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Crunchy Peanut Chicken Strips

12 Nov

One of my favorite condiments is peanut sauce, or what I like to call saute sauce.  When we lived in Holland that’s what it was called.  My mom would make chicken strips or skewers and we’d dip our chicken in that warm peanuty sauce.  Anytime I eat Thai food I have to order peanut sauce.  I’m slightly obsessed. 

Peanut sauce isn’t loved by everyone in my house though.  Since it’s me and the husband by logical deduction that means he’s the one that doesn’t like it.  I don’t force him to eat it anymore, but I did find a way to enjoy the peanut and chicken flavor profile last night.

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Crunchy Peanut Chicken Strips (gluten free)

makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb), sliced into strips
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powders
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder, pepper and sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup peanut flour
  • Olive oil spray

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.  Coat the rack with olive oil spray.
  2. In the food processor combine the oats and peanuts.  Pulse until it becomes a finer mixture but still with some larger chunks.  Place oat/peanut mixture in a bowl and stir in the garlic powder, chili powder, pepper and sea salt.
  3. In a large ziplock bag place the chicken and peanut flour.  Shake to coat the chicken with flour.
  4. Whisk together the egg and milk in a bowl.
  5. You should place your liquid and oat mixture placed near your rack.  Take the chicken, one piece at a time, and dip in the liquid, let the excess egg drip off, then dredge in the oat mixture.  Place on the wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken strips.
  6. Coat the top of the chicken strips with olive oil spray.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until fully cooked through, but not overcooked. 

Variations

  • You could easily make this an almond chicken by substituting in almond meal for the peanut flour and whole almonds for the dry roasted peanuts.
  • Change up the size of strips.  Make little nuggets or large pieces – whatever works for you!

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The Best Waffles

4 Nov

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  When I wake up in the morning I’m usually already hungry and look forward to a warm, comforting breakfast.  I really enjoy oatmeal, quinoa, pancakes, french toast and eggs for breakfast, but for some reason thought waffles just took to much time.

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Not sure where that thought came from because it seems to take less time than pancakes.  The nice thing about making waffles is that once you pour the batter into the waffle maker it does the work for you.  I don’t have to keep a close eye on it and once the light changes it’s cooked perfectly.

This recipe for whole grain cottage cheese waffles is similar to my butternut squash cottage cheese pancakes, but a more basic recipe.  It’s a good base to start with if you want to add in variations.

Jacob has even said these are the best waffles he’s ever had!  I’ve made them at least once or twice a week for the past 3 weeks.  The extra waffles hold up well in the fridge.  It’s nice making a big batch and having waffles ready in the fridge.

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The Best Whole Grain Cottage Cheese Waffles

makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/4 cup whole wheat pasty flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • optional: 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Turn your waffle iron on and begin to heat it up while you make the batter.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a blender combine the eggs, cottage cheese, milk and vanilla (plus optional maple syrup).  Blend until smooth and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Once the waffle iron is ready,coat it generously with olive oil spray.  Pour the batter into iron (about 1 cup batter) and cook until your waffle iron lights up as done.  Repeat with remaining batter for 4 waffles.

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I had my waffles with some quick homemade cinnamon applesauce and almond butter, but you can top them with whatever you enjoy.

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Quick Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce 

makes 1-2 waffle topping servings , depending on the side of your apple

Ingredients

  • 1  apple, finely chopped with the skin left on
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • optional: honey or sweetener

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except the sweetener in a microwave safe bowl. 
  2. Cook on high for 60-90 seconds, or until the apples are completely soft.
  3. Mash with a fork or potato masher until it reaches you desired consistency.  Taste and add sweetener if you’d like.

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Pomegranate and Peanut Smoothie

3 Nov

Did you join in on this week’s mini-challenge: kitchen lifts?  It takes less than a minute of your time each time you go into the kitchen so come on – join in!

After discovering how easy it is to de-seed a pomegranate, I’ve been having fun using the seeds in many recipes.  I’ve also enjoyed just eating them on their own too.  I had fun with this refreshing pomegranate filled afternoon pick up me and loved how simple, quick and pretty it was too.

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I finally made the trip to Trader Joes to pick up some peanut flour.  I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else and really wanted to give it a try.  It’s lower in fat and higher in protein than regular peanuts, plus it gives that peanut butter-y taste to my smoothie that I love.

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Pomegranate and Peanut Smoothie

makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 1/2 frozen banana, diced
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • optional: extra pomegranate seeds for garnish

Directions

  1. Pour the milk, peanut flour and pomegranate seeds into a blender.  Blend until smooth and combined.
  2. Add the frozen banana and ice cubes.  Blend for 1-2 more minutes until fluffy and frothy.  Pour into a glass or mug and top with extra seeds.

Chinese Beef and Bok Choy Noodle Soup

30 Oct CIMG4298

Comfort.  That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of soup.  Thankfully I’m feeling 100% again, but while I feel great I passed my cold onto my husband.  On his worst days he just wanted soup for dinner. 

The first night I opened up a can of chicken noodle soup for him while I still had the dinner I originally planned to make.  The second night I thought I’d take advantage of his willingness to eat soup and make my own.

I had a lot of bok choy on hand from not 1 week, but 2 weeks of my produce delivery.  I’d been avoiding it because normally I use it in a stir fry and I just haven’t been in the mood for that.

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Then it hit me – put it in a soup.  I try to get as many veggies in as I can and I knew it would wilt down a lot once cooked.  I think this may be my new favorite way to eat bok choy.

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Chinese Beef and Bok Choy Noodle Soup

about 5-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated (tip: after peeling the ginger keep it in the freezer in a zip lock bag that way you always have ginger on hand when you need it)
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounce each) low sodium chicken broth (homemade chicken broth would cut down on the sodium level here)
  • 2 bunches bok choy greens, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or angel hair
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat add the oil, beef, onion and ginger.  Cook, stir and break up the meat until it’s just fully cooked -  no longer pink.  Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the broth, bok choy, noodles, tarami and vinegar to the pot.  Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.  Add the beef mixture to the pot and sea salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Serve in a bowl garnished with sesame seeds and chop sticks if desired.

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Variations

  • Instead of beef use ground chicken or ground turkey
  • For extra heat add in some Sriracha hot sauce
  • Instead of spaghetti or angel hair use soba noodles for a more authentic Chinese dish

This was actually pretty fun to eat because I used chop sticks.  My chop stick skills definitely need more practice.  Good thing there are left overs.

Filling fall pancakes

25 Oct CIMG4281

Have you been following along with Wednesday’s mini workout challenge?  I’ve done quite a few pull ups since Wednesday morning, but do have to say I skipped out on it from Wednesday afternoon till Friday evening.  I was not feeling well and exercise needed to be taken down a notch. 

Luckily I’m better now and was able to do the mini workout challenge the rest of the weekend and the couple days this week.  I hope it’s going well for those that took on a mini challenge.

Just one more day to enter the GYMBOSS interval time giveaway.  The winner will be picked tomorrow morning.

Weekends mean I have more time for involved breakfasts.  I do make these pancakes throughout the week sometimes but usually a half batch because it’s quicker. 

I’ve posted pumpkin pie pancakes before, but this updated version is much better.

The ingredients are pretty similar but the outcome is very different.  Both are filling with the combo of cottage cheese and egg, whole grains and a winter squash or pumpkin.

They re-heat really well if you make extra.  I bet they would freeze well too if you wanted to make a huge batch for quick morning breakfasts.

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Butternut Squash Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup pureed butternut squash (or pumpkin)
1/2-3/4 cup milk of choice (depending on how thick you like your pancakes batter)
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

In a large bowl whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.  Pour in the wet mix from the blender and whisk until the large lumps are gone.

Pre-heat a large skillet to medium heat and coat with olive oil spray.  Pour the pancakes a 1/3 cup of batter at a time. 

Once the batter begins to bubble on top and is golden brown on the bottom on the bottom flip and cook on the other side for another 2-4 minutes until the both sides are golden brown.

Makes 12 pancakes (4 servings).

These pancakes are an easy way to sneak more veggies into your breakfast.  I bet kids wouldn’t even know there was a vegetable in there… I know my husband didn’t.  Winking smile

Ruby red mixed veggie hash with crock pot italian chicken

21 Oct CIMG4267

I felt pretty crummy last night when I got home from work.  I’ve been battling a head cold since the weekend when I did my 15 intervals in the cold outdoors.  When  40 degree wind goes in my ears it just gets to me… I really should have worn a hat or headband.  Lesson learned.

Usually when I’m feeling sick all I want is carbs – oatmeal, PBJs and crackers.  Last night was different.  Last night I wanted veggies.  It was the perfect choice because my produce delivery came that day too.

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The night before I prepped the crock pot with a whole chicken seasoned with Italian spices, sea salt and pepper.  I also coated it with a mist of olive oil too.  I had the butcher remove the skin so that I wouldn’t have to.  It definitely saved me some time.

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In the morning Jacob pulled the chicken out of the oven, set the crock pot for 6 hours on low and I came home to a wonderful smelling house.

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The chicken was out of this world tender.  Falling off the bones good.

Next up were my veggies and a whole lot of them.

Ruby Red Mixed Veggie Hash

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Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yukon gold potato, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1 small beet, grated
10 green bean, chopped
6 swiss chard leaves (or beet greens if that’s all you have), chopped – include the stems if you’d like
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often. 

Add in the onion and bell pepper once the potatoes look half way cooked through. 

After 2 minutes add the add the grated beets and beans. 

Cook for another 2-3 minutes then add the swiss chard. 

Season with sea salt and pepper and cook until the swiss chard has wilted down a bit, for about 3-4 minutes.

This makes enough for 2 sides or 1 large meal.

Top with some chicken, or whatever protein you have on hand.

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Finish with some grated parmesan cheese to make it extra special.

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I feel better already.

Mexican pasta bake

15 Oct CIMG4116

I came up with this recipe in the best way possible – trying to clean out my fridge. We had left over taco meat and what usually happens is taco salad, more burritos or taco omelets (mmm those are good!).

The day Mexican Pasta Bake came alive in my kitchen I had arrived home from work, tired and just wanting to lay on the couch with Jacob, Netflix and my silly cuddly animals.

Jacob was not taking the queue so I quickly threw this together and in the oven.  The result was so delicious that I’ve made it again without random leftovers.

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Mexican Pasta Bake

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb taco meat (1 lb ground beef cooked with 4 tbsp taco seasoning and a bit of water)
6 ounces whole wheat egg noodles
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 peppers (2 bell peppers and 1 anaheim), de-seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 peach, chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup salsa (peach salsa works well in this)
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated (half in the mixture, half on top)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a large casserole dish in olive oil spray.

Cook your pasta to al dente according to directions.  I like the egg noodles because they take about 5 minutes to cook – great for quick meals.

Once the pasta is done cooking combine everything in a large bowl (only half of the cheddar) and stir until the creamy yogurt and salsa is evenly distributed.

Pour into the prepared dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

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Bake for 30 minutes, until fully warmed through and the top becomes a bit crispy.

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Serve with your favorite taco toppings – avocado, salsa or sour cream/plain yogurt.

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The peach may seem like a strange addition to this but with the hotter anaheim pepper it compliments the dish well.  Leftovers are superb.

Requests for this dish come with open arms because it is so easy to make and the outcome is comforting and delicious.

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