How To: Quickie Meal – Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

IMG_8909

The classic Chinese chicken salad.

The one featured on every chain restaurant menu. It always sounds so good with the supposed crispy noodles and tangy dressing, but then you take a bite and you either have a way too sweet dressing, overcooked bland chicken, or a salt explosion in your mouth.

IMG_8902

This Asian chicken salad has none of the above. Instead you have delicious and flavourful tender chicken pieces, crunchy cashews, loads of fresh and sautéed veggies, and a perfectly balanced, delectable peanut dressing. And just in time for this incredible spring weather we’ve been having. FINALLY! You know I actually got burnt on a walk last Friday?

Not only is this salad about a million times healthier and tastier than the usual restaurant variety, it also comes together in no time at all. Quick enough for a mid week dinner and refined enough for a Saturday night meal.

IMG_8907

I’m normally drawn to that crispy rice noodle and canned mandarin orange salad too – but after one bite of this salad I’ll take my homemade version over the mundane chain variety any day!

Dara

IMG_8904

Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Serves 4
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Website Salad adapted from How Sweet Eats and dressing adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large or 2 small romaine hearts (chopped)
  • 1 mango (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup frozen edamame beans (defrosted)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated carrots

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/2-1 Tsp sriracha
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

Note

This salad is extremely customizable - add as much or as little of all the ingredients as you would like. I like a salad with lots of stuff in it so I load it up. You will have extra dressing so save it in the fridge for future salads or use as a dipping sauce for veggies.

Directions

1. Pre-heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add peppers, snap peas, and garlic an mix to coat. Add cashews and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they start to blacken and soften. Remove and set aside.
2. Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook until just cooked through. Add soy sauce and mix to coat. Remove and set aside.
3. In a large bowl add romaine, carrots, edamame, and mango. Add pepper mixture and chicken and toss. Pour dressing evenly over salad and toss again to coat evenly with dressing.
Dressing
4. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. If you like things a little spicier add some extra sriracha.
Share!

How to: Make your own – Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots

IMG_4083

Tater tots.

Blog post, complete.

IMG_4039

Kidding. Sorta.

I don’t have much to say to convince you to try these because closeted or not, you love tater tots.  We all do. They’re a universal crowd pleaser that may even lead to world peace one day.  Pizza and tater tots.  They can really bring people together.

IMG_4044

How simple are these, though? 5 ingredient simple! As always in these circumstances, I recommend using the best quality ingredients possible.  Real-deal parmesan, OK?

IMG_4045

Adding the sweet potatoes to the chives and parmesan when they are still slightly warm will melt the cheese a little in the process and help these bind together really well.

IMG_4047

The melted butter in the panko is essential.  It will help these babies crisp up to perfection in a nice hot oven. Oven-baking means these are hella healthy, too.

IMG_4050 IMG_4074

Now, pop some tots.

Erin

IMG_4083

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Serves Makes 2 dozen tots
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes (peeled)
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Note

For a spicy mayo dipping sauce, combine ¼ cup each of mayonnaise and greek yogurt and add 1 tsp of sriracha chili sauce (or more if you like it muy caliente)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
With a sharp knife, poke 6-8 holes all over each sweet potato. Microwave potatoes on high for 5-6 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Allow them to cool just enough to touch, and grate with the large side of a box grater. They should not be completely soft all the way through; the centre of the potatoes should be slightly undercooked.
2. In a medium bowl, combine grated sweet potatoes, chives, parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp of salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper. In a separate small bowl, combine panko and melted butter.
3. Form each tot using approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of the grated potato mixture. Pack them very tightly. They will be about 1" wide and 1.5" long. Roll each tot into the panko mixture until well coated and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each tot over halfway through.
Serve immediately with spicy mayonnaise or sauce of choice.

How To: Recipe Makeover – Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

IMG_8761

We have to talk about these crispy chickpea croutons.

You are going to want to make a double batch and eat them by the handful they are that good. I was going make our delicious and one of my ‘go-to’ salads the other night – our curry roasted squash and chickpea salad with an addictive tahini dressing, but I was craving a caesar salad. And no, I am not expecting again. Just sometimes you want to ditch the old vinaigrette and load up a salad with a creamy dressing and boat loads of cheese.

IMG_8755

IMG_8757

But, being a “healthy” eating blog and all, I swapped the usual dressing for this bright and lemony version, kept the cheese, because cheese, and created these addictive crunchy chickpeas in lieu of the usual crouton toppers. Not that I have anything againts those mind you, and I do love our other kale caesar version, but with a can of chickpeas staring me in the face I wanted something different.

IMG_8756

Can we talk also talk about my mini food processor? I love it and highly recommend it for whirling up small batch recipes, like this dressing. It saves you from lugging out and cleaning the big gun.

IMG_8758

Back to the chickpeas – make them! And this salad!

We had it topped with a piece of simple olive oil and salt and pepper roasted salmon, but this salad would stand alone as a delicious lunch or turn it into more of a substantial dinner with a some grilled chicken, steak, or salmon.

IMG_8759

A craving for the classic caesar? Give this updated version a whirl!

Dara

IMG_8762

Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

Serves 4-6
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted From Mountain Mama Cooks

Ingredients

  • 1 large head kale (stems removed, leaves shredded)
  • 1/2 Pint grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp garlic powder
  • grated parmesan cheese (to garnish salad)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tsp worschershire sauce
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

While this salad is great on it's own, turn it into more of a substantial meal by topping it with a piece of grilled chicken or salmon. The heartiness of the kale stands up to the dressing, making leftovers just as delicious the next day.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet.
2. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to chickpeas and toss to evenly coat. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until browned and starting to get crispy. Set aside.
3. Place kale and tomatoes in a large bowl. Top with chickpeas and dressing and toss to evenly coat. Top with additional parmesan cheese before serving.
Dressing
4. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Taste and add salt and pepper. If dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water.

Nourish: Cookbook Review and Giveaway!

Hey guys! Welcome to our first cookbook review!

We’re so pumped to have been invited to join an incredible group of Canadian bloggers for this cookbook blog hop. What’s that you say? It’s a really really (really) cool group of bloggers who collaborate to review the same cookbook via their blogs at the same time.  We help get the good word out about good cookbooks.

We receive a copy of the book from the publisher (Hi, Whitecap! Thanks for the book!) and get a chance to cook through the book at our leisure and write a review of the recipes we test. Some of us will even give you a teaser recipe if you’re super duper lucky (that’s you).

Not only that, our readers get a chance to win a copy for themselves. Booya!

Let’s get down to biz.

IMG_4253

The cookbook is Nourish. The authors are Nettie Cronish, a vegetarian chef and culinary instructor and Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian and President of Words to Eat By Nutrition Communications. The concept is 100+ whole food recipes featuring seeds, nuts and beans.  Chapters include Breakfasts/Brunch, Salads, Soups/Stews, Entrées and Snacks & Desserts among others.  Overall there is a big emphasis on plant-based recipes, although there are a number of fish-focused entrées and a small number of dishes based around meat, too.  Each recipe features nuts, seeds or beans in some way. Obvs.

2016 being the international year of pulses, these gals NAILED the timing of this book.

Naturally, I also LOVE that this one’s been written by a fellow RD.

Here are some other great things about this book:

  • Chapter 1: Cara’s ‘Nutrition: Quick & Simple’ sets the tone for the book in the best way. “People eat food, not nutrients” is the framework that allows her and her family to “embrace food for its potential to nourish us while we enjoy it”.  Her big picture thinking is exactly in line with How to Eat’s MO and why we started blogging to begin with. This chapter also includes a ‘healthy pantry’ checklist which word for word, lists almost every staple I have in my own cupboard.  Talk about a cookbook up my alley.
  • The guide to buying, soaking and cooking beans from scratch. It’s a simple chart that gives any legume newbie the confidence to give dried beans a whirl.
  • The nutrition, preparation, storage and serving ‘Tip’ boxes peppered throughout the book.  Here’s one I didn’t know: If you’re making a dish with cashews and want to freeze it, it’s best to reserve them and add them once you’ve defrosted it to avoid an unappetizing colour change.  Mind. Blown.
  • There is a Snack and Desserts chapter.  Yes, we’re dietitians. Yes, we eat them.  That is all.

I went 3/3 for recipes in this book. Here’s what I made:

IMG_3964

Savoury Chickpea Patties with Tzatziki:  Reminiscent of falafel, a quick zip of all the ingredients, including chickpeas, oats, sesame and flax seeds in a food processor makes this recipe ideal for a weeknight meal.  Nearly all of the ingredients are pantry staples, too. I served them with our very own Asparagus and Quinoa Salad.  The patties were flavourful, hearty and kept well for lunch the next day.

image

The Quinoa Tuna Casserole: A remake of the classic comfort dish, this version is loaded with a variety of vegetables and comes together beautifully with quinoa rather than pasta. The cheese sauce provides the perfect level of creaminess, without being insanely indulgent.

IMG_3930

Nut and Seed Brittle: A variety of nuts and seeds suspended in candy. CANDY, guys! Here’s where I spoil you with a photo tutorial recipe.

But wait! Before you rush to the bulk store to stock up on plenty of nuts and seeds, enter our giveaway.  Simply leave a comment telling us how you plan to celebrate the International Year of Pulses in your kitchen and click on the Rafflecopter link below.

IMG_3899 IMG_3906 IMG_3908 IMG_3914 IMG_3917

Nut and Seed Brittle

Serves Makes about 2 dozen, 2 oz servings
Cook time 30 minutes
From book Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts & Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds

Note

I've written the recipe exactly as it is in the book.  I did make one small (and important in my opinion) adjustment for my batch, though.  Once I poured the candy out on to the baking sheet, I sprinkled the whole slab with about ½ teaspoon of sea salt.  Sweet and salty heaven.

Directions

1. Line a 10 x 15inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease pan with butter. Set aside.
2. Put the sugar in a large saucepan and slowly add the water taking care not to splash. Stir just to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let the liquified sugar simmer until it turns an amber or reddish-brown. Watch it very closely to prevent burning. It should take about 17 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool.
4. When brittle is cool, invert to remove from pan. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Want to see what the rest of the food blogging posse tried from the book? See below for a list and have yourself a nice little blog hop!

Looking forward to our next review already!

Erin

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kelly from Kelly Neil
Photography

Tiffany from Eating Niagara

Regina from Leelalicious

Redawna from Nutmeg Disrupted

Gwen from Devour and Conquer

Hilary from Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable

Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Stephanie from Kitchen Frolic

Caroline from Do it All Working Mom

Libby from Libby Roach

Katrina from Kitchen Trials

Laureen from Art and the Kitchen

Emily from Best of this Life

Lauren from Lauren Follett Nutrition

Zannat from Food for Happiness

Sarah from Kiwi and Bean

Charmian from The Messy Baker

Heather from The Tasty Gardener

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside.

 No purchase necessary to enter.

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 12:01am to end on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winner is chosen at random via Rafflecopter. Winner will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to respond.  If not, a new winner will be chosen. Winner selected MUST correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question. Winner’s name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter.

 Prize value is approximately $30CDN.

How To: Quickie Meal – One Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Brussels Sprouts, and Butternut Squash

FullSizeRender 8

I survived.

I made it through the 8 days of Passover.

8 days of forgoing my usual oatmeal breakfast.

8 days of giving up muffins and granola bars.

8 days of choosing a salad over a sandwich for lunch.

8 days of Matzah pizza.

Well, that last part was okay. And I did it without eating quinoa 27 million times a day. How? With meals like this sheet pan chicken dinner.

IMG_8676

IMG_8678

Not only was this meal a Passover dinner hit, it is also an easy and one-pan way to get dinner on the table with minimal fuss or clean up.

I have to confess that I did make it at around 9 in the morning while my babe was taking a nap. To quote one of my friends, I go by the motto “cook while the baby naps.” Also, you never know what the rest of the day will hold, ie. a day where they are refusing to sleep at all and need to be held at all times leaves little time to get dinner ready. So I take advantage of that first nap. But that also meant we were eating this dinner cold, the norm for our dinners these days. So if it was so good cold you can only imagine how good it would taste hot out of the oven! But, that cold dinner also proves this chicken and vegetable bake makes delicious leftovers the next day.

IMG_8679

The roasted lemon slices are key here – the heat from the oven really brings out all that delicious lemon juice that, along with the marinade, really flavours the whole pan. I went with squash and brussels as my veg of choice but you could definitely substitute carrots and broccoli or sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

IMG_8684

As delicious as this chicken dinner is, I think now that I’ve made it through 8 days of no grains, a big plate of pasta is in order! But you all should feast on this one pan chicken meal!

Dara

 

One Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemons, Brussels Sprouts, and Butternut Squash

Serves 4-6
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Eating Bird Food

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 Cups brussels sprouts (cut in half)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 lemons (1 sliced and 1 juiced)
  • 2 Tsp salt (divided)
  • 1.5 Tsp pepper (divided)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder

Note

This one pan dish is an very easy and flavourful weeknight meal. If you are not a fan of chicken breasts, chicken thighs can easily be substituted. This is also a great way to use up whatever vegetable you have on hand - cauliflower, sweet potatoes, parsnips, broccoli or carrots would all be great in this recipe.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place brussels sprouts, butternut squash, red onion, garlic and lemon slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Top with 2 tbsp olive oil, honey, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Toss to coat.
2. Place chicken breasts in a zip lock bag. In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, and remaining 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Stir to combine and pour over chicken breast. Massage bag to evenly coat chicken breasts in marinade.
3. Place chicken breasts atop vegetables and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft and browned.
4. Remove from oven and divide vegetables and chicken breasts onto plates and squeeze remaining juice from the lemons overtop.