chicken

I think I mentioned in my I love Salad post that my husband and I have been really enjoying what we call the “Big Salad”.  We have this for dinner once a week now and giggle about past Seinfeld episodes (did you catch the reference?).

I find it funny that without even trying to convince him, my husband is fully on board with whatever I put in front of him these days.  This one is a big hit though, so I thought I would share.

Big Salad

2 servings

Marinade Chicken

  • 1 boneless skinless free range chicken breast
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1/2 t salt
  • couple good grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced

Put this all in a Ziploc bag with one chicken breast and let marinate for a couple of hours.  At least one I would say but you could probably leave it for as long as 24.

Croutons

  • One slice sprouted wheat bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • pinch salt
  • one or two grind of fresh black pepper

put all ingredients in a medium skillet and toss with your hands to coat the bread well with the oil and spices.  Cook over medium until desired brownness and then turn on low (as low as you can go) while you prepare the rest of the salad.  Stir occasionally.

Leaving them on low will allow them to crisp up a little and keep them warm while you prepare the rest of the salad.  They are better if you put them on top warm.  If they start to get too done, then turn them off and then give them a quick sizzle on medium high right before you eat to get them warmed up.

Cooking the Chicken

I like the chicken cooked on the BBQ myself.  This way it has that touch of smoky charcoal flavor that compliments the rest of this meal so well, but you could also use a grill pan, broil it or even cut it up and saute it if you are in a big hurry.

You will want the chicken to be done about 5 minutes before you are ready to eat so that it can rest for a few minutes, but still be warm when you put it on the salad.

We cook it on the BBQ and it takes about 20 minutes.  You will need to figure this out for yourself based on your chosen cooking style.

Assembling the Salad

These are just the veggies that I like and choose to use, but you could use anything you like and try to use what is in season right now for fresher, healthier vegetables.

  • 4 handfuls of organic salad green mix – I have the guy at the farmers market mix half baby lettuce and half spicy mix.  Yum!
  • 2 carrots (or one if it is large – the ones I get at the farmers market are about 4 inches long, so I use 2), diced small
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful of sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (use whatever kind of tomatoes you like or are fresh and cut them to bit size)
  • raw sunflower seeds, raw pepitas, raw almonds (or whatever seed/nut combo you like) – about 2 T total per plate.
  • 2 T freshly ground flax seed
  • Your favorite dressing

Split the above ingredients between two plates and top with half the croutons and half the chicken.  Dress and enjoy.

I have been exploring new foods and ways of eating as part of The Gabriel Method.

This salad has become my favorite lunch.  It is hearty and filling, dare I say comforting, and chock full of nutrition.  It is also highly customizable.  Get creative.

When using the Gabriel Method, we ask three questions before preparing a meal.

  1. Where is the assimilable protein?
  2. Where is the Omega 3?
  3. Where is the live food?

The protein in this meal comes from the chicken (make sure to use free range or the chicken doesn’t really count) and also from the raw nuts/seeds (they must be raw – roasted doesn’t count).

The Omega 3 is found in the ground flax seed (grind it fresh for maximum potency) as well as the sprouted bread croutons. The sprouted bread I use is loaded with seeds and flax. Not all of these breads are high in omega 3. Make sure to check your particular brand and style.

For live food, I use organic dark greens for this salad as well as other organic veggies. I also keep a live basil plant (available at the grocery store in the produce department) in my kitchen window. This is a great way to add vitality to your meal.

Keeping an herb garden is a great way to increase vitality in your food, save money and add a punch of flavor to your food. Healthy, fun and budget friendly. What beats that?

Wilted Salad

2 cups dark organic greens
2 T fresh basil
5 medium mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1 T flax seed, freshly ground
3 oz free range chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
2 t olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 t dried oregano
pinch red chili flakes
1 T raw sunflower seeds
1 T raw sliced almonds
1 slice sprouted grain bread, toasted and cut into bite size pieces and cooled
Your favorite Vinaigrette salad dressing, I use Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic and Parmesan.
salt and pepper

Pile the greens on a plate. Top with toasted bread pieces, basil and ground flax. Set aside.

Heat 1 t oil in a medium frying pan over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and a pinch of dried oregano and saute until browned, but not completely cooked through.  Remove and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent and starting to soften.  Add mushrooms and saute until cooked through and nicely browned. Onions should be caramelized at this point and garlic will be brown and soft.  Season with salt, pepper, oregano and red chili flakes.

Add the carrots and chicken back to pan until chicken is cooked through, a couple of minutes.

Dump all that on top of the pile of greens. Top with seeds, nuts and salad dressing.

Toss and enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Buy the book now!

This has become the only stir fry we do at our house because we simply can’t get enough.  So Good!

I use steak for this, but it is equally good with pork and I am sure it would be tasty with chicken as well.  We just eat so much chicken that sometimes it is nice to have a little change.  This is one of the few meals we use beef for and so we savor it.   

Because the meat marinades for a bit, you can safely use an extra lean cut of beef such as sirloin or top round.  Top round is a very economical choice for this type of dish where you might want to save your splurge on sirloin or tenderloin for when you want just a good old fashioned steak.  mmmm.

Another great thing about this recipe is that all of the prep can be done in advance and stored in the fridge for several hours.  I typically do this on a night I go to yoga.  I have Karli put the rice in about a half an hour before I get home and then we can eat in less than ten minutes when I get home late.

Favorite Steak Stirfry

3 Servings

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
8 oz sirloin steak, sliced thin

Marinade
2 T Soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1 t corn starch

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T chili paste (such as Sriracha)
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
1 cup green onion, sliced

Cooking Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 T soy sauce
1 T peanut butter

In a medium bowl soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and corn starch.  Add the thinly sliced beef and stir.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Combine chicken broth, soy sauce and peanut butter for cooking sauce in a small bowl and set aside.  Don’t worry about mixing it up as you are just going to dump it in the pan and it will be easier to mix in the hot pan.

When you are ready to cook, make sure all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to go in the pan.  You will not have time to cut anything up once food goes in the pan.

Heat a Wok over medium high heat.  Add Beef mixture, garlic, ginger and chili sauce to pan and cook stiring occasionally until meat is just cooked through.  A couple of minutes tops.

Add the sugar snap peas and carrots and cook for another minute until peas are bright green.

Add the cooking sauce and cook until sauce is well combined and starts to thicken.

Serve immediately over rice.  Enjoy!

Nutritional Information – Grade: A

This is an original copywrited recipe by Karin Reece.

For more stirfry recipes, I recommend 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes

This is yet another crazy recipe that I came up with while digging through the cupboards looking for something to eat.  Nothing fancy, but a great way to use up the little bits of vegetables that collect in the produce drawer.  You can substitute any veggies or meat that you like into this recipe and it would also be great with leftover roasted potatoes instead of  rice.  

Hearty Chicken and Rice Bowl

1. t olive oil
1 Chicken breast, cubed
3/4 C. Cramini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch each salt and pepper
3/4 C.  Cramini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 C.  Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, sliced
3 T Cilantro, chopped
1 C. Cooked Brown Rice
1/2 C.  Prepared Brown Gravy
salt and pepper to taste

Don’t forget to cook your rice (I seem to forget to do this more than I would like.  I can’t count the times we ate stir-fry with no rice because I forgot to put it in to cook, rice can take a while.).

Prepare or heat gravy in a small pan while preparing the rest of the recipe.  I just use a packet, but you could make it from scratch, use leftover from a previous meal or prepared in a jar.  Doesn’t really matter what you use, just make sure it is hot before the meat and veggies are done.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. 

Add Chicken Breast and Mushrooms along with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes until the chicken and mushrooms are cooked through and nicely browned.

Add Onion and Carrot and continue to cook for another minute or two just until the cold crunchy rawness is gone, you want these crisp still.

For each serving, put 1/2 the rice in the bottom of a good sized bowl.  Add 1/2 the chicken and veggie mixture and top with 1/2 the gravy.  Sprinkle 1/2 the cilantro on top.

You can season with a little more salt and pepper if needed.

I have to admit that I thought this recipe would be lower calorie than it is seeing as it is just rice and vegetables and chicken breast. I guess it’s not too bad and it does get a good grade (A-) for being low in fat and sugar and high in nutrients. It is a one bowl meal so for a hearty, warm and really satisfying bowl of food, the calories are pretty reasonable.  

It is high in sodium so if you are watching that you may want to substitute reduced low sodium beef broth for the gravy as that is where the salt is concentrated. This would reduce the calories a bit as well. Not sure how good it will taste as I haven’t tried it, but it should be pretty good.   I would reduce the broth down a little before serving to concentrate the flavor.  I will give it a try and post an update sometime soon.

Nutritional Information for this recipe

Many years ago we attended our friend’s wedding in Mexico.  She is from there and her family threw a great day after the wedding party at a local beach resort.  They served a soup call Pozole.  It was made with pork and hominy and served with a variety of condiments and seasonings.

I have also always enjoyed tortilla soup, but had never really attempted to make it.  I liked the idea of tortillas in soup but didn’t like how they got all mushy and I am always looking for ways to use left over roasted chicken.  I also loved the idea of a basic soup base with all the acoutremonts served on the side like with Pozole.  

So I decided to combine all the things I liked about both soups into one tasty bowl of goodness.  

Tortilla Soup

Makes 2 meal size servings or 4 side servings

4 Cups of chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fresh jalapeno, minced

5 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup chicken breast
1/4 cup onion, diced

cilantro, chopped
dried oregano
chili powder
hot sauce
minced jalapeno
chopped tomato
chopped avocado

Mix broth, garlic and 1 T jalapeno in a medium saucepan. Heat on med to med high heat. You want to bring it to a soft boil. Not too much, but more than a simmer. Let this go until the broth has reduced by almost half (15-20 min) and then turn to low and let simmer until ready to serve.

Before serving, taste the broth.  If it is too bland, you can reduce some more or add a little chicken bouillon. Reduce more if there is still more broth than you need or add bouillon if not. If it is too rich, then add a little water or broth until it is to your liking.

While the broth is cooking, complete the rest of the soup.

To make the tortilla chips, heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until the oil is nice and hot. Add the corn tortilla strips and spread out evenly around the pad. Let cook for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn the strips. It should take 5-7 minutes to cook the chips to crisp and golden brown, turning more and more as the time goes by. At the end you are probably continuously turning.

When they are done, use the tongs to remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Salt generously right away before they cool even a little, toss to coat salt and set aside.

Just don’t expect these to be perfect the first time, it can take a little practice to get them just right. It is so worth it to make your own chips though, they stay crisp in the soup and are so much tastier than any store bought you will find.

As a side note, you could make these chips in any shape for any purpose. They are awesome with guacamole. Yummm!

Get the soup bowls you will be serving out and place a couple of tablespoons of diced onion and 1 teaspoon of fresh minced jalapeno in the each bowl. If you don’t want it spicy, omit fresh jalapeno.

This is a great meal to use left over chicken with. Simply shred it up and put about 1/2 cup in the bottom of each bowl with the onion and jalapeno.

If you don’t have left over chicken, just cube the raw chicken breast and saute it with a teaspoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then add to bowls as stated above.

Place the cilantro, tomato and avocado either separately in small serving dishes or together on a plate to be put on the table. You will also need to put the chili powder and dried oregano jars on the table along with your favorite Mexican hot sauce. These can then all be added by each individual to taste.

Remove the paper towels and place the tortillas on the table as well.

Fill each bowl with broth and serve with large soup spoons.

Each individual can add the condiments to their liking and add tortillas a little as you go so they stay nice and crisp.

My husband really likes a simple cheese quesadilla to dip in his soup. For me, the soup is plenty.

This can also be easily scaled for a larger crowd. You will need 2 cups of broth (reduced to 1 cup) and 1/2 cup of chicken for each person, plus enough of all the acoutremonts to go around.

We just got home from a BBQ. This afternoon, after a full morning of working on the deck, I realized we were supposed to bring our own meat to BBQ and a side dish. Eeek! I hadn’t thought about it until just then and had no food in the house.

But then I remembered the pesto. I always have pesto and I always have chicken in the freezer. So, I cut the chicken into slices, added some oil and salt and the defrosted frozen pesto and we were on our way. Pesto is great for more than just pasta and can be easily made in big batches in the late summer when basil is abundant and cheap and frozen to be used the rest of the year.

Whenever I grow my own basil, I seem to end up with bunches and bunches of it that I am never able to use up quickly enough. This is a great use for all that basil.

I figured out the trick for freezing pesto many years ago after having dinner with friends. When they pulled their pesto out of the freezer it was black. It still tasted great, but it totally lacked that fresh green color that is so indicative of a great pesto.

I knew that there must be a way to preserve the pesto’s freshness and still be able to freeze it long term. So, I started to experiment.

The key is to freeze it without the oil and salt. It then keeps its bright green color for a very long time. I make large batches of pesto in the summer and then we have fresh bright green pesto all winter long. I put it on pasta with chicken Italian sausages and veggies and also marinate chicken in it.

Anyone have other great ideas for how to use pesto?

My Pesto Recipe

I kept this recipe on the smaller side so that it is easily manageable. This should make about four pouches. It can be easily multiplied to create more.

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
3 cloves of garlic

Put all of the above ingredients into a food processor or blender and spin until well blended but not yet a paste.

Take four little plastic sandwich baggies and divide the pesto between the baggies. The pesto should be just less than an inch all along the bottom of the bag. If you have enough for five bags use five, or if there is only enough for three bags that is fine too.

Roll the bags up tight and put in the freezer.

When you want to use them, just take out a bag and throw it in the microwave on defrost for 30 seconds. Then you can add it to a bowl of cooked pasta or in a bag of chicken to marinate with oil and salt to taste.

The best part of making pesto this way is that you have complete control over the amount of oil and salt that you use. You would be amazed how little oil you need.

I’ve been on a salad kick lately and this is a great classic chop chop, a little on the lighter side. Watching your fat? Use light dressing and leave out the salami. Banana peppers are the same as pepperoncinis. If you are looking for a large salad portion (restaurant size) then this is only one serving.

Chop Chop Salad Recipe

Makes 2 Servings

2 cups romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup slice green onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 T sliced black olives
2 T Parmesan cheese, grated
3 oz chicken breast, grilled
1 oz dry salami, diced
2 T banana pepper, diced
2 T Vinegrette Dressing

everything in this salad should be pretty finely chopped to keep with the nature of a chop chop salad.

Other than that, just put it all in a bowl and toss. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Breakdown

I love mu shu. It has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. My parents used to take me out for Chinese food regularly just so that I could have it. Yum yum yum.

I have been searching for years for a great mu shu recipe. I never did find the perfect one, but as with almost everything I cook, I took a recipe and tweaked and changed and tasted and tinkered until it was just perfect and I am happy to say that the mu shu recipe is ready for sharing.

This recipe is fresh and crisp, but not crunchy. It is flavorful and traditional in taste but lighter in weight and calories.

There are some compromises that I have made due to the availability of ingredients, family likes and dislikes and ease of making. I use flour tortillas instead of mandarin pancakes because I have two kids and no time to make them and I haven’t found them in any of the stores I shop at yet. I also leave out the traditional black mushrooms because my husband doesn’t like them and again they are a little tricky to find. Both of these could be found in an Asian grocery store and we have plenty of those in Seattle, but the extra trip just doesn’t seem worth it when it is just as yummy and a ton simpler without those things. I apologize to the traditionalists out there.

The work in this recipe is in the preparation. There are quite a few parts that need to be prepared and ready to go before cooking, but each is very simple.

Let’s get started…

Marinade the Meat
2 T. Soy sauce
1 T. white wine
1 T. Hosin Sauce
1 t. Sesame oil
1/2 pound of boneless chicken or pork in small strips or shredded*

Mix the marinade, add the meat, stir and let sit at room temp for 15-20 min or in the fridge for at least 1hr.

*This is a great way to use left over roasted chicken or pork roasts. Whether the meat is cooked or not does not really effect the recipe at all.

While the meat is marinating…

Veggies
2 cups Napa Cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup bean sprouts

prepare and collect all the veggies on a dinner plate, cutting board or bowl to ease dumping into the wok later

Cooking Sauce
3 T chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T white wine
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t. sugar
1 t. corn starch

Mix cooking sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Prepare Eggs
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 t olive oil

  • beat the eggs in a small bowl with salt.
  • Heat olive oil in wok on medium heat.
  • Add egg and cook, lifting the sides to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath. When just a little runny is left, flip the egg patty over and then slide out of pan onto a cutting board.
  • slice the egg into 1″ x 1/4″ strips

Set aside for later

Prepare garlic and ginger
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 in section of ginger

mince garlic and ginger and set aside

Prepare green onions for serving
4 green onions

Julienne the green onions into 1 inch thin strips and place in small serving bowl to place on the table.

Now, everything should be prepped. This can all be done in advance and held in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Cooking this takes only a couple of minutes so don’t start until you are ready to eat. You must be ready to move quickly and serve immediately.

This would be a good time to warm your tortillas. I recommend the fajita size flour tortillas and about 2-3 per person depending on appetites. A quick and easy way to warm your tortillas is to place them on a microwave safe plate, sprinkling each tortilla with water and microwaving on high for 30 seconds. Right before serving, flip the tortillas and microwave on high again for 30 seconds.

Ok, time to cook…

  • Heat 1 T of olive oil in your wok on medium high heat.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook till aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add your meat that has been marinating and cook until heated through, stirring constantly – time will depend on whether your meat was previously cooked or not.
  • Add all the veggies at once and mix them in. Cook for about 1 minute until cabbage begins to wilt slightly.
  • Add cooking sauce and egg and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about another minute.

Remove from heat and pour into serving dish.

To serve…

Take one tortilla, spread a little hoisin sauce on the tortilla, spoon meat and veggie mix into tortilla, top with green onions.
Roll into a little burrito and enjoy

This is one of those dishes that I just made up out of the sky one day. Hmmm, what to eat for lunch, combine a bunch of random stuff and poof, great dish. Well, some of the time it works out that way. As is also the way with these types of dishes, the ingredient list may seem a little eccentric, but it is a clean out the randoms in your kitchen kind of dish and boy is it good.

As with all my recipes, I recommend that you try it and customize it to your own liking. That is what cooking is all about. If there is an ingredient that you don’t like, or don’t have, omit it or substitute for it.

Since this is a kitchen cabinet meal, use what you have. No chicken? No problem, this would be good with any meat, no meat or tofu. Perfect use for leftover meat from last night’s dinner. Pretty much any vegetable would be great in this and any kind of rice will do just fine. The green olives and peperccinis are pretty integral to the flavor of the dish, but if you are strongly averted to one or the other, this dish will stand up just fine with just one of those. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this dish your own.

Funky Chicken and Mediterranean Rice Salad

1 c. cooked cubed or shredded chicken
2 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. roughly chopped mushrooms (I like cremini, but any kind will do)
1/2 c. finely chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped green olives (my favorite are the garlic stuffed ones, but any will do)
1/4 c. chopped peppercini peppers (you can find these by the olives)
1/4 c. Italian Salad Dressing (this is My FavoriteNewman's own parmesan and roasted garlic salad dressing, use yours)

Putting this together is pretty simple.  Mix it all together and serve. The chicken and rice should be pretty warm when added.

mmmmm, tasty!