Recipe: Curried Battered Chicken

Last night, I got home from work, went for a run and was STARVING by the time I walked in the door. I made my first green smoothie (more on that soon!) that I didn’t find completely revolting and then decided to make some curried battered chicken, steamed brussel sprouts with some quinoa. The only thing was, Iwas too excited to eat and I didn’t stop to think things through so I put the spices in the egg batter and not the flour. Nevertheless, it still turned out decent and just like the quinoa patties, I found myself eating half of the cooked chicken pieces before they had time to cool!

This recipe is simple, easy, and delicious! Because I’m talking about turmeric this week, I added my own mix of curry spices but feel free to get as creative as possible with yours! You can’t really go wrong.

The other thing I wanted to quickly mention is that since I’m not really into bread, I decided to name this recipe “battered” rather than “breaded”. Do you know if there’s really a big difference between the two? I know we batter fish but can we batter chicken? Why not!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil (as needed)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut – optional!
  • Rice flour (as needed)
  • 4 chicken thighs or 1 large chicken breast cut into small pieces or strips
  • 3 tbsp soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Method

In a  medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until frothy. In a smaller bowl, mix about 1/4 cup of flour, the spices and the coconut if you want to add some exotic zing to it. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Don’t do what I did and mix the spices in with the egg batter. The spices won’t stick very well to your chicken. It’s ridiculous, really!

These are the steamed brussel sprouts that I had with the curried battered chicken.

Then, cut the chicken into strips or small pieces. Then heat your oil in your medium sized frying pan on medium heat. There is a lot of medium-ness happening in this recipe.

The egg and milk mixture…but I goofed and added the spices to this. I was too excited, I guess!

Next is the fun part! Take one of your chicken pieces, dip it the egg batter, make sure it’s covered in eggy goo and then dredge it into your spicy flour mix. Don’t be shy. Make sure that piece is covered with spicy flour. You may have to push the chicken into the flour to ensure that it’s covered.

Finally, you get to cook that sucker. Put the piece in the frying pan and listen to it sizzle. While it’s cooking, you can batter the other pieces of chicken.

The delicious pieces of battered chicken sizzling in the pan!

Cook your chicken for about 5 minutes on each side. I cut one big piece in half to make sure it wasn’t pink on the inside.

I served mine with brussel sprouts, but this would be great on top of brown rice or on top of a salad or even in a wrap! But, if yours turn out anything like mine, you’ll be more than happy to stand in your kitchen eating them off the plate that they are supposed to be cooling on.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 2.

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Ginger Beef

Happy Saturday everyone! How’s your weekend going so far?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat enough red meat. Why? Well, mostly because I get bored with how to prepare it.  I usually eat more of it when the weather is cooler by throwing it in to tomato sauces or making meat balls out of it. If I had a bbq, I’d totally be making hamburgers  but I don’t. So I’m not. But, this next recipe has made me forget all about juicy hamburgers. Trust me.

It’s another saucy one but just as easy (or easier) than the teriyaki recipe from Thursday. This was even amazing the next day. The combination of the ginger and the honey with the spices gave it so many levels of flavour. I happened to have made this on a cold, rainy day so this was the perfect remedy for feeling blah.

Ginger Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 3 tbsps of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp water
  • t tsp cornstarch, optional

Method:

Combine all ingredients (save for the cornstarch, that would be bad for business if yo mixed that in) in a blender or food processor until liquefied.

Done.

 Not to brag, but I saved myself about half a minute and bought my beef pre-cut. But, if you buy steaks, cube them so they are bite sized and easy to eat. Did you know that grocery stores are now selling anti-biotic and hormone free meat at about the same price as the other meat? If you had the choice, why wouldn’t you opt to buy that instead?

 To get started, add a bit of olive oil to your heated frying pan then throw in the beef. Let the beef simmer on one side for a few minutes or until it has browned.

Turn the meat pieces over and add your veggies.

For my veggies, I used a yellow bell pepper (chopped), spinach, carrots (chopped) and green onion (chopped), but be as creative as you like with your veggies. These were what I had on hand.

Pour your ginger sauce over the beef and veggies frying in your wok and let everything simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes (or until the meat and veggies have cooked). You’ll want to stir everything around about half-way through.

Before everything has cooked...
Before… 
After!

I served mine with brown rice pasta but this would be good on its own or with brown rice or quinoa.  I still had left over quinoa, so I was bad ass and mixed a bit of quinoa in with the beef plus the brown rice pasta. It was delicious!

TIP! If you want to thicken your sauce, like I did, remove the hot liquid from your wok after everything has cooked and in a separate bowl, stir in the corn starch with a fork (make sure you smush all the clumps, too). Once it has reached the desired thickness, add it back in to the stir fry.

Side Note: If you don’t feel like adding the veggies, no problem. Just cook the beef with the ginger sauce. You could always serve this with a side salad or whip up that asparagus dish from last week.

Enjoy!

Stay tuned for next weeks post  – all about turmeric!

Recipe: Asaparagus with Lemon and Garlic

What a busy week! Between work, exercising, errands, cooking, writing, socializing, cleaning, commuting, reading and sleeping, I’m spent by Friday. I’m tired just writing this!

If your weeks are anything like mine and even if they’re not (who am I kidding?) you’ll be excited for this recipe. It’s easy and ready within 20 minutes – a fantastic side to any sort of meat dish, too!

Asparagus is great, especially when you buy it fresh. According to this website, here are 8 benefits:

  1. can detoxify our system
  2. has anti-aging functions
  3. is considered an aphrodisiac
  4. can protect against cancer
  5. reduces pain and inflammation
  6. can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  7. reduces the risk of heart disease
  8. can help prevent birth defects

Not too shabby, eh? Since it’s an aphrodisiac, why not load up on this super food with someone special and reap the benefits together. I have to say, asparagus combined with garlic will be the newest power couple in the veggie world. Not only will this make one excellent dish but it’s good for your health, too!

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus (cut ends off and then cut in half)
  • 2 tbsp of butter (organic, unsalted) – melted
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Wash and cut the asparagus (make sure you cut those ends off and discard).

Place in a medium-sized baking dish.

In  small bowl, mix the lemon juice, melted butter, spices and garlic (use a whisk if you have one or a fork if you don’t).

Drizzle over the asparagus and cover the dish with tinfoil (shiny side down).

Bake for 15 minutes.

At the half way mark, turn the asparagus using tongs.

Serve as a side dish!

I served mine with coconut chicken (inspired from Thursday’s recipe) mixed with quinoa.

TIP! Combine this GLORIOUS juice with some cornstarch (just add a little at a time until it thickens) in a separate bowl and drizzle over your asparagus.

Serves 2

Cooking time:

Prep: 5 minutes

Baking: 15

Enjoy!

Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about ginger!

Recipe: Quinoa Patties

Looking for a way to add other grains into your diet? If you’re getting bored of rice, mix things up with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH).

Some quick facts about this super grain:

  • An amino acid-rich protein (a complete protein suitable for vegans) considered to be a grain but actually part of the the leafy green family, like spinach or swiss chard (WHO KNEW?)
  • Contains the high levels of the amino lysine, essential for tissue growth and repair. Lysine is also used to treat cold sores.
  • Great source of maganese, magnesium, folate and phosporus making it useful in combatting migrains, diabetes and atherosclerosis

Did you know that you can purchase quinoa all year round? Find it at either at your local health food store or in the health food section of your grocery store.

This week, I wanted to make something different but not too complicated. With a little digging on the interwebs, I found this recipe.

This was simple enough and one of the only quinoa patty recipes I’ve found that doesn’t require me to purchase a dehydrator (more on that later).

*** I made mine bite sized. Though it took a little bit more time to cook, it was TOTALLY worth it.

I really like their ideas on what to pair it with.  Another treat would be goat cheese, with sliced roasted beets on top. Or avocado with a slice of tomato and some salt and pepper. Or, have it with salad and/or soup. That’s usually my fail safe option. Or you can cut up the patty and put directly on your salad or in a pita or tortilla.  I had a couple for breakfast this morning with my Vega shake. So many options!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (organic if possible)
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour (I like to use rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying (olive, coconut, saffoil, grapeseed…)
* I also added some chili powder to spice it up a bit. Feel free to add any spices that you prefer!

Method

Simmer the quinoa in the water for approximately 15 minutes. By then , the liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should be tender. When it has finsihed cooking, let it cool for a bit.

Mix the cooked quinoa with the eggs, onion, garlic, flour, parmesan, salt and pepper, adding more flour if required.

Here's the quinoa mixed with all of the ingredients.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Spoon the mixture into the pan and form patties of any size that you desire and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

The bite sized patties frying in the pan...they smelled SO good!

Set aside on paper towels to drain.

The first few that I made...I must have ate about 5 of them, you know...to make sure they came out alright 😉

 
 
 
 
Here they are, the finished product, served on top of my spinach salad!
 
 
 
 
 

___________________

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Enjoy!

_________

Tell us, how do you prepare your quinoa? What is your favourite dish?

Up next…spicing it up with spices!

Recipe: Veggie Stir Fry with Whole Grain Rice

In keeping with my theme of Whole Grains, I’ve decided to share a simple recipe for a veggie stir fry. Stir fries have been featured quite a bit on this blog mainly because they are so easy to make and … Continue reading

Recipe: Rice Pasta with Goat Cheese and Broccoli

The final Product!

One of the things that I had time giving up, and this may sound disgusting to some, was the Canadian classic, Kraft Dinner. Even just talking about it makes me want to bust open a pack of KD and throw in some butter, some whole milk and then, after it’s been cooked and that powdery “cheese” goodness has been lovingly mixed in with those enriched yet bleached wheat noodles, I’d drench it in ketchup (and maybe add some hot dogs to it).

Now that I know better – that sounds like a recipe for disaster – even though my stomach is growling at the thought.

I’ve had to come up with other creative ways to include my love for pasta and my love for gooey cheese in a nutritious dish.

This, my friends, has become an oldy but a goody!

NOTE: If you don’t like broccoli, I won’t hold it against it you. You can always substitute it for spinach or even roasted green or red peppers or even zucchini – actually, any veggie that you think would be delicious. But I wanted to keep this somewhat simple, so I went with broccoli.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of brown rice pasta (spirals, penne, whatever you prefer, just not spaghetti – doesn’t bode well).
  • 1/2 head of broccoli
  • 1/2 of a large portabello mushroom or 3 baby bellas – chopped
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/3 large red onion – finely chopped
  • 1 cup of goat mozerella cheese – shredded
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp of 0regano
  • Garlic (2 cloves, minced)

Method:

Boil water and cook the rice pasta. TIP: Add a table spoon of olive oil to the water so that the pasta doesn’t stick together.

While the pasta is cooking, steam the broccoli (should take about 10 to 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it). When it’s tender, it’s ready!

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In the meantime, in a medium frying pan, heat 1 table spoon of olive oil and add your spices. Let them simmer for about a minute or until fragrant. Then add your onions and stir until they become soft.

Then add the mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and garlic. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Layer so that the rice pasta goes in first, then the veggies, then the cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and add it to the frying pan. Same goes with the broccoli. TIP: Once the broccoli florets have been steamed, cut them into smaller pieces or in half.

Mix all ingredients together. Let the flavour soak in for a couple minutes then transfer to a medium sized baking dish. Add the shredded goat mozerrella cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese starts bubbling.

Remove from oven and let cool for  a few minutes before serving.

Serves between 2 and 3.  Serve with some chicken or fish and salad or on it’s own – why not?

Cook time: 30 to 40 mins

Enjoy!

Whole Grain 5 Blend Rice

I experimented with some new rice last night. I had found it at the most magical place on Earth – the Bulk Barn (more on that later). I was getting bored of the same old brown rice and brown rice pasta so I decided to mix things up a bit. Living on the wild side, I know!

It’s called: Whole Grain 5 Blend (long grain brown rice, grano, Colusari red rice, sprouted brown rice (YES PLEASE!) and wild rice).

Here it is!

The verdict? Delicious! Definitely loading up on more of that stuff on my next trip to the Bulk Barn.

And here's what it looks like...

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp of pepper, chili powder, turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander and paprika
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil (olive oil or coconut oil as a substitute)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 smal onion, chopped
  • 1/2 a chicken breast chopped
  • 1/4 cup lentils – cooked or canned
  • 1 lime (juice)

Veggies of choice:

  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • small handful of baby carrots
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 romano tomato diced
  • 1 generous handful of sprouts
  • 2 baby potatoes, chopped
  • Rice – 1/2 cup of cooked rice (brown, wild, mixed, brown rice pasta)

Method:

Cook rice (as per the instructions) while you prepare and cook your stir fry (takes about 30 minutes).

Put the oil in the pan, then spices, then chicken. Next, add your onion, tomato, potatoes, garlic and lime juice.  Let simmer for  a few minutes. Flip over chicken pieces when they are a brown on one side. While they are simmering, add red bell pepper, spinach and sprouts.  Let simmer and mix occasionally. When the rice has cooked add about 1/2 a cup (or however much you prefer) to the pan along with the lentils. Stir and let it sim-simmer (you want the flavours to mix).

This is enough for 2 servings (one for dinner and one for lunch).

The finished product... What I brought for lunch today.

Enjoy!

Lunch! Veggie Gnocchi

How many of you out there buy your lunch everyday? How much money do you spend, on average per day? How about per week? Luckily, where I work, we have a cafeteria subsidized by our company, so lunch, on average, costs no more than $4 a day…so $20 a week…and roughly $1,040 a year (maybe a bit less if you have vacation days).

What if you worked for a company where they didn’t have a caf? So, if you bought your lunch from outside you’d probably be paying about $10 a day…that’s $50 a week…and about $2,600 a year! PLUS you don’t know 100% for sure what you are eating, since you didn’t prepare it yourself.

Until my health scare in March, I was just like some of you: I could not be bothered to make my lunch and thought I was pretty clever for buying it everyday; less to carry and no dishes to do.  But, not only did those pounds creep in, I also would feel ill after eating…probably because I was eating an ingredient that didn’t agree with my system (most likely sugar, wheat or dairy).  Does this sound like you? Looking for a change but don’t know where to begin or how to get motivated?

Well, starting today I will posting “A Lunch A Day” for the month of November to give you all some ideas of what to bring for lunch.

I was a bit busy yesterday and did not get a chance to post yesterday’s lunch, so here it is:

Leftover gnocchi from the night before, with an apple, some nuts (to add protein with the apple), and a berry protein shake (for the afternoon).

Here is the recipe for the gnocchi (vegetarian and gluten free!):

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of rice gnocchi
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • goat cheese (cheddar) – half a stick or as much as you need to make it cheesey (shredded)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium organic chicken stock

Method:

  1. Boil the gnocchi according to the cooking instructions on the package. Preheat the oven to 350f.
  2. In a medium/large sized pan (depending on what you have), put the onions and half of the chicken stock in the pan. Let it simmer until the onions are clear. Then, add the spices and cook until the onions are almost a golden brown. Then, add the red peppers and spinach and the rest of the chicken stock.
  3. While this is simmering, blend the tomatoes, garlic and chickpeas. Add either water or chicken stock to get a creamy consistency.
  4. Grate the cheese.
  5. Once the gnocchi is boiled and the veggies are cooked, layer the ingredients in medium sized casserole dish, as follows: gnocchi, sauce, veggies, cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven at 350f for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 2-3 and is GREAT the next day for lunch! Serve as a side with salad or soup or as a main.

Enjoy!

Magical Fruit?

For me, one of the easiest and satisfying things to make is soup. If you have a steamer and a blender or food processor, then this will really simply your soup-making life!

Since it’s fall (sorry for those that may still be in denial – especially those of you who push it and wear shorts until the first few snow flurries fall from the sky), I wanted to make some butternut squash soup. YUM! Since I try to avoid dairy at all costs, I had to research a way to get that creamy goodness of soup without adding cream. I discovered cauliflower!

But of course!

I also wanted to add some protein and fiber to my soup, so I experimented and added lentils.

With soups, I try to add the ingredients in batches since the ingredients rarely ever all fit into the blender at once. But that was fine…it was definitely worth the extra effort!

I was worried that the soup would lose its sweetnees because of the lentils, but really, it had a nice “earthy” flavour to it and was quite hearty.

Here it is:

Some quick health benefits of lentils, in case you’re dying to know:

  • lowers cholesterol
  • balances blood sugar
  • high in fiber
  • full of minerals
  • good source of protein

More great benefits are listed here.

So now, I try to incorporate this magical fruit into soups, stews, stir fries, salads, sauces to get my fiber and protein. Every little bit helps, right?

Here’s how to make it…

Butternut Squash and Cauliflower with Lentil Soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut in half and cooked with 1 tsp of butter and 1/4 tsp of cinamon in each half
  • 1/4 cup of brown lentils – cooked
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets – steamed
  • 1 garlic clove – steamed
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of all spice
  • 2 tsp of coriander
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper

Method:

1. Cut a medium sized squash in half and scoop out the gooky stuff in the middle. Add 1/4 tsp of cinamon and 1 tsp of butter to each half. Place the halves in a baking dish with 1 cup of water in the dish so that that squash does not dry out. Bake for 1 hour at 350F.

2. Cook the lentils.

3. Steam 1 cup of cauliflower.

4. When the squash is cooked, scoop out the squash and place in a blender of food processor. Add the cauliflower and lentils, and gradually add enough chicken stock so that it blends.

5. Add garlic,  chilli flakes, garam masala, spice, salt and pepper.

6. Blend and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

Enjoy!

I’m back!

September proved to be a very hectic month both personally and professionally. When I wasn’t travelling around for work, I was working hard as the club president of my Toastmasters club, doing a 30 day running challenge with my friend and just trying to catch up on some rest.

Now that things have calmed down and the hoopla is over (for now), I’ve settled into a routine and I’m able to dedicate some time to blogging.

Over the weekend, we had some pretty disgusting weather here in Toronto. Nothing like walking around the city with an armload of groceries while gusts of wind are pushing against you. By the time I got home, I felt like I had a workout!  I was so glad to be home and relax but as soon as I unpacked a few things, I realized that I forgot dish soap and lightbulbs. Since there was enough dish soap left to wash a spoon and 2 out of 3 light bulbs in my kitchen had burnt out, I had to suck it up and get back out there. The fun never ends.

The upside? Yes, there is an upside! Now that the weather is cooler and I don’t need to strategize what time I can cook without melting (I suffered without A/C this summer), I get to bust out my skillet and crock pot and make yummy warm foods without sweating buckets in the kitchen. Like I said, the fun never ends! Stay tuned for new recipes that I’ve been working on for fall.

On Saturday, after running errands and buying groceries, I made myself a nice, veggie lunch. I just bought some Ezekiel bread (the seseame kind) so I decided that I would make myself a sandwich. Then, I realized I had some left over avocado and some cucumber, which would go perfectly.

Here it is in its finished state:

How to make:

Veggie Sandwich

Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 2 slices of sprouted grain bread toasted (I use Ezekiel).
  • Butter
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Mustard Powder
  • Goat’s Mozerella Cheese
  • Zucchini
  • Sun dried tomatoes

Method

Lightly butter the toasted bread and sprinkle the spices on the melting butter. Add a few slices of zucchini and sundried tomato and some cheese (enough to cover the veggies). Put the second slice of bread on top and broil in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Slice in half and enjoy!

Avocado and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients (serves 1 or 2):

  • 1/3 of a cucumber (sliced into small pieces)
  • 1/2 an avocado (sliced into small pieces)
  • Garlic power
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar

Method

In a medium sized bowl, toss the cucumber and avocado pieces with the spices, olive oil and rice wine vinegar until coated. Then, chill in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes (this could be done while your sandwich is heating up in the oven). Serve as a side dish or eat as a refreshing snack!

Enjoy!