Saturday, December 9, 2017

Batch-Cooked Chicken Breast Meals

Bone-in chicken breasts are not only an economical form in which to purchase breast meat, but they are also more moist and flavorful than the more commonly used boneless skinless chicken breasts. Here are instructions for preparing a pack with about two large split breasts (4 breast pieces) into three paleo, AIP-friendly meals for 2-4 people (depending on appetites!). A key ingredient is the salt - I nearly always use himalayan pink salt. When your flavor options are limited, a quality salt makes a big difference. It's healthier too!

Cook the chicken:
Place chicken pieces in a large pot and cover with 4-6 cups water. Add 1 tsp. salt, cover and bring to simmer on stove over medium heat. Check for doneness by pricking to see if juices run clear. When just done, remove from heat immediately. Let sit, covered for 10 minutes, then remove chicken to platter, reserving broth. When just cool enough to handle, but still warm, remove skin and bones. Place skin back into broth on stove. Discard bones (or add to your bag of bones for stock in the freezer).

Now you have 4 large, peeled chicken breasts. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut each breast into 1/2 inch slices and sprinkle the cut surface with sea salt immediately. Put salted pieces into a covered dish. Spoon over a little broth, to moisten.

Meal #1: Creamy Broccoli Chicken Soup
Remove 2 cups of broth from the pot, and reserve for other use.
Return remaining broth with skins in it to medium-high heat.
Add 1 bag of frozen broccoli, 1 cup frozen peas (optional), 1-2 peeled and chopped turnips, and 1 Tbsp minced dry onion.
Cook until vegetables are tender.
Add a handful of fresh parsley or other herbs of choice.
Puree - an immersion blender is your best friend here, but adding to a regular blender by batches if you don't have one - until smooth. The fatty chicken skin is key to creating creaminess.
Take a third of the reserved chicken, chop into smaller pieces and add into pureed soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with butter, chopped walnuts, and fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Meal #2: Chicken Salad
While soup is cooking, take another third of the chicken, chop it finely and add in red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dijon mustard and chopped fresh herbs. (Or your own home made vinaigrette recipe - enough to thoroughly moisten all the meat). Pack into a covered glass container tightly and refrigerate overnight. Serve on top of salad greens with tomatoes, grated carrot, olives or other favorite salad toppings and additional vinaigrette.

Meal #3: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Place 1/4 cup of raw cashews into a blender jar. Cover with 1 1/4 cup of boiling water and let sit 20-30 minutes. Add 1/4 tsp salt, dash of pepper and 2 Tbsp. butter. Puree until smooth. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for a day or so.
Cook a spaghetti squash according to typical directions. Remove 'noodles' and toss with butter and salt and dried basil. Set aside.
Place leftover chopped chicken in pan coated with olive oil. Cook on medium heat til warm and sizzling. Add cashew cream sauce and cook til bubbly. Serve over spaghetti squash.
A side dish of spinach salad with vinaigrette or cooked green beans or asparagus rounds out the meal nicely.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jicama Peppermint Patties

The other day I was munching on some fresh jicama sticks. I tried dipping them in coconut oil and chilling them. It made a nice candy-bar texture over the cool, crunchy inside and my imagination started spinning with the possibilities. What about peppermint patties?

I peeled a chilled jicama and cut it into quarters and thin slices. Then, with a fork, I dipped each slice in a dish of liquid coconut oil infused with a few drops of peppermint oil and laid them all out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet which went in the fridge to chill.

Then when they were chilled, I gave them a second dipping in melted chocolate (Mine was a mixture of unsweetened baking chocolate melted with a small amount of organic coconut sugar and coconut oil. You could use any favorite dark chocolate.) and returned them to the wax paper sheet and chilled again.

The result was convincingly scrumptious.

Things I want to do differently next time. 

1.) Use less coconut oil in the chocolate mixture - it melts too quickly out of the fridge. So you have to eat them really fast - which isn't difficult - but I want something a little sturdier.
2.) Let the chocolate dip be not too warm when coating the slices for the second round because the coconut oil melts off and dilutes the chocolate mixture.
3.) Make more to share - they are too good to keep to yourself. My husband ,who'd rather have a sugary fully-loaded dessert or none at all, and declines most of my healthy creations, declared these to be really good.

Come over and have one before I eat them all.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simply Delicious Chayote

1 large chayote squash

Wash and dry chayote. Cut in half along crease, remove inner seed and cut each  seeded half crossways into halves. Cut pieces into 1/4 inch thick slices.

In large skillet, melt on medium high heat:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons ginger, minced

When ginger and garlic are golden, add chayote slices and cook, stirring till all pieces are coated with oil. Reduce heat slightly and cover, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or till squash is translucent and crisp-tender. When chayote is nearly done cooking, add and stir in:
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Dash of ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Cook 5 more minutes, or till walnuts are golden. Remove from heat and add
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.

Delicious served with roasted chicken.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Leftover Chicken Collard Wraps

Leftover roast chicken has many wonderful uses, but it can also become wonderfully ho-hum if you eat chicken often. This tasty wrap filling takes advantage of leftover chicken's tendency to turn to mushy shreds as it forms a creamy filling for collard leaves.

Simmer in small saucepan till tender:
1 large carrot, grated
2-3 Tbsp. water or broth
2 Tbsp. coconut cream or coconut butter
 -- you could try subbing in 1/4 cup coconut milk for the two above ingredients - I find coconut cream easier to keep on hand and dilute as needed

1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Tbsp. sesame butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder to taste - depending on how your chicken leftovers were seasoned and what you are in the mood for.
Dash of broth or coconut milk as needed to prevent sticking.

Stir chicken and carrots in sauce, cooking on medium low heat until simmering and thick, and resembling something like tuna salad (but much better smelling!). Remove from heat and  allow to cool slightly. Stir in some chopped fresh parsley or chives if they're handy.

Prepare 2 or 3 collard leaves for wrapping. Wash, pat dry and remove fat stem from lower end. For small leaves, cut upwards an inch or so into the leaf to remove as much stem as possible without compromising the leaf's wrappability. For large leaves, simply cut leaf in two sections on either side of the stem for two stemless wraps.

Place 2 or 3 Tablespoons of filling in each leaf and wrap as for egg rolls or burritos. The warm filling wilts the leaf just enough to make it soft and easy to eat. Enjoy immediately.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No-Nightshade Marinara-Style Hamburger - or - Tomato-less Spaghetti Sauce

Brown in large skillet:
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. minced dry onion
1 tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
1 cup cooked red beans

For sauce, puree in blender:
1 cooked red beet, peeled and roughly chopped or sliced
1 1/2-2 cups cooked butternut squash or pumpkin
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley (I saved out some leaves to add chopped after blending and pureed the stems)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (this balances out the pink color of the beets - not necessary for flavoring purposes)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup liquid - broth, stock, water or combination of water and broth (I used 1/2 cup cold chicken broth and added 1/2 cup hot water for easier blending)
1 1/2 tsp. ume plum vinegar, if you have it, otherwise 1/2 tsp. salt

Pour blended sauce over meat. Add parsley leaves and stir. Heat till bubbly and colors meld and soften. Tastes great on its own in a bowl, no pasta needed. A romaine lettuce salad on the side is nice.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Simple Plantain Waffles

Here is a recipe for some no-fuss, budget-friendly, gluten- and grain-free waffles that you can make in your blender. They are crisp, golden and savory with a flavor reminiscent of potato hash browns. The best thing about them (if you have experimented much with grain-free baking) - they don't fall apart!

You can find green plantains at most large supermarkets, Aldi, or international food stores. The skin is thick and fibrous and best removed by scoring and prying off with a sharp knife.

Simple Plantain Waffles

1/2 cup water or non-dairy milk
2 large, green, plantains, peeled and chunked
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat waffle iron. Place all ingredients in blender and process till smooth. Pour onto waffle griddle and cook according to your waffle-iron directions until waffles are golden. (Isn't 'waffles' a delightful word?) Serve hot with butter or gravy.

Optional batter add-ins:

Chopped walnuts
Caraway or cumin seeds
Minced dry onion
Garlic powder
Sesame seeds

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hearty Spice and Flax Cookies - grain and milk free

I've found the trick to getting coconut flour products to be fluffy and light - flax meal, baking soda and vinegar. Having just pulled some of these gorgeous plump, brown cookies, steaming with spicy aroma out of the oven, here's an attempt at remembering what I put into them:

In a blender, grind: 
1/4 cup flax seed
Add to blending flax seed and continue to process until creamy-looking:
1/2 cup water

Add and continue to process after each addition:
1 large yellow plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup oil or butter, soft or melted
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1-2 tsp grated fresh turmeric root (optional)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Sift into a small mixing bowl:
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large baking sheet. 
Add wet ingredients from blender to flour mixture in bowl. Add an additional 1/2 cup of water to blender jar and whirl briefly to rinse out and collect remaining batter before adding to mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon or heavy whisk until mixture becomes a stiff batter or soft dough. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, about 3/4 inch apart. Bake at 350 for 15ish minutes or till puffy and golden brown. Remove immediately to plate or rack and enjoy warm or cold.