Happy Hubby Meals: Peach Chicken with Broccoli

This is the second recipe in my “Happy Hubby Meals” series. Great, easy freezable meals for Matt for lunch.

I still have a half a box of peaches despite eating them all week long. So, naturally I had to figure out a way to incorporate them into Matt’s lunch meals. This recipe turned out to be incredible! I didn’t want it to be too sweet, but despite the peaches the flavors of the teriyaki sauce and chicken were in the savory, pleasantly sweet range without tasting sugary.

I knew I wanted to slow-cook it, and yet again Betty Crocker to the rescue. The inspiration recipe, had ginger and canned peaches neither of which I wanted.

After the chicken cooked I ladled out about 2/3 cup of the incredible spicy/savory/peachy sauce onto about 1 cup of basmati rice, already portioned into the pyrex bowls. I then topped that with chopped broccoli florets and a sprinkle of sliced almonds and there you go!

Peach Chicken with Broccoli

12 peaches, sliced

1 onion, sautéed until translucent

4 chicken breasts

2 TB fish sauce

1/2 cup teriyaki marinade (like Soy Vay or whatever you have)

1 cup water

1 TB teriyaki Sauce

2 TB Sriracha

1/2 jar cranberry sauce

1/4 cup cornstarch

8 cups cooked basmati rice (about 3 cups dry made this)

3 large broccoli crowns, chopped

Layer chicken breasts into slow cooker, top with onion and peaches. In small bowl mix teriyaki marinade, water, sriracha, cranberry sauce and cornstarch together, pour on top of chicken, onion and peaches. Cook on high for 4 hours. Pull chicken breasts out and divide sauce onto 8 4-cup pyrex bowls. Shred chicken and divide into bowls. Top with broccoli and sprinkle with almonds.

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Fresh Peach Salsa

They are BACK.

We’ve waited since October. 8 long months for them.

Fresh PEACHES!

Of course you have been able to purchase peaches from Chili, Mexico or California for quite some time. But this is just about the very first of the Washington peaches. They start out small and cling but a month from now they’ll be incredible! These peaches are a teaser of better things to come.

I made up my own recipe based on a few that I read on pinterest.

Fresh Peach Salsa

12 small peaches, washed and chopped (I peeled about 1/2 of them, peel if you want, you don’t have to)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 jalapeño peppers, diced (toss seeds out if you want less spicy)

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

2 cobs of corn, roasted and kernels chopped off cob

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 TB salt

Toss everything together gently. I have found salsas to be tastier the next day, drain excess liquid before serving.


Happy Hubby Meals: Chicken Curry

I’ve been freezing Matt work lunches since last fall, I started with Tamales, freezing 2-3 of them in their husks wrapped in foil. I then made Burritos. He has a microwave at his work (doesn’t just about everybody?) It’s easy for him to reheat them.

However, his favorite meals have been soups, stews or rice based meals in bowls. I froze a few in the plastic lidded tupperware items I had around, but I hated it. This leads me to my confession: I absolutely loathe plastic dining ware, of every sort. It gets easily stained, smelly and lost. I’m sure when we have kids we’ll have to do SOME plastic, I just don’t like it. I don’t like drinking out of plastic, I’m convinced that it taints the taste of the water.

Wow, when did I become this deserving little prude, can I say developed world problems or what. Good grief. Geez, I should be thankful for bowls and cups, no matter what the type.

Anyway, all this to say that I was hesitant to freeze lunches for Matt in plastic, just for him to reheat it again, it kind of grossed me out.  So after some sticker shock at the local walmart I finally gave in and invested in some glass pyrex 4 cup containers with lids (the lids are plastic, I know, but they are removed before microwaving). I’ve been slowly collecting them on sale, $7.99 is the going rate usually but I’ve purchased most of mine from $5-6, by watching for sales and looking for coupons.

I’ve been perfecting “Happy Hubby Meals” at Matt affectionately calls them, and I’ll start sharing the successes here (there have been many unsuccessful ones as well that I’ll keep to myself)

My latest one was a spin on a recipe I got from the Betty Crocker site, Chicken Curry. 4 chicken breasts made 6 good meals, I had some snap peas and cashews that I topped each meal with.

Chicken Curry (slow cooker version)

4 Chicken breasts

2 cups water

1 jar Trader Joe’s Mango Chutney

2 TB cornstarch

1 TB yellow curry powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 TB Sriracha Sauce or Rooster Sauce (optional if you like spicy)

2 cans drained, rinsed garbanzo beans

2 onions chopped and sautéed until translucent

2 cups basmati rice, uncooked

2 cups snap peas, sharp ends chopped off

3/4 cup chopped cashews

Lay chicken breasts in slow cooker. In small bowl mix water, mango chutney, cornstarch, curry powder, salt, pepper and sriracha until blended, pour on top of chicken. layer onions on top. Cover and allow to cook on high for 3 hours, add drained rinsed garbanzo beans for last hour of cooking. Fork chicken apart gently. Do a quick taste test, add more spice or salt if desired.

Cook 2 cups of white basmati rice in rice cooker or on stove according to manufactures directions.

Divide rice into 6 bowls, top with chicken curry mixture, spoon chicken garbanzo mixture and sauce on top of rice. Top with cashews, dried red pepper flake (for more spice) and snap peas. Allow everything to cool a little before lidding up and freezing.

The cornstarch gave a great consistency to the curry that covered the rice well.

Often I freeze leftovers, but this meal fit so perfectly into the pyrex, I just froze the whole lot. I received a text from Matt today

“Curry lunch was awesome!!!!! I win!”

I consider that a success.


Refried Beans, but not

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I grew up with canned vegetarian refried beans. That was the bean product of choice for tacos. I really didn’t like them. Something about how they “slurped” out of the can and how thick they were, even when well heated, just didn’t sit right with me. I remember getting Rosarita’s “vegetarian refried beans with lime”, which was more tolerable, but still mildly dreadful.

I liked the lard laden ones at the local taco joint, those were great, but not really something I would want to eat on a regular basis.

Now, I’ve always enjoyed whole beans in tacos, black beans and kidney beans primarily.

But it wasn’t until I went to my friend Laura’s house  (owner of a white plate that I borrowed for blog photo purposes), that I discovered homemade “refried beans” style mashed pinto beans. She made them from whole dry pinto beans with a few seasonings and mashed them.

Mind blown.

You mean, you can make refried beans from scratch??? (I’ve obviously never considered this)

Last week, while visiting my mom, she gave me some dry beans she didn’t get around to usingImage

Pinto Splits? Good enough.

I found it funny, that the bag said “No Cholesterol”. Well, there better darn well not be any cholesterol in DRIED BEANS. I would be terrified if there was. Made me think of Almost Pizza.

I dumped a half a bag of them in my slow cooker with water, a diced onion, garlic, cumin, hot sauce and black pepper, let it do it’s thing for awhile and then, according to other recipes, I drained the water out, and then mashed the beans up. At that point I added salt, adding it before would have made the beans more difficult to cook. I then re-added additional water to get it to a perfect consistency, and squirted a little lime juice in for flavor.

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Oh my. Delish.

The beans were so good, we just wanted to eat them plain with chips or tortillas. We were out of tortilla chips so we made some with leftover corn tortillas.

But then we burnt them, smelled the whole house up, practically caught the oven on fire (not the first time we’ve done that). We threw up the white flag and ran to Rosauer’s instead.

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Refried Beans, un-fried

2 lbs Pinto Splits

8 cups of water

1 TB ground cumin

1 onion, chopped

3 TB fresh garlic, chopped

3 TB Valentina Hot Sauce (I think this is in every recipe I’ve made, lol)

1 lime

4 tsp salt (to taste)

Toss beans, water, cumin, onion, garlic and hot sauce in slow cooker for 6 hours on high (or over night), drain liquid from beans and reserve. Mash beans with masher or puree in food processor if you desire a more uniform texture. Add salt and the juice of one lime.

Eat as a side dish, as a dip with chips (ideally not burnt ones)


Brownies in the Raw

Okay, I’ve heard of such things, but I really didn’t believe there could be a better gluten-free, low carb brownie out there that beats my black bean brownies, yes, shamelessly arrogant brownie snob here.

But if there is a brownie that is up for the challenge of dethroning the black bean brownies in this house it’s these raw brownies.

They require no cooking, no stirring, no bowl, no eggs, oil or butter.

Oh my. They are incredible.

However I made an elementary cook mistake while preparing them

The brownies call for dates, I had never used dates before, and I didn’t realize they had seeds.

Huge seeds in fact, like the size of a small almond.

Really. Hard. Seeds.

And I plopped 13 dates into my poor indentured servant, Mr. Cuisinart F. Processor, and pushed start. The poor dear tilted on two feet one way and then the back to his other two feet then his blade disconnected and made a horrible sound.

Oh Cuisi, forgive me for those horrible seeds that knocked you senseless. I think after a nice soak in the sink ahem “bath” he is recovering.

But, please, friends, I’m sure you are all aware of date seeds, I was not. Please beware, they do not grind.

There are many raw brownie recipes, and I played with a few of them until I found my ideal. Some call for bananas, avocados, maple syrup, walnuts, cashews. They ALL call for cocoa powder

A word on Cocoa Powder and the different types here

I used Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder, oh it’s so good.

These brownies are insanely easy to make, you do need a food processor, and a few hours to chill brownies.

Brownies in the Raw

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup almonds

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 TB honey

12-13 Medjool Dates **SEEDS REMOVED**

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Place 1 cup of pecans and almonds in food processor, pulse until ground finely. Add dates, remember to remove the seeds (haha), 2 at a time, and use the pulse button to incorporate them slowly. Add cocoa, honey and vanilla. Pulse gradually until the brownie mixture looks like really great soil.

Press into 8×8 pan that is lined with saran wrap (add chocolate chips at this point). Allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cut into 12 brownies. Store covered and refrigerated (I wouldn’t be that concerned about it, other than the fact that the medjool date container from TJs says to refrigerate after opening).

I brought some to gathering with friends yesterday, and they were a hit! This is my beautiful friend Annie May, miss that girl already!


Simple Coconut Rice Pudding

Matt and I eat more rice than any other starch, this is a terrific use of leftover rice. This is a simple recipe, whips up quick for a simple dessert. We like basmati rice the most. It’s an aromatic rice, and has a lower Glycemic Index than other white rices (that’s a good thing).

I knew I wanted a Thai flair for this rice pudding, that is where the cardamom comes in. Often rice pudding has raisins in it, I didn’t have raisins around, but I always have dried cranberries around, I think they worked splendidly!

Simple Coconut Rice Pudding

4 cups cooked coconut rice

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 cans light coconut milk

1 large box instant vanilla pudding

Mix vanilla pudding mix according to instructions, substitute milk with coconut milk, whisk in cardamom. Mix in cranberries and rice to pudding, stir gently until incorporated. Top with toasted coconut, granola or fresh berries.

Serves 8

If your rice is fresh this pudding can be devoured hot! I haven’t experimented heating it up, but I’m sure it can be!


Chopped Taco Salad

Like any nutrition graduate I love a good salad. However, I am often disappointed in the roughage to yummy bits ratio. For instance eight parts romaine lettuce to one part chicken, dried cranberries, almonds and cucumbers. Blah. The $12 salad was $10 lettuce and $2 yummy part (not really, but you get my drift).

I like well incorporated salads where EVERY bite is delicious and full of flavor.

My other beef with salads is that often they can be awkward to eat. During work lunches I often want to order a salad, but I’m embarrassed at what I might look like trying to shove a 4-inch spinach leaf in my mouth (salads with huge leaves should ALWAYS be served with a knife in my opinion).  I actually think awkward salads are a cause of the general population not ordering them or healthy alternatives in general when they go out. That is probably far fetched, but I think we’ve all had an awkward moment or two with a salad. Not so recently I ate a McDonald’s salad, the ice berg lettuce was in massive chunks and there were these weird shreds of carrot, they looked like orange tongues. I didn’t even have a crummy plastic knife so I just sat there like an idiot shoving huge bits of lettuce and carrots in my face.

However awkward they can be I do love a good salad, they serve a really good taco salad at The Onion here in Spokane, mmmm, drool worthy.

So, let’s review. A salad should be . . . full of flavor, easy enough to eat and . . . oh right – HEALTHY (almost forgot that one)

This salad is healthy, it is DRESSING FREE! None of that corn syrup ridden, trans-fat containing goop. And I promise you won’t miss it with this delicious salad!

That is what inspired this beauty

Chopped Taco Salad

3 hearts of romaine lettuce chopped thin

1 large can Rotel, drained well

2 cans corn, drained or 3 cups defrosted frozen corn

3 cups black beans (if using canned drain and rinse, if using dried cook, rinse & cool)

1 large (24oz) jar salsa (I REALLY like Winco’s Cascade Pride HOT salsa)

1 lb ground turkey, cooked thoroughly and seasoned with taco seasoning OR cumin, chili powder, garlic and salt & pepper

2 Avocados chopped, sprinkled with lemon juice

Make sure the above ingredients are chilled and well drained, toss together gently until incorporated, serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. I just liked mine plain. Matt and I aren’t cheese eaters but shredded cheese would go well with this too, even mixed in.

Yum. And soooo healthy!

I’ve made this twice, once with one can black beans and one can kidney beans, the second time with dried cooked black beans. I missed the kidney beans, but I think the dried cooked beans taste so much BETTER, and less salty too. The second time we put chopped avocado in it, with the high acidity of the salsa it didn’t brown, so that was good.

We also ate this over the period of 3 days, the lettuce wilts a little, but does not loose it’s crunchy consistency.