Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

Spring Fling Nectarine Salad 2017

You can tell I’m feeling a little goofy when I choose a title like Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad, but it’s a gorgeous spring day and I don’t feel like taking life too seriously all the time. Sometimes we just need to be a little silly.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that they’d found some super ripe and delicious nectarines at my local store. It seemed kind of early in the season but they smelled amazing so I immediately bought a whole bunch of them. I made this salad three days in a row. It is so good! Well, as long as you like “fruit in your food” as I say. Not everybody likes fruit in their savory dishes, but I happen to love the savory-sweet combination and lunchtime salads are always an opportunity to satisfy that particular flavor craving.

Although it’s quite simple, this salad does not disappoint! The flavors balance and support each other in a fairly sophisticated way. The arugula provides a backdrop of bitterness for the mild chicken which is bolstered by pops of juicy sweetness from the nectarine. The toasted almonds bring warmth and depth while the basil and mint provide the freshness. Delicately dressing the salad allows each of the flavors to shine through on their own. I have a feeling this salad will be in my rotation all summer long. In fact, I planted some basil and mint in pots by my door so I could make sure that it does!

I hope you are all celebrating the arrival (finally! for a lot of us) of spring sunshine, warmer days and lovely, long evenings. Let me know if you try this salad and love it too!

Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

5 oz. cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 ripe nectarine

2 handfuls of arugula

a little red onion sliced very thinly

1/2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

7-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

12 mint leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

salt

lots of cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together mayonnaise and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add arugula to the bowl.
  3. Chop chicken and nectarine into 1/2″ sized bites and add to the bowl with the arugula.
  4. Add onion and almond slivers along with the sliced herbs.
  5. Toss everything together, add a little salt and pepper, and taste. Add more pepper if it needs it and enjoy!

 

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Chicken Faux-tato Salad

Chicken Faux-tato Salad 2 2016

I can hardly call this a recipe. It’s really something that comes together with a few ingredients that I tend to have on hand, and then I’m quite flexible with the quantities. My chicken thighs were cooked on the bone and they were giant, so I only used two. But if you have frozen ones, they tend to be smaller so I’d add more. It can be different every time, too. Don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s very forgiving. If I have more celery or more pickles or fewer eggs or less chicken, it really doesn’t matter. And if I had some parsley or dill on hand, I’d have been tempted to add it. Capers could have gone in or shredded carrots – in fact all kinds of variations exist. But on this day, for this blog post, this was the combination that came together.

I have been mentoring an 11 year old girl for the past few weeks and I bring my lunch while she gets hers from the school. I noticed that she likes vegetables in general and that she’s been a little curious about what I bring. I asked if she’d like me to bring her some to try and she said yes the last time, so I brought this today. She doesn’t like cauliflower, but she loves pickles so she thought it was worth it. She skipped the cauliflower, but devoured the rest. I think the cauliflower is totally innocuous and almost like potatoes, but not everyone agrees. I think it tastes a lot like a traditional potato salad, only it’s not.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Because I use frozen cauliflower, it’s super easy to pull together. No mess, nothing to worry about, and the cauliflower is already blanched so it’s tender. I hope you like it!

Chicken Faux-tato Salad

2-3 cooked chicken thighs, chopped

12 oz. frozen cauliflower, thawed and roughly chopped

1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

5-6 small pickles, finely chopped

2 large celery stalks, finely chopped

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 tsp. mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Take all of your chopped ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and mix well, ensuring everything is evenly coated.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper. It needs salt, but the pickles are salty and so is the mustard, so be sure to taste first.
  4. Once it’s the way you like it, enjoy!

Serves about 2

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy 2014Bacon happens. Sometimes I think people are interested in exploring Paleo simply because they know we eat bacon. Happily, regularly, and without fear. Notice I didn’t say with abandon. I like bacon and I definitely use it to flavor dishes, but I don’t use it as a protein source and it definitely isn’t a veggie, so that means that I use it more like a condiment. Something to make a dish a little more special or to add another layer of flavor. It’s not something we sit down to a plate of in my house, generally. It’s true my son has been known to eat an inordinate amount on occasion, but we’re working on moderation…

Here, bacon wraps around a lean chicken breast and as it cooks, the flavor melts into the sliced apples and onions. All of that gets blended together with a touch of horseradish and mustard to make an addictive, intensely flavored gravy that I show spooned onto the plate. What you don’t see is that we then slathered our chicken with it, covered our Brussels sprouts in it, and ate it directly from the spoon. Because it’s that good.

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 slices of thick-cut bacon

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt, divided

pepper to taste

1/2 large sweet onion, sliced

1 sweet apple, thinly sliced (I used an Ambrosia apple and left the peel on)

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. horseradish

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss onion and apple slices with olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper in a large glass baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring about half way through.

2) While the veggies are roasting, sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder, the other 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, and wrap each one with a slice of bacon.

3) After the apple-onion mixture has roasted for 20 minutes, place bacon-wrapped chicken on top and put back in the oven for 25 minutes.

4) Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and cook for a final 10 minutes. When the chicken and bacon are done, remove them to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

5) Spoon everything from the bottom of the dish, including any juices, into a blender or food processor (I used a Magic Bullet). Add horseradish, mustard, and thyme and blend thoroughly but carefully, because it’s hot, until smooth. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper or horseradish for an extra kick. Plate the chicken on or under the sauce and devour.

Serves 3-4

*Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes

White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili on White Sweet PotatoDo you know what traditionally goes in white chili? White beans! Dried beans are a legume and they aren’t typically part of a Paleo lifestyle. My take on beans is that they’re okay on occasion if you tolerate them and if they’ve been soaked first. They’re a plant and certainly better than a box of processed ick with an endless ingredient list of non-foods. However, they have anti-nutrients that block absorption of other important components of the foods we eat, they are difficult to digest (surely not a secret), they are fairly high in carbs which can be a challenge if you are working on getting lean, and meat is simply a more bio-available source of protein.

But I like white chili so I went to work. I am a huge fan of cauliflower’s versatility and use it quite frequently to replace other foods (think rice, potatoes, chickpeas, etc.). Not only is it a great stand-in for the white beans in this dish, but it adds bulk and nutrients and an extra serving or two of veggies. Honestly, what could be wrong with that? Since it cooks up to be fairly tender, you can even mash a bit of it in your bowl to thicken it.

This is one of those dishes that can be served in a variety of ways, too. Here I have it piled on a white sweet potato, but I had the leftovers on chopped chard one day and shredded cabbage the next, allowing the heat to soften the greens. You can eat it just the way it is too – I imagine a big mug or bowl. And remember to adjust the seasonings to your taste! I used mild green chiles but some hot ones would have been great too, just a bit too much for my family.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! It made great leftovers for lunch and, even though my husband mentioned that 95 degree weather didn’t really lend itself to chili, he didn’t complain once he tasted it!

White Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey

5 cloves of garlic, minced

diced green chiles, 7 oz. can

2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed between fingers

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne

frozen cauliflower, 12 oz. bag

2 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided

Directions

1) Melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion, bell peppers, and 1/4 tsp. salt and sauté for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften.

2) Add the turkey, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

3) Add chiles, spices, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir to release the flavor of the spices, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer the chili covered for about 30 minutes.

4) Remove the lid, add the cauliflower, return to a boil and simmer again, uncovered this time, for about 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

5) Top with cilantro, avocado, tomato, and enjoy!

Serves 4-5

Chipotle Turkey 2014

Ground Turkey with ChipotleOne of these days, I’m going to post my taco salad recipe. It’s one of those recipes that is never exactly the same, but it’s always delicious and it’s super simple to make. The problem is that whenever I make it, I’m kind of in a hurry so I don’t stop to write the recipe down. And that’s why it never gets shared. Or maybe it’s because I keep sharing salad recipes and I don’t want you to think that’s all I eat, so I’m pretending this isn’t one…

Anyway, last night I decided to make taco salad and instead of doing my regular taco meat, I wanted something a little spicier so I went for a chipotle version. This meat is great on top of a salad, of course, or wrapped in lettuce or scrambled with some eggs or on top of cauliflower mash…you get the picture. Make it, stick it in the fridge, and have spicy emergency protein at your fingertips!

Chipotle Turkey

1 tsp. coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tsp. salt, divided

1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey

2 tsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled between fingers

2 tsp. tomato paste

1/4 c. water, optional

Directions

1) Melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent.

2) Add ground turkey, chipotle, garlic powder, oregano, tomato paste, and other 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, breaking up the turkey, until browned and done, 10-15 minutes.

3) If the meat seems dry, add a splash of water. And done!

Serves 2-4

 

Baked Chicken Thighs

Roast Chicken ThighsI think chicken thighs are delicious. The problem is that my husband is not a great fan of having bones get in the way of his eating enjoyment so, unfortunately, that means that I don’t bake chicken on the bone very often. This day, however, I wanted to make a recipe that used precooked chicken so I decided to bake up a batch. Wow! I had forgotten just how delicious simply baked chicken is! This is so good that it gave me serious pause as to whether I should still make what I had planned or if we should all just sit down to a plate of this chicken and call it good. I’m not sure which way we’re going tonight, but if you’re searching for something to make for your family, these just might be it.

I use a pretty heavy hand with the seasoning. It should create a crust when it bakes onto the skin. And while I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is done, you know it’s ready when you can see lots of caramel-colored bits in the bottom of the dish (as a child we called these “flavoreens”) and the skin is so bubbly and crispy that the only thing on your mind is when it will be cool enough to taste. Sometimes you might have to go in so quickly that you burn your fingers a little bit. That may or may not have happened with this batch…

Baked Chicken Thighs

4-5 lbs. of chicken thighs

1 Tbsp. salt

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

pepper

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs skin-side down in a large glass baking dish.

2) In a small bowl, mix together all the spices except the pepper.

3) Liberally sprinkle the bottom of the thighs with the seasoning. Flip them all over and coat the skin-side heavily with the spice mixture. (I had about 4 1/4 lbs. of chicken thighs and I used all the spice.) Crack a good amount of fresh pepper over everything.

4) Place chicken in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. When the chicken smells intensely good, has crispy skin everywhere, and has created a lot of “flavoreens” in the bottom of the dish, remove it from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes, just so you don’t burn your fingers.

Recipe Review: Deep Dish Tamale (Hint Hint: It’s in the Chowstalker Community Cookbook)


You know how I’ve been telling you about this amazing bundle of Primal and Paleo cookbooks, success stories, research papers, how-tos, discounts and more? If you don’t know about this incredible sale, the details are here.

Well…one of the cookbooks in the Primal Life Kit is the Chowstalker Community Cookbook. You’ll find my recipe (!) for Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus, of course, as well as over 130 Paleo/Primal recipes by other bloggers. It’s pretty awesome and there are so many that I want to try! One in particular kept drawing me back. It was a recipe for a Deep Dish Tamale by Emily Coatney, at Coconut Contentment.

Coconut Contentment's Deep Dish Tamale Pie

I have actually been craving tamales lately. I grew up in California and live in Colorado so tamales are a part of my culture. But they’re time consuming to make and they’re made with corn so they’ve fallen to the side. Then I saw this open-faced tamale that you whip together and toss in the oven and suddenly I knew what I would be making and sharing with all of you.

The crust of this is nothing short of amazing. The combination of white sweet potato and coconut flour does an impressive job of standing in for masa. It’s tender and fluffy and slightly sweet and the chicken topping is nicely spiced. We ate it with guacamole and salsa and it was terrific! I have to admit, though, my mind starting going wild with all of the possible toppings for this crust. Just like a traditional tamale, you could do beef, pork, even a sweet variation. There’s a lot of fun to be had!

So go ahead and make this recipe and then go get your bundle while it’s still on sale. Who knows which recipes or articles or books will be the ones to change your life?

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Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase the Primal Life Kit. It’s an incredible bundle from some spectacular people, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Deep Dish Tamale by Coconut Contentment

Filling

1 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

2 c. shredded or chopped cooked chicken (about 3/4 lb., thighs are normally the most affordable and delicious)

2 1/2 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. chili powder

zest of one lime

juice of one lime

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 purple onion, chopped and sautéed

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

Tamale Dough

2 white sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed (sub any variety of sweet potato)

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. chicken broth (sub water but broth provides the most authentic flavor)

2 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

1 tsp. vinegar (white or apple cider)

5 Tbsp. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Toppings

Guacamole

Salsa

Avocado Slices

Cilantro

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an 8-10 in. oven-safe skillet or pie dish, place the Tbsp. of palm shortening (or other chosen fat). Put in the oven to heat the skillet to temperature.

2) Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl – toss well to ensure even coverage.

3) Combine all of the dough ingredients together in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, Kitchen Aid mixer, or by rolling up your sleeves and giving it a good stir until well-combined.

4) Once your oven has preheated carefully remove your skillet or dish. Evenly distribute the melted cooking fat in the bottom of the pan. Pour your dough into the skillet, spread out evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Layer your filling on top, lightly pressing it into your dough.

5) Carefully place in oven to cook for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the chicken has begun to brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve alongside your favorite toppings.

Serves 4-6