Posts tagged ‘sauce’

Creamy “Zoodles” with Chicken and Broccoli

I purchased a Spiralizer a year ago, and wow has that little tool come in handy! Apple “noodles”, super-quick sweet potato fries and spiralized zucchini are just a few of my favorites. For some, zucchini noodles and spiralized ingredients might be old news but if this concept is new, I encourage you to give them a go. Plus, it’s fun…and who couldn’t use some extra fun?!

I continue to be amazed at the versatility of zucchini: what an incredible veggie. You can use zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” as a grain-free or light pasta replacement OR you can bulk up your pasta dishes so you can have half zoodles and half noodles…that way you can load up on veggies and still have your pasta without a carb-induced coma :) I’ve pureed zucchini for a bean-free hummus, used grated zucchini in a sweet quick bread and added it to smoothies to thicken and add some veg without affecting flavor.

avocado chicken broccoli zoodles 1

Since Spring has sprung, lighter dishes have been on the menu. This dish is quick, crazy easy and packed with fresh and bright flavor! Plus, you can make it vegan by swapping out the chicken for an extra roasted veggie (think roasted marinated portabella mushrooms or roasted asparagus..mmmm). The creamy avocado sauce adds a punch of flavor from the fresh basil, garlic and bright lime or lemon juice, and the roasted broccoli lends a nutty flavor to this meal. This dish is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber and nutrition and can be served as a power lunch or dinner…and if you manage to have leftovers, those are tasty right from the fridge :) avocado chicken broccoli zoodles 2

Creamy Zoodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Vegan Option, Vegetarian Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Nut-free 

Ingredients

3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large or two small chicken breast, cooked & cubed* (For vegan/vegetarian option, use 2 cups sauteed mushrooms and/or roasted asparagus)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small avocado 1 large avocado, pit removed and rough diced (will be pureed)
handful of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup) or cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced or 1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 Tbsp or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp water or as needed

Optional garnish/serving ideas
hemp seed or pinenuts or slivered almonds (if adding nuts, will not be nut-free)
fresh basil, chiffonade
slices of fresh lemon or lime

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with olive oil. Add broccoli florets to the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is tender and lightly browned.

2. While broccoli is cooking, prepare the avocado lime sauce. Add avocado, lime/lemon juice, basil, minced garlic, salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and pureed until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce as needed.

3. If you prefer a less crunchy and softer zucchini noodle, either steam or saute the noodles for a couple minutes until your desired texture.

4. Add chicken, broccoli and zucchini noodles to a mixing bowl or pot. Pour/spoon the avocado sauce over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and lime/lemon juice.

5. Divide into serving dishes and top with more basil, pinenuts/hemp seeds/almonds if desired and serve!

*I baked two small chicken breasts simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salt and olive oil at 350F for 20 minutes. I let them cool off and then cut into bite-size pieces. You could also use 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken for a super quick lunch or dinner tossed with a little lemon.

**If you prefer to steam your broccoli, that’s ok too. I enjoy the depth of flavor from roasting them.

Serves approximately 3-4 people

avocado chicken broccoli zoodles bite

April 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

White Bean Basil Pesto with Penne and Oven-Roasted Veggies (SRC)

I’ve always loved pesto, I could eat it spooned over crackers or grilled veggies, tossed with pasta, spread as a pizza base, slathered on a sandwich or drizzled over a cheese and vegetable platter. I think you get the point, I like the stuff just a tad bit :) In my little food world, it’s the Italian equivalent of hummus…it can go on almost anything.

While I am all for healthy fats, a tablespoon of traditional pesto can pack a caloric punch…and if used as generously as I do, it also can pack on the pounds. When I came across this recipe for a white bean pesto sauce with penne pasta, I was immediately intrigued. A no-cheese, low-oil creamy sauce or dip with plenty of garlicky herb pesto flavor that can be whipped up in about 5 minutes. I’m in!
bean basil pestoThis pesto pasta recipe was discovered on Christie’s blog, A Kitchen Hoor, which I was happily assigned for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. Not only has she been cooking since she was “tall enough to see over the counter”, Christie “loves to mutate recipes into her own creations” such as her Corned Beef and Cabbage Enchiladas and her Saffron Baked Beignets. Talk about creativity! Her claim to fame was also being featured on Emeril Live! for her Elegant Sweet Potato Skins!


bean basil penneI seriously contemplated making her sweet potato skins, however with the summer weather approaching I thought a no-cook, versatile sauce and pasta might be more appropriate. I loved this recipe both hot tossed with pasta as well as the leftovers cold from the fridge so that’s a huge bonus in my book. Plus, this pesto sauce can be used as a dip, a spread, or drizzled over rice, vegetables, meats, etc.

I tweaked Christie’s recipe slightly to make it gluten-free and more substantial as a main dish (yes, I like big portions). I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the sauce to bring out the fresh flavors a bit more without me having to add too much salt. I substituted whole wheat penne for this gluten-free multigrain penne and tossed in oven-roasted some grape tomatoes and zucchini for a little extra bulk. I was very pleased with this meal! Full of flavor that was complex yet simple in it’s ingredients and filling! I’ll be making this pesto again, I might even try it as a sauce for potato salad…is this strange? :)

bean basil penne close

White Bean Basil Pesto Penne (slightly adapted from this recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Dairy-free, Nut-free option, Vegan, Vegetarian, Quick, Sugar-free, No-Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I used low-sodium)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 ounce almonds (could use pinenuts for a variation or use sunflower seeds and hemp seeds for nut-free) 
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1/3 lemon
  • 8 ounces gluten free penne or other pasta*, cooked per package directions
  • 1 cup oven-roasted grape tomatoes** (optional)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed and roasted** (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine beans, basil, broth, almonds, oil, and garlic, lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper as desired.
  2. Toss with hot, cooked pasta and serve!

Serves 4

*For a grain-free option, toss with cooked spaghetti squash, grilled veggies or grilled meat, or use a spread or a dip.
** I added in some roasted grape tomatoes and zucchini but your favorite vegetable could be substituted. I cut 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes in half and cubed the zucchini, tossed them both with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and baked at 350F for about 25 minutes.

Options:
For additional protein, toss in more beans for vegetarian or grilled or roasted chicken or shrimp.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if that suites your fancy or some toasted almonds or pine nuts for a nuttier flare.
Substitute your favorite roasted vegetable or eliminate the veggies altogether if you’re not a fan. Sauteed green would be delicious too. Make it your own!

bean basil penne 2

For additional recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

May 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm 8 comments

Lightened up Chicken N’ Veggie Alfredo Pizza (Dairy-free)

If I were stranded on an island with the option to live on ONE food for the rest of my life…pizza would be my choice hands-down. Not only can you cover all the food groups in one slice, there are options for every course from breakfast, lunch and dinner to a sweet dessert. With essentially unlimited combinations and flavor profiles, pizza is a versatile dish that I can eat cold, warm, room temp or straight from the oven :)

Cold pizza for breakfast? Yep, I could eat that everyday. No judging please!

alfredo pizza chicken veggie 1The debate continues between pizza purists (my Italian friends) and myself on what constitutes a real pizza “pie”. While a traditionalist wants one or two toppings on a pizza, a good crust and a flavorful base, I say pile on the toppings, switch up the sauce and experiment with alternative crusts…you know, to make it interesting :) Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good simplistic pizza with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella but I do not deny my affinity for the alternative flavor combos!

Yet when I have a “homemade pizza extravaganza” for a get together or girls’ night, we get the best of both worlds– we made the gluten free pizza dough together and then chose our toppings for our individual pizzas. Win-Win situation. It’s such a blast that I think I should make pizza night to be a bi-monthly or monthly occurence!

alfredo vs traditional

For the dough, we settled on Bob’s Red Mill whole grain crust mix and loved it! This was the first time I’d made this mix and was very satisfied with the results — Great texture and taste, plus it made enough for two 12-inch pizzas. Feel free to use your favorite pizza crust recipe here but this mix is a flavorful option that even has an egg-free instructions if needed.

For my pizza, I opted for a veggie-filled white pizza with chicken. Caramelized onions with sauteed mushrooms and broccoli with grilled chicken and a cauliflower-alfredo pizza base. I’ve been eying various versions of a dairy-free Alfredo sauce and decided to make my own version by combining Leanne’s rockin’ recipe at Healthful Pursuit and Melissa’s Paleo-Alfredo recipe over at Cupcakes OMG! This sauce can be used with pasta, rice bowls, drizzled over veggies/meat or as a base and topping for pizza…yum!

alfredo pizza chicken veggie 2

Lightened up Chicken N’ Veggie Alfredo Pizza (Dairy-Free)
Gluten-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Soy-free
Makes 1 12-inch pizza (8 slices)

Ingredients

1 recipe of prepared pizza dough or crust of choice (I used Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Mix and used 1/2 dough)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided (or butter or ghee but is not dairy-free)
1/3 of an onion, sliced into thin rings
a couple shakes of dried parsley, oregano and garlic powder (can use 1-2 fresh garlic cloves, and fresh herbs if desired)
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 small cooked chicken breast, diced (I grilled one 4 oz breast that was seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil) – omit for vegetarian
3/4 cup creamy Dairy-free “Alfredo Sauce” plus more for serving/drizzling (recipe below)
1/2- 1 cup Dairy-free shredded cheese – mozzarella or cheddar (I Daiya cheddar shreds since that’s what I had on hand but if you aren’t dairy-free feel free to use regular cheese)
sea salt and pepper

Directions

1. Prepare dough pizza crust according to directions on package (or for your favorite or homemade crust). If using Bob Red Mills crust, have oven set to 425F.
2. Meanwhile heat 1 tsp oil/butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute 5 minutes until soft. Add seasonings, garlic, mushrooms and broccoli and saute for another 2-3 minutes until mostly cooked through (will cook a bit more in oven).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once crust has “pre-baked”, spread the Cauliflower Alfredo sauce over the crust leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch edge around the outside. Brush the remaining 1/2 tsp of olive oil over the edges of the crust.
4. Top pizza with sauteed  veggie and diced chicken and evenly sprinkle with shredded cheese.
5. Bake pizza for another 13-16 minutes or until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted. Slice, drizzle with additional Alfredo sauce and enjoy!

Notes
If you are using a prepared pizza crust, skip the first step or bake according to your crust directions.
For vegetarian, omit the chicken and increase the mushrooms and broccoli to 1 cup each.
If using Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust and want a vegan egg-free option, view package for flax egg directions.

alfredo pizza chicken veggie

Creamy Dairy-free “Alfredo Sauce” (inspired by Leanne’s recipe and Melissa’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Quick 

Ingredients
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/3 cup white or yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil (can use Earth Balance or butter as well but stick with EB/oil for dairy-free & vegan)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup veggie broth (or chicken broth if not vegetarian, could probably use dairy-free milk if desired)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup coconut milk (from can)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2-3 tsp lemon juice
sea salt (helps bring out the flavor since cheese isn’t used)
freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp but I like pepper)

Directions

1. In a large pot, steam cauliflower until tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. (I used a steamer basket and cooked the cauliflower for about 5-6 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium low heat in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in broth and heat through.
4. Add cooked cauliflower, onion/garlic/broth mixture, and remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more coconut milk if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve over ANYTHING!!!!

alfredo pizza chicken veggie bite

March 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm 2 comments

Lightened-up Orange Chicken and a Cooking Technique (SRC)

Orange Chicken (or Beef) is a popular Chinese dish that I don’t usually get to order when eating out. I tend to miss out on the traditional stir-fries and specialties because I ask them to “leave off the sauce” because they typically contain gluten. When I’m in the driver’s seat in my kitchen though, I prefer to prepare dishes that are “off limits” when eating out to jazz up my menu choices…plus, then I won’t feel deprived!

orange chicken 1When I was assigned Karen’s Kitchen Stories this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was drooling over all her homemade bread recipes… but I admit, I was intimidated to try and de-glutenize them while staying true to the original recipe. After reading that Karen participates in Wok Wednesdays, I was sold on both her Velvet Chicken and Orange Chicken recipes! I’ve always been intrigued with the way Chinese restaurants prepare their meats, I never could achieve the same texture or tenderness when using a wok…until now!

I opted to cook an un-fried version of Orange Chicken to lighten up the dish a bit (you know, so I could have more of it!). Taking cues from Karen’s Velvet Chicken post, I used the water velveting technique instead of the oil one…. woohoo! The result was very tender chicken! Turns out you can also prepare other proteins in the same way — beef, pork, shrimp — so I will have to try my hand at that soon.

orange chicken 2

I made a few adjustments to the orange sauce by subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce, adding a bit of ginger, using honey instead of brown sugar and using crushed red pepper flakes in place of the cayenne. I also chose to use coconut oil for sauteeing and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, but either works in this dish! I served the chicken with brown rice sprinkled with green onion and sauteed broccoli, carrots and onions — a balanced, healthy and yummy meal!

Lightened up Orange Chicken (adapted from Karen’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free

For the Chicken

1 T coconut aminos (or tamari or gluten free soy sauce)
1 T rice vinegar (or dry sherry)
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (can use thighs or even beef, pork or shrimp)
For the Orange Sauce
1/3 C orange juice
1/4 C chicken broth or stock
1 T apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 1/2 T coconut aminos, tamari or gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T honey (or other sweetener) – increase by a couple tablespoons if you prefer a sweeter sauce
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

Sauce Preparation

1 tsp oil for sauteeing (I used coconut oil)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp tapioca starch (or 1 tsp cornstarch) dissolved in 1 T water or broth

Chicken Preparation

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided (or other oil)
For serving (optional) 
Cooked brown or white rice, or quinoa
Sauteed veggies

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in the combined soy sauce, vinegar, oil, starch and egg whites for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
  3. Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan for about a minute until fragrant, add the above sauce, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the starch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.
  4. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring one quart of water and 1 tbsp oil to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the simmering water, stirring to prevent the pieces of chicken from clumping together. Cook until the chicken is opaque, but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain the chicken in a colander
  5. In a wok or large sauce pan over high heat, swirl the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the chicken and saute for three minutes or until cooked through. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour half over the chicken. Stir fry, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Toss with remaining sauce.
  6. Serve immediately with steamed rice/quinoa and sauteed veggies if desired!
orange chicken 3
For other recipes in this month’s reveal, click here!

September 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm 9 comments

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