixture for 10 minutes.

Scoop beef mixture into halved peppers, sprinkle with crumbled feta. Cover and cook for additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let rest for 3 minutes and serve.

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March 21, 2012

Slow Cooker Bison Chili with Roasted Corn

Even though the weather has been unseasonably warm, I have still been making some hearty meals. This is recipe is full of flavor, keeps you full and freezes well. You may think that using a slow cooker is a only a Winter method of cooking, but it is also great for when it’s warm out (keeps your house cool).

What you’ll need:

For Chili

  • 1 lb ground Bison
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tsp. Agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 can organic pinto beans

For Cornbread

  • 1 package Jiffy corn bread/muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup frozen fire roasted corn
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • muffin tins or a small rectangle dish

Method:

Brown bison in a pan over medium heat. Once bison is cooked, add chopped veggies, browned bison and beans to slow cooker.

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Let veggies, bison and beans cook down for about 30 minutes. Add spices, canned tomatoes, bayleaf and mushrooms. Let cook for 3-5 hours on low.

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Add agave nectar and stir. Turn off slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes before eating.

Method For Cornbread:

Preheat oven to 400. Beat jiffy mix, egg, milk and roasted corn together until smooth. Pour into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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Spoon chili into glass bowl, add slice of corn bread and 3 slice of avocado for creaminess. Gnash on!

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January 21, 2012

Chicken Verde Casserole

When working a full-time job you’re always looking for some easy dinner’s that you can prep ahead of time, so when you walk in the door all you have to do is pop dinner in the oven. This Chicken Verde Casserole is a GREAT recipe to prep ahead, and it  makes some great leftovers as well. I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe. This recipe is delicious, versatile, balanced AND gluten free!! Put this on your list for dinner this week, I know you won’t be disappointed.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 package Corn Tortillas (Mission brand is Gluten Free)
  • 1 can Mexican-style beans (or re-fried black beans)
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 White Onion, diced
  • 1 can Salsa Verde (I like Rick Bayless’s salsas, or Trader Joes)
  • 1lb Organic Chicken Breasts, grilled and chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Shredded Pepper Jack cheese

 

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large glass baking dish, spread a layer of beans on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of corn tortillas.

Layer onions, peppers, and chopped chicken. Pour 3/4 jar of salsa verde over the chicken. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese over pepper, onion, chicken, salsa layer.

Add another layer of corn tortillas. Pour remaining salsa verde and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes.

*Casserole serves 6 and is 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus*

*You can prep the casserole and refrigerate over-night*

Gnash On!

November 17, 2011

Some Easy & Balanced Lunch Ideas

When approaching any meal I first like to think of the protein I’m going to use. Whether meat, fish, beans, etc, I like to have that part of the meal planned out before I explore my other options in the fridge. Below are two great options for making a quick lunch or even dinner. You could even pre-make these meals and bring them to work with you. For lunch I usually like to get a big helping of my daily vegetables to give me fuel for the rest of the afternoon. Whether your watching what you’re eating or maintaing a balanced lifestyle, both of these are great options.

Tuna Salad with Veggies:

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 can low-sodium tuna, drained
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp mayo
  • Dill, Onion Powder, Sea Salt, and pepper to taste.
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1 Sweet Pepper sliced
  • A handful of grape tomatoes
  • A few crackers of your choice (I like pita chips the best)

Method:   In a large bowl combine drained tuna, mustard, mayo, lemon juice and spices. Mix thoroughly. Arrange sliced veggies and tomatoes around tuna and serve. (Yes, It’s THAT easy)

 

 

Salmon Burger with Melted Goat Cheese, and Spinach salad with Orange Honey Vinaigrette:

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 Salmon Burger (a nice quality frozen kind works just fine)
  • 1 Slice Goat Cheese Slices (I use goat cheese, as it digests a little better in your system)
  • 2 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Orange juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 1 dash cayenne

Method:  In a small bowl combine Cider Vinegar, Orange Juice, Honey, Canola Oil, Dijon, Onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne. Wisk thoroughly and set aside. Heat a small non-stick pan to medium heat, once pan is warm, place salmon burger in pan. Brown on each side for about 3 minutes, place Goat cheese on top and cover to melt. Plate spinach and arugula and add dressing. Toss salad and put any leftover dressing in fridge (for up to a week, the dressing also makes a great marinade). Remove salmon burger from heat and plate. Sit back, relax and enjoy every bite of this energy-filled lunch!

October 31, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chipotle Turkey with Cilantro-Lime Wild Rice & Simple Guacamole

Another slow-cooker recipe? Yes, I am obsessed! I love using my slow cooker for poultry, it keeps it moist, is an easy clean-up and you can set-it and forget-it! (does anyone remember that 90’s infomercial?) Anyways, a slow-cooker is a key item for the kitchen (and they’re pretty inexpensive). I have been getting a little bored with chicken lately, but like the lightness of poultry, so my next choice is turkey. Turkey breast is a great ingredient throughout the colder months, not just for Thanksgiving. By slow-cooking the breast you can ensure that the meat will remain moist. I wanted to create a smokey, spicy, mexican-inspired Turkey breast, so here ya go!

Slow-Cooker Turkey:

2 lb Turkey Breast (organic or kosher always tastes better to me)

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo (can be found in Mexican or speciality markets)

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 sweet onion, roughly chopped

2 vine tomatoes, cut into 6ths

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 lime, squeezed

sea salt and pepper

Method: Place chopped onions and carrots in bottom. Salt. Add turkey breast. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Add cut tomatoes on top of turkey. Add 3 chipotle peppers and most of the adobe sauce to the slow cooker. Lightly toss so adobe sauce can spread. Juice 1/2 lime over slow-cooker. Add salt and chopped cilantro. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. May sit at “warm” setting for a couple of hours. 

Slow-Cooker Turkey, "set it and forget it"

Cilantro-Lime Wild Rice:

wild rice

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1/2 lime

sea salt

Method: Cook rice to directions on package (you may also use frozen or microwave wild rice bags). I usually cook my rice in the rice cooker, as it’s easier if you cannot watch rice on stove. Once the rice is done, toss with cilantro, sea salt and lime juice. 

Simple Guacamole:

2 avacados

3/4 cup pico de gallo

lime juice

sea salt

Method: Spoon meat of avocado into a bowl, mash with fork. Add pico, squirt of lime juice and sprinkle of sea salt. Mix until combined.  

Serve Turkey over Wild-Rice, spoon simple Guac on top. Add a dollup of sour cream to add creaminess.

September 22, 2011

Rick Bayless’s Pollo Pulquero (Slow- Cooked Chicken with Tomatillos, Potatoes, and Jalapenos) with Corn Salsa

As a chicagoan, anthropologist, and foodie, I have mad respect for Rick Bayless.  With his educational background in Anthropology, Rick Bayless really gets the importance of connecting ingredients with culture, incorporating new ideas, and making home-style Mexican cooking accessible. I got this recipe from Rick Bayless’s “Mexican Everyday”. This recipe for Pollo Pulquero stood out to me for a few reasons: Slow cooked meat is one of my favorite ways to have meat, the flavors sounded simple and delicious, and it was a recipe that I could easily make around my schedule. This is a great recipe to make before you leave for work, or prep the night before. And let me tell you, the aromatics from this will make your home smell amazing. Of course I had to add my own personality to the recipe, and decided to add some lime to the slow-cooker to bring a citrus flavor. I also decided to serve this with some corn salsa, as it adds a nice sweetness and texture to the meal. I promise if you give this a try, you will not be disappointed!

Pollo Pulquero:

1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4 inch think rounds

2 medium baking potatoes (Bayless calls for red skin, or yukon gold potatoes but I had some baking potatoes and they worked great, you could even use something like purple potatoes, which would work great as well)

4 (or around one pound) skinned chicken thighs*

1 cup cilantro leaves

8-12 Medium Tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and slices 1/4 inch thick

2 tablespoons jalapeno pickling juice

2 diced pickled jalapenos

Half of a lime

Sea salt

This slow-cooker recipe is all about layering. I started with the potatoes on the bottom, then chicken (skin down), cilantro, onions, and tomatillos. Once layered, I poured the pickling juice on top, squeezed lime juice and added the diced jalapenos on top. Be sure to salt between each layer, as this is the only salt in the dish. I set my slow-cooker on low for 8 hours, but Bayless calls for 6 hours on high. Once cooked, I spooned out the extra juice and decided to put it in a small pot and simmer it down a little. The juice is mostly the fat from the chicken skin, but adds some more flavor. Utilizing this juice is purely optional.

Ingredients layered in Slow Cooker

*Bayless’s recipe calls for skinless thighs but my store only had skinned and I thought it would add some great flavor. You can also use pork shoulder  or beef chuck, but Bayless suggests staying away from leaner cuts as they’ll dry out.

Cooked Pollo Pulquero (before excess juice has been removed)

Quick Corn Salsa:

3 ears fresh corn

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced

7 grape tomatoes, quartered

Fresh cilantro.

Fresh lime juice.

Sea salt.

Boil corn ears until tender but not too soft. While corn is boiling, chop jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro and place in bowl.  Once corn is cooked and cooled, cut corn off of the ear and add to bowl. Add lime juice and salt. Toss mixture.

Plate a chicken thigh and scoop of potato, onion, tomatillo. Add sauce reduction (optional). Top with fresh corn salsa.

Pollo Pulquero with Corn Salsa

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s flexible. If you only have sweet potatoes and chicken legs, you can still give this a try and it’d come out great! There is no easy way to fail at this. If you’re looking for more easy, delicious, flexible Mexican recipes, I encourage you to get some of Rick Bayless’s books and start testing things out.

Gnash On! 🙂

September 4, 2011

Browned Chicken Legs and Feta Orzo with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Hey All,

I have spent the last couple of weeks out of the kitchen and traveling around the U.S. The break from the kitchen has been nice, especially with the summer heat, but I am happy to be back! Within the last week or so, I have been trying to do a lot of brainstorming for recipes. This one, yet to be refined, is one of my recent creations. I started with the Roasted Red Pepper salsa and worked from there. Chicken legs are delicious and fairly inexpensive (even organic chicken legs), making for a great source of protein to add to your meal. I had some orzo and feta cheese in the house and I just thought I’d throw together a dish with light fresh flavors.

Browned Chicken Legs:

1-1.5 lb Organic chicken legs

Onion powder, garlic power, sea salt and pepper.

0.5 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

Method: Cover chicken legs with spices.  Heat pan on high. Once pan is completely hot add chicken beasts. Brown each side. Add white wine and let simmer. Once wine has simmered add chicken broth and brush chicken with balsamic vinegar. Cook throughly until internal temp reaches 170.

Feta Orzo:

1 cup Orzo or Arborio Rice

1.5 cups water or chicken broth

1 tsp butter

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1/4 squeezed lemon

Chopped Fresh Basil.

pepper.

Method: Combine orzo, broth/water, and butter. Bring to a boil. After boiling turn down to simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Bring off of heat and add lemon, feta, salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil.

Roasted Red Pepper Salsa:

0.5 can Roasted Red Peppers

1 small roma tomato

2 garlic cloves

hand full of cilantro

sea salt

pepper

1 tbs olive oil

Blended Salsa

Method: Add half jar Roasted Red Pepper to small processor. Chop. Add roughly chopped tomato and garlic cloves. Chop. Add oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Chop.

Plate orzo on bottom, add greens if desired (I tried mustard greens with this but they were simply too bitter), place leg on top, spoon salsa over chicken. Enjoy!

Finished Product

July 20, 2011

Lox and Cream Cheese…Refined!

Lately I’ve kind of been obsessed with lox. I wanted to share with you a great breakfast to start off your day. So here we go, Lox and Cream Cheese …refined.

What you’ll need:

1 slice sprouted bread (such as ezekiel bread)*

2 oz. Smoked Salmon

2 tsp. Neufchatel Cheese (or reduced fat cream cheese)

1/2 avocado, diced

1 diced plum tomato

1/2 diced jalapeno

Garlic, Lime, Cilantro, Red Onion, Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix avocado, tomato, jalapeno, garlic, lime, cilantro, red onion, salt and pepper. Put to the side. Toast bread to your liking. Spread cream cheese on bread, place salmon on top. Garnish with avocado mix and serve.

*I use Ezekiel bread because it processes as a grain, instead of a carb ,in your system and provides more nutrients. You can usually find Sprouted bread in the freezer section of your grocery store.*

This meal is great for breakfast, lunch or even a appetizer, if you scale down the size. Full of Omega-3’s, fiber and protein, this is a dish is sure to keep you full and going strong! Gnash On!

May 2, 2011

Curry Turkey Burgers stuffed with Feta and Spinach (and some potatoes on the side)

Hello Gnashers,

So I know it’s been a couple of days since I’ve updated. I’ve been drafting some ideas and been doing a lot of reading for some future posts. But have no fear, I’ve got something great for you today. Curry Burgers stuffed with feta and spinach served with some baked small potatoes. Some days I just reach for some randoms in the kitchen and this was one of those days. Food is so interactive, I love it! This recipe turned out amazing and I can’t wait to try these on the grill!

For the Burgers: 

Combine and Mix Ingredients

1lb or so Ground Turkey

1 Tbsp. Parsley (fresh is always better but work with what you got!)

1/2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce

1/2 Tbsp. Curry Powder

Kosher salt and pepper to your liking.

2/3 c. Feta Cheese (the feta that is in brine, not pre crumbled, it has so much more flavor)

1 c. Spinach, roughly chopped

Sprinkle of dill

Mix Feta and Spinach together for easier stuffing!

Mix Feta and Spinach together for easier stuffing!

In your meat bowl, mix together the turkey, curry powder, worchestershire. parsley. salt and pepper.

In another small bowl combine feta, chopped spinach and dill. Just a light mixing of these makes stuffing the burgers so much easier .

Take the mixed meat and form patties. I form about half of the burger in my hand, thumb a little hole, and stuff the feta mixture in there. Once that’s stuffed I grab a little more meat mixture and seal that stuffing up. (Remember  the spinach will cook down).

It’s best to pre-stuff the burgers and stick them in the fridge for atleast 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. This time in the fridge allows for the meat to absorb the curry flavor.

Place formed patties in the fridge for 30 minutes!

I cooked my burgers in a stainless steal pan to allow for some browning. These would also be great on the grill of course! And if need be the broiler setting on your oven will work too. I flipped these about every 5 minutes for 20 minutes or so. For a faster cook time and to keep the moisture I suggest you cover them when cooking in a pan.

For the Potatoes: 

Potatoes in Baking dish.

One bag of mixed small potatoes (including red, purple, and gold)

1/2 Yellow onion, sliced into rings

1/2 lemon’s worth of juice

1 tbsp. Olive Oil

Dill, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper to taste.

Put ingredients in baking pan, toss together and bake in oven at 360 for 45-60 minutes. (time varies based on oven and size of potatoes)

The Final Product with some mixed greens on the side.

The final product makes for a great spring/summer meal and would even be great for lunch.  Add a little tossed salad to your plate and you’ve got a great balanced meal.

Happy Gnashing!

-Michelle