Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coconut and Chia Pancake

This is probably my final pancake creation of the year…. on Christmas Eve morning, I was looking for something a wee bit different from my normal fare. I love my Vanilla and Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes, and this version and this one too, but just wanted something more…

So I added a spoonful of chia seeds to the batter and they not only made it a bit thicker. but really added a nice taste and a bit of crunch, too.  I used 2 eggs in  my batter, but if you want to save a few grams of fat you could use 1/4 cup of egg whites in place of one of the eggs.  Feel free to double the recipe if you want to share with a friend.

Coconut and Chia Pancakes

Coconut and Chia Pancake
Makes 1 serving
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 2 Tbs coconut flour
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Mix everything together and pour into a non-stick pan set over MEDIUM heat.
  2. Allow to cook about 5 to 7 minutes and then flip over and cook second side for about 2 minutes.
  3. Serve with fruit or your favorite syrup, honey, nut butter or yogurt.
Per serving, without topping.

Made with 2 eggs:
Weight Watchers P+ = 8.
Calories 264; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 21g; Fibre 12g.

Made with 1 egg and 1/4 cup egg white:
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 220; Protein 21g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 16g; Fibre 12g.

Dec 24 chia pancakes 001
The batter is quite thick and you may need to spread it a bit.

Dec 24 chia pancakes 002
The second side cooks much quicker than the first.

Dec 24 chia pancakes 004
Served with some peaches, strawberries and mango….

Dec 24 chia pancakes 005
and yes, a bit of syrup!

Other than the Coconut Pancakes that I have already linked to in the opening paragraph of this post, here are some of the other grain-free pancake recipes I created this year:

Mar 19 Easy Flax Pancakes 003

Flax-Coconut Pancake

There are lots of other pancake recipes in my FEATURE RECIPES  - BREAKFAST section as well.  

There are some with oats, some with whole wheat flour and some grain-free with protein powder.  There are almond butter pancakes, ‘Oreo’ protein pancakes, strawberry pancakes, pumpkin pancakes and banana pancakes… to name only a few.  Something for everyone!  Really. Cottage cheese anyone?

Are you pancake lover too?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Starring Cauliflower!

Looking back over some of my favorite recipes of this past year, as well as some of the most popular posts, it would appear that cauliflower is one of the star ingredients of 2013.

Cauliflower Star

And I am sure it’s true!  As I type this post, I have been getting up every 10 minutes to tend to the huge batch of Cauliflower Tortillas I am baking this morning, and I am going to be eating Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup for lunch later today.  It seems barely a day or 2 goes by without my creating some new dish, or reprising an old favorite… and they often seem to have cauliflower in the ingredients list.

Why do I eat so much cauliflower?

It is such a versatile and nutritious vegetable. It can be enjoyed raw in salads or as a crudite with a dip; it is a lovely veggie to include in stews and casseroles with a wide array of spices; it can be chopped in a food processor to various degrees of puree and used in place of rice, or as a base for pizzas, or as the main stay in tortillas; it can be cooked and mashed like a potato or it can be baked and enjoyed like popcorn.  And not to mention that as a Weight Watcher, cauliflower is considered a zero P+ veggie.

It does have a definite fragrance, aroma, okay… smell… when it is cooking.  But don’t let that fool you. The taste is actually quite delicate and really disappears among other, stronger flavors and spices.  If you think you don’t like cauliflower, I would urge you to give it another chance.

Here is my version of a new Cauliflower Pizza Crust that I found at Gigi Eats Celebrities a short while ago… I am sure it would be delicious the way Gigi posted it too…. and if you scroll on down, you will find links to some of my favorite cauliflower recipes of the year.  Good eats!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Chia and Nooch

Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Chia and Nooch
Makes 1 pizza crust
  • 2 cups cauliflower, purreed till quite fine
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs mixed Italian style herbs
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and then spread in a circle (or shape of your choice) on the parchment paper, to about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven.
  5. Cover with your favorite pizza toppings such as tomato sauce or paste, herbs, onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, ham, artichoke hearts, and the like. 
  6. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes.
  7. Remove to plate and serve.
For the whole crust only.
Weight Watcher P+ = 9.
Calories 279; Protein 25g; Carbohydrate 21g; Fat 20g, Fibre 12g.

Dec 4 Cauli pizza crust 001
Mix everything together in a large bowl.

Dec 4 Cauli pizza crust 003
Spread out to about 1/2 thick on baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.

Dec 4 Cauli pizza crust 004
Bake for 20 minutes then top with your favorite goodies and pop it back into the oven for 10 more minutes.

Dec 4 Cauli pizza crust 005
Remove from oven and serve.

Printable Recipe

Here are some of my other favorites from the past year…

Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Low Carb Tortillas

I make these a lot and always have several in the freezer, ready to eat.  They can be left on the counter or thawed in the mike.

Cauliflower Rice

Another real favorite in my kitchen. I only eat rice now if I am having sushi, so some version of this Cauliflower Rice has become a staple.  It can be done so many different ways.

Cauliflower Coconut Soup
with 4 different spice options

Easy Curried Vegetables

Are you a cauliflower fan too?

Would love it if you would leave a link to your favorite cauliflower recipe here in the comments.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pork and Zucchini Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

I was really excited to try this recipe when I found it in Chatelaine Magazine a  short time ago… we love all of the ingredients in this recipe so I was pretty sure we would love the final result… and we did.  I made a couple of minor changes so will list the ingredients I used, and the N.I. that I calculated, too.

Pork and Zucchini Meatballs in Lettuce Cups is an easy weeknight dinner. It all comes together very quickly and the biggest decision will be what to serve with it. I made up some fried rice for The Captain and he was really happy with the result!

Look for the leanest pork you can find.  And if you can, look for some Bibb lettuce. The cups will be smaller. I had Romaine on hand so used that. I also used a sweet chili sauce and fat free Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise… if I had homemade mayo on had, I would have preferred that.

We ate only half of the meatballs and I saved the others for lunch later this week.

Pork Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

Pork and Zucchini Meatballs in Lettuce Cups
Makes 4 servings (4 meatballs each)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 8 lettuce leaves
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 Tbs mirin or sushi seasoning or rice vinegar 
  1. Mix the ground pork, shredded zucchini, Chinese 5 Spice powder and dash of salt together in a bowl.
  2. Place the coconut oil in a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
  3. Scoop the meat mixture out in 2-Tbs size meatballs and set them in a single layer in the skillet.  You should have 16 meatballs.
  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides then cover and reduce heat to LOW.  Leave to cook about 7 or 8 minutes till juices run clear.
  5. Arrange 2 lettuce cups on each of 4 plates.
  6. Combine the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl.
  7. Combine the shredded carrot and mirin in another small bowl.
  8. When the meatballs are cooked, place 2 in each lettuce cup and top with chili-mayo and carrots to serve. 
Per serving of 4 meatballs in lettuce cups with sauces.
Weight Watchers P+ = 9.
Calories 347; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 26g; Fibre 2g.

Dec 18 Pork meatballs 002

Dec 18 Pork meatballs 003

I was pleasantly surprised that  The Captain was game to pick up the cups and eat them with his fingers… but a knife and fork is certainly not out of the question… they are messy but delicious!

What do you think?  Is this something you might try?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#MapleVoxBox for Canadian Influensters

Last week I received my first Influenster Vox Box in the mail…had almost forgot I enrolled to be a product sampler!

Dec 4 Maple Leaf Vox Box 002

The #MapleVoxBox

This box was sent to Canadian Influensters and I was quite pleased with the contents:
  • Skinny Cow Milk Chocolate Flavor Heavenly Crisp
  • Skinny Cow Milk Chocolate Dreamy Clusters
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Curl Mascara
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Plumping Lip Gloss
  • Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure
  • Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spas
  • Ice Breakers Duo
The Captain took the Skinny Cow treats for a test drive and really enjoyed them both… and I am loving the NYC mascara.  I haven’t tried the the gloss or nail art, or the clay facial yet…saving them for a Christmas treat... and we both really like the raspberry-flavored Ice Breakers.

All in all a thumbs up for the #MapleVoxBox from the two of us.

If you are interested in joining Influenster and getting in on some free samples, click on the Influenster logo on the right side bar.

Are you an Influenster?  Have you received any vox boxes?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Following along the ‘cauliflower’ theme I seem to have going this week, I decided to pair it with my favorite red vegetable… roasted red peppers.  I love them so much… they are rich in flavor and add a touch smokiness to anything I serve with them.

Do you like to do your own red peppers in our oven or barbecue? I have purchased them… in huge glass jars… the shiny roasted red peppers in the big glass jars always lure me in. I did purchase one once, but could not finish them. Alas, the last half of the jar went to waste, and I always thought they weren’t quite as tasty as the ones I do myself.

I have a post about roasting red peppers… check it out here….

And then clean a head of cauliflower and make this awesome soup!  Thick, naturally creamy and rich.  All it needs is a bit of salt and pepper to your own liking, and you have a hit on your hands.  If your family thinks they don’t like cauliflower… don’t even tell them. That is how I have The Captain loving it… shhhhh…. don’t tell.

Of course I like to use my own turkey or chicken broth too… if you like, use a vegetable broth for a vegan soup.  It’s all good.

Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Makes 5 servings
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 6 ounces chopped white onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled,smashed and minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 cups chicken stock.
  • 4 medium red pepper, roasted
  1.  Remove the leaves and large centre stem from the cauliflower.  Separate into florests, wash, and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconout oil over MEDIUM heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes until cauliflower is soft and cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat, and then add roasted red peppers.
  6. Purree and  then season with salt and pepper before serving.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 85; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 14g; Fat 3g; Fibre 5g.

Nov 30 Cauli and RRPepper Soup 1 001
Getting everything into the pot…

Nov 30 Cauli and RRPepper Soup 001
And when it’s cooked, puree with your immersion blender.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Cauliflower Coconut Soup, 4 Ways to Spice it Up

Since I gave up eating grains at the beginning of year, I have been eating a lot of cauliflower!  Lots and lots of Cauliflower Rice and cauliflower-based Low Carb Tortillas.  I had almost forgotten that it is a tasty vegetable to be enjoyed as such.

The Captain has gotten into the habit of buying huge heads of fresh cauliflower whenever he finds them in our local markets, so I am now trying to come up with different ways to use them up!  And because he thinks he doesn’t even like cauliflower himself, I am trying to find ways for him to enjoy it too.

This soup really fills the bill.

Use a veggie broth if you want a vegan option... I like to use homemade turkey broth in mine.

Cauliflower Coconut Soup
Makes 4 servings
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 6 ounces chopped white onion
  • 1 large head fresh cauliflower
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 can (200 ml) coconut milk 
  1. Cut the stem and leaves off the head of cauliflower and then break into florets. Wash and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot over MEDIUM heat and then add the onions and garlic.
  3. Saute about 10 minutes until the onions become translucent, stirring occasionally so they do not brown.
  4. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock.  Simmer for 45 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked through and soft.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk.
  6. Puree with immersion blender or in batches in regular blender, and add a bit of salt to taste.
  7. Serve plain or season to your liking.
This soup is creamy, thick, rich… no strong flavor of cauliflower or coconut, at all.  Just delicious and lovely on your tongue!  I made up a batch of plain soup and then each time I ate a bowl, I changed up the seasonings to see what I could come up with.

The first bowl I ate quite plain, with a bit of fresh cilantro and salt and pepper.

Nov 16 cauli soup 001

I added some crumbled bacon and freshly ground pepper to the second bowl.

Nov 8 cauli soup with bacon 001

I ate the third bowl with a few dashes of curry powder mixed in.


And the fourth bowl, I sprinkled with nutmeg and cloves… a bit of a holiday feel.


The Captain tasted each one and agreed that he would actually like to have a bowl for himself.  Guess I had better get another batch on the stove soon.  His other comment was that it was similar to a potato soup… that is how creamy and thick it is.

And I should add, that it also freezes quite nicely... doesn't change the texture at all.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 128 ; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 6g; Fibre 5g.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Tips to Doing Your Holiday Baking Without Gaining Any Weight

This time of year can pose a real challenge to those of us who do Christmas or Holiday Baking!

We are often surrounded by tasty, tempting ingredients and recipes that we don’t normally face during the rest of the year… we are looking to make salted caramels, shortbread, molasses cookies, butter tarts, pecan and mincemeat pies…. and on and on.  Every year it seems there are more and more calorie and sugar laden goodies to try… more recipes in our favorite magazines and blogs and it can all become quite overwhelming… and let’s be honest… fattening!

It would be easier to just refuse to do it… and for a brave few, that is often the solution.

But for those of us who want to make special things for beloved family members and friends, how do we go about producing these fabulous food gifts without piling on the pounds?

Some people would advise you to only make things that you don’t like to eat yourself.  Others would say to bake when you are not hungry, or to put the baked goodies in the freezer right away so they are out of sight.  Good tips, but not very realistic.  Who hasn’t discovered that peanut butter cookies taste wonderful when they are frozen?

So what do you do when faced with raw cookie dough or chocolate cake batter?  How do you keep from tasting or nibbling or licking the spoons or egg beaters while you are doing the actual baking?  We all know that these little BLTs (bites, licks, tastes) can add up to hundreds of extra calories over a few hours… and if you do several baking sessions, you might be facing thousands of calories full of sugar and fat!

I think we should reward ourselves for all of this creative and love-driven work we are doing, by enjoying some of the goodies we are making.  I think it is extremely unrealistic to expect that we won’t do a bit of sampling… but I would suggest that we decide, before we even get started, that we are going to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of wine, AFTER it is all done and enjoy ONE piece of our favorite confection…. one cookie, one piece of brownie, one thin sliver of pie.

Keep your eye on that prize, and keep the tasting to a minimum.

I have come up with a few ways to avoid the BLTs and have been given some tips by some of my friends over the years as well… I would love to share them with you.


  1. Brush your teeth before you get started.  A fresh, clean mouth feels so good and you are less likely to start popping nuts or chocolate chips into your mouth when you have fresh sparkly clean teeth.
  2. Chew gum.  It is very difficult to pop bits of cookie dough into your mouth while you are chewing gum.  Let’s face it.  We don’t need to taste the cookie dough because we are often using recipes that we have made over and over and over again… we already know that dough tastes good!   I am not normally a gum chewer but I do find this tip really works for me.
  3. It does make sense to do your baking when you are not hungry.  But you might want to have an appropriate snack at the ready, right out in front of you where it is easily accessible.  Apple slices covered with peanut butter, or some cubes of cheddar cheese will help keep you going.  Make it something a bit special that you really like, and something that can easily be popped into your mouth instead of a piece of cookie dough.
  4. Have lunch already prepared so you don’t nibble instead of eating a real meal. If your baking session will last for hours, especially over lunchtime, or involves a friend, it might be a good idea to have something ready in the fridge, that you can take to a table to sit down and eat while taking a break from the baking.
  5. If you do bake with a friend, challenge each other not to taste as you go along.  Make a little game of it and charge each other a penalty for catching each other tasting, or have a non-food reward pre-determined for the one who does it the least. 
  6. Wear your workout clothes and shoes while you bake.   This is a really good idea for so many different reasons.  It will remind you about why you don’t want to be nibbling while you are baking.  And if you do get time for a quick break, you could get out for a little walk, or you can do some squats or pushups in the living room while the cookies are in the oven.  Or you can crank up some holiday music and do a bit of dancing.
  7. Make up rules before you begin baking.  I have a rule that I don’t eat while I am standing up. If I want to put something in my mouth I have to take it to the table to sit down first.  It has happened where I have taken a brownie batter spoon to the table to sit down and lick it, but by the time I got there, I realized how silly it was and avoided the deed! 
  8. Put the used bowls, mixer blades, spoons, spatulas, and other utensils into a sinkful of hot soapy water as soon as you are done with them, or at least rinse the batter off them so you won’t be tempted to lick if off.
  9. Imagine that someone is watching you in the kitchen.  Behave the way you would if you were being recorded or if the neighbor or your husband was spying on you!  Better yet, set up your video camera and make a vlog about it all. You will never lick your fingers. 
  10. Focus on the end goal… to make something lovely for your family and friends to enjoy.  The more you nibble now, the lessfinished product there will be when you are done!  If you  cannot control yourself while the cookies are cooling, get out of the kitchen.  Have someone else put the finished and cooled baking into containers and then get them out of sight as soon as you can.
I hope that some of these tips might help you to get through your holiday baking without adding on some holiday pounds!

If you have any tips, I would love to have you share them with me.

And I would really like to know what you are cooking up for the holidays, too.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home Made Chips Make Great Nachos

I worked the Weight Watchers booth for a few hours one afternoon in September at a local Women’s Health Fair.  Before my shift started, I wandered around and looked at the other exhibits… quite an interesting mix of diets, supplements, makeup and beauty products, jewellery and accessories, teas, fitness gear and even a guest celebrity speaker.  It wasn’t a huge show by any stretch of the imagination but pretty well attended by our smallish-city standards.

I picked up this chip maker at at an Epicure Selections booth. I was a bit sceptical but the friendly woman selling the products assured me it really worked.  She says she makes apple chips on hers, a lot…  so I handed over $18 and off I went to attend to my own work duties.  I should add it was an enjoyable experience working the show. I had never done anything like this before and it was really fun.

So…to the chip maker.  We have tried it out a few times now, and I am so enthralled with it that I just had to share it with you.

It is made of some kind of silicone.  And apparently it makes chips out of many different kinds of fruit and vegetables in the microwave oven.  But I am pretty much only interested in potato chips at the moment so that is what we have been making on it.

Oct 12 Potato chips 001
The Chipster packaging

Oct 12 Potato chips 002
White potatoes release a lot of watery starch after they are sliced so I patted them dry with a paper towel before salting them and putting the tray in the mike.  It takes 4 minutes on HIGH for each tray of chips to cook..

Oct 12 Potato chips 003
This was the first batch we made and they were so much better than any baked chip you can purchase.  Just potatoes with a bit of salt.

Oct 12 Potato chips 004
And truly crispy!

Nov 17 nachos 001
We made some again on Sunday to have with our dinner.  These are orange sweet potato chips.  Sweet potato is much drier than white potato and there was no need to pat them… just slice and salt and mike.

Nov 17 nachos 003
We made chips from an orange sweet potato, and a lighter yellow sweet potato and then used them as ‘nacho’s and enjoyed them with some guacamole, ground beef, and some salsa.  This was truly delicious…. and even if you use a different method to make your sweet potato chips, I would urge you to try them as ‘nachos’.

Okay, maybe I will give the apple chips a try… all you need is a mandolin or a very sharp knife to make sure the slices are very thin!

Have you ever used a vegetable chip as nachos?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Tasty Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

It has been a few weeks since I have had any almond meal in my pantry so when I finally purchased some a few days ago I started thinking about something new to make with it  I have several cans of pumpkin on hand (thanks to The Captain who brought home 2 dozen of them a few weeks ago when he found them on sale!) and decided to come up with a treat for our Saturday morning breakfast… a treat being anything different from our usual breakfast of some kind of eggs!

If you want to lower the fat count in my cake, leave out the coconut oil, and of course you could use a sweetener or maple syrup instead of the honey.  It isn’t a very sweet cake at all, so add more if you like sweeter!

I am eating Greek yogurt again these days, so I chose some fat free plain for our toppings, and added vanilla to mine, and vanilla and a bit of sweetener to The Captain’s.  It was really good… and really filling!
It powered me through my run a few hours later, that’s for sure.

I think nut butters or a slurry of protein powder and almond milk or fresh berries would be really good on this cake, too.  Or, how about some ice cream?  For breakfast... why not?

Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp liquid honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or healthy dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt the coconut oil and add to pumpkin in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add the almond meal and combine well.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Spoon batter into a microwave safe cooking bowl and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from microwave oven and allow to rest 5 minutes.
  6. Divide in half and serve with topping of choice.

Per serving, no topping.
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 255; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat 17g; Fibre 7g.

Nov 16 Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake 001
Mixing the ingredients together

Nov 16 Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake 003
The batter will be wet, but should not be runny.  If it is, add another tablespoon of almond meal

Nov 16 Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake 004
It will change color as it cooks and should be firm to the touch, but still moist

Nov 16 Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake 006
My serving with Greek yogurt and a dash of cinnamon... Mmmmm...

How about you?  Still eating pumpkin or have you had your fill?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Easy Peasy Curried Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Stew

I have come to really love the combination of coconut milk and curry.  This dish was thrown together yesterday.  It was a full day and I wanted to make use of my slow cooker in order to free up my afternoon… and it is delicious.  I know the name is long... Curried Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Stew... quite a mouthful.... but hey, it matches the dish!

It is only a mild curry so if you are not a voracious fan, like I have become, it would suit you nicely.  If you like a hotter curry, add more powder to the mix.

And it smelled wonderful while it cooked away all afternoon.  At dinnertime, all I had to do was put a couple of small white potatoes in the mike for The Captain… he chose them over rice for a change.  And for me, half a baked spaghetti squash… lately I have been baking a couple of squashes in the oven at the same time so I will have some ready to reheat on the fly when I am in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Sound good?  Here is my recipe… hope you will give it a try.  Of course you can use a lower fat version of coconut milk here, and if you don’t use baby carrots, just cut up some large ones into 1/2-inch chunks.  A yellow or orange pepper would be nice as well.

Curred Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Stew

Curried Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Stew
Makes 6 servings
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • approximately 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 3 cups sliced white onions
  • 1 red pepper, cut in large slivers
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger root
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken 
  • 200 ml (1/2 can) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • dash of salt
  • drizzle of lemon juice
  • fresh cilantro to garnish
  1. Melt coconut oil in large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.  Add the chicken pieces and cook till browned, about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile layer carrots, onions, red pepper, garlic and ginger in the slow cooker.
  3. Mix the broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and dash of salt together in a medium bowl and then pour over the contents of the slow cooker.
  4. Cover slow cooker and set to LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and fresh cilantro to garnish.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ =  5.
Calories 226; Protein 29g;  Carbohydrate 14g; Fat 6g; Fibre 3g.

Nov 13 chicken 001
Everything in slow cooker and ready to cover and cook

Nov 13 chicken 2 001
All cooked and ready 

Nov 13 chicken 2 002
Stir a bit to combine the ingredients and then serve

Nov 13 chicken 2 003
Over baked spaghetti squash for me... and baked potato for The Captain

If you like it, would appreciate the PIN.. thanks so much.

Are you a curry fan?  Do you use your slow cooker much?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

I am always intrigued by exotic Indian dishes and the aromatic spices that go into them. I have very little experience with this cuisine so when I saw a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala in local food market’s weekly flyer, I decided to give it a try. I was happily surprised that I had most of the ingredients on the list but found I did have to purchase a couple of the spices I didn’t have… garam masala and ground cardamom.

I was appalled at the price of the little jar of ground cardamom… $9.19 … but I went ahead and bought it anyway.  I am sure it MADE the dish…. hah!  But I digress. Please don't tell me I could have left it out.

Apparently the fondness for Indian food has become so widespread  in Great Britain, that a creation rooted in that cuisine called Chicken Tikka Masala has become a national dish.  It is so popular that it surpassed fish and chips as the favorite take-away. (That would be take-out to us North Americans.)

Anyway, the dish blends Indian flavors with a British food preference, and how it was created is hotly debated.  One popular story behind Chicken Tikka Masala says that many years ago a customer in a Glasgow curry house demanded gravy with his Indian-style chicken. The chef made a nicely spiced sauce and a new dish was born.

Nicely spiced it certainly is, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it… I hope you will too.  It smells absolutely divine as it cooks.  I tweaked the ingredients for the recipe a wee bit  so I will share it and the N.I. as I prepared it.  Enjoy!  I just may use crushed tomatoes instead of diced next time to make the sauce even thicker.

And by the way, I have done some Googling, and learned that TIKKA means ‘bits or pieces’ and that MASALA means’ a mixture of spices’.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala
Makes 6 servings
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 large can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbs fat free plain Green yogurt (leave out for Paleo)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • salt to taste
  1.  Combine the first  8 ingredients (garam masala to cinnamon) in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the coconut oil in a large skillet over MEDIUM heat.
  3. Add the onions and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  4. Add the spice mixture, tomato paste, ginger, and garlic to the skillet and stir to combine.  Allow to cook about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.  Bring to a light boil and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and allow to simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened.
  7. Stir in yogurt and allow to heat for a couple of minutes.
  8. Serve with fresh cilantro sprigs as garnish and season with salt to taste.
Per serving including the yogurt.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 224; Protein 37g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 4g; Fibre 1g.

And now I am off to find a local Indian food market. I am sure I can find these lovely aromatic spices at a much better price…  I intend to be using them a lot, very soon.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 001
Assembling the ingredients before starting to cook. This dish comes together pretty quickly once you start cooking so preparing ahead of cooking is a good step with this dish especially.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 002
Adding the spices, grated ginger, minced garlic, and tomato paste to the cooked onions.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 003
After the tomatoes and chicken broth are added, the sauce needs to simmer for several minutes.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 004
And the chicken will get really tender as it cooks in this sauce.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 005
The night I made it The Captain had his on rice… mine topped cauliflower rice.

Nov 10 Chicken Tikka Masala 001
To change things up a bit I served my lefotvers on baked kabocha squash with some string beans…

Nov 10 Chicken Tikka Masala 002
But The Captain chose rice again, so I gave him some veggies on the side, too.

Are you an Indian Cuisine fan?  Have any favorite dishes I should try next?