Dinner done easy: Rotisserie chicken and roasted veggies

tri-color-bell-peppers

I was very excited to see hormone and antibiotic free rotisserie chicken at the store yesterday. I really try to go as clean as possible when it comes to animal proteins. I’ve got plenty of hormones kicking on my own, thanks!

Anyway, we’d had a busy day, and I just wasn’t in my normal cooking-mode. Easy was the name of the game, and it doesn’t get easier than chicken that’s already been cooked for you.

As a side, I roasted vegetables while I showered. Don’t pretend you’re not impressed at my multi-tasking.

The point is, you can keep dinner healthy and have it ready in the same amount of time it would take to make a processed, boxed option.

Rotisserie chicken and roasted veggies

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 squash/zucchini
  • 3 peppers, preferable mixed colors
  • Olive oil spray
  • s&p

Heat oven to 400F. Slice veggies, spread out on pan, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. If your chicken needs reheating, you can put it in the oven halfway through cooking the veggies.

That’s really it. Just cut up your chicken and serve it next to the veggies.


Pie, it’s what’s for dinner.

Dinner Pie

Pie for dinner? Heck, yeah! We’re all adults here, which means we can make rash meal decisions, such as deciding to have a milkshake for dinner. (Yep, I’ve done it.)

Honestly though, this is not that kind of pie. The crust only makes you think you’re cheating.

When I made this for dinner last night, it was definitely a last-minute, what do we have to make a meal, kind of dish, but it turned out delicious. I used a leftover half of a cooked spaghetti squash, which was great because it cut down on cooking time, and the squash was already cooled so I didn’t have to worry about it cooking the egg prematurely. In case you’re wondering, I used the other half of the squash with an artichoke and lemon sauce from Williams Sonoma the previous night.

My husband returned from a trip yesterday and I originally thought we would eat out, but we were both tired from golf, travel and pregnancy (respectively), so I decided to scrounge around the kitchen so we could relax at home. My pie pans haven’t arrived yet from our last duty station, but a cake pan worked just fine. Suffice it to say, this dish is easy, can be made last-minute, and can be built from a wide variety of ingredients. As long as you have two refrigerated pie crusts, one egg, some cheese, and a small selection of vegetables, you can create this pie.

Just as I did, get playful with this meal and use what you have. Maybe you have different kinds of meat, vegetables or cheeses on hand. Perhaps you want to make it vegetarian. As long as you use some cheese and an egg for binding, and make sure to drain excess grease and liquid (avoid a soggy crust) before building your pie, you can make it your own.

This is one of those recipes that looks and tastes impressive, but is as easy as making a casserole. It’s also a great way to sneak in a boatload of veggies. I did not add salt and pepper. It simply didn’t require it.

To really dress up the plate, you could serve a mixed green salad on the side. It would be lovely for a brunch, lunch or dinner.

Dinner Pie

  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts (bring to room temp before unfolding)
  • 2 slices of bacon (chopped)
  • 1 chicken sausage (chopped) (I used one with feta and spinach in it)
  • 1 can of tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano, no salt added (drained)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash (cool and de-seeded)
  • 1/2 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sliced/chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded parmesan
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Set out pie crusts to bring to room temperature. Do not grease pie pan.

Cook meat in a skillet. Add tomatoes, fennel seed and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain excess grease and liquid. Let cool a bit so it won’t cook the egg when mixed in.

In a medium bowl, combine squash (I used a fork and knife cross-cut to help the spaghetti mix more easily), zucchini, onion, cheese and egg. Add in meat and tomato mixture. Pour mixture into first pie crust, press, top with second crust, cut slits in top, bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

Inside of pie before baking or adding top crust


Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup

Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup not only tastes amazing, it’s a cancer-fighting machine.

For those of you on a diet with concerns about the ingredient list, allow me to dispel some myths (italicized, and best read in a valley-girl accent).

Oh, I don’t eat potatoes, they have carbs, and carbs will make me fat. 

Not all carbs are created equal. If you over-consume processed carbohydrates, you will not see the results you are hoping for in your body; however, whole potatoes are unprocessed, extremely nutrient-dense, and sweet potatoes, in particular, rank the lowest on the glycemic index.

Sweet potatoes are nutritional rockstars, and they’re a potato you should say yes to – assuming you aren’t coating them in butter, marshmallows, or any other ingredient that turns them into candy. That’s like adding a candy bar to your oatmeal.

I heard carrots are like sugar sticks with orange food coloring. 

Carrots get a bad rap because they’re a starchy vegetable. Do they have carbohydrates and sugars, yes, but they are all natural, and hold a lot of awesome nutritional wealth that is absolutely worth it in the right portion sizes. The energy boost and fat-fighting properties of carrots cancel out the carbohydrates.

Horses are smart to go for these orange sticks, and you should follow suit. You’ll get vitamins A, K, C, and B6, beta-carotene (for healthy eyes, and cancer fighting power), potassium (fight off the muscle cramps you’ve been experiencing in your workouts), calcium, and more. Besides, natural sugars don’t act the same in your body as refined sugar, and Mother Nature uses more reasonable amounts per serving size than candy companies.

Coconut milk has fat, so I can’t have that either. No fat. No carbs. No sugar.

The fat in coconut milk is not the same as the fat in your french fries.

Although it should still be enjoyed in moderation, the fat in coconut milk is actually good for you. It helps your skin stay elastic. Coconut milk is also high in phosphorus, iron, magnesium, fiber, zinc, potassium and vitamin C.

The bottom line: You should eat all “real” food in moderation. Don’t eat something that’s processed simply because it claims to have less fat or carbohydrates. If your body can’t easily recognize an ingredient, it doesn’t know how to use it, and it will get pushed to the side to live in your problem areas and cause your body to run less efficiently. Choose unprocessed food, and eat the appropriate portion size

  • If you’re a vegetarian, this soup is great without the chicken, too.
  • You can skip a cooking step by using a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • If you like a little kick, add a bit of cayenne with the other spices. You’ll feel nice and toasty after a bowl of this goodness.

Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or real butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed or not from concentrate)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg (about 6) chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
  • Arugula for garnish (A green that serves as your pepper!)

Cook chicken in olive oil and set to the side.

Saute onion in 1 Tbsp coconut oil/butter over medium heat until soft. Add carrots, potato, and second Tbsp coconut oil/butter. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add orange juice, salt, spices, and half of the chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until potatoes and carrots begin to soften (about 8 minutes), then process until you reach desired smoothness. Add processed soup back to pot and add remaining broth and coconut milk. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add chicken to soup and heat through. Serve topped with arugula. Enjoy!


Sweet potato, sausage and white bean stew

I try to use almost everything I have in the pantry and refrigerator before I head to the store. I do it partly for the challenge, and partly because I don’t always feel like going to the store. This process has turned out all kinds of food combinations I wouldn’t ordinarily mix, but it also keeps me from churning out the same old dishes all the time.

Yesterday I found myself with one sweet potato (lots of nutritious bang for your buck – they should have a label that reads, “eat me”), a package of light Hillshire Farm (Go meat!) sausage, and white northern beans. Also on hand (because I always need them) was onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and, of course, a plethora of seasonings. Since I’m writing about it, you have already guessed that the result was delicious.

A few notes about this dish before we get to the recipe:

  • Don’t add salt. Between the sausage and the canned beans and tomatoes, you don’t need it.
  • Don’t serve it over rice or pasta. You wouldn’t serve mashed potatoes that way, so don’t serve sweet potato stew that way.
  • You could also make this in the slow cooker.
  • I don’t have a photo because we were really hungry from smelling it, and we ate too fast for my shutter.

Sweet potato, sausage and white bean stew

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pkg. light smoked sausage
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or a handful of the fresh stuff if you’ve got it handy)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped (1 inch chunks work)
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 can white great northern/cannellini beans (drained)
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion, cook for 3 minutes, then add sausage and garlic. Cook another 3 minutes and add potato and seasonings. Cook 3 minutes, stirring well, then add tomatoes and stir/smash to blend. Finally, add beans. Cover and cook for 20-30 mins, adding chicken broth as needed too keep it from getting to thick and sticking to the skillet.

Enjoy!


Recipe: Aromatic Pork Loin, Northern Beans, and… Jello

What could be better than a great meal of protein and fiber, followed by a dessert you won’t regret eating?
I ran across a rub recently that called for zest and fennel seed and, because I normally reach for garlic and herbs, I was excited to try out something different. You can never go wrong with a pork loin – they’ll always come out tender, and leftovers make for great sandwiches, so I decided it would be my test subject. I’m also on a bean kick right now, and I wanted a meal that would all end up in one dish, thus the beans going in with the loin.
The dessert portion of this recipe came to me after I made the rub. I was staring at a juicy orange that had just been stripped, but I wasn’t hungry enough at the time to chow down. Not wanting to waste it, I looked for another way to use it. I had a box of lemon jello mix in the pantry and 1/2 cup of leftover coconut milk in the fridge, so I decided to put them altogether. I like cream and citrus together, so I liked my odds.
In the end, the meal turned out great, and I felt great after eating it. What more could a person ask for?
Ideally, you should marinate your pork and make the jello at the same time. That way, they’re both ready to go when you’re ready to put together your meal.
Pork Loin with Zest-Fennel Rub and White Beans
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seed
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • zest of one orange (save the insides for your jello)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pork loin (the one I used was just under 2 lbs)
  • 2 cans of northern beans
  • juice of one lemon
Rub your pork loin with salt and pepper. Work the first 5 ingredients into a paste and rub all over the pork loin. Cover and marinate for at least 3-5 hours. Preheat oven to 400. Combine beans and lemon juice, and set aside. Bake pork for 30 minutes, remove from oven, add beans to the same pan/dish and stir around so that some of the juices mingle with the beans. Return to oven for another 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes once done. Serve hot and enjoy!
Alternatively, you could cook the pork loin in a crockpot and add the beans just before serving.
Not Bill Cosby’s Jello
  • Pulp from orange you zested for the pork (I used blood orange, but they’re more easy to come by in Italy)
  • 1 package of sugar-free lemon jello mix
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups of cold water
Combine coconut milk with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add jello mix and stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water. Spread pulp in jello mold dish. Pour jello mixture over the pulp. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours so it has plenty of time to solidify.