Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scotch Eggs


So.  Scotch eggs.  Hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage.  Mmmmm.  Seriously?  I read about them a couple places this week, my favorites being F.E.D. and Johnny Roadtrip.  I really wanted to do a Pork x 3 egg with Canadian bacon, thick country bacon and sausage.  Sadly, my Canadian bacon was too thick and wouldn't wrap around the egg well enough.  I will defintately be re-trying this recipe with the Candian bacon.

These were really super easy.  I wanted to add an extra Paleo-esque aspect by rolling them in the ground almonds and frying them in the bacon grease before throwing them in the oven.  I am totally a breakfast person and I cannot imagine a more perfect breakfast unless I figured out how to add butter to this.

Scotch Egg
Prep Time: 10 min               
Cook Time: 45 minutes            
Yield: 12


INGREDIENTS:

12 eggs, hard-boiled
12 slices thick cut bacon, lightly cooked
24 oz pork sausage
¼ cup ground almonds
Bacon drippings

DIRECTIONS:

·         Preheat oven to 375˚

·         If you can hard boil eggs the night before and cool in the fridge.  Cook the bacon until done, but not crisp.

·         Wrap each egg in a slice of bacon, then cover in 2 oz of pork sausage.

·         Coat with ground almond, then cook in bacon drippings until lightly browned.

·         Bake in oven on a raised rack for 45 minutes.

Allow to cool, wrap tightly in foil, then freeze.

Nutrition:
12 PODS (serving) 295 calories, 34 g fat, 716g sodium, 3G carb, 0g fiber, 19g protein

nutrition information estimated at Livestrong.com:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Faux Italian Sausage Meat Sauce with Hidden Veggies for 3 Mealpod Recipes

Artwork: Italian Decadence - colored pencil by Nicole Caulfield 

If your family is like mine, it is very rare that everyone is completely happy with a given meal. Everyone has to make sacrifices. This week I did Italian - good ole red sauce Italian, but I did it 3 ways to make everyone happy. One red sauce and 3 Mealpod Recipes that is. I made a noodle-free eggplant lasagna for me (a recipe I posted before here), a whole wheat noodle lasagna for hubby, and whole wheat angel hair pasta for the kids. The sauce WAS a compromise however - because I added loads of hidden veggies (shhh the kids don't know how many I put in there).

If it weren't for making the meals into Mealpods (portioning them and freezing them in packs) I would not be able to cater to everyone's tastes. I spent two hours cooking all the recipes but I got about 24 servings of food out of it - with 3 different varieties. Not bad! 

 

The sauce is the big star in all of these recipes. When I went shopping, the ground turkey was on sale - CHEAP. I don't really like the aftertaste of ground turkey so I decided to make a faux Italian sausage meat sauce using 2 lbs of the turkey on sale and 1 pound of ground sirloin. We try to keep our meats lean and lower in saturated fat if we can. I figured the sirloin would add some flavor, but then added fennel seeds (the seeds in Italian sausage), and red pepper flakes right into the meat before cooking to mimic the flavors of sausage.

Another camouflaged element in the sauce were those veggies. The trick to getting the kids to eat the veggies in the sauce and not pick them out is to cut them very very small. I think some people put them in the food processor after cooking and pour them in the sauce like a V8 but I like the chunks in the sauce even if they are small chunks. 


So here is the recipe for the chunky sauce which you can layer in lasagna like I did, put it over pasta, or heck it tastes so good you can eat it as is. Hey its just like chilli! 

Meat Sauce w/ Faux Italian Sausage & Hidden Veggies

This is a kid-friendly - chunky meat sauce with lean meats and teeny vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 zucchini chopped really small
  • 1 small onion chopped really small
  • 2 bell peppers chopped really small (your choice on color)
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic or garlic powder
  • 30 oz strained Pomi tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 2 tbs Italian Seasoning
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine your meats and add fennel seeds, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper.
  2. Brown in a pan and drain, set aside.
  3. Dice your veggies really really small like the photo above and sautee with some minced garlic, olive oil, and Italian seasoning until softened. 
  4. In a large pot pour in your strained tomatoes, tomato paste, and add in your veggie mixture, and meat mixture. 
  5. Bring up to a simmer and them simmer for about 30 minutes. 

- I used the sauce layered in the no-noodle eggplant lasagna. Recipe here (this one was for me)

-  made a traditional noodle lasagna layering it with whole wheat noodles, part-skim ricotta & egg mixture, and part-skim mozzarella.  (for hubby & the kids a bit) This recipe is really the noodle-less one but replacing the eggplant slices with whole wheat noodles. The trick to keeping it healthy is picking the part-skim dairy products (Sis might disagree on this one). 

-  lastly just mixed it with some angel hair whole wheat pasta for the kiddos who don't really like ricotta. 


& here is the most beautiful thing. The freezer all stocked back up! There are still bags of other pods but they were getting pretty empty. You must be wondering if we eat frozen food every night. Well of course not. We ate fresh today, and we do a couple of other nights too. The Mealpods are eaten about 4 or 5 out of 7 nights which is such a treat not to cook on those nights without ordering takeout!


- Nicole

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fitness Goals 2012 (for turning 40)

Me a couple of years ago in Hawaii
I was doing just upper body strength
trainingand running then. 
This is a big year for me. I turn 40 in September and my oldest daughter just turned a teenager officially. Let me make sure you know I am NOT 40 yet. I turn 40 September 9th, 2012.

I played around with some fitness goals for the year. I thought about doing a half marathon again (I've done one - by myself, lol) but I just wasn't feeling it. I actually prefer doing cardio most days of the week and training for longer miles just makes me not able to do it 6-7 days a week. I know some people think you shouldn't do it everyday but I get CRANKY if I don't, so I really do it for the world in general - to make it a more beautiful place.

I've been running jogging for gosh years now and really like it. I like it mostly because it is free. You can do it on vacation too without being stuck in a little hotel workout room. I started to not like running  as much lately though. Doing the same cardio every day makes the same muscles worn out and it was not serving me well for my crankiness, because sometimes I would not want to do it. Plus I managed to give myself plantar fasciitus which is not fun. Its like a bad exboyfriend that keeps on popping back up just when you think he's gone. Ouch.

Luckily a gorgeous new YMCA was built a 1/2 mile from my house & my health insurance paid for a good portion of it! So now I started alternating my cardio and not running every day. On a perfect week  I do spin class Monday mornings, run Tuesday & Wednesday before work, Thursday do the cross trainer, run Friday, spin class on Saturday, and whatever I feel like on Sunday.

I also have been introduced (better) to the concept of interval training. I had heard of it before and have seen the setting on different machines but until I did spin class I did not really see the benefits. I always just jogged at a steady pace - every day. I have completely changed that though. I love intervals. They make the time go fast, they make it fun and rewarding, they make the speeds I used to think were fast seem slow, etc. Intervals put simply are just alternating between slower/easier work and harder/faster work in set intervals (or unset). You can do it for various amounts of time like run fast for 1 minute, slow for one, and repeat several times for 20-30 minutes. The goal is to get your heart rate up to 80-90% of your maximum for the hard intervals and back down for the easier ones. You really want your heart rate to go back down during the rest portions before you kick into your harder interval, so if your heart takes longer to slow back down you need to rest longer. A heart rate monitor is really helpful for that.

I am no fitness trainer (obviously) and I think you have to know you don't have any heart problems before doing interval training so please take my silly advice with caution. Actually don't think of this post as advice at all.

Here are some articles that talk about the benefits of interval training:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/fashion/03Fitness.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627140103.htm

I've also added in strength training. I always wanted to, but I hated the first couple of weeks of soreness and I always thought that it would impair my running. Well I've been doing it for a couple of months and it has done the opposite. After the first two weeks of pain, that felt like I had the worst flu ever or maybe more like I was turning into a zombie, I think it has actually improved my running. I can do those intervals of sprints without my knees giving out. I can even race my 9 year old without that happening - although she always beats me. (I think I could run for longer though).

Right now I am just doing the weight machines at the Y and some free weights, but might do some of the strength classes they offer as well. There is a cross-training class (generic cross-fit) tomorrow if I can get up the nerve and do exercise with other people without a spin bike as a security blanket. Bites nails.

More on the benefits of strength training for runners:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304--13093-0,00.html

http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PBOnePieceView?storeId=10151&catalogId=10751&languageId=-1&pagename=195


So I don't have any set fitness goals for when I have to turn 40 this September (why do I have to)? I like the weight I am at. I am enjoying my exercise and I would like to keep on enjoying it. I would like to get less jiggly but I think the intervals will help with that as will the strength training.


I would love to hear about your fitness goals if you are turning 40 too, or 30, or 24 (I hate you). I would also love to hear your opinions on intervals or strength training as well.

-- Nicole 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lunch Roundup #4



Lunch Round up is a bit different this week. The kids and I had off school/work  for winter break. That's like spring break but in the winter for you non east coast people. :-) I thought maybe if I went ahead and made their lunchboxes as usual they would take them out of the fridge and eat their lunch or part of it when they were ready for it. So that is what I did Monday & nope, they did not want to have anything to do with it. Even with a little (not so) gentle coaxing from me. So for the rest of the week I just precut a bunch of their favorite fruits and salad fixings and stacked them in the refrigerator. Which worked out really well because we have had friends over, the kids have gone to their friends' houses, we've gone to the mall, my youngest got to go to an indoor water park, and having plenty of fruit and veggies cut up in the fridge has helped. On top of that we have sandwich fixings in the fridge as well as leftovers. I'll have to get more creative for summer I think!

I also made my usual treat for the week. This time I had Life as a Plate's Bananacado muffins printed out and ready to go but then got cold feet because of the expense of all the avocados and a couple of jars of almond butter. Plus my youngest does not like cooked banana recipes. :-( So I decided to start with her idea and make my own recipe.

This was actually a first for me - I have never made up a baked goods recipe. I used whole spelt flour, and replaced the oils in a standard chocolate cake recipe with the healthy oils in avocados and almond butter. My first try had a great texture but not much chocolatey taste, so I upped the cocoa and added some mini chocolate chips. Adding the chocolate chips, however, added some saturated fat and extra calories.
The taste and texture ended up turning out something like those Little Debbie's Brownies with the candies on top (Cosmic Brownies), which happen to be my 9 year old's favorite thing to beg for at the grocery store. One of those little packages has 280 calories, 11 grams of fat etc, not to mention questionable ingredients. 


Mine below for one fudgey brownie bite has 86 calories and healthy fats. I know that no one ate just one, so you do have to at least double everything on the chart.


Fudgey Brownie Bites

Whole wheat spelt brownie bites with avocado and almond butter for healthy fats.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup (1 medium) smashed avocado
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Ghiradelli mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup hot water

Instructions

  1. Mash your avocado with a fork to get rid of as many lumps as possible.
  2. In a large bowl add avocado, sugar and almond butter and beat until smooth.
  3. Melt 1/2 a cup of your chocolate chips and add to mixture. 
  4. Beat in eggs.
  5. In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa.
  6. Add milk to the avocado mixture alternating with flour mixture until well mixed. Add vanilla.
  7. Mix in hot water.
  8. Stir in remaining (not melted) chocolate chips.
  9. Fill two mini cupcake pans with liners. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Yield: 48-52 mini cupcakes



After a sleepover this week, my daughter and her friends had some whole wheat mini bagels, scrambled eggs and cantaloupe for breakfast but wanted some junk food. I let them walk the almost mile to the gas station to get some (& the same distance back). This has been my policy in the summer too. If you want junk food you have to go and walk and get it. What do you all think about that? Sometimes they think its not worth the walk and sometimes they do. This is for my 13 year old, btw. My 9 year old has to go with the 13 year old and there are sidewalks the whole way. Plus this week it was unseasonably warm at 50 degrees. 



- Nicole 



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Mexican Casserole



I love Mexican food, but it’s not easy to do Paleo.  I have to allow myself some corn torillas and corn chips once in awhile.  It’s not something I do often, but when the taste for it hits me I don’t make excuses.
You could be fancy-pants and make your own tortillas like my sister, which are delicious, but messy and kind of time consuming.  Personally, I buy the authentic corn tortillas at my local Hispanic grocery store.  They are made fresh in Chicago and don’t contain any preservatives.
When I reheat this one, I do top it with some sour cream and salsa.  It actually turned out better than I thought it would.  I love it when that happens!



Gluten-Free Mexican Casserole
Prep Time: 20 min               
Cook Time: 30 minutes            
Yield: 9


INGREDIENTS:



1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup plain yogurt

14 oz diced tomatoes

4 oz green chilis
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ tsp coconut oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken, cooked
10 corn tortillas, cut in quarters
8 oz shredded cheddar

DIRECTIONS:

·         Preheat oven to 375˚

·         Combine broth, coconut milk, yogurt, tomatoes, chiles, parsley, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.

·         Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.

·         Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 with half the tortillas. Top with half the chicken and half the onion mixture. Spoon half of the sauce evenly over the top. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas, chicken, onion mixture and sauce. Sprinkle with Cheddar. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Allow to cool, cut into 9 slices, then freeze.
Nutrition: 9 PODS - 255 calories, 10  g fat, 410g sodium, 23G carb, 3g fiber, 17g protein

nutrition information estimated at Livestrong.com:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Pork Muffins


I saw this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Pork Loaf at Chowstalker and knew it had to be made into muffins for Mealpods!  The muffins look kind of lonely up there and if I were eating them for dinner I would probably add some sweet potatoes or coleslaw or both.  These are my lunch this week, though, so solo pork muffins it is!

Apple Cinnamon Pork Muffins
Prep Time: 10 min               
Cook Time: 45 minutes            
Yield: 12
INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs ground pork
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored & diced
½ cup onion, diced
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, chopped (set aside a few for topping)
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup almond meal
1 egg
3 tbsp applesauce

DIRECTIONS:

·         Preheat oven to 375˚

·         Combine all ingredients except applesauce in a large bowl, use your hands to mix all ingredients together until well combined

·         Divide into 12 equal portions into a muffin tin

·         Bake for 30 minutes, drain, then top with apple sauce and a few nuts, bake another 15 minutes

Allow to cool, then portion 2 muffins per mealpod for freezing

 

Nutrition: 6 PODS (servings) 517 calories, 38g fat, 280g sodium, 12G carb, 3g fiber, 33g protein

nutrition information estimated at Livestrong.com:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardis Gras Cajun Shrimp and Kale


This version of cajun shrimp and rice is light on salt and oil and packed with healthy kale! 


I knew I wanted to do something cajun for Mardis Gras and I had bought a big bunch of kale at Market Basket last week because they HAD it and they are usually out of it. I'm glad I did because it was perfect for the veggie in this week's Mealpod and it helped cut that spiciness down! Because boy this is spicy! I'm going to write the recipe with a little less cayenne so I don't hurt anyone. 



Seriously Fun Cajun Seasoning

Cajun Rice with Shrimp and Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked extra large shrimp (not jumbo) if frozen thawed and dried
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning (Slap Ya Mama or Old Bay)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or homemade)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp no sodium chicken bouillon granules (optional)
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper (depends how daring you are!)
  • 5 cups shredded kale
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice


Instructions

  1. In a large pot add chicken broth, salt, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in rice and kale. If there is too much kale for it to come to a boil again, hold some back and steam separate. Bring to a boil again.
  3. Turn burner to low and put lid on. Let simmer for 18-20 minutes or until all liquid is gone. Set aside.
  4. Add butter, oil, minced garlic cloves, and old bay seasoning in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat.
  5. Add defrosted shrimp and cook until shrimp is hot.
  6. Add shrimp and juice to your rice mixture. Mic and serve hot and over steamed kale. Divide extra into Mealpods for the freezer. It made 8-10 Mealpods depending on how much you ate while cooking it!
- Nicole

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lunch Roundup 3

Spelt bread turkey sandwich, raspberry mini cupcakes, strawberries, blueberries, and broccoli
Another week of bento lunches - woo-hoo! I had a request to do sandwiches this week. SO I decided to bake some spelt bread for them. I used spelt because it has much lower amounts of gluten in it compared to normal wheat. I can go on about how it is an ancient grain and yadah yadah yadah, but really I thought it would just be good to give them a variety since wheat is in so many things. Plus I am testing myself to see if eating spelt made favorites has the same effect on me as the wheat versions. Spelt is not an alternative btw for people with celiac disease, since it does contain some gluten.


Everything was Valentines theme of course too so if you are sick of hearts - sorry! Above is MY almond butter and jelly sandwich. I have not had one in FOREVER and I have to say with the spelt bread it was soooo good. We always use almond butter in the house since my daughter is allergic to peanuts. Above is store bought Barney Butter which tastes to me exactly like everyday peanut butter but with less sugar. They label it as completely peanut free which is really hard to find too.  I played around with making my own almond butter in the food processor this week - but one recipe at a time, lol.


These are the cookie cutters I use for my cheese shapes... 
you can use them on veggies, cheese, sandwiches, etc! 
The trick is they are tiny. 


Also in the lunches were a teeny tiny vanilla cupcake with raspberry frosting. I believe in a little of a bad thing is not so bad.  I put frozen raspberries in the frosting to make the pink color and flavor. My daughter gave one away to her friend at lunch who tried it and said "There was a yummy smoothie on that cupcake... it made the cupcake kind of a let down!" LOL 


Recipe for spelt bread: I made 2 loaves in my food processor. Making bread is easy, but messy and someone always asks you to give them a ride when you are waiting for it to rise to do the next step, but it is so worth it. I used half whole Spelt flour that comes packaged by Bob's Red Mill and half from the bulk section that looks more like white flour. I used one yeast packet for both loaves for a denser loaf, but you can use two for a lighter one.

Spelt Bread
Requires a LARGE food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6-7 cups Spelt flour

Instructions

  1. Add water to your food processor with the dough blade in. Sprinkle in yeast and pulse to dissolve.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and pulse until smooth.
  3. Remove the bowl from your base and allow it to rest in a warm draft free place with its lid on and a towel draped over it for 1- 1/2 hours or until it gets a spongey top.
  4. Stir the sponge down and add honey, oil, salt and 2 cups more flour. Pulse to mix well.
  5. Turn your food processor on and add remaining flour a little at a time until it turns to dough and pulls off the dough on the sides. It should be sticky. Let it process for 1-2 minutes to knead.
  6. Place in a large oiled bowl and turn it to coat with oil. Place a towel over it and let sit for an hour.
  7. Punch dough down and transfer to an oiled cutting board or counter. Separate in half and smoosh into two 8 x 12" rectangles. Roll one end tightly like a jelly roll and pinch ends.
  8. Place in two greased loaf and and let sit with a towel over them for 1 hour.
  9. Bake 375 for 30-35 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Honey Butter


Carrot Cake Pancakes were a favorite from my pre-Paleo days.  The original recipe used regular flour and brown sugar and lowfat everything.  I have added coconut oil and use local, organic honey with Kerrygold butter for my topping.  No syrup needed here! 

For photograping purposes I have added some Omelet Muffins and thick sliced country bacon.  In reality, I will eat half of this as my breakfast.  It sure does look awesome, though, all piled up high on the plate!  I could eat all that if I didn't want to eat the rest of the day.  As a formerly obese person, I still have to watch my calories pretty tight, Paleo eater or not.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Honey Butter

Prep Time: 10 min               
Cook Time: 20 minutes            
Yield: 6

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ cups almond flour
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of ginger
¼ cup maple sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups carrot, grated
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp honey

DIRECTIONS:

·         Mix dry ingredients together until fully blended.  Add milk, oil and eggs, then fold in carrots. 

·         Heat skillet with coconut oil, spoon mixture onto hot skillet, about 2 overflowing tablespoons per pancake.  Allow pancake to cook until you see the edges start to brown.  Flip gently and continue to cook until done.

·         Combine butter and honey in a small bowl and serve with pancakes.

Nutrition: 6 PODS - 392 calories, 30g fat, 356g sodium, 22G carb, 4g fiber, 10g protein

nutrition information estimated at Livestrong.com:
http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/mealpod-carrot-cake-pancakes-honey-butter/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Make Ahead Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole


Last week's make ahead casserole was delicious, so I really want to try to make one every week.  My daughter has a lot of activities after school, so we often don't walk in the door until 6pm and getting dinner on the table by 7pm is usually the plan.

I put this together while making my other mealpods for the week.  While the Apple Cinnamon Pork Muffins were being mixed up, I threw the chicken in the oven for the casserole.  The onions I chopped were or both recipes.  I portioned out all of the ingredients for this recipe while waiting for the other to finish cooking.

Make Ahead Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole

Prep Time: 30 min               
Cook Time: 30 minutes            
Yield: 8


INGREDIENTS:

½ cup wild rice
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked
2 tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup almond flour
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 cups frozen French cut green beans
½ cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:
·         Cook wild rice to package directions, set aside

·         Heat oil in dutch oven add onions until just starting to brown, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid has been released and evaporated.  Add chicken broth and increase heat to boiling, cooking until most of liquid has been evaporated.

·         Sprinkle the green beans with almond flour, add coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring.  Stir in Parmesan, sour cream and parsley.  Remove from heat.

·         In a 9 x 13 pan, spread the rice in an even layer in the dish, top with the chicken broken into bite sized pieces, then the green beans.  Pour the sauce over the top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with almonds. 

Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350˚ and cook for 30 minutes.

Nutrition: 8 PODS - 277 calories, 16  g fat, 200g sodium, 13G carb, 2g fiber, 20g protein

nutrition information estimated at Livestrong.com:
http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/mealpod-chicken-mushroom-wild-rice-casserole/


I have one of the corningware dishes with a fitted plastic lid that I love. It comes with a carrier so you can easily bring it to events. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Easy Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fr

I let hubby pick what to make this week for one of my Mealpod recipes and he picked a tofu and vegetable teriyaki stir-fry. I am not a big fan of tofu, so I made an easy teriyaki marinade/sauce and made 1/2 with tofu and half with chicken. The protein really doesn't take center stage anyway - its those gorgeous veggies!


-Nicole




This will not make it to the freezer and will instead be devoured cold or heated up all week. I am going to try and freeze one serving to see how it reheats as well but I'm not hopeful. The beauty of a stir-fry is still crisp veggies.

 Chicken & Vegetable  Stir-fry (and tofu too)

to make this you will need:

  • 3 large chicken breasts 
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (or double your chicken)
  • a big bowl full of fresh stir-fry veggies, cut, rinsed and dries and ready to go (about 6 cups) Your choice here - I used red peppers, shredded carrots, broccoli florets and snow peas
  • triple batch of teriyaki sauce recipe
  • 2 tbs oil of your choice



The night before or 3 hours before cooking:

Make your marinade/sauce (recipe from Robin Robertson's Quick-Fix Vegetarian)
This has been tripled so you don't have to do the math. Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup Tamari
  • 6 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbs light brown sugar
  • salt & black pepper

    Cut your chicken into smaller pieces and using a meat tenderizer, tenderize a little bit on each side. Place in a ziploc bag with enough marinade to cover chicken but not too much over (you want enough sauce left to have with the finished meal). Place in the fridge overnight.
    Yum
    Before mealtime:
  1. Start by prepping your veggies. Cut your broccoli into smaller florets, cut your red peppers into thin strips, etc. Make sure to wash and dry (I use a salad spinner) too. Set aside
  2. For tofu place 1 tbs oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and brown on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  3. For chicken place 1-2 tbs oil in nonstick skillet over medium - medium high heat. Drain the chicken and stir fry until slightly browned. Set aside.
  4. If your pan is too dirty get a new pan or wash the one you have.  In the same skillet add a little oil if needed and stir-fry the veggies just until starting to get soft. You want a good crunch in them if you are going to heat up later in the week. Plus they are so good that way. Turn down the heat to low. 
  5. While the skillet is still hot add your chicken or tofu (divide if you made both) and pour with remaining or some of the sauce/marinade and just warm everything up. Serve right away and store the rest in the fridge for the week. Its great cold too. 

I am not sure how many serving this made - maybe 8 - we have been snacking on it all day. 

This pic was screaming for our website url!



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lunch Update Week 2


Lunch Box #2



I've decided to post one kids' lunch from the week every week. I am sure I am going to have many repeats of lunches so I am hoping this will keep me on my toes. When I find  something that the kids like and do it over and over again they eventually get sick of it, so I need to not get stuck in a rut.

So you know I eat gluten-free but my family does not. The lunches I post will have gluten in them, but not always. I am planning on trying some recipes next week that use whole spelt flour instead of regular flour and see how that goes (spelt has minimal amounts of gluten), but for now I used my leftover pizza dough and made whole wheat heart shaped bread sticks to go with the other things in the lunch. 

I would really like a better balance in the lunchboxes - 1/2 fruit and veggies and the other half protein and a grain. That seems attainable although I am not there yet. Another goal is to "have a rainbow" of colors of fruits and veggies. That is from one of the tips posted by Primal Kitchen who makes her preschooler paleo lunchboxes every day. She is such an inspiration and knows what she is talking about! Today's box has carrots, fresh pineapple and kiwi, a hard boiled egg, slice of bacon, a whole wheat heart breadstick and cheese "hearts." I am including a little dessert every day to keep them excited about the boxes. Today is little mini chocolate cupcakes with no frosting.  



I used the leftover whole wheat  dough from my mini pizzas to make the breadsticks.


1/2 Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Nicole CaulfieldINGREDIENTS
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 packet Fleishmann's rapid rise yeast
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • kosher salt 


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Put all your flour, salt, and yeast in a heavy duty food processor with the dough blade in.
  1. Warm up a cup of water in the microwave on high for a minute. Remove and mix in 1 cup hot water from the tap. Mix in the oil with the water.
  1. Pour the water/oil mixture into the food processor and turn on. Let it go for a couple of minutes or until you have a well mixed dough. If you need to add water or flour go ahead
  1. Let sit for 10 minutes in an oiled bowl with a towel over the top.
  1. Pull of 2 inch balls of dough and roll a long coil. Wrap around to make a heart and pinch the bottom to make a point. 
  1. Brush with whipped egg and sprinkle with kosher salt. 
  1. Bake  @ 375 until browned.  
If you don't have  a food processor - mix half the flour with salt & yeast & all of the water/oil mixture. Combine well and then add the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and doughy. Resume with step # 4. 


Like my jumbo silicone muffin cups? They make great dividers!