vegetables

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.

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

My son has now grown out of baby food and is full on into table food. I am really struggling to find him a good variety of things to eat. It’s very easy to get in a rut.

Anyway, I made most of the baby food for both of my kids and thought I would share my recipes.

My favorite is the vegetable soup. It is tasty (even I would eat it), easy and flexible. The recipe that follows is simply a base. You can feel free to add or subtract ingredients depending on what your child is ready to eat. You can also process the finished soup into whatever consistency is right for your baby’s development stage.

My daughter is four and she still loves this soup. I just leave it a lot chunkier for her.

I prefer to make prepping as easy as possible and it takes a lot let time and effort to use the food processor than to chop all the veggies into bite size pieces. so I don’t worry about chopping all the vegetables down too much. Just to manageable sizes.

This is a great way to use up half bags of frozen vegetables or left over steamed or roasted vegetables. Be creative. I usually just buy whatever organic vegetables I can get for a good price. I include a clove of garlic for flavor, but of course feel free to leave this out if you feel it is too much for your child.

Remember, this is a mixed vegetable soup so please wait until your child is ready for mixed foods before introducing this.

To serve, I usually heat a couple of cubes in the microwave and then mix in a half a scoop of formula, some rice or oat cereal and then thin to the right consistency with water. The consistency will vary depending on how your kid likes it. Ian likes his pretty thick, but Ada preferred hers much thinner.

Baby Vegetable Soup

1 T olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of onion, chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 T dried Italian seasoning
1 bag, frozen mixed vegetables
1 bag prewashed spinach or baby spinach
1 bag of frozen potatoes
1 can of tomatoes, including juice
1 box of low sodium chicken broth

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat
Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to release flavors
Add onion, carrots, celery and Italian seasoning and cook until onion is translucent
Add the rest of the of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for about an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool until not difficult to work with. If you need to leave it for any significant amount of time, make sure to put it in the fridge.

In a food processor or blender, process in batches to the desired consistency. For younger babies puree it down as much as possible. As your child grows older you can leave it more and more chunky.

Pour the completed soup into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When frozen break out the ice cubes and store them in a gallon freezer bag. This recipe should make enough cubes to fill a gallon freezer bag give or take a little.

1-3 cubes per serving depending on the age and appetite of your child.