Engagement Roast Chicken

Engagement Roast Chicken

I was able to pick up a whole organic chicken at the supermarket yesterday. It was marked down. That's why I like shopping early in the morning. The butchers have gone through and put the money off stickers on items that are close to their due date.

But if you're like me, it can sometimes get boring making a roasted chicken again. I'm always looking for ways of making it different and fun. Luckily, I found Ina Garden's recipe, and it looks perfect.

Check out the video here

 

Things I Learned

I'd heard about patting dry poultry but never knew why. I figured it was just after rinsing it off that you'd want to dry it a bit before salting.

I also loved learning an easy way to truss the chicken.  The answer is simply. You don't want it to look like it's in bondage. And the reason why you truss poultry is so they roast more evenly.

Finally, making a pan sauce is so easy. I learned how to do that in a Craftsy course and forgot.

I guess I'd better buy some more onions. She calls for Spanish onions and says they're sweeter. I figure that Vidalia or Maui onions will do just as well.

Make It A Meal

I may add in some potatoes with the onions and lemon to round out the meal. I'd quarter small potatoes so they'd get that nice crispy texture along with the carmalized onions.

You could also toss in parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

What's your favorite way of roasting a whole chicken?

 

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

 

 

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a lovely decadent seeming treat. But it's not as bad as you think. And you can make it into a healthy dinner with a large salad.

Watch this video to see how easy it is:

Uh, Easy?

Ok, Ok, well, nothing is super difficult. But it does take time to cook down the onions. And if you want to make the French onion soup super rich, you can buy beef bones from your butcher. Then roast the bones to draw out more flavor. Toss them into a pot and cover with water and cook it for a few hours.

How to make it easier

Well, you don't have to make the broth from scratch. But the thing is, you can work on it over a few days. Make the broth. Make the soup and then let it hang out in the refrigerator to develop. Then when you're ready, reheat some portions and make the toasted cheese bread and float that on top when you serve it.

But of course you can buy beef broth and make it that way just like the video shows.

And you know, I wouldn't use lower fat cheese. I'd use the full fat stuff and just use a bit less. Again if your'e pairing this with a good salad, you're getting a well balanced meal. And remember you do need some fat in your diet.

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

Unusual Egg Rolls Made Healthier

Unusual Egg Rolls Made Healthier

If you love the flavor of egg rolls but worry about them being deep fried, then it's time to say hooray. We're going to look at some alternatives

Unusual Egg Rolls Made Healthier

There are so many different ways you can make egg rolls. You can update the filling, or the wrapper. Or you can remove the wrapper and turn it into a bowl. Let's dive in and look at some delicious ideas.

But first, watch this video for making Korean Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls

How many of us really have a deep fryer at home?  Yeah, me neither. I don't think I'd want one either. It would be too tempting to make donuts and funnel cakes.

But it does get you thinking for updating the egg roll.

Alternate Cooking Methods for Healthier Egg Rolls

The quickest way to make egg rolls healthier is to bake them instead of frying. You will want to put some oil on top of the egg rolls so they crisp up.  Check out this simple egg roll recipe that's got a vegetarian filling.  (and what an awesome way to use up a bunch of veggies that you found in the crisper?)

Here's another healthier egg roll recipe from Hungry Girl. Even though the recipes don't tell you to, I'd rotate the egg roll midway through baking for an even browning.

Another healthier method is using an air fryer. I had one years ago and used it so much that I wore it out after four yearss. I haven't tried the new ones yet, but they look like they are a great alternative.

Mix Up the Filling for Healthier Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are also a great way to use up leftovers. You could make pizza egg rolls. If you have some leftover chicken, you could make chicken pot pie egg rolls.

If you have leftover lamb, you could roll up lamb with some tomatoes and feta to make a gyro egg roll.

Let your refrigerator be your guide.

Egg Rolls without the Roll

The first method is to just make an egg roll bowl. There are a lot of recipes out there on Paleo, Primal and Whole 30 sites on this. So check a few out and get inspired.

Another way to go low carb is to make some cucumber sheets using the Kitchen Aid vegetable sheet maker. Then you can add the filling and roll it up. It will be an interesting texture having the cool cucumber be crisp with the yummie warm filling.

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

 

Resources

Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Casserole

Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Casserole

Roasted vegetable enchilada casserole is a super fun and easy dish for when you want to have a vegetarian meal. Watch the video here:

You can see the full recipe here.

What Would I Change?

The black beans would be swapped out for something else. Have you ever noticed your body likes some things and not others? Hubby doesn't process black beans well. I don't know why, and I'm not going to really question.  I love heirloom beans. If you check out Rancho Gordo, you'll learn everything you've ever wanted to know about heirloom beans.  Some are firm, some are soft.

My local supermarket has other brands of heirloom beans and I'll sometimes buy them if I need them right away. Also, Rancho Gordo doesn't carry some of them. I love using snowcap beans in soups and stews. It has a potato texture and flavor and boosts your protein and fiber.

Other Ways to Make Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Casserole

You can continue making this throughput the seasons using different vegetables. The key is to remember to cut the vegetables into pieces so they roast evenly. If this isn't possible because maybe you prefer different texture, then roast the larger items first and add in the smaller items midway.

I could see this as being super delicious with roasted butternut squash as well as roasted broccoli.

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 Gyro Bowl Ideas

Chicken Gyro Bowl Ideas

I think I love this chicken gyro bowl so much because it's fresh and fun. What I especially love about this recipe is that it teaches you how to make the pickled onions and tzatziki from scratch. That ensure you can control how much sugar and fat goes in.

A chicken gyro bowl could easily be made into a mason jar lunch.

Adjusting the Recipe

If you're going low carb, leave out the pita bread.  And if you're going whole 30, you'll need to leave out the beans as well. Most paleo diets are ok with legumes like garbanzo beans.

Normally I'd be running away from the kale and quinoa, but in this case, I'd try it out that way first and then make adjustments. Chances are, I'd prefer chard or spinach to the kale. And quinoa is growing on me.

I'm finding it easier to eat since I found out The Big Secret. You have to rinse it before cooking. It removes a bitter flavor.

I don't know any secret for kale. I think you either love it or you don't. And I don't. Mustard greens and collards are as bitter as I'll go.

You can save money by cooking your own beans and quinoa. I love the Instant Pot. Garbanzo beans definitely need extra soaking or longer cooking. For whatever reason, chickpeas just need that extra care.

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

Make Farmer’s Casserole Lighter

Make Farmer’s Casserole Lighter

Taste of Home published a Farmer's Casserole recipe.  It's really easy and a good base to build upon when learning to cook yourself thin.

They recommend assembling it the night before to make it easier to have breakfast faster in the morning.  Watch the video:

How to Make Farmer's Casserole Healthier

You could substitute in riced cauliflower, or thinly sliced sweet potatoes as the base instead of hash browns.

If you are going to use hash browns, thaw them out and dry them off before popping them into the casserole dish. If you want to have a crispy base, bake them for about 10 minutes at 350.  You may need to reduce the baking of the total dish.  Check after 45 minutes and see how the custard is firming up.

If you're concerned about the fat content, you could use ricotta or feta instead of jack cheese. And you could use chicken or turkey sausage instead of ham.

To make it vegetarian, use soy based sausage. A soy chorizo would add a lovely spice to the dish.

I would probably add in more veggies (are you surprised?) like diced tomato, zucchini and spinach. I love thawing out frozen spinach and keeping it in the fridge. Then I can add a pinch in here or there to add in extra iron.

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

Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

Looking for something tasty to make with boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Check out Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter from CookingLight.

This video shows how easy it is.

I have a lot of fresh sage in my garden right now. The thyme isn't growing quite so well.

Things you could add? I'd also think about adding in some capers for a briney flavor.  It's kind of like a picatta. Mushrooms would also be a great add-on.

What to serve with sauteed chicken?

This would go lovely with a grain pilaf like quinoa or brown rice. If you're going no carb, try making this simple cauliflower rice.

This would go great with some steamed or sauteed spinach or chard with a squeeze of lemon to brighten up their earthy flavors.

 

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

 

 

Cucumber Sub Sandwich

Cucumber Sub Sandwich

Nikki Dinki posted this video for her cucumber sub sandwich. All I could think of was “Wow, that's a GREAT idea.”  If you don't know her, she was a contestant on Next Food Network Star. And she's published a cookbook called Meat On the Side. She was one of my favorite contestants.  I love how creative she can get with incorporating more vegetables into a meal.

She has the recipe here on her blog. It's a longer Facebook live video at 22 minutes, but she does give a lot of good tips. My favorites were:

  • Stuff it quite a bit because it will taste more like a sandwich than a cucumber
  • Using something warm will melt the cheese

Other Ideas

I'm mostly thinking cold sandwiches since it's over 90 here. I shouldn't complain. My mother-in-law said it was going to get to 102 where she lives.

  • Bay shrimp salad sandwich
  • Crab salad sandwich
  • Lobstah roll (sorry, I couldn't help myself)
  • Tuna salad sandwich (I love using diced celery and red onion) with some cheese (American, I'm so bad….)
  • Salmon and cream cheese (think tea sandwiches)
  • Ham and cheese
  • Bacon Lettuce & Tomato
  • Club Sandwich (any leftover chicken or turkey in the fridge?)

Making a cucumber sub sandwich reduces the carbs if you're wanting to try that to lose weight. And I am. I also get a bit tired of salads. This is a great way for me to feel like I'm actually eating a sandwich. But it's not as messy as when I made a burger with two portobello mushrooms as the bun.

Just note that you want to find a cucumber with a thin skin but that's also big enough to have the seeds scooped out. Also, make sure that it's not seedless or you'll be having some difficulties with trying to hollow out the cucumber halves.

If you are, try using a grapefruit spoon or a melon baller. And then save the insides for a salad or pop in your water for a refreshing drink.

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

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto Shrimp

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto Shrimp

Zucchini noodles with avocado pesto shrimp sounds so divine with all the zucchini I'm trying to grow in my garden. And shrimp is a lovely protein for warm summer evenings.

You can see the full recipe here.

What Can You Change?

This recipe calls for pistachios to make the pesto. You can make a more classic pesto with pine nuts.  I also love using raw walnuts in my pesto. It provides a flavor that reminds me of warmth and love.

Every November, my mom would set out a nut bowl with walnuts and hazelnuts so we could just have a few nuts when we walked through.  I love filberts, make no mistake. But there's something about a raw walnut that's so, oh I don't know, perfection.

I confess to being a nut for nuts. And I do say to look for unsalted nuts for this recipe. The avocado pesto would be way too salty otherwise.

But back to the topic. You could also use bay scallops (the little guys) in this as well for a delicious dinner.

Avocado pesto is a great way to make a creamy sauce with healthy fats. Now, don't get me wrong. Olive oil is super healthy too. I'd probably also add in more herbs like cilantro or flat leaf parsley.  Flat leaf parsley has a different flavor.

Try growing some and you'll see what I mean.  I'm a huge fan of growing something..anything…just to get in touch with the growing life cycles.

But I digress.  You can eat this on its own or have a crisp salad with it. I'd also think about adding in halved cherry tomatoes for a burst of acid and color.

Butter Garlic Herb Steak Packets

Butter Garlic Herb Steak Packets

Using foil packets on the grill is a great way to make these butter garlic herb steak packets. Since it's summer here, it's hot. I used my Weber kettle outdoors the last three nights.

But it's always kind of annoying to have to remember to rub down the grill after cooking. Using foil packets, you can keep the grill clean. Well, cleaner.  Anyway, it's all in one since you have your veggies in there too.

See how easy it is in the video:

Things to Note

In the recipe, the author has you cut the steak into bite sized pieces. This ensures it cooks as evenly as the potatoes and carrots. You could use different vegetables in the butter garlic herb steak packets. Since it's summer, you may want to do potatoes and zucchini or other summer squash.  Just know that the squash will cook faster than the root vegetables.

You may want to cook one as a test first to see how everything cooked. I prefer my meat rare. Hubby and daughter prefer it medium rare.

You could also cook this in a toaster oven if you're only cooking for one or two people

And while you could use dried herbs, you'll get a better flavor if you use fresh.

 

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