Roasted Chicken With Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

chickenandpotatoes

This chicken dish is one of the best I’ve had in a long while! If you’re getting bored with eating chicken I encourage you to try it. Note that the seasoned chicken and potatoes need to stand for at least 30 minutes before they enter the oven. Thank you to my good friend Jan from Canada for taking the time to send me the NY Times Recipe link!

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs

5-6 small yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices

2 teaspoons kosher salt or more as needed

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons harissa or other hot sauce (I only used 1 tablespoon the first time because I don’t like super hot food, but next time I might use a bit more)

4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half rounds

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

1 small clove garlic

2-3 ounces baby arugula, about 1/2 of a small bin

Lemon juice as needed

Directions

Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot sauce, cumin and 3 tablespoons of oil. Pour over the chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the fridge.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil.

Heat the oven to 425°. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide chicken and potato mixture between plates. Top with yogurt and arugula. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips

sweetpotchips

I know it sounds too good to be true but it’s not! This recipe is quite simple. The only catch is you have to watch them cook very carefully to determine exactly how long to microwave the potato rounds. And just when you think you’ve got it down the next batch cooks differently! But they are very crispy and tasty when you get it right!

Ingredients
Sweet potatoes: as many as you want to cook
Olive oil
Sea salt

Directions
Peel the potatoes. Using a mandolin slicer or a good sharp knife (be careful!) cut the potatoes into very thin slices, as thin as you can get them.

Working a batch at a time — a batch is the amount that will fit in a single layer on your microwave tray — add a small amount of olive oil just to lightly coat the slices, maybe 1 teaspoon. With your hands toss to coat.

Cut a piece of parchment paper the same size as the glass tray in your microwave. Place the rounds in a single layer on the paper and sprinkle with salt. Turn on your microwave and check the potatoes after 3 minutes. Mine took about 6 minutes but someone else wrote to say her time was 3.30. Stop the microwave as soon as they start to turn brown.

If you undercook them they’ll be chewy. If you overcook them they’ll taste burnt, so be diligent.

They are so worth it. I would say they’re addictive!

Credit to: Rachelcooks

An Easy Grilled Dinner

saladroastedpeppers eggplant

Whats for dinner? Who doesn’t think about that daily starting early in the morning? We know that healthful meals generally require some planning so it’s good to think about what you’re going to eat for dinner…..and lunch and breakfast!

Eggplant isn’t exactly in season yet but it’s so delicious on the grill and reminds me of summer, my very favorite season. Last week I made this simple meal of grilled eggplant, grilled peppers on our salad and grilled chicken sausage. The eggplant takes a fair amount of diligence to get it just right–I know because I burned a few while I was trying to multitask!

Grilled Eggplant
2 large eggplant
olive oil
Sea salt

Heat the grill to medium high, about 300º. Remove the skin from the eggplant with a vegetable peeler. Slice into 1/4″ rounds. Pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil into a measuring cup and grab your pastry brush or other small brush.

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One at a time brush one side of the eggplant round lightly with olive oil and place that side down on the grill. Continue until your grill is covered with slices then lightly brush the tops with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. Close the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, testing for doneness after 3 minutes. When the slices are nicely golden (some will cook faster than others) use tongs to flip them over and continue cooking for 2 more minutes or so. Watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn!

Remove rounds to a plate as they are done. Serve hot or room temperature.

For the Salad

10 baby bell peppers assorted colors
1 large bowl of your choice of greens; romaine, butter lettuce, red leaf, arugula etc.
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
Homemade balsamic dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Shake vigorously to mix.

Cut the tops off the peppers then in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Brush the insides lightly with olive oil. Place on the heated grill and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Put the greens in a large bowl. Top with carrots, peppers (warm or room temperature) and avocado. Season with salt and pepper then lightly drizzle with dressing. Toss to coat.

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As the vegetables are cooling cook the sausage on the grill being careful not to char them. Be sure to choose sausage that is organic and nitrate-free. Serve with Dijon mustard.

Enjoy your easy, grilled dinner with very little clean up!

Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad

I was looking for something easy to make with chicken the other night and I came across Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken recipe. I made a few small changes and the end result was a tasty, colorful meal that everyone will enjoy! Start this several hours ahead to marinate the chicken for best flavor.

lemonchixsalad

Prepare the Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts, pounded thin

2/3 cups olive oil

2/3 cups lemon juice (3 lemons)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme and or rosemary leaves, minced (I used lemon thyme) or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs.

Directions

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Combine with the breasts in a large zip lock bag or glass bowl and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. When ready to serve, grill the breasts then chill in refrigerator.

Prepare the Salad

Sliced lemon chicken breasts

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1/4 olive oil

1 1/2-2 cups sugar snap peas, stems and strings removed (the ones at Safeway are stringless!)

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices

1 yellow pepper , cut into thin slices

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning and adjust if desired

Zucchini Salad With Avocado Dressing

zucchinisalad

From now through the rest of the summer many of us will have more zucchini than we know what to do with. If you don’t grow it yourself, you can find plenty at farmside stands and farmers markets.

Zucchini have a high water content and are low in calories. They’re a good  source of folate ( helps reduce your risk for cognitive diseases), potassium (helps build proteins and muscles), and vitamins A (important for good vision and helps our organs work properly) and C (for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth).

Try this no-cook salad on a warm summer evening!

Ingredients

2 large zucchini, spiralized or julienned

1/2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

4 green onions, white parts thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red or orange bell pepper, diced

6 spears asparagus, blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

Dressing

1 ripe avocado

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro (1 bunch)

3/4 cup plain yogurt

4 scallions, chopped

1 clove of garlic, quartered

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the dressing ingredients in a powerful blender or food processor and set aside. It is fairly thick so you might have to work at this a bit.

Chop off the woody parts from the bottom of the asparagus, then blanch in salted water for one minute. Remove and run under cold water. Place the prepared zucchini in a large bowl and cut into smaller pieces with cooking shears. Add the remaining salad ingredients and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and combine well. Pour about 1/2 cup of the dressing on the salad and toss to coat. Divide salad onto plates then top with additional dressing as desired. Store the leftover dressing and use the next day!

Tuna With a Twist

Tunaonappleslices

Todays TWC recipe is a simple twist on a tried and true lunch. Remember the days when we enjoyed tuna sandwiches on white bread with loads of mayo? I think that was my favorite brown bag lunch when I was at Epiphany School in Miami, Florida!

To make this tuna lunch a little healthier I took out the mayo and added several more interesting ingredients and replaced the bread with thin apple slices. Cool, refreshing and simply delicious!

Ingredients

1 can white tuna (wild caught is best)

1 large apple

1/4 cup red onion, minced

2 radishes, diced

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons honey or Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (optional)

1/4 avocado, mashed

3-4  large lettuce leaves

Sea salt and pepper

Instructions

Whisk together the olive oil and mustard.

Cut off the very bottom portion of a large apple so it stands evenly when you slice it (I used golden delicious). At the biggest part of the apple slice three or four 1/4″ slices. Then use the remainder to add to the tuna salad.

applebottomcutoffappleslice

Put the tuna in a medium-sized bowl and mash the large chunks with a fork. Add the oil mixture then toss to coat well.

Add the chopped apple, red onion, radish and parsley to the tuna. Salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and top each with an apple slice. Place a large spoonful of the tuna mixture on top of each apple slice then top with a dollop of avocado.

Garnish with additional apple slices. Enjoy your super healthful, beautiful creation!

Spring Egg Salad

This tasty egg salad is a nice alternative to the traditional one made with gobs of mayonnaise!

The recipe includes fruit, vegetable and nuts. Plain yogurt seasoned with curry replaces the mayo for a deliciously light alternative. I ate mine over a bed of lettuce. It’s adapted from a recipe I found on greenkitchenstories.com when I was searching for ways to use asparagus which is in season right now.

springeggsalad

Ingredients
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup walnuts toasted in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°
1/2 a sweet apple, roughly chopped
10-12 red grapes, halved
10 asparagus spears, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 small handful sprouts, optional
Curry Dressing
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the curry dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Place eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients including the dressing and  Stir carefully (you don’t want to mash the eggs) around with a large spoon until everything is covered in curry dressing, garnish with sprouts. Serve over greens.

What’s The Wrap?

finishedcollardwrap
Since we’re in the middle of the Total Wellness Challenge I am now, more than ever, on a constant search for ways to eat more vegetables. I don’t like complicated recipes. If it has too many ingredients I’ll pass right on by.

Creating a wrap is personal; you can add any healthful ingredients you have on hand. To satisfy a sweet craving I often use apple chunks. Here’s my most recent collard creation:

Ingredients For Each Wrap

2 large collard leaves, cleaned and dried

2 Tablespoons red pepper hummus

1/2 can of white tuna

1/4 of an apple, chopped

1 slice red onion, minced

1/4 avocado, mashed

Handful of baby greens like spinach, romaine etc.

Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette

collardapplestuna

Instructions
Wash, dry and prepare your leaves. (See video here)

With two leaves overlapping and thick center stems horizontal to you, begin adding the rest of the ingredients: Spread hummus evenly on leaves then top with tuna, apples, onions, avocado and baby greens. Drizzle with small amount of balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fold both sides in then carefully begin to roll your wrap as tightly as you can. Cut in half and enjoy!

Healthy Quiche, Healthy Crust!

The other day one of our exercisers was telling me how she used butternut squash as her piecrust  — thank you Lauren F! I decided to give it a whirl. I couldn’t find a recipe so here’s what I came up with. The result meets my three necessary criteria (in no certain order): delicious, healthy and easy. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

squashcrust

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin strips

6 eggs

1/2 can diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

1 cup loosely packed baby kale, chopped

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, optional

Butter to grease pie plate

1/2 avocado, sliced or smashed

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a glass pie plate. Line the bottom of the plate with a single layer of squash slices. In a bowl whisk the eggs then add the onion, tomatoes, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Mix in the kale. Pour the egg mixture over the squash and top with cheese, if using.

Put the pie in the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until firm. Remove  and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Top each slice with mashed avocado. Serve with sliced apples. Yum!

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Everyone’s Talking About Squash!

What’s so good about winter squash? Everything! It’s super sweet in the most natural way and it’s simple to prepare…many varieties do not even require peeling.

squashroast

One of my favorites is delicata. It’s not always available but if you look for it in your grocery store right now you might find it. Trader Joes had it last week for 99 ¢.  The fool-proof universal root vegetable recipe calls for olive oil, sea salt and pepper. It’s pretty hard to mess up! You can always brush on a bit of melted butter and/or maple syrup for a richer taste. Delicata is so sweet the oil and salt will do the trick.

Delicata Squash

Preheat oven to 425 º. Wash and dry the squash. Cut in half length-wise and scrape out seeds. Then cut each section into 1/2″ half-moon pieces. Toss in a bowl with about 1 tablespoon olive oil (don’t use too much) and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread squash pieces in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Try this for a tasty vegetarian dish: Place baby spinach (one bag) on a large platter and top with 1 cup of cooked quinoa or millet. Layer with thin red onion slices, sprinkle with a handful of dried cranberries and the roasted squash. Drizzle warm balsamic vinaigrette over everything.

Butternut Squash
butnutsquashsalad

Butternut squash is a little more labor intensive because it requires peeling and it’s more difficult to chop. But the end result is always delicious. Assemble a  salad topped with roasted butternut squash, red onion and  avocado and serve along with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

 
Have you tried butternut squash noodles? If you have a spiralizer you can easily turn your squash into “pasta”. Toss the noodles with a small amount of olive oil to coat–1 tablespoon or so–and cook at 400° for 10 minutes. Top with your favorite tomato gravy or eat plain as a side dish with a little salt and pepper.

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As long as we have these wonderful squashes…..we can make it through the winter!