Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Baked Curly Sweet Potato 'Fries' with Chicken

Now you all know how much I love my new spiralizer… so you will not be surprised to learn that I have pretty much given up spaghetti squash in favor of zoodles these days. I have been eating them a couple of times a week at least, with different sauces, but my Sensational Sesame Sauce remains my very favorite.

But I knew I needed to spread my little spiralizer wings a bit and try some other veggies just as my dear, generous friend, Kate, sent me this fabulous idea… and some pictures from her own kitchen to go along with it.

I couldn’t wait to try it for myself and went immediately to my local Bulk Barn to pick up some Cajun Spice (why have I never tried this before?) to make this dish.  It was so easy and so delicious!  I know you will love this idea, too!

I call it Baked Curly Sweet Potoato ‘Fries’ with Chicken – you can call it whatever you like, but TRY it.  Do it.

Kate wrapped her sweet potato curls around the chicken breasts when she baked them. I am lazy so I just piled mine on top.  Half way through cooking I tossed them around. The curls become quite crunchy, and baking the sweet potato really brings out the flavor.  The chicken breasts are juicy and moist. Win, win, win.  No negatives here!

Kate used half a sweet potato for each chicken breast and then served hers with some other veggies.  When I made this dish, I used a whole sweet potato for mine, and a couple of small white potatoes for The Captain’s, and didn’t serve other veggies. I happen to really like sweet potatoes.  Your choice of course.  

I have to admit, I have also made these sweet potato curly 'fries' since, without the chicken, and served them on a lean ground beef burger, and also a salmon burger.  I love, LOVE, LOVE them.  You will too. 

Thanks to Kate for allowing me to use her pictures.  I will give you the recipe and instructions as she made it up. And I should add, that you could use a ribbon slicer to make your sweet potato curls if you don’t have a spiralizer.

Curly Baked Sweet Potato 'Fries' with Chicken

Bakes Curly Sweet Potoato ‘Fries’ with Chicken
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • dry Cajun Spice as needed, about 2 – 3 tsp
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into curls using the large noodle maker disk on the spiralizer.
  3. Toss the sweet potato noodles with the coconut oil and then add a healthy sprinkling of Cajun Spice (start with about a tsp and then add more if you like peppery heat).
  4. Wrap the curls around the chicken breasts.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes.
  6. Remove to serving plates and enjoy.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 10.
Calories 395; Protein 34g; Carbohydrate 34g; Fat 13g; Fibre 4g.

This N.I. was calculated using a 5 ounce chicken breast, 1 tsp coconut oil, and 5 oz raw sweet potato.  Yours will vary according to your own ingredients, of course.

spiralized sweet potato
Love the curls coming off the spiralizer.  Makes me so happy!

mound of sweet potatos
Aren’t they beautiful?  Toss them with coconut oil and Cajun Spice.

with the sweet potatos wrapped/piled on the chicken
Wrap around seasoned chicken breasts (or just pile them on top) and then bake in the oven.

finished cooking
They will become crispy as they bake.

cooked chicken with sweet potato
Lovely and crunchy!

Kate says she thinks she might like them with Curry instead of the Cajun Spice, too.

Jan 25 chicken and curly fries 001
Mine were a little less curly, and a bit more crispy, I think!

Printable Recipe

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

I made this wonderful new soup for lunch today and couldn’t wait to share it with you… I didn’t even take pictures as I went, I was so eager to get it cooking and eat it! 

I had a bag of carrots sitting in the refrigerator, that I needed to use, so I peeled them, but normally when my carrots are very fresh I just wash them and cut the ends off.  Your choice.

It only took 45 minutes to cook, but I was getting so hungry I had to eat a small apple to keep my tummy from growling and entertain myself with cryptic crosswords from the newspaper… sometimes things just seem to take too long when you’re waiting, don’t they?

But it was so worth the short wait... truly delicious. I love the flavor of carrots, and I bet roasting the carrots before putting them in the soup would make it taste even better!  I have to remember that for next time and get started earlier.

The curry and the red pepper flakes are very subtle flavors in this soup. Barely there, but they add to the overall goodness and the pepper flakes definitely add a bit of zing.

I used my homemade turkey stock for this soup. You could use a commercial broth, or a veggie broth, or even water, in a pinch. 

And of course if you don’t eat dairy, you can omit the Greek yogurt garnish, too.  It’s all good!

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup
Makes 4 servings, approximately 1 cup each
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 3-1/2 ounces chopped white onion
  • 20 ounces (1-1/4 lb) carrrots cut into chunks
  • 1-1/2 cups  broth
  • up to 1 cup hot water 
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
  1. Using my usual homemade soup method, heat the coconut oil in a large stock pot, and then added the onions and garlic.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes over MEDIUM heat till onions are soft and translucent,being careful not to brown the garlic.
  3. Add the carrots and allow to cook a few minutes.
  4. Add the curry powder, and stir to coat the veggies.
  5. Add the broth and the red pepper flakes.  Then turn up heat to HIGH till it boils.  Cover, reduce heat to LOW and allow simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and puree with immersion blender.  Add the hot water a few ounces at a time until the mixture reaches the thickness you like. (I used 1 cup and I like a very thick soup.)
  7. Serve in your favorite bowls. Garnish and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 112; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat 4g; Fibre 5g.

Jan 26 Spicy Curried Carrot Soup 001
Just salt and pepper for The Captain

Are you a curry fan? 

How do you use up the veggies in your fridge?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Coconut Chia Pudding

I have been looking for ways to add bits of coconut to my food.  I am convinced that coconut has lots of health benefits… I have read so much about it over the past couple of years, and now find, with one of my own health issues, that the type of fat in coconut is very beneficial to my body.

I shall spare you the details!

I already use coconut oil exclusively for cooking, and I have also been brushing my teeth with a mixture of coconut oil and baking soda occasionally… but now I am eating more coconut meat.  And I have been adding shreds to lots of my Breakfast Bowls and mixing it in to my snacks, too.

This Coconut Chia Pudding is something I started experimenting with a while back, and I have finally tweaked it to my own satisfaction so it is ready to share.  The use of the microwave oven warms the almond milk and helps it to set up the chia seeds faster… but you can leave this step out if you like… just be prepared to leave the pudding in the fridge for several hours or even overnight to set up and thicken your pudding.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Coconut Chia Pudding
Makes a single serving
  • 1 Tbs shredded unsweetened coconut meat
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Mix the coconut, chia, and milk together in a small microwave safe dish.
  2. Place in the mike and cook on HIGH for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in a dash of cinnamon and then chill in refrigerator for about an hour.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 112; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 14g; Fibre 7g.

Chia Pudding

I do like to have a banana with mine occasionally.  I think that it would be nice made with coconut milk, too, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Jan 20 Coconut Chia Pudding 001

Jan 20 Coconut Chia Pudding 002

These are pictures of one I just took out of the fridge a couple of minutes ago!

Are you a coconut fan, too?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Butternut Squash Nooch Sauce for Zoodles or Noodles

I am absolutely obsessed with zoodles.  I am typing and saying the words zucchini noodles or  zuke noodles so often now that I am  officially changing the name to zoodles, just to save me some strokes and some breath!

But I am not only obsessed with writing and talking about them, and taking pictures of them on my plate, I am completely obsessed with eating them… I think that The Captain is afraid I am going to start turning green, but at least I have finally cut back to eating them only every other day now.

I think the spiralizer is the most phenomenal gadget I have ever owned… and I do love my little gadgets.

This Butternut Nooch Sauce was developed one day earlier this week. I was challenged to go without eating meat that day, and decided to use some nutritional yeast as as one of my protein sources.  And I figured, why not partner it with one of my favorite foods… Butternut Squash?

I do like nutritional yeast.. it is a bit salty and it has a lot of protein and only a little fat, and lots of Vitamin B.  It is a nice thickener, and sometimes adds a cheesy flavor to a dish as well. 

If you like, you could try coconut milk, instead of almond milk here.  And you can use any Winter Squash in this sauce and get similar results I am sure… and a similar nutrition profile as well. If you are very hungry, eat the whole thing.  I did. If not, save the leftovers in the fridge overnight or share it with a friend.

Butternut Squash Nooch Sauce

Butternut Squash Nooch Sauce
Makes 1 large serving
  • 1 cup cooked squash, mashed
  • 4 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze, unsweetened original flavor
  1. Blend all ingredients together well in a medium bowl, and pour over zoodles or regular pasta.
  2. Using 2 spoons, toss the sauce with the zoodles to coat them, and then serve.
Per serving, sauce only.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 137; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 24g; Fat 2g; Fibre 6g.

Jan 6 Butternut Squash Nooch sauce for zoodles 001

Jan 6 Butternut Squash Nooch sauce for zoodles 003

What do you think? Do you use squashes to make sauces, too?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

My Blue Pumpkin... My Blue Heaven

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a Blue Pumpkin squash at my local market and was marveling at its odd color, when The Captain said he thought it was pretty big and that I would never be able to eat it all. 

The challenge was on!  I had to bring it home after that, and lucky for me it was on sale, too for only 59 cents per pound… it weighed about 6.

I washed it and dried it…

Dec 27 Blue Pumpkin 001

and admired it some more…

Dec 27 Blue Pumpkin 003

and then I got The Captain to cut it in half for me.  You can see how large it was because that is his hand in the picture beside the cut squash.

Dec 27 Blue Pumpkin 004

Then he scooped out the seeds….

Dec 27 Blue Pumpkin 005

and put it on a cookie sheet…

Dec 27 Blue Pumpkin 006

which was barely big enough to hold it.  I baked it for a whole hour in the oven till it was cooked through and almost soft.

And I ate it in some manner, every day for the week!

2013-12-28 001 002

With Pulled Pork Chili… a couple of times I recall…

Dec 28 More Blue Pumpkin 001

and with eggs….

Dec 29 more blue pumpkin - pancakes 001

and with flax and banana and eggs in a ‘pancake’ of sorts… 

Dec 29 more blue pumpkin - soup 001

and blended with homemade turkey broth and spices to make a lovely thick ‘potage’ style soup.

I really loved the flavor of this Blue Pumpkin squash and would definitely purchase another.  It is sweeter than Butternut Squash, more like a Pumpkin, really, but not quite the same smooth texture as a Pumpkin.

And of course it is full of Vitamin A and antioxidants… and only about 75 calories for a cup of cooked squash!  If you happen to be a Weight Watcher, it is considered a zero point veggie and that is truly a bonus.

Squashes of all varieties are a staple in my diet so am always happy to find a new one.

Have you tried Blue Pumpkin?  What is your favorite type of squash?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sensational Sesame Sauce with Zuke Noodles

Happy New Year!

I am so excited to share my latest creation with you in my first post of 2014.

This Sesame Sauce truly is sensational.  It is salty, and smoky, and garlicky, and it feels like silk on your tongue. When I was eating it, I told The Captain that I could eat it every day.  That is not something I think very often... but this sauce is THAT good.  Really.

I have been eating zuke noodles ever since I got my new spiralizer this past week.  The first two times I had them, I made sauces based on extra lean ground beef and tomatoes… different veggies and spices… but similar.  I loved them.  But I wanted something different.  A girl just cannot eat ground beef every day, no matter how lean it is.

Dec 28 spiralizer zuke 001
I got The Captain to operate the spiralizer… I was just too excited!

Dec 28 spiralizer zuke 002
A huge plateful of noodles from half a medium zucchini… and I ate the whole thing!

Dec 29 zuke noodles 004
My serving the second time trying them was a bit more conservative… I only at about half and put the other half in the fridge where they keep nicely for a couple of days.

Dec 29 zuke noodles 001
Look how long just one noodle can become!

When I decided to have them for lunch on Tuesday, I knew I needed a change of sauce.  I remembered the nooch sauce that I have been using as a salad dressing, but thought I should have something somewhat thinner, to coat the zuke noodles, rather than sit like a blob on the top of them.  I love tahini paste and I love the saltiness of soy sauce and the smokiness of dark sesame oil so I decided to combine the flavors… and after a bit of testing and tasting, this is what I came up with.  I love it. I am going to eat it again and again and again.  And yes, it is high in fat, but it’s healthy fat and on days I have this sauce, I will really watch curb my fat intake the rest of the time.  I just may even try it with only a teaspoon of sesame oil instead of a whole tablespoon.  Time will tell. 

I made up the sauce and tried it before adding the garlic, and it tasted great… but the addition of the garlic put it right over the top! Try it both ways. I know you will love it, too.

If you are avoiding gluten, be sure to use tamari soy sauce, which is wheat free.  If you are eating truly Paleo, you will want to use coconut aminos.  It’s all up to you.

I am sure this would be great on real pasta too.  If that is your preference, do give it a try.

Sensatioinal Sesame Sauce with Zuke Noodles

Sensational Sesame Sauce with Zuke Noodles
Makes 2 servings
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 2 Tbs tamari soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 Tbs dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
  1. Prepare yourself a plateful of zucchini noodles using a spiralizer or a julienne peeler.
  2. Set them aside on the counter for a couple of hours to soften.
  3. Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl..
  4. If you are preparing a single serving, reserve half of the sauce and store in refrigerator for another time.
  5. Spoon the other half of the sauce over the zuke noodles and with two spoons, mix to coat the noodles.
  6. Serve and devour.

Per serving, not including noodles.
Weight Watchers P+ = 8.
Calories 273; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 6g; Fat 25g; Fibre 0g.

Dec 31 sesame sauce and zuke noodles 001

Dec 31 sesame sauce and zuke noodles 003

Dec 31 sesame sauce and zuke noodles 004
I made sure to spoon up ALL the sauce… I suppose I could use 1/3 instead of 1/2 for each serving… Hmmmmm.  But so tasty!

Are you noodle fan?

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