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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Healthy Spanish Paella, An Amazing Family Style Dish

 

Wow!  What an amazing class and dish I learned how to properly make with Local Silicon Vally Chef Joni Sare.  The back story is I run and organize a local “Healthy Lifestyle/Fitness” meetup group here in the San Francisco Bay Area and with the guidance and incredibly instruction from Chef Joni Sare.  Joni was kind enough to allow me to organize a very reasonably priced cooking class to offer my members last weekend.  And boy was it a BIG hit.  Thank you Joni!  We made a really healthy and nutrient dense Veggie/Chicken and Shrimp Spanish Paella that was just amazing and am so excited to share it with you.

Paella, is a traditionally “peasant style” Spanish dish that has been round for many many generations, and a delight to serve large groups, dinner parties, or large gatherings.  Paella, is technically a four stage dish, which can be put together quickly with a little preparation.  Even better, with a few family member or assistants to help with the cutting and chopping of the vegetables,  its easy to piece together and just flow through all 4 stages easily and with little thought. When you get to the last stage of the final cooking process, you just allow the ingredients to finish their final cooking phase and you can enjoy a glass of wine or sparkling water chatting with friends.  The final product is finished in the last stage of cooking for about 20 minutes. Llastly you turn up the heat and allow the rice to toast and caramalize or that tasty crispy bottom at the end, the lid on, for about 3 to 5 minutes.

There are many variations of Spanish Paella:

To get an idea of a basic Spanish Paella “how to” you can see a great link here in an older “Fine Cooking” magazine link.  For basic Spanish Seafood Paella recipe how to with video see here through this link.

Here is the recipe for the Paella we made yesterday that are reflected in the photos I have included on this blog entry.  This was a veggie, seafood, chicken recipe but you can make any variation of this from excluding the chicken and seafood for just a super veggie version, of by just excluding the chicken or seafood very your own preferences.

Classic Spanish Paella Recipes Include Many Of These Ingredients:

Rabbit, chorizo, pork sausage, chicken sausage, chicken legs or thigh pieces, shrimp, fish, mussels, clams, greens beans and peas. Seafood options can include: Shrimp, mussels, clams, crab, scallops, and fish (any variety).  Veggies options can include: Marinated artichokes, green bean, zucchini (any type, bell peppers (green , red, yellow, and orange colored), chickpeas, carrots sliced, asparagus, parsley, mushrooms and potatoes.

Recipe below Created AND Developed by Chef Joni Sare

Serves 4 and should be prepared in aprox a 10 to 12 inch pan

Ingredients Stage 1 and 2:

  • Chicken legs or thighs bone in, or for less juicy or “lower fat” meat, chicken breasts quartered
  • 1 whole  chorizo , pork or chicken sausage sliced at a diagonal
  • 1 cup short grain arborio Rice
  • 1 large pinch of saffron (aprox 8 to 12 strings crushed)
  • 2 large bell peppers of any color, we used red and green for this particular dish yesterday
  • 2 tomatoes chopped into bite sized piece
  • 1 zucchini green or yellow sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 red onion chopped1/2 cup of frozen green peas defrosted
  • 1/2 cup of green olives from a can (reserve liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced roasted piquillo peppers from a can

*** Remember that is just the ingredients from the recipe shown in the photos, you can be creative and use any of the ingredients I have listed as common ingredients used in Spanish Paella

*** Go to Stage 3 to make the cooking liquid if you have time before completing stage 2 so cooking liquid will be ready to go directly into pan at the end of Stage 2

Directions:

Stage One:

  1. Heat until soft in the olive oil the yellow onion dieced, the bell peppers diced, and the tomato diced
  2. Heat until soft aprox about 5 minutes, stirring often

Stage Two:

  1. Brown the meat in the onion, bell pepper and tomato mixture, until meat is nicely browned on all sixed, then remove meat and set aside.
  2. Add the rice, cook, stirring often allowing for the rice to have a nice oil and vegetable mix while allowing the rice to “toast” somewhat.
  3. Make a “well” or circular area in the middle of the pan, add the saffron and toast it for about one minute.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients except the browned meat

 

Stage 3 Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves of garlic minced or crush (or 1 tablespoon can prepared crush garlic)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small 4 ounce jar of pimentos (liquid too)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1.2 cup of the olive juice from the canned olive can
  • 1.2 cup of white wine or 1.4 of a cup vermouth

Stage 3 and 4 Directions:

Stage 3:

****If you have time while meat is browning in Stage 2, begin on Stage 3 while its browning

  1. In a 2 quart sauce pan , mix the liquid ingredients well, and keep warm on stove until time to add to Paella dish in Stage 4
  2. Mix the chicken broth or stock, the tomato sauce, the jar of pimentos with liquid, the bay leaf, the dried thyme, the reserved olive juice from the can, and the white wine or 1.4 cup of Vermouth

 

Stage 4:

  1. Add the broth mixture to the paella pan, mix well, making sure the rice is evenly distributed.  Add the brown meat to the paella pan in strategic places (wait on the seafood).  If you are using whole chicken legs or thighs, try to kind of nestle them into and within the rice in the pan so they are nicely surrounded by the warm mixture to insure complete cooking.
  2.  Keep the lid off and do not disturb the mixture until serving!
  3. Cook uncovered on a low simmer for about 20 minutes, or until liquid is well below the rice and just about gone.
  4. 4. When liquid is about gone, at the point add the seafood, if using, in strategic places, and push down into the mixture.
  5. Turn the heat up now to medium high and allow the underside of the rice to toast and caramelize, making the “soccorat” aka the crispy rice bottom that Spanish paella is known for.
  6. Remove from heat , cover and let stand for 5 minutes, this allows the  “soccarat” or crispy browned rice bottom to loosen and lift from the bottom of the pan

Recipe Developed by Chef Joni Sare www.Jonisare.com

Serve and Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 22; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 54; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 710; Cholesterol (mg): 65; Fiber (g): 2;

 

 

 

 

 



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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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Basic Green Drink Recipe for 1

 

This is my basic “go to” recipe for my green drink I make in my high speed blender a couple times a week.  Great for beginners.  I like this recipe because the ingredients are easy to find, store and blend together in a snap.  There are a lot of “extras” you can add, or variations you can do with  this basic recipe which I will be going over here in the future.  I think adding in a a few basic “green drinks”  made for just one person is an simple quick starter item to add if your starting a healthy diet.  Just add in a couple of times a week if your just beginning out, and then start getting more creative.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Dino (also called Tuscan)  kale
  • 1 small apple or 1/2 of a large apple,  sliced, skin on (your choice)
  • Half to one whole banana (I use frozen banana slices for a colder drink)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vita Mix) for a minute or two, until well blended.

Optional: (you can add a small scoop of vitamin fortified “Greens” powders, there are many on the market, I use Green Vibrence, Vital Scoop, ect.  There are many on the market at Whole Foods or any supplement or vitamin store.

Drink and Enjoy

This drink is filled with lots of nutrition and less than 200 calories if using unsweetened Almond Milk, and around 230 with an added greens powder

 

 



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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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Coconut Curried Chickpeas

By all my recent Facebook posts and photos one might easily imagine I am some major chickpea fan.  It seems like lately I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything.  The truth is  I only recently made chickpeas from scratch for the very first time.  I, for the first time ever, did the whole “soaking overnight and then finishing  on the stove” thing.  After eating chickpeas made from scratch I have a whole new appreciation for this little ingredient, which by the way, I had never really liked at all (except for pureed in hummus) prior.

I have heard the argument that there is really no difference between soaking/cooking peas yourself or just buying them ready to eat in a can, but my taste buds and “brain” don’t believe that to be true At all.  I find chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked from scratch can have really amazing flavor and texture which I find totally lacking in canned chickpeas.  I love  cooking them to just barely  “el dente” after soaking them over night and then sauteing them in a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

I came up this really healthy and tasty little curry dish on the fly the other day,  and it tasted amazing!  You can use canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend, if you have the time and don’t mind the planning, utilizing chickpeas made from scratch.  This is great to make ahead snack/dish and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of day.  This reheats well in the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas or 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil or your choice)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne (to your desired “heat”, I used 2 tsp because I loved hot spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • 4 coconut milk cubes or 1/3 cup lite or regular organic coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat until hot
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add onions and carrots and begin to saute
  4.  About 2 minutes in, add the garam masala, cayenne and curry and mix in well, allowing the flavors to infuse in well with the carrots and onions.  About 3  minutes or until the onions soft and carrots with still a bit of crunch.
  5. Add chickpeas and saute  a couple minutes until heated through anl flavors well distributed to chickpeas
  6. Add tomatoes and stir a minute or too, again until ingredients heated through and flavors well distributed
  7. Finish by adding coconut milk “cubes” or or coconut milk and stir until heated through  brought to a slight simmer or slightly “steaming”
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Can be eaten alone, in a roti, or as a side dish

 

 

 



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Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata

 

 


A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish

Directions:

  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.

 

 

 


 



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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 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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