thai sweet chili chicken tenders.

Do you ever have recipes that you saw once upon a time ago, told yourself you’d make it in the near future, and then it sat bookmarked for eons? Just me? Well, today’s recipe takes inspiration from that very scenario! I had a recipe for sweet chili chicken bookmarked FOREVER and when I got an invite to a Spring dinner party, I knew it was time to make them. Never mind our Spring theme turned into an icy pajama party theme, as we were dealing with an ice storm warning. In mid April. I love you, upstate NY!

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You guys. I served these as an appetizer, but they would be perfect for a main dish alongside some asian slaw! These are SO yummy. The heat is super subtle and mild here, but you can up the crushed red pepper for more daring palates.

The secret to these is the refrigerator or ‘resting’ period after you bread them! Seriously. Just like in these fish cakes, resting them is essential and non-negotiable. That sounds harsh, but I want you to have successful tenders!

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Once the breaded chicken bakes, they get a quick dunk in the cooled and thickened sauce (basting them with any extra) and a quick final bake to help the sauce cling and get sticky sweet! Top with some sliced almonds and cilantro and serve! These are a great party appetizer, or serve with the aforementioned slaw or even just steamed jasmine rice.

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thai sweet chili chicken.
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats. (<– as a bonus, her recipe is GF!)

ingredients

1.5 chicken breasts, cut into 1/1.5×1.5/2 inch tenders
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup rice flour or all purpose flour
sea salt and pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs (or rice chex, matzo meal)
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

sauce:
1/2 sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

directions
Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with oil) and set aside.

In a food processor, add the almonds and process until they are a small crumb and pour into a shallow dish. Add the panko and process until small crumb and add to the almonds, seasoning lightly with sea salt and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside. In a third shallow bowl, add the rice flour (or AP flour), smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper.

Using the wet hand/dry hand method (only one hand handles the chicken), dip each chicken piece into the flour, shake off excess, and then dunk into the egg mixture, and then into the panko/almond mixture, pressing to ensure the crumbs stick to the chicken. Place each piece onto the prepared sheet pan and once done breading all the chicken, refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes at minimum.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While chicken is resting, combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucier and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium/medium-low and lightly simmer for 5-7 minutes  until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly.

While the sauce is simmering, spray the tops of the chicken with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray again with cooking spray and bake for an additional 7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and lightly golden brown.

Pour reduced sauce into a wide bowl and then dunk each piece of baked chicken into the sauce using tongs, ensuring to completely coat the chicken piece, and then place each piece back onto the sheet pan, topping with an extra sauce. Bake for 4-5 minutes longer, taking care to ensure the chicken does not burn.

Serve, topped with cilantro and almonds. Serves 8-10 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

After making last week’s sausage sauce, I had a few links of sausage leftover that I stashed in the freezer. I was craving simple and comforting food that didn’t need a ton of effort to put together. You know what I mean? As much as I love to cook, sometimes when I know I’m going to have a really busy week I try and make a dish like this: much of the cook time is low to no hands on effort, it makes enough for multiple leftovers (if you’re feeding one or two) AND it reheats well! Exactly what I was looking for.

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I used brown long grain rice for this, which will require a longer cooking time. If you prefer, you can use quick cooking brown rice or white rice, and adjust the cook times accordingly (you’ll want to toss the broccoli and peppers in earlier if you use either of those options so it cooks all the way through).

Feel free to use your favorite veggies in this… swap asparagus for broccoli, or toss a handful of kale in!

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sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

ingredients
8 ounces hot Italian poultry sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 cups broccoli florets (about 2 broccoli crowns)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
splash of dry white wine or rice vinegar
scant 1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken stock (or water) plus additional 1/4 cup if needed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper if desired

directions
Heat a 3 quart skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the sliced sausage and cook, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until sausage is cooked through. Add splash of wine or vinegar and let bubble and reduce, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the rice, chicken stock, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using. Stir together, allow to come to a boil and reduce heat low, and cover, allowing mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, checking and stirring once or twice while cooking to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan (add additional liquid if needed).

After cooking for 30-35 minutes, Add the broccoli and red pepper, lightly stir and recover, allowing the mixture to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the vegetables soften, the rice is tender, and the liquid is absorbed. Let rest for a few minutes and fluff with a fork.

Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sausage red sauce.

This recipe has always been known to me as H’s sausage pasta sauce, or more affectionally, ‘sausage sauce’. It was a recipe from a previous boyfriend’s stepmother, and it. is. divine. And addictive. I cannot wait for it to finish cooking so might as well taste test a spoonful, or twelve addictive.

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The first several times I had it, the thick and flavorful sauce was spooned over penne pasta, with plenty of crusty bread to sop up every last bit of sauce. Utterly delicious and addictive, but decidedly not friendly to your waistline. For my interpretation, we are using poultry sausage and serving over spaghetti squash. For all you spaghetti squash novices, here is a great tutorial on how to cook one. These lightened up swaps work when I want comfort food but am trying to watch what I eat. For total comfort, serve with pasta and bread. Also feel free to use pork sausage! I flip flop, and it’s amazing either way.

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I usually use diced or petite diced canned tomatoes, but I accidentally grabbed a can of crushed and realized it once I started to cook. It won’t change the dish at all, the sauce will just be smoother with crushed, so use what you prefer. I recommend petite diced: it’s a nice way to meet in the middle. 🙂

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Don’t skip the pesto – the richness really rounds out the finished sauce. If you don’t cook with wine, use half the amount of red wine vinegar. This makes A TON (I usually halve the recipe) but freezes beautifully. Enjoy!

red sauce with sausage.
from H. 

ingredients
a few tablespoons of olive oil
1.5 pounds Italian poultry or pork sausage (about 4-6 links)
2 sweet onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated or minced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 jar marinara sauce, your favorite
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup jarred pesto

directions
Heat a large heavy pan with a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add sausage links and cook, turning halfway through for 8-10 minutes, partially covering the pan while cooking. Remove from pan and after letting rest for a few minutes, slice into 1 inch rounds.

Add additional tablespoon of oil if needed, and add onions, carrots, and bell pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and saute for additional 1-2 minutes.

Return sausage rounds to pan and add diced tomatoes, marinara sauce and wine. Heat to a slow boil and then reduce to a simmer, and cook on low for an hour to an hour and half. Add pesto and simmer for additional half an hour. Taste and season with a touch of sea salt if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serves 8 (generously). Freezes well.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sesame-tahini chicken noodles.

This dish. Oh my, you guys, this. dish. More specifically, this sauce. Who knew tahini was so amazing in an Asian-inspired dish?? Chrissy Teigen, that’s who. Yes, this recipes comes from her fabulous cookbook, Cravings, which I bought for my food-loving friend MC. She almost didn’t get it because once I flipped through it, I found about 800 recipes that sounded incredible and that I needed to make. Clearly, I’ll be buying a copy for myself!

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I did however, jot down a few of the recipes to make sooner rather than later, and man, if the rest of the recipes in her book are as good as this one…. I’m a goner.

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This recipe puts a delicious, luscious twist on sesame noodles by including tahini in the dressing. It provides a nutty flavor and thick, smooth sauce. I recommend blending the sauce instead of whisking, to completely puree the garlic and help everything emulsify. Make sure to toss the noodles with the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to help prevent them from sticking together. To round out the meal, serve with some steamed broccolini, green beans, or bok choy.  To make gluten free, use rice noodles in place of the pasta.

Most importantly: make this. It’s DELICIOUS!

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sesame-tahini chicken noodles.
slightly adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen.

ingredients
sea salt
8 ounces chicken breast
8 ounces dried thin spaghetti/linguine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed or peanut oil
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 garlic clove, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
steamed chinese broccoli, to serve alongside, optional

directions
Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil and add a pinch of sea salt. Poach chicken for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked thoroughly, remove to a plate and let cool. Save the poaching liquid and bring it back to a boil if needed. Cook the pasta noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse.

While noodles are cooking, add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, peanut/grapeseed oil, tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, honey, cayenne and garlic to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small bowl or jar and set aside.

Transfer noodles to a large bowl and use a clean paper roll to gently pat noodles dry. Toss noodles with remaining sesame oil.

Shred chicken and add to noodles. Add dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

chicken, tomato + cabbage ditalini soup.

Yes, I’m bringing you another soup. What can I say, my blog is a true reflection of what I actually eat, and I’m eating soup. You would be eating it as well, with single digit temperatures and feet of snow on the ground! And you should, regardless of the weather outside! This is flavorful, filling, healthy, and satisfying, thanks to the addition of pasta in the soup.

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I very rarely use pasta noodles in my soups, but I was craving a ‘noodle soup’, and I’m a frequent visitor to reddit’s r/eatcheapandhealthy subreddit, and they had a thread some months back about favorite soup recipes. So many of them sounded delightful, but there was one in particular that caught my eye: a tomato and cabbage broth-based soup that used ground turkey and orzo, but I swapped in a diced chicken breast and ditalini pasta. Any small, short pasta will work in this, and feel free to use ground turkey or chicken in place of the cooked, diced chicken. You’ll be surprised at how far a single chicken breast and a half cup of dry pasta will go in this veggie-packed soup.

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Serve with a slice of toasted, seeded whole grain bread and enjoy this twist on chicken noodle soup. As a very January-esque bonus, a serving of this soup is under 200 calories! So go ahead, have some bread. 🙂

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chicken + vegetable ditalini soup.
inspired by and adapted from a reddit eatcheapandhealthy subreddit! 

ingredients
1 tablespoon oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups savoy or green cabbage, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
28 ounce can stewed tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 dried bay leaf

directions
In a 1.5/2 quart pot, heat water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and the chicken breast, and poach until the chicken breast is cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat the tablespoon of oil and add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning. Add the cabbage, salt, basil and turmeric and stir, allowing the spices to become fragrant and coat the onions, garlic and cabbage. Cook for 2 minutes further until the cabbage begins to soften and the onions are translucent.

Add the stewed tomatoes (undrained), chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken and bring to a boil. Add the ditalini pasta and reduce to a simmer (medium/medium-low), stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and add the pepper. Stir, taste to add more salt if desired.

Serve immediately or allow to continue to cook on very low until ready to serve. Freezes well.

Serves 6.

hoisin chicken stir fry with sweet potatoes + cabbage.

During these busy days of December, I rely on recipes that are super quick to whip up so I can save myself from an unhealthy meal on-the-go while running seemingly endless errands for the upcoming holidays. This hoisin-spiced stir fry definitely fits the bill of fast, simple, healthy, and oh-so-delicious!

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I normally dislike when hoisin sauce (essentially a Chinese barbecue sauce) is a major ingredient: I find that on its own, the flavor is overpowering for me. However, mixed with the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flake and the vegetables: the finished dish was aromatic, complex and balanced.

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The longest part of this dish is the cooking of the sweet potatoes: covering the skillet partially and slicing them relatively thin is essential to keeping the cook time under 12 minutes. Adding a splash of water helps prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan and avoiding too much browning. Once that’s done, the rest of the cooking comes together in no time flat.

I think you’ll love this creative take on a stir-fry as much as I did! It’s wonderful for using up leftover produce – as a bonus, cabbage, celery and sweet potatoes last forever in the fridge and pantry, so this is easy to whip up any time!

hoisin spiced chicken stir-fry with sweet potatoes.

ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped into half moons
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 medium head)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of crushed red pepper, optional

directions
Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onion; stir-fry until yams are just tender, adjusting heat if browning too quickly and adding water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 12 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage; stirfry until chicken is cooked through and cabbage is wilted but still slightly crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in hoisin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cilantro.

Transfer stir-fry to serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

I think sometimes we all need fast and easy recipes to go back to time and time again. This recipe for an easy and filling soup is one of those recipes for me.

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The potatoes keep this broth-based soup rich and hearty, and the inclusion of Italian poultry sausage helps add flavor, so we can keep the ingredients list nice and short. Of course, we’re adding kale, because, well, it’s me, and I love it! You can substitute escarole, spinach, or even mustard greens in place of the kale, but please know that mustard greens are spicy, so you’ll end up with a higher heat level in the finished soup.

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I used ground sausage that was out of the casing already because it was on sale at my grocery store, but you could certainly use links if you’d prefer. Just cut into rounds and brown them in the first step.

To make this vegan, you could substitute brown lentils or white beans for the sausage, and add in a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Enjoy this – a fast, easy recipe that is perfect for a midweek meal!

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kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound turkey or chicken sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup water
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaved shredded
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

directions
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside (cut into rounds now if using links). Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for one minute longer.

Add the stock, water, and salt and bring the soup to a boil. Add the sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes and kale are tender, about six minutes longer. Add the black pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and parmesan shavings, if desired. Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

clean-out the refrigerator stir fry.

What a title, eh? Along with soups, curries, frittatas, and salads, stir-fries are another wonderful way to use up all those odds and ends in your refrigerator. They are especially forgiving to vegetables.

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During my market shopping, I picked up a few red bell peppers because, well, why not? I figured I’d use them one way or another. When it became clear that I was going to have one leftover or go to waste if I didn’t act quickly, I soon decided to throw together a stir fry featuring that bell pepper, kale, carrots, and celery from last week’s market haul that needed to be used up before going bad, and topping it off with some leftover cooked chicken from a dinner party I had on Saturday. I had both rice noodles and brown rice in my pantry, and decided to go with rice, although you could use whatever your heart or pantry desires!

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The most important thing to remember is use what you have, and to add them to the wok or pan in order, starting with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook: carrots and onions, in my case. If using leafy greens like me (bok choy, spinach, etc.), I like to add them when I add the sauce, just to let them wilt a bit. The sauce I’m using is a very simple, all-purpose stir fry sauce, and it can be modified to your liking. I don’t add garlic or ginger to this sauce, instead I fry them in the oil at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the oil. Garlic, ginger and jalapeño in my case, but you could use a combination of all three, or sub in scallions if you’ve got those to use. The addition of the cornstarch makes the sauce thick and glossy, and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that you aren’t eating takeout!

To make this dish gluten free, please sub dark and regular soy sauce with tamari which is naturally GF, and be use to use a GF cornstarch (you can also just leave it out, but the sauce will not be as thick).

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I hope you enjoy this as much as I do; you can feel especially good about not wasting food while making such a delicious dish!

refrigerator clean-out stir fry. 

ingredients
4 cups mixed vegetables, sorted by vegetable (I used onion, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, kale)
6 ounces cooked chicken or other leftover protein, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (use all regular, low sodium if you do not have dark soy)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons brown or coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

directions
Heat grapeseed and sesame oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.

While the oil is heating, make the sauce: Add together the soy sauces, oyster sauce, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

Once oil is shiny but not smoking, add the ginger, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the oil is fragrant but the ingredients are not burned. Add the vegetables in order of thickness/hardiness (carrots, onion, celery first for me) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the bell pepper and any other vegetables besides greens and cook for an additional minute.

Add the cooked protein, greens and scant 1/4 cup of the sauce with 1/4 cup water. Stirring frequently, allow the mixture to cook and thicken up over 2-3 minutes (reduce heat if the mixture is thickening too quickly/starting to boil).

Remove from pan to a serving platter along with cooked rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or peanuts if desired.

Serves 3-4.

NOTES: The stir fry sauce recipe will make more than you need for this recipe. Store the remainder in the refrigerator, and it will keep well for up to four weeks.

chicken egg roll bowls.

Egg rolls are one of my most favorite guilty pleasures. I cannot get Chinese take out without getting an order of those crispy, fried delights. Even bad egg rolls are good egg rolls. When they’re crazy good? They should be illegal. At least the calorie count (which can top 800 calories!) should be illegal. What do I do when the craving hits and I still want to be able to wear my crop tops and fitted dresses with confidence? Delicious egg roll bowls!

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That’s right; we are forgoing the deep fried won ton wrapper in favor of a super flavorful  mixture of ground lean chicken, cabbage and other aromatic vegetables that tastes exactly like an egg roll! If you want to be even more authentic, use ground pork in place of the chicken; I just wanted an extra-lean dish. To make this paleo-friendly, use coconut aminos in place of the dark and light soy. To make this gluten free, swap in tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauces.

I garnished with fresh cilantro leaves, but you could top with sliced scallions, crushed peanuts or sliced almonds, or those crispy Chinese noodles if you want a little hint of decadence. 🙂 Top with sriracha if you so please, and enjoy this guilt free dinner that will be on your plate in less than 20 minutes!

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chicken egg roll bowls.
adapted from Whole New Mom.

ingredients
1 pound lean ground chicken
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
16 ounce bag shredded coleslaw mix OR 6 cups shredded green cabbage and 2 cups shredded carrots
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon reserved
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (rice wine) or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of coconut palm sugar (1/8 teaspoon) optional
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions, to garnish
sriracha, for serving

directions
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat with one tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil. Add ground chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes until the onions become mildly translucent and soft. Add cabbage, carrots, light and dark soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar if using. Combine together to allow sauce to distribute and cook for 7-10 minutes longer on medium heat, allowing the sauce to thicken and the vegetables to soften. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Plate, and add cilantro and scallions. Top with sriracha if desired. Serves 6.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**

 

light chinese chicken salad with sesame ginger vinaigrette.

It seems ubiquitous that my 100th post(!) is a salad. I suppose it would be completely appropriate if my salad was lemon-themed, but let’s face it, I am just not that organized, and lemons were not in my meal plan this week, aside from my daily warm lemon water routine (<– SO good for you!).

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However, today’s recipe is a salad of Asian inspiration, which is fitting, seeing as Asian flavors are ones that I never, ever tire of. Do you have flavors/cuisines like that? Even with the copious and frankly embarrassing amounts of ginger I consume on a weekly basis, I can never get enough. So I bring you a light and healthy Chinese chicken salad. I don’t think this recipe is authentically Chinese in any realm, but these salads have enjoyed massive popularity for years. Sadly, most restaurant versions are positively laden with sodium and fat, and before you know it, your “healthy” meal has turned into a calorie bomb. No thank you.

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Here, we are grilling our lean chicken breasts (you can use boneless, skinless thigh meat if that’s what you prefer), throwing tons of delicious veggies into our salad, and topping off with a delicious dressing that is rich, thanks to the sesame oil, but not cloying at all. Sliced, roasted almonds provide the crunch factor, and provide us with healthy fats which keep us fuller, longer. This is one recipe I can make over and over again, and never tire of. I hope it’ll do the same for you!

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light + healthy chinese chicken salad.
inspired by many of the Chinese chicken salads I’ve had over the years. 

1 heart of romaine, chopped
2 cups savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup roasted, sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded
sea salt and black pepper

dressing:
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari, or gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sriracha or chile-garlic sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger

directions
To make the dressing: combine all ingredients except oil into a blender. With the blender on medium, stream in the tablespoon of oil to emulsify. Pour into a container and set aside.

To cook chicken: Turn the grill, grill pan or heavy cast iron skillet onto/over medium-high. Season chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. If using a grill pan or skillet, add in one teaspoon of grapeseed oil to the pan to heat. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove to a platter, and cut into thin slices.

To assemble salad: In a large mixing bowl add cabbage, lettuce, carrots, red bell pepper, cilantro, almonds and sesame seeds. Add half the dressing, and lightly toss. Top with chicken and additional dressing if desired.

Serves 2 as a main dish salads.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*