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Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

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Chicken tenders are one of the most kid friendly foods out there, but you don’t always know how they are made. More often than not these a frozen from a large brand and likely fried and covered in salt. They are delicious like that, but it is definitely not the healthiest way to feed your family.

With the growing number of children with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, things like chicken tenders are not even an option for many families. This recipe is for a gluten free, baked chicken tenders. The holy grail of chicken tenders for picky kids or kids with allergies.

They key here is using chickpea bread crumbs and adding lots of herbs and spices to them.  More often than not kids are dipping these into ketchup, but rather than giving them salty, but otherwise bland chicken tenders, why not add in herbs and spices into them.  Maybe they will want less ketchup, which for your mom’s out there means less sugar!!!

What you need:

  • 1lb Chicken Tenders
  • 1-2 cups of chickpea bread crumbs (or traditional bread crumbs)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

Soak the chicken tenders in the egg wash for a few minutes.

Mix together the bread crumbs, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Dredge chicken tenders in the seasoned bread crumbs.

Place on a non-stick baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 15-20min until done.

You could also use fresh lemon juice, or other seasoning to add flavor. Your families will love these and you won’t feel so guilty about feeding them chicken tenders.

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Zucchini Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

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Another awesome way to hide veggies into things is by adding them into your baked goods.  Breakfast can be a particularly difficult meal to get kids to eat, and more often than not things like muffins and pancakes are the easiest  go to option. The only issue is that traditional muffins and sweet breakfasts are just carb heavy and lack a lot of nutrients.

Carrots and zucchini have been used in making cakes and breads for a long time because of their mild flavors.  The added benefit though is that both vegetables have so much nutritional value. Between carrots and zucchini you are giving your kids a great source for vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

It is kind of a no brainer honestly, and hidden into a muffin, it is extremely unlikely that any kid will turn their nose up at the thought of veggies. These muffins are really easy, and can be made ahead for the week.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded pineapple (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (excess water removed)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond flour (coconut flour, or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Grease your muffin tins with butter or natural cooking spray.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

If you don’t love pineapple, sub in shredded apple or any other fruit you like. The best part about it is that you can do all of your shredding and mixing in a food processor to really save on work.

Jordan’s family loved these, so again another kid test and kid approved recipe!

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Veggie Packed Chicken Quesadillas

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I want to start first by apologizing for being so bad about posting over the summer.  We’ve had so much going on here, and with the launch of the salsa, it’s been pretty non-stop. August is on track to be the same pace, but I can’t complain about being busy can I?!

As I’ve said before, I have been so lucky with the women I’ve met in Greenwich, and can honestly say that almost every one of my friends is self employed and running their own company. It’s awesome to be around such incredible women, and just last week I had the chance to collaborate with one.  Jordan Rhodes is a really cool local blogger and travel expert.  She has an app called Glimpse Guides where she publishes city guides geared for luxury travel with kids. It’s such a unique app, and something I think a lot of people will find useful!

Jordan has 3 gorgeous children, and can attest to how picky they can be. Most kids are not really into eating their veggies, and some are so picky that they only eat a few things! So when Jordan asked me to come up with a few recipes for her followers to have that are easy, kid approved, and sneak in veggies – I jumped at the opportunity. Kids are always the toughest critics, so if I please them, I am doing something right!

All in, I made 4 recipes and will share them over the next few days/week. The first, and favorite were the veggie packed chicken quesadillas. Her 5 yr old daughter, who is a known picky eater, ate almost a whole quesadilla on her own on top of the other dishes I made.  This was a true home run!

What you need:

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 jar tomatillo salsa (Pure Cocina)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 8 corn tortillas

Marinate your chicken tenders in about 1 cup of the tomatillo salsa for about 30min

In the meantime, put your cheese, kale, mushrooms, and chives into a food processor and pulse until well mixed

Over medium heat, cook chicken in a nonstick pan in the tomatillo salsa marinade for about 10 minutes

Remove chicken from the heat and and use two forks to shred it

Assemble your quesadillas with the chicken and cheese mixture

Melt the cheese in an oven or on the griddle

Serve with salsa, guacamole, or any other dip you’d like

Between the cheese and the really flavorful chicken, your kids will have no idea that what they are eating is healthy!  All they see is green looking cheese, and you can be happy they’re eating something that is good for them!

You can easily make the same recipe with shrimp or even roasted cauliflower if you really want to get your kids eating more veggies!

Give this one a try, and I promise, the kids will love it!

Buen Provecho!

 

 

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Shrimp Quinoa Bowls

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Well it is taco Tuesday, but today we are thinking outside the tortilla! I talk a lot on Instagram Stories about certain pantry staples.  Things I always have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer that allow me to make last minute meals without running to the store.

This meal is the perfect example of a pantry dinner. I always have sausage, chicken, ground beef, and shrimp in the freezer.  This allows me to make spaghetti, burgers, salad, tacos, and a number of other things at the last minute. I also always have onions, tomatoes, butter, milk, lemons and limes, lettuce, wine, and beer in the fridge which help create a base for a number of dishes.

Finally in the pantry itself, I always have, olive oil, chicken stock, quinoa, rice, dried pasta, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, flour, baking soda and powder, various vinegars (balsamic, red wine, white wine, sherry), and of course Pure Cocina Salsa.

There are infinite possibilities with all of these staples, and if you keep your pantry and fridge stocked with all of these things, you can always make a tasty and healthy last minute meal. These quinoa bowls are packed with flavor, and pretty guilt free. I thought James was going to lick his plate when I made this dish he enjoyed it so much. Bowls are also a fun way to get your kids to participate.  Let them build their own and get their hands on everything, I promise they will become less picky eaters this way.

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What you need:

  • 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large vine tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup of quinoa, farro, rice, or barley
  • 1 cup of tomatillo salsa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

Marinate your shrimp in your tomatillo salsa for about 30min.

Meanwhile, cook your quinoa or grain of choice in either water or chicken stock for added flavor.

Dice your tomato and your avocado.  Squeeze some lime over these so the avocado doesn’t turn brown.

Drains your black beans and rinse them off.  The liquid in the bean can is full of salt and fat, and doesn’t really add much flavor.

Cook your shrimp for about 7-10min depending on size of shrimp.

Assemble your bowl however you’d like and top with some extra salsa, sour cream, and some fresh lime juice!

Enjoy!

 

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Green Breakfast Smoothie

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James and I just got back from our England vacation, and really enjoyed seeing family, friends, and celebrating the wedding of two of our favorite people! The only downside of going away, aside from the jet lag, is that our usual healthy eating tends to go out the window. We went out to eat at least once a day, if not twice, and had wine or cocktails with almost every meal. Not to mention, that for the recovery brunch after the wedding, we partook in eating 25 Dominos pizzas – talk about guilty eating!

Now that we are back, both James and I have returned to having lighter breakfasts of protein bars or smoothies or the occasional egg. For lunch, I’ve returned to eating at least two lighter meals – think protein cereal, avocado toast, grilled chicken salads, and lettuce wraps. The only thing we’ve been a little slower to get back to is home cooked dinners.  As you might expect after being away for 10 days, we’ve had a lot to catch up on, and when the jet lag hits around 5/6pm paired with the busy days, I have not had much motivation to cook. This weekend and next week we will get back on our normal routine fully!

Anyway, one of my favorite breakfasts is a protein smoothie.  We have a great protein powder that is really low in sugar and lactose free! Smoothies are also a way to squeeze in extra fruit and veg into a meal that would otherwise lack these things. Plus when you are on the go, you can put these smoothies in your old salsa jars and throw them in the car!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop of protein (25g or so)
  • 8-10oz of milk of your choice (I love Cashew-Milk)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 sprigs of kale removed from the stem
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Throw all of your ingredients into a good blender and mix until smooth.

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Feel free to add ice if you want more of a milk-shake type feel, but this is not required.

You could also add in a handful of almonds, cocoa nibs, dried fruit, or oats to bulk it up a bit.

 

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Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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My husband and I like to eat healthy several times a week, and that doesn’t always mean eating salads.  I think people run out of inspiration when trying to eat healthily, and I totally understand that frustration. Even we get into ruts sometimes with figuring out what we should eat on a daily basis.

I am a big fan of looking at other food bloggers sites and getting ideas from them.  There are so many amazing and creative food bloggers out there, its impossible not to be inspired by others. What is amazing about food is that everyone has unique tastes.  Each blogger has a unique voice because they all come from different places.

Cookbooks are also great inspiration. I have so many from different types of restaurants. One of my favorites is from our favorite Mexican restaurant back home in Texas.  I even have a cookbook from French Laundry in Napa, and those recipes are really special. Anyway, the point is, influence can come from anywhere, and if we keep our eyes and ears open to it, you won’t find yourself stuck in a cooking rut for long!

These stuffed peppers, were so tasty, with a Mexican spice flare, and were really satisfying. You are welcome to add cheese on at the end for some extra flavor, but we loved them without it!

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What you need:

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 yellow and red bell peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400F.

In a large pan heat about a tbsp of oil on medium high heat.

Add in your diced onion and green bell pepper and season with salt and pepper.

Cook for about 7 minutes until translucent, and add in your minced garlic and 1 min later the ground turkey.

Season your turkey with all of your spices, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Once your turkey meat is cooked through, add in your quinoa, beans, and corn.

Mix together, and cook for a further 5min or so until the whole mixture is warm.

Stuff your peppers with the mixture, and any excess meat can be served on the side.

Cover your peppers with foil and cook for about 30min.

If you are adding cheese, remove 5 minutes before, add cheese on top, and return to oven for 5 minutes for cheese to melt.

These are great to make ahead and re-heat throughout the week 1 at a time for lunch or dinner.

Enjoy!

 

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Fad Foods

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Every few months there seems to be a new trend out there.  They didn’t always gain global traction, but possibly starting with the cronut (donut/croissant) and the help of social media these food trends become overnight global phenomena. Recently Starbucks had the unicorn frappuccino that was only available for a short period, and people lined up down the block at stores worldwide to try one.

When you think about the best chefs in the world, you don’t equate them with fad foods. Dominique Ansel, inventor of the cronut, is one of the few exceptions. The cronut propelled him to global fame, but his skill and talent kept him there. The true talent in the food world doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel, they have just learned to use the wheel in the best way possible.

In today’s culture of instant gratification and constant new trends, people are very receptive to new food fads.  However, as quickly as they appear, they disappear all over again because most don’t really offer anything particularly revolutionary.

I decided to try out one of the more recent food fads, the cloud egg, and was left wanting. I am sharing the recipe in case you want to try them, but my overall impression was that they were a little dry, and oddly textured. If you want fluffy eggs, stick to the tried and true souffle, they are richer and much more tasty!

What you need:

  • 2-4 eggs, separated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chives, sliced thinly
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Grated Cheese like parmesan or cheddar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 450F.

Put all of your egg whites into one bowl and whisk either by hand or using a hand mixer until you have stiff peaks.

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Fold in your herbs, cheese, salt and pepper. (I didn’t use cheese, but many recipes call for it)

Put your egg whites into 2-4 mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and hollow out part of the center to form a cup.

Bake for about 3 minutes, until slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and put an egg yolk into each egg white cup.

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Bake for another 3 minutes or so, and you’re done.

Enjoy!

They were a bit more filling than eating a normal scrambled or fried egg, but overall, I will be sticking to the old recipes for my eggs!

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Feliz Cinco De Mayo

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Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Now many of you may or may not know, but Cinco de Mayo is not a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico.  However, it has become a large holiday in the US for people to celebrate Mexican culture and drink lots of tequila! So today I am going to take a look back at some our favorite Mexican recipes from the past year.

Tonight I will be attending a charity gala for Sound Waters organization in Stamford, CT, so instead of throwing my own fiesta, I will be celebrating with friends for a good cause.

Obviously we love and eat a lot of Mexican food in our house, so below are just a few of our favorites. This summer I will add in some Enchiladas both verdes and with red sauce and lots of other yummy things, but for now these are all very easy dinners to throw together for any celebrations tonight or through the weekend!

Our go to for Mexican food night with ease is simple tacos.  We have fajitas, fish, shrimp, you name it. The best part about tacos is that the only piece you need to cook are the meat or veggies you are putting inside. If you serve with beans or slaw or guacamole, those are easy things you can throw together or reheat. One of my favorite tacos this year was the shrimp tacos with red cabbage slaw, guacamole and black beans.

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These wen’t down very well, and the recipe could be used on fish or chicken as easily as it was with shrimp.  Now with a dinner that tasty, you need to wash it down with an equally delicious cocktail.  My crowd favorite this year was the ginger jalapeño margarita I made for several parties we hosted. It is spicy, sweet, and just the right amount of strong!

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Another great recipe that would really impress your guests, but is actually so easy, is the shrimp and chorizo chile relleno. Stuffed peppers make for such a beautiful presentation for your guests and are a great way to portion out the perfect dish for your family. These are so packed with flavor, and if you are lucky enough to have any leftover, make the perfect lunch the next day!

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Now if you live in the North East, you might be experiencing rain like us today! It is truly a terrible weather day, and sadly it is meant to rain ALL DAY! This does not need to hinder your celebrations and instead of making summery fish or shrimp tacos, you can try out this salsa verde chicken chili! It is a great new way to make chili, and it will warm you up from the inside out on this dreary day.

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And finally, for the morning after celebrations, many of you will need a good hearty breakfast to absorb the alcohol and fill up your stomach after a rough night. Enter chilaquiles! This is one of the most delicious breakfasts, and everything about it is satisfying. You get a little crunch from your chips, some spice from the salsa, and the healing power of eggs after a big night out.  You cannot go wrong with this one!

Chilaquiles plated

Celebrate responsibly friends, but to honor Mexican culture, make sure you have a great time! I will make sure to toast all of you this evening with a good strong margarita and some dancing to mariachis!

Olé!

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Spring Green Beans Almandine

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What a week it has been so far, and it is almost over.  I thought for a while about what to post after yesterday’s exciting announcement, but everything felt like it would fall short! So I figured I would return to normal as best as possible and feature something fresh and seasonal.

As many of you know passover was last week as well as Easter, and for many these holidays really begin the Spring season. I went down to Texas to spend the holiday with my family, but I know in CT it was over 80F and sunny! What a way to kick off Spring parties and backyard barbecues!

I love this time of year and all of the delicious veggies that are becoming available at local markets. I have always been a big fan of green beans, and will eat them in almost any form.  I really like them still crispy, my pet peeve of cooked veggies is how so many people over cook them and lose that delicious bite!

This recipe is super easy, and only takes about 15-20min max and it is perfect for your next Spring get together!

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Why you need:

  • 2 bags of green beans
  • 3/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

You don’t have to use the bags of green beans, but they make your life super easy! You just cut holes in them and microwave them for 3 minutes for lightly steamed perfection.

In a cast iron pan heat up half of your butter and fry up your almonds.  You want them to brown and get nice and toasted.

Once they start turning brown, add in your garlic clove and cook a further 2 minutes.

Throw in your green beans, lemon juice, and the remaining half of the butter and toss.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is such a great picnic option or perfect to serve for your next dinner party. These green beans are light and crunchy and could go back to almost anything!

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Citrus Spring Salad with Grilled Scallops

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Yesterday, my girlfriend over at The Zhush posted a recipe of mine. Sue is a seriously talented interiors expert, and has an incredible eye for design. Her kitchen is pretty spot on to my dream kitchen, so I luckily get to live vicariously through her!

Anyway, a few weeks back she asked me to share a Spring recipe for her and her readers, so I worked to put together a salad that featured seasonal fresh ingredients.  We are nearing the end of Citrus season, but right now, grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons are so fresh and delicious. This is the perfect time to make this salad, and it could be a great addition to any Easter spread this weekend.

I made it with fresh grilled scallops, but you could easily substitute, canned tuna, chicken breast, or grilled shrimp instead.

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What you need: (feeds 4)

  • 20 Scallops
  • large package of mixed greens
  • 2 plum or heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large grapefruit, skinned and chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Chop and slice all of your veggies and fruit.
In a small bowl mix together your lime juice, garlic, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Toss your veggies in a large bowl with the quinoa.
Season your scallops with salt and pepper.
Grill your scallops for about 1-2min per side.  These cook very quickly, so keep a watchful eye!
Toss your dressing with the salad and serve onto four plates.
Top salads with 5 scallops each and add on some fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Enjoy!
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Sunday Barbecue

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Sundays are always a bittersweet day. Especially when you get gorgeous Spring days like we did yesterday.  Sundays always mean the weekend is almost over, but sometimes, a Sunday afternoon can feel like it goes on forever. We had our first true day of Spring yesterday, almost 70F outside, crystal clear skies, and our first bbq of the season!

Sundays are a day for family, and since right now our little family is just James and I and Kuda girl, we like to spend Sunday afternoons with our extended “family” – our friends. I am always a social person, but when the weather is nice, I love having people over for bbq and good times. Yesterday, we invited a few of our favorite people in CT and had a great classic backyard barbecue!

I made barbecue ribs, chicken, and sausage, charro beans, a salad, and some grilled peppers. It was so filling, but with two light veggie side options, we didn’t need to feel too guilty.  I also made a really yummy berry cobbler for dessert with vanilla ice cream, but I will share that recipe with you tomorrow. For now, I am just going to share with you my special rib recipe! Don’t forget I am a native Texan, so this is a big deal!!!

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What you need:

  • Two racks of baby back ribs
  • 1 full flavor beer
  • 1/3 cup bbq dry rub (I used Salt Lick, but a homemade recipe is below)
  • 1/3 cup of good bbq sauce

Heat your oven to 200F.

Rub your dry rub all over the ribs and let sit for a few minutes.

Pour beer into the dish holding the ribs and cover with foil.

Cook ribs in the low heat oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove ribs from the oven and brush with your bbq sauce.

Finish on a medium high grill for about 4 min per side.  You should get a good char on the outside, and your ribs will fall off of the bone!

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Serve with some extra barbecue sauce on the side, and make sure you get your hands good and dirty!

I used the same rub and bbq sauce on the chicken thighs as well, and just used a simple kielbasa sausage grilled for a little more variety.

Home Made Dry Rub:

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp granulated onion
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Mix it all together and rub all over any meat you want to bbq!

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Rustic Chicken

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For my recent birthday, two of our very good friends came into town from Toronto Canada.  One is from Montreal, and our friendship goes all the way back to our days in London.  We have known each other for eight years (which is crazy to think about), and have managed to stay in touch across continents, and through several moves! His partner I met almost four years ago now, and our friendship has grown over the years as well.

Anyway, knowing how much I love cooking, they brought me these delicious artisanal French mustards from Maille in really cool, ceramic refillable pots. One is a black truffle mustard, and the other is a white wine mustard – both so full of flavor and each very unique.

I was very eager to try them both, so I started brainstorming quickly about what I wanted to do with them.  James and I love truffles, so naturally I wanted try that one first. This recipe was such a success, I have now made it twice!

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What you need:

  • 2lbs of chicken (boneless, skinless thighs or breasts)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup black truffle mustard
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter

Pre heat your oven to 400F.

In a cast iron pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Add your minced shallots and cook for about 5 min.

Add in your smashed garlic cloves and cook another minute or two.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper, and add this to the pan to sear the outside.

Cook on each side for about 3-4min until nicely seared, but not cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the pan.

Add in your mustard and white wine.  Cook down for a few minutes until the sauce reduces a bit.

Add your artichokes, capers, and lemon juice and then your chicken as well.

Spoon some sauce over the chicken and place in the oven.

Cook for about 15-20min depending on thickness of chicken.

Always cut through chicken to make sure its fully cooked, if it needs more time, no problem!

Enjoy with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or pretty much anything you’d like.

This sauce is full of flavor, and your chicken will come out so juicy!