Loaded Chicken Curry – Serves 5+

Recently a friend asked about cooking curry at home rather than going out…  She wanted a good ‘date night’ type recipe, and frankly, she asked the right person.  This dish is quick and easy so that while the chicken (or other protein is cooking) is tenderizing you can clean and/or get all glammed up.  The quick run-down on this recipe is that it is gluten-free, dairy-free, a great source of protein, antioxidant rich, and loaded with flavor.  The leftovers from this dish taste amazing (ahhhh-mazzzzzing) reheated.  On a final note this dish does not have to be made with chicken rather other proteins such as shrimp, turkey, or beef can be utilized.

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Ingredients

  • 1.5# chicken tenders; chopped into chunks
  • 1 can (8 ounces) light coconut milk
  • 1 medium size zucchini; sliced/halved
  • 1 cup red and orange bell peppers; strips
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 ounces water
  • 1 medium size yellow onion; minced
  • 4 bay leaves; whole
  • 3 springs rosemary; minced (fresh)
  • Coconut oil to heat up the frying pan
  • 2 (or 3 if you want a bold taste) tablespoons of each spice: tumeric, garlic powder, and ginger, and paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and black pepper
  • If you want an extra kick: 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (probably my favorite ingredient)
  • To taste: garlic salt or sea salt

Methodology

  1. Under medium heat add coconut oil to heat up a large stir-fry pan then add the yellow onions.  Cook until carmelized.
  2. Add the water and coconut milk – stir well.  Allow the mixture to heat up well for about 5 minutes then add the chicken, coconut flakes, vegetables, and spices (including the bay leaves and rosemary).
  3. Stir the mixture well until homogeneous for 5 minutes then reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes either covered or uncovered.
  4. Serve atop your favorite rice.  (I used basamati rice with some spicy southwest seasoning for an extra kick.)
  5. Happy date night y’all!

 

xxx – Sarah

Salted Coco(a) Banana Bites – Serves 2+

Basically Summer screams frozen everything.  I love salt and I love sugar aka I go nuts for combinations with hints of both – why not mix them together and get crazy?!  However, since I’m ‘adulting’ that means make some swaps for healthier ingredients…  Rather than adding traditional chocolate in the recipe I swapped for chocolate protein powder which allows for a bit more protein compared to a regular dessert.

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Methodology

  1. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the sliced bananas to the parchment paper and freeze for 10-20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix protein powder with very little water, stir and/or add water until a pudding consistency is reached.  Set aside the chocolate protein pudding mixture.
  4. Heat up coconut oil under medium-high heat in a frying pan then add the oatmeal, coconut flakes, and sea salt.  Toss the coconut/oatmeal mixture until golden then remove from heat and set aside.
    1. SIDEBAR – the toasted mixture almost tastes like popcorn and it’s heavenly.  
  5. Remove the cooking sheet from the freezer.  Add a dollop of the protein pudding to each banana slice then top with a sprinkling of the coconut/oatmeal mix.
  6. Put the banana slices back into the freezer for minimum 20 minutes.
  7. Sandwich two banana slices together with a toothpick so that the chocolate pudding mixture is in the middle.  Return the cooking sheet to the freezer for 20 minutes or longer.
  8. Remove banana sandwiches from parchment paper and serve as a the perfect guilt-free dessert.
  9. Absolute H-E-A-V-E-N!!!

 

 

xxx – Sarah

Very Crabby Salad – Serves 1

I am a firm believer in the power of eating various foods whether cooked or raw.  By eating raw you are acknowledging the importance of eating wholesome and nutrient dense items.  The benefits associated with eating raw foods include increasing your intake of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and much more.  When vegetables are cooked their nutrient content seeps into the cooking liquid and/or is broken down.  I’m not saying to eliminate cooked vegetables and/or fruits, I am saying to incorporate more raw vegetables and/or fruits into your diet, its benefits are endless.

Challenge yourself today, aim for 4-5+ different colors on your plate and try to embrace the raw as well as the varied way of eating.  It’s so easy that you’ll be surprised.  

In the evenings, I have little to no time to prepare dinner, therefore having containers of chopped/sliced/diced vegetables ready for action makes life easy.  I tend to prepare salad ingredients on Sundays or Mondays therefore I can simply ‘grab and go.’  The key is preparation therefore if trying to lose weight or improve your wellbeing, have healthy options on hand to grab rather than to seek high sugar/processed/calorie-laden options.

Ingredients

  •  1 cup raw kale as a base
  • 1/4 cup yellow/red/orange peppers; chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pickles; chopped/sliced (dill pickles)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (no added sodium version – canned)
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo (fresh)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes; slivered
  • 6 ounces lump crabmeat
  • As desired: drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • As desired: juice of 1/2 lemon

Methodology

  1. In a large bowl, create a base with the kale, then create sections around the bowl edges with the peppers, tomatoes, pico de gallo, pickles, and beans.
  2. In the center place the lump crabmeat.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the outside sections (vegetables and beans).
  4. Squeeze lemon or pour lemon juice over the crab.
  5. Time for some eats!
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Oh hi Teddy!

Primary salad staples in my refrigerator (or on my counter in mason jars) include:  peppers (all colors), tomatoes, pico de gallo, raw onions, kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios), pickles (my absolute guilty pleasure), balsamic vinegar, and lemons or limes to derive juices.

Primary protein staples in my refrigerator that are quick to grab include:  cooked cold shrimp, cooked salmon, cooked chicken, beans (kidney, black, pinto, and chickpea), lump crabmeat, tuna (on occasion), and hard boiled eggs.

xxx – Sarah

 

Curried Sweet Potatoes – Serves 6

Everyone needs a sidekick.  Batman has Robin and every meal needs sweet potatoes.  This is one of my favorite quick sides that you can serve with just about any meal whether hot or cold (or just set aside a scoop for a small snack).  I made this for dinner the other night alongside scallops and garlicky Brussels sprouts.  However, I’ve been pairing the leftovers with my ‘Grab and Go Egg Scramble,’ and it has been absolutely mouthwatering!  Best of all it is nut, dairy, and gluten-free.

Pretty sure you know the hype surrounding sweet potatoes but just in case you don’t, here goes – great source of vitamins A and C, micronutrients (potassium, phosphorus, and copper are a few to name), contains fiber, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and assists with blood sugar regulation.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes; minced/diced
  • 3 scallion stalks and most of the root; minced
  • 1/2 tsp of curry powder and paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (to heat the frying pan)

Methodology:

  1. Place a frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Allow the pan to heat for 1-2 minutes and circulate the oil throughout the surface of the pan.
  2. Cook the scallions well until the white pieces aka the root is slightly tinged yellow.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and stir/toss well for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the spices and stir/toss for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and pair with your desired meal!
  6. Get your antioxidant action going!

xxx – Sarah

Grab and Go Egg Scramble – Serves 4+

Inspiration came to me late Monday night as I was dancing to Mirrors by JT and perusing my refrigerator to utilize what I had at home to make an easy ‘grab/go’ meal.  As Maya Angelou says, ‘Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.’  Cooking and dancing – now that’s a perfect night.

This is a terrific breakfast if you want something wholesome and uncomplicated to last for the week.  The dish is loaded with antioxidants from the vegetables and high in protein from the egg base.  Also this dish is dairy/nut/gluten-free!  Best of all is that it tastes fantastic whether cold or hot.  So, as many wise women and men say, do not skip breakfast (#grabandgomeal).

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So much happiness awaiting consumption!

 

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs; whole
  • 3 bell peppers of your choice; chopped/minced/diced
  • 1 small yellow onion; minced
  • 3 cups kale; washed/rinsed
  • 1.5 tbsp FlavorGod’s ‘Everything Spicy’ seasoning
  • EVOO to heat frying pan and coat shallow baking pan

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Under medium heat, cook onions in a slightly oiled frying pan until slightly browned.
  3. Add the peppers, kale, and spice, stir/cook for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add eggs to the vegetable mixture then scramble.  Allow dish to sit for 1-2 minutes.  Transfer egg/vegetable scramble to a slightly oiled 10×15 rectangular Pyrex dish (click the link for the exact item I used) and insert in the oven.
  5. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove dish from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Set aside for breakfasts by itself, create a traditional sandwich, or create an open-faced sandwich.  My favorite spin to this is a slice of gluten-free bread or rice cake with this scramble served on top!
  7. Start your day right.  Bon appetit.

 

xxx – Sarah

 

Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops & Vinegar Loaded Brussels – Serves 2

As a kid my mother used to make lamb chops once a month and it was a favorite amongst us kids!  I was feeling ultra nostalgic today…  Must have been my recent visit to New York that led to the cravings and water works.  Hmm.

Lamb is a great source of protein and a great way to change up your oral intake.  Lamb can be grilled, roasted, pan fried, and much more.  I love to roast lamb in a makeshift tinfoil dish since it means no mess, no fuss.  This is a simple and quick dish that will leave your dinner guests wanting more – I swear.  Also, cooking with parchment paper on baking pans/sheets is another great way to save time (and your manicure).

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Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops 

Ingredients:

  • 4 lamb chops (about 1#)
  • A mix of the following spices to coat the chops on both sides:
    • French thyme (about 1.5 tbsp)
    • Paprika (about 1.5 tbsp)
    • Black pepper (about 1 tbsp)
  • OPTIONAL: on one side of the chops add a pinch or two of coarse sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the spices evenly together and cover the chops.
  3. Create a makeshift tinfoil pan with at least two layers of foil on the bottom then add the chops.
  4. Roast the chops in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, drain out the juices, discard the tinfoil, and plate.
  6. If you’re looking for a game changer then pair with my ‘Vinegar Loaded Brussels’ – absolute heaven.

Vinegar Loaded Brussels

Ingredients:

  • 1/2# Brussels sprouts; halved/quartered
  • Vinegar mixture:
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the vinegar mixture.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss well.
  4. Layer on a baking pan one sheet of parchment paper then spread the Brussels evenly on the paper.  Some of the vinegar mixture may left in the bowl and that’s okay!
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on crispiness desired… I love a little bit of crispy and ‘not so crispy’ so I opted for 23 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and pair with a protein of choice – I highly recommend my ‘Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops.’
  7. Bon appétit!

 

xxx – Sarah

 

Flanken Style Peppered Ribs – Serves 3+

Long live BBQ season…  Then again, I live in Texas now.  BBQ is life.  I was recently abroad in China and Thailand eating my way through the towns.  Now that was heaven.  Since I’ve been home all I’ve craved is BBQ.  I wanted ribs last night so I made it happen.  In my opinion good ribs need a perfect rub and/or sauce.  The ribs were made sans sauce since many contain an insane amount of sugar and frankly a good rub can be more than enough.  All I have to say post-creation is that these ribs were mouthwatering and I really didn’t want to share.

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Flanken style ribs.  From its name you can derive that they are from the back of the cow aka the flank.  These ribs are awesome, I’ll tell you why:  1) Ultra meaty and well-marbled, 2) Cut across bone meaning the bone pieces are oval, 3) Best when slow cooked to release the bone marrow, collagen, and fat, and 4) Usually cut thin.  Lastly these ribs are half the price of the much loved ‘short ribs.’

Fun fact  ::  If you don’t already know, most grocery spots have bulk sections, utilize this.   Rather than spending $4.00-10.00 on bottled spices – package your own in sealable bags, get the exact amount you need, and spend a fraction of the cost!  Spices are usually best for 6 months to a year therefore don’t be wasteful with a bottle that won’t be finished.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds flanken style ribs (thin cut with 3-4 oval shaped bones per strip)
  • 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1-1.5 tbsp. paprika

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine all spices to create the rub.
  3. Create tinfoil bowl out of at least 2 sheets of tinfoil.
  4. Cover the ribs with the spice mixture.FullSizeRender_6
  5. Place the ribs atop the tinfoil then cover with a single sheet creating a tinfoil boat.
  6. Place tinfoil covered ribs in the middle of the oven directly on the oven grid
    with a cooking sheet below in case juices fall out. 
  7. Cook for 2.5 hours then remove from heat and drain out the juices (goodbye fat/liquid love).
  8. Cut into the ribs into pieces with either 1 or 2 bones and serve with your favorite sides.
  9. Time to get messy! 

 

xxx – Sarah

PS – Have some hand wipes nearby… 

 

Adulting like the King – True Story

Not sure if the warmer weather or longer days have changed my palette but lately I’ve been craving sandwiches.  The King and I seem to share a favorite – peanut butter sandwiches with bananas.  However mine have a twist aka a gluten-free twist plus I use fresh ground almond butter.  PS – when I say the King, I’m referring to the one and only, Elvis Presley.

If you haven’t tried Udi’s bread… Do it.  Just do it.  I’m partial to their Omega Flax and Fiber as well as their Millet-Chia breads since both have 6 grams of protein per serving (2 slices).  These breads have become a pre-workout and post-workout staple for me these days due to their carbohydrate/sugar/fiber content.  It’s hard to find good gluten-free bread with a flavor ‘wow’ factor.

Anyways, I’ve been changing up the traditional PB and King sandwich with different fruit variations.  My ‘go to’ variation is a slice of bread with almond butter/sliced strawberries or almond butter/sliced bananas with a dash or two of cinnamon.  Take a walk in the footsteps of the King and I.  I promise you won’t regret it. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of toasted Udi’s bread of choice
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (basically a tbsp per slice), creamy or crunchy
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 3 strawberries, sliced/slivered
  • a dash/pinch/sprinkle of cinnamon, ground

Methodology:

  1. Spread almond butter atop each toasted slice of bread.
  2. Top one slice with bananas and the other with strawberries.
  3. Add a dash/pinch/sprinkle of cinnamon over the fruit.
  4. Combine the two  slices to form a sandwich or keep them open-faced.
  5. Pair with your coffee!

xxx – Sarah

 

 

Fried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers & Coconut Lime Shrimp – Serves 4

Back to the grind.  Spent the weekend brunching, laughing, and lounging.  I try to do bulk cooking on Sundays but I was a weeeee bit too lazy so meal prep day was moved to Monday.  Now I’ve got leftovers for all my lunches – perfect.

I’ll keep this educational piece short and sweet…  These recipes are super easy and the ingredients are good for you!  Yes, good for you.  The more variety, the better.  Think color, think antioxidants.  Lastly, these stuffed peppers are perfect for vegetarians – not only are they filled with varied vegetables but quinoa is a complete protein.  Not all complete proteins need to come from meat, poultry, or seafood!  However I wanted seafood so I put together the fixings for my favorite shrimp recipe.

Fried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 colored Bell Peppers with the insides/core removed
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup green onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 tbsp pineapple, crushed
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • SPICES (4-5 shakes):  Curry powder, tumeric, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL:  Sea salt
  • Coconut oil – enough to coat a frying pan

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Heat a frying pan with coconut oil under medium-high heat.
  4. Add to the frying pan the following ingredients: yellow onion, cilantro, green onion, peanuts, carrots, and pineapple.  Sauté well for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the quinoa, egg, spices, and salt (if used).  Sauté for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the quinoa mixture from heat and stuff the pepper shells.  Place the bottoms of the peppers directly on the parchment paper and allow the insides to face up.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes then set on a plate for serving!

Coconut Lime Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1# jumbo shrimp, fresh with the tails/shells removed (or frozen)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juice (the size of a golf ball)
  • Coconut oil to coat frying pan

Methodology:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Under medium-high heat add coconut oil to a frying pan.
  3. Toss in the shrimp mixture and cook until golden brown.
  4. Set aside for serving or add to the plate with the stuffed pepper – such an amazing combination.  Makes me want to go someplace tropical.

What else was on my plate?  I did add my usual staple of greens which tends to be either kale, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts.  As seen above, I added my Garlic Peppered Asparagus but unlike the linked recipe I did not add pumpkin seeds or Brussels.

xxx – Sarah

Thai Ginger Peanut Wings – Serves a Dozen+

Super Bowl.  Wings.  Those two words represent American favorites that go hand in hand. I officially coin the Super Bowl as a free pass to indulge lightly.  Those football players are burning some serious calories and shedding sodium so it’s our duty to support them by eating!

Most of my friends looooooove wings, and I was going to a party, thus culinary thoughts went wild in my head.  This dish is filled with flavor and best of all is that none of it was sodium (salt) based!

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Did you know, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, fluid retention/water weight, thirst, puffiness around the eyes, and swelling to the extremities?  Maybe rethink the salt shaker next time OR do a ‘1-2’ count when using a shaker to prevent adding too much salt.  The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for a Healthy Eating Pattern recommends consumption of less than 2300 mg of salt daily.  Here’s some food for a thought, a teaspoon (tsp) is equivalent to 2300 mg of salt.  No wonder there were times when I couldn’t bend my fingers or my eyes looked tired – I’m guilty of having a heavy hand with the salt shaker at times.  It’s a love/hate relationship.

Ingredients:

  • 4# chicken wings with the skin (dry with paper towels before using)
  • 1 large bundle of cilantro, minced (1 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large bundle of green onion (1 cup)
  • 1 cup raw peanuts, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp ginger, minced/grated
  • 2 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • Juice of a medium lime (1/4 cup)
  • OPTIONAL or as desired: sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large cooking pan (disposable tin) lay out the wings and top with black pepper.  Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Separately under medium-high heat sauté the green onion, cilantro, coconut flour, sesame oil, EVOO, peanuts, garlic, ginger, lime juice, apple vinegar, and dry spices (chili powder, red pepper flakes, powdered ginger and turmeric).
  3. Remove wings from the oven and cover with the green onion and cilantro mixture.
  4. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes until desired texture/crispiness is achieved.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and/or peanuts prior to serving.  If your friends are afraid of life without salt – add it at your own discretion.
  6. Gooooo Broncos!

 

xxx – Sarah