Saturday, June 16, 2012

Easy Chicken Stock

Making chicken stock is fool-proof. Dump a bunch of ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for hours, while you take care of other important things. Instead of throwing away the chicken carcass/bones, it gets used for flavoring a bunch of future dishes. Everyone has carrots, celery and onion on hand - so this is a pantry cleaner. You can also save the shavings from carrots, leaves from celery and other odds and ends as part of flavoring this stock. Re-purposed food!

If you want to removed any excess fat, once the chicken stock has cooled, place in the refrigerator for about a day. The next day, any fat should float to the surface. Just use a slotted spoon to scoop the fat solids. 

Storing the stock in the fridge in glass jars makes for an easy flavor enhancer to simple dishes such as rice or soups. Use it as you would water, but reduce the amount of salt you may use in the dish. You can also freeze the stock and use it as needed. You can store it in freezer safe containers or an ice cube tray (for instant portion control). I like to freeze at least 1 ice cube tray with stock. It makes for a quick flavor boost to any entree. 

Easy Chicken Stock

Cook Time: at least 4 hours
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: Makes about 8 cups of stock

  • 8 cups of cold water
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of dried coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • extra salt and pepper, to taste
In a large stock pot, add all of the ingredients over low heat. Cover and let simmer for at least 4 hours. Stir on occasion. 

Once the stock is done - using a colander, drain the stock from the pot into a large glass jar or bowl. Allow the stock to cool. Keep in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for use later. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Skinny Chicken Fried Rice

This recipe is perfect for using leftover rice. When I make rice, I usually make a large pot and keep some in the fridge for other uses - that way I always have some on hand for quick meals/lunches. Today it is going to be used to make my Skinny Chicken Fried Rice (or Arroz Chaufa). It's a medley of veggies, chicken and tons of flavor. All the good stuff. 

If you've ever been to Benihana, you would know that making fried rice is very simple. Unlike how they make it there, I prefer my food to not have so much oil and butter. So instead of using a bowl of oil, I use a small amount (which doesn't compromise the flavor at all!). Making it guilt-free fried rice. 

To make putting this together super easy, I used shredded pieces of leftover rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. But if you prefer to make your own chicken, then I would cook it first before starting this recipe. That way you can combine everything all at once. Also if you want to substitute the brown rice for white, that's fine. I just prefer the texture of the brown rice (and the health perks!). This recipe can easily be doubled (it makes for a great next-day lunch).

Skinny Chicken Fried Rice

Cook Time: < 20 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4 


  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 eggs (salt and pepper to taste)
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari 
  • 1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups of cooked long grain brown rice (at least a day old or so)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Then add the mushrooms and the ginger. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring well. 

While this is cooking, in a small skillet cook the eggs. Heat the skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with oil spray. Scramble the eggs (salt and pepper to taste) and continuously stir until cooked thoroughly. Chop the scrambled egg into small bite size pieces. Set aside.

Back to the large pot - Add the tamari, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Stir into the veggies. Then add the chicken, sesame oil, rice and eggs. Mix well with the veggies. 

As you are stirring everything together, gradually add the chicken stock. Keep stirring. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the rice is well mixed and heat through. 

Serve piping hot with chop sticks :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal

Most people skip breakfast because they have no time. Making breakfast shouldn't be a chore - so why not make something that is easy, portable and convenient? Making steel cut oats in your slow cooker is as easy as it gets. Oatmeal is a great make-ahead breakfast and is extremely versatile. You can customize the flavor, consistency and sweetness every morning. I like to make a pot of oats and portion it out into 4 grab and go containers. Topping each one with something different (cinnamon, fresh fruit, dried fruit, flaxseed, etc). Every portion is an empty canvas - ready for experimenting. I will post a few of my creations over the next few weeks.

I recommend if you are going to be saving the oatmeal for future breakfasts, that you add a bit of liquid to the oats as you are heating them. I usually add almond milk but water, cow's milk or soy milk work well too. The extra liquid helps the oatmeal loosen up (since refrigerating oatmeal tends to stiffen it some). The picture below is the steel cut oats cooked with a little bit of unsweetened almond milk and 1/2 tbsp of ground organic flaxseed. 

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Cook Time: 2 1/2-3 hours
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4

  • oil spray
  • 1 cup steel cut oats or Irish oats
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with oil spray (helps with the clean up later). Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and heat on high for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

The mixture may have a thin layer of liquid on top, that is perfect. Stir the oats and watch as the liquid gets absorbed. The oats should the slightly chewy and the consistency should be pretty thick.

Eating Immediately: Serve piping hot with toppings of your choice

Eating Later: Transfer the oats into small glass containers (for easy portion control) or into one large glass container. Allow the oats to cool. Once cooled, cover the containers and place in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave when ready to eat.

Nutritional Info per Serving:
Calories: 145 ; Fat: 2.5g ; Carbohydrate: 27g ; Fiber: 4g ; Sugar: 0g ; Protein: 6g

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hearty Breakfast Scramble

Scrambles are easy and fool-proof. They aren't necessarily pretty (like an omelet), but they are tasty. Mixing all of the flavors, makes every bite a mouth pleaser. This is a 1 pan meal, so clean up is easy as well. What's great about scrambles is you can use whatever kind of veggies, cheese, meat, etc that you have on hand. If you have a bunch of people to feed - this can make putting breakfast together a breeze (double if needed)

I used pork breakfast sausage from the Whole Foods meat case. Flavored with sage and other spices, these really put some great flavor into the scramble. You can use what ever kind of sausage you prefer. If you want to make these vegetarian, you could opt for meatless sausage or omit it completely. You could also omit the cheese and milk if you are dairy-free or substitute with a dairy alternative (soy, rice, etc.) that melts well. 

Hearty Breakfast Scramble

Cook Time: < 25 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4-5 


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 pork sausage links, remove casing and crumble
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp of milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir often. The onions should have a slight browning to them, but not burnt. 

Remove the onion mixture from the pan and set aside. 

Add the sausage to the pan. Crumble well and brown the meat until completely cooked. Drain any excess fat.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk well. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be slightly frothy.

Add the onion mixture back in pan and stir well. Then add the egg mixture and the peas. Stirring often, scramble the eggs with the sausage and onions. Keep stirring until almost completely cooked through (don't over cook).Sprinkle the cheese evenly and stir into the warm eggs. 

Serve the scramble with a slice of whole grain toast and a cup of fresh fruit. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spanish Naan Sandwich

Easiest lunch ever! Who said sandwiches had to be boring? I prepped this in the morning and took it with me to work. Heated it up when it was time for lunch. I was so glad I didn't opt for take-out. Everyone kept asking what smelled so good (umm that's my lunch and I'm not sharing!).

Naan bread is an Indian bread that is one of a kind. Slightly soft and super delicious. It is similar to fresh pita bread but definitely holds it's own. I purchased the garlic version, but there is a plain version as well. You should be able to find it in the bread section or where you may find specialty breads. I used a bit of chimichurri that I had in the fridge, but you can choose to use another condiment if you'd like. I personally would recommend using the chimichurri, it really pulls everything together and is so flavorful. I used leftover rotisserie chicken from the night before to make this a simple meal. Just assemble and you are done. This recipe is for 1 but can be doubled, tripled, etc.

Spanish Naan Sandwich
Cook Time: < 5 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 1

  • 1 piece of garlic naan bread
  • 1 tsp chimichurri
  • 1.5oz of rotisserie/roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 slice (or 1/2oz) of Manchego Cheese
  • 1-2 slices red onion
  • couple leaves of arugula

Place the naan bread on a flat surface. Cut the naan in half. Spread the chimichurri on one half. Top with the chicken, cheese, red onion and arugula. Place the other half on top.

In a toaster oven - heat the sandwich until the sandwich is warmed through. Serve immediately - it is so good!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Curried Vegetarian Lentils

Lentils are such a satisfying meal. Loaded with protein & fiber - lentils make for a very hearty entree. They cook up quickly, do not need to be soaked and are super inexpensive. 1 cup of dried lentils feeds me and my husband for 2 meals (dinner and then lunch the next day). I usually purchase my lentils in the bulk section at the grocery store, which at about $1.79/lb for organic. That definitely fits in my budget! With meat being quite pricey, I usually have a few meat-free meals throughout the week. This not only helps with my wallet, but also with keeping my consumption of animal proteins to a minimum. Since most legumes aren't complete protein (animal proteins are), by combining the legumes with most grains you can make them complete. These lentils served with fresh cooked basmati rice and you've got yourself a complete protein - simple enough. This recipe is packed with enough flavor and bulk, that if you have a die-hard meat-eater at home (my husband), they won't miss the typical meat entree. 

These lentils are savory, not spicy. If you prefer spice, then I would add a bit (1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp) of red pepper flakes when you add the garlic to the pot.

Ghee is clarified butter, commonly used in Indian cooking. I was turned on to it by a friend who practices Ayurveda (and encouraged me to use it for healing purposes). It has a high smoke point and has a distinct flavor (as compared to butter or oil). If you don't have any on hand or do not want to use butter (dairy-free) then using a neutral oil, like canola works just fine.

Curried Vegetarian Lentils

Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4 

  • 1 tsp ghee or oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 tbsp madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of organic green lentils

Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery once the oil is hot. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes or until everything is softened. Add the curry, tumeric and salt & pepper. Stir well.

Add the stock, water and lentils. Bring the heat up to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Allow the lentils to cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. The lentils should be soft but not falling apart.

Once the lentils are cooked thoroughly, use an immersion blender and blend the lentils to desired consistency. or if you do not have an immersion blender then blend 1 cup of the lentils in a food processor. You do not have to do this step but it helps thicken the lentils and makes the dish seem heartier.

Serve the lentils over fresh basmati rice (and some naan bread). Yum!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles

Ahhh.. the smell of fresh lemony waffles in the morning is sure to get everyone out of bed. Hands down, this is a simple recipe everyone can enjoy and feel good about eating them. Healthy waffles - that's my thing. Whole grain, Dairy-free and contains Omega-3's, what an excellent way to start your day. These also have a fair amount of protein in them (about 6g per waffles), high in fiber and low in sugar. I love the combo of lemon and poppy seeds - such a fresh taste. I personally eat these waffles plain, no maple syrup. But my husband who likes things extra sweet enjoys some maple on his. You can customize your waffle any way you like! With fresh whipped cream, honey, pure maple syrup, fresh berries, etc.

The lemon juice gives the waffles a slight tartness, if you aren't fond of tart, then just omit the juice but keep the zest. The zest is where all the lemon flavor is, without the tarty zing. This recipe can be doubled or tripled, and keeps well in the freezer. Just follow the directions below and allow the waffles to cool. Put them in a freezer safe container and separate with parchment paper. Reheat by thawing slightly and placing in the toaster until golden and crispy. Makes for a quick breakfast anytime.

Wheat Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles

Cook Time: < 20 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4 (1/3 cup) waffles


  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 2 tbsp organic ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp organic poppy seeds


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey

Oil Spray

Preheat waffle iron to medium heat (if yours has temp. settings).

In a side bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Then gradually incorporate the dry mixture to the wet mixture, do not over mix. 

Spray the waffle iron with a oil spray, and pour in the center 1/3 cup of the waffle mix. Spread out slightly. Close the lid and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes (or how ever long your waffle maker requires).

The waffle should be slightly golden and crisp. Serve warm with pure maple syrup, honey or plain. 

Nutritional Info per Waffle:
Calories: 150 ; Fat: 3.5g ; Carbohydrate: 25.5g ; Fiber: 3.5g ; Sugar: 8.5g ; Protein: 5g