Posts tagged ‘Chicken’

May 31, 2017

Celebrate Spring with this Easy Salad

Sometimes you just don’t want a heavy dinner to celebrate with family and friends. Here’s a recent celebration dinner we had when we had an early flight over the Easter. We still wanted to get together and have a nice meal, so we opted for an early dinner featuring salad. It turned into a riff on Salade Nicoise, with Chicken instead of Tuna. Simple, clean and worked remarkably well for six people.

image4

Here’s how it’s done:

6 chicken breasts

½ lb of bacon, cooked crisp and cut into small pieces

Your favorite Teriyaki sauce

1 Pineapple

1lb haricot verte

1lb asparagus

1lb small mushrooms, halved or quartered

Chopped tomatoes

1 head Romaine

4c arugula

1 small package marble or fingerling potatoes

Olive oil

garlic

½ c blue cheese

½ c goat cheese

Preheat Oven to 375.

Preheat grill when ready to cook chicken.

Early in the day, marinate the 6 chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce (I prefer Soy Vay). Grill the pineapple.

image5Clean the greens and spin in a salad spinner. Wrap in a kitchen towel or paper towels until needed.

Toss cleaned, and quartered mushrooms into 1T olive oil and crush one clove of garlic over the mushrooms and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Put mushrooms in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly dehydrated.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the haricot verte, plunge into ice water to cool and retain it’s color. Drain with strainer, dry and chill.

In the same pot blanch the potatoes until fork tender, drain and chill.

Meanwhile, prepare a mustard vinaigrette:

½ c. Olive Oil

1T Dijon mustard

3T Red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients in a small jar and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large platter by pouring 1T vinaigrette in the bottom and spreading around with a paper towel. Layer the chopped romaine, top with arugula. Put a quarter of the haricot verte on each corner of the platter, fill in with potatoes, tomatoes (if preferred you can toss the vegies in the dressing first). Slice the chicken and pineapple and serve on the top or the side along with the cheeses.

image1Serve with French bread and good butter.

This turned into a fun and clean eating Easter dinner which can be used for small events throughout Spring and Summer. What could you celebrate with this salad supper?

August 25, 2014

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

If you are like me, you are always looking for a healthy option you can make ahead for lunch. Quinoa always seems like a good healthy choice, but I haven’t really found a way I liked it…until now! This is light and fresh with lots of healthy additions. Bonus, it holds up really well all week! I like to make this on Sunday and it is just as good on Friday as it is on Monday. I love that I can eat it cold at my desk which makes life so easy. Let me know what you think!

Kelly

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

Juice and zest of 4-5 limes

2 Tablespoons honey

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Kosher or sea salt

Pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 grilled chicken breasts, chopped

Rinse quinoa 3 times to remove the bitter outside layer. Cook the quinoa with chicken stock and water (I add a little extra liquid because we are at high altitude). Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 seconds, bring back to a boil for another 30 seconds then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked through and tender. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the zest, honey, a pinch or two of salt & pepper, and olive oil, until the dressing comes together. Add the cilantro and mix.

Add the chopped scallions, peppers, carrots, black beans, chicken, and quinoa and gently toss in the dressing.

Garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest, if desired. Eat immediately or pack up for lunches for the week. Great hot or cold!

February 10, 2014

Work Lunches

Continuing our healthy eating theme of late, I thought I would share my Sunday routine for making 5 days of lunches in one afternoon. Being well prepared makes life SO much easier for the rest of the week. With BF needing the equivalent of two full lunches every day, it is much easier to have them all done before we get wrapped up in the week. In order to easily accomplish this, I start by making the carbs…usually brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. All of those things can cook while I work on the other things. Next comes chicken breasts (seasoned and baked for 45min at 375°), flank steak (marinated and grilled or stir fried), and chicken muffins. Finally the veggies…I usually just steam tons of broccoli and green beans. I try to mix things up, but these are the staples for sure! I also love that if I have leftovers, I can use it for easy dinners or freeze things for later. Next, I pull out the trusty food scale and lots of Tupperware. An assembly line makes things super easy and I can do exactly what is right for each of us.

Usually I start with the carbs so it cools while I do others and then add protein and veggies.

By the time I am done all we have to do is grab and go in the morning!

Between this and the egg muffins, you can have most of your day covered. A couple hours of work really pays off later in the week. Do you have ideas you use to make your healthy habits stick? We always need new ideas!

Kelly

PS- You can see my little lunches in the back row. Measuring also helps me to stay on track with what I need to be eating while looking at all that food!

January 29, 2014

Cooking Staples

We started talking earlier this week about healthy eating and how to make it easier. When you live with someone who eats roughly 4,000 calories a day…all clean…you have to do some prep work to make things practical. On the weekend, we sit down together and make a menu for the week for dinner, but that doesn’t always help with breakfast and lunch. I am getting better at planning leftovers in for lunches, but it is much easier to just pack everything at the beginning of the week and be able to grab and go. I start by cooking about egg muffins, 2 cups of brown rice, 6 organic chicken breasts, 4 sweet potatoes and steaming a bunch of veggies. With these staples always in the fridge, you can make a lot of things happen. Sometimes chicken becomes Chicken Tinga, or enchiladas. Often it gets chopped and sent in lunches. By having a bit of an assembly line with the food scale, I can get through things pretty quickly with already cooked foods. Bonus, whatever we don’t get to, I just freeze and use that in meals down the road. Shredded chicken is awesome to have in the freezer…a great time saver! I try to mix in something I haven’t tried before once a week. It doesn’t always happen (read: the lentils I meant to make still in my pantry) but I try for variety. We usually mix in one fish meal and one lean red meat meal each week. I swear all of this is much easier than it sounds! It really does make the rest of the week go much smoother. Here is an example of a dinner I made from our staples in the fridge. You can see our fully stocked fridge is how we make it without take out for every meal! Chicken and Brussels sprouts with brown rice. MMMM. This was great too because it saved well and became the perfect lunch later in the week. Gotta love multitasking!

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

2 Chicken breasts cooked and cubed

12-15 Brussels Sprouts, shredded

3 T Dried Cranberries

2 T Sliced Almonds

2 T Honey

2 T Butter

Crushed red peppers

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat add Brussels sprouts and sauté about 2 minutes. Add chicken, cranberries, and almonds. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and drizzle with honey. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

October 21, 2013

Chicken and Sausage Bites

Do you ever rediscover a former love of a recipe? Last weekend we decided to have a freezer cooking day with each of us picking something we wanted to make. I chose an old favorite from Lidia Bastianich. I am sure I have said before how much I love Lidia. Her recipes are unique and always wonderful. I think they always turn out (though I do tend to modify things as I go). This time we made this to be eaten later and miraculously it actually made it to the freezer! I am looking forward to enjoying it some night we have nothing in the house. It is full of flavor both robust and tangy. Served with veggies and bread or brown rice and you have a great fall meal!

Kelly

 

Chicken and Sausage Bites in Vinegar Sauce

¼ c Olive Oil

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces

2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Salt

4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

2 T Honey

2 T Butter

¼ c Red Wine Vinegar

½ c Aromatic White Wine

½ c Chicken Stock

Chopped Italian Parsley (for garnish)

 

In a large skillet heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly brown on all sides. Pour off the fat if necessary. Add remaining 2 T of olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and add to the pan. Cook until brown on all sides. When close to done, make a space to brown the garlic. Once golden and aromatic, stir into the chicken and sausage.

Drizzle the honey over the top and cook, stirring often until chicken is a rich mahogany color. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the vinegar has almost completely evaporated. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add the chicken stock. Boil until thick and there is just enough to coat the chicken and sausage.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. YUMMY!

A Few Notes: This is a recipe where it helps to have all the ingredients laid out and prepped before you start cooking. Everything goes from not ready to done quickly! I like to use sausage out of the casing to save myself some time. I also find that it helps to remove the sausage while you cook the chicken. It helps free up the pan to encourage browning. I almost always use extra honey to get to the right color. Be a little flexible on the liquid amounts. Do what you like!

June 12, 2013

Summer Mixed Grill

One of the things that has always been a staple in our house is the mixed grill. As a kid, I remember my mom shopping on Sunday for the week and picking up veggies, fish, chicken and steak to cook that night. We always ate the fish the first night and set the chicken and steak aside for later in the week. The brilliance of this is that you can use the meat for anything! It could be as is with some veggies, or reworked into something like tacos, or pasta. It makes things so easy for planning and you can save yourself time on work nights. This is also a great thing to do for a group or a party as we did here. Throw in the veggies from the CSA box, and you are good to go. Everyone gets what they like and there are always leftovers! Buy whatever is fresh or on sale and throw it all together on the grill; the perfect summer dinner solution!

Kelly


Mixed Grill

CSA Salad: Fresh lettuce, arugula, herbs, diced tomatoes and radishes, tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Tuna steaks marinated in Soy Vey Teriyaki grilled to medium.

Chicken legs grilled and basted with Grumpy’s BBQ sauce.

Teriyaki and pineapple sausage from Whole Foods…super delish!

Baby CSA artichokes steamed and drizzled with olive oil, pink flake salt and freshly cracked pepper.

CSA root veggies sautéed with onions in butter, then sherry vinegar to deglaze.

 

YUMMY!

 

P.S. Up next is our CSA dessert: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

May 22, 2013

First CSA of the Season!

We got our first box of CSA veggies from Red Wagon Farms!

Here’s what our first CSA box looked like after a tiny bit of cleaning…

Included in the pack was Egyptian walking onions, Easter egg radishes, green garlic, spinach, sorrel, and arugula.

So tonight, I’m home alone and decided on a lush salad after working out.


Springtime Salad

Arugula one handful

2-Radishes

½ Green Onion

Green Garlic leaves

From the fridge:

Cabbage

Grilled red and yellow peppers, chopped

Dressing:

1T Lemon Aioli

2T Greek yogurt

 

Mix the lemon aioli with the yogurt, salt and pepper

Toss in the bottom of a bowl and mix with the veggies. Top with Fried Chicken from Niwot Market and enjoy! I know not exactly the healthiest choice but at least I have the greens to counter act the fried chix. Plus I removed the skin, so it’s not that bad. Next time I’ll prepare better.

I’m happy to have my fridge filled with beautiful veggies and the ones from Red Wagon farms are beautifully trimmed and ready for my attention! Yum.

Mary

March 10, 2013

Orange Chipotle Chicken Tacos

By now, you know that I love Rick Bayless. I think his recipes are great, though I often use them as a jumping off point and find my own way. These tacos were inspired by Frontera’s Chipotle Steak Tacos with Caramelized Onions. We didn’t have steak around, but I found a can of chipotles and some chicken. This ended up great. Just enough kick and a simple recipe. If you like the smokiness of chipotle, you will love this!

Kelly

Orange Chipotle Chicken Tacos

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1 can chipotle chilies
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium white or red onions, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt
  • 12 warm corn tortillas

Puree the chipotle chilies and their sauce in a blender until smooth. (Thin with a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth if necessary.) Slice the chicken breasts crosswise, about 1 inch thick. Toss with a few tablespoons of the chipotle puree so it is just coated. (Use sparingly if you are spice averse.)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high.  Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, but still crunchy, about 4 minutes.  Scoop into a bowl.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil. When hot, lay in the chicken.  Brown on all sides, and cooked through.  Toss the meat with the onions. Add zest and juice from the orange and simmer until the chicken is coated. Taste and season with salt. 

Serve with the warm tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese and some spicy greens.

December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013!

As we ring in another New Year tonight, I want to thank you all for reading! We have had two great years here on Zest and are looking forward to 2013!!

Anytime a new year comes along, we all have the tendency to reflect and to resolve. I am pretty firmly set in my workout routine, though I will be throwing in some new twists this year. My biggest focuses this year will be on work and nutrition. I thought I would share a few ideas for getting on track in the New Year:

  1. Plan Ahead. Take a look at your week and plan a menu. I like to look at dinner choices and how I can use them for leftovers for lunch.
  2. Be Prepared. Along the same lines, the more prepared you are, the better choices you will make. If you pack enough snacks and a good healthy lunch for work, it is much easier to stay on track.
  3. Keep Ingredients Separate. This may sound strange, but one of the biggest things I have learned from Mary is that you can always make something different, as long as the ingredients are separate. What I mean by that is if you make chicken and keep some out of the sauce, you can make something different. Same goes for pasta, veggies… If you make tacos and keep all the veggies separate, you can make a pasta dish later in the week.
  4. Make It Easy. Find things that you like to grab and go. As kids, we always had cut up celery and carrots in a tub of water in the fridge. That makes it easier if you don’t have to clean them on the way out the door. Also, pre-portion snack foods so you know exactly how much you are eating. Almonds are a great snack, as long as you eat the right amount.
  5. Baby Steps. This is the single thing that helped me the most. If you are just getting started, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once. Crash diets are not sustainable. If you make small changes at regular intervals, you are much more likely to succeed. When I started, I added something new every couple of weeks. It started with a walk 3 times a week. Then cutting back on alcohol intake. Then adding more vegetables. You know your problem areas; just tackle them one at a time. Trust me; down the road some of those vices won’t even tempt you.
  6. If you are going to work out like an athlete, you have to fuel like an athlete. This is something that came into focus for me this year. I workout very hard; 6 days a week of weights, plus a few other things a week. Days that I don’t focus on my nutrition become very bad days for me. I get cranky and sluggish, plus I don’t sleep as well. When I remember to fuel before, during and after a workout, my days are great and I recover much easier. Since my workouts are important to me, so is my nutrition. Now you all know I love to cook, so you just have to be creative! Check out the recipe below that Mary found for something you can keep on hand for an easy lunch. This is a great balanced food that will keep you going!
  7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. If you slip up, treat it as just that and do better at the next meal or tomorrow. Don’t give up, mistakes mean you have goals and that is something to shoot for!
  8. Write It Down. You always hear people say it, but it keeps you honest. Writing down your food will help you be more aware of what you are consuming. For me, it made me think before I put anything in my mouth because I knew I had to write it down. When you journal workouts, it helps you to make progress. You may run a little farther or faster. You may do two more reps, but either way you are taking another step forward. Writing down your goals gives you something to shoot for. Be realistic: make your goals achievable, challenging and measurable.
  9. Measure. Measure your food. Measure yourself. Both things will keep you aware and on track. Measuring your food gives you a visual of what you should be eating. Measuring yourself may show you progress you may not see on the scale. It is incredibly motivating to have something to measure against 3 months from now if you hit a plateau. You will be reminded of how far you have come!
  10. Just Do It! Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for Monday. Or the first day of something…do it today! You don’t have to do it all today, just make one good choice. It might make all the difference!

GOOD LUCK! Happy New Year!!

Kelly

 

Chicken Muffins

Adapted from Jamie Eason

2 lbs ground chicken (1.5 lbs breast, .5 lbs thigh)

3 egg whites

1 cup quick cooking oats

2 tbs jerk seasoning (or your favorite blend, be generous!)

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic 2 cloves minced

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 celery stalks (finely chopped)

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray muffin pan with canola or olive oil.

Place the onion and garlic and oats and spices in a food processor to chop and combine. Then eggs and meat and pulse to combine.

Use an ice cream scoop to make the mixture into balls and place in muffin pan. Muffins should be about the size of a racquetball. You can top with a bit of sauce to keep moist if you like (We like pepper jelly or sweet and spicy Asian sauce.)

Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

October 17, 2012

Chicken Tinga Tacos

I love Mexican food. Tacos every day? Yes please! The one thing about Mexican food, especially Tex-Mex, is the health factor. Finding ways to make it healthy and tasty can be tough! I think the best of the best at getting that right is Rick Bayless. Everything I have every made of his is fantastic (and I have heard from a good source that his restaurant is to die for). This recipe is the short-cut version using his Frontera Chipotle Salsa. As someone who likes to cook from scratch, sometimes it feels a bit like cheating to cook semi-homemade. However, if on a weeknight you can turn out something this good very quickly, you have me convinced! I actually poach the chicken and shred it, but you could use rotisserie or other cooked chicken to cut down on the time. I have used this chicken as tacos, on salad, and as an appetizer on tortilla chips, each one as good as the one before. This is definitely a standby in my life!

Kelly

 

Chicken Tinga Tacos

From Rick Bayless’ Frontera

4 to 6 servings

1 small white onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

1 jar (16 ounces) Frontera Chipotle Salsa

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably cider vinegar

4 cups (loosely packed) coarsely shredded, cooked chicken

Salt, about 1 teaspoon

8 to 12 warm tortillas

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1 Handful Arugula, dressed with lemon or lime

3 to 4 tablespoons finely grated Mexican queso añejo, Parmesan or Romano

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

 

If desired, poach 2-4 chicken breasts in flavored water. I like to place the raw chicken in the bottom of a pot. Just cover with cold water. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and a splash of white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until tender and cooked through. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

In a large skillet, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until crisp-tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salsa, tomatoes with their juice and the vinegar. Simmer, stirring regularly until quite thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, cool, then taste and season with salt.

Serve the mixture in warm tortillas. Let guests add avocado, arugula dressed with lemon or lime, cheese and cilantro to taste.

**For tostadita appetizers, arrange 24 thick tortilla chips on one or more serving platters. Top each with a heaping tablespoon of the chicken tinga, a few pieces of avocado, a sprinkling of cheese and cilantro. We sent these to a potluck and got rave reviews. I swear, this is even better on day 2!

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