Posts tagged ‘main dish’
Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes :) Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.
Costco carries wild-caught langostino lobster tails, and my better half, his daughter and I are all seafood lovers so naturally we could not resist this purchase. While it’s a bit pricier than chicken or veggies, we stretched the 2 pounds of this sweet langostino over three meals…and this garlic chive pesto pasta was one of the delicious results.
I rarely eat pasta, maybe twice a year when a random craving hits or I come across a “fun buy” and I give into indulgence. We bought this scrumptious gluten-free garlic chive pasta at Pike’s Place Market on our Seattle vacation this summer and “pasta guy” convinced us to sample a variety including “dark chocolate”. While I was tempted to buy anything chocolate, we settled on a bag of garlic chive “rooster comb”…simply because you can’t go wrong with Italian! Any gluten-free pasta can be used but our specialty pasta added some extra pizazz and flavor to the dish.
While I prefer pasta warm in general, this dish can also be eaten chilled. I devoured my leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch the next day and it was delightful :) If you are a vegetarian or vegan or just downright want more vegetables, omit the lobster and add another favorite veggie when you saute the summer squash. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms would all be delicious additions!
Don’t be deterred from the longer direction list — essentially you blend all the ingredients for the pesto, cook the pasta and saute the veggies with lobster then toss everything together. It’s not as complicated as it may look at first glance!
Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta with Langostino Lobster
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegetarian & Vegan option, Sugar-free, Peanut-free, Nightshade-free, Egg-free option
2/3 lb wild caught langostino lobster tails (omit for vegan/vegetarian or sub shrimp if preferred)
9 oz gluten free garlic chive pasta* or your favorite gluten-free pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 yellow squash, diced (can substitute or add zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli etc)
3 cups spinach, baby chard or kale
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Slices of fresh lemon for serving
Additional pine nuts for serving (optional)
For the pesto:
1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts (or cashews)
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
large pinch of sea salt (~1/4 tsp or more to taste)
4 Tbsp olive oil
To make the pesto:
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts for a few minutes, but watch carefully since they burn quickly! You can skip this step but the toasted nuts adds another dimension to the pesto.
2. In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine basil through salt and blend for 15 seconds. While the blender or food processor is running, pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can pulse all ingredients together for a more rustic pesto until you reach your desired texture. Taste pesto and adjust with more salt and lemon if needed.
1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil on high. Add pasta and stir for the first 15 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high and start the cooking timer once the water returns to a slow simmer or gentle rolling boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente, stirring occasionally.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced squash and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Toss in lobster and greens and cook until lobster is warmed and greens are wilted, a couple minutes, then remove from heat.
2. Drain pasta over a colander, reserving a few tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta back to large pot along with 1-2 Tbsp cooking liquid and pesto, then toss to combine. Add Lobster-veggie mix and fresh chives and toss to combine again. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
4. Portion into serving bowls, sprinkle with additional pine nuts (if desired) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!
Serves 4-5 main dish servings
*This garlic chive pasta contains egg whites, for an egg-free version substitute your favorite gluten-free vegan pasta –penne, spaghetti, elbow etc. will all work here!
Notes: If you can tolerate dairy, this dish would pair well with a sprinkle of parmesan or asiago.
Some nights after work I really don’t feel like cooking….ordering take out or walking over to the hot bar at the health food store sounds much more appealing after a long day. Then I think, wait…I could have this dinner on the table in about 20 minutes…and that’s faster (and healthier) than takeout!
This quick and adaptable scramble bowl is packed with protein, fresh veggies and healthy fats with an option to substitute your favorite vegetable or side. It makes for a hearty breakfast, tasty brunch or a well-rounded dinner with a breakfast flare…and I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner :) It may not look like much but this bowl is TASTY!
For extra fluffy eggs, I add a splash of water along with salt, pepper and seasoning along with the egg in my Magic Bullet or Vitamix…talk about a light texture! My mom used to add half n half or milk to our scrambles when I was growing up, but water works well for a dairy-free option. Plus, the water helps steam the eggs a bit and prevent them from drying out quickly :) Feel free to add your favorite veg or meat, but don’t skip the smoked salt and oil if you don’t have to – it takes the dish to the next level!
Smokey Scramble Skillet Bowl
Gluten-free, Grain-free Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Nightshade-free, Easy, Sugar-free
1 Tbsp smoked oil (I used peppered bacon flavored olive oil) or coconut oil (this won’t have as much i
1 1/2 Tbsp water* (optional but makes the eggs light and fluffy)
4 cage-free, organic eggs
pinch of dried thyme or rosemary, optional
large pinch of smoked salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced (can omit or use garlic powder if desired)
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped (red or white works too)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (chopped asparagus, zucchini or broccoli can be added or substituted)
big handful or leafy greens, rough chopped (~2-3 cups; I used swiss chard and baby spinach
1/2 avocado, pit removed & chopped or sliced
1 1/2 cup cooked grain of choice or roasted sweet potato cubes or hashbrowns (for Paleo/Grain-free), warmed
chopped cooked bacon or crumbled breakfast sausage (option, not pictured but can be added if preferred),warmed
chopped chives and/or fresh parsley
more smoked salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of coconut aminos or hot sauce (not nightshade free), optional
- In a blender*, add eggs, water, salt, pepper and herbs (if using). Blend for 5-10 seconds and side aside.
- In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions start to turn translucent and soften.
- Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, then add the greens and cook until wilted, roughly 1-2 minutes. Remove veggies from pan, cover and set aside to keep warm.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in skillet. Add eggs and let cook for 5 minutes until set and cooked through, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or overcooking. Stir in veggies and chopped avocado, then toss to combine.
- To serve, layer the bowls with grain or potato of choice, meat (if using), veggie and egg mixture and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Season with additional smoked salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with coconut aminos or hot sauce if desired and enjoy warm!
*If you don’t have a blender, you can whisk the eggs, water and seasoning well by hand; I prefer the blender for quicker prep and the texture it yields.
If you can have nightshades, smoked paprika would be a really flavorful addition too!
Hand-held eats are ideal for a meal on-the-go, a portable lunch or served at a summer picnic. Whether it’s a sandwich, burger, wrap or even pizza, there’s something really enjoyable about eating with my hands. This empty-the-fridge collard green wrap is no exception!
I love using leftovers from the fridge… and making this wrap is a quick way to whip up an easy meal (or snack) and not let food go to waste. There are times when I find myself looking into the fridge with leftovers just enough for one person (I blame this on my snacking, ha!)… 1/2 small cooked chicken breast, partial bag of sprouts, 1/4 section of an apple and remnants of a roasted squash…so I threw in a few other ingredients and lunch is served!
For a vegetarian/vegan or even raw preparation, use your favorite shredded veggies such as carrot, beet, cucumber or avocado for the chicken and/or roasted squash. Here of the filling combinations I’ve made recently, of course I’ll served with this deeeeelicious tahini sauce:
1. Shredded Beets + Carrot + Roasted sweet potato wedges
2. Thinly sliced Mango + Avocado Mash with Sunflower Seeds (combined so they don’t fall out of the wrap + Alfalfa sprouts + Cilantro
3. Cucumber + Avocado + Carrots (sliced into matchsticks) + Broccoli Sprouts + Fresh Basil
Quick Collard Wrap with Maple Lemon Tahini Dressing
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar Free, Egg-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Nightshade-free, AIP-Friendly Option, Nut-free, Raw Option
1 Large collard green leaf
3 oz cooked chicken, thinly sliced (substitute sliced or mashed avocado, baked tofu or 1/2 cup cooked grain for vegan)
1/3 cup sprouts (I used radish sprouts)
1/4 small apple, sliced into matchsticks
1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro ( mint or basil could also be used as a substitute)
2-3 Tbsp pickled onions (or raw thinly sliced onions, I used homemade pickled onions)
1/3 cup roasted Kabocha squash or sweet potato (and/or shredded carrot or beet would also be good for raw)
2 Tbsp lemon tahini sauce plus more for dipping (recipe below), for AIP use AIP-friendly mayo
1. Put raw collard leaf in a plastic bag and freeze them until they turn bright green, about an hour to make the leaf more pliable. (If you do not have time to do this, that’s ok too)
2. Wash the collard leaf under cold water, then lay it topside down on a cutting board (raised spine up). Using a paring knife, cut off the stem and gently shave down the raised part of the spines so the surface of the collard is nice and flat.
3. Lay each of the filling ingredients except for the dressing, side by side and parallel to the spine of the collard green. Be sure to leave about an inch on each edge uncovered. Drizzle dressing on top.
4. Roll the collard top and bottom (stem side) inward, fold one of the long sides in, tucking all the filling underneath it, and continue rolling the leaf from that side to the other side to get a tight wrap. Slice in half with a sharp knife. Serve with additional dressing and enjoy!
Lemon Maple Tahini Sauce
This is one of my FAVORITE nut-free options for a dressing, sauce for a veggie sticks or a bowl of roasted veggies/grains/protein. I could put this on about anything
1/3 cup tahini (can substitute sunflower seed butter for a different flavor)
juice from 1 fresh lemon
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (honey, coconut nectar or agave would work too) – tiny pinch of stevia for candida-friendly
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I love acidity, add to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
generous pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper