Tag Archives: chicken

Kelp Noodle Japchae Recipe (Gluten free, Refined Sugar free, Grain free)

My beautiful babies (not so little anymore!)

My 3 kids are adopted from Korea. In learning about the culture as we prepared to adopt, I fell in love with the country, as well as the food. Korean barbeque (Bulgogi) is phenomenal, and kimchi is a spicy, addictive condiment that I love. (I even made kimchi once or twice…a process that takes several days…and my sweet son prefers mine to anyone else’s…good boy!) But one other dish I really enjoy is japchae, which is a stir-fried noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles.

The best japchae I ever had was cooked by my son’s foster mother in Korea. When we went to her apartment to meet our new son for the first time (he was 2) she had a huge spread of traditional Korean food. It was SO delicious!

I’ve made japchae in the past, but I always messed up a bit with the sweet potato noodles, which can easily be overcooked. However recently, I finally took the plunge and ordered some kelp noodles. I had been reading about them on various gluten-free food blogs, and I was curious. The reviews for them on the Amazon product page were really positive. They are not a grain, but rather a sea vegetable. And there are only 18 calories in an entire package (6 calories per serving.) For real!

But the best part is that they are, of themselves, fairly tasteless. They take on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with, but they retain the texture of a rice noodle. Plus they’re full of nutrition. They have more than 70 minerals, including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and iodine. They also contains enzymes, vitamins, trace elements, and more than 21 amino acids. It’s safe to say they’re really good for you.

So I decided to attempt japchae again, this time with kelp noodles. And it was perfect! It’s safe to say I’ll never go back to sweet potato noodles for this dish again.

Some of the ingredients in the japchae

Kelp Noodle Japchae
Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 package kelp noodles
  • 3 Tbsp tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 3-4 Tbsp sesame oil, divided (or more as needed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 green onions, sliced, divided
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, divided
  • 1-2 boneless organic chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced (dried are great in this but you have to soak first, you can also use fresh)
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 organic cage-free egg, scrambled

Here’s What To Do

  1. Rinse the kelp noodles in cold water.
  2. Boil some water in a large pot, and add the kelp noodles. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Let it sit in the hot water until you’re ready to use the noodles.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp tamari, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 chopped clove of garlic, the ginger, 1/3 of the chopped green onion, and 1/2 of the sesame seeds in a small bowl.
  4. Slice the chicken thighs into strips, and add to the tamari marinade. Let sit while you slice the carrots, mushrooms and spinach.
  5. After all vegetables have been prepared, heat a tsp of sesame oil in a large frying pan, and add a little of the garlic. Add the chicken and all of its marinade, and stir fry until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the meat from the pan and put on a plate.
  7. In the same pan, add another tsp of sesame oil and some garlic, and cook the carrot strips until softened, but still with a bit of crunch left.
  8. Remove the carrots from the pan and put on the plate with the meat.
  9. In the same pan, add another tsp of sesame oil and some garlic, and cook the mushrooms until softened, about 2 minutes.
  10. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and put on the plate with the meat and carrots.
  11. In the same pan, add a bit more sesame oil and garlic, and toss in the spinach. Cook for a minute or so, until wilted.
  12. Remove the spinach from the pan and put on the plate with the meat and vegetables.
  13. Add enough sesame oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and then add the scrambled egg. Tilt the pan to cover the bottom with egg, and allow it to cook in a thin sheet.
  14. When the egg is almost done, use a spatula to break it up into bite sized pieces, and then remove the egg to the plate with the meat and vegetables.
  15. Drain the kelp noodles.
  16. Add another tablespoon of sesame oil and the remaining garlic to the pan, and then add the kelp noodles. Stir-fry for 2 minutes to get up all the pan flavors that have accumulated into the noodles.
  17. Dump the plate of meat, vegetables and egg on top of the noodles, along with the remaining green onion, and stir fry it all together for another 2-3 minutes.
  18. Taste and add another Tbsp of tamari if the flavor needs it.
  19. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sesame seeds, and serve!

Hungry yet?

Have you tried kelp noodles? What did you think of them? How do you like to prepare them? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Favorite Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup

Chicken, Bacon, Dates and beet greens. Total yum! A recipe I’ll share next week!

This week I’ve been exploring some new recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers. All of them are gluten and refined-sugar free. I wanted to share some of these fantastic recipes with you today. Enjoy!

  • Slow-Cooked Coconut Ginger Pork: The juice this dish produces in the crockpot will blow your mind. It is so succulent. About 30 minutes before it was done cooking, I threw in some baby spinach and sliced carrots which added a nice nutritional punch, plus some color. If you do grains, you could serve it over rice. Otherwise serve it in a bowl. You’ll want to drink the liquid for sure!
  • Rosemary Spaghetti Squash Egg Nests: I’m realizing that I have quite a few vegetables I’ve avoided over the years because of some less than pleasant early experiences with them as a child. Spaghetti squash was one of them. However when I saw this recipe from the Urban Poser, I knew I needed to give it another chance. I am SO glad I did. This is awesome, and quite filling. One is more than enough to fill you. Next time I make it I’ll prepare the nests ahead of time, and then I can cook them with the egg inside when I’m ready, and I can keep the yolks gooey (they cooked solid before the nests were done.) This makes a great breakfast or even dinner.
  • Red Chicken Coconut Curry: OK, this one is one of mine. But it’s a meal that comes together SO quickly, that I had to include it. In 20 minutes, dinner is done!
  • Blueberry Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake: It’s pumpkin pie in a glass. No lie. I’m not even all that big a fan of pumpkin pie, but I LOVE this shake. And the best part is that it leaves me full and totally energized all morning.
  • Coconut Cream Pie Larabar Recipe: I’m a big fan of Kind bars, and typically prefer them to Larabars. But when I was in the grocery store this week I was starving and saw these in the checkout line so I picked one up. TOTAL yum! Because I don’t love the price on any of these bars I quickly looked up a recipe on how to make them at home. This one is great.
  • Cinnamon Bun Muffins: This is the first recipe I ever made from the Elana’s Pantry food blog, and it’s still one of my favorites. (I replace the agave with 100% pure maple syrup.) Make them. You can thank me later!

Do you have some favorite gluten and refined-sugar free recipes? Please share them in the comments!

Red Chicken Coconut Curry (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

I originally  gave up bread and refined sugar to lose weight. (Then I started reading…darn the internet!) Since this was (at least originally) primarily about weight loss (and then maintenance) for me, I keep a close eye on the scale. And I find I do best when I make vegetables the foundational element in my diet. Now this doesn’t mean eating salad all the time. But it does mean that I try to incorporate vegetables in all 3 meals a day. In doing so, I get more nutrition, and I find that my weight remains stable.

But wait! you may be saying. Veggies for breakfast? Really? Yep. There are 2 primary ways I do it.

  1. Eggs and Omelettes. This is the easy one. Our favorite omelet is mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and some cheese. Sometimes I’ll throw in tomatoes.
  2. Smoothies. I giggle inside a little when my son automatically reaches for the baby spinach in the fridge when making his own smoothies. Fruit-based smoothies can include spinach and carrots and, if you use blueberries, you’ll never know they’re there!

I’ve also been known to do a soup for breakfast of broth and veggies. You can throw in rice, protein of your choice, or drizzle in a scrambled egg. If you like things spicy, adding some kimchi is delicious too (and you won’t be able to eat too fast, which ensures you’ll stop when you’re full.)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe full of veggies that my husband RAVED about when I made it. (And don’t let the word “curry” scare you. It’s not spicy at all!) His exact words were “It’s so buttery!” And there’s no butter in it at all!

Red Chicken Coconut Curry

Red Chicken Coconut Curry
This made enough for lunch for 2 adults.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. raw chicken, cut into strips or bite-sized pieces
  • Salt & pepper (or all purpose seasoning of choice)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • coconut oil
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste (have I mentioned yet how addicted I am to this stuff?)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florettes
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup prepared brown rice
  • 1 big handful spinach

Here’s What To Do

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, or seasoning blend of your choice.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Press the garlic clove into the oil.
  4. Add the chicken slices and cook until browned on each side.
  5. Add the cauliflower and carrots, and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk and red curry paste, and stir gently until well combined.
  7. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add brown rice and cook for another minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in spinach. Stir until just wilted.
  10. Serve!

How do you incorporate veggies into your meals? Please share in the comments!

Jamie Oliver Food Challenge Day #1: Grilled Sesame Chicken Breasts, Sesame Soy String Beans, Steamed Rosemary and Thyme Potatoes

So if you read my last post, you know that I’ve pledged to cook even healthier meals for my family as a result of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution show on ABC.  So I’m going to be sharing with you some of the meals I’m cooking for my family, in hopes that it will help inspire others to cook healthier too.

My main goals: use fresh ingredients whenever possible, increase the veggies, and reduce the use of processed food.    We are eliminating fried food entirely from our diets.  While we didn’t fry a ton before, my kids ate chicken nuggets when out, and I fried a couple times a month at home.

Here’s tonight’s dinner:

Grilled sesame ginger chicken breasts, sesame soy string beans, and steamed rosemary and thyme potatoes.  It actually was a cynch to make…under 30 minutes, not counting the marinating of the chicken.

For the chicken, I used a Sesame Ginger marinade I had on hand (I would make the marinade myself next time to reduce the sodium, but it was in my cabinet and I wanted to use it up.)  I put it in a ziploc bag with the chicken, and let it marinate for 24 hours.  To cook, I simply put it on my George Foreman grill for a few minutes, until cooked through.

For the string beans, I heated a combination of olive and sesame oil in a pan with a clove of chopped garlic.  Once it was hot, I added the string beans and stir fried quickly.  I added 1/4 cup of water and let cook until the string beans were cooked, yet still slight crisp.  Added a splash of soy sauce, and removed from heat.

For the potatoes, I chopped some regular baking potatoes into even, 1 inch or so chunks (you could also do this with baby new potatoes without chopping.)  I put them in a pan with a little water, covered, and let steam until potatoes were cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.  When done, I tossed the potatoes with a little olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, crushed rosemary, and thyme.  Easy!

I hope that this inspires you to cook some healthier food for your own family.  If it does, please let me know what you’re cooking!  And if you’re blogging about it, feel free to post a link to your meals on your own blog from within the comments.  It would be great to provide a resource of recipes for everyone.

Here’s to a healthier nation!

Slow Cooker “Roast” Chicken (and BBQ Chicken Sandwich)

One staple in our house is the slow cooker chicken.  I can usually pick up a whole chicken that will fit in my slow cooker for under $5 (this week I got one for $3.91) and the meat from it makes meals for DAYS.  A few people I know on Facebook requested some of my recipes, so I decided to start a series that highlights some of the yummy (and CHEAP) meals you can make using a slow cooked chicken as your foundation.

Today’s recipe is the source of all this yumminess…the chicken itself.  Here’s how to slow cook a chicken:

Slow Cooker Chicken

Ingredients: (adapt these to what you have on hand)

1 whole chicken that will fit in your slow cooker
1-2 onions, sliced in quarters
2 carrots, sliced lengthwise, and then in 2-3 pieces per length
Several peeled cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Remove giblets bag from chicken (reserve for another use, like gravy) and wash the chicken all over with cold water.  Pat dry.
  2. Stuff the chicken with the onions, carrots, and a clove or 2 of garlic.
  3. Stuff the remaining garlic cloves under the skin of the chicken, between the chicken and breast meat.
  4. Sprinkle entire chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until completely cooked through.

At this point you can eat the chicken as is, or discard the veggies and put the cooked, cooled chicken into a container for refrigeration.  You can also save any broth created from the chicken for soup or seasoning.  Pure flavor there!!!

And if you’re in a hurry to use some of your chicken yumminess right now, here’s a quick bonus recipe:

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 cooked chicken breast, shredded into bite-sized pieces
2-3 Tbsp prepared BBQ sauce
1 whole grain bun (have you tried the Arnold thin ones? 100 calories of pure yumminess!)
1-2 oz reduced fat cheddar or goat cheese

Method:

  1. Toss shredded chicken and BBQ sauce in a bowl.  Warm in microwave for a minute or so.
  2. Toast bun lightly, then add cheese to both halves and broil until melted.
  3. Add warmed BBQ chicken to bun and enjoy!

I hope to add pictures for some of this later, but for those of you hungry now, go make your own pics! 🙂