Friday, February 28, 2014

Cashew Chicken

If I were to ask you what meals remind you of your childhood what would you say?  This has definitely got to be one of them for me (this and corn flakes with melted cheese haha don't ask).  My dad's favorite food is Chinese food and pretty much every time we order Chinese food there has to be an order of cashew chicken.  The only problem is that nowadays it's a little harder for me to get Chinese food that will be free of gluten, so I decided to try to come up with something myself.  The great thing about making it yourself too is that you can add the veggies you like and also be sure of what you're getting (no msg here! ha!).  This recipe makes a ton of food, but trust me you are going to want to make the whole thing because of the leftovers.  This is in no way a super quick meal to make, but all the steps are easy and totally doable for beginners.  I seriously make this recipe once a week because my family can't get enough of it, and honestly neither can I.  

C A S H E W  C H I C K E N  R E C I P E

Meat Marinade
☂  lbs. of chicken breast, thinly sliced
☂ 1 tsp. baking soda
☂ 2 tsp. sugar
☂ 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
☂ 2 Tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. water
☂ 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

☂ ⅔ cup tamari
☂  cup water
☂ 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
☂ 7 garlic cloves, finely minced
☂ 1½ Tbsp. cornstarch
☂ 2 Tbsp. dry sherry
☂ 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Additional Ingredients
☂ 2 bell peppers (i use one red and one orange), sliced
☂ 8 oz. of crimini mushrooms, sliced
☂ 1 head of broccoli, just the crowns
☂ ½ cup cashews (whole or pieces)
☂ olive oil
☂ salt and black pepper
☂ cooked rice

☂ Combine meat marinade ingredients and let it sit for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
☂ Prep the additional ingredients and then heat a pan onto medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.
☂ Start of by sauteing the bell peppers, adding a small sprinkling of salt and pepper, and saute them until they are almost all the way cooked.  Then repeat this step with the mushrooms and the broccoli. Set the vegetables aside in separate bowls.
☂ Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup so that is is easy to pour while cooking.
☂ Heat a pan to medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add 1/4 of the marinated chicken to the pan and let it cook on one side for a minute.
☂ Add 1/4 of each of the vegetables, 2 Tbsp. of cashews, and 1/4 of the sauce (make sure to whisk the sauce before pouring each time to make sure it isn't separating) and stir everything together. 
☂ Cook until the chicken has cooked all the way through and all ingredients have been warmed. 
☂ Repeat with the remaining three batches and serve with rice.
☂ WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bahn Mi Meatballs

So this might get me in trouble, but I've got to say it.  I've never enjoyed bahn mi meatballs until I made them at home myself.  I always have found that they are lacking in the flavor department and for me that's just a no go.  So I developed this recipe and these are straight-up bursting with flavor (hope I'm not tooting my own horn too much, but I am very proud of these.)  I actually made these this past year for my birthday party and they were very well received.  They are so cram-packed with veggies so they leave you feeling really great, but are also quite hearty. 

B A H N  M I  M E A T B A L L S   R E C I P E

☂ 1 lb. lean ground beef (at least 90% lean)
☂ 1½ cups of red cabbage, shredded
☂ 3 green onions, minced
☂ 1 Tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
☂ 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
☂ ½ Tbsp. sriracha hot sauce
☂ 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
☂ olive oil

Carrot Slaw
☂ 4 cups of carrots, shredded
☂ 5 green onions (green part only), chopped 
☂ 1 cup of thai basil, chopped
☂ 2 Tbsp. sugar
☂ juice of 2 limes

Additional Ingredients
☂ lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
☂ 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced 
☂ sweet chili sauce or sriracha mayonnaise for topping sauce

☂ Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
☂ Mix all meatball ingredients together and form into 12 meatballs.
☂ Place meatballs on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
☂ Bake for 20 minutes.
☂ Mix all carrot slaw ingredients together while the meatballs bake.
To assemble place down a lettuce leaf, 3 meatballs, carrot slaw, cucumbers, and your desired dressing (I love this with sweet chili sauce!!)
WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Monday, February 24, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

On rainy days I like to eat soup, I mean that's pretty normal for most people right?  It warms me up while I listen to the rain drops hit my kitchen skylights, and in that moment everything is perfect and my life could be a movie (haha I really should have been a theater kid because I definitely have knack for the dramatics.)  Well growing up butternut squash soup was my favorite, but I didn't get to have it very often.  Now it is one of my go to soups.  It's very rich and filling without being heavy and it tastes like a creamy soup without any dairy.  If you're someone who also doesn't eat dairy you know how badly you miss foods that have that creamy consistency! Plus the great thing about this soup is it is very flexible and don't have sweet potatoes? (use yams or regular potatoes!) you have some extra vegetables you want to add in? (go ahead and roast them up as well).  It's pretty fool proof.  

B U T T E R N U T  S Q U A S H  S O U P  

1 large butternut squash
1 lb. of carrots
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
5 garlic cloves
7 cups of chicken broth (I used Organic Chicken Better Than Bouillon to make my broth because it is so flavorful and is free of many allergens) **Also if you find your soup is thicker than you would like you can always add more chicken broth to thin it out.
2 cups of water
 olive oil
salt and black pepper
Any desired toppings [my suggestions: sauteed broccoli, toasted cashews, gluten free croutons, or crispy garlic]

Place butternut squash whole in baking pan and place in oven (the reason behind this is to make it easier to peel and chop).  Then turn the oven onto 415F degrees and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove butternut squash from the oven and let it sit until it is cool enough to peel and chop.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Chop carrots and sweet potatoes into chunks (it doesn't need to be perfect but try not to cut the sweet potatoes more than 1/2 inch thick.)
When the butternut squash has cooled, use a vegetable peeler to peel it and then chop it into 1 inch pieces.  
Place the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and garlic onto two baking sheets.
Sprinkle all vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil.  Toss everything together to coat.
Place both sheets into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the sheets from the oven and let them sit for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have slightly cooled.
Now it is time to blend the vegetables with the chicken broth and water.  Add about 2 cups of roasted vegetables to 2 cups of liquid to the blender at a time (making sure to keep your hand on the lid of the blender so the soup doesn't get everywhere!) and blend until the mixture is smooth. When each batch is done add it to the soup pot and begin heating it on the stove top at medium heat.  
When the soup is done heating through, top with whatever you'd like or eat it just way it is, it's great either way!
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crunchy Chickpeas

I am a huge fan of chickpeas, like huuuugee, I have been through a period of hummus addiction and I'm proud to announce that with help and support I am now a recovering addict (but get me around some Trader Joe's tomato basil hummus and it's game over.)  Anyways this is just a little bit of a different take on chickpeas and quite a lot easier than whipping up a batch of hummus. 
But it's only fair that I'm perfectly honest with you about how addicting these are.  I typically polish off the whole tray myself in one sitting, but at least they're healthy right?  These are great if you want to get in some extra protein from a source other than meat, and because these are super filling they will leave you satisfied.  

C R U N C H Y  C H I C K P E A S  R E C I P E

15 ounce can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
☂ ½ tsp. salt & add a small pinch right when they come out of the oven
☂ ½ tsp. black pepper
1½ Tbsp. ground cumin (use more or less depending on your preferences)
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Drain can of chickpeas and pat them completely dry.
Place them into the baking pan and toss them with all remaining ingredients.
Bake for 40 minutes and WALAH! Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Apple Chips

So I grew up in one of those houses that didn't have soda, chips, sugary cereals and pretty much anything else you beg to have as a kid.  As a kid you can imagine this was pretty devastating, but now that I'm older, obviously, I am super thankful for it.  One of the treats my mom would get me is apple chips (along with other things such as green smoothies and coconut popsicles).  As you can see I was totally ahead of the times (HA!).  Anyways I used to love these things and had totally forgotten about them until recently when I had some apples and know what would be delicious to make with these...APPLE CHIPS!  As you can probably guess I jumped for joy and sang out to the heavens for this idea was golden.  So I made them and they came out surprisingly well, so I thought I'd share them with all of you!  These can totally be tailored to what you like (or what you have on hand, let's be honest that's really what determines what you make).  They can be as sugary or as cinnamony (not a word, but really should be) as you wish, which is really the great thing about making them or anything yourself.  You can get exactly what you want, and who doesn't want that.  Okay, enough rambling, here's the recipe.  (P.S.  These do take time (about 4 hours), but not a lot of work).

A P P L E  C H I P S  R E C I P E

☂ 2 large apples (I used fuji)
cinnamon sugar (3 Tbsp. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. of cinnamon)

Wash and thoroughly dry both apples.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 200F degrees.
Slice apples as thin as possible horizontally starting from one end of the core to the other. (This is totally do-able using a knife and don't worry if the slices don't look perfect because they will all be yummy).
Place the slices of apples on a single layer (it will be about one full apple per sheet) and sprinkle with your desired amount of cinnamon sugar. TIP [it is smart to taste a piece of the apple while you're slicing it to determine how sweet the apple is to begin with as all apples seem to be different]
Place the baking sheets in the oven for 1½ hours and then flip the apples over and bake for another 1½ hours.
Now turn the oven off and keep the apple slices in the oven for another hour.  
WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished