Rotisserie Chicken 3 Ways

When the temperatures are running over 90 degrees, nobody should have to tun on their stove or oven to get a nutritious meal on the table. That’s where a store bought rotisserie chicken can come in to save the day! I’m sharing with you three different ways to use up a bird for two people and each of these “recipes’ are fast, simple, packed with nutrition and most importantly delicious!

Here’s your shopping list:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken- purchase one that is unseasoned or, at most, a lemon herb rub
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • spinach
  • pine nuts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil

No Cook Summer Salad

Directions

  1. Wash butter lettuce and tear apart using hands or roughly chop with a knife. In a large bowl, place 4 cups of prepped greens.
  2. Shred 6-8 ounces of chicken, or about 2 palm-sized portions worth, and add to greens bowl.
  3. Cut root ends off radishes, then cut in half starting from the green stem. Slice each half into half-moon pieces- the thickness is up to you. Use about 5 radishes total. Add radishes to salad.
  4. Cut half an avocado into cubes and add. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pine nuts over greens. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the salad. Mix with hands or salad tongs and serve.

 

Rotisserie Wraps Two Ways

 

Directions

  1. Shred 6-8 ounces of chicken, or enough to make about 2-2.5 cups of shredded chicken, place in mixing bowl. To chicken, add half an avocado and mix two ingredients well. The avocado should be creamy enough to create a “sauce” a la mayonnaise used in a traditional chicken salad. Add a small squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt once mixed well. Set aside.
  2. Finely dice 1/4 cup red onion- use more or less in wrap depending on tastes and reseve any extra (great to add into a guacamole!).  With the other onion half, cut into thin slices and place in glass jar. To quick pickle, bring 1.5 cups of white vinegar and a pinch of sugar to boil on the stove, then pour liquid over onion slices (the onions should be fully covered). Let sit as onions will start to turn pink and pickle. This quick pickle can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week.
  3. From the above salad recipe, separate and clean 3 butter lettuce leaves, and be sure to pat them dry well. Slice 1-2 radishes into half moon shapes.
  4. To assemble wheat wrap: start with 1 whole wheat tortilla, create base layer of a handful of pre-washed spinach, spoon 1 1/4 cup of chicken salad mixture on top, add diced red onions, then wrap and serve.
  5. To assemble lettuce wraps: lay out 3 lettuce leaves, divide 1 1/4 cup chicken salad into each leaf, top with pickled onion and radishes, and serve.
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Crossing the Finish Line of Your Fitness Goals

If you read up on my post a few weeks ago, you know that I was training for, and recently completed, my first marathon! It was such an amazing experience and I must say I feel incredibly proud to have accomplished a physical challenge that many times during training I questionned was possible.
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It Takes Two to Tofu

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally come around to tofu. Now, I know it’s not a requirement to incorporate tofu into a plant-based diet, but sometimes you just need to get creative, push your taste buds a bit, and try a few new ways to prepare an unfamiliar food.

I wanted to share two tofu recipes I’ve made recently and were shared on social media. Some of you expressed interest in the recipe so, ask and you shall receive!

Do you eat tofu? What are your tricks for preparing it?

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Picnic Chickpea Poppers

Quick! Your friends have invited you to a picnic in the park that starts in ONE hour- what on earth could one possibly whip up to contribute to the food festivities? This month’s Recipe Redux asked us to shake up our picnic game and create a dish to serve al fresco- so here we go!

When time is short and warm weather is calling allow Picnic Chickpea Poppers to come through to save the picnic day. I would bet that most everyone has a can of chickpeas in their cupboard and a selection of spices in their cabinet, so that even with last minute notice anyone can bring together a tasty snack for a day in the park or at the beach.
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Anti-Inflammatory Chickpea Burgers

Here it is ladies and gents, another Meatless Monday recipe for the win! While I enjoy all varieties of beans tossed into salads and scooped into grain bowls I sometimes need to put a twist on them to keep things interesting.- enter chickpea burgers. These patties are inspired and slightly tweaked from the Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers found in the book The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, a cookbook I’d highly recommend for any RD working in oncology and for anyone with or caring for someone with cancer. 

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Kabocha Squash and Pinto Bean Soup

Want to know one of my secrets to conjuring up a delicious and nutritious meal? Always be prepared! Okay, so maybe it’s not that big of a secret, but having a stocked pantry and fridge makes healthy eating come together that much more seamlessly.

Being prepared especially comes in handy when it’s cold outside and a trip to the supermarket sounds far and frigid. This was the situation I was faced with about a week ago, but thankfully could pull together a few ingredients lying behind closed doors to create a dinner (and a few lunches). I encourage you to:

  1. Keep a running inventory of pantry, fridge, and freezer items- think dried and canned beans, canned fish, hearty winter squashes and potatoes, frozen veggies and fruit, and condiments and sauce ingredients
  2. Make a list of versatile fresh and perishable ingredients you need to pick up at the store at the start of the week- the magic word here is versatile (aka things you like and would eat in many forms)
  3. Become best friends with Google and Pinterest for recipe inspiration- type in a string of ingredients that may at first seem like a random assortment that could never turn out tasty and watch these sites turn out delicious recommendations

I ate this soup on what was also Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and Pi Day (March 14th for all you math neRDs out there), so the only photos I have of this creation are of the soup, plus pie. Try to focus on the soup here, even though there is a chocolate circle of heaven staring at you from the opposite corner!

Kabocha Squash and Pinto Bean Soup- Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, diced
  • 1/2 large kabocha squash, or about 3 cups, cubed (skin left on)
  • 3-4 cups low sodium broth- chicken or vegetable
  • Cilanto Walnut pesto for topping- 2 handfuls cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup walnut halves, olive oil
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper, and other dried herbs or spices, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook dried beans- place beans in a pot and cover with a few inches of water; cover and let sit in fridge overnight. Alternatively, use the quick soak method by placing beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat- let sit for 30 minutes, drain, and continue cooking. To continue cooking after initial soak using either method, drain beans from initial water, then place in pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to a simmer and let cook 30-60 minutes. It’s okay if they don’t get totally tender after an hour, they’ll continue to soften in the soup. or skip this whole step and use low sodium canned beans if that’s what you have!
  2. Start to prepare the soup by heating a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. To pot add cubed kabocha squash. Saute for 2 minutes before adding broth. Once broth is added, toss in cooked beans. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  4. While the soup is cooking, prepare the pesto by blending cilantro, walnuts, and olive oil (use your judgement on how much, depending on how thick or thin you desire the sauce) in a food processor. I prefered this sauce a bit more chunky, but feel free to blend until smooth while using more oil as needed.
  5. After 25-30 minutes the squash and beans should have softened. Taste the soup for flavor and add a pinch of salt, a crack of pepper, and I think I remember adding in a shake of ground coriander too- the flavors are up to you!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

I received free samples of Swerve mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsered by Swerve and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Are you celebrating National Nutrition Month and looking to go further with your food and health? Or are you anxiously awaiting the arrival of Girl Scout cookie order forms to purchase your favorite cookies? Maybe you’re observing the season of Lent and went down to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras celebration?

While these may seem like completely unrelated questions and themes, they actually come together in a sweet symphony for my latest recipe- Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies.

This March I am participating in a Recipe Redux Contest featuring Swerve Sweetener- a natural, preservative-free, and non-GMO sweetener product that hails from New Orleans, Louisiana. And since my husband and I always over order on Girl Scout cookies during the spring selling season, I figured I’d take this opportunity to create my own version of our favorite cookie- the Tagalong or Peanut Butter Patty- with a healthy twist for National Nutrition Month.

I discuss sweeteners with my patients often, but have never been a fan of the colorful packets myself, preferring to use a small amount of the real stuff and avoid the unpleasant aftertaste. Yet, when people I work with are working to manage their diabetes and weight in a more healthy, but still enjoyable way, I would like to put my money where my mouth is so to speak. This is why I love Swerve- it contains zero calories, does not affects blood sugar, and has quite a pleasant taste!

Artificial sugars can be scary to consumers for many reasons, but at the end of the day the most common concerns I hear are about what’s really in the product and what are the side effects to my health? Swerve answers these questions clearly; all of the ingredients for Swerve can be found naturally in select fruits and starchy root vegetables, and are sourced in North America and Europe from non-GMO crops. In terms of side effects, Swerve has another leg up on the competition here. Since it’s main ingredients is erythritol- a common sugar alcohol- Swerve has a high GI tolerance and does not cause tummy troubles like other sugars that end in “ol” and often send people running to the bathroom.

As I mentioned, I wasn’t one to use artificial sugars much- not in my coffee and certainly not in my baked goods- so this baking project was going to be a new challenge for me. Luckily, Swerve measures cup-for-cup like regular table sugar, and so it was with only the normal amount of baking trepidation that I set out to recreate a low-sugar version of a beloved cookie.

Sugar-free baking fears be gone- this recipe turned out to be a winner! The shortbread has a nice crumbly consistency, which I would expect from using the Swerve granulated sugar, and the peanut butter filling was just the right amount of smooth sweetness thanks to the confectioners sugar. To add to the healthy factor, I used whole wheat flour, and only a drizzle of dark chocolate instead of a dunking.

I can see many more uses for Swerve in my future and encourage you to satisfy your sweet tooth with Swerve Sweetner!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies- makes 36 cookies

Ingredients for the shortbread

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Swerve granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk

Ingredients for the topping

  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter or your favorite smooth nut butter (almond, sunflower, walnut, cashew)
  • 1/2 cup Swerve confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, either morsels or coarsely chopped (I used Enjoy Life chunks)

Directions

  1. Prepare the cookie base. Using electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar in a glass mixing bowl until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. In 2-3 increments, stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the milk and vanilla; stir only until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (separate it into two balls of dough if it is easier to handle that way) and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until it is very firm.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off pieces of dough, and roll into approximately 1-inch circles. Lightly flatten each ball with your hand, trying to ensure that the edges don’t crack too much- I was very challenged by this, so my advice is to press gently. Place the rounds of dough on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about an inch between (they will spread a little, but not too much).
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until they have a dull finish on top and are just golden on the edges. They will not look fully cooked, but they will continue to harden into the perfect shortbread while cooling.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet. As soon as they are not too hot, using a thumb or the back of a small spoon, make an indent in each cookie (they should still be fairly soft, so it should be easy to indent them without breaking them). Leave them right where they are for the moment.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt the nut butter on low heat until it is a thick, easily stirred liquid. Add the Swerve confectioners sugar and stir until incorporated. Add the vanilla last, stirring in until incorporated. Remove from heat. Let it sit for about 10 minutes; the mixture will start to thicken a bit.
  6. Place a teaspoon (a little more or less, upon your taste) of the nut butter mixture in the indent on each cookie.
  7. Melt the chocolate by using the double boiler method (if you have one) or by melting directly in a saucepan on a low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning the chocolate.
  8. Rather than dipping the cookie completely in chocolate as traditional Tagalongs are, use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the top surface in a zebra-stripe fashion. Place the chocolate coated cookies on a sheet of waxed paper, nonstick silicone, or even aluminum foil, and let set for 2-3 hours before enjoying.

Stay Sweet!

Want to see more recipes using Swerve? Find them at the Recipe Redux page below!


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