Archive | January, 2014

Chicken Wraps with Chili-Garlic Mayo and Quick-Pickles

30 Jan

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This week was longer and busier and crazier than usual, and served as a fantastic reminder why I keep up on my staples and meal-planning. Lunches this week were easy, cheap (always!), and Tupperware-sturdy. You can use foil or parchment, too. Wrap that wrap.

You Will Need:

Ezekiel Tortillas (or other large whole-grain, whole food wraps/tortillas)3ish chicken breasts
1pkg shredded carrots
1 small head green leaf lettuce, cut into pretty ribbons (roll it, slice it)
1 English cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2c mayo
2-3tbs chili-garlic sauce (check the Asian isle)
1/2 rice vinegar
1Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Make the Pickles: Place cut cucumbers, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 20ish minutes.

Bake chicken (seasoned however you like – I’m a fan of basic garlic salt and pepper) at 375 until internal temp reaches 165. Let cool, slightly, then cut into small chunks.

Mix chili-garlic sauce and mayo. Spread on wrap. Pile on chicken, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro.

Wrap.

Eat.

Done.

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Prepare for people to ask where you got that wrap. Tell them for $3, you will bring them one 😉

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Tacos 2 Ways for 5 Days

24 Jan

I could eat tacos every day and be happy. Actually, that is exactly what I did this week. Also this week, I am so over chicken I can’t even think about it. Chickens or their eggs. Ugh. So I switched it up to save my sanity this week. It’s not like chicken is some cheap miracle protein, because it’s not. Its just so darn easy and I get so lazy…you see what I’m saying. Know what else is easy? Fish. And tofu. Yes, tofu. Easier than chicken and not chicken, so it was an amazing lunch week. Really.

The list looks long, but everything is pretty ridiculously cheap.

You Will Need:

  • Corn street-style tortillas – minimal, BASIC ingredients
  • 4 4oz fliets of fresh or flash frozen (Costco) fish (Halibut, mahi-mahi, or tilapia are good choices)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu – minimally processed, non GMO please. thanks.
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Spicy clover sprouts
  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small, sweet onion
  • 1 package shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 small package frozen mango chunks OR 1 ripe mango
  • 1 English cucumber
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2-3 Limes (for squeezing)
  • 1-2 tsp avocado (olive, grapseed, or whatever) oil
  • Garlic salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Fish Taco with Spicy Sprouts and Avocado

Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the fish with oil and season with garlic salt and black pepper. Pan-sear just until fish begins to easily flake. Set aside and allow to cool slightly. Flake fish and separate into 2 even portions. 1 filet = 2 tacos.

Warm tortillas. Layer with fish, diced tomato, avocado slices, clover sprouts, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
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2. Pan-Seared Tofu Tacos with Mango Salsa and Purple Cabbage Slaw [VEGAN!]

Preheat skillet of medium high. Brush extra firm tofu with oil. Season with garlic salt and pepper, both sides. Sear for 3-4 minutes each side. Remove. Let cool, slightly. Cut in to strips or chunks.

For the Slaw:

  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1Tbs Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sea salt

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, refrigerate. Gets better as the days go by. My favorite kind of recipe.

For the mango Salsa:

  • 1.5 cups mango (I use frozen from Trader Joe’s. You can prob find it at other major chains though)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for HEAT. optional!)
  • 1 cup-ish diced English cucumber
  • 1 bundle fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice (like 1 whole lime’s worth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together. Easy.

Stack it up and add avocado, if you so desire. I always vote yes for avocado. If I ever say “no thanks” to avocado, send help.

Eat.

Try not to propose to me.

IMG_5205IMG_5212**NOTE: Both recipes are fantastic with chicken or steak, too. And probably other meats/seafood. Experiment!

I’d like end on a note about clean eating and pricing. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs should not be some unattainable, lofty goal. Use local and organic when you can, and SHOP AROUND. Trader Joe’s is pretty cheap for a chain-store. But Costco is the clear winner. Costco not only keeps up with current food trends (cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil, anyone?), but also keeps prices way down. I usually spend less than $100/week on food. We go through an insane amount of carrots, apples, cucumbers, broccoli, milk, eggs, and bread in this house. Obviously, it’s easy to waste bulk food if you buy it without at least a little bit of a plan. When I grocery shop, I try to plan meals around some the same ingredients. Cucumbers in salsa and on sandwiches, for example. Kale for kale chips and the juicer.  And so on.

Costco also has your best deals on meat, especially if you don’t have access to a local butcher. Including free-range, grass-fed, organic. I thought I ought to mention Costco today because, when I stumbled upon the coveted holy-grail of high-heat cooking oils (Avocado) I said, out loud, “Shut up!” The guy in the aisle with me looked confused. Sorry, guy. But…$9.99. For a huge jug. And $12.99 for a TUB of coconut oil. Shut. Up.

Here’s my cart this morning. Plus Honest Bodywash because it ‘s pure and simple and smells like creamsicles. and it doubles (triples?) as shampoo and shaving gel. SOLD.

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They also have an in-store optical center with a huge selection of affordable frames and very patient optometrists who will help a girl who hates wearing glasses, find glasses she doesn’t hate.

Have a great week!

Lazy Sunday Weekly Lunch Prep

18 Jan

Sometimes weekly meal prep is a breeze, purely by accident. Like this week.

Shopping List:

  • 4-5 chicken breast  or thighs or whatever you’re into – just make sure you have some sort of complete-protein source happening
  • 1 large bag of fresh green beans
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 sweet potatoes (sometimes they’re labelled “yams” which is super annoying. Scrape ’em with your nail. Deep orange inside? Good. Buy them.)
  • Cremini mushrooms
  • Grapeseed or Olive oil
  • Whatever spices/seasonings you like. I’m all about garlic salt (California style!) and smoked paprika right now

To Do List:

Preheat oven to 375. Pound the crap out of your chicken. Goodbye stress! Season with garlic salt & pepper. Bake 30ish minutes or until juices run clear and internal temp is 145.

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Chop up the sweet potatoes and onion. Toss with 1 Tbs grapeseed oil, garlic salt, pepper, smoked paprika. Place on a baking sheet. Put in oven with chicken. These take longer to bake – around 45 minutes. You want them slightly crispy around the edges. Check them about 20 minutes in and give them a quick flip for evenness.

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Rinse your green beans and heat up 1 tsp grapseed oil in a large pan. Add minced garlic. Add beans. After a few minutes, stirring occasionally, add the tomatoes. Slap on a lid and cook 5-10ish minutes, still strirring occassionally. I like my green beans with a little bite. Like hot-raw, if that makes sense? Cook ’em how you like ’em, is what I’m trying to say.

While the beans are doing their thing, saute up some cremini mushrooms. Note: maybe you don’t share my passion for cold mushrooms. If you have the time, saute them fresh at lunchtime. Or throw them in raw. Just please don’t put them in the microwave. Or if you do, don’t tell me about it. Gag. Rubber.

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Tupperware them up. There. You have lunch for another week. And not to mention an impressive about of  vitamins, good fat, and phytonutrients, Stud. 20140118-095742.jpg

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Wasn’t that easy? Now if only the coming week could be so hassle-free…

Impossibly Easy Brown Rice + Smoked Salmon Sushi Rolls

13 Jan

Ok. When I say something is “easy,” I mean it. The hardest part about these sushi rolls? Getting them perfectly round. I’m gonna start by saying, with enough practice, our rolls will be round someday. The shape does not take away from the taste, and if you ask me, any rolls made by little 5-year-old hands are perfectly adorable every time.

I followed this recipe from Epicurious to make my brown rice (Lundberg’s! Always!) sticky.

You will need:

  • brown rice (LUNDBERGS)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Nori sheets
  • Wasabi powder (optional)
  • Braggs liquid aminos (optional, but recommended. By me.)
  • A bamboo sushi rolling mat (they’re super cheap and available at most kitchen stores. I got mine in a sushi-making kit from Ikea.)
  • plastic wrap

For fillings, we used:

  • smoked salmon
  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • carrot
  • green onion
  • cream cheese (in Mikayla’s)
  • Mayo (in Max’s. gaaaaah)
  • Braggs liquid aminos (instead of soy sauce)

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Stuff it. Do not over-stuff it. Experiment.

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Roll it.

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Slice it. Use a SHARP knife. these are delicate and smoosh easily.

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Scarf. They will be gone in record time. Ours were, anyway.

How easy is that? I’m really excited to now know I can have any kind of sushi I want, any time I want, without having to put on pants and leave the house.  I’m even considering using nori sheets for extra-healthy wraps. OH YES.

Easy, Affordable, Deliciously Addicting, No-Excuses Take to Work Lunches

10 Jan

Hi. My name is Jessica and I kind of suck at constistent blogging. This is a new year – and with SO MUCH going on over the holdiays, I have to admit, sitting down and taking the time to write about all the food I’ve been making and eating and buying was really the last thing I had time for.

Todays post is simple: how to make 5 lunches without a) breaking your bank account and b) using a ton of ingredients that will go to waste.

I like to prep on Sundays. But that’s me. And also because Sunday is usually the only full day I have off.

To start, you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (if they’re large, you can get 2 meals out of them. A serving is approx 4 oz or the palm of your hand.)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • quinoa or brown rice
  • tatziki sauce (awesome recipe here or buy some. Costco’s is good.)
  • Smoked salmon (I like Nova Scotia style. It’s super thin and milder. I’m not huge on a ton of “smoke” flavor. Again, COSTCO.)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 lemon
  • Ezekiel bread (Or other simple whole-grain bread)

Grill, bake, roast, whatever 4 chicken breasts. Use no oil and season with whatever spices you like. Oh! I learned just last week that using a hammer and some plastic wrap to flatten the breasts REALLY DOES make a difference in tenderness and texture. Crazy, right?

Cook some quinoa and/or brown rice. You’re looking for about 1/4 – 1/2c for each lunch.

Veggies for this week: green leaf lettuce, tomato, shallot, cucumber. Chop them. Container them – separately!

Thats your base for Greek(ish) bowls.

To make the bowl:

4oz cooked chicken, handful lettuce, some tomatoes, cucmbers, pinch shallot, 1/4 avocado, 1/4c quinoa or rice, 1 Tbs Tatziki. I love this bowl. It’s filling and clean and will hold you for hours. Other variations/swaps:

  • 1/2 diced, roast sweet potato instead of rice/quinoa
  • lamb or steak instead of chicken, if you’re bulking, brah.
  • hummus instead of (or totally in addition to) tatziki

Its your bowl – tweak it to your tastes!

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Next Up: Smoked Salmon and Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.

Ok, sandwiches are not a revolutionary lunch idea. I get that. But here is what i like about mine:

Ezekiel bread is a flourless bread that is about 60-80 calories per slice and makes the toastiest, crunchiest, best toast you could ever imagine. Low on the glycemic index, high in fiber, and free of all that processed artificial nonsense.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich:

  • 2 oz smoked salmon (I am telling you, you want the thin stuff!)
  • Lettuce, tomato, 1/4 avocado, thin cucumber slices, sprinkling of sea salt & black pepper. A thin smear of tatziki sauce is a fantastic addition, too 😉

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Chicken Sandwich:

  • 1 (flattened!) breast
  • Mustard, tomato, lettuce, 1/4 avocado (OR 1/2 oz thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar), shallot, salt & pepper.

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There you have it. One quick grocery trip, 5-6 days worth or lunches (or dinners). All nutritional bases are covered, energy is high, moods are good. But now, since I did this last week, I have to come up with something new. Dang.

The children and I are attempting brown rice, smoked salmon (we love it, okay!) sushi tonight. I’m sure it will go flawlessly…

Have a great week!