Grilled Turmeric and Lemongrass Chicken recipe, Bon Appetit July 2012. Modified

 

I love that Victor’s family has a vacation home in the North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, NV area for our use year round.   There are so many beaches, swimming pools,  volleyball courts, playgrounds, and bocce ball courts rec centers, and events at our  parks. Its fun for all residents, young to old  to cook and celebrate together during the beautiful summer months. Whenever we have a trip planned up I am always planning the food and what I think the guests would like.  During the summer month of July we usually spent a couple of weeks up there.  And of course barbecuing out on the sundeck with a lake view is one of our favorite things to do.

 

 

Last year, while we were driving up to Tahoe I had my hands on the latest Bon Appetit Magazine which featured some really fun Asian style “Street Food” recipes.  You can find the recipe for the grilled wings I originally used for the inspiration if you click right here, and with my recipe, you’ll see I completely changed the ingredients,  marinade time ,   and parts of bird used.  For starters I did not want to cook only wings, so instead I went and bought one whole chicken plus 2 breasts bone in, sustainably raised, called “smart chicken”  brand.  I bought the chicken and had it “butterflied” (the spine taken out) at my favorite  local gourmet full service butcher and seafood supplier called  “Village Meats” in Incline Village.  Any chicken butterflied will do.  You can buy a whole chicken and then butterfly the chicken yourself by watching an instructional video like this one.    I like grilling the chicken this way because it cooks faster and more evenly.

 

Grilled Turmeric and Lemongrass Chicken (makes 6 servings)

This can be started with the marinade up to a day ahead.  I just marinaded for about 6 hours and then basted through out the cooking process.

  • 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
  • 1/4 cup shallots chopped
  • I used 3 Tablespoons “Gourmet Gardens” Lemongrass, but you can also use just 2 tablespoons of fresh lemongrass, bottom third, finely chopped as the original recipe states
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • optional: (2 tablespoons of tamarind juice concentrate: I didn’t use this)
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 to 5 lbs of chicken (mine was 1 whole butterflied, and then 2 large breasts bone in)
  • optional: 2 jalapenos, stemmed
  • optional: Grade B maple syrup

Combine the coconut milk, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, tamarind juice, fish sauce,kosher salt, turmeric into a blender.  Puree mixture until smooth and marinade forms.  Place chicken in a large baking dish and pour marinade over.  Turn to make sure all pieces are coated evenly. Cover and marinade overnight, or at least 6 hours.

When ready to cook, remove chicken from the marinade.  Let chicken come to room temperature for 15 minutes.

Note: The rest of these cooking instructions came directly from Bon Appetit’s recipe since I was very high altitude and grilling times and directions are different from what I would normally recommend.

  • Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Oil grill grates to prevent sticking. Grill chicken wings, turning every 5 minutes and basting occasionally with marinade in small bowl, until fat is rendered and skin is nicely charred in spots, 30-35 minutes. (The key here is to turn the wings often so the skin doesn’t burn.)
  • Continue cooking chicken without basting (so it will get crisp) until wings are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
  • Transfer chicken to a large platter and let it rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze lime wedges over wings. Transfer marinade in saucepan to a small bowl. Serve warm marinade alongside chicken as a dipping sauce

Final notes: This chicken was so yummy right after cooking, but even better the next day after a quick reheat and basting with the “dipping sauce” while on the grill.

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Healthy “Creamy” Curried Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is a snap to whip up in less than 20 minutes (yes I said less than 20 minutes), and with the light coconut milk and the spicy curry, make it quite a unique version, and universal hit amongst those whom I have shared this with.   This recipe is  so nutrient dense and healthy , yet at the same time sophisticated enough to “wow” your friends at any dinner party.  Great as an Amuse-bouche in a shot glass at a fancy dinner or party reception, as an appetizer, or main dish.   From my own experience, I can assure you that this is a real crowd pleasing dish!

I make “Butternut Squash” soup all the time, yet through trial and error, find this version to really showcase the kind of depth, creaminess, flavor and balance, not frequently utilized in traditional butternut squash soup.  Even if you think you don’t like curry, I think you’ll find that in this recipe, the yellow curry addition, takes the flavor and exotic “wow” factor to a whole new level.  I really worked hard to hit my perfect Fat/Acid/Sugar/Salt balance  in this soup recipe to create a taste filled/ harmonic balance of  layered flavor notes in this recipe.  I also include tips on how you can “customize” this recipe to create the perfect dimension of flavors that works best for your palate.  I hope you love it as much as me, and if you do, please be sure to share your own photos and versions wither here on my blog in the comments section, as well as on my FB page.

* Special Note for chemotherapy patients or persons experiencing weight loss from chronic illness and need to up the caloric density to the foods your eating: I ate this while going through massive amounts of chemo and radiation, and this was one of my favorite foods to eat while I was sick, nauseated, and losing weight.  The spicy curry and the creamy coconut flavor really “knocks out” that yucky chemo flavor,  and the soup itself, so delicious I just kept eating more.  If you need to put on some weight or add  extra calories due to cancer or illness related weight loss, just use regular full calorie coconut milk (and heavy cream)  to really crank up the calorie density!

*To lower the calorie and fat content in this recipe even further: omit the coconut milk and use the full amount of chicken stock when doing the puree in the blender

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 can light coconut milk (Regular can be used but I prefer light for less calories and can’t taste the difference)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons yellow curry ( I use 2, but I really like curry, so 1 tablespoon might be enough for most)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 lemon to squeeze to taste (preferably Meyer Lemon, its less bitter)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil or butter
  • Grade B Maple Syrup or sweetener of choice (Optional to sweeten ONLY if necessary)
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste (optional, and I used white pepper because you don’t “see” it in the soup, you can use regular pepper if you like)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat oil or butter over medium heat
  2. add onion and a dash of salt, and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent and soft
  3. Add butternut squash and stir to coat with oil
  4. Saute the butternut squash for aprox 3 minutes
  5. pour in chicken stock, either the entire cup and a half, or just until it covers the top of the squash
  6. Bring stock to a low boil, turn down and then simmer, for aprox 10 minutes or until the squash is tender and can be pierced with a fork
  7. Pour the squash and only 1/2 of the stock into a vita mix/blender and puree, the consistency should be like a thick milkshake when through
  8. Return squash puree to the original pan on the stove and add the coconut milk, gently stirring
  9. Add curry
  10. Heat over medium, and squeeze in lemon to brighten up flavor
  11. Add salt to taste
  12. Taste and if the soup needs a little sweetening to brighten it up, add in a teaspoon or so of maple syrup (I choose maple syrup grade B because its healthier, but you can use whatever sweetener you have on hand or prefer)

Special Note:  As with any soup, but this one in particular, I find that creating that “perfect” balance  between the Acid/Sugar/Salt can really make a huge difference in the final soup masterpiece you have created.  Each time you make this soup, or any, is different.  So learn to  “play” around with it once your done with the final steps, taste and adjust.  With this soup you can make very subtle yet poignant adjustments to the overall final product just by playing around with the  salt, acid (lemon juice to “brighten it up”), and sweet.  The coconut milk and squash are naturally a little sweet so you may find you don’t need to enhance the sweetness at all, or just a teaspoon of maple syrup, sugar or sweetener.  Its up to you!

Serve and Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
via Spark People Calorie Counter

 

 

 

  4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 92.1
  Total Fat 1.6 g
  Saturated Fat 0.3 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  Cholesterol 1.9 mg
  Sodium 374.3 mg
  Potassium 720.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 19.5 g
  Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
  Sugars 0.6 g
  Protein 3.1 g

 

 

 

 

 

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Memories from the ICU


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this online journal, CarePages, where Victor and I documented my stem cell transplant.   I keep going back to this one particular day, October 17th, 2005.   It was one of the most terrifying yet life defining moments  in my life.  I had woken up from an extensive life saving thoracic surgery for what is quite commonly a fatal fungal illness, Invasive Aspergillus that had tremendously infected my body during transplantation attempt while I had zero immune system.   It was a very high risk surgery to begin with.  My surgery did not go as planned either.   When they opened me up I was far worse than they ever imagined… but reading this I remember what a fighter I was.  I hated that stupid ICU and desperately was begging to get back on the 5th floor, the bone marrow transplant floor, or my “comfort zone” as my  new thoracic surgeon called it.  I remember at the time I hear him say this to me,  thinking to myself, “If my “comfort zone”  is now the bone marrow transplant floor at City of Hope hospital, my life has certainly sunk to an all time low!”  I remember my reflection in the glass doors, seeing in my bald head, swollen body,  chest tubes, plastic tubes, Iv poles and bags everywhere,  electronic equipment stuck to me and around me making loud screeching noises, and just  feeling like I was the ugliest human being on the planet.  I was so incredibly sad, despondent, and felt so unlovable.   I was terrified I would never see the outdoors again.  I was terrified I would never see the outside of the ICU again.  Pathetically enough, I thought I would never know was it was like to feel pretty or even happy ever again.  I had Victor put photos of the “real me” up on the walls in my room that day, and I made sure everyone taking care of me,  knew this ugly monster that I was presenting as was “not me” and would point to  them the pictures of me skiing and having fun only a year before and cry  “See that’s me, this isn’t me!”  My mind could not reconcile what was happening, I could not understand what this horribly sick thing was, I had turned into, and I was in a state of shock.  I was only 36 years old.

Posted Oct 17, 2005 2:42am

Hi from Peg :

This note will be short as I am really tired tonight and still recovering. It may not make sense as I am really medicated as well. Victor snuck the computer into the ICU (they are not allowed and neither are cell phones but the nurses have not said anything yet). By the way the city of hope phone number is 626-359-xxxx and I am in the ICU listed under my name.

The charge nurse notified me the night before my surgery that indeed not only will I be having my case added on the next day but that I will also be Dr. Kernstine’s first case of the day (I was really hoping he got some sleep the night before). What began as a 4 hour somewhat risky case became an over 7 hour much more risky case with a lot of unforeseen problems. When I woke up from surgery, I was told that from the moment that the doctor opened me and spread my ribs, that there was Aspergillus everywhere, all over my lung, and it was beginning to invade my heart and my major and minor pulmonary veins and arteries. Dr. Kernstine decided once he saw this that his main goal was not only to remove the upper lung but to investigate and remove any fungus or other problematic tissue that he could find. In the process of doing so, my pulmonary artery collapsed and separated in Dr. Kernstine’s hands which led him to infuse 4 units of blood into me to replace what he was loosing while he was suturing and extracting all of the unneeded upper lobe. In addition, he quite frankly told me he was shocked at the extent of the fungus infection. Dr. Kernstine, in so many words, made me feel that my situation had been much more extreme than he had thought prior to the surgery. He told me that it was likely that coughing or even laughing, had we waited any longer, could have ruptured the already limited and invaded pulmonary artery and that death would have been immediate.

All my doctors came in and visited that evening in the ICU, which I hate. It’s not that the rooms are bad but everything is more limiting and extreme here. Also, when I first woke up, I looked to find 14 individual IV bags plus a pulmonary tank and a chest tube chamber, 3 chest tubes sticking out of me, a urinary catheter, and a bunch of EKG lines and a bunch of other stuff stuck to me and a bunch of bright and beeping screens that made a lot of noise. When I wanted to sit up to go to the bathroom, the nurse practically laughed at me and said, “This is the ICU, not the 5th floor. You just sit there, that is what the catheter is for.”  The idea of just laying here and doing nothing and not being allowed to move made me panicked. I devised a plan that I must prove that I not the kind of person that belongs in ICU and this has all been some crazy mistake. So I have done everything I could, little by little, increment by increment, to do whatever was necessary to remove every feature I absolutely hated (which is pretty much everything) and restructure my path back to my room on the BMT floor. So far, I have been measurably successful. Today I made sure that I had my nurse chart that I was up in my chair for most of the day and I went for 2 walks totaling about 4 rapid rounds around the perimeter of this hospital floor. By the way, my first plan was to devise a way to get rid of the urinary catheter. I need not explain the desire for that. I was successful within the first 12 hours. I think I am still a little shell shocked from what we discovered in surgery last Thursday. However, I have NO idea what out time frame looks like and where do we go from here. Whether or not I stay here and continue treatment is unknown to me as well as will they want me to heal from this procedure and then want me to come back later. It is truly up in the air. As soon as I have more answers, I will post them here.

I wanted to thank everyone for all their posts during the time I was pre and post procedure and quite nervous. Your sentiments helped me bring down my stress level. As usual, Victor read them to me when I was completely unable to do so myself, and they were read considerably more than once. Also, I have picked up on some of Victor’s ability to become popular on the floor. My friend Lori sent me 2 little soft Halloween pumpkin heads which hold candy (currently jolly ranchers). When I walk around on the floor, Victor usually has them filled so that I can offer treats to the staff. When I am in my room, they hang on my IV pole so my nurses can come in and get a snack (or take the entire pumpkin head around the floor and bring it back later, usually empty). I’m going to bed now. I just hit my green pain killer button.

I love you all

Peggy.

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Basil Walnut Pesto

Pesto  in its traditional form is made with pine nuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Costs for pine nuts have really increased dramatically over the years, so I just make mine with walnuts instead.  I actually think pesto tastes just as good, if not better, with walnuts, as opposed to pine nuts anyways, and some would argue walnuts are healthier  being so high on the antioxidant index.   Pesto with walnuts its also a very economical way to add some bold flavor on any budget.   The flavor is rich but filled with good fats from the olive oil and the walnuts.  It freezes well, defrosts quickly and is so versatile it can be used in sauces, on pizza and pastas, and as a big dollop of flavor on meat, seafood, poultry and veggies.   I usually will make a big recipe and then freeze in several small serving containers.  The recipe included below is a fairly generic version of the recipe.  You can blend the ingredients into a paste in a food processor, or in my case I use a high speed blender.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of packed fresh  basil leaves (found in the produce section by the fresh herbs)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cloves of minced or crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (opt)

Directions:

  1. Place the basil leave, olive oil, walnuts, garlic and salt in food processor or blender
  2. Blend until thoroughly combined
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and blend 10 to 15 seconds or more
  4. Serve and enjoy, or store in freezer until ready to use

Nutrtion facts

Servings per container: 6

Calories: 213 calories per serving

Calories from fat (good fat): 188 per serving

Total carbs: 2.7

Total sugars: 1.1 g

Protein: 5.6

Total Fats: 20.9 g

 

 

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Lowfat Pan Crisp “Little Dragon” Chinese Dumplings

 

 

These little Chinese dumplings are so TASTY you would never in a million years guess that not only are they packed full of protein and good nutrition, they are juicy with a crisp outer skin, yet not greasy like most pan fried dumplings.  I know some people have an “issue” with calorie restricted food diets, and by no ways do I condone any kind of diet with severe calorie restrictions.  I came up with this healthy style “crispy” dumpling concept in my twenties while trying to create a crispy pot sticker style of dumpling I could eat, which had lots of flavor minus all the grease. In this recipe I use 100 percent fat free ground turkey breast or chicken breast in the filling and  combining it with chopped shrimp and Asian flavors. I then utilize a non stick skillet to pan “crisp” or brown the dumpling  on both sides, later adding low fat or non fat chicken broth or stock to “steam fry” the dumpling.  The  “pan steaming” works to infuse flavor and moisture to the bland or “dry” ground poultry, while the “crisping” the dumpling wrapper  on both sides providing the texture and taste you normally associate with greasy pot stickers.  Since I just posted a Steamed Shrimp Shu Mai Style Dumpling a couple of weeks ago, for ease of translation, I use most of the same ingredients for the filling in this recipe at the same time demonstrating how just some little changes in ingredients and cooking method can create a completely different result.

Ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (found in the Asian section of your market, usually by the soy sauce.  example here)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lb of prawns/ shrimp peeled and deveined, chopped
  • 1/2 lb of ground fat free chicken or turkey breast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white parts only, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 can of water chestnuts for some crunch and texture, finely chopped
  • package of gyoza or “round” Chinese dumpling skins
  • optional: white pepper
  • neutral oil spray for the pan to cook
  • chicken broth or stock for “steam frying” the dumplings

Directions:

  1. Very finely chop the shrimp by hand or pulse in food processor for a minute or two
  2. Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl and stir
  3. In a bowl combine the ground poultry, shrimp, scallions, cilantro, and sprinkle of the optional white pepper, water chestnuts and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture from step 2 and mix with a fork, making sure the sauce is evenly distributed through out the mixture
  4. Let the mixture or “filling” sit in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour or more so the Asian flavors can really infuse throughout the shrimp and poultry aspect of the filling
  5. Place each dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water and 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Fold over the skin at the median line to create a little “half moon” shape (see above photo at the top of this recipe).  Use a fork to press in and indent around the corner to make sure the dumpling skin stay folded over and stuck together.  Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling until all filling is used. Note:  Store any left over skins in an airtight zip lock bag or wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.  Make sure its not exposed to any air or it will dry out
  6. To cook immediately: working in batches, spray the bottom of a non stick pan lightly to the pan and heat over medium high heat.
  7. When pan is nice and hot quickly place dumplings on the bottom of the pan, working in batches.  Brown or “crisp” the dumpling on one side and then flip.  Crisp the dumpling on the other side until lightly browned, making sure not to burn
  8. Add a 3  tablespoons or more, to the hot pan with the crisp dumplings and quickly put the lid on to steam.  If necessary, add some more chicken broth when the first amount completely evaporates into the dumpling.  You want to make sure the dumpling is cooked all the way through and the chicken is completely cooked.
  9. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooke

Serve with the soy dipping sauce and enjoy

**Note if making a big batch ahead:  These freeze and store extremely well.  If you want to make a large batch ahead of time and freeze, at step 5, instead of cooking, transfer the uncooked dumplings to a cooking sheet lightly dusted with corn starch and then when full immediately put in freezer and “flash freeze”.  When dumplings are frozen, carefully remove them from the cookie sheet and transfer to a freezer zip lock bag, remove most of the air, and store.    When you decide you want to eat them, just  begin at step 6 and then make sure you steam a little longer, using a little extra chicken broth steaming steps to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

 

 

 

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Cannoli Creme Parfait: Low Calorie and Low Fat

 

I have been tivoing ABC’s new daily cooking TV show called “The Chew” ever since it first debuted last month.  One of the regular cast members is none other than Daphne Oz,  oldest daughter of  Dr Oz, resident  medical expert from the Oprah show and now having his own daily  TV show on Fox.  Daphne Oz is only 25, and while the youngest regular cast member on the show, is the designated  health expert.  (Although all of them look and act pretty health conscious to me)  While I have yet to watch a full 2 weeks of my taped shows, I am fairly impressed with what I have  managed to watch so far.  For starters the show is fun, interactive, and even for someone like myself who cooks a lot, I have gotten something educational or “new” out of every episode.  I consistently love the recipes they have been featuring, whether they are healthy or not.  And although I don’t think Daphne is a trained chef like some of the other heavy hitter’s on the show, mainly chef’s Mario Batali and Michael Symon of Iron Chef, I really like what she has “brought to the table”, so to speak.  Mainly her role seems to be the provider of healthy little tips and fun, easy to recreate recipes almost anyone can do.  And that  “easy to do” spirit she brings to the show is a great thing for viewers who want to eat healthy and be able to cook some of the  show’s dishes at home without some complicated grocery list or cooking process.

I saw Daphne create this dessert on the show, and while I am absolutely no fan of ricotta cheese or even desserts for that matter, for some reason I saw the final product and thought “hmmm… that might be good”.  The process was certainly simple enough,  the dessert inexpensive, and I liked the fact it was stated it was only 150 calories and 7 grams of fat.  I embedded here the recipe and video from the show featuring this dessert, but if you do watch it and read the recipe from the show’s website I provided, you’ll notice there is a bit of confusion translating the ingredients stated on the show and then what was actually stated in the recipe provided on the website.  None the less, my recipe on here is accurate, and I really do suggest watching the 4 1/2 minute clip from the show for directions and serving ideas.  Also, when I first mixed up the ricotta and tried it with the ingredients, I did not like this at fridge temperature. It just tasted like whipped ricotta to me, and I was a little disappointed.  So after my initial tasting, I put the whole thing in the freezer.  A couple hours later I removed it and let defrost for about 20 minutes before eating, and LOVED it. Its a totally different dessert frozen.  I highly suggest freezing this dessert after its prepared and eating it very cold.

 

Ingredients:

Makes 1 serving

  • Aprox 2 to 3 thin lowfat almond cookies broken up (I used this kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim Ricotta cheese (really do try to get the better organic kind, it tastes so much better)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate crushed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon or so of orange, grapefruit or lemon zest
  • slivered almonds for garnish (I toasted quickly in a skillet first)

Directions:

  1. In a parfait, small serving bowl or dessert type glass (I was desperate and used a martini glass as you can see from the photos), place 1/2 of the broken up cookie pieces at the bottom
  2. In a bowl whip the ricotta, vanilla, and honey together by hand
  3. Stir in chocolate chips to the ricotta mixture
  4. Spoon and layer in the ricotta/chocolate chip mixture over the broken cookie pieces
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cookie pieces over the mixture.  If you want to spend the extra time for presentation value, you can even add in a layer of cookie pieces between the ricotta mixture and then sprinkle the rest over the top.
  6. Sprinkle the est and slivered almond pieces over the top
  7. Place in freezer for at least an hour (I’ve kept it in the freezer  for up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap or tin foil, and it tasted just fine. May even be able to stay yummy in the freezer for longer periods of time, I just haven’t tried it) and defrost for 20 minutes at room temp when ready to eat
  8. Add the optional cinnamon and mint sprig

~Serve and Enjoy

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker “Chicken Tikka Masala”

I’ve been tooling around with this recipe for awhile.  I wanted a healthy version of Chicken Tikka Masala, to put together in the slow cooker with all the depth and flavor of the traditional Chicken Tikka Masala.  No small feat, and this following recipe was only the result after a lot of trial and error.  Lots of error.   And I’ll be honest up front.  Although this is a “Slow Cooker” recipe, there is prep work, with an overnight marinade, and then some additional cooking steps required before putting it all into the “slow cooker” to finish it off.  The result is really awesome, but its not a “5 minute investment of your time”  meal.  There is a bit of planning involved here,  but worth the effort.  I will be working on trying to create a simple and quicker version of this recipe, but this was the best I could come up with so far that satisfied my palate. Additionally,  I added the extra step of quick “broiling” the chicken after the marinade, to add some extra depth of flavor to it before putting it in the slow cooker with the marinade.  You can skip this step if you like.

 

If you make this recipe an make any adjustments or changes, by all means let me know and I can post it in the comments section.  Thanks you guys!

Ingredients for Chicken and Marinade:

  • 2 cups non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 inch peeled fresh grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder (adjust for your own personal likes on the “heat” factor”)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons of either white or black pepper
  • 2 to 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts quartered (you can use thighs as well, but I prefer breasts)

Directions for Marinade:

  • Combine all the ingredients together, then add chicken until all pieces are coated
  • Cover and let it marinade for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.  I marinated this batch for 24 hours

Masala Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, ghee or neutral cooking oil.
  • 2 medium onions peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 inch of ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander
  • 14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup of organic cream or light coconut milk, and chopped cilantro to add in at the end

Directions for Masala and cooking chicken

  1. On stove take large sauce pan and saute the onions and garlic until soft over medium heat
  2. Add ginger and tomatoes, stir for aprox a minute
  3. Add cumin, coriander, garam masala and tomato paste and stir until heated through
  4. Add mixture to slow cooker
  5. (Optional: Broil Chicken without marinade at HIGH in oven until browned or brown over stove in skillet.  for the additional browning step, BE SURE to remove the marinade from the chicken first.)
  6. With slotted spoon or tongs, add the chicken to the slow cooker.  ***For a thinner base (my preference) add the remaining marinade, for thicker base, discard marinade.
  7. Cook on “high” for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through.  You can adjust the heat if the chicken looks like its become to cooked, and turn it down to “low” halfway in between.
  8. Add optional cream or coconut milk, and cilantro
  9. Serve and Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Indian Spiced Chicken Breast

I came up with this chicken dish and marinade to go with my Curried Mango Ginger Chutney recipe I made last night.  I originally came across a similar spice combination when I saw a dish called “Tawa Fish”.   I thought this spice combination sounded great on fish (without the frying part) so why not try it with chicken breasts?  This marinade tasted great with the chicken and then even better with the Curried Mango Ginger Chutney recipe I made.  The marinade is easy, healthy  and simple to put together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (2 large or 4 small chicken breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except for the chicken breasts) in a bowl, set aside
  2. (optional) pound out chicken breast until they are all uniform, about 1.2 inch thick, they will cook evenly and faster this way.
  3. Marinade chicken breasts in fridge for at least 1/2 an hour
  4. When ready to cook, remove chicken breasts and pat dry
  5. preheat oven to 400 degree
  6. heat oil over medium to medium high heat in a oven proof skillet or grill pan
  7. Sear chicken until browned for about 2 minutes on each side and take pan directly from stove and place into oven
  8. Depending on thickness of the chicken breast, l finish cooking in about 3 to to 10 minutes.  You want the chicken to no longer be pink and juice running clear.
  9. Remove chicken from pan and and place on cutting board or plate and let rest at least 5 minutes.  The chicken will retain more juices the longer you let it rest.
  10.   Serve as a main dish and accent it with “Curried Mango Ginger Chutney”

 

 

 

 

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Curried Mango Ginger Chutney

Yay!  I am so happy with this  delicious and healthy recipe I came up with on the fly last night.  I was craving Indian food and had been ignoring this  lonely little mango I  purchased last week that I knew was going to go bad if we didn’t eat it pretty soon.   I  have been seeing quite a few recipes with mango being used in chutneys or as an interesting accent to modern Indian cuisine.  A quick internet search for mango chutneys resulted in several recipes, but they all  had an ingredient list that called for more than just one little mango.  I took the best of the many recipes that I found (this one recipe by Alton Brown being my favorite) and reduced it down in ratio so my one little mango would work fine.

This chutney would go great with white fish,  whole roasted chicken, chicken breasts, and probably even pork.  If you reduced the “heat” (chile flakes) I bet kids would love this with healthy chicken tenders.    Could also go well with all types of vegetarian or vegan Caribbean, Indian or African dishes.  I would even serve with goat cheese on crostini or with crackers.  I will be trying many variations of with lots of dishes in the future and put the links as I do them in this post.  Last night I didn’t feel like running to the store to get fish, so  I marinaded organic chicken breast in an easy Indian spiced marinade for an hour.

Lastly this is GREAT for cancer patients going through chemo.  I loved bright and spicy Indian chutneys and spicy food with curries when I was undergoing chemo.  The bold flavors really cut through the yucky chemical taste chemo can leave.

 

Serves 4 as a side to a main dish,  Store in an airtight container for 7 days up in the freezer for up to 2 months

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup grade B (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • Chopped 1/2 of a red bell pepper (optional)
  • a quick grate of lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the mango away from the pit and roughly chop the flesh
  2. In a separate bowl combine water, cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice,  optional lemon zest and set aside
  3. In saute pan heat oil over medium heat and add the chile flakes and toast just to flavor oil
  4. Keep heat at medium, and add red onions until they begin to sweat and get soft
  5. Add ginger and if using, the optional red pepper and saute for 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the mango and cook for 1 minute
  7. Add the mixture in bowl to pan and stir to combine
  8. Bring the mixture to a slight simmer, reduce to low and stir frequently
  9. Season with a fresh ground sea salt and white pepper (optional)
  10. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered so the liquid can evaporate and reduces into a thick coating over the fruit. Aprox 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!  Let me know how you use it and I’ll add it to the notes here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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” A Healthier” Spaghetti Carbonara

 

 

I know, I know, there is no such thing as a truly “Healthy Spaghetti Carbonara”. And I answer with a  “Yes” and “No”.  Hear me out with this little story I tell below about how I came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago.

I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago to a major “Spaghetti Carbonara” craving, which is really weird because this is a dish I think I have only had a couple of times in my whole life.    Now I am going to be honest, I had been drinking alcohol with some old friends the night before… and you know what that leads to: Waking up the next morning craving food that is full of bad fats and starchy carbohydrates!  Hence the only explanation for my very unusual  “Spaghetti Carbonara” craving.  So here I was stuck  with this insatiable craving and knowing I had  never even made this dish before.  So I did what any self respecting girl with a healthy food blog wanting to create a plate full of “bad”  would do:  Went online and did a google search for a recipe, hoping there would be something healthy amongst the bunch.  No such luck.  There it was, as I expected, a bunch of recipes that were not remotely healthy. Albeit there were LOTS of recipes filled with some very delicious sounding  starchy carbohydrates and fat creations with not an ounce of nutrition.  What I ended up making was  a “happy middle”…Something kind of in between the “delicious tasting yet starchy carbohydrate/ bad fat hell” recipe, and then the something “I will not be mortified to post on my blog” recipe.

 

In ending I will say : this is a MUCH  healthier version than the original, I got my “fix”, and it passed my boyfriend’s picky “I don’t care if its not healthy”  palate (he’s also  Italian).

Serves 2: Can be doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces organic uncured bacon (pork works best, but you can use turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 12 ounces of Whole Wheat or Multi Grain Pasta cooked el dente (I would not at this time recommend any of the qunioa pasta with this because it would come out too mushy.)
  • 1 large organic free range egg, beaten and seasoned with salt
  • salt
  • 6 ounces shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar hard cheese
  • 6 to 8 ounces  fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of organic butter or extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • In large saute pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, and drain on paper towels (or you can cook in microwave for quicker results)
  • In pan large enough to hold pasta, heat oil or melt butter, and add garlic and saute for 30 seconds
  • Add pasta and bacon, season with black pepper saute for 30 seconds
  • Remove from heat and add eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken but do not scramble
  • Add the spinach and stir in until wilted
  • Add the cheese and re season with salt and pepper
  • Mound the pasta onto a plate and serve

I have only made this recipe twice now.  If you make this dish and have any suggestions on how to improve, or alternative ingredients one could use, please submit them,  and I will post in the comments section.  Thanks!

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