Thursday, April 26, 2012

Peanut Ginger Chicken with Mango Salsa & Brown Coconut Rice

This is one of my most favorite dinners!  It is honestly a winner that everyone enjoys and it's very low-fat & healthy!  It's perfect for a summer BBQ.  It also makes great leftovers.  The salsa stays fresh with the vinegar on it, so it's still good the next day.  WARNING:  The coconut brown rice is addicting!!  I'm just warning you :)

Peanut Ginger Chicken Marinade:
1/2 c. hot water
1/2 c. all natural peanut butter
1/4 c. chili garlic sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
3 T. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. vinegar
1 T. fresh grated ginger or 1/4 t. ground ginger (fresh is always best)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 18 chicken tenderloins

In a small bowl, stir hot water into peanut butter.  Stir in the next 5 ingredients until well mixed.  Place chicken in a bowl or bag & pour marinade over the chicken.  Hint:  I like to use chicken tenderloins or slice my chicken breasts into thin slices so they can absorb more marinade and they don't take as long to cook.  I never have to worry about dry overdone ends and pink in the middle of the breast.  It's easier to serve that way too.  Marinate at least a couple of hours, but up to 24 hours.  Mix or turn bag occasionally.

Grill chicken on a medium heat grill for about 5 minutes on each side.  They may not take that long, just test them for doneness.  Serve with mango salsa & coconut rice.

Mango Salsa:
2-3 mango's, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 T. thinly sliced green onion
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sugar or agave
1 tsp. vinegar ( I like Bragg's apple cider vinegar)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover & chill.  This can be made ahead, so I like to do it a couple hours before.

Coconut Brown Rice:
2 c. sweet brown rice (or any type of brown rice)
2 c. lite coconut milk (1 can)
2 c. water
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. dry shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 T. coconut oil

Rub coconut oil on pan.  Add all the ingredients & bring to a boil over a high heat.  When it boils, cover & turn down heat to low (about #2 on your stove dial).  Allow for 1 hour to cook or until rice has absorbed all the liquid.  If it seems like the liquid is not absorbing, take the lid off and let it cook some more.  Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so and then fluff with a fork.
This can also be made a little ahead of time because it can sit in the pan with the lid on and stay warm for about an hour without any heat or on very, very low heat.
 This is how thinly I cut the chicken.  I love the extra marinade and how fast they cook!
 If you have never cut a mango before, this is how I do it.  You hold your mango upright because the seed is long, flat & skinny.  You cut off both sides of the mango around the seed.  Once you cut off both sides you will be left with the small skinny middle (see in picture next to the whole mango).  Then score each side down to the skin, being careful not to cut through the skin.  Once they are scored, flip it inside out and it looks like a mango city :)  That's what my kids call them.  They love to say, "Mom, can we have Mango Cities!"  The problem is they would eat five each if I would let them.  If only I could grow mangos!  Anyways, then just cut them off and dice them a little smaller if needed.  Enjoy!!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

PB Cacao Smoothie

This is a wonderful way to curve your sweet craving for the day!  It's the perfect blend of cacao and peanut butter (or almond butter).  It is like drinking a deluxe chocolate milk but getting the wonderful health benefits of cacao.  If your kids like chocolate milk, they will love this.  It's also a great way to get in some protein after a workout or for a quick breakfast.  It's very filling and satisfying.  Try it out and see what you think.  Feel free to play around with it.  There are many versions of this type of smoothie, so do what works for you!

If you're not sure what cacao is, it's the unprocessed beans that are used to make chocolate.  The word "cocoa" is actually a misspelling of the word cacao.  It is rich in antioxidants as well as good fats (minimal), and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium.  It can suppress overactive appetites :) Yeah! That's always a plus!  Start using it in your smoothies & baking.  Because the chocolate we buy today is sweetened with sugar and cream, you will be surprised that it does have a bitter flavor, so make sure you sweeten it with something.  In this smoothie, it's the bananas!

PB Cacao Smoothie
serves 1-2
1 c. Organic rice or almond milk
1 T. raw cacao powder (purchase at the health food store)
1 T. all natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 frozen banana

Pour your milk into the blender, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well.  Make sure you use a frozen banana to help thicken it up a little and keep it cold.  You also want to make sure that your milk is cold to begin with.  It makes a difference.  If you want it sweeter, you can sweeten with some honey, agave, or more banana.  If you like it with more chocolate, add a little more cacao.  Just play with it and find your perfect blend.  I promise it will take your chocolate craving away for the day :)  Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cinnamon Coconut Granola

This is the perfect crunchy snack for the afternoon or the perfect topping on your breakfast yogurt & berries.  You cannot go wrong with this recipe.  I love it so much!  If you're like me, I don't like to eat yogurt very much unless it has granola on it.  There's something about the texture of yogurt that gets me, so I always have to have something crunchy with it.  My good friend Amber, from my gourmet club in California, sent me this wonderful recipe and I just modified it a little to be a little healthier.  It's absolutely divine!  Thanks Amber!

Cinnamon Coconut Granola

1/2 c. Coconut oil
1/2 c. Maple syrup
1/4 c. Honey
1/3 c. Flour
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 c. Rice Krispie cereal
2 c. Rolled oats
1 cup Shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup Craisins
1/2 cup Sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 c. flax seeds or flax meal
1/2 c. wheat germ (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Put first four ingredients in pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  When all the ingredients are melted together, remove from heat and add the vanilla, almond, & cinnamon.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Pour hot mixture over dry mix in bowl and stir until well mixed.
Transfer the mixture onto a baking pan with parchment paper on it. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. You may have to use a spatula to mix it around if it’s getting too brown on top.  Allow the granola to cool for 1 hour in the pan.  Break into desired pieces if clumped together, then place in an air tight container.  Keep in fridge for longer freshness.

This is my favorite yogurt in the whole wide world!!  It's a honey flavored greek yogurt. (see the little honey symbol on the bottom left corner?  Make sure it has that symbol) You have to try it.  You'll never want another flavor again :)  Well, at least I never want any other flavors!  It's not the healthiest in the world and it does have high fat content, but I only eat about 1/2 c. at a time. A healthier option would be to buy the plain yogurt and drizzle a little honey over the top if needed.  I usually top with fresh fruit as well.  Delicious :)