Slow Cooker Indian Curried Chickpeas (Super Healthy!)

 

This is a super healthy, slow cooker version of curried chickpeas made from scratch with the dry beans. Curried chickpeas is one of my favorite snack foods on the planet!   I call this recipe “Indian Comfort Food”.   Cook up a big batch of this and then store in your fridge for a fast quick snack or meal on the go.  Tastes awesome  topped with chopped cilantro and red onions, or cooled with an organic Greek yogurt or healthy cashew cream.  Some people love these served as the main protein in a Middle Eastern wrap dish.

I have been on quite the Indian food kick lately.  That’s a good thing because Indian food has a flavor profile filled with lots of yummy  spices and aromatics which are packed with nutrition, cancer and disease fighting properties.   With a slow cooker you just take the dried beans or peas,  throw in the additional ingredients, set the heat and timer, and your done.  Couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tomato (optional) diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 3 green chilies (serrano, habanero, or cayenne) stems removed chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups of water
  • Optional:
  • a couple tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • low fat or non fat plain organic Greek yogurt or cashew cream
  • lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

  • Put the chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilies, spices and water into the slow cooker (I use a 3 1/2 quart cooker, but you can use are larger one if you like)
  •  You have two cooking options: Cook on “High” for the first 6 hours, stir, and then on “Low”  until the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness.  Or you can cook it on “Low” for 12  hours or until the beans are to your desired tenderness.
  • To serve, add the chopped cilantro and stir in a little Greek Yogurt or stir in some cashew cream to give the beans an added delicious little creaminess.

Serve and enjoy!   Keep a container for easy snacking in the fridge. These are so yummy, I know you will love this recipe.

 

 

 

 



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Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Ginger Soy Marinade

 

 

I’ll probably use this butterflied chicken cooking method  for roasting chicken in the oven from now on. Or until I become more proficient roasting chicken whole.  This oven roasted butterflied chicken method cooks so quickly, even and juicy, I think it kicks butt on the traditional “whole roast chicken” method. This butterflied chicken may not be as pretty presentation wise, but who really cares?

I have to be honest, I stumbled upon making this recipe, literally by accident.  I was planning on having one of those “cooking weekends” where I had all these fun recipe concepts I was excited to make.   Yet from the get go, things just kept going wrong.  As far as the chicken went, I was planning on making a “Balinese” marinade grilled chicken recipe I had been salivating over for a few weeks, but the marinade came out horrible.  I discovered this only after I was already several hours behind into my cooking for the weekend and I was having company over in a few hours.  So here I had this butterflied chicken ready to marinade, it was too late to fire up the grill, and I had never roasted a butterflied chicken in the oven. I was now paralyzed with “creative cooking  block”.  Looking back I have no idea why I was so flustered.  Roasting butterflied chicken in the oven should have seemed like an obvious “snap”.   I decided upon a  soy glaze so I knew I could at least get a nice looking “brown” on the skin.  I threw together a quick 1 hour marinade, preheated the oven to 415 degrees, threw the chicken in, and 45 minutes later it was done. I LOVED the way this chicken turned out.  The chicken skin was nicely browned  and crisp, and the chicken meat super juicy and cooked evenly throughout.

Normally I don’t make Asian marinades with soy sauce because of the high sodium content but I was a little pressed for time, and I’ll admit, it tasted great.

*** Note: I did not, nor will I likely ever butterfly a chicken on my own.  Just had the butcher at Whole Foods do it for free. To “Butterfly the Chicken Yourself”  Here is a link to an instructional video on YouTube.

Marinade for a 3 to 4 lb roasting Chicken Butterflied

  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  •  1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • neutral cooking oil, I used grapeseed

Directions:

  • Pre heat the oven to 415 degrees
  • Line a broiling pan with foil, doubled, then oiled
  • Place marinaded chicken, butterflied, breast side up, laying on the pan as the photo above shows
  • oiled the chicken skin and put a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper on as well
  • Put an electric thermometer in the breast of the chicken
  • Place the dark part of the chicken into the oven facing the back of the oven.  The oven is hottest in the back and as that the darker meat needs to be around 10 degrees hotter than the breast meat
  • Set timer for around 35 minutes and check thermometer.  Check every 5 minutes after wards until Breast is 160 degrees and dark meat 170.
  • Optional: Baste the chicken with the left over marinade through cooking process
  • When breast meat is around 160 degrees and the dark meat around 170, turn the broiler up to high, and raise the pan so the skin can get browned and crispy.  Watch closely.  This only took a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy

 

 

 

 



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“Test Kitchen”: Low fat Spicy Tomato Arugula Angel Hair Pasta

 

This is my first in what I will call my “Test Kitchen” Series.  I’ll be trying out recently published recipes from blogs or magazines and following them exactly as they are printed.  Then I’ll post my notes and give it a “will try again” or “will not try again”.

I found this recipe on the Facebook scroll of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog last week.  A  link to the recipe here.   It sounded really good, healthy, loaded with veggies, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  And while the recipe was easy and it stored well, I really doubt I’ll make it again.  It tasted like any random pasta with tomato sauce made of canned tomatoes, and I never normally use canned tomatoes, and now I know why.  I don’t like the taste of canned tomatoes unless they are used in a  large pasta  sauce recipe and then simmered for several hours with a lot of other ingredients, herbs and spices.

I initially tried this dish with a new kind of quinoa angel hair pasta which after making it, I realized, it wasn’t very good.  I have another brand of quinoa pasta I use and like, but for whatever reason, this particular brand, or maybe just quinoa angel hair pasta, was not good this evening.  So I used my back up multi grain whole wheat pasta which I know to be good

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 yellow tomatoes, diced
  • 3 red tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 lb of dried angel hair pasta (I used multi grain pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes
  • Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes.  Strain and rinse.  Set aside
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened.  3 to 4 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes
  • Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula,pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

My notes if making this again: Use a lot more arugula or spinach, omit canned tomatoes, used more fresh tomatoes, use some chopped up yellow and orange bell peppers sauteed with the garlic and the shallots, use more herbs and spices, angel hair pasta does not taste good made with quinoa.

My conclusions: I have so many other tomato pasta sauce recipes I like that I would probably not make this again.

 

 



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Fuel Cafe, San Mateo @ Equinox Fitness Club, July 2011

I’ve been meaning to start “spotlighting” more local businesses that I feel encourage healthy living.  I took my blog live in March, and then became quite ill from auto immune problems and then a herniated disc only a few weeks later.  These health issues threw my “blog” schedule off track.  I only recently became a little more organized here, and figured Fuel Cafe should be one of my first  businesses to enter under this section.

“Fuel Cafe” , located within Equinox Fitness Club, is the “go to” lunch or to go eatery for my boyfriend and myself.  We don’t just eat here because its fast and healthy.  We eat here because the food is pretty awesome.  We first tried one of their grilled wraps after working out one time and it was shockingly good.  Now its pretty much one of our  “go to” spots for sandwiches,  salads, wraps, fresh juicing, green drinks and “delish” healthy raw treats.  Even in a downtown area where there are a large number of good, independent, fast food spots to hit, this is still our favorite.

Today we ordered a “Grilled Spinach Wrap”.  They let you custom order and so we ordered our usual to split (they are huge): A spinach tortilla filled with Turkey, spinach,  pepper jack cheese,  homemade cilantro lime dressing, dijon mustard, tomato, cucumber, red onion, jicama, pickles and avocado, then grilled.

I ordered one of my favorite green drinks from them which comes with Dino Kale, Spinach, 40 calorie Vanilla Almond Milk, Scoop of “Green Vibrance”, and Apple.  It comes with agave but I ask for it minus the agave and extra kale.  Its super healthy and yummy.

 

 

 



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Roasted Carrots with Rosemary

I just love admiring carrots at the Farmer’s Markets, and they are one of the veggies that I consistently add to my cart at the grocery store.  They are super versatile and easy to work with.  They also have a long shelf life so even if I can’t use them right away, I know they will still taste great 5 days later.  Carrots are extremley rich  in Vitamin A and beta carotene as well as having natural anti inflammatory benefits.

On a funny note, my boyfriend is kind of obsessive compulsive, and for some reason,  has been currently obsessed with carrots for the past few months.  We live near a muti purpose grocery store with an amazing produce section, and lately he keeps coming home with bushels of carrots.  And when I say “bushels” he comes home with the whole “kit and caboodle” of the carrots: with the 2 foot long stems on them.  I tell him “You can have the long stems cut off buy the check out clerk or I’ll cut them off right now with some shears”.  But “NOoooooo” he does not want the long stems cut off until he eats them.  So basically we have what looks like a spider plant living in our fridge until he (the boyfriend) decides to eat them.  He  just loves eating them as snacks  while watching TV or working on the computer.  Lately when I go to the store,  he is always reminding me  “Don’t forget to get me some carrots, and only the real kind.  The kind with the stems”.  I have no idea why all of a sudden he has just become obsessed with eating raw carrots (with stems on, god forbid we cut them off first) all the time, but he is obsessed.  I’m not complaining since they are healthy, I just think its kind of funny or aka: weird. ( He will probably be very annoyed with me if he reads this.)

A few days ago my boyfriend came home with the above photographed,  multi colored carrots, and I thought they were way too pretty just to snack on raw, so I told him I would cook them.  He tried the cooked ones from this recipe and gave it a big thumbs up.

Ingredients:

  • Small bushel of carrots (Aprox 7 to 10) washed, greens cut to 1 inch from top of carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  2. Toss carrots, onion, and rosemary with olive oil.
  3. Lay out on a tin foil rimmed baking pan
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for aprox 40 minutes until carrots are browned and soft enough to pierce through with a fork

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