After the last few posts, it may appear that all we ever eat at our house is junk food night and day, but I actually do cook dinner every night too. :) This meal I tried from a church cookbook was one of those meals that qualified as healthy AND good in my book. The original recipe called for salmon so I've included those instructions in here, but since my husband is very allergic to seafood I've substituted it with thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast tenders instead. The meat was well-flavored and tender and devoured by kids and adults alike, while the corn/bean mixture packed a little bit of a punch with the crushed red pepper and scared off the kids. Next time I will probably halve the crushed red pepper amount (or omit it) for the kids' sake.
We served this meal to a friend with vegetarian leanings and he absolutely LOVED the corn/bean salad. With the kids just wanting to eat the meat, it was a good mix for both of them!
Click here for printable recipe.
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
6 chicken tenders (or salmon fillets)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 box (10-oz.) frozen corn (or can)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can (15-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
6 cups baby spinach, chopped
Preheat skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onions, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper (the spice). Saute 3 minutes. While the onions are cooking, preheat a medium skillet over med-high heat with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. In a shallow dish or plastic bag, combine juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add chicken breasts (or salmon fillets) to lime-honey mix and toss to coat thoroughly. Add seasoned chicken/salmon to hot skillet and cook until just cooked through: 3-5 minutes on each side.
To the cooked onions, add bell peppers and corn and cook another minute.
(I decided to throw in an orange pepper too)
Add chicken stock and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add black beans and cook until heated through. Remove skillet from heat and add juice of second lime, cilantro, and spinach. Toss to wilt spinach. Serve salmon/chicken on top of warm black bean and corn salad. Serves 6.
Friday, October 2, 2009
My friend Mirien (who I've never actually met, but consider a friend nonetheless) is the queen of tweaking recipes to make them healthier. She has an arsenal of ideas for making just about everything better for you--less fat, more whole grain--and somehow they still taste great too. I love a good alfredo sauce, but feel guilty every time I eat it with all its cream and butter, so when I found Mirien's recipe for a healthier alfredo sauce made with the healthy fats of cashews instead of cream, I knew we needed to give it a try.
Little did I know just a couple days after printing this off from her site and filing it that my husband would declare that he was craving pasta with alfredo sauce. It was Sunday that day, which meant I'm off duty in the kitchen, so I handed him the recipe and told him to have fun. Glen was a little skeptical about its unique combination of ingredients, but dutifully got to work anyway while my mouth watered in anticipation.
The results were a thick, creamy sauce that exceeded our expectations in every way. Besides meeting with Glen's and mine approval, every single one of the kids also eagerly devoured their servings and asked for more. It was definitely a painless way to eat a little healthier, plus it's perfect for someone who needs to eat dairy free. Just omit the Parmesan and you've still got a thick, creamy sauce no one will believe doesn't have any milk products.
Click here for printable recipe.
1 cup raw cashew pieces
2-1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon juice, if desired
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (omit if making dairy-free)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped, sauteed (or grilled) chicken or seafood
In a blender or food processor pulse the cashews until they form a paste. Then add about a cup of the warm water and continue to process until smooth (or as close as you can get). Add remaining water and continue to blend.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil medium heat and saute the minced garlic until it just begins to brown slightly. Add the cashew/water mixture, stirring and scraping as it heats, until it begins to boil and thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, stirring until melted. If sauce is too thick, add a little more water.
Boil the pasta, then drain and add to the cashew mixture and stir to coat the noodles. Serve with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings.
**This sauce is perfect as a topping for chicken or seafood or even as a pizza sauce. **