Chicken Pesto “Noodle” Bowl

 

chicken pesto noodle bowl 2

I know I mentioned it already, but the summer heat has been insane in Portland! It has been consistently in the mid to upper 90s for many days now and it looks like it’s going to continue. I’ll be going home for a visit to Michigan in a couple weeks and I’m thinking it’s going to feel cold compared to what I’ve adapted to! It looks like temps in my hometown have been in the low 70s, but there’s also more humidity involved, so it usually feels warmer. Regardless of what the weather is like, it’ll be nice to be home for a visit.

Anyway, onto the food. I made this for dinner two nights in a row this past week because it’s so tasty and doesn’t involve any heat! It’s super easy and you don’t have to cook anything, unless you don’t have leftover chicken breasts in the fridge. If you don’t, then you have to cook a little bit, but at least it’s simple. I’d recommend either throwing some chicken on the grill or poaching it on the stove to get the job done.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade basil pesto (replace parsley with fresh basil)
  • 2 leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, noodled with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place chopped chicken in a large bowl and mix with 2 Tbsp or so of fresh pesto. Place in fridge and let sit for a couple hours. (Note: if you don’t have time to let the chicken marinate in the fridge, skip it, but I recommend doing so if you can, so the chicken absorbs more pesto flavor).
  2. Shortly before eating, place the zucchini noodles in a colander and generously salt with sea salt. Place the colander in the sink or over a large bowl and let the zucchini “sweat” for 10-20 minutes. Then, squeeze out any excess water and divide the zucchini noodles among two bowls.
  3. Divide the tomatoes between the two bowls and add a little more pesto (probably 1-3 tsp per bowl or to taste). Then, divide the chicken mixture between the two bowls and mix well. Season to taste with a little sea salt and/or pepper, if needed.

Turmeric Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

chicken stir fry

Stir fry is such an easy and quick meal to whip up when I’m not sure what to make for dinner. It’s especially great when we have lots of different veggies in the fridge to work with. Bonus that it doesn’t have to heat up the house too much either, though I did make this before the weather turned extremely hot. During this time, it was just hot.

Meanwhile, can you believe it’s almost the Fourth of July? It always seems like summer flies by after the Fourth, doesn’t it? Anyway, we don’t have any plans nailed down yet, but might go to Hood River for the day. We’ll see.

What are you doing for the Fourth of July?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large broccoli crown, chopped
  • About 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut aminos (find here)
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce (I recommend this brand, which has no gluten or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp mirin (find here)
  • Drizzle of raw honey (probably about 1/2 tsp)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

chicken stir fry 2

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant and sauté about 1-2 minutes. Then, add the cut-up chicken pieces and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the coconut aminos, fish sauce, mirin, raw honey, ginger, turmeric and cayenne. Set aside.
  3. Once the chicken is nearly cooked through, add the carrots and broccoli. Mix well and sauté a few minutes. Then, add the zucchini and shiitake mushrooms, and stir well. Season to taste with a little sea salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Continue to cook for a few minutes or until zucchini has softened a bit.
  5. Season to taste with more sea salt, pepper and/or coconut aminos, if needed.

Yields: 2 large servings

 

Perfect Pork Chops

perfect pork chops

One word on making perfect pork pork chops: brine. I had never brined pork chops until recently and let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. It’s totally worth the extra time and effort (very little effort though, really) because it makes the pork chops so much more flavorful and tender. If you’ve never brined pork chops before, I highly recommend giving it a go. It’s so easy to do and adds a great punch of flavor. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, hope everyone had a happy weekend and enjoyed rolling in the official start of summer. Hope all you dads had a great Father’s Day too!

Cheers and happy grilling!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (this brand is my favorite)
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 thick bone-in pork chops (I used center cut pork chops)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine everything, but the pork chops. Stir well, until salt and honey is dissolved.
  2. Place pork chops in a large zip lock bag and pour brine over top. Seal bag and gently slosh the mixture around to coat the chops. Place in fridge and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours. Move the mixture around from time-to-time to keep the chops well covered in brine.
  3. Remove the pork chops from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Discard the brine and rinse pork chops in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Turn on the grill and allow to heat up to medium. Place the chops over direct heat and sear for 2 minutes each side. Then, move to indirect heat, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes each side.
  5. Let chops rest 10 minutes after coming off the grill.

Yields: 2 servings

 

 

 

Classic Summertime Coleslaw

coleslaw

Summer is nearly here, though the weather has been pretty nice in Portland for quite some time now.  We finally cleaned our little grill and got it in tiptop shape for summer. Since then, we’ve been making burgers regularly and love eating this coleslaw alongside. I’ve actually made it twice in less than one week (it makes a big bowl too). We’ve eaten it mainly with burger patties, but with chicken too, and I even ate it with eggs and sausage the other day. It seriously tastes good with nearly everything! I’m a big fan of it.

Be sure to taste the dressing as you go and adjust the flavors to your liking. The coleslaw tastes even better the next day and the flavors are more abundant. Also, I recommend making the homemade mayo with avocado oil for this salad, as the flavor is a little more neutral (though the macadamia nut oil version in my recipe link is awesome).

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 2/3  cup homemade mayo or Primal Kitchen Mayo
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1.5 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the mayo, vinegar, raw honey, mustard powder, celery salt, sea salt and pepper. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
  2. Pour dressing over cabbage and carrots, and mix well to coat.
  3. Place in fridge to chill for at least an hour, but longer if possible. Taste and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if needed.

Turmeric and Spice Granola

turmeric spice granola 2

I’ve been putting turmeric in nearly everything lately and even recently bought some fresh turmeric root for the first time ever (it was great in stir fry with fresh ginger). I know turmeric is incredibly good for you and has great flavor, but often forget about it when I’m choosing my spices for a dish. I think it’s become more of a habit to reach for it now and don’t plan to forget about this incredible spice!

I regularly make homemade grain-free granola and while whipping up a batch one day, decided to try adding a little turmeric to it. I liked the way it turned out a lot, but tweaked the recipe slightly the second time I made it and liked it even better. Hope you enjoy it too!

turmeric spice granola

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ~2.5 cups raw pumpkin seeds (I used raw sprouted ones)
  • ~2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract (I like this brand)
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey or to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp ground turmeric

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pour coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on a large baking sheet.
  3. In a bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the coconut oil, vanilla, raw honey, sea salt and spices.
  4. Pour oil and spice mixture over the coconut and seeds. Stir well to coat. If need be, divide granola up between two baking sheets, but make sure it’s not spread too thin, so the coconut doesn’t burn!
  5. Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and stir, and place in oven for another 15 minutes. Stir again and if need be, place in oven for another 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it at this point to make sure it doesn’t get too dark!
  6. Cool completely and store in glass jars.

 

Paprika Cucumbers in Vinegar

paprika vinegar cucumbers 2

It had been a long time since I ate cucumbers this way and the taste definitely took me back to childhood a bit. Cucumbers in vinegar was a summertime side dish that I loved as a kid, and still enjoy today. My mom often made it to go with grilled meat and it was something we ate a lot of out at our cottage or at family cookouts. Sometimes, she would make creamed cucumbers instead, but I never liked those…or at least thought I didn’t. I don’t think I ever actually tried them though because I didn’t like how they looked. Typical kid thing to do and something I did a lot when I was young!

This is a slightly different take on the traditional cucumbers in vinegar, but still just as tasty. The bright red paprika adds a nice pop of color too. You can also use hot paprika instead of sweet paprika for a spicy twist or just add a pinch of cayenne if you like. Supposedly, this recipe is very similar to Hungarian cucumber salad. At least that’s what my friend Naz at Cinnamon Eats says.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus extra for salting cucumbers
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I like this brand with the mother culture)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp raw honey

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice cucumbers with a mandoline slicer or knife. I actually used the mandoline/slicing attachment blade on my food processor (I have this food processor).
  2. Place cucumber slices in a strainer and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Place strainer over a bowl and drain for 45 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tsp sea salt, the apple cider vinegar, black pepper, paprika and raw honey. Add cucumbers after draining and mix well to coat.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Use a slotted spoon or fork for serving and sprinkle with extra paprika.

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