The Skinny Orange Chicken

One thing that has taken a dramatic upturn is my cooking. Usually for dinner I ate a head of lettuce with some chicken and balsamic and oil…like almost every night. I love it! But that’s not going to fill a grown man, nor would he appreciate eating every single day. I have been all over Pinterest grabbing recipes, and this one made it to my cookbook for saving! I found it here: http://addapinch.com/cooking/skinny-orange-chicken-recipe/#axzz2pfHUD34V

Skinny Orange Chicken
Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
¼ cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon orange zest
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1½ teaspoons Sriracha sauce
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish, optional
Broccoli

Instructions
1. Melt coconut oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add in chicken pieces and cook until cooked through and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
2. While chicken is cooking, stir together chicken stock, honey or maple syrup, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes. 3. Pour into heated skillet once chicken has been removed and reduce to low heat.
4. Cook, stirring often, until sauce has been reduced and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour over chicken.
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5. To serve, spoon chicken over a bed of broccoli and then spoon on additional sauce. Top with sesame seeds, if desired.
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If your sauce does not thicken as desired, you may add the following to assist in the thickening: mix 1 – 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with the same amount of water to form a paste. Stir into the sauce well to thicken.

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The First Expedition with Kale

I have to admit, as much as I love lettuce and salads, I don’t really enjoy kale. I find it to be just too much – too big, too bitter, too trendy! But I want to love it for its health benefits, and since I’m trying to be really good with my diet, I bought it in a fit of “I need to buy as much healthy foods as possible!” shopping one day. And then it sat in my refrigerator. Thank God it took forever to get wilt-y. I finally found a kale chip recipe I was excited to try, and truthfully it was a great success. They were delicious and honestly filling enough as a meal! Salad on the go? But it also introduced me to SMOKED PAPRIKA. How do I love thee, smoked paprika? Let me count the ways! I LOOOOOVE this spice now, and I am Googling recipes with it just so I can use it more. It’s for sure going into my chili recipe from here on out.

Zesty Kale Chips
Ingredients

– 1 large bunch of kale
– 1/4 cup tahini KB Note: I shop at Food Lion that straddles suburban and country areas so if I can find tahini, so can you! Just look over in the Asian/Indian/international foods section where you might find soy sauce or the Patak’s Indian jarred sauces.
– 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
– 1/4 cup nutritional yeast KB Note: I made a second batch without the yeast (since I used it all!) and they came out just as well albeit less crispy.
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1/4 tsp smoked paprika KB Note: I LOVE THIS SPICE
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– 1 tsp roasted garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale (using the same method you would if you were de-stemming collard greens) and tear the leaves into large pieces. I unfortunately made mine too small and thus when they got too much sauce on them they were still wet coming out of the oven. Make sure the kale is dry before applying the sauce.
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4. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
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5. Pour sauce over kale and mix until evenly coated, you’ll probably need to use your hands to get it all over.
6. Spread the kale out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet into a single layer trying not to overlap (or else it won’t crisp!)
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7. Bake for roughly 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12 minutes more until the kale begins to crisp up.
8. Remove from oven and let the chips cool slightly before enjoying. Just a warning, these don’t store well. They lose their crispness.

The Pizza Alternative

I just made this for dinner and apparently none of my friends like mushrooms! Why do mushrooms get such a bad rep?! They’re the bomb! I’m going to start sneaking them into recipes to trick people into converting so that I can force them to eat these dishes with me.

I had to go food shopping tonight and decided to make things interesting rather than a boring old tilapia fillet and head of lettuce (which is my usual dinner – balsamic on both). I went to my fave site for healthy recipes, http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/, and via her recipe index chose the 30 min recipes. I figured I just wanted something easy and smaller tonight so I went with her portobello mushroom pizza http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2013/06/24/portobello-pizza/.

Portobello Mushroom Pizza
Ingredients


– 2 large Portobello mushroom, wiped clean, stem removed
– Olive oil cooking spray
– 1/2 cup of your favorite no-added-sugar marinara sauce KB Note: You don’t necessarily have to use sugar-free, I went with a cheap store brand
– 2 oz part-skim Mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
– 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
– 4 basil leaves, torn to pieces, or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

Directions

1. Preheat broiler, setting temperature to high. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
2. Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil spray on both sides. Broil 5 minutes on each side, or until just tender.
photo 1 3. Remove the mushrooms from the oven, keeping the broiler on. If the mushrooms have released some of their water content, drain them briefly on paper towels and wipe the baking sheet dry, then return the mushrooms, gill side up, to the baking sheet.
4. Fill each mushroom cap with half of the marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Scatter a few torn basil leaves, or a few oregano leaves, on top.
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photo 3 5. Place back under the broiler until cheese is browned, 2-3 minutes.
photo 4 6. Serve immediately.
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The Friday Night Friend Dinner

I do a lot more cooking for multiple people now and it’s a nice change from cooking for one! Trying to make healthy items for everyone is difficult but luckily the group is pretty open to most recipes I want to try. This one was a hit, and I was having trouble keeping everyone away from the mixture before I could get it into the wrappers! Definitely something you could put on a salad as well. I adjusted the recipe for myself since I do not like frozen corn and didn’t want to add spinach to the egg rolls. I added peppers per the note in the original recipe found here http://www.nutritiouseats.com/baked-southwestern-eggrolls-meal-planning/. I forgot to follow the recipe and saute the pepper though, and next time I’ll try that. I tried to compensate by extended the cook time in the oven but that just made them too crispy.

Baked Southwestern Eggrolls
Ingredients:
– 2 red peppers
– 1 green pepper
– 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
– 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
– 4 green onions, chopped
– 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
– 1 package (21) egg roll wrappers

**1 egg beaten for sealing egg roll (can substitute water)

Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers.

big bowl of goodness

big bowl of goodness

Look at all those colors!

Look at all those colors!

Place ~1/4 cup mixture in the center of one egg roll wrapper. Fold bottom corner over filling. Fold sides toward center over filling and continue to roll tightly to seal (see directions on egg roll wrapper). Using your finger, moisten remaining corner with egg. Repeat.
2. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush tops of egg rolls lightly with olive oil.

I wasn't so great at the rolling...

I wasn’t so great at the rolling…

3. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown. Turn them halfway through baking. Don’t over cook or the crust will get too hard.
4. Serve warm with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream.

The Valentines Day Dinner

I have a small obsession with the show Chopped and my favorite episodes are the amateur chefs, because it makes me want to continue to expand my knowledge base. I even want to look into a cooking course! Definitely something I should look into know that I’m almost a real 25 year old grown-up! My boyfriend and I did a combo V-day and B-day night celebration last night for me as my birthday is this coming Monday but we could only get together on Friday and Saturday. I wanted to make a nice dinner for us and gave him a few options. What we decided on was a stuffed flank steak! http://www.familycircle.com/recipes/comfortfood/stuffed-flank-steak/?page=1 I threw in some steamed green beans and oven roasted red potatoes. We both want to eat healthier, so this was a perfect option. It turned out wonderfully, although I did make one mistake with the cook-time.

Stuffed Flank Steak
Ingredients

– 1 flank steak (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) – KB Note: I couldn’t find flank steak or anything that I could cut per the directions so I opted for a package of thin sliced steak.
– 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
– 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
– 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
– 2 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs
– 1 egg yolk
– 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
– 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Lay steak on work surface. Holding sharp knife parallel to work surface and starting at a long side, slice flank steak in half to opposite long side, without cutting all the way through; open up the steak like a book. Flatten slightly to an even thickness. KB Note: I bought the thin sliced steak since I knew I had to cut it anyways.
3. Squeeze liquid from spinach; discard liquid. In medium-size bowl, combine spinach, cheese, peppers, bread crumbs, egg yolk, 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and the pepper.
4. Season steak with an additional 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and pepper. Press filling onto steak, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. KB Note: I had 4 of the small sized thin cut steaks but I still kept about a 1/2 inch border on the sides.
5. Roll up steak to enclose filling, beginning on a short side; the grain of the meat will be running from left to right. Tuck any loose filling back into ends.
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6. Tie steak with cotton twine at 2-inch intervals to secure. Rub outside with oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper.
7. Roast at 425 degrees F. for 35 minutes, then increase heat to broil and broil for 10 minutes. KB Note: I overcooked my the meat because I used this timing. If you go the thin cut steak route like I did then I recommend you cook for 15 minutes at 425 only. The top layer of meat was very, very tough. Thank GOD it tasted AMAZING.

The Smoothie Obsession

Even though I’m trying to keep a more healthy lifestyle, I just can’t give up my sweets. I tried a challenge of having no sweets for 30 days and I went little crazy, I was even dreaming of candy and baked goods. So I’m trying to find better options to make myself at home! This one seemed like it might not be the most healthful option, but I figured in moderation it would be a good idea. I generally make 2 servings at once and freeze them to make a fro-yo like dessert. I have also been considering turning it into a protein shake too! Check the ingredients to see how!

Choco-Nana PB Smoothie
Ingredients
– 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
– 1 frozen banana
– 1 tbs honey
– 2 tbs plain greek yogurt
– 2 tbs peanut butter
– 2 tbs cocoa powder KB Note: this is where I think you can substitute the cocoa powder for chocolate protein powder to make it even healthier!

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Directions
– Combine all ingredients, blend completely.
– I separate into several mason jars for smaller portions.

smoothie1

smoothie2

The Friday Night Solo Date Night Dinner

I decided to have a “Kate Date Night” last night and just have a fun solo night in. Dinner and a movie with some wine on the couch was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of things for a full meal so I decided to do something smaller, a paleo vegetable curry. I’ve continued to keep searching for healthy recipes and came across my new favorite website, http://healthyrecipesblogs.com. This woman is beyond amazing. The recipes not only are incredibly healthy but she also gives you the nutritional facts which I adore. I will definitely be blogging about her recipes a lot. I already printed out so many for my recipe binder!! The vegetable curry was sooo delicious, easy, and healthy! http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2013/05/22/spicy-vegetable-curry/ It was exactly what I needed.

veg curry1

Ingredients
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 lbs. cubed butternut squash (or 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed) KB Note: I went over with the butternut squash because I love it so much. I’ll use a whole squash next time.
– 1 medium eggplant, cubed KB Note: I wouldn’t use as much eggplant next time. It got too mushy.
– 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
– 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
– 1 tablespoon minced garlic
– 1 tablespoon curry powder
– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 cup water

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash, eggplant, peppers, onion and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

veg curry2

All the ingredients combined!

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and 1 more teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes, until vegetables are well-coated.

With all the spices except the garlic I forgot to buy, whoops!

With all the spices except the garlic I forgot to buy, whoops!

2. Stir in the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Turn heat off and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

All finished, missing a bowl full already :)

All finished, missing a bowl full already 🙂

You’re going to have enough for four people easily. I have a lot left over. Just be prepared to have the smell of curry linger in your house afterwards!!

The Summer Salad for the Resolution

My resolution for 2014 will be to kick it back into high gear with getting healthy. Doing that, I’ve been looking up a lot of healthy recipes to diversify my meals. I like routine, and the same goes for my food. My coworkers even joke about my carrots and peppers since I eat them every day. I am a Chiver, but I found “The Berry” which is like Chive for girls. They have a daily motivation thread and I found this recipe. I was sooo excited to try it out! I modified the recipe for a single salad as the ingredients were for a large salad for multiple people. It’s more of a summer salad, but who cares when it comes to deliciousness?!

Ingredients (measurements for a large salad)
– 1 bunch chopped basil
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
– 1 cup mozzarella balls KB Note: I just used sliced mozzarella and pulled it apart
– 2 cups sliced strawberries

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Dress with olive oil (not necessary in my opinion), balsamic vinaigrette, and sea salt.
3. EAT ALL THE TIME.

OBSESSION.

OBSESSION.

The Grilling Continues!

I had more grill recipes in my arsenal (aka my Pinterest boards) and this was another! My friend and I weren’t even that hungry tonight but he still ate two huge chicken breasts because it was so delicious. And promptly passed out on the couch after.

And a side note – this and the salmon kebab recipe are paleo friendly!

chicken on grill

Ingredients

  • 900gm chicken tenderloins
  • 5 tsps sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or chill powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Celtic salt or sea salt
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds powder (you can grind coriander seeds with mortar & pestle)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps tomato paste
  • 2 limes (zest + juice from one lime for the marinade and juice from the second when serving)
  • Coconut oil for frying – KB’s Note: I skipped this. I wasn’t paying $7 for a jug of coconut oil I was going to use once.

the marinade

Instructions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Rinse chicken meat and cut larger pieces in half keeping long slices. Using your hands, cover and rub the pieces with the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for at least one hour before grilling.
  2. If using a grill plate or a frying pan on your stove, heat one teaspoon of coconut oil until sizzling hot. Fry chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side and then remove to a plate to rest. Make sure not to overcrowd the frying pan or you will end up with too much meat juice and your dish will become stewed rather than grilled chicken. If using a BBQ, heat the plate to sizzling hot and either spray with olive oil or brush with coconut oil. Place chicken pieces on the plate with a little space in between and cook for 3 minutes on each side on medium/high heat with the lid on.
  3. Remove cooked chicken to a serving plate and drizzle with more lime juice before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minutes + at least 1 hour marinating time

Cooking time: 15 minutes depending on the size of frying pan/BBQ plate

Number of servings: 5-6

With our new favorite potato recipe! Second night in a row.

With our new favorite potato recipe! Two nights in a row lol

KB Note: I went too heavy on the paprika since I thought I had a lot of chicken, probably didn’t need to do that. I countered this by adding 2 whole limes to the marinade and squeezing a third over the finished chicken. I LOVE lime. I sat on the couch smelling my fingers after dinner (I know, so weird). If you know of good lime scented lotion PLEASE let me know.

The Grill Has Arrived!!

I have taken one more step into adulthood and bought my first grill! It was the most painful assembly I have ever done, though. I felt stupid the entire time for not being able to figure out why things weren’t working, especially since I do all this crafty/handy stuff in my free time! It took an actual stroke of genius to figure out the steps they expected you to take but didn’t feel the need to include in the directions. It was not fun. It’s a baby charcoal grill that comes up to my knees but I’m not that intense anyways.

grill

I have been wanting to make this recipe but have been held up by the lack of grill, but now was my time to shine! And let me tell you, my friend and I were an awesome grill team. While I was prepping the salmon he surprised me with a sweet potato recipe that seemed pretty dubious. Chili powder on grilled sweet potatoes! They turned out AMAZINGLY though, and even were a great pairing to the salmon! We absolutely shoveled this in our faces.

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Finished product. Beyond amazing.

Grilled Salmon Kebabs
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 2 kebabs • Old Points: 6 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 8 pt
Calories: 267 • Fat: 11 g • Carb: 7 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 35 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 658 mg • Cholest: 94 mg

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless wild salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 16 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 hour KB NOTE: I only needed 5. I put more salmon on the skewers

Directions:

1. Heat the grill one medium heat and spray the grates with oil. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set spice mixture aside.

photo 1

2. Beginning and ending with salmon, thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total. Spray the fish lightly with oil and season kosher salt and the reserved spice mixture.

photo 2

3. Grill the fish, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, about 8 to 10 minutes total.

And here’s a picture of his cute puppy! 🙂

Can't say the cats were happy to have her around, but they all got along well enough :)

Can’t say the cats were happy to have her around, but they all got along well enough 🙂