Saturday, January 28, 2012

Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken

I am always looking for chicken recipes because it sometimes gets old making the same ones over and over again. When I saw this recipe in my Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Cooking Light I knew it would be good. The best part is that you probably have all the ingredients already on hand! My picture does not look anywhere near to as good as theirs, but I will share it anyway. One difference was that I did not have stone ground mustard on hand so I used dijon mustard. I think it would have been either better with the stone ground mustard. If you also do not have it, just sub whatever mustard you have. Also usually split my chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make for faster cooking and easier leftovers. That way everyone gets their own breast and it is not this huge out of portion 6oz breast.

Serves: 4

2 tsp olive oil
2 8oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, split in half lengthwise to make 4 thin breasts
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat pan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper . Add chicken to pan and saute 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
3. Add broth, syrup, thyme and garlic to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Add vinegar and mustard, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan and spoon mustard mixture over chicken.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 2 minutes. Remove. If desired, remove chicken from pan and heat sauce over medium heat for two minutes until liquid is syrupy. Serve over chicken.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade Chicken Broth

I am working towards making more things homemade and the great thing is that it is so easy you can too! Have you ever read the label of chicken broth? It is loaded with sodium and contains unnecessary ingredients. Why is yeast in broth? What the heck is natural flavoring? (it is chemicals created in a lab to make you want to eat more of the product) Plus, homemade stock tastes better! So the next time you roast a chicken or bone in chicken breasts, pull up this recipe and use those bones!

Makes approximately 6-8 cups

Carcass of a whole roasted chicken or 3 large bone in breasts
3 carrots, cut into thirds
3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds
1/2 large onion, quartered
1 lemon, see note below
3 garlic cloves, smashed, see note below
few sprigs thyme, see note below
few sprigs parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt, more to taste if desired
1 tsp black pepper

 I had a carcass from a roasted chicken that I had filled with lemon, garlic and thyme so I threw it all into the pot. If your chicken is plain roasted, add the garlic, lemon and thyme as listed above.

1. Using your hands break some of the large bones of the chicken to release the marrow and allow them to fit in the pot.
2. Place all ingredients in a large soup pot.
3. Cover with water.

4. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. 
5. Simmer at least 1 hour but you can simmer longer to have more flavor.
6. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and cool overnight. 
7. The next day, remove from fridge. The fat will have risen to the top and become hard. Spoon the fat off. Place stock in storage containers. 
8. Keep in the fridge up to a week or freeze and thaw as needed overnight in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Real Food Brownies

This recipe is from the book The Healthiest Meals on Earth  by Jonny Bowden, Phd. When I first read it I thought there was no way these brownies were actually good. So, I had to try them for myself. They are good! If you are thinking they will taste like your grandmother's brownies smothered with butter and chocolate icing, you are wrong. If you are thinking they will be dense, moist, and chocolately, you are right! You can feel good about indulging in these babies! The only thing I changed from the original recipe was the type of oil used. He suggested macadamia nut oil and I had coconut oil on hand so I did not go buy a special expensive oil for only one recipe.

Serves: 9-12

1 ¼ cups pitted dates (about 10 oz)
9 Tbs cacao or cocoa powder, unsweetened
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup agave nectar
2 cups canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (about one 28oz can)
4 eggs
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 350
1. measure dates in a liquid measuring cup and pour in hot water to 1 ½ cup line, turning the dates over with your hands until the water reaches all the dates. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Pour off 1/4cup of the liquid from the dates and process the rest in a blender or food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
2. Put the date paste into a large bowl and add the cocoa powder, oil and agave. Mix.
3. Combine the beans and eggs in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the garbanzo bean mixture to the date mixture, stirring well. Add the baking powder and cinnamon. Stir and pour into 8x8 pan.
4. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, cut and serve. Store remainder in refrigerator. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Beef Stew

I am not going to cloud this post with my words. All I am going to say is that THIS IS THE BEST BEEF STEW EVER! It is an act of love that tastes so in your mouth and belly! So, find a day at home with a few hours, get the ingredients and make it!

slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika
Serves: 5-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours

3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted organic butter
2 lbs grass fed stew meat (you can get this in the meat section and it is labeled "stew meat"!)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 3 Tbs preminced garlic)
1 cup red wine (use a wine you would drink or substitute a cup beef broth)
4 cups beef stock
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste (i always buy the 4oz can, use what i need, cover and stick in the rest in the fridge)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
5 whole carrots, washed, unpeeled and roughly sliced
4 whole golden potatoes, cut into 8ths
torn fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1. Heat oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. You are not cooking the meat all the way through. You just want the outside to get brown.

2. Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute.

3. Pour in wine, beef stock, worcestershire, tomato paste,  paprika, salt, pepper and sugar. Cut any pieces of meat that are larger in half, then add beef and any juices on the plate back into pot. Stir to combine.

4. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. If too much of your liquid evaporates (you want it to cover the ingredients), you can add a little water to the pot.

5. Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook an additional 30-60 minutes until they are tender.

6. Taste and adjust any seasonings, but I found it was perfect! Serve topped with fresh parsley!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Apple Sausage Soup with Cabbage

I hear stories all the time about horrible mother in laws. The kind that are overbearing, judgmental, pushy, and unwelcoming. You know the kind? I do not and I am so grateful!!! I have the best mother in law in the world. I usually just call her my second mom. From the time my husband and I met she has loved me like her daughter and has only made my life better. Thank Dorenda! I love you too.
   She is also probably my biggest fan on this blog. She cooks a lot of the recipes. We go home to visit our wonderful families often, and every time she sends me home with some kind of food. At the Christmas visit it was local cabbage. So, of course, I made cabbage soup! This soup, although not photographed well, is delicious. It has complex flavors, good protein and is chock full of fresh vegetables. I hope you will try it and let me know what you think.... hurry, before it starts to get warm outside again!

Serves: 4-6

1 chicken breast, skin on and bone in
1 Tbs olive oil
8 oz chicken apple sausage, remove from casings (if you cannot find fresh sausage, you could use precooked and just slice it)
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 Tbs minced garlic
4 medium size Yukon gold potatoes, small diced
6 cups low sodium organic chicken stock
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp sea salt
½ large head of cabbage, sliced
1 small or ½ large granny smith apple 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place chicken breast on a baking sheet. Rub 1 tsp olive oil over chicken. Sprinkle with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and a little sea salt. Cook for 30 minutes. Set aside.

While chicken is cooking, heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking into pieces as you cook. Once the outside of the sausage is browned, add carrots, celery, onions. Stir. Cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Stir. Cook one minute.
Add stock and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add cabbage and apple. Stir. Cover and Cook 10 minutes.
Remove cover. Remove from heat.
Remove skin from chicken, shred meat and add to soup.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Raw Date Bars

My husband and I eat "healthy" compared to most of the united states and I am always looking for ways to get a few extra calories into Evan. We eat fresh fruit, vegetables and raw nuts for snacks, so these date bars are a nice change up. Also, since the dates are so naturally sweet, they taste like a great treat when you "need a little something." 
   This version of the recipe I added coconut and chocolate, but you could easily play around with it and add chopped nuts, vanilla, dried fruit, or fresh fruit juice. The possibilities are endless!! So get in your kitchen, have some fun and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Serves: 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cool time: 3 hours

1 lb pitted dates
1 cup raw almonds
½ cup raw cashews
1/3 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
4 tsp carob or cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1. Place the dates and nuts in the bowl of a food processor. 

2. Process on medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes or until mixture becomes smooth and sticky and begins to form into a clump.
3. Add coconut and carob powder and process until combined, approximately 30 seconds.
4. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper. Place date mixture in pan. Press mixture down into pan.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours. 
6. Remove. Cut into 8 squares and wrap squares in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crock Pot Chili and back from christmas break

Hey guys! We are back from christmas break and happy to be home and in my kitchen! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Our break was blessed with time off from work and school, time with family and a fun trip to colorado. Below is a picture of us skiing! I feel so grateful for the time...... and for this delicious chili!

I have been making the same chili for years. It is a basic recipe that is good, but I wanted to try something with a little more depth. This is it! This chili is thicker than most chilies and has a complex flavor. The greatest part is that I can make it in the crock pot, a busy woman's best friend. I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think. I am happy to be back and look forward to many recipes to come that give your body what it needs to be healthy!

Serves: 4
Adapted from: debbie's crock pot chili at

1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 lb grass fed ground sirloin
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell pepper (whatever you have, i used green and orange)
28 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
2 (15oz) cans no salt added kidney beans

1. Mix together seasonings in a small bowl. set aside
2. In a large pot, cook ground sirloin until no longer pink.
3. Drain.
4. Add onion and spices to the pan. Stir and cook 2 minutes. 
5. Place all ingredients in crock pot EXCEPT one can of beans.
6. Place the other can of beans in a blender and process until smooth. Add to crock pot.
7. Stir together.
8. Cook on low for 8 hours.