Chicken and Spicy Peanut Noodles

Winter normally has me craving something flavorful and spicy. Soup or chili usually do the trick but yesterday in Washington D.C. it was not wintertime: nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny with a light breeze, last night’s dinner called for something deliciously refreshing.

I started with some brown rice noodles that I tossed in my homemade spicy peanut sauce, added some baked chicken breast and shredded red cabbage, and topped the dish with sesame seeds and fresh parsley. The combination of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and the rich peanut butter sauce make this dish a filling, one-bowl dinner. And with time for the flavors to really incorporate together, the leftovers taste even better!

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Chicken and Spicy Peanut Noodles

IngredientsIMG_7837

  • 1 package Trader Joe’s brown rice noodles (whole wheat noodles or chow mein noodles are also an option)
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 c. shredded red cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

For Peanut Sauce:

  • 1.4 c. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1.2 tsp. red pepper paste
  • 2-4 Tbsp. hot water

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain noodles and place them in a bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper paste. Add hot water 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix until you have reached your desired consistency. (Note: if you want the sauce to be hotter, add more red pepper paste)
  3. Pour peanut sauce over noodles and stir to incorporate.
  4. Top pasta with shredded chicken, red cabbage, parsley, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately for a warm dish or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.

Savory Chicken & Avocado Crepes

Sunday mornings are a wonderful thing. Especially when they are quiet and lazy and I have time to make a nice brunch. My go-to brunch dishes always involve crepes because they are easy, customizable, and they look and taste decadent. And these savory crepes are no exception. Filled with warm grilled chicken, creamy avocado, and sharp parmesan cheese, these crepes are super satisfying and a total crowd pleaser (or in my place, fiance pleaser). Usually I like to roll my crepes or fold them into quarters, but there was so much delicious filling in there I could barely fold the crepe over! Brunch just got a whole lot better.

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Savory Chicken & Avocado Crepes (makes 4 crepes)

Ingredients

  • I cup flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour & 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)IMG_6095
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 ¼ cup milk (can add more milk if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (plus extra butter for cooking)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mixed greens

Directions

  1. Whisk flour, eggs, salt, vanilla, milk, and butter together. Set aside.
  2. Melt a pat of butter on a large skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/2 cup of the crepe batter onto the warm skillet, and rotate the pan around to equally distribute the crepe batter. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. After 2 minutes, flip crepe and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove crepe from heat.
  4. Assemble the crepe with chicken, avocado, and mixed greens. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fold the crepe over. Serve with a mixed greens salad.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk

Hello wonderful!

IMG_5620I decided to challenge myself in a way I never have in the kitchen before: I decided to bake a chicken. A whole chicken.

My typical experience cooking chicken involving baking pre-sliced chicken breast in the oven or on a skillet, but once I read Serena’s Best Roast Chicken Ever recipe I knew I had to give this a shot. If you have not checked out her blog Domesticate Me I highly recommend that you do; Serena has some great food ideas and some serious skills!

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Okay, back to the chicken. I knew based on the recipe reviews that this dish was good, but I did not know just how DELICIOUS it was going to be! Incredibly flavorful and a very versatile entrée that can go with a number of side dishes. I decided to eat the chicken along with some steamed broccoli and brown rice, and I ladled the sauce that the chicken cooks in over everything and it was a great decision.

Oh, and I have the mention that the aroma coming out of the oven when the chicken is baking is phenomenal. Your whole home will smell of baking chicken. Don’t be surprised if your neighbors want to join you for dinner!

A note on the baking process: since I do not own a Dutch oven, I used a large saucepan and covered the chicken with a double-layer of aluminum foil. Worked like a charm!

You can find the recipe here.

Tilapia Fish Tacos

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Now that I have gotten my fair share of holiday food (a lot of it), I am ready to eat something light and flavorful. And when I want something for dinner that fills me up without making me feel unpleasantly full, I cook fish.

Fish is such a wonderful protein, and it’s my favorite for so many reasons. Because fish has such a light flavor and texture, it’s easy to add things too. Wanna bake salmon in pesto butter? Sounds yummy. Gonna grill some swordfish and top it with mango salsa? I am coming over for dinner. Fish is also extremely easy to cook. Baking fish in the oven has been my go-to this fall, and I can make dinner in 15-20 minutes if the entrée is fish. On top of all of these amazing things about fish, this lean protein is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind of fats!). And since the American Heart Association  recommends eating two servings of fish per week, I am more than happy to oblige by making these Tilapia Fish Tacos.

Baking the tilapia for this recipe is a breeze, and my super-simple guacamole is citrus-y and perfect atop these tacos. Add whatever ingredients you fancy!

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh tilapia
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 package whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, minced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2-3 leaves Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • Salt and Pepper

Super Simple Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • lime juice, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place fish on pan and sprinkle both sides with taco seasoning. Cook tilapia in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  2. While fish is baking, place 1/2 cup of brown rice with 1 cup of water, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, and a sprinkle of salt in a saucepan on medium-high heat. As soon as water begins to boil turn heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid. Remove saucepan from heat when the water has completely boiled off from the rice.
  3. Mash 2 avocados with pico de gallo and red onion. Add salt, pepper, and lime to taste.
  4. Assemble tacos as you please. Enjoy!

Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I will make almost any excuse to whip up a batch of cookies. I love to make “cheer-you-up” cookies, “thank you” cookies, and the ever-popular “I should be studying” cookies. So it really was not a surprise that I thought of the wonderful idea of making a big batch of cookies to bring a presentation I was giving this week. There was just one snafu regarding my masterful plan…

I was lecturing on the obesity epidemic.

Yes, I was planning on serving cookies to my audience and then speaking to them about the causes, issues, and potential interventions for obesity in the United States and worldwide. Not exactly the most appetite-inducing speech, and one more akin to a small bag of mixed nuts or an apple than cookies. But with my passion for cookie-making overriding my rational brain, I told myself that I would find a healthier cookie recipe. And thanks to the creatively over at Nestlé, I found my cookie inspiration.

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Zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies. It’s a mouthful to say and the cookies themselves turned out to be a nutritious mouthful of yum . The texture is soft inside because of the zucchini, but crisp on the outside and oh-so chocolatey. I cut out some of the flour by making flour from rolled oats, and the sugar and butter are greatly reduced compared to the typical chocolate chip cookie recipe. Add a healthy dose of nutrients from the almonds and antioxidants from the dark chocolate chips, and I must say these cookies actually pack quite a nutritional punch in a small and delicious package.

Turns out the cookie was a crowd-pleaser, and the perfect accompaniment to my presentation. No excuses needed for whipping up a batch of zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies!

Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the Nestlé recipe)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oat flour (made from rolled oats in blender)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1 2/3 cups (10 oz. package) of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. For oat flour: place about 1 cup of rolled oats into a blender. Blend until oats resemble flour.
  3. Combine both flours, cinnamon, and baking soda into a bowl.
  4. In separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add zucchini, and then slowly add dry mixture. Stir in oats, nuts, and dark chocolate chips.
  5. Place teaspoon-sized cookie dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes (I baked the cookies for 11-12 minutes)
  7. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for a few minutes. Place cookies on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in container at room temperature.
  9. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

My friends, what’s better that chicken noodle soup?

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Swapping out the noodles for cheese-filled pasta goodness. Allow me to introduce to you chicken tortellini soup.

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Soup has always been my comfort food. When I was younger, I would heat up a can of chicken broth, throw some canned garbanzo beans in it, and call it a soup. While I still use those two ingredients in the soups I make now, I would like to believe I got a little more sophisticated with my soup recipes.

Chicken Tortellini Soup (makes 4-6 servings)

Ingredients:IMG_5299

  • 1 white onion
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 5 medium carrot sticks
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package cheese tortellini
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add minced garlic.
  2. Dice onions, and slice carrots and celery and add these three ingredients to the saucepan. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Strain liquid out of the canned corn and kidney beans. Rinse both corn and kidney beans in a colander. Add to saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add entire can of stewed tomatoes and all of the chicken broth to the saucepan. Add chopped kale. Cover saucepan and allow soup to cook for 4 minutes. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste (I added about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper).
  5. Add chopped chicken and tortellini. Heat soup until tortellini is cooked (about 6-8 minutes). Soup should be bubbling softly.
  6. Label soup into bowls. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Apple Butter Banana Bread

Attention, everyone: I have a new banana bread recipe.

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While I am sure all of you are craving something with pumpkin in it right about now, I am all about sharing a recipe with bananas and apples and you have to try. This banana bread is so delicious, and the apple flavor is present but not in any way overpowering. And with no butter and no all-purpose flour, the recipe is pretty good for you too!

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Apple Butter Banana Bread (makes 1 large loaf or 2 mini loaves)

Ingredients:DSCF1017

  • 2 medium-sized bananas (about 3/4 cup worth when smashed)
  • 1.5 cups oat flour (made by blending/food processing rolled oats)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (make it at in your slow cooker using 3 ingredients here)
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking pan(s).
  2. Mash bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Add the apple butter, oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture while stirring. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour banana bread batter into baking pan(s) and top with chocolate chips.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool before enjoying.