Archive for May, 2017

VINEGAR-BRAISED CHICKEN AND ONIONS

I know it seems crazy to cook chicken in vinegar but somehow it works.  You will get flavorful chicken that is tender and moist.  The pearl onions are divine! It’s a one-pot, delicious dish so give it a try.

ingredients (serves 6)   vinegar-braised-chicken-and-onions

2 pounds cipolline or pearl onions

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

5 pounds skinless,  bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or legs; breasts halved crosswise)

Freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup balsamic vinegar

¾ cup red wine vinegar

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup golden raisins

2 bay leaves

directions

Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.

Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot turning, until browned on all sides, 10-12 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.

Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.bonappetit.com)

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SRIRACHA-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

OH MY GOODNESS is this cauliflower dish TO DIE FOR!!!! 

ingredientsfood_004-007

1 large head cauliflower (about 1 ¾ pounds, before trimming), cut into florets

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons Sriracha

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons plain rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus 4 wedges for serving

1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

2 scallions, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced

Handful cilantro leaves with tender stems, for garnish (optional)

directions

Preheat the oven to 4500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut each floret in half, top to bottom, heaping them on the baking sheet as you work.

Whisk together the oils, soy sauce, Sriracha (to taste), fish sauce, vinegar and lime juice in a liquid measuring cup, then pour over the cauliflower and use your clean hands, or tongs, to coat evenly. Spread the florets across the pan. Roast (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through. The cauliflower should be tender and nicely charred when it’s done.

Transfer to a platter, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds, scallions and the cilantro, if using. Serve hot, with lime wedges.

(recipe found on http://www.washingtonpost.com)

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CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

I made this soup the other night because of the cool weather and it was DELICIOUS! Spicy, great flavors and super healthy!!! There seems to be cool weather still with us so give it a try before summer is upon us!

ingredients IMG_3741

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2  teaspoons chili powder

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 cloves garlic, minced

32oz low sodium chicken broth

1, 15oz jar salsa (desired spiciness)

1 1/2  pounds skinless chicken breast (with bones)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

stone ground corn chips, grated Monterey Jack cheese, avocado slices (optional)

directions

Drizzle the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and chili powder. Cook an additional minute or so stirring well. Stir in the corn and the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and salsa, stir well, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the breasts to a cutting board.  Using two forks, shred the chicken.  (Use one fork to hold the chicken steady while the other shreds chicken into small pieces). Add the chicken back to the soup and stir. Add lemon if desired.

Serve with corn chips and sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and/or avocado if desired. (Don’t go overboard with these!)

(This recipe came from my friend, Iris. I changed it just a bit!)

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THE REIGN OF SUGAR

After a meal, many of us feel like having something sweet …….maybe a piece of dark sugar-duneschocolate, a cookie, or a piece of candy. When we reach for these, we know that we’re having a bit of added sugar and that’s fine. The problem is when we reach for other foods, that we don’t think of as sweet, but have hidden sugar. These foods, sometimes disguised as healthy, are everywhere. On their own they are harmless, but it doesn’t take much for these sugar grams to add up.

And speaking of sugar grams, I can’t tell you how frustrated it makes me that nutritional labels list sugar in grams. Does anyone understand grams? To crack the code, take the number of grams and divide by 4 to get teaspoons. We understand teaspoons!

As a nutritionist, suggesting a glazed Dunkin Donut for breakfast would be irresponsible—too much sugar and no worthy nutrients. Taking a closer look, there are 12 g of sugar (3 teaspoons) in one of these donuts. Breakfast cereals seem like a much healthier choice in the morning. While they have better nutrition, it doesn’t mean that they are low in sugar:

  • ½ cup of Nature Valley Maple Brown Sugar Granola Crunch: 16 g of sugar (4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran: 18 g (4.5 teaspoons)

Even Kellogg’s All Bran Buds (they look like rabbit pellets and do not taste sweet) have 8 g of sugar (2 teaspoons) per 1/3 of a cup.

I’m using cereal as an example but if you start paying attention, you will see added sugar in yogurts, breads, tortillas, protein bars, and crackers that might be high in fiber and labeled, “healthy”.  The problem with these products is that we don’t think of them as sweet.

How much sugar should we be taking in? The American Heart Association says that the maximum amount of added sugars we should eat in a day are as follows: Men: 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) and Women 25 grams (6 teaspoons). Given that sugar is ubiquitous, these guidelines are very challenging! (They are for me—I have a sweet tooth! 😬 )

The real problem with sugar is that too much might cause a rise in blood sugar signaling the pancreas to produce insulin, which will then cause blood sugar to drop.  Often, a drop in blood sugar makes you feel hungry  (for more sugar or carbs, of course)  and the cycle will keep repeating.

The best advice I can give is:

  1. Start looking at labels. Not all crackers, breads, yogurts, breakfast cereals, tomato sauces are the same. Do the math and convert sugar grams into teaspoons by dividing by 4. Being aware is the first step.
  2. Eat as much FOOD as possible. Food comes from the earth and not in a box or in a package.
  3. Try to eat protein, fat and carbs with each meal and snacks. Add walnuts to oatmeal; Have an apple with some peanut butter; Add avocado slices and chicken to a salad.

If you slowly phase out sugar and phase in protein and fat you won’t go through the horrible sugar withdrawal. Over time, you might be surprised at how much better you feel!

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PIONEER WOMAN’S VEGGIE STIR-FRY   

This is a unique veggie stir fry. If you want to add protein, you can add chicken, tofu, shrimp, steak…..whatever you like to make it a complete meal. If not, it’s a wonderful side dish!

ingredients (serves 8)dsc_4051-420x279

½  cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Sherry (or Low-sodium Vegetable Broth)

2 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

2 Tablespoons Sriracha (more Or Less To Taste)

1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger

3 Tablespoons Peanut Oil

1 whole Yellow Onion, Cut Into Large Chunks

1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Cut Into Large Chunks

1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Cut Into Large Chunks

2 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced

2 whole Medium Zucchini, Cut Into Large Wedges

1 can (15-ounce) Baby Corn, Drained And Halved Crosswise

1 head Broccoli Cut Into Florets

Cooked Rice Noodles Or Brown Rice, For Serving

Sesame Seeds, For Serving

directions

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, sriracha, and ginger. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers, and stir, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring continuously. Add the zucchini and stir it around, cooking it for 2 minutes more. Add the baby corn and broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes, then, while the veggies are still firm, pour in the sauce.

Stir the veggies in the sauce, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until the sauce is very thick. If it needs to be a little saucier, pour in ¼  to ½  cup hot water and splash in a little more soy sauce. Serve over noodles or rice, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

(Adapted from a recipe found in thepioneerwoman.com)

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CHICKEN AND SHRIMP PAELLA

This dish is a one pan WONDER!

ingredients (serves 6)chicken-paella-ck-592353-x

6 chicken thighs (about 1 ½ pounds), skinned

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 (4-ounce) link hot turkey Italian sausage

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 ½ cups uncooked Arborio or Valencia rice

½ cup diced plum tomato

1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¾ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus

½ cup frozen green peas, thawed

directions

Preheat oven to 400°.

Sprinkle chicken with rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm.

Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring to crumble. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan. Add broth and ¼ teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover pan, place in the oven and bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes. Stir in shrimp, asparagus, and peas. Cover and bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until shrimp are done.

(Adapted from a recipe found on www.myrecipes.com)

 

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