Paleo Skillet Chicken with Avocado

Paleo Skillet Chicken with Avocado

Paleo skillet chicken with seared avocados is a fast and filling meal for a weeknight. Let's be honest…if you eat just a salad with some meat on it, you're hungry again in an hour or two. Why is that? Because you didn't have enough fat.  Fat's necessary for us to feel satisfied.  Avocado is a very healthy fat.

Watch the video and see how quick it is to make:

The recipe at My Recipes makes it look easy. And it's perfect for the Paleo and Primal lifestyle.

What Would I Change

I love the South of the Border bent for this recipe. People are particular about the level of heat and spice in their dishes. The recipe calls for a fresh poblano pepper and some ancho chile spice. Poblanos are pretty mild. If you want to spice it up, you could use a fresh jalapeno or a serrano.  If you want it really spicy, try a habanero chile pepper.

Remember, the heat is in the seeds and the ribs. So you may learn to like the flavor of one pepper over the other. If so, adjust how you cut it up, and how much you put in.

You could purchase a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. That's my favorite for making guacamole. It's a warm heat. But be careful…it's strong.

This Paleo skillet chicken does call for sour cream. Because it's been fermented, some Paleo folk feel it's ok to use. If you don't, use curdled full fat coconut milk.

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Quick Breakfast Idea – Egg Muffins

Quick Breakfast Idea – Egg Muffins

Are you looking for a quick breakfast idea? Sundays can be a great day for prepping food for the rest of the week. You could make the Asian noodle salad for lunches the rest of the week. Today, I found an egg muffin recipe that's quick, cheap, easy and delicious.

Watch the video here:

You can find the full recipe here at Spend With Pennies.

What Would I Change

She already suggests some additional ideas like ham & broccoli, spinach & feta or sausage, peppers and mushrooms. You can change up the cheeses to match your desires. I also like the Laughing Cow cheese wedges. They melt really well and have some lovely flavors. My favorite is the Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle flavor followed by Swiss and Garlic.

You can save time by buying pre-shredded cheese, pre-cut onions, and sausage crumbles. I love Jimmy Dean's turkey crumbles.

Figure out your favorite quiche or what you have as leftovers in the house. You can season the eggs with some paprika, nutmeg, chili powder, thyme…the sky is the limit.

Just remember, if you use pork sausage or chorizo, you will want to drain the meat after cooking and blot off as much of the excess fat as you can. Some people rinse it under running water. I don't because I like a little of that flavor left on. My favorite is the Jimmy Dean pork sausage with sage. You can pre-slice it and store the rest in the freezer.

A friend makes his with a slice of Canadian bacon on the bottom. Then he puts in the additional vegetables and cheese before pouring on his egg mixture.

You can also make it with a slice of bacon going around the side of the muffin tin. That contains everything.

Add in a variety of vegetables as well. You could put in shredded squash or sweet potato as well to make it seem like a bit of a hash.

How to Make a Well Balanced Breakfast

Have a side of some fruit. Right now, I'm into tangelos and grapefruit as sides. My mom had always sliced grapefruit in half and had me use the special grapefruit knife to slice the sections. Then I'd put a little pure maple syrup on, and eat that way. When I was in college, my housemate would just peel and eat the grapefruit.

It may seem obvious but for me, it was like a light went on. It had never occurred to me to eat one that way.

You could buy some of those pre-formed hash brown patties and toss it into the toaster oven. You may want to pop in the egg muffin near the end so it warms up.  I don't have a microwave, but you could nuke it for a little bit to get it all warmed up. Just remember to let it sit for a minute so the hot spots even out.

If want to stay low carb, don't do the hash browns.  Also, don't have any toast or English muffins or bagels. You know the drill.

Other Ideas

Speedy Tex-Mex Breakfast Muffins

 

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Chicken Mushroom Sage Casserole

Chicken Mushroom Sage Casserole

Chicken mushroom sage casserole is a great time saver.  I'm going to review how to make it healthier, and then lower carb. Finally, I'll make recommendations to make this in a slow cooker. You can also make this with any leftover turkey you may have.

But first, watch this video to get inspired:

You can find the full recipe here at My Recipes.

What Would I Change

They use a lot of butter. Granted it does add to the flavor. And they're using it with flour to make the gravy.  What I'd recommend is not putting so much butter in and see how it turns out. You could probably cut it back by two tablespoons and not affect the flavor.

Also, I'd look for rice instead of a rice mix. It will save you money. And what would you do with the spice packet that's leftover anyway.

Wild rice would go great with the sage and mushroom flavors. So you may want to find a package of wild rice.  You may need to parboil it a bit before it goes into the oven since it usually takes about an hour. If you put it with the chicken, it would dry out the poor chicken thigh before it would be done.

So one way would be to put in the rice and other ingredients for thirty minutes. Then put the chicken on it and cook the rest of the way. You could substitute chicken breasts, but they cook faster so you'll need to keep an eye on it.

You could also substitute in turkey. My market sells turkey legs and turkey wings as well as the usual turkey breast.

Another option would be to take ground turkey or chicken and use that so it's more like a sausage rice instead.

How to Make In the Slow Cooker

I looked for similar recipes. Most called for cream of mushroom soup. My concern with that is the amount of sodium in the cans. Plus, I'm trying to advocate natural from scratch.  However, there are now some healthier cream of mushroom soups out there. And you can make it yourself.

Here's two good sounding recipes. They also call for rice mixes. If you substitute in real wild rice blends, you will need to increase the fluids:

Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice

Chicken and Wild Rice Slow Cooker Dinner

So this was my favorite sounding recipe.

Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Sumac Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots

Sumac Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots

Sumac chicken with cauliflower and carrots is a quick and easy sheet pan dinner. You know how I love easy clean up. But what is sumac? It's a spice made from a dried berry. I'll tell you more after the video.

Now watch this to get inspired:

You can find the full recipe at Cooking Light.

Tell Me About Sumac

Sumac is made from a deep red berry that grows on the sumac bush in the Middle East. It was used to add tartness to dishes until the Romans found a way to grow lemons.

You may have to go to a specialty store to find it or purchase it online as it's not widely available. (Update: I found it in my local Safeway, so it's not as hard to find as I thought)

It pairs well with lamb, chicken, and fish. You can sprinkle it on top of hummus.

If you can't find it or don't want to buy any, you can mix the zest of a lemon with some salt and use that in place of the sumac.

What Would I Change

Not a lot. This recipe sounds really delicious. I may use a little less oil. You could substitute in lamb in place of chicken. And I would be interested in trying it on pork. I love making pork with either a bit of lemon juice or orange juice.

You could substitute in romanesco for cauliflower, or do a mixture of both depending on what you have on hand.

Another good substitution is parsnips in place of the carrots. I just got some baby turnips in my CSA box. I'd probably cut them in half and add them in as well.

You could put in leeks and whole garlic cloves.  I'm always using roasted garlic cloves in other areas, so if you're going to be heating up your oven anyway, toss in some garlic to get roasted as well.

How Mine Turned Out

I'm updating this since I made it this weekend. It was really tasty. I'm a huge sumac fan now. I found a small box in my local supermarket for under $4. (Safeway if anyone is asking.  Safeway has a great spice section compared to my Nob Hill. I didn't check Lunardi's or Whole Foods.)

I only used two pieces of chicken and a few carrots and cauliflower florets. However, I did add in some small potatoes that I quartered. And I didn't finish it with the extra olive oil. I did chop up fresh flatleaf parsley from my garden with cilantro and it added a great herby flavor and smell to the dish.

Here's how it looked before putting it into the oven for the first twenty minutes:

And here's where I added in the onion wedges before the final twenty minutes. I did stir things up a bit.:

Here's the final dish. I should get prettier dishes, but I so love these Southwestern dishes hubby and I bought from Costco or Priceclub when we were first living together.

 

Make It More Paleo

To make this dish more primal, you'd want to use sweet potatoes or turnips rather than white potatoes. And you'd want to substitute in ghee for the olive oil.

Interested in learning more about the primal lifestyle? Check out this free book offer.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Spiced Apple Muffins

Spiced Apple Muffins

This Weight Watchers recipe for spiced apple muffins sounds super delicious. You can watch the video here.

They're in Oprah's latest cookbook as spiced apple mini-cakes.  I suppose saying mini-cake sounds more decadent than muffin. Also, it's not necessarily a quickbread. The recipe was in the comments.

Paleo Spiced Apple Muffins

If you're going low-carb, you can still enjoy spiced apple muffins. You have to look for gluten-free options like almond flour or rice flour. You will also want to use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Some primal eaters will use regular butter, and that's fine if you do. The key is finding what makes you feel best.

You can learn more about the Primal Diet here. It's a free book offer.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Simple Ways to Cook Delicious Meals Without Gluten

Simple Ways to Cook Delicious Meals Without Gluten

When you're trying to lose weight, many diet books talk about how to cook delicious meals without gluten. They want you to remove anything that may cause an inflammation. So goodbye bread and cheese, alcohol and nuts.

While I'm not sure that's the answer for everyone, I can understand the desire to cut something out for a week to see how your body responds.

So I came up with some quick tips for making it easier to cook without gluten.

Quick Tips for Delicious Meals Without Gluten

Cooking with skewers may seem easy; however, there are some tips that will make your skewer cuisine delicious every time. Metal skewers will work better if they are twisted or squared.

Here is a tip that will thicken your sauce quickly and easily so that all your hard work will not have been wasted. Mix together a solution of one tablespoon cornstarch and two tablespoons water. Thicken your sauce by stirring in this solution. Be sure to add the mixed starch slowly, you don't want the sauce to get too thick. You can also use arrowroot.

Using chicken broth is something you can try when you're making vegetables. Simmering vegetables in the broth will keep them from adhering to the bottom of the pan and also infuse them with rich flavor. Chicken broth is readily available at most grocery stores, and it is very affordably priced.

Buy a spiralizer and replace noodles with vegetable noodles.

Think about other ways to present meals using vegetables instead of bread.

Quick Tips When Cooking for Others

If you have a meal that is important, like for a date or your boss, try cooking one of your better dishes so that you are familiar with it and know it tastes good. Avoid trying out new recipes or new ingredients in such a situation. You will have a more relaxed and less anxious cooking experience.

Remember, if you like it, they probably will too!

Try out this free Primal Living book (just pay shipping & handling) to find other ways to live gluten-free!

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

 

Healthier Fish Stick Recipes

Healthier Fish Stick Recipes

I bought some rockfish last night to make some healthier fish sticks. They also had Dungeness crab at $5.99 a pound, so I got two small crabs, and well, we had the crab for supper last night.

I was poking around the cabinet looking for the box with fish fry coating. And thankfully, I'm out. So it's time to go find out how to make a healthier fish stick.

What Kind of Fish

The classic fish stick is made out of cod. You could easily make them out of flounder or halibut. If you can find mahi mahi, it will make a nice firm fish stick. You could also look into haddock, pollack, black cod, striped bass, hake, and grouper.

You want to find fish that is fresh. And it helps if the fish is thicker.

How to Make A Healthier Coating

There are a few types of fish batter. Some are smooth like beer batter and others are crumbly like a cornmeal based fish fry coating.

For crumbly fish fry coatings, most people use panko.  You can season it with spices like Old Bay, parsley, salt, paprika, cayenne, or just about anything. Some people like having a kick. You could look into putting in some jalapenos that are finely diced as well.

You can also use normal breadcrumbs if you want a finer crumb. And some people crush potato chips or cereal.

Here's how to make a Paleo crunchy coating:

For a smooth coating that's Primal and Whole 30 friendly, check out these

Paleo Cupboard Fish Sticks

Bowl of Delicious Fish Sticks

PaleoHacks Fish Sticks

But I saved the best for last. This is what I consider to be a classic beer batter, and it's Paleo

Happily Unprocessed Paleo Beer Battered Fish

How to Cook the Fish

We want our fish sticks to be crispy on the outside and flakey on the inside, right?

You could fry in a large cast iron pan using vegetable shortening. Keep the temperature higher (around 350F) and cook quickly. Then transfer the fish to a cooling rack. I put mine in a baking pan to keep the draining oil in an easy to clean up space.

Or you could bake the fish. I will use a cooling rack on a baking pan so the fish cooks evenly. You may still want to turn the fish midway in cooking.  Cook using a high heat (450F) for about 10-12 minutes depends on how big your fish sticks are.

Finally, you can use your air fryer if you have one. It's on my birthday wish list!

Side Dishes

I love cole slaw. You could make it healthier and make broccoli slaw.

And I confess to loving french fries. If you have an air fryer, go for the potato! You can also make fries from sweet potatoes that are super delicious.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Easy Vegetarian Soups from Scratch

Easy Vegetarian Soups from Scratch

Why should you make easy vegetarian soups from scratch? Soups are a great way to get filled up. When you make them from scratch, you can save a lot of money. And if you go back for a second bowl, you won't feel guilty.

Bean Soups

Most people think about black beans when they think of bean soups. I love Jamie Oliver and find him fun to watch. Hope you do too.

Here are some other fun bean soup recipes:

Slow cooker white bean soup

10 High Protein Low Fat Bean Soup Ideas

Smoky Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Lime Cashew Cream

Vegetable Soups

easy vegetable soups from scratch

You can make amazing cream of vegetable soup recipes without using cream. I love making creamed vegetable soups out of broccoli or asparagus. It feels so decadent and yet it's so incredibly healthy.

I cooked Cauliflower Leek soup last night and will toss it into the Vitamix for lunch today (and then heat it up). And I got two large bags of broccoli in my CSA so I'll be making this Creamy Broccoli soup later this weekend.

Other Types of Vegetarian Soups

I love minestrone. This recipe is a copycat of Olive Garden's minestrone recipe and is vegetarian since you need to use vegetarian broth. You can also try this Tuscan Vegetable Bean soup (I love Ellie Krieger).minestrone soup

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

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Taco Pie with Avocado Crust

Taco Pie with Avocado Crust

Taco pie with avocado crust sounds, well, interesting, doesn't it? Avocado is a great and healthy fat. If you don't like it, you won't taste it.

Watch the video to see how easy it is:

 

Even I'm thinking I could roll out a crust like that. Now, I hear you going “But…but…SHORTENING?”  Well, first off, it's not that bad for you. And secondly, there is all vegetable shortening out there that is vegan

Make Taco Pie with Avocado Crust Your Own

What I love about recipes like these are that you have so much opportunity to adjust it. If you're feeling vegetarian, skip the beef and add in mushrooms or more varieties of beans. Want more vegetables? Add in corn or spinach. (or any other diced veggie. I would totally put diced zucchini in here.)

And you could put in whatever spices you prefer. I love chipotles with adobo sauce for an all over warmth. Jalapenos are more like a fast jolt. I'm not saying I don't love jalapenos. Pickled ones absolutely belong on my burgers. But, I'm just saying you can change the whole dish just by changing the spices.

Now, what if you used ground lamb and Meditteranean spices? Then you could put feta and diced cucumbers and tomatoes on top and have a Greek gyro pie with avocado crust.

But Can You Make It Paleo

You could easily use rice flour to make the crust. There are also alternative baking mixes that are gluten-free. And, you could skip the idea of a crust altogether and substitute in thinly sliced sweet potatoes or riced cauliflower to make the crust.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

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Copycat Starbucks Drinks Part 1

Copycat Starbucks Drinks Part 1

It's time to make your own copycat Starbucks drinks so they're healthier and much cheaper. I'd also like to say that it's OK to cheat and use strong coffee instead of espresso. Do what you have to.

Mug of strong coffee on scattered coffee beans

I have to drink decaff because of my hypertension. I get a spike if I have too much caffeine. So it's just easier for me to do decaff despite all the weird looks.

I'm calling this Part 1 because I'm going to focus on three drinks in this one. I promise to do more.

Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

I believe in being as natural as you can to be healthier. The old eat real food that you can recognize thing. So I recommend putting real pumpkin into your pumpkin spice latte.

You can also substitute in almond milk if you're wanting to do dairy free. I recommend sugar free varieties so you can sweeten it yourself. Some people use honey and others use stevia.

For the pumpkin spice, I say it's up to you. I do cheat and buy pre-mixed. If you want to blend your own, go for it!

Copycat Caramel Macchiato (hot and cold)

Ashley shows us the cheaper way to make it (at home)

Now, if you wanted to make it healthier, you can use almond milk. And I'd consider using vanilla paste instead of vanilla syrup. You'll cut down on the sugar.

Look for sugar-free versions of the syrups, but be careful that they're not using fillers and other chemicals.

Check out this recipe from Paleo Hacks on how to lighten it up.

Go Crazy

Here's how to make a turmeric latte. Turmeric is a lovely yellow spice. You see it in curries. Tumeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxident. I love putting it into beans since it's subtle yet effective. It's much better than taking pills.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.