Monday, January 17, 2011

Saving money by stretching some chicken

Organic chicken is pretty pricey where we live. It's about $6 for one package of thighs, which has about 8 pieces in it. Which is actually a much better price than the breasts, they are about double that. So I wanted to share with you a way I stretched out the chicken this week. We don't eat a ton of meat as it is, and I always cringe when I see chicken on my list (just for the cost). A normal chicken dinner we would use two packages of chicken. This week I bought two packages of chicken, but it wasn't just for one meal. I cooked it all up and put two pieces, chopped up, in chicken tortilla soup. Tonight I will use about 5 pieces for chicken and chile wraps. The rest is being used for sandwiches throughout the week. Where we live there isn't a big supply of organic, no nitrate lunch meat. We can get one very small package of organic sliced turkey for $6. That will make 3 or 4 sandwiches. With what I have left of the chicken I'll be able to make atleast 8 sandwiches. So 8 sandwiches and two meals came from my two packages of chicken. Nice!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thai Curry Chicken

This recipe isn't completely from scratch since the curry sauce is actually from a can. You could by all means make your own curry paste. If you do, please feel free to comment and share your recipe! I've just  never done it...I will someday...but I have four kids....sometimes someday is very far off =) I use the brand Maesri, Red Curry Paste. I've tried others and the thought of them makes me want to gag, ha, I really really like this one. I didn't even LIKE curry until I tried this one. It has all natural ingredients and spices...but it's not organic =( This recipe can be made the day ahead for an even bigger explosion of flavor.

Thai Curry Chicken

1 large onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
2 lbs organic chicken, diced into one inch cubes
2 tbs oil (I use coconut oil)
1 can red curry paste
1 can organic coconut milk
Sea salt to taste
1-2 cups rice, brown

If making this the day you plan to eat it, cook rice. Heat oil in a pan. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and onions. Cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add the can of curry paste, stir it all up. Add the can of coconut milk and mix up well. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, atleast. At this point you can put it in the fridge and save it for tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, throw it in the crockpot a few hours on high, or 4-6 hours on low. The flavors will have melded nicely and you will drool over the aroma until dinner =) If desired, add another can of coconut milk for a very sweet/savory dish. Plan accordingly and start the rice at the appropriate time. Serve the chicken and sauce over the rice. Pair with a nice salad or veggie rolls. Enjoy. You're welcome =)

Veggie Sushi Rolls

I love Japanese food! Since moving to western NY from California, there is definitely a lack of great restaurants. I was very happy to learn how to make veggie rolls (like california rolls minus the un-kosher fish)

You will need:
Half a Cucumber, sliced very very thin
One Avocado, sliced thin
Sprouts, optional
A couple pieces of nori (roasted seaweed, available in the Japanese section at the grocery store)
One batch of sushi rice (see below)
3 tb, Wasabi powder, (please don't buy premade wasabi, awful awful ingredients!)
3 tb, Water
Sushi mat (amazon sells them)
Plastic wrap
Sesame seeds

First, make a batch of sushi rice:
2 cups, sushi rice. Lundberg makes an awesome organic non-gmo one!
2 cups, water
2 tb rice vinegar
2 tb sugar
1 tb salt

Place the rice into a fine strainer and run cool water over it. Continue until the water runs through clear.

Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover(please don't forget to turn the temp down...your pot will thank you later...may mine rest in peace). Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in a small pot for a few minutes until warm. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi. Continue to fold periodically until cool. You can also fan it with a paper plate, or a Japanese fan if you so happen to have one.

While the rice is cooking and cooling, prepare your veggies.
Cover your sushi mat in plastic wrap. Now I'm not keen on this, I don't like plastic wrap touching my food at all. Maybe wax paper would work, I don't know (let me know if you try it). If you really want to avoid this, you can make your rolls with the nori on the outside. I don't like the first thing I taste to be seaweed, so I put my nori on the inside. Here's how I do it:

Lay your sushi mat on the counter. Cut nori in half lengthwise. Lay nori on top of sushi mat, shiny side down. Spread 1/2-1 cup of sushi rice to cover nori. Sprinkle sesame seeds over rice. Flip it over so rice is now facing down. (to avoid using plastic wrap, skip this step) Lay pieces of cucumber, avocado, and sprouts all along the nori lengthwise. While holding veggies in place with your fingers, use mat to roll into a cylinder. Give it a couple squeezes all over. Unroll and set roll aside under a damp cloth on a cutting board. Repeat with the rest of the rice and fillings. Once done, lay all the rolls next to each other and use a long knife to cut into individual rolls (each roll should make 6 small ones).
Prepare wasabi. Taking equal parts of water and wasabi powder, mix together in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Organic soy sauce is widely available for dipping. I also like to Braggs Liquid Aminos. I don't consume soy normally, but organic fermented soy is the best choice for consuming soy.

Note: It may take a few times practicing making the rolls so they actually look like rolls instead of sandwiches, so don't plan to make this the first time for a dinner party =)

Thyroid problem?

Many, many people have thyroid problems. There are many things you can do to help this problem without taking prescription drugs. A big thing is to avoid soy! If underactive, you will also want to avoid raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc) If overactive, you will want to eat plenty of them. Peanuts are another to avoid. And with many other problems, take a good quality (preferably raw) multi-vitamins, and pro biotic. A b-complex is very important too. Kelp is essential for an underactive thyroid. For more information and specific dosages please refer to the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing.