Chicken Green Chili Verde (Paleo!)

Hello world!

Gosh, I’ve been missing a long time. So sorry. I’ve been cooking, eating a ton, desperately trying to eat less and exercise… *sigh* life is hard. Also, it wouldn’t be a post in true-Sarah-fashion if I didn’t whine about how it was really cold out, now. I feel a bit shorted because I didn’t get to have any temperate weather after the heat, but here we are.

WHAT is going on? What’s everyone been cooking? Thanksgiving came and went, and alongside our 3 turkeys, 15 lbs of mashed potatoes and 3 types of stuffings (I wish I could say I ate at a soup kitchen with those quantities or something but anyone who knows my mom knows she loves to feed the entire state of Pennsylvania), macaroni and cheese… was a house full of people. Holidays are great, but I really like normal time better. I’m actually looking at my calendar for the next few weeks, and I’m getting my master-level Reiki certification this Saturday (woohoo! More to come), cooking dinner at the Ronald McDonald house next Monday, a Holiday lunch I planned for my office next Tuesday, then an End Of Year party for my company’s Women’s Network  that night, then my division’s end of year gathering the following Tuesday, then my organization’s end of year gathering that Wednesday, and then my site’s end of year gathering that Thursday, followed by a shopping trip at the beach outlets that Friday…. Then, 2 days of work and a very lengthy Christmas vacation. I plan to cook lots. Mau

The issue I run into is that – I’m cooking constantly, and end up with TONS of things to share with you all. I just don’t take pictures of it often times, and that’s the worst. I love to share recipes with you all, I just never get good shots. I want to make sure you all know how appetizing it is without some mediocre kitchen light and shadows. Sigh.

As the weather gets colder, I want to make sure you have this handy recipe. If you’re a fan of soups, chili, or a combination of the two, this is your jam. A nice Chicken Green Chili Verde will keep you warm without a doubt! This particular recipe is great, because it’s paleo, low carb, but full of flavor. I have to say – this is definitely not for the faint of heart (or digestive system) – it has a bit of a kick to it, and ya may forget you ate it for dinner, only to be reminded the next time you…. Well, let’s stop there. It’s a  tad spicy.  Spaahh-cy. Sorry, did you still want eat this!?

I might eat this green soup while watching The Grinch. Anything green is in.

Chicken Green Chili Verde (Paleo!)

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 60 min

Ingredients

  • 2 15oz cans diced tomatillos, I used low sodium
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • about 1/2 tsp sea salt if using regular sodium chicken broth, plus more to taste at the end if needed
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3 poblano peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 anaheim or cubanelle peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, finely chopped, seeds and stems removed (set aside a few to add for some added heat, if you want)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, add your onion and ~ tbsp. of your preferred oil (I like avocado oil). Saute over medium heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Next, add your ground chicken, breaking apart with your spatula or spoon. Continue to saute and stir to cook evenly. After about 4-5 minutes when most of the chicken is cooked through, add your garlic and cumin, continuing to stir until onion starts to brown.
  2. Next, add your cut peppers and stir, allowing to soften, for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Once your peppers, onions and meat have started to brown, add your cans of diced tomatillos and cilantro, mixing thoroughly. Add chicken broth and continue to mix.
  4. Bring mixture to a simmer, and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes. If using a crockpot, you can place on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.
  5. Once cooked, add any needed salt to taste. Serve in bowls, and garnish with more cilantro  or almond milk sour cream, or greek yogurt (if not strict paleo).

Enjoy!

-S

Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

It’s fall, definitely. I’ve rummaged through all my closets of clothes to find my favorite jackets and sweaters, and you bet your bottom I’m making sure my outfits are layered to the maximum. Gotta have my scarf… maybe a wrap… perhaps a poncho…. A vest? Definitely a cardigan somewhere in the mix…. A long cardigan… or maybe a short one… or possibly a really long cardigan…. The more choices I think about, the more I’m thinking maybe I have too many sweaters. Just kidding, it’s a fashion sin to say that.

So, I’ve been MIA – I’m not sure why, but I haven’t had the itch to make as much stuff. Plus, some of the really good stuff I’ve made… I didn’t get good pictures of it. Fall-themed dishes, obviously…. I didn’t even tell you guys I made a CHEESE PUMPKIN to bring to work! If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug: follow me at @thedivinekitchen), you may have seen it. Definitely one of my guilty pleasure recipes, as it isn’t very high on the whole healthy-eating list. It’s an indulgence though, well worth it.

This past weekend, I decided I wanted cookies. Not just any cookie, but an autumn, holiday-inspired cookie. Who remembers the ginger snaps in the orange box? I did. With that…. it was settled. I needed ginger cookies.

Funny thing about those cookies was that you had to make sure you didn’t break your teeth out  when you ate them. They were like eating rocks… spicy, fall-scented rocks. It was sort of like an I-love-pain type of thing, snapping bricks in your mouth. I was always hesitant to eat them, especially after knocking my teeth out as a child (separate occasion, don’t worry). Wow, this post sure is a wild ride at this point. Anyway, I figured that with the amount of dollars that went into reconstructing my dental dilemma, I should probably stick to soft baked cookies. I knew of some recipes with tons of sugar and butter and regular flour, but I just wasn’t feeling it. For lack of humility, I really hit it off on the first try here. I can’t  don’t bake, and whatever I do bake, is usually burnt. Not THESE!

Ugh, guys, they’re the cutest little cookie, and I definitely ate about 12 of them. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did.

Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: ~10 min

Makes 20-24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
  • 2 eggs (let them sit out for a little while to remove the chill)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 heaping tsp allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Organic  cane sugar for rolling (trust me, you want this)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Your coconut oil should be liquid, but cooled – you don’t want the eggs to scramble by hot coconut oil!
  3. Next, add in your dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix together thoroughly to make a dough. To allow the flours to absorb, let sit for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of cane sugar in a shallow bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop up the dough so that they’re uniform (unless you’re just that good at eyeballing…), and then use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll dough in organic cane sugar then place about 2-3 inches apart on your cookie sheet.
  5. Gently flatten the dough with a flat wide-bottomed glass until the cookies are about ~1 cm thick.
  6. Bake for 8-9  minutes. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet….if they appear wet on the inside still, they will dry out and be okay!

Enjoy!

-S

Toasted/Candied Nuts

Picture from foodhomeandaway.com, image subject to copyright

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

This is the perfect staple to salads, pasta dishes, or even a snack/charcuterie tray. You can dress them up, make them spicy, the whole nine. Follow this simple “recipe” to make delicious, walnuts, pecans, or more! I always keep some on hand to throw into a recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 to 2 cups of your preferred nut (I often use roasted/unsalted pecans or walnuts)
  • Egg whites from 1-2 eggs, depending on how much nuts you have
  • Spices of your choice – for candied/sweeter ones, I’ll use maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. For savory ones, I’ll use salt, garlic powder, dried herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme… whatever you want! Be very generous with seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add your egg whites and seasonings to a large bowl. Using a whisk or a mixer, briskly whip your egg whites until they are quite foamy. You don’t want merengue-style egg whites, and you definitely shouldn’t have any peaks…. Just enough elbow grease to get the eggs pretty foamy and opaque.
  3. Add your nuts into a large Ziploc bag or bowl, and pour in your egg whites. Stir/shake to coat thoroughly.
  4. Add your nuts in a single layer to your cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until starting to darken/crisp. Don’t be alarmed if they’re chewy when you first remove them from the oven… they will crisp up as they dry. Allow to cool.

Enjoy!

-S

Fun Fall Recipes – Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

Well, Labor Day weekend has come and gone. It was a nice long 4 day weekend that managed to pass by in the blink of an eye. They always do. I got some last bit of sun, enjoyed some time outdoors, but also…. PUMPKIN!

Ok, yeah. So, we’re getting into things a bit quickly. I’m totally fine with that, I look at it as… making sure you’re completely prepared for all things Fall when it actually comes around. When will that be? Honestly, it’s about 90 degrees outside so I’m not entirely sure. You definitely have some treats coming up, though… you’ve been warned. If you don’t like pumpkin, I will teach you how to like pumpkin. We Libras can appreciate more than just a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This little number is for all the breakfast lovers with a sweet tooth out there. While I don’t really eat a lot of sweets, I do love maple syrup. What better way to celebrate fall  with something that requires it? Cue: PANCAKES.

These bad boys are perfect. They’re subtle, fluffy, and absolutely delicious. They’re also pretty forgiving if you like to jazz them up a little bit. After making the first batch, I just mixed together more ingredients and made some little ones to freeze for breakfast throughout the month, and take out as needed. Portion control! Feel free to add whatever toppings you choose, too. Often times I’m not in the mood for so much sugar so I don’t want to drown them in syrup. Instead, I add a tbsp. of Justin’s Vanilla Almond butter while they’re still super-hot, and it gets all melty and delicious. To each their own! How do you guys like your pancakes?

Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: ~20-25 min

Makes about 3-4 medium sized pancakes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs together. Add your pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon, and whisk together until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, add your almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Over a fine strainer, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until smooth. The reasoning for this is to ensure any clumps of the dry ingredients are broken apart and mix well into the wet ingredients.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium low/low heat, and  grease with your preferred fat (I use coconut oil). It’s very important to cook these slow and low, so the inside cooks before the outside burns. If it’s browning too fast, you will need to turn the heat down and be patient!
  4. Cook the first side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Once solid enough to flip, turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes  until golden brown.

Enjoy with your preferred toppings (mine is pictured with the almond butter and smidge of maple syrup!)

-S

Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

Hello everyone!

I’ve been quite mum these last few weeks. No great reason, honestly. I’ve definitely been busy, but I think it was just dedicating the time to sit down and write something out wasn’t something I wanted to bring myself to do. The good news is — I’ve written up some really good recipes, so the next few weeks you are all in for a treat!

Sunday night was a full moon, and yesterday was the close of a very prominent Mars retrograde.  Between June 26th and August 27th of this year, Mars appears to rotate backward when orbiting the sun. While these things are typically just illusions, a lot of impact can be made by this. Had you noticed that people in general were a lot more aggressive this summer? A lot more turmoil or feelings of discomfort in the air? This had been where we needed to reassess where we stood with our projects, and what we needed to move forward. Because of the appearance of a retrograde, any Mars energy, or masculine energy, is aimed inward, rather that outward — internalizing anger, fear, or heightened emotions sounds like a recipe for disaster. For some people, it was.

THE GOOD NEWS! it’s over. New beginnings. Get stuff started. Starting with this delicious salad. it’s the best of both worlds, grains and veggies. and I love it.

Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: ~20 min for the quinoa

Ingredients

For  the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 small purple cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 2 large carrots, skinned and thinly sliced (I used vegetable peeler)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup almond butter (you can sub another butter if you have allergies!)
  • Juice from one lemon, plus zest (if needed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp of water (at a time), to thin the dressing as needed
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. First, rinse your quinoa through a fine strainer (so it doesn’t wash away!). Place in a saucepot with 2 cups of water, chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and turn heat down and simmer until quinoa is cooked with little water left – about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool in a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, as your quinoa is cooking, add your almond butter, aminos/soy sauce, and stir until mixed. Add in the remaining dressing ingredients, and continue to stir. If you find that by adding water, your dressing has less “zest”, feel free to add some more coconut aminos or soy sauce. It should be somewhat thin like pancake batter, so as to coat your kale. Set aside about 3 tbsp of dressing for your quinoa.
  3. Separately, in a large bowl, for your salad, add your kale. Add in the rest of your vegetables and mix.
  4. Once quinoa has cooled, stir your set-aside dressing into your quinoa and mix thoroughly. Add into the kale. Pour your remaining dressing in and use tongs to mix thoroughly.

Chill in the fridge until serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Well… we’ve been having some interesting weather, to say the least. I can’t remember the last time there’s been a solid 10 days of rain in the forecast, but perhaps we can look at this a different way. Tomorrow is July’s full moon, which coincides with  entering Leo. Summer birthdays, what’s up!?

There’s a few cool things to note. This will also be a lunar eclipse — which, while we don’t be able to see it from North America, we will definitely know it’s happening. In a literal sense, eclipses both “reveal” and “conceal”. This is especially poignant when you think of all the Leo energy floating around – powerful, loud, and  very present — anything that needs to be addressed will come forth, and anything that needs to take a back seat will no longer be a part of our lives for the time being.

Though this may seem like the perfect time to take action on whatever is happening, wisdom says it should be done gently. If it suddenly feels like you r life is under a microscope and you’re noticing everything that needs to be fixed, don’t go dump your significant other, quit your job or anything else crazy. Doing so with an iron fist is not the best way to go about it. Be calm, diplomatic, and ensure you’re thoughtful in your problem solving during this time.

Ya know what else starts today!? Mercury retrograde! I feel like this is one of the most common things that solicits laughs and eye rolls, because this really shakes those who are heavily immersed in astrology, or earthly energy in general. Retrogrades tend to bring about setbacks, mishaps, miscommunications, and general… un-pleasantries. Things just seem “harder”, and even those who don’t feed into Astrology notice that something just doesn’t seem right.  I think the best remedy to this is to really just cut yourself some slack. Unless you’re truly letting things slide in your life to the effect that it will have long term negative consequences, live a little. Mistakes happen, crap happens… and Mercury will get its @$%& together soon.

Who’s hungry? I am! I’ll leave you with some delicious PALEO! Buffalo Chicken Dip. No dairy, no problem. Kite Hill makes a really convincing almond milk-based cream cheese that melts just like the real thing. If you’re feeling a little naughty… sprinkle some cheddar in there. I won’t tell. I used my instant pot for this, but you could just as easily use a regular oven — it just takes longer.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves: ??? about 5 as an appetizer (but I could likely eat this myself

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 8 oz Kite Hill plain cream cheese
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp of paleo-friendly mayo, like Primal Foods Avocado Oil Mayo
  • optional for keto/non-strict paleo followers: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 stalks of scallions,  sliced thin
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. First, cook your chicken. In an Instant Pot, place your chicken breasts in and add chicken broth until just about covered. Cook on poultry/meat setting, following the Instant Pot directions for steam release. If using an oven, preheat oven and bake broth covered chicken in a Pyrex dish at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until temperature registers 165 degrees. I prefer the instant pot because it gets that juicy crockpot feel, but much faster.
  2. Meanwhile, as your chicken cooks, sauté your onion and red pepper on a large skillet over medium heat until just about browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Once the chicken cooked (and your instant pot is properly depressurized), remove from heat, allow to cool and set aside. I tend to shred my chicken after it’s only slightly cooled because I feel it’s easier while it’s still a little hot. Once shredded, add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add your cream cheese and mayo to your bowl, mixing thoroughly. Continue to mix, next adding your peppers, onions, Frank’s sauce, salt, pepper, and most of your scallions. You only need a few for a garnish, so be generous with mixing the rest in. Add your cheddar, if using.
  5. Once mixed, add mixture to a greased Pyrex dish — I used a 5×7 so the mixture was thicker and wouldn’t burn.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min, until starting to bubble and turn golden brown on the top. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Garnish with remaining scallions, and serve with celery or sweet potato chips.

Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

Winner, winner! TURKEY DINNER!

Happy Monday, y’all. This has been one of the Monday-est Monday’s ever. I’ve been waiting for the weekend for what feels like 12 years. Then all of the sudden it’s Monday. That, and the days are made progressively longer by doing the whole keto thing. If you aren’t familiar with Ketosis and the Ketogenic “diet”, definitely read up on it… here is a good book to start.

I think what’s most interesting about this “diet” is that most people compare it to the Atkins diet. If you recall, Atkins was popular in the 90’s and I think everyone’s parents tried it at least once. It was controversial because of the “war on Fat”, when Ancel Keys proclaimed that eating fat made you, well, fat. That is so false. The link of consuming fat with heart disease was actually filled with incorrect inferences and cherry-picked information, and people just stuck with it. After all, if people don’t want to “be fat”, why would they eat it? And down the slippery slope we go.

The Ketogenic Diet and Atkins are similar in that they reduce carbs, but are done so a bit differently. The ketogenic diet was founded back in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic, and he used it to treat epilepsy. It focused on high fats, a fair amount of protein and the low carbs familiar with Atkins. By reducing your carbs as a source of energy, your glycogen reserves are depleted (as your body can only store that for +/- 48 hours), and it turns to fat as a means of energy consumption. Your stored fat is converted into ketones, which your body uses for energy. This is beneficial if you’re trying to lose fat, but also if you have a difficult time managing your blood sugar, as this increases your insulin sensitivity and lower your glucose levels.

The Atkins diet also reduces carbs, but does so in a step-based process that allows you to reintroduce carbs back into your diet as a form of weight maintenance. The science is the same as the ketogenic diet, but the perception behind this diet was that it was a quick fix, and that you risk gaining your weight back upon eating a high amount of carbs again.

To each their own — I feel better, stronger and I have more clarity when I eat fewer carbs, so that’s what I stick to. with that said… these were born out of a need to eat Frank’s Hot Sauce. I love Frank’s hot sauce, I love buffalo anything. That, and while my brother was home from college, I wanted to make him something that tasted “late night drunk food”, but didn’t leave you feeling like a slug when you woke up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… Buffalo Turkey Meatballs. Yaammm.

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: 25 min

Makes about 12-14 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • half container of sliced brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, plus separate 1/4 cup set aside
  • 1 heaping tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp salt (this is conservative), plus more to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 heaping tbsp scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of oil or your preferred fat over medium heat. sauté onions until translucent, about 5-6 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add your mushrooms and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, until soft. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your turkey breast, mushrooms, onions, egg, almond flour and scallions. Lastly, add your hot sauce.
  3. The mixture may be quite wet — if you feel you need to add more almond  flour, do so 1 tsp at a time until the mixture is able to hold its shape when rolled into a meatball.
  4. On a cookie sheet with a greased wire rack, set your meatballs about 1-2 inches apart. The rack is optional — I find that these run a bit as the moisture burns out, and I don’t like to drain my cookie sheet halfway through to get them to crisp. Bake until starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, as the meatballs are baking, mix together your remaining hot sauce and ghee. Season with salt, to taste. Drizzle over the meatballs and serve.

Enjoy!

-S