Harvest Bowl with Creamy Maple Vinaigrette

harvest bowl 3Tomorrow is the official first day of fall and to commemorate, I threw together this lovely harvest bowl. It’s filled with cinnamon-roasted butternut squash, chicken breast, apple, pecans, and mixed greens, and is topped with a creamy, dairy-free maple vinaigrette. It is splendid and I can honestly say it’s my newfound love. I will definitely be making it over-and-over again for a while.

I wasn’t ready to go full-on pumpkin spice mode and all that jazz, but I had to honor where we’re at, so a little cinnamon, maple syrup, and some seasonal goodies did the trick. Pumpkin spice can wait until next month. I do enjoy fall, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m ready for summer to end. I really love summer…like a lot, but onward I go with the change of seasons, and I’m taking this harvest bowl with me!

In other news, I will be making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live next Tuesday, September 26. Stay tuned for the replay link!

Cheers and enjoy!close up harvest bowl

For the bowl:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded or cubed
  • 2-3 small Gravenstein apples or other variety of choice, diced
  • 1/3 cup raw pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cups mixed greens

For the maple vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which is gum-free)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place butternut squash on large baking sheet and drizzle with the avocado oil. Season with cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper, and mix well. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool once done.
  2. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake to mix. Alternatively, you can whisk it together in a bowl. If possible, make the dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to marinate.
  3. Assemble the salad by dividing the mixed greens among three bowls. Then, divide the chicken, pecans, apples, and squash among the bowls. Just before serving, drizzle desired amount of dressing on top. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Yields: 3 servings

 

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Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken

It is scorching here this week! Our perfect summer temperatures have skyrocketed and we’re all seeking ways to stay cool. I know, kinda crazy that I’m sharing a slow cooker recipe, but I made this on a more normal hot day, so it was fine. If it is extra hot, get this going early in the morning to beat the heat. It’s worth it and makes for such a great summer meal. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with barbecue shredded meat. I highly recommend serving this with homemade coleslaw on the side, along with whatever else you like (roasted sweet potatoes are especially wonderful with both).

Meanwhile, I’m headed back to Michigan for a visit this Sunday and will be gone for 10 days. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing my family and friends, and spending time on the lake. I’m ready for a little R&R.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 2-2.5 lb worth)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup paleo BBQ sauce, either homemade or a high-quality brand like this one

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, onion, and garlic to the bottom of the slow cooker. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Add BBQ sauce and cover with lid. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.
  2. Once done, shred the chicken with two forks and stir to coat with the sauce.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Chicken Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl

This recipe is simple good, and makes for an incredibly quick and easy meal. And, all in one dish too. It also features homemade vegetable bouillon powder and will leave you with leftovers to store in your pantry (so you can easily make this recipe again!). The homemade bouillon came about because I wanted a concentrated broth flavor, but didn’t want to add a ton of liquid. In my quest, I realized that there are no high-quality bouillon cubes/powder out there (at least not that I’ve seen), so plan B was to make my own. It is incredibly easy to make too.

In a sense, this recipe kinda reminds me of ramen noodles, mainly because of adding the concentrated seasoning to a bowl of “noodles.” I definitely ate my fair share of those back in the day, but really…who didn’t? They were super salty (and MSG-laden), brothy, quick, cheap, and yielded a huge bowl of noodles. I guess you could say this recipe is ramen noodles, but with a 360-degree, health-ifed turn! Anyway, all you need to know is that it is delicious. We ate ours with a side of steamed buttered broccoli and it was fantastic.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and talked about my three popsicle recipes that I recently featured on here. Watch the replay of the segment HERE.

For the vegetable bouillon powder:

  • 1/2 cup large flake nutritional yeast (I like this brand)
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • Black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixture turns into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. You may have to experiment with ratios, depending on your taste, but I recommend 1-3 tsp to 1 cup boiling water to turn this into broth. Great to use as a powder for flavor too, as seen in the recipe below.

For the noodle bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, spiralized into noodles (or buy a package of pre-noodled sweet potato)
  • 2 leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
  • 1 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon powder (see recipe above)
  • Generous splash of water (about 3-4 Tbsp worth)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt butter or ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the sweet potato noodles and chicken. Sauté a few minutes.
  2. Next, add the homemade bouillon powder and a splash of water. Mix well to coat and sauté over medium-low a few more minutes. Add a little bit more water, if needed. Taste and season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper, if needed.
  3. Divide into bowls and garnish with green onions.

Yields: 2 servings

Summer “Grain” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

summer grain saladI’m back from NYC as of last Friday night and apparently, brought the warm weather back with me. I was gone for 10 days and the whole time I was away, the weather was cold, rainy, and crummy here in Portland. It was the exact opposite in NYC, so thankfully, I missed out! Now, our nice summer weather has returned, so more salads are called upon.

This salad makes for an awesome summertime dinner. I like making it ahead of time, so we can eat it cold after it’s chilled in the fridge, but it can be eaten warm as well. It is so delicious and the simple lemon tahini dressing is perfect. I think I could eat this salad, or a variation of it, everyday!

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe next Wednesday, June 28 on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups golden beets, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5 oz clamshell baby kale
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets and asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with coconut or avocado oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside.
  2. *Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue to cook chicken, but don’t break up the chunks of meat as you normally would. Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes, but do not overcook. *Note, if your ground chicken is really lean, you may need to add a little oil to the pan. Set aside once done.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the food processor bowl with the pan drippings. Pulse about 4-5 times until chicken forms smaller crumbles and resembles grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  5. Pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, roasted vegetables, green onions, and baby kale (you may have to work the baby kale in bit-by-bit). Pour dressing over top and stir well. Continue to add the baby kale (if you didn’t add it all at once), until it’s all worked in. Taste, and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Ham, Carrot & Asparagus Egg Bake

We didn’t do anything for Easter this year, nor did I make anything special (granted, we did eat plenty of my dill pickle deviled eggs leading up to it), but I did pick up some ham since it was on sale. Okay, and I did gift Jesse with a special dark chocolate bar from The Meadow, but that’s the extend of it. We didn’t even eat the ham on Easter, as it was a leftovers kind of night. Up until Saturday afternoon, we actually thought we were getting together with friends on Easter Sunday (not for Easter, but just to get together for dinner), but that ended up falling through.

Meanwhile, if you have any leftover Easter ham or picked some up because it was on sale, this recipe is a great way to use it. There’s asparagus, carrot, and dill in the mix too, which yields a lot of spring flavor. It’s a great recipe to save for Mother’s Day brunch or any spring occasion.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces (remove woody ends)
  • 1 large carrot, cut in half and peeled into strips
  • 2 cups good-quality ham, diced into cubes
  • 12 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/4 cup good-quality chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which has no gums)
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Steam asparagus pieces over medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes. Remove steamer basket from pot and set aside to cool a bit.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, broth, coconut milk, dried dill, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Add the steamed asparagus, carrot strips, and ham cubes to a 9×13 baking dish and distribute evenly (note: depending on the pan you use, you may need to grease it with a little butter or coconut oil first). Pour egg mixture on top.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until set.
  6. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Yields: 6 servings

 

 

One-Pan Roasted Veggies & Sausage

 

veggies-and-sausageCan’t beat a simple, one-pan meal. It makes for an easy lunch or dinner and involves little fuss, other than chopping the vegetables. But, that’s a very small task to accomplish to create a healthy meal.

Feel free to make this dish your own by using the veggies, sausage and seasonings that you like. It’s easy to customize and leaves lots of room for variety. In terms of the sausage, I used Aidells Artichoke & Garlic Chicken Sausage, but an Italian variety (Applegate makes a good one) would be great too.

On another note, my 32nd birthday is today! Cheers, joy and well wishes to me! And, on yet another note, my husband and I leave for Iceland this Sunday! We will be there for a full week. It’s going to be majestic! The first stop once we arrive (at 6:45 a.m. their time) is the Blue Lagoon to restore, relax and kick the jet lag. We’re getting shuttled straight there from the airport. Expect some beautiful photos to ensue soon!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 small-medium white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small heads broccoli, chopped into florets (peel and chop stem too)
  • 16 oz package artichoke & garlic or Italian chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, mix together the chopped veggies (make sure pieces are uniform for even cooking), minced garlic, sliced shallot and sliced sausage.
  3. In a small dish, mix the melted coconut oil (or avocado oil) with the apple cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, parsley, cayenne, granulated onion (or onion powder), sea salt and black pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss with tongs to coat.
  4. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and place back in oven for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Lemon Dill Avocado Chicken Salad

chicken-salad-2

Spring is less than a month away, as hard as it may be to believe some days. With its approach in mind, I got to thinking about springy flavors – things like lemon, dill, peas and so on. Contemplating what to make, it suddenly hit me…a spring chicken salad recipe. It’s not very often I share lunch recipes anyway, so it seemed like another good reason to run with it. Plus, I love chicken salad, despite the fact that I rarely make it. I become a creature of habit when it comes to lunch foods and generally stick to the same things, so this is a refreshing change.

I’m sure this would be just as tasty without the addition of the mayo, but I love homemade mayo or a high-quality one like this brand. It adds a little extra creaminess and tang too, which I enjoy. But, if you don’t have any on hand or just don’t like it, you can leave it out. Personally, I never liked mayo until I made it myself. It is way different than what you may know as mayo. Really, it might as well be frosting because it’s that good. I do have another chicken salad recipe that’s tropical-inspired and more mayo-based if you want to check that one out HERE.

Also, stay tuned because next month, on March 20 (also the first day of spring!), I’ll be featuring this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll share the segment when that time comes. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

lemon-dill-avocado-chicken-salad-bite

Ingredients:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (roughly 1 lb or so of meat)
  • 1 large avocado, sliced into quarters and pitted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, rinsed under warm water to thaw
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp homemade avocado oil mayo or use a high-quality brand like this one 

Directions:

  1. Place shredded chicken in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove avocado peels and place avocado in a large bowl. Mash well with a fork and then add the lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, dried dill, mayo, carrot, green onion and peas. Stir well with a spatula until mixed well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Pour avocado mixture into the bowl with the shredded chicken and stir well. Store in refrigerator.
  4. Serve in a lettuce wrap, over greens or with veggie slices and/or plantain chips.