One of my biggest daily challenges is to try to get a healthy meal on the table that the whole family will enjoy, while still shuttling kids to their afterschool activities. But often after working and then doing homework with the kids and driving them to their stuff, I succumb and just throw together some pasta and sauce or end up ordering takeout. I know it’s a bad habit.
Sometimes I will actually plan out the meals for the week on Sunday, and then head to the grocery store, and then chop up some of those fruits and veggies so they are ready to go. That of course is always the plan, but often the weekend fun and busy week gets in the way of my best laid plans. Continue reading Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups→
It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog! And of course with my New Year’s Resolution of a healthier lifestyle just a flash-in-the-pan behind me, I can’t forget how much I’ve ignored my readers this past year. I apologize and hope that you will all be satiated with a delectable dish for a cold winter’s night–Chili.
Ok, so it’s not all that cold this afternoon in Southern California, but I’m banking on the fact that our weather will flip-flop back to its fogginess in a few days anyway. And who doesn’t love to whip up a bowl of chili after a busy day at work? Yes, in just 30 minutes or less!
I know most people think of chili as something that simmers away all day, and there are certainly some great slow cooking recipes out there that work magic, but so many of them have you prep way too much before you turn on the machine. I hate that! I mean, really, who wants to get up earlier just to get dinner going before you head out for the day? My kind of slow cooking is really dumping it all in and letting it all work its own magic….ok I’ll admit it–slow cooking is for my way too hectic days where I know I will be too lazy to cook at the end, and I want to avoid going the fast food route.
So if you are craving a little chili, but don’t want to waste your slow cooker day (mine is Wednesday, btw) give this recipe a try. I think you’ll really enjoy the fresh flavors and the added vegetables that give it a slight sweetness.
1 pound ground beef, I prefer 7-15 % fat organic
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium zucchini, quartered and diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder
salt to taste
Suggested toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black olives, radishes, tortilla chips, corn chips…ok, so basically anything you like.
1. In a large sauté pan, sauté on medium-high heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic until the garlic begins to brown.
2. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown it for approximately 5 minutes until it is mostly cooked. A little pink is still ok, since you will continue cooking it from this point.
3. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, and add the zucchini and corn to the center, and then let it cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat and vegetables are nicely caramelized.
4. Reduce the heat on the pan and begin to season dish with the cumin, the chili powders and the tomatoes. Let this simmer at low for another 5-7 minutes. Then taste it! You might want to add some salt or of course your favorite hot sauce. Now it’s ready to enjoy with any (or none) of those yummy toppings.
One day upon our one of our regular visits to our favorite local Mexican restaurant the waitress brought our kids a small bowl of enchilada sauce for them to dip their chips. The stars aligned that night and the little ones decided to venture deep into the sauce. Continue reading Goat Cheese Enchiladas→
When the dinner rush is in my face stir-fries are an easy way to satisfy the family fast. Most people are pretty familiar with Asian stir-fries, but the Peruvian version is a little different. It’s still pretty simple; some chicken, some soy sauce and spices, then pile it all on top of some white rice and call it a day. With Peru being the home to more than 300 varieties of potatoes, it’s no surprise that they serve this classic dish with papas fritas, french fries, a sure-fire way into any kid’s heart.
After sampling both chicken and beef versions over the last 10 days, I prefer the beef. Here I’ve included the recipe for chicken. If you want to do lomo it turns out nicely with sirloin steak sliced thin.
1 1/2 pounds thin-sliced chicken breast, or you can pound yours thin, but at my market they sell for the same price
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Worchestire sauce
1/2 a red onion, sliced thin
1 red pepper sliced thin
2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1/2 a bag of frozen french fries
1 cup uncooked rice
1. Heat the oven to the appropriate temp for the fries– my bag reads 375. Pop the fries in the oven when it is hot. Set your timer according to the directions.
2. While the oven is heating, start the rice according to the instructions.
3. In a non-stick pan, heat on low-medium 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the 4 cloves of garlic smashed.
4. Meanwhile, dice the chicken into evenly sized pieces.
5. Once the garlic starts to turn golden, toss in the chicken and crank up the heat to medium -high. Don’t stir it for the first couple of minutes so the chicken also starts to get a nice carmelized look on it.
6.Once the chicken starts to brown, after about 4-5 minutes, add the stock, soy sauce and Worchestire along with the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Cook this an additional 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are fork tender. At this point taste for salt, and add a pinch or two to suit your taste. Done!
7. Pour this all over a bowl of steaming rice and top with the french fries.
I feel like I always have leftover chicken, whether it’s grilled or rotisserie, but I get tired of just eating it in a salad or a sandwich. So, I came up with this idea of making pocket sandwiches. I was making a lot of tacos when I figured out that I could put the same stuff that goes in a tortilla in puff pastry or pie dough. You really could put anything in pie dough or puff pastry and it makes it so much fancier and the yum factor goes up. Of course, you’ve got all the golden pastry to sink your teeth into and who can pass up that?
So, I’ve made these stuffed with chili, ratatouille, and this chicken cobb. Anyway you fill them they’re scrumptious. I served them with a salad for a healthy dinner.
Actually for our kids’ birthday party I made these pockets, but filled them with chili. Totally yummy! And easy too. For the party I actually made them a week in advance and then defrosted them and baked them during the party. Love that! Anything I can do in advance to cut down on the last-minute rush to the table is fabulous in my book.
In this version all you need to do is combine some soft cheese with cooked chicken then pile in on some premade pie dough and then dress it up a bit, fold it, bake it and consume with fervent desire.
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup cream cheese or ricotta
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 a red onion, sliced
1 plum tomato, sliced
1 package premade pie dough (2 doughs come in 1 package)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and let the dough come to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicken and cream cheese. Slice all your veggies and cook your bacon in the microwave.
3. Once dough is pliable (about 15 minutes) roll one of the doughs out on a cutting board, it’s really more like unfold it, but the idea is to get it flat without tearing it.
4. Cut the dough in half, a pizza cutter is perfect for this.
5. On one quarter of the dough pile 1/4 cup of chicken and cheese mixture. Make sure to leave about a 1/2 inch perimeter.
6. Top this with 1/4 of the bacon crumbles, 1/4 of the tomato slices, 1/4 red onion slices, and 1/4 of the blue cheese. And hey, if you don’t like any of these things, then leave them out!
7. Now that you’ve got your filling, fold over the pie dough and pinch the edges firmly.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining dough.
9. Brush the tops with a little bit of raw scrambled egg, if you want it to look golden, otherwise you can leave it off. It won’t change anything except the way it looks.
10. Transfer the pockets to a parchment lined baking tray. All four will fit on one cookie sheet.
11. At this point you can either freeze them on the cookie sheet and then transfer them to ziplocs, or you can bake them in the oven for 15-17 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to get brown on top.