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Maybe it was because we went to a Chinese New Year parade last weekend. Or maybe because it’s getting closer to Lads to Leaders convention time when we always go out for Asian food and I’m thinking about that. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been craving spicy stir fries with cashews and peanuts. Plus my daughter loves the combination of sriracha sauce and lime. So it seemed like the right thing to do – make a big pan full of chicken and noodles with spicy peanut sauce.
There are so many delicious restaurant-style meals you can make yourself at home. Chinese and Thai food can seem intimidating, but make it once and you’ll see how it all comes together. Soon you’ll be trying all sorts of favorite take-out foods. And making it yourself means you can use better quality ingredients, no MSG, and still save money over buying it already prepared.
Mix up the sauce first so it will be all ready at the end. Get all of the vegetables, garnishes and meat chopped up and set out on plates or a cutting board. Bring the pasta water to a boil and then when you put the pasta into the water you can start cooking the chicken. That way everything will be ready at about the same time. The secret to success with Asian style stir fries is to be prepared before you start cooking. Once it gets going there is no time to stop and chop something.
Prepare the sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients, peanut butter through lime zest and juice, in a small saucepan over very low heat. Stir until the peanut butter melts and everything combines into a somewhat thick sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
Toast the sesame seeds by placing them in a dry skillet over low heat. Shake or stir the seeds until they begin to heat and become fragrant. As soon as they begin to slightly change color remove them from the heat and set aside.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Have all of the vegetables prepared. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Heat the coconut oil or lard in a large heavy-bottom skillet or wok. Add the chicken and stir fry over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is browned on the outside and nearly done on the inside. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the bell pepper, cabbage and carrot to the pan and stir fry 2 minutes or until crisp tender. Add the green onions to the pan and continue to stir fry for another minute. Return the chicken to the pan and toss with the vegetables. When the pasta is done, drain it well and then add the drained pasta to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Pour the sauce over everything, sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds and toss well to combine. Remove everything to a large serving platter and garnish with the chopped peanuts and chopped cilantro.
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I’ve been cooking my way through the Zenbelly Cookbook: An Epicurean’s guide to Paleo Cuisine by Simone Miller. I’ve made over a dozen of the over one hundred recipes in the book, and have enjoyed every one so far. Some are a little complicated and others, like the one I’m sharing with you today, are so simple and yet still very delicious.
One page 158 is a recipe titled Perfect Roast Chicken. It’s not so much a recipe really as a method. It yielded a chicken for our dinner tonight that was crispy all over on the outside and tender juicy on the inside. Two ingredients: one whole chicken (about 3-4lbs.) and 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt. I used pink Himalayan salt on a 3 1/2 lb organic chicken. Just coat the entire chicken with the salt and put it in a cast iron Dutch oven breast side up. The whole thing slips into a preheated 425 degree oven to roast, uncovered, for an hour. At the end of the hour use a thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If it isn’t there then put it back for another 15 minutes. Keep checking at 15 minute intervals until the meat reaches 165. My chicken was done right at one hour. Let it rest for ten minutes and then carve and serve.
We’ve also enjoyed the Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie, Creamy Purple Cabbage Slaw, Biscuits (the first grain-free biscuits my entire family has loved), and the best Chocolate Hazelnut Waffles I’ve ever had. This is one tasty cookbook that just happens to be Paleo.
Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing this week that you’d like to share with us on Wellness Wednesday?
Welcome to this week’s Wellness Wednesday!
Wellness Wednesday is all about wellness, natural living, real food, diy, and encouragement. Join us and meet some new bloggers and find how you can live life well!
Every week we will feature the most popular posts! Your hosts will pin and promote them as much as possible. This week’s features:
It’s the beginning of a new year as I write this post, and I was able to convince my husband to go on a Paleo diet with me. (We’re following Chris Kresser’s Paleo Cure) Yesterday he told me he was already missing bread – mostly to sop up all the great sauces and pan juices from the delicious Paleo food we’ve been eating! So I made him happy by fixing waffles for lunch today. And I made me happy by finding this great Paleo-friendly waffle recipe from Eat Beautiful that uses green plantains instead of flour. The original recipe had the chicken cooked right into the waffles, but I wanted to be able to have a chicken gravy to go over top ’cause that’s how I like ’em.
These waffles are definitely main dish worthy – brunch, lunch or dinner – with a little south-of-the-border spice added to make them extra good. The gravy is made with nourishing homemade bone broth and thickened with arrowroot powder so it’s gluten-free and allergy friendly. I’ve even given a substitute to make this dairy-free, too.
If you’ve never purchased plantains before – they are like giant, thick bananas. They can be used green (like here for these waffles) or almost black-ripe (like for these pancakes). When they are green they are a good source of resistant starch which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract.
Savory Paleo Waffles with Chicken Gravy
for the waffles
2 green plantains
8 eggs (preferably from pasture-raised hens)
1/2 cup melted healthy fat (such as lard, coconut oil, ghee, butter)
Preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. Using a sharp knife, cut the tip ends off the plantains, then cut in half across the middle, then cut each half lengthwise. This will leave you with quartered plantain sections. Now you can slip your finger between the thick green skin and the yellow flesh. Peel off and discard the skin. Place the plantain quarters in a blender. Add in the remaining waffle ingredients, the eight eggs through the teaspoon of honey. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Yes, it will be pretty runny and you won’t understand how this could possibly make waffles, but it will work!
Brush the waffle iron with a little coconut oil or butter and then ladle the batter onto the preheated waffle iron. Use the amount of batter directed by your waffle iron manufacturer. Mine says to use 1/3 cup, but I actually ended up needing to use closer to 1/2 cup to get a waffle without holes. So adjust your batter accordingly. The baking time will be as directed on your waffle iron directions. Mine is 3 minutes. That worked just fine.
To make the gravy:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute for about three minutes until the onion begins to get translucent. Then add in the shredded chicken, chicken broth, salt, cumin and oregano. Stir until everything is simmering and hot. Combine the arrowroot with the 1/4 cup water until no lumps remain, then stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering broth. Stir for just a little until the gravy begins to thicken, then reduce the heat to very low to keep warm until the waffles are done.
To serve: Place one waffle on a plate, top with butter if desired (and who wouldn’t desire a little more butter?!) and then ladle over about 1/2 cup of the chicken gravy. This whole recipe made about 8 waffles in my waffle iron, but yields will vary depending on the size of waffle your machine makes. I’d say all in all about 4-6 servings of waffles and chicken gravy.
Savory waffles with a little kick are smothered in rich chicken gravy for a hearty lunch, brunch or dinner entree. The waffles are made with green plantains, making them gluten-free and a great source of resistant starch for a healthy digestive system.
for the waffles:
2 large green plantains
8 eggs (preferably from pasture-raised hens)
½ cup melted healthy fat (such as lard, coconut oil, ghee, butter)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon raw honey
for the gravy:
2 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ cup minced onion
2 Tablespoons butter, preferably grassfed (for dairy-free sub lard or coconut oil)
3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
¼ cup water
To make the waffles:
Preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
Using a sharp knife, cut the tip ends off the plantains, then cut in half across the middle and cut each half lengthwise.
This will leave you with quartered plantain sections.
Slip your finger between the thick green skin and the yellow flesh.
Peel off and discard the skin.
Place the plantain quarters in a blender.
Add the remaining waffle ingredients, the eight eggs through the teaspoon of honey.
Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
The batter will be thin.
Brush the preheated waffle iron with butter or coconut oil, and then ladle the batter onto the preheated waffle iron using the amount directed in your waffle maker instruction book.
Bake according to manufacturer's directions - about 3 minutes or until golden.
to make the gravy:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute for about three minutes until the onion begins to get translucent.
Then add in the shredded chicken, chicken broth, salt, cumin and oregano.
Stir until everything is simmering and hot.
Combine the arrowroot with the ¼ cup water until no lumps remain, then stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering broth.
Stir for just a little until the gravy begins to thicken, then reduce the heat to very low to keep warm until the waffles are done.
Place one waffle on a plate, top with more butter if desired, and ladle about ½ cup of the chicken gravy over top.
This recipe yields approximately 8 waffles and 3 cups gravy.
Chicken Parmigiana is a family favorite that I hadn’t made in a long time – about a year – since I went on a gluten-free diet. (Read more about my reasons here.) After reading through several paleo-style cookbooks from some very talented cooks I realized I could makeover our favorite version of this recipe so I could eat it, plus in doing so I reduced the carb count making this a decent recipe for anyone on a lower carb diet as well. The tapioca starch is a good Paleo-friendly substitute for all-purpose flour normally used for dredging the chicken before pan-frying.
The rolled presentation of this dish makes it special enough for a company dinner. If you’ve never flattened a boneless chicken breast before it isn’t hard. If the chicken is especially thick you can butterfly it first. Then place the chicken between two sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap, waxed paper, or inside a freezer strength zip top bag. Use the flat side of a meat mallet, or a rolling pin, or the bottom of a heavy skillet, and just pound the chicken – don’t be dainty – until it is a uniform 1/2″ thickness. The time to be gentle is when you’re rolling the filling up inside. Don’t squeeze or press too hard or the filling will squirt out. Pin it up with toothpicks to keep it all together.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If the chicken breasts are large you can butterfly them first. Place the chicken on a cutting board and cover with a sheet of waxed paper or heavy duty plastic wrap. Use a heavy rolling pin or meat mallet to pound the chicken to about 1/2″ thickness evenly throughout. I had larger pieces of meat so I ended up cutting them in half after they were pounded so the finished roll wouldn’t be so large. You may or may not need to cut yours. Season the pounded chicken on both sides with the sea salt.
Mix together the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the basil and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set three rimmed plates or pans in a row. Sprinkle arrowroot powder or tapioca starch in the first pan. Beat the two eggs in the second pan. Mix the almond meal and the dried basil in the third pan.
flattened and filled, ready to roll
filled, rolled and coated in seasoned almond meal
Divide the ricotta mixture evenly between the flattened chicken pieces. Starting at the larger end, gently roll up the chicken taking care not to squeeze the filling out. Secure with toothpicks. Dredge the chicken rolls in the arrowroot tapping off the excess, then dip into the beaten egg letting the extra drip back into the pan, then coat them with the almond meal mixture. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, in batches if needed. Cook until browned and getting crispy on the outside, about 4 minutes per side.
Spread 1 cup of the marinara in a baking pan large enough to fit the chicken in one layer. Place the browned chicken rolls in the pan. Top with the remaining marinara. Layer the slices of mozzarella on the chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is browned and bubbling, about 20-25 minutes.
*You can use your own homemade marinara sauce, or if you would like to use jarred sauce we recommend Rao’s. The Rao’s marinara doesn’t have any artificial ingredients or added sugars and the flavor is delicious. If you like it, consider buying a case through our Amazon store. The jar price per case is less than half of the usual grocery store price by the jar. And even though it doesn’t increase your purchase price, Amazon does give Well Fed Family a token of thanks in return.
It was the 80s – Girls Night Out meant dressing up in punk rock and mini skirts with big hair and blue eyeshadow. For us it also meant going to Ryan’s on Opelika Road for Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad. This was back when chicken fingers were a new thing, so you know it was a long time ago! The salad was huge. It came in a giant bowl ringed with tortilla chips and filled with chunks of chicken fingers, kidney beans, cheese, olives, lettuce and Ryan’s special creamy chili dressing. This recipe is my rendition of that awesome meal-in-a-salad that takes me back to those crazy nights with the girls.
Dice the chipotle chili very finely (wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes!) Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients except avocado and chips in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss gently to coat. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips. Mini skirts and big hair optional.
Everyone at our house loves this grilled chicken recipe! It was one of the first main dish recipes my son learned to make, I think he was 10 or 11 the first time he made it. All you do is mix up the rosemary and garlic with some plain yogurt and a little lemon, then rub some of the mixture underneath the skin of the chicken and let it marinate for a little while, and then grill it. Double the rosemary garlic yogurt mixture and save some for the next day, it makes a great spread on sandwiches made with leftover chicken.
For an easy side dish just make skewers from alternating chunks of cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant and onion brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers during the last ten minutes of the chicken grill time.
Rosemary-Garlic Grilled Chicken
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons plain whole milk or plain full-fat Greek yogurt
5-6 lbs. bone-in pastured chicken pieces (thighs and legs are especially good)
additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients except for chicken, and additional salt & pepper, in a medium bowl. Loosen the skin on the chicken pieces and rub the rosemary mixture evenly all over the chicken and underneath the skin. Place the chicken in a covered container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat your grill or prepare the coals and oil the grill rack. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Place the chicken pieces, skin side down, on the prepared grill. Grill for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally until done. Chicken with the bone is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. I always use a thermometer just to be sure!