Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Apple Horseradish Egg Salad

In my research, I've found tons of recipes for curried egg salad...but never something as radical as apple horseradish egg salad. It's spicy, rich with a hint of onion flavor and herbs. I hope you enjoy this unique combination as much as I have. Plus, I've made it all the more healthful by substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise. Enjoy!
Apple Horseradish Egg Salad

-6 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
-1 medium apple, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch pieces
-1/2 cup 2% fat Greek Yogurt
-2 tablespoons scallion, thinly sliced (green section only)
-1 TBSP prepared horseradish
-1 1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
-1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
-1/4 tsp.  Herb de Provence 
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
-2 cups of spinach leaves

In a small pot, cover the eggs with waterand bring to a boil, uncovered. Allow to boil for two minutes, remove from heat and cover. Allow to steam for 12 minutes and immediately run under cool water and peel.

In a medium bowl, add the yogurt, scallion, horseradish, apple cider vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Herb de Provence and whisk together. Toss the chopped eggs and apples.  Taste and add salt and pepper to season to your preference. Allow to chill for 30 minutes to one hour. Serve on a bed of spinach and a hunk of cornbread. Serves 3.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thai One On

Thai cuisine is a simple yet clever combination of Eastern and Western influences harmoniously combining sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy flavors.  Thai food variesdepending upon the area or region of Thailand the dish originates from. These regions include the north, northeast, south and central. The north tends to be a little heavier handed with hot spices, while the south incorporates more curry and lemongrass flavors they picked up from their Indian neighbors.

Traditional Thai cookery involved stewing and baking, or grilling. However, with the migration of Chinese people into the area that is now Thailand, Burma and Vietnam, frying, stir-frying and deep-frying of food became more popular techniques, and to this day pad thai (fried noodles) and khao pad (fried rice) remain classic Thai dishes. 

There's a quick history lesson so when you try my Thai inspired recipe this week you'll appreciate the flavors even more!

Faux Pad Thai
I wanted to try my hand at creating a healthier version of traditional pad thai, which is why I call my recipe this week faux pad thai. It still features rice noodles, created from rice flour, but I added a few more vegetables and cut down on the protein from eggs and tofu. I love the combination of grilled food with a spicy complimenting dish. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did and yes, it does taste delish cold, although I wouldn't recommend it for breakfast.

-2 leg quarters of bone-in chicken
-1 TBSP light brown sugar
-1 TBSP rice vinegar plus 1 TBSP water
-2 radish, thinly sliced
-½ cup vinegar
-1 TBSP kosher salt
-1/2 pound dried rice noodles
-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 cups Bok Choy, chopped
-1 TBSP soy sauce
-1 TBSP fish sauce
-1 TBSP Sambal Oelek
-1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
-3 scallions, sliced
-½ cup roasted peanuts
-4 TBSP tablespoons cilantro leaves (optional)
-1 lime, cut into small wedges

Place chicken in a bowl, add the sugar and rice vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Heat grill and cook thoroughly.

Add the radishes to the kosher salt and vinegar inside a glass jar or bowl. Cover and allow pickling for 30 minutes.

Once the chicken has begun grilling, soak the rice noodles in very warm water for 20 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, place a large skillet over high heat.  Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil to the pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry briefly just until it begins to change color, about 15 seconds. Add the bok choy and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Press the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the remaining oil to the skillet. Toss in the drained rice noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce and Sambal Oelek. (Note: this can be found in most grocery's Asian food aisle and is simply chilies to give a dish heat without altering the flavors in the dish like using Sriracha, its chili sauce cousin).  Briefly stir fry for one minute or less to combine the noodles and vegetables.

In a shallow serving bowl, plate a serving of noodles. Top with bean sprouts, scallions, roasted peanuts, cilantro leaves and pickled radish. Squeeze a lime wedge over the entire mixture and serve with a piece of grilled chicken. Serves 4. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Slaw with Black Beans and Rice

Slaw has a negative connotation due in part to its most popular version, coleslaw made with tons of mayonnaise. It doesn't have to be! I love slaw's ability to combine cabbage with the flavors of your choosing and then meld together creating a wonderful addition or side to most dinners.

Try your hand at unique combinations for slaw or try one of these:

Serve with seared tuna
-Napa cabbage, sesame seeds, Sriracha, shredded carrots and sesame oil

Serve with grilled chicken:
-Green cabbage, lemon zest, juice of one lemon, baby greens from bok choy, kale, etc. and pine nuts

Top Fish Tacos:
-Green and red cabbage, Wasabi paste, lemon juice, cumin powder and Greek yogurt 
This version of slaw features apples, sweet red onion, spicy pickled jalapeños and fresh lime juice. The crunchy cabbage and snappy apple work well to balance out the warmth of black beans and rice.

Apple Slaw with Black Beans and Rice

-1 cup of julienned apple
-1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
-1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, divided
-1 fresh lime, juiced
-2 TBSP pickled jalapeños, chopped
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon ground coriander
-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-2 cups low-salt chicken broth
-1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-2 cups cooked brown rice
-1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded 
-4-6 lime wedges

Cut slices of the apple around the core, leaving a rectangle shaped core. Lay the flat edge of the apple down on a board and cut horizontally. Flip the board 180 degrees and cut thin sticks out of the apple. Combine apple, cabbage, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons onion, jalapenos and lime juice in a small bowl; toss to coat. Set apple slaw aside.

Combine remaining onion and oil in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until completely softened, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and next 3 ingredients; stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer briskly, mashing some of the beans with the back of a spoon and stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

Divide rice and beans among plates. Top with some chicken and apple slaw. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 2.

Kelly Lake
Administration Director & Healthy Food Enthusiast 
Bay Athletic Club
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Homemade Tomato Marinana Sauce

You might be asking, "Why would I need to make my own red marinara sauce...the stuff in the jar is fast and easy." Well, I would have to agree with you, but before you write this week's recipe off, allow me to make a case for the ease and superiority of homemade sauce.
With mainly pantry items, this sauce can come together in 20 minutes. Plus, imagine how good you will feel to serve your family homemade sauce, even if you are not the world's craftiest cook. Building on that thought; why not get your family to help you with the sauce?  Watching is primarily how children learn how to cook and tasking them with appropriate work will jettison their progress. Have them stir the sauce if you are comfortable having them around a hot stove, or have the younger ones prep the herbs by washing, drying and tearing the basil into small pieces or adding the ingredients to the pot with your help. What little one wouldn't love squishing a tomato in their bare hand?

So, yes, this recipe is not as easy as opening a jar of sauce, but, I'm guessing you'll feel the experience well outweighs the slight time advantage of doing so. Twenty minutes with your family in the kitchen to create a meal counts as solid quality time to me. So, let's get you started. 

 Homemade Pantry Marinara Sauce

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 small yellow onion, finely diced
-2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
-1 bay leaf
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 sprig of fresh Thyme
-½ cup of sliced fresh basil
-Parmesan cheese, to garnish, optional
-Cooked pasta, to serve ( or make zucchini ribbons)

Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan with the onions. Crush the tomatoes in your hand as you add them, or smash them against the sides of the pan with your spatula. Add the bay leaf and thyme.

Simmer for about 20 minutes: Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir the sauce every minute so it reduces and does not burn on the bottom.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta or zucchini ribbons in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse. To create zucchini ribbons, cut the ends of both sides of the zucchini, peel and cut long sections around the middle of the core to eliminate any seeds from your ribbons. Slice the zucchini into thin sections, lengthwise. Cook like pasta, but only for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain quickly and bath in an ice bath. Remove and place into a bowl.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems. Serve the sauce immediately over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Monday, September 8, 2014

We are What we Eat

We are what we eat.  If you put junk in your body you will feel tired, bloated and perhaps even pained.  I recently got a reminder of this when traveling downstate.

I was craving a coffee for our drive, but the local coffee shop was out of the way so we went through the drive-thru of a popular fast food chain.  I ordered a black coffee, but my husband was hungry so he ordered some chicken nuggets.  As soon as he was done eating he felt sick and developed a headache that ended up lasting for two days!

My husband and I rarely eat fast food so are bodies are not used to the processing agents they have in them.  His reaction was likely his body rejecting the unrecognized chemicals.  If you normally eat clean, you will feel it when you eat something processed or preserved with chemicals.

 The food you eat counts. Your body needs to know how to break it down. If you can't pronounce it, your body can't either. It knows what to do with an apple...I can't say the same thing for Dimethylpolysiloxane (listed ingredient for chicken nuggets)- used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is typically used in caulking and sealants and comes with a list of safety concerns. 

Instead of chicken nuggets try these hand-held chicken tacos.  I promise, you can pronounce all the ingredients.
My Gift to You
This dish is a wonderful weeknight, on the go type of dish. The best part? These chicken tacos are good cold or warm. If you are looking for a quick dinner solution that is also easy, here it lies. When you have extra time in your week, grill the chicken and onion, get the toppings clean, chopped and ready to top a warm tortilla. You can make a whole family dinner or feed one throughout the week. Need to take it with you? Assemble, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and go.

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Radish, Lime and Cilantro    

-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 TBSP ground cumin
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp black pepper
-1 TBSP oil
-1 Vidalia onion, cut into large slices
-2 to 3 radishes, thinly sliced
-1/3 cup cilantro leaves
-1 lime
-Salsa Verde (click for recipe)
-plain Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)
-4 whole wheat tortillas

In a large bowl, toss the chicken, onion, garlic, oil and seasoning together. Allow to marinade for 30 minutes (at least) for best results.  Grill the chicken and onion on separate sides of your cook top until both are well done and slightly blackened in parts. Allow the chicken to cool for a couple minutes and then chop into medium pieces. Add to your warm tortilla and top with radishes, cilantro, a squirt of lime, salsa verde and Greek yogurt. Serves 2 adults. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spice Up your Next Meal: Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is the way to do it. This easy to make sauce is a snap to bring together when friends are gathering around the grill or simply for a weeknight addition to taco night. It's less acidic than traditional red salsa, since there are no tomatoes, but packed with vitamins and minerals from the main ingredient, tomatillos. I've added flavor by charring the vegetables before simply pulsing them in a blender. Paired with cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime juice, this quick and easy salsashould be the star of your next fiesta. Enjoy!

 1 lbs. green tomatillo
 2 jalapenos
 2 banana peppers
 1 TBSP olive oil
 1 tsp. black pepper
  1 garlic clove

 1 lime, juiced
 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, stems removed

Remove the husks from the tomatillo and rinse and scrub the sap from the flesh. Dry well and add to a bowl with the clean peppers, oil and pepper. Heat your grill to 500 degrees or higher and place the oiled veggies directly on the grill. Allow the flesh to blacken and then flip over. The peppers will cook first. When the skin of the peppers looks well done, remove from the grill and place in a brown paper bag. This will allow the skin to steam away from the flesh of the pepper and makes removal a cinch. The tomatillos will take about 15 minutes . You'll know they are ready when blackened on both sides, but still holding their shape. Remove and place in the oiled bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients. Add everything to the blender and pulse 5 times or until the mixture is consistent, but not homogenous.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Prep for Your Week!

We all know that preparation is the biggest aid to healthy yet easy and convenient eating - however getting all of your foods washed, chopped and put away can take some time. However, doing it all on one day will actually save you time in the kitchen in the long run. Just think, you will have only one set of dishes to wash, versus doing it seven times a week!

Here are the things that really make a difference for me, personally. I'd love to hear what healthy foods you like to prep in advance, too!

The 5 Foods I Like to Prep Every Sunday
Melon - It's so fresh and sweet right now. The refreshing quench of water from the fruit nails both a thirst and sweet craving after lunch.

Pecans - My essential snacking standby. I know not everyone loves nuts, but I find the crunch super satisfying for my hunger. Often, a handful between meals will allow me to never feel overly hungry, which can lead to larger portions come meal time. Other great choices are almonds and walnuts, always go for raw. They are slightly sweet and nutty that way.

Hummus - When I have extra time I make a big batch of hummus. When the week is busy I pick up a container at the store and pair it with cucumber slices. I love the combination of lemony garlic hummus with the cool crisp cucumber.  Hothouse cucumbers are a little more expensive, but they aren't waxed so I don't have to peel them. Perfect for saving time and adding more fiber to my diet.

Boiled Eggs - They are a true time saver and help clean out your fridge. Why? Older eggs are the perfect candidate for boiled eggs. Want to test yours out? Fill abowl with cold water, add your eggs. If they float halfway up, they are perfect! All the way up? Time to toss them and head down to the Farmers Market for a new batch.  Eggs that stay on the bottom are pretty fresh and are great for less than fully cooked applications.

Lentil or Bean Salad - As far as lunch goes, lentil salads have always been my go to. Beans and other legumes have decent protein and fiber, which fills you up and keeps you satisfied. A bowl of hearty lentil salad or soup keeps me going all afternoon.

That's my Sunday prep list now, this season, but it can change as the seasons change. But that's just me - what about you? What's on your essential healthy eating prep list?
Say perhaps you went a little overboard on the boiled eggs and need to use them up before next week's new prep day. Why not add them to a cold salad? They are classics in potato salad, yes, but let's branch out from. This week, I bring you a cold soba noodle (made from buckwheat flour which is gluten free), mixed with a tangy kim-chee (cabbage dish) vinaigrette and fresh veggies.  This pairs extremely well with grilled steak, venison or pork. The best part? It takes minutes to put together and can be made well ahead of time. If you liked my sriracha slaw, you'll love this salad too. 
Kimchee Soba Noodle Salad

8 oz. Soba noodles
1 12  oz. jar napa kimchi
½ cup shelled edamame
2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
2 large eggs, hardboiled and quartered
½ hothouse cucumber, cut into slivers
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add noodles and edamame and cook for one a half minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Drain Kimchi, reserving liquid; chop kimchi. Combine kimchi, liquid, vinegar, oil, sugar and fish sauce in a large bowl. Mix well to combine. Add noodles and edamame and toss to coat. Season with salt and more vinegar if desired. Serve topped with eggs, cucumber, scallion and sesame seeds.

Serve at room temperature or place in fridge to cool, covered. Serving size is one cup.
Kelly Lake
Administration Director & Healthy Food Enthusiast 
Bay Athletic Club
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