Greek Chicken Kabobs

I know it’s been a while since I posted a recipe.  What can I say? Life got in the way…  Well, I’m making a commitment to cook more, develop recipes, and I even got the blogworthy dinner plate out again.  So watch out!  It’s grilled season here in Colorado so get prepared for some easy, delicious recipes.  I even got new skewers…

I recently started using rosemary oil for the arthritis in my right thumb. Strangely enough, I’ve been craving Greek chicken kabobs ever since. I looked up a few recipes, then realized that I have Wildtree Opa! blend and that’s about all you need to make something Greek and delicious. So here goes.

Greek Chicken Kabobs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1.5″ chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Wildtree Opa! Greek Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Wildtree Garlic Galore Seasoning (or use crushed garlic and some salt/pepper to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Wildtree Mediterranean Dry Rub

Directions:

Grab a gallon Ziploc bag. Mix all the seasonings in the bag and place the chicken pieces in the bag. Marinade for a few hours or mix and then freeze until you are ready to cook.

When you are ready, preheat a barbecue grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and put them on the grill. I used four skewers for one pound of chicken. Grill on the first side for approximately five minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5 minutes.

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You want the chicken to register approximately 165F on a meat thermometer, which will take about 12-18 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Serve with steamed vegetables, rice, and tzatziki sauce.  I make a Wildtree tzatziki sauce by mixing Fage 2% plain greek yogurt with a little bit of Wildtree Opa! Seasoning and some lemon juice. Delicious!

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Teriyaki Flank Steak

This is one our favorite recipes. Make sure that you ask your butcher to “run the steak through the tenderizer once”…  There really is no substitute for this. And don’t feel bad asking the butcher to do something for you. Normally he/she really wants to help!

Teriyaki Flank Steak

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

 

  • 2 lbs tenderized flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil
  • ¼ cup Wildtree Teriyaki Sauce or other teriyaki sauce
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, depending how much you like mustard.

Directions:

Grab a gallon Ziploc bag. Mix all the seasonings in the bag and place the flank steak in the bag. This is best done the day before you want to cook it, but give it at least one hour in the marinade if you are pressed for time.

When you are ready, preheat a barbecue grill to medium-high. Once the grill is hot, take the flank steak out of the bag and put it on the grill. Grill on the first side for approximately three minutes, then flip and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. You want the steak to register approximately 145F on a meat thermometer.

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Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

It’s finally grilling season in Colorado. Can’t believe we had highs in the 80s today when last week we had snow where we were camping. I adapted this from an Ina Garten recipe. It’s really quite lovely. Very lemony. Delicious. Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow. 

Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 20 mins
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Ingredients:

  • 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (3 chicken breasts)
  • 2 teaspoons Wildtree Lemon Rosemary seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Wildtree Garlic Galore
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree Garlic Grapeseed Oil or regular grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 

Directions:

In a large ziploc bag, combine the oil, seasonings, and chicken. Allow to marinate for a few hours or up to a day in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this if you’d like. 

Preheat the grill to medium high. Place the chicken on the grill, and cook on the first side for about 8 minutes. Turn once and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Continue to cook until the meat registers 165F. It will take about 16-20 minutes total, depending on your grill. When the meat registers 165F, immediately turn off the grill and remove the chicken. This would be great with grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or grilled romaine lettuce.

  
Enjoy!

Paleo-ish Beef Tacos

I try to avoid grains as much as possible. When it comes to sandwiches and other things that require tortillas, sometimes I feel really deprived. There’s only so much salad you can eat, after all.  I decided to whip up a batch of Paleo-ish tacos today. Since I can eat dairy, I put a tiny dab of sour cream and a minimal sprinkle of cheese on top. If you want to make guacamole out of the avocado, go right ahead. I like to eat guacamole on cucumber slices. I also use these cucumber “chips” for salsa. For guacamole, I use 1 avocado, 1 teaspoon Wildtree Guacamole mix, and 1 teaspoon lime juice.

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Paleo-ish Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb organic ground beef.
  • 2 teaspoons Wildtree Fajita Seasoning.  If you don’t have this on hand, use a good fajita seasoning.  I like Wildtree b/c it doesn’t have any strange fillers, wheat, or corn flour. You can also use Penzey’s.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 organic romaine lettuce heart
  • Garnishes such as avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber.

Directions:

Preheat a large frying pan on medium.  Cook the ground beef until brown and then stir in fajita seasoning and salt. I don’t add any liquid to the mixture. Set aside on the stove, covered.

Cut the romaine lettuce in half cross-ways and separate the leaves to make the “taco shells”.  Do any chopping of your garnishes.  Assemble tacos and enjoy!

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This is a Paleo-friendly and Ideal Protein Phase 1-friendly recipe if you leave off the sour cream and cheese.

Korean Bulgogi Beef

This is one of those wonderful dishes that tastes so good but, when you order it out, you often wonder what you’re eating and if you are going to get “glutened”. This may take a little time to prepare at home, but trust me…  It’s SO worth it.

Korean Bulgogi Beef

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs New York strip steak
  • 2 tablespoons Wildtree Garlic Grapeseed Oil or regular grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Wildtree Garlic Galore seasoning (or you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup Tamari sauce (or gluten free soy sauce or gluten free Teriyaki sauce)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (or more if you want it spicy)

Directions:

In a large ziploc bag, combine the oil and seasonings and let them sit while you prepare the steak. I like to freeze the steaks for about an hour so that they are easy to slice. You are looking for paper-thin strips for the steak. So sharpen your favorite knife and go to town…  You can also ask an Asian grocery butcher if they sell pre-sliced Bulgogi meat. It might be rib eye or New York strip. Basically you want some marbling so that the meat isn’t dry and boring. When you are ready to cut the steak into strips, make sure that you slice it across the grain. This way the meat will be tender and easy to chew.

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Once the meat has been cut into thin strips, allow it to marinate in the bag with oils/seasonings for several hours or up to a day in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this.

Make sure that you thaw it completely before cooking. You will be cooking individual slices in the pan, and you don’t want to be tearing apart partially frozen bits of meat. Preheat a skillet or wok to medium-high heat. Use a small amount of oil to grease the pan, and cook the steak in batches. Make sure that you don’t crowd the pan, since that will lead to the meat steaming rather than getting nice and brown. Cook on each side for about 30 seconds, then pile up the meat onto a dinner plate. I use tongs when cooking this. You will need to work in batches. Once all the meat is browned, toss it all in the pan for a final heat-through.

Serve with rice and sauteed vegetables. Tip: but frozen plain rice at Trader Joe’s or other grocery stores. It takes three minutes in the microwave.

Note: this is traditionally served with half-moon slices of onions. While that’s delicious, I don’t tend to cook with onions because they make my husband sick. We had an onion-free version of this and it was delicious. If you choose to add onions, feel free to add them to the marinade. Cook them in the pan before starting the steak, then add them back to the pan when you do the final heat-through before serving.

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Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Breast “Deli” Meat

Have you ever read the ingredients on deli meat? Thought about the price per pound? Why not make this for dinner one night and then slice it up for lunch for the rest of the week? You could even slice it up and put it alongside other healthy snacks on the anytime shelf (see link). I don’t normally like buying really large chicken breasts, but this is one recipe where I make an exception to that rule. In fact, for this recipe, the larger the better.  Just make sure not to overcook them. When the thermometer reads 165F, you are done. You don’t want this being rubbery and overcooked.

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 mins
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (2 large chicken breasts)
  • 2 teaspoons Wildtree Lemon Rosemary seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons Wildtree Garlic Grapeseed Oil or regular grapeseed oil

Directions:

In a large ziploc bag, combine the oil, seasonings, and chicken. Allow to marinate for several hours or up to a day in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this. It’s one of my son’s favorite freezer meals. You can also double this recipe, make some for dinner, and then slice the leftovers for lunch meat for the rest of the week.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grab a sheet pan and some aluminum foil. Line the sheet pan with foil. Place the chicken breasts on the foil-line pan and roast, turning once every 6-8 minutes, until the meat registers 165F. It will take about 20-22 minutes total, depending on your oven. When the meat registers 165F, immediately turn off the oven and allow the chicken to sit for about an hour. Slice thinly and store in a tightly sealed glass container. Use for sandwiches, salads. I especially like this between butter lettuce sandwiches leaves.

Store in the refrigerator for up to several days. It will likely not last that long. You can also freeze this after it’s cooked, but only do that if you didn’t freeze it before cooking.

Feel free to experiment with other seasonings like Cajun Blend, Java Rub, Chipotle Lime, or whatever else you’d like.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Rice

This is a simple dish that can be easy to do well but tricky to do really well. You don’t want cauliflower rice to be soggy, nor do you want it to be sticky. I solve both these problems by processing it while uncooked in my food processor and then baking it (but covered) in the oven. You can tweak this with multiple spices to take it in multiple directions. This recipe is for plain rice. Make sure that you start with a fresh cauliflower. I use frozen cauliflower for my mashed cauliflower, but fresh is really key in this recipe.

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Cauliflower Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
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Ingredients:

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F and grab a covered baking dish, cutting board, food processor, and a chef’s knife.

Chop the cauliflower into florets and divide into two batches. Pulse the first batch in your large food processor until the cauliflower reaches the consistency of rice. Repeat with the second batch of cauliflower.

Combine the cauliflower, grapeseed oil, salt, and water in the baking dish and cover.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, stir, then cook for another 10 minutes. Taste to see if you like this consistency, and cook longer if you want it more tender.

Serve with your favorite dish just as you would with rice. I’ll follow up next week with a Spanish rice version to serve with Mexican.  Mmmmm….

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Enjoy!

Low-carb Dairy-free Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is one of those dishes that seems easy to make without dairy, until you realize how tough it is to make a good creamy mashed potato without milk, butter, or cream. Since I’m not a proponent of strange ingredients, those vegan butter substitutes kinda scare me. Add the extra challenge of making it low carb and compliance with Ideal Protein (by using mashed cauliflower), and the whole thing becomes exponentially harder. After a lot of research and thinking, I’ve finally cracked the creamy mashed cauliflower recipe. See the link here for the recipe.

To make this recipe for shepherd’s pie, you’ll need at least half the recipe for my mashed cauliflower. In fact, that recipe is so good that I’m going to at least double it next time I make it.  It does require the food processor, so I’ll have to do it in batches, but that’s ok with me.

This dish can be assembled and refrigerated up to two days before you plan to eat it. It’s also a good candidate for freezing, although you have to either freeze one of your good dishes or use disposable cake pan. This would work well in a disposable 8″ or 9″ square cake pan.

Low-carb Dairy-free Beef Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 mins
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef, between 85% and 90% fat
  • 1 teaspoon powdered onion
  • 2 teaspoons Wildtree Garlic Galore OR use granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Tip: by it in a tube and don’t struggle with canned tomato paste ever again.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Make sure that you pick one that is gluten free.  I like Wan Ja Shan Organic Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini, about one small zucchini.
  • 1 turnip, cut into 1/4″ cubes.

Directions:

Grab a large frying pan, chef’s knife, cutting board, and a 8″ or 9″ square baking pan, preferably one that’s not too shallow. You’ll also need a box grater.

You’ll need at least one half recipe of the mashed cauliflower listed here. If you’ve previously frozen the mashed cauliflower, make sure that you’ve thawed it out prior to starting. If you plan to freeze the shepherd’s pie, I suggest making the mashed cauliflower the day before and putting it in the fridge in a storage container until you are ready to assemble everything. Never freeze things twice…

Brown the ground beef over medium heat in the frying pan. While it’s browning, chop the turnips and grate the zucchini. Once the ground beef is no longer pink, add all the spices and vegetables. Cover, lower the heat to low, and let the mixture cook until the turnips are tender, about 15 minutes.

You are now ready to assemble the casserole. Spoon the meat mixture into the baking dish, then top with the mashed cauliflower. You can top it with parsley or sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 400F until the top is browned nicely and it’s heated through, about 20 minutes. I normally broil it at the end for a few minutes. Tip: Use a teaspoon to make little fluted edges around the edge of the baking dish. This will allow the heat to escape so that you don’t have a bubbling giant mess on the bottom of the oven.

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Serve with your favorite vegetables.

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Enjoy!

Dairy-free Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

It’s been a week since we got back from Spring Break and somehow I feel like we are still recovering. I finally sat down and did some menu planning this morning and perhaps that’s what I needed to finally feel like we are back on track.

There are few recipes that I develop and immediately plan to make again. There are also very few recipes that I start immediately dreaming about all the things that I’m going to serve it with. This morning I created one of those rare recipes that will become a family favorite and staple. So glad that this will go live tomorrow. Can’t wait to make this into a topping for shepherd’s pie. Also dreaming about braised short ribs with this.

Face it. There are many things that make a great recipe, but they all come down to either ingredients or technique. Ingredients are easy: keep them simple, use good stuff, and don’t buy anything with a giant list of ingredients or things you can’t pronounce. Technique is different. It comes down to knowing about cooking times, which cooking method to use, and when to use which kitchen gadget. It can also mean knowing how to add flavor, what ingredients can impact or achieve a specific texture, and how things will react when they freeze. The technique part of tweaking recipes is sometimes a challenge.  It’s also the part of recipe creation that I enjoy the most. It involves research recipes, reading reviews, thinking about other ways to achieve the same thing using different ingredients. I credit Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen for helping me to learn to think about cooking this way. It probably didn’t hurt that both of my parents are chemists…

Enter the mashed cauliflower challenge. Most dairy-free recipes for mashed cauliflower risk being grainy, watery, or both. And neither of those two adjectives sounds like a good mashed cauliflower recipe to me. So that was the challenge. Most recipes solve these problems by calling on a combination of ingredients (think cream cheese, butter, heavy cream) or technique (such as using a food processor instead of a manual potato masher). While these are all great, I wanted to maximize flavor while keeping the list of ingredients as short as possible. I also wanted to make this dairy free since that is the main challenge. It’s not that hard to make creamy something if you add cream cheese, for example. Where’s the challenge in that?

I use chicken broth to cook the cauliflower, then discard it because I don’t want the extra moisture. If you want to use vegetable broth, go right ahead. The garlic cooks in the liquid, again adding flavor. Many of the little garlic bits will stick to the cauliflower, so don’t despair. I then boost the flavor with salt, pepper, and even more garlic. I wanted to make sure that the texture wouldn’t get soupy or grainy over time, which is why I decided to add just a few tablespoons of potato flakes at the end. I did taste it before and after that addition, and it really makes a world of difference. The dried potato flakes also soak up some more liquid, so they contribute to both texture and flavor.

I portioned this out into two containers, one for tonight to serve with rotisserie chicken, and the other to make a topping for a shepherd’s pie that I’m making in a few days. I lined a disposable baking tray (Dollar Tree is great for these) with plastic wrap, then spooned in the mashed cauliflower, then wrapped it tight to prevent freezer burn. I placed the whole thing in the freezer. In doing so, I am also testing this for potential mass batches to freeze…

Dairy-free Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 mins
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Ingredients:

  • Two 1-lb bags frozen cauliflower. I use the 365 organic bags from Whole Foods.
  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons really good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Wildtree garlic galore seasoning, or use garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant potato flakes. I like the instant mashed potatoes from Whole Foods.

Directions:

Grab a large pot, colander, large mixing bowl, and your big food processor. Put the cauliflower, chicken broth, and chopped garlic into the large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through. I use a paring knife to test whether it’s cooked. The knife should easily slide into the cauliflower. Once cooked, put the colander in the mixing bowl and dump the cauliflower in to drain.  Leave for 15 minutes to make sure that as much liquid as possible leaves the mixture.

Add the cauliflower to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the olive oil and the other seasonings, and turn on the food processor.  Stop it every 10 seconds or so, and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue until the mixture is creamy. Add the potato flakes and mix using the food processor until just combined.

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Note: this is Ideal Protein Phase 1 friendly and Paleo if you skip the potato flakes.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten-free Egg-free Albondigas en Salsa

We are back from vacation and I’m so happy to be back in my kitchen and no longer beholden to restaurant food. This is a quick recipe for meatballs in spicy chipotle tomato sauce. I’ve made this before with beef/pork, but decided to adapt this to make it with ground chicken and pork. 

This type of recipe makes a great appetizer to take to a potluck. It has plenty of protein and is gluten and egg free. I learned the potato flake trick from reading the Cook’s Illustrated gluten-free cookbook. Of course, most gluten-free recipes are chock-full of eggs. 

I tweaked the recipe here slightly because my hubby said that the meatballs had too much pepper. (I cut down on the Rancher Rub and tweaked the ratio of flax/water slightly as well). Making meatballs out of a lean meat like chicken is difficult b/c it’s so easy for things to dry out. As such, I highly recommend simmering the meatballs in the sauce rather than oven baking them if you are worried about them drying out. Just make sure that they reach 165F before you serve them. 

Full disclosure. This is a recipe I am still perfecting. What I’ve written here is the next recipe that I plan to test based on prior experience, research, and gut feeling. I suggest you read this for recreational purposes only at the moment :-). If you do try the recipe below, please comment and let me know what you think and if you’d change anything. 

 

Gluten-free Egg-free Albondigas en Salsa

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 mins
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Meatball ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon flax seed
  • 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup potato flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree garlic galore OR use minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Wildtree Rancher Rub
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup 
Preheat oven to 375F and grab a cookie sheet, large mixing bowl, small bowl, and a large sauce pan.  Mix the flax seed and water in the small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes in the refrigerator for it to set. This acts like an egg and provides some binding capability for the meatballs. Mix the remainder of the ingredients in the large bowl. Make sure to mix gently so that you don’t make the meatballs tough. Add the flax/water and combine. Use a cookie scoop (1″) to scoop portions of the meat mixture out on to the cookie sheet.  Use your hands to roll the balls into rounds and place back on the cookie sheet.

While the meatballs are cooking, start the sauce. Cook the meatballs for 12 minutes, flip and cook an additional 12 to 18 minutes until meat thermometer registers 165° F. If everyone in the family is eating the meatballs in the chipotle sauce, you can also cook the meatballs in the sauce. See below for instructions. I do them separately in the oven so that my 7-yr-old can have meatballs with plain marinara while the rest of us eat the spicier sauce. I think this dries them out more…


Sauce ingredients:

  • Two 24 oz cans tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste (I like Olo brand, which I found on Amazon).
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer. If you’d like to cook the meatballs in the sauce, skip the oven directions above and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes before adding the meatballs. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 20-30 minutes until they register 165F on a meat thermometer.

We served these with fresh steamed veggies.  My son has penne, plain marinara, and the meatballs.

Enjoy!