Spanish “Rice” and Chicken Bowl

Spanish rice 2

Spanish rice is something I enjoyed growing up and a recipe I kinda forgot about until recently. My mom used to make my Great Aunt Leona’s recipe and baked it inside of bell pepper halves. I was never a fan of the bell pepper part as a kid, but loved the rice. I’m sure this recipe would work well stuffed and baked inside a bell pepper too, but I didn’t opt for that since bell peppers really do not agree with me (or my husband). You could just add some bell pepper to the pan if you want that flavor, but don’t want to bother with the baking part. Then, everything still stays in one pan!

Meanwhile, mark this recipe as an easy weeknight go-to. It’s a complete meal that comes together quickly and tastes marvelous. And, again, it’s all in one pan. I hope you enjoy this twist on Spanish rice and if you do, give me a shout-out in the comments or on social media!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 16 oz bag cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened, no salt added tomato sauce (I used this one)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Dried oregano, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for a couple minutes. Then, add the diced chicken, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook chicken for several minutes, until browned.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cauliflower rice. Season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking, combine the tomato sauce, chili powder, and homemade vegetable bouillon in a small bowl. After the cauliflower has cooked for a couple minutes, add the tomato sauce mixture and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add the cherry tomatoes and stir. Remove from heat and garnish with dried oregano.

Yields: 2-3 servings

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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.

Normal is Not Always Normal

Pill tablet
Pill tablet (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Why have people become okay with their bodies feeling bad and why do people think that it’s normal to feel this way? It’s become so common nowadays to just pop a pill when you have a headache and think it’s normal when you experience acid reflux or gas after you eat, have diarrhea, contsipation, allergies, etc. I’ve heard people say things like, “dairy gives me stomachaches and bloating, but it’s normal for me.” The fact of the matter is, this is not normal and these sorts of nagging everyday illnesses are actually very significant and show up for a reason. People aren’t tuning into health and wellness and accept that it’s normal to have headaches or migraines a few times a week, day-to-day acid reflux, and so on. The media obviously plays into this, but do people really think they’re not capable of feeling good on a daily basis? Why do people not attribute how they feel to the foods that they eat? Why are people okay with the doctor just prescribing them a pill, rather than seeking alternative approaches? I understand that people want the easy way out, but that’s not the answer.

Cow comic

The truth is you can feel good on a day-to-day basis and it’s as simple as your food and choices. Your daily choices will determine whether you are well and successful or sick, and choosing real food is the absolute best medicine you can give your body. Your food will allow you to heal and thrive if you allow it. What do I mean by REAL food? High-quality meat that was raised on pasture in which the animals are treated well and fed their natural diet (not soy, grain, other animals, etc.), pasture eggs, vegetables and fruit (organic when possible), animal fats (grass-fed butter/ghee, grass-fed beef tallow, etc.), other healthy fats (coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, olive oil), wild fish and seafood, and nuts. It’s that simple and it does and will have a significant impact on your health. Keep in mind, there is definitely truth to the phrase, “you are what you eat.”

I understand that this isn’t easy for many people for a variety of reasons, but being persistent and not giving up easily is key. Be willing to find your way, give things time, do things gradually, and do your research. You don’t have to dive in head first! Taking things slowly is more than okay … just keep your eye on the prize (the prize being optimal health) and enjoy the process.

Today’s post was influenced by a podcast of Rick Osborn speaking on the topic of food quality and stress. You can listen to the podcast at Scdlifestyle.com. 

Paleo IS Affordable … and Beyond

Piggy bank
Piggy bank (Photo credit: RambergMediaImages)

There’s often a lot of squabble surrounding the costs around a paleo lifestyle. The truth is, it can be as expensive or cheap as you want it to be, but a lot of it depends where you place your priorities. People say they can’t afford it, yet they go to Starbucks every day, have all the latest electronics and gadgets, a closet overflowing with clothes that continues to grow (many with tags still on them), and buy processed foods and suboptimal forms of nutrition. REAL food and optimal health/nutrition are not prioritized and money is spent on things that are not necessary!

If you truly can’t afford to buy wild seafood, grass-fed meats and organic produce, then don’t let it break the bank, but know that it doesn’t mean paleo is not possible. Choose the highest quality that you can and steer clear of commercialized meats. Watch for sales on organic produce and high-quality, grass-fed meats, wild seafood, and buy produce with the seasons (i.e. don’t buy a watermelon in January or winter squash in the summer). Also, buying in bulk can often save costs in the long haul and going in on an order with friends and family is a great way to reduce costs even further. I was asked yesterday by my dear friend, Macala, if I wanted to go in on an order with US Wellness Meats, to which I happily agreed (you may recall yesterday that I mentioned how I’ve considered ordering through them, but there’s a minimum weight or dollar amount, which is hard to meet on my own). Shopping at farmer’s markets or reaching out directly to local farmers is another great way to save and get high-quality, REAL food. Do what you can and fuel yourself wisely. Know where your food is coming from.

English: Copley Square Farmer's Market
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could steer this discussion in another direction and go on and on, but I’ll save most of that for another day. Just know that your food choices greatly impact your health and buying high carb, low fat, processed foods and suboptimal forms of protein is not good for you. Grain-fed meats, cereals, low fat dairy products (low fat = processing and more sugar), whole grains (there’s only a 3% difference between whole and refined grains), vegetable oils and so forth are leading to increasing rates of high cholesterol, blood pressure, depression and anxiety, inflammation (showing up in many different forms) and an array of other health problems. We buy into terms such as, “heart healthy,” but it’s all a marketing ploy and cereal companies pay big money to use such a term. The research behind it actually isn’t that accurate based on a few different factors. Be cautious about what you buy into, do the research, and know where your food comes from. If you look around and do the research, it’ll very clear and obvious that the standard American diet and what the government advocates for is not working.

If you get a chance, visit the Real Food Summit site and listen to Dr. Cate Shanahan’s presentation from today. She gives a great description of real food and offers five simple tests that will help you determine whether a food or supplement is actually healthy or just a hype. The presentation is only available through midnight tonight, so don’t wait to check it out. It’s well worth the listen. Additionally, you can sign up to listen to the Real Food Summit presentations for FREE! I’ve been listening to each of the presentations every morning (three are posted per day) and have gained so much insight and perspective from these real food experts. Take advantage of these great, free resources before it’s too late!