Thai Green Curry Chicken Skewers with Ginger “Quinoa”

Standard

P1030343

Sometimes, especially when I’m busy, I lack creativity and ideas.  This is when I pull out my favourite cook books.  I have many favourite authors, but my go-to recipes are always by Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver and Giada DiLaurentiis.  When I flip through the pages of these cookbooks, I salivate because the food looks so fresh, flavourful and satisfying.  Although these particular chefs have healthy ideas, their recipes aren’t particularly low-carb.  So this is where I work my magic.  So today, I’m taking liberties with Donna Hay’s recipe of the same name from her latest cook book, Fresh and Light.

index

My biggest change?  I didn’t use quinoa.  I used cauliflower.  This recipe is super filling because you really can eat as much cauliflower as you want with good conscience.  You’re also getting a nice big dose of protein because each serving is a whole chicken breast.

Why you should eat this :

1. Protein.  You need protein to build those nice, lean, sexy muscles and to recover quickly from your workouts. It also is satisfying, so you won’t need a midnight snack if this is your dinner.

2. Cauliflower.  A.k.a. cruciferous vegetables.  These should be a part of every diet where fat-loss and an increase in muscle are the goals. Just ask Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper. They both encourage eating these every day. Aside from all the nutrients cruciferous veggies provide, they may also increase testosterone.  This might sound scary for the ladies, however, this is a good thing for burning fat, increaseing muscle, and generally having an elevated motivation for physical activity. So eat up!

What you need :

  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 4 chicken breasts sliced as evenly as possible into strips
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • a head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • lime cheeks and extra coriander to serve

How to make it :

1.  Soak your skewers!  If you’re using wooden rather than metal skewers, you must soak them for a long time.  I soaked them for 30 minutes and this wasn’t even close to being enough time.  At least an hour should help to prevent the skewers from burning.

2.  Start with your washed head of cauliflower.  Put it in the food processor on the grater setting.  I don’t have one of these nifty kitchen appliances, so I went to my mom’s house and used hers. This will save you so much time.  Honestly if I tried to grate it all by hand it would probably take me at least 15 minutes.  With the processor it was about 2.  The entire head yielded about 4-5 cups of shredded cauliflower “quinoa.”

P1030308

3. Make sure your chicken breasts are evenly sliced.  Mine weren’t, which lead to a bit of a hassle when it came to grilling them.  I made 4 slices per breast, but feel free to make more.  With the topping for the chicken, the meat stays nice and moist even if you cook them well and have small pieces.  IMG_0132

4. With that out of the way, mix up the coconut cream and the curry paste.  I used these brands and they worked well and tasted amazing:

P1030318

The creamed coconut has almost the consistency of lard, so it’s a bit finicky to mix it, but it’s definitely worth it in the end because it tastes so good.

IMG_0129

5. Now it’s time to smear it all over those breasts.  You’ve really got to work it in so that every square millimetre of surface area is covered to maximize the flavour.

P1030325

I know it looks a bit nasty, but it smells delicious!

6.  Now time to skewer the meat.  Make sure you do it well so that the meat stays on the skewer throughout the grilling and eating process. I sort of weaved mine onto the skewers.

P1030326

7.  Onto the grill!  I preheated my grill for about 10 minutes on high and then reduced the head to medium high.  The pieces are small enough that they cook through fairly quickly so a hot grill is ok.

P1030333

Grill for 5-7 minutes and then flip and cook for another 5.

8. Meanwhile, we can get going on the “quinoa” which isn’t really quinoa.  Now I know that quinoa is a super trendy health food with a very high protein content considering that it’s a grain.  My thing about quinoa is that it’s quite calorie dense and I don’t really care about it as a source of protein because I eat meat.  Not to mention the fact that it only has about 5 grams of protein per serving, when I’m looking a whole lot more than that for my meal.  So anyway, enough about that.  In a pre-heated pan on medium heat, heat some olive oil (or grape-seed or whatever you want).  Then add in your cauliflower and sauté.  Then add in your tablespoon of ginger, green onions and sesame oil.  Once some of the cauliflower gets a bit golden, add in your cilantro and then remove it from the heat.  This doesn’t need a ton of cooking time, really the purpose of the sauté is to add flavour and to mix all of these beautiful ingredients together.

P1030340

9.  Plate it up and enjoy!  This made 4 meals for me, each serving with a mountain of cauliflower “quinoa.”

P1030349

Advertisements

Zucchini Pasta with Kale Pesto

Standard

Trying to maintain a low-carb diet, but craving something Italian?  Well you’re in luck.  Here is an alternative to pasta that’s delicious and packed full of good stuff.

Image

This pesto would be really good on practically anything.  I made two batches of it, so I’m thinking that sometime this week, I’ll grill some white fish and top it with this delicious pesto.

For the Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 glove of garlic (or 2 if they’re small)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

How-to:

1. Wash and take the ribs out of 1/3 of a bunch of kale.

Image

2. Pack as much kale as you can into the food processor.

Image

3. Process Kale until it it’s in little tiny pieces.

4. Toast almonds on high heat.  This doesn’t take long.  Just do it until you can smell the nuttiness and you can start to see a little colour.

Image

5. Peel the glove of garlic and toss it in the processor.  Add in the almonds, oil and a good amount of salt.  Blend.

Image

This makes a delicious, thick, flavourful pesto.

For the Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini (4 small)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp corriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • pesto (1 full recipe)
  • roasted red peppers (optional)
  • green onion (optional)

How-to:

1. Cut ends off zucchini.

Image

2. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise.  I used a mandolin for this step.

Image

Image

3.  Take the thick slices, stack them and slice them into noodles.

Image

4. Put raw chicken on a cutting board, cover with parchment or wax paper and pound it with your fists or whatever instrument you wish until it comes out nice and uniform in thickness.  This makes it cook faster and more evenly and makes it more tender and juicy.

Image

5. Season the breast with the spice.  It seems like a lot, but it makes a nice coating which becomes crispy on the grill.

Image

6.  I used my George Foreman grill on medium low heat to grill this.  You could also pan sear it in what ever fat you like or do it on a barbeque.

Image

7.  When the chicken has char marks, it’s done.  Take it off the heat and let it rest for a while.

Image

8.  Toss the zucchini noodles with whatever low-carb veggies you like (I think roasted red peppers would be amazing) and the pesto. I don’t bother cooking the zucchini.  I think it’s pretty good as is.

Image

9.  Cut up the chicken and toss into the pasta.  Then eat up!  I’m looking forward to having this for my lunch, probably for most of the week.

Image

Cilantro lime chicken salad

Standard

This delicious salad is inspired by Mexican flavours.  I needed something to remind me of somewhere hot while I’m being tortured by this long Canadian winter.  After going for nearly two weeks with very little carbs, these sweet potatos are a welcome treat.  Only to be eaten after 4:00PM, this salad is a great dinner option.

chicken salad

You’ll have to excuse the quality of the image.  I’m brand spanking new to food photography.  I’m new to any kind of photography for that matter.  But the dish itself was delicious, satisfying and helped to lift my mood because it has some feel-good carbs.  So here we go:

Ingredients and instructions:

Makes 4 servings.

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Mayo (see recipe below)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

To make: mix all ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste.

Mayo:

***I don’t use store-bought mayonnaise because there’s sugar in it.  No matter which one.  I’ve looked at all the labels.  The key here, is to avoid sugar.  So here is one way to avoid sugar.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup oil (I used extra-virgin olive)
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • juice of 1 lemon

To make: blend egg, mustard and lemon in a food processor.  Keep the processor whizzing away until it’s frothy. Starting a few drops at a time, blend in oil.  Drizzle oil into the food processor very slowly!!!  Once all oil is incorporated, it should come together and look like a thick, yellow mayonnaise.  Keep the rest to make deviled eggs or to make a dip for veggies.

Chicken:

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

To make: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pan on the stove-top, melt 1 tbsp coconut oil. Season breasts with the remaining ingredients. Sear breasts in a very hot pan.  Once the outside is brown on both sides, put the pan into the oven (if oven proof) or transfer chicken to a pan and put in the oven until cooked through (10 minutes??).  Once completed, let rest for a bit and then slice.

Sweet Potato:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped to 2cm cubes (roughly – doesn’t have to be perfect)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

To make: preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Put on a baking sheet and put into the oven for approximately 20 minutes.  When done, they should be starting to brown and they should be nice and soft in the middle.

Salad

  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1 avocado, chopped with juice of lime squeezed over it to prevent it from turning brown

To make:  Combine all ingredients in same bowl that dressing was made in.  Coat with dressing.

Feel free to double up on all of the salad items (except avocado) if you want to have a little more bulk to the meal.

Assembly:

Plate the salad, then add in chicken and potatoes.  Squeeze a generous amount of lime juice over everything.  Yummy!