Za’atar Spiced Chicken

Za'atar Spiced Chicken

Za’atar Spiced Chicken

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, then you know that I’m enamored with Mediterranean spices, and food. One of my favorite things to have when I go out for dinner at a middle eastern restaurant is a naan bread with za’atar spices on it. What’s not to like? Piping hot crispy bread with a tangy spice, and hot olive oil…yum! I’m drooling at just the thought, it’s just so yummy. If you’re not familiar with za’atar you’ve been missing out. It’s simply a mixture of thyme, sesame seeds, marjoram, cumin, and sumac. With the exception of the sumac, you probably have all the ingredients to make it in your cabinet right now. You can’t make this without the sumac though, it’s tart and tangy flavor would be missed. The herbaceous smell of this spice is reason enough to use it. It pairs well with many meats, not just chicken, but on chicken it is amazing. I will share my recipe for my own homemade za’atar spice in a future blog, but for this, a store bought version will do. I got a packaged za’atar spice blend at Whole Foods in the spice aisle. While it’s not as good as my homemade version, it’s very close.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of za’atar spice
Juice of half a large lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic grated
5-6 (1lb) boneless skinless chicken thighs
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Mix the za’atar, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil together in a medium bowl. Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper, then toss in the bowl with the marinade and mix well. Line a baking sheet with foil, then add the chicken, and place in the oven, for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy!

Thai style ground chicken and green beans

Whenever we go out for Thai food my husband orders one of two things, ginger chicken or, green bean chicken. He absolutely loves these two dishes, and rarely ventures out to try anything else on the menu– unless venturing out is tantamount to him taking a few bites of my dish. I love ginger chicken, but I have yet to ever try this green bean dish that he loves so dearly. However, the ever ambitious girl that I am in the kitchen, decided to try to recreate this dish for him at home the other night. I can not say whether or not I hit the mark on what he has in the restaurant, but this dish definitely hit the mark for me! I loved it! My husband did too. He said “Mmmm…this is delicious” after every bite. You can substitute any ground meat that you choose in this dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minute
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 lbs of ground chicken
2 cups of chopped fresh green beans
1/2 cups of green onion chopped
2.5 Tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup of cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tablespoon of flour optional
1-2 teaspoons of chili pepper flakes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of water
Sea salt to taste.

Directions:
Heat oil in a skillet. Add ginger, onion, and garlic, and saute for 1 minute, stirring so that the ginger and garlic don’t burn. Add in the ground meat, cook until browned. Add in the soy sauce, toss, then add in the flour if using. Toss again, add in the green beans, and water, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the green beans are fork tender. Remove from heat, add cilantro, serve over brown rice, and enjoy!

What restaurant meals have you had success recreating at home?

Green beans with turmeric and mustard seeds

One of my husbands favorite veggies is green beans. I could serve him green beans every day for a year, and he would never get tired of them. The problem is that I would get tired of green beans, and I’d get tired very quickly.   This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat green beans. It’s simple, it’s quick and very delicious!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 lbs of fresh green beans, you can use frozen but make sure they’re defrosted
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric
4 tablespoon of olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Directions:
In a cast iron skillet heat the oil along with the mustard seeds and turmeric, when the seeds begin to pop add in the green beans, cook for 10-15 minutes, allowing the beans to brown some and loose most of the water in them. Add salt toss turn off fire, serve and enjoy!

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Nut and fruit snack bars


I love Kind bars, but they can get a bit pricey at almost $2 a pop. I know how easy these type of bars can be to make, so I decided to make my own. The only real work involved is mixing the ingredients. The great thing about these is that you can use your favorite nuts and dried fruits. I happened to have some Hawali dates that I got from the farmers market, so I added those, and some raisins. You can add whatever you have, and make these your own. These are a great snack, I usually have one for breakfast, or a afternoon snack. You can’t really go wrong with these since they are pure protein and fiber.

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup of Organic almonds chopped
1/2 cup of organic sunflower seeds
8-10 dates chopped
3 tablespoons of organic raisins chopped
3 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup of brown rice syrup, or honey

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl and mix well:

Spread mixture out evenly onto a lightly greased foil lined 9 inch pan:

Bake on 325F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes, just long enough for it to cool, but not completely cool. After ten minutes, cut into bars, and let cool completely before eating. If you use honey after cooling place in the refrigerator, so that the bars set completely. If you like these you will probably like these Granola bars

Lemon Herb Cauliflower "rice"

Lemon Cauliflower Herb “Rice” It Paleo, Gluten free, and Low-carb

As adventurous as my daughter is when it comes to food, she still struggles with textures. A meal for her can be made, or broken, if something is not the right texture for her. I’m constantly trying to introduce her to new foods, but at the same time give them to her in a way that she will except. Many foods that I give her end up on the floor if I get it wrong. I read somewhere that people on a low carb diet substitute cauliflower for grains and potatoes. I myself have had cauliflower mash and loved it. I decided to try to do a cauliflower rice to go along with a roast chicken I was making for dinner. It turned out to be a hit with her, and my husband loved it too. I added lemon and cilantro, but just like any rice, you can add what ever flavorings suit your fancy. This is both Cauliflower rice is Paleo, Gluten free, and low carb.

Here’s what you need:
1 large cauliflower head, stems removed
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
Zest of a lemon
 Juice of half a large lemon
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

Equipment needed:
Food processor

Directions:

Add the cauliflower florets to you’re food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like this:

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add in the cauliflower and lemon juice and zest, mix well.

Cover the pan and let cook for 3 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking, but allowing a little browning. Turn fire off, and add the chopped cilantro and serve. I didn’t add the cilantro to her portion, again, textures.

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Gluten free Fried Chicken

I don’t fry chicken very often maybe once or twice a year. Fried chicken really isn’t something I want to make a main stay in my family’s daily diet, if you know what I mean. If I have a craving for fried chicken I usually make my “Tofu fried chicken”.  However, anyone who’s ever had fried chicken, (is there anyone who hasn’t?), knows how delicious and addicting real fried chicken can be. When we travel outside the United Staes, it’s always interesting to see the sheer number of fast food fried chicken restaurants there are. Besides McDonalds, KFC and Churches chicken seem to have a solid hold on the worlds fast food dollars, and they seem to be everywhere! Is there a healthy way to fry chicken, um…probably not! But there are ways to make fried chicken healthier. Baking fried chicken, is one option, but then again that’s not really “fried chicken.” Removing the skin is another option, but I have to admit it’s one of my favorite parts of fried chicken, a crispy skin is everything! This particular recipe has no skin, it’s gluten free, and Paleo because I use coconut flour, and it’s super duper yummy. Frying it in coconut oil adds another delicious flavor profile, trust me when I say that you want to try this recipe. It is beyond delicious!  My daughter isn’t a big meat eater, but one bite of one of these golden nuggets and she was a chicken convert. She kept asking for, more, and more, and “more of that chi-ken.”

Here’s what you need:
1lb of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch chunks
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of Coconut flour
1/2 cup of coconut oil

Directions:
Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add coconut flour to a small bowl. Season chicken with sea salt and black pepper:

Dredge the chicken in the coconut flour:

Add Chicken to the hot coconut oil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, flipping the chicken half way through, to brown on both sides:


Once chicken is cooked through, Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb any extra oil, then enjoy!

Have you ever fried chicken in something other than vegetable or canola oil? How did it turn out?
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Cauliflower Hummus, It’s Paleo and Oh so delicious!

Our staff Certified Nutritionist Justice De La Torre is back with an AMAZING recipe for Cauliflower Hummus in this weeks blog.  Justice is a strong proponent of the Paleo way of eating.  The Paleo diet, if you don’t know, is simply a diet that consists of eating as humans did in the Paleolithic era.  This means eliminating legumes of all sorts, including peanuts, which funnily enough are considered legumes, cereal grains, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt and dairy.  A lot of people mistake the paleo diet with the Low Carb diet, but the low carb diet never excluded legumes and dairy.  So there you go.  This recipe for Cauliflower hummus is so yummy.  My daughter had a taste of this Cauliflower hummus, and kept coming back for more, and more, and more!

Here’s what you need:
1 small head of Cauliflower
1/2 cup of Tahini paste
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Lemon juice
2 teaspoons of cumin
Sea Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
Dash of red pepper flakes

Directions:
Steam your Cauliflower until you can pierce it with a fork easily.

In a separate pan, add oil, toss in your cloves of garlic and heat until you can smell the garlic, 10-30 seconds.

Add the heated garlic and the tahini to a blender and blend for 1 minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and enjoy with grilled meat, or veggie sticks, or both!

What is your favorite kind of hummus?

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