Almond Crusted Chicken with Twice Baked Sweet Potato and Steamed Broccoli

Almond chicken, sweet potato, broccoli

This is a great meal idea for one of those nights when you are not sure what to make, but you want it simple and yummy.

As I mentioned before, I use almond flour (or almond meal) quite often. I prefer Trader Joes brand because it is simply just almonds, nothing added. I like to use it in place of bread crumbs to bread just about anything. It’s a great healthy alternative and personally, I like the flavor better than regular bread crumbs. It can also be used for baking, but we’ll get to that later on another post.

Almond Meal

Almond Crusted Chicken

3-4 Chicken Breasts
1 tbsp Shallot, minced
1-1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
4 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
3-4 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sauté the shallot for a minute. Meanwhile, pour almond flour on a shallow bowl or plate.

Sprinkle salt and pepper and rosemary on both sides of the chicken breasts. Bread chicken breasts with almond meal on both sides and place in skillet. Top with more rosemary if you have any left. There’s no need for eggs or heavy cream to make the almond stick, it’s fine without it and you save on calories.

Almond crusted chicken

Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear when inserting a knife in the thickest part and it is no longer pink in the middle.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

I had previously told you about microwaveable sweet potato. This time I decided to go just a tad on the traditional route. I got regular sweet potato and used Ghee in place of butter. Ghee, you say? Ghee is an organic clarified butter. It has no transfatty acids, No GMOs and it is lactose and casein free.

‘Honoring a traditional Indian method, pure organic butter is slowly cooked to coax out water and milk solids. What remains is traditional delicious Ghee – a luxurious golden, semi-soft spread with a rich buttery taste and aroma.’-Purity Farms

Ghee

This is super easy…

Bake 2 sweet potatoes at 400°F for 60 minutes, or microwave for 10 minutes then bake for 15 minutes.

Take out of the oven and scoop out all of the insides and in a bowl mix with 2 tablespoons of ghee and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Pace back into skins and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Complete meal with steamed broccoli or any green vegetable.

Polenta Pizza

Polenta pizza

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Polenta is a great alternative to pizza dough. It’s healthier, it’s gluten-free, and guess what? It is pretty tasty!

First things first. When purchasing polenta, please make sure it’s organic, non-gmo polenta. Polenta is made from corn, and the thing with corn is that non organic corn is genetically modified containing high levels of chlorides, formaldehyde and glyphosate, which drains important nutrients from the lab-made seeds. Staggering, huh? This goes for anything containing corn. Any box or package containing the word corn in their ingredient list, make sure it’s organic.

Ok back to the pizza…

As easy as this recipe is, you do have to make the crust ahead of time.

For the crust

You can use ready made polenta or in grain form. I used ready made. If you don’t use ready made just follow the instructions on the package then add the ingredients I will mention next.

If using ready made, open the plastic wrap and place the polenta in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Break it up as much as possible with a wooden fork or spoon.

Add low sodium chicken stock until it all blends together and polenta gets creamy. Add dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour polenta mix in a round baking pan or even pie dish, which is what I used because its the only round thing I have right now. Spread evenly and bake for about 30 minutes on 375°F.

Remove from oven and let cool. At this point you can store in the fridge for up to two days until ready to use, or use right after it has cooled.

Making the pizza

This is the easy part.

Heat oven to 375°F. Top with any toppings you like. I used what I had available which was canned peeled tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and dried oregano (I wanted to use fresh basil but my basil plant is not ready yet).

Take the canned peeled tomatoes and cut off the hard end and with fingers spread them out and place on crust. Top with thin rounds of fresh mozzarella and then with the oregano. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until polenta crust is heated and mozarrella is melted. Ta Da!! Super simple.

Dijon & Capers Sea Bass with Chickpea & Spinach Side

Sea bass and chickpeas

Both these recipes are super easy and quick to make. It’s a light, healthy dinner, yet very filling and satisfying.

The sea bass recipe is my own recipe. The fish is actually Barramundi which is an Asian sea bass, rather and Chilean. But you can use any white fish with this recipe. I used just a little bit of coconut manna on the fish, which can be used as a butter substitute. It has a light coconut scent but you can’t taste the coconut after its cooked. You can use regular butter if desired.

Coconut Manna

The chickpea and spinach side dish is a version of one served at Bonefish Grill. After eating at BG the last time, I loved it so much I immediately started searching online for the recipe. I looked and looked and came up short. I couldn’t find it so I gave up. Then, a couple of days ago, I stumbled upon it–at least I think it’s the same. I loved it anyways. The recipe is from lizdialto.com.

Fish Recipe

2 Sea Bass filets (or any white fish)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp Coconut Manna (or butter)
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp drained Capers
1 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease oven dish with olive oil. Season fish filets with salt and pepper on both sides and place them on baking dish.

Spread coconut manna on the top of each filet, then spread the Dijon mustard.

Sprinkle the capers over the filets. Pour the wine in the baking dish around and over the fish. Top fish with lemon slices to keep moisture in.

Cover dish with tin foil and bake for 8-9 minutes. Carefully pull the foil off and broil on low for about 2-3 minutes or bake an additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes off.

Chickpea Side

2 Cans Chickpeas
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

In a large frying pan, sauté chopped onion in olive oil. When onion is translucent add in chickpeas and spices and stir until spices are mixed in thoroughly. Mix in spinach. Add diced tomatoes. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Chickpea and spinach 1

Chickpea and spinach 2

Dijon & Capers Sea Bass with Chickpeas & Spinach Side

Almond Crusted Zucchini and Squash

Almond Crusted Zucchini and Squash

This is one of those ridiculously simple but delicious recipes. Even my picky eater 7 year old said, “Mommy, this is pretty good!”

Almond Meal, also called Almond Flour is a staple in my kitchen. I always have at least 2 bags on hand. I use it A LOT for many different recipes. You’ll see. I prefer Trader Joe’s brand Just Almond, because well, it’s just almonds, absolutely nothing added.

1 large zucchini
1 large yellow squash
1-2 eggs
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375° F. With a vegetable slicer, or manually, slice each of the vegetables, about 1/4″ thick. Whisk eggs. Put almond meal in a shallow dish. Dip slices in egg then in the almond meal until both sides are covered. Place slices on lightly greased sheet pan. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts 2

Remember the Paleo Herbed Bread recipe I posted?

I took the bread and made tuna melts for a light, delicious, quick and easy lunch. Now, because the bread doesn’t rise much the slices are a bit small, so I made 4 sandwiches, good for 2 people. I use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise for any tuna or chicken salad I make. I don’t like mayo anyways, so I’ve never been a fan of tuna salad and this is the only way I like it. If you’ve never had plain greek yogurt you may think it sounds odd or kind of gross but, trust me, its not. This plain yogurt is not sweet and it can take in any flavor, sweet or savory. So it makes a great, healthy alternative to mayonnaise.

8 1/2″ thick slices of Paleo Herbed Bread
2 5oz cans chunk light tuna in water
2-3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
2 slices of provolone cheese
1/2-1 cup of baby greens or any dark leaf, such as spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain tuna very well. In a bowl gently mix tuna and 2 tbsp yogurt until well blended, add another tbsp yogurt if necessary but don’t make it mushy. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cut provolone cheese slices in half, placing each half on 4 of the bread slices. Evenly distribute tuna mix over the cheese and top with salad leaves. Place remaining bread slices on top and put each sandwich on a sandwich press, grill pan or regular pan for a few minutes until cheese is melted.

Quinoa Patties

I love quinoa. I discovered this little miracle a couple of years ago and was surprised at how good it is and what a great alternative to rice or pasta it is, even though it has a multitude of uses. Quinoa is a grain-like crop, mainly grown for its edible seeds. It’s kind of like a grain but not really, it is closely related to beets spinach and tumble weeds. It is very high in protein and fiber. There’s red quinoa and white quinoa, both with very similar nutritional value. In my opinion, the red quinoa is a bit more nutty.

Quinoa

I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest from Chefthisup.com, recipe by Jane Dulo. Her version is pretty healthy but I took it up a slight notch on the health factor by replacing the bread crumbs with almond meal (or almond flour, same thing, it’s just ground almonds), and the oil for grapeseed oil. I also used 3 eggs instead of 4.

This is a great side dish to any protein, we had it this week with marinated skirt steak and pumpkin purée with cinnamon and vanilla extract. We all love the crunchy outside of these patties, it doesn’t seem like we’re eating something healthy.

Quinoa

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature (I used white quinoa for this one)
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup almond meal (flour)
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Mixture should look something like this.

Quinoa patty mixture

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add patties and cook until bottoms are browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Cake with Faux Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Cakes with Caramel

I’ve always loved dessert but could take it or leave it. It was one of those things that I could easily give up for a while…up until my second pregnancy. During my first pregnancy I craved fruits and vegetables (and burgers during my second trimester only). This last pregnancy created the mother of all sweet tooth (teeth? tooth? Whatever). For the whole 9 months I had to have something sweet, specially late at night, and preferably something involving chocolate. I seriously thought I was going to get gestational diabetes, thankfully I didn’t. That little bad habit carried on for a couple of months after I had my baby. That’s when I decided it had to stop, and we as a family, needed to develop a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, those pesky late night cravings for something sweet still show up every once in a while, most times I ignore it, drink water and go to sleep. But other times I just have to have something–I just now have it earlier in the evening. So I started experimenting with a couple of cake-in-a-mug recipes that were Paleo friendly but they did not turn out so good, they were either too dry or not sweet enough and bitter, yuck!

Last night I tried again. I found this organic coconut palm sugar to replace sugar, I figured I’d give it a try. It says to replace sugar 1:1 but, turns out it doesn’t sweeten as much as I thought so I ended up adding a little bit of agave nectar, although the cake was more of a dark chocolate flavor and not as sweet as regular chocolate cake. Now, agave is still considered a sugar (just not as bad as refined sugar) so I am going to try this again without using the agave and maybe increasing the coconut palm sugar. But the faux caramel that I made out of dates was sweet enough and was the perfect complement to the cake, so it made up for it.

I used 4 6oz ramekins thinking it would rise more but you can use 2 ramekins or 4 oz ramekins.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. Coconut oil
2 eggs
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Organic Coconut Palm Sugar (add 2 more if not using agave)
2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 tsp Coconut Flour

Faux Caramel Sauce
Place 20 dates in a microwaveable bowl with 2 tbsp. water, place in microwave for 2 minutes until they are soft. Pour dates and water in a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Add 3/4 cups of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt and pulse until well blended and creamy. Makes about a cup.

Method for cakes
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease ramekins with coconut oil.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, place cocoa powder and coconut oil and put in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until coconut oil is melted. Stir until smooth and let cool.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, salt, coconut palm sugar and agave with a hand mixer until light and frothy, about five minutes (this can seem like an eternity, but hang in there because it’s worth it!).

Pour egg mixture over chocolate. Sift coconut flour over the top then gently fold all the ingredients together.

Pour batter into prepared ramekins (they should be filled to within ½” of the top). Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Chocolate Cakes

Remove from oven, drizzle faux caramel sauce over them and serve immediately. Enjoy! Refrigerate any remaining sauce.