Chicken Chinese Cabbage Fajatas with Black Bean Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salsa

This dish is full of color and flavor and is super easy. It is packed with fiber, antioxidant nutrients as well as protein and low glycemic index carbohydrates.
You can use the salsa on any salad or just for a dip!
Ingredients:
 3 (4 oz.) chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot chopped
1 teaspoon roasted garlic (I use Penzey’s)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
ground black pepper
1 lime
1 blood orange
1 head of savoy cabbage to use for wraps
Add a chicken breast to a glass pan along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot, roasted garlic, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, juice of 1 lime and juice of 1 blood orange. Allow to marinade for at least 1 hour in refrigerator. Heat a pan over low heat, add olive oil and add chicken and cook until cooked through.
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Black Bean Salsa:
1 can black beans drained
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
1 red pepper chopped
1 orange pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
6 sprigs of cilantro chopped
1/4 serrena pepper chopped
1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pepper to taste
1 avocado
Toast pumpkin seeds in 1 tsp. coconut oil.
Place black beans, peppers, garlic in a bowl. Add dressing. Add cilantro and mix. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Place a few pieces of chicken in one of the cabbage leafs and top with black bean salsa!
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Nutritious Lunch at Sticks Kebob Shop

We had an absolutely overwhelming response from our clients on that last post about Panera.  Making food at home is always the best option, but everyone needs a break now and then.  Our clients do a wonderful job of staying disciplined and keeping their eyes on the prize, and we know they deserve a reward.  How long can one shy away from the office deciding to order out together? or avoid going to dinner with friends for fear of breaking the rules?

Well, next time you have a say in where to go, we recommend Sticks Kebob Shop.  For you Richmonders, there’s one right in Willow Lawn.  Feast your eyes on this scrumptious delight:

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Oh boy.  Is your mouth watering yet?  As if their Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob wasn’t delightful enough, they also offer an amazing Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob.

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These are the two Tina would highlight at Sticks.  They are delicious and even more delicious together.  Sticks makes a tasty little side of cucumbers, tomatoes and other delights, and we think that rounds out the meal pretty well.

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Grilled veggies and meats seem the obvious choice for healthy options, but the savvy restaurant-goer has to be careful.  We were surprised, once we really started researching, at how many dishes are wayyyy too high in carbohydrates, overall calories and sodium (good grief, so much sodium).  With this combo, though, Tina found she could get the protein she needed at lunch time as well as our old friend low glycemic index carbs through the veggies.  The extra fiber doesn’t hurt, either.  What Tina really enjoys here, though, is the healthy fat that is included without the heavy cost of loads and loads of sodium.  Total sodium for these two together is 175 mg.  Sticks has a shrimp platter which looks awful tempting (Stephanie was this close to ordering that), but with 1,270 mg of sodium it’s not quite worth it at half of your sodium need for the day.

Tina’s only complaint is that the fiber could be a little higher.  3 grams isn’t so bad, but she will have to make sure to include 22 grams more during the day so meet the daily recommendation of 25.

If you’re in Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg, check this place out.  At Willow Lawn the staff is exceedingly friendly, willing to offer suggestions about their favorite items and preparing meals quickly.  Before you go, take a glance at their nutrition information, and try to make sure your selection matches those of these two kebobs in protein, carbs, and sodium.  They also offer a little side salad to enjoy with your kebob choices, which Tina gives a thumbs-up.

The Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob and the Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob get an A-.  They may be no Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, but as far as we’re concerned, still a great option.  Enjoy!

A Nice Surprise at Panera

Today Tina caught wind of a deliciously amazing option at Panera: their Super Top Secret Must-Know-The-Password-To-Order Menu.  Okay, it’s not that secret, but somehow it had slipped under our radar.  How could Panera, right around the corner from our office, have such a divine bunch of lunch options that we haven’t even heard of?!  You can check this menu out in its entirety here, but we’re most excited about their Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

Seriously, this salad is amazing.  It’s about the farthest thing it could be from a wimpy salad for a wimpy meal plan.  The nice folks at our Panera location whipped this salad up in a flash and sent us on our way with the perfect lunch.  It’s convenient and tasty, but what really caught Tina’s eye were the nutrition facts.

Waiting to be devoured.

Waiting to be devoured.

Here it is in all its well-balanced and nutritious glory.  The Registered Dietitian Stamp of Approval is owed to the fact that this salad has a very near perfect balance of nutritional elements for lunch.  The ratio here is 18 grams carbs : 4 grams fiber : 25 grams protein.  When grabbing lunch out on the run, it’s very important to check that your meal comes as close to this equation as possible.  Most restaurant meals, Tina says, push an overload of carbs, throwing your meal our of proportion.  Sticking to the figures above will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, allowing for energy levels to remain constant and for focus to increase after your meal; not to mention, keeping you sustained for a good three to four hours.  You won’t be snoozing at your desk after this salad.  The chicken is antibiotic-free and plentiful, accounting for the generous amount of protein.  Hummus is a cleverly added low glycemic index carb, while the flavor and consistency of it (AMAZING) eases one’s desire for creamy dressing.  Plenty of veggies and spinach contribute fiber and antioxidant nutrients.

Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl gets an A++ rating on Tina’s list.  It’s the best choice we’ve seen in a long, long time from a restaurant.

Way to go, Panera.  Way to go.

Quick Chicken Swiss Chard Quesadilla

Here’s a delicious twist on the leftover.  We all know what it’s like to have leftover chicken and think, I really am not in the mood for chicken salad or chicken sandwich or anything else that involves cold chicken.  Tina prepares hormone-free chicken for dinner often, as it less fatty than red meat while maintaining a good amount of protein, and that invites the opportunity to invent leftover recipes!  This quesadilla is a quick recipe that takes no more than ten minutes, and is definitely a family favorite.  (Who doesn’t love a crispy, cheesy, tasty quesadilla?!)

Ingredients:
1/4 red onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped swiss chard
2 oz. of leftover roasted chicken
1/4 cup grated organic cheese
1 rice, whole wheat, or sprouted tortilla

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Directions:
Add olive oil to a pan and turn heat on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until toasted.

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Add swiss chard and saute until wilted.

Add tortilla to a pan that has been sprayed with olive oil. Layer tortilla starting with chicken, then swiss chard and onion sauté then top with organic grated cheese.

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Turn heat on medium and allow the tortilla to begin to heat. Fold half of the tortilla over the chicken mixture and let brown on the bottom. Flip the quesidilla over and allow to brown until crispy on the other side.

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Enjoy this quick summer dinner!

Garlicky Cannellini Bean Chicken Soup

Continuing with our cold-and-flu-season theme, the recipe for today is a comforting and flavorful soup for when you’re feeling under the weather (or really for any time!).  This recipe can be adjusted easily for a vegan diet, and is just what you’ll want on that inevitable sick-day from work.  Start this recipe the night before, and you’ll be ready to cuddle up with this, a blanket, slippers and your favorite movie in no time.

Garlicky Cannellini Bean Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
2 cups dried cannellini beans (soak overnight)
32 oz. container of chicken stock
2 cups chopped chicken (can omit if you want to make this vegan)
4 stalks celery, sliced very thin
4 carrots, sliced very thin
1 large red onion sliced thin and then chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (I use smoked salt)
4 cups chopped kale

Directions:
Soak beans overnight.  In the morning, add beans to a crockpot with enough water to cover and cook on low all day.

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Over medium heat, add oil to a soup pot and heat, then add garlic.  Cook until toasted.  Add onion, celery, carrot, thyme, marjoram and oregano.  Allow the onions to become translucent.  Add the kale and sauté until kale is cooked through.

Add chicken or vegetable broth (I prefer Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetable Broth), beans and chicken.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add more spices according to taste.

ImageImageFill a bowl and get comfy!

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Serves:            8
Serving Size:  1 ½ cups
Protein:          12 grams
Fiber:              8 grams

Immune-Building Chicken Soup

The holiday season is over, and we now face the long stretch of cold weather that eventually leads into spring.  We all know what that means: sniffling around the office, waking up with a sore throat, being afraid to accept your credit card back from the clerk who just sneezed all over it.  Yes, it’s the time of year we’re all afraid to get sick.  Fortunately, Tina has a wonderful recipe for Immune-Building Chicken Soup!  Give this a try and prepare your body to have a healthy, active winter.

immune soup

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves sliced
1 large sweet onion sliced
4 stalks celery chopped
4 carrots chopped
4 cups chopped red curly kale
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2- 4 cups sliced chicken (I usually use the chicken I roasted from the day before)
4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade from the whole chicken I roasted plus Trader Joe’s Organic)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Directions:

Saute garlic, onion, celery, carrots and herbs in the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pan.  Add the chicken stock and chicken and bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low.  Add chopped kale and and allow to wilt.  Add cubed butternut squash.  Continue to cook the soup on low for about 30 minutes.  When you are ready serve in bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds.