In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, chickpeas, garlic powder, paprika, and seasoned salt. Sautee for 5-7 minutes, until the ingredients are heated through and starting to lightly brown. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir for 2-3 minutes more.
Remove from the heat.
You can serve this plain, with rice or tortillas, inside a pita as a sandwich filling, or anything else you like! I served mine over a green salad with some avocados:
I hope you enjoy this simple, high-protein meal! Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Cheese is one of the great joys of life, it really is. But some people can't digest cheese. And some people are looking to cut down on fat and calories in their lives. And some people, weird people like me, actually like the taste of non-dairy alternatives. Not all of them, mind you. But if you look carefully and experiment, you might find some non-dairy options that tickle your fancy.
This "cheese" sauce has been a favorite of mine for years. It is one of many variations I've seen online and in cookbooks such as The New Farm Cookbook.
It's easy, quick, full of flavor and vitamins, and healthy. To enjoy it, though, you have to get past the idea that it will taste like Velveeta. It doesn't. I happen to hate Velveeta, so that's a good thing for me. The sauce takes its flavor mainly from nutritional yeast, the miracle food I wrote about here. If you've never tried it, now's the time.
In a medium saucepan, combine: 1/2 c. nutritional yeast, 3 T. flour, 2 c. water, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/4 t. paprika, 1/3 c. vegetable oil, 1 t. yellow mustard.
Whisk to combine. I know it looks funny at this point. You have to trust.
Heat the mixture over low-medium heat, stirring frequently. As the mixture starts to boil and thicken, whisk a few times more, then remove from the heat.
You can use this sauce in casseroles, on top of pasta or veggies, anywhere you like to use cheese sauce! I've used it on nachos and burritos as well.
Here, I put it on top of a baked potato with broccoli:
Delicious! Try it, and let me know what you think!
This one is a quickie but goodie. If you hate brussels sprouts, feel free to ignore this post. If you love brussels sprouts, you will definitely love this. If you are on the fence about brussels sprouts ... this could really change things for you.
I personally love them. But I've known people who hate them. I always thought that maybe they hated them because they had only had mushy boiled brussels sprouts (think stinky cabbage smell and soft texture). But what if they were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside? Bursting with fresh green spring-y flavor?
You may remember I have an obsession with cooking things on parchment paper. That obsession has not faded over the last year. It has only grown. So naturally, brussels sprouts get the parchment paper treatment here.
This is so simple it's not even a recipe. Wash a pound of brussels sprouts, cut the bottoms off, and cut them in half. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, and then put the brussels sprouts on. Drizzle with 3 T olive oil, 1/2 t. salt, and stir to coat the vegetables. That's it, folks. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
The caramelized crispy edges make them so delicious. The inside is tender, but not mushy. There is a real brussels sprout-y flavor, without any stinky cabbage smell. Give it a try!
Poaching is a lost art. As a cooking teacher, I often teach students how to poach an egg. Usually, in every class, there are only one or two people who have poached an egg before. Everyone else stares at me blankly when I say the word.
And for most of us, poaching an egg might be all the poaching we ever do in our kitchen. I recently went on a quest, however, to figure out how to poach boneless chicken breasts. They had always been tricky for me, as they quickly cross the line from "done" to "dry tough leather" in a couple of minutes during cooking. With poaching, they come out juicy, tender, and full of flavor.
Not only that, but poaching has become a go-to technique for me when I need chicken for a recipe. I can easily poach my chicken, then turn it into chicken salad, enchiladas, or anything else! Also, this method of cooking is low fat, as you are not cooking with any oil.
Here are the fruits of my experiments, people. You're welcome.
First, you get some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You put them in a pot and cover them with cold water. Add a generous amount of salt. I think I added about a tablespoon. Poaching is also a great way to add other flavors to your food. I added a vegetable bullion cube here. You can also add lemon zest, garlic, or anything else you want to flavor your chicken. But the salt is key. It helps keep the chicken juicy.
Then, bring the pot to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn it down to low. You will have to play around with your oven's settings to find what will produce the right temperature water. Now, poaching is not the same as simmering. With simmering, you see a steady stream of small bubbles. With poaching, you should see the water steaming and moving around, but not actually bubbling. Cooking the chicken at this slightly lower temperature prevents it from getting tough.
So, you let the chicken poach for 25 minutes. Then, take the pot off the burner and let the chicken sit in the hot water for another 15 minutes. When you take it out of the water, it will be ready to eat or put in other recipes. You won't believe the difference this cooking method makes! Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!
We've all had those disappointing fruit moments. You go to the grocery store, excited to pick out some new produce. Hey, there's a sale on blueberries! And look! I haven't seen apricots for months! You take them home, wash them, and ... you are reminded that apricots don't really come into season until mid-summer. And it's April.
But life gives us these wonderful opportunities so we can bake more often. At least that's what I like to think. Here is what I did with my disappointing, sour, somewhat off-texture fruit. The whole process took me about 5 minutes.
Step one: chuck fruit in a pan. More specifically, wash and slice it, and spread on the bottom of an 8 by 8 pan. I used a disappointing apple, 2 disappointing apricots, and a pint of weird blueberries. Stay with me now, people. It gets better. I sprinkled the fruit with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar:
In a bowl, I mixed up 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. whole wheat flour, 1/4 c. quick oats, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
I took 1/3 c. of Earth Balance spread (you can use butter, but we have this stuff in our house and it's a great dairy free alternative). I used a fork to cut the butter (y spread) into the dry ingredients, leaving some larger lumps:
I sprinkled the topping over the fruit, and I baked it at 350 for 25 minutes.
Behold! The fruit is now delicious! Not disappointing at all! I don't know what you like, but I thought it needed a little scoop of caramel ice cream on top:
But seriously, the baking process really drew out all the wonderful fruit flavors. The blueberries were juicy and sweet, the apricot tasted apricot-y, and the apple was tender and delicious. Try this with any combination of fruit that you like!
Here is another quick egg thing I do sometimes when time is at a minimum, but I want to eat something healthy and delicious.
Egg foo young is a cross between a stir fry and and omelet. You can pretty much add any vegetables or meat you like to it and it will be delicious!
Here's what I used:
I chopped up about a cup of spinach, 1/2 c. sugar snap peas, and half of a zucchini. I beat together 3 eggs and 1 T. water with a dash of black pepper.
In my skillet, I put 1 T. canola oil and 1 t. sesame oil. I heated the skillet on high heat and then stir fried the veggies for about 1 minute.
Then, I poured the egg on top. Rather than stirring the mixture, I gently push the sides of the egg toward the center as the edges become cooked, then tilt the pan to let the raw egg move out to the edges. The whole process takes about 2 minutes.
Then, I carefully cut the foo young in half and flipped each half over. If you're brave, you can try flipping the whole thing at once. Or make two smaller pancakes!
The second side only needs to be cooked about 1 minute more. I served mine with ramen noodles on the side!
To make "side dish" ramen noodles, simply cook the ramen according to the package directions, drain off the liquid, and toss with 1 T. sesame oil and 2 T. soy sauce.
This whole meal took me about 7 minutes from start to finish. It was delicious! Enjoy and let me know if you try it!
OK, hopefully I don't get in trouble with the Hamburger Helper company for saying this, but you can totally make your own hamburger helper. It is super easy, it's healthier without all the additives and extra sodium, and it's - dare I say it - much tastier than the stuff in the box. Plus, you probably have all the ingredients in your house right now!
Here we go:
Get yourself a pound of ground beef (I used lean organic, because hey, this is healthy hamburger helper), any kind of pasta you like (could be gluten free), a can of tomatoes, Lawry's seasoned salt, paprika, Italian herb seasoning, and garlic powder. And a can opener.
In a large cast iron pot, brown the ground beef.
Add 1 t. seasoned salt, 1/2 t. garlic, 1/2 t. Italian seasoning, and 1/2 t. paprika. Add the can of tomatoes, one can of water, and 2 cups of dry pasta.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover, and simmer about 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.
Let stand for 2-3 minutes for some of the liquid to absorb.
I served mine with sharp cheddar cheese on top:
It was so tasty! Comfort food at its finest, and just as easy as the "convenient" box mixes. Sorry, Helper hand guy.
This recipe is so easy, it's barely even a recipe. Kale chips are super popular right now. They are delicious and full of vitamins, fiber, and other wonderful kale goodness. My child will eat literally 4 cups of kale for dinner if I make this recipe.
Many of the kale chips you buy in the store are super expensive. My local grocery store sells a popular brand of kale chip for $6.99 a package! For $1, you can buy a bunch of kale and make your own.
I know many cooks prefer to use a dehydrator for kale chips. I don't have one of those. Maybe someday I'll purchase one just for kale chips. For now, I make them in my oven.
I preheat the oven to 375. I wash, de-stem, and rough chop a bunch of kale. I leave the pieces pretty big. I also let some water stay on the kale after washing. This evaporates in the oven, and the steam helps cook the kale. I put the kale on a baking sheet:
Then I drizzle 2-3 T. of olive oil on top, add 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 c. nutritional yeast. I use my hands to toss it like a salad, so the oil and seasoning coats all the kale.
Then I place this on the top rack of the oven. I bake it for 15-20 minutes. You will have to watch your kale and see how quickly it's cooking. I usually stir the pieces around once during the baking process. You don't want the kale to burn, but you want each piece to be pretty crispy, with not very many soft pieces left.
Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Kale chips are a great side dish to go with any dinner! Or just make them to have around as a snack. Let me know if you try them!
If you know me, you know that I usually have about ... 3 minutes to cook dinner on weeknights. I always try to make healthy food a priority. But I also prioritize speed. As I'm driving home, I'm thinking, "Now, what can I make in the least amount of time?" And the answer many times is eggs!
Egg tacos are one of my current favorite ways to make eggs. You can totally customize this recipe to your preferences!
The steps go something like this:
Walk in door. Drop bags and backpack on floor. Go to fridge and pull out the following: salsa, feta cheese, canola oil, avocado, tomato (not pictured), and corn tortillas.
Now, I know you're thinking, feta? How is that Mexican? Well, it's not. But it's a nice substitute for queso fresco and other mild Mexican cheeses. You can obviously use just about any cheese and salsa combination that you have lying around the house.
OK, so I get 2 skillets out and heat them to medium high on the stove. I crack my eggs. For this time, I'm making fried eggs. But I've made this with scrambled eggs and it's great!
So, cook your eggs how you like them:
Eggs are very personal, like a fingerprint. I've rarely met two people who like them exactly the same. For instance, I am one of the few people I know who likes to break the yolk of my fried eggs before flipping them over. Don't judge.
While you cook the eggs, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the other skillet. Fry each tortilla for about 10 seconds on each side. Oh, and chop the avocado and tomato.
Then, assemble your tacos! I was hungry, hence the messy presentation:
Now go eat! And enjoy in good health!
Last winter, I became obsessed with cooking one pot dinners. I like the simplicity, of course, but also the challenge of making rice and other grains cook perfectly with meat and vegetables at the same time. It's all about the timing, proportions of ingredients, and temperature.
This chicken and rice dish was one of my winners. It's super easy, tasty, and you probably have the ingredients in your house at all times.
Ingredients: 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (not pictured), olive oil, basmati rice, 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, garlic powder, bay leaves, Lawry's seasoned salt, paprika, and black pepper.
Traditionally, these types of dishes are made with short grain rice, because long grain rice like basmati is more fragile and prone to breaking in the cooking process. However, I've been using basmati because it has a lower glycemic index than other kinds of white rice, making it healthier for those watching their sugar intake.
In a large cast iron pot, heat 3 T. olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. After turning them over, season with 1/2 t. garlic, 1/2 t. seasoned salt, 1 t. paprika, and 1/4 t. pepper. If you like things spicy, you could totally add Tabasco sauce or any other hot sauce at this point.
Add the can of tomatoes, 3/4 c. rice, 1 1/4 c. water, and 2 bay leaves. Stir, and allow to come to a boil.
After the mixture boils, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir the mixture gently once or twice during this time, but don't mix it too much or you will break the rice.
When it's done, the rice will be tender and simmering in its own sauce:
Yummy! Quick, easy, and healthy: my favorite combination for weeknight dinners. There is something so magical about cooking rice with sauce. Every time, I marvel at how such a simple process can make such deep and wonderful flavors. Enjoy!
I'm a school librarian, cookbook author, and longtime fan of food and literature. Welcome to my blog!