Poaching is a quick, easy and healthy way to enjoy chicken. This method makes chicken juicy and tender, even though there is no fat added during cooking. Poached chicken can easily be used to feed both small and large crowds. It is very versatile and can be served on its own with side dishes, in chicken salad, in casseroles, as pulled chicken, or as a salad topper.
Poached chicken is great on a bed of leafy greens!
A variety of flavors can be added to the water during poaching. Our personal favorite is garlic and lemon, but feel free to try other flavors such as white wine or bay leaves.
Lemon and garlic infuse the chicken during poaching
1-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lemon, washed
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the lemon and garlic into large slices
Fill a deep pan with enough water to cover the chicken, add lemon and garlic, and bring to a boil
Add chicken to water in a single layer
Bring water down to a simmer, leave uncovered
Cook chicken until opaque through the middle and the internal temperature reaches 165°F through the thickest part, about 5-10 minutes
Once done, remove chicken from water with a slotted spoon and let rest for 1-3 minutes
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tenderloin
The Recipe Redux – July, 2017: Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker/Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
During the warmer months the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen. By using your slow cooker, we can cook up our food without also heating up the whole room, and ourselves, in the process. There’s no watching over everything cooking to like when cooking on the stovetop too. With a slow cooker just set it and forget it. Work on some gardening or socializing while your meal simmers away!
Pulled pork tastes great in tacos, burritos and fresh salads. You can even toss some into your morning omelet along with some fresh tomato salsa and grilled or sauteed veggies.
For this recipe I recommend using a lean cut of pork like tenderloin. There will be less fat than if using many other cuts of pork, but still plenty of delicious flavor.
2 small Pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
1 medium Onion, diced small
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Chili powder
1 teaspoon Cumin, whole or ground
.5 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
.25 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
.25 teaspoon EACH salt and pepper
1 cup Chicken broth, low-sodium
.25 cup Ketchup
1 tablespoon Molasses
.25 cup Apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Mustard, whole-grain
Add pork and onion to a crock pot or slow cooker set on low. To a medium mixing bowl add rest of ingredients and whisk to mix. Pour sauce over pork and onion. Close cooker lid and cook on low until the pork is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, about 4 hours.
Carefully transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes. Increase the heat in crock pot to high and cook the sauce uncovered to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
Shred the pork into large chunks with 2 forks. Return meat to the sauce. Toss well to coat pork with sauce.
Makes about 8-10 servings.
Serving size: 3-4 ounces of pork
The Recipe Redux – February, 2017: Taco Tuesday
Tacos are a favorite dish in many households, including mine. They are almost as much fun to assemble as they are to eat.
But most people rely on processed tortillas as the base for their tacos. I am here to tell you – STOP!
Make your own tortillas from scratch instead.
Making tortillas from scratch is so easy, and so incredibly inexpensive too. For one large bag of Masa Harina (corn flour) you pay about 4-5 dollars, and could make over a hundred corn tortillas. That is cheaper than one package of store-bought processed tortillas, and each one will be tastier too. So good, you may decide to make tacos the meal of choice for more than just on Tuesdays!
When making the tortilla dough, it is important to kneed it well. Because corn flour has no gluten you can’t overwork it, so squeeze away with no worries. For a little added romance, kneed with a friend!
The taco seasoning works really well with chicken breast, pork tenderloin, any white fish, extra-firm tofu or tempeh. For tofu, it is a good idea to freeze then thaw the tofu before using. The freezing process changes the tofu texture so it has a more meaty consistency.
You will notice in the recipe Ingredients section I have a couple of options for salsa and guacamole listed. I especially love the Pineapple Mango Salsa with fish, and the Fruity Guacamole is killer with pork. Go ahead and mix and max whichever way your heart desires.
Happy Taco Tuesday! Which flavor combo will you try?
To a large plastic ziploc bag, add your cut protein of choice and taco seasoning. gently toss ingredients to coat protein. Seal bag and store in refrigerator until ready to cook.
To a medium mixing bowl, add the Mesa, water and a pinch of salt. Mix together by squeezing ingredients together with your hands until a dough forms. If too dry, add another teaspoon or two of water. Divide batter into 10 even pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball.
Heat a long skillet to medium and lightly spray with oil. Wrap a piece of plastic wrap around the top and bottom plates of a tortilla press. Place one of the balls in the center of the press bottom. Gently press the press cover onto the ball, so to flatten it out and form a tortilla. Slowly lift press cover.
Peel tortilla from plastic wrap and place on heated skillet. Cook 30 seconds and flip. Cook 30 seconds and flip again. Cook another 30 seconds then place cooked tortilla into a tortilla holder to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining dough. If skillet is big enough, cook more than one tortilla at a time.
Raise skillet temperature to medium-high. Remove protein from fridge. Cook on preheated skillet, turning occasionally, until protein of choice is fully cooked through. Add protein to serving bowl and allow to rest a few minutes before serving.
To assemble Taco: On to 1 tortilla spread 1.5 tablespoons guacamole. Then layer 1.5 tablespoons each lettuce and black beans. Add 1-2 strips of protein, then top with 1.5 tablespoons of salsa.
Recipe Redux – December, 2016: Grab a Book and Cook
This month’s Recipe Redux recipe challenge theme was to “grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 201, 16, 216 – or any combination of the number ‘2016”. For this challenge, I am excited to introduce our guest blogger for this post – Liana Waybright. Liana was an intern with us here at Healthy in the Kitchen in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as a part of her dietetic internship and Master’s program with Eastern Illinois University. By the time you are able to read this post, Liana will have graduated her program and be RD-eligible. A big congratulations goes out to her for all her immense dedication and hard work. Great job Liana, and delicious recipe too! – Michelle Moreau, RDN, LD, CC
I knew exactly what cookbook I wanted to grab for this Recipe Redux as soon as I learned of the theme – America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
ATK is one of my go-to resources for reliably delicious food, and on page 216 of their healthy recipe book, I found “Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette”. I decided to focus on modifying the recipe by changing the flavor profile, making it perfect for a cold winter weekday meal. Orange, sage, thyme, and a hint of maple syrup pair nicely with salmon and are more seasonal ingredients than the original recipe. I also added Kalamata olives and roasted almonds to boost the nutritional value of this dish with sources of healthy fats.
This recipe is a quick, one-pan wonder that preserves flavor by turning the liquid used to steam the fish into a sauce. The orange slices act as a “rack” to elevate the fish while it steams, and at the same time infuses citrus flavor into the dish. Also, you can use the same orange that you zested for the orange slices!
This recipe will be sure to impress your family or friends, but you can keep it a secret how easy it is to prepare. I found wild rice and roasted Brussels sprouts to be the perfect pairings to make this a balanced meal, but feel free to mix up the starch and veg sides to your preference. Cheers!
1 Orange, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
Zest of 1 Orange
2 tablespoons Sage, fresh, minced, stems reserved
2 tablespoons Thyme, fresh, minced
2 Thyme sprigs, whole
1 Shallot, minced
½ cup Dry white wine (like sauvignon blanc)
½ cup Water
4, 6-ounce Salmon fillets, about 1 ½ inches thick
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Maple syrup
2 tablespoons Almonds, roasted and chopped
1 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil
Arrange the orange slices in a single layer over the bottom of a 12-inch skillet. Scatter the whole thyme sprigs, sage stems, and half of the shallots over the orange slices. Add the wine and water.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon fillets on top of the oranges. Set the pan over high heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the remaining shallots, minced sage, minced thyme, olives, maple syrup, almonds, orange zest, and oil in a bowl.
Once the salmon is finished, transfer the fillets to a serving tray and cover with aluminum foil. Discard the orange slices.
Return the cooking liquid to medium-high heat and simmer until it has reduced to 1 tablespoon, 3-5 minutes. Strain the reduced cooking liquid into the bowl with the shallot-herb mixture, whisk to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the vinaigrette over the top of the salmon and serve.
How to Cook Eggplant
The Recipe Redux – September, 2016: First Cooking Recollections
Growing up I was lucky enough to have a dad that was a real wiz in the kitchen. He was Classical French trained, and he even cooked in a couple restaurants during college to help pay for his tuition. I remember him being really good at creating tasty dishes made up from whatever he found on hand in the kitchen. And since my mom did most of the grocery shopping, for him it really was a surprise of what foods he would have to work with in the refrigerator.
One of my favorite foods dad prepared was eggplant. Whether grilled, roasted, baked or fried, his eggplant was always delicious. Sometimes he would restuff the eggplant shell with eggplant and other vegetables and roast – incredible!
Outside of the home, there have been many times where eggplant tasted on the bitter side. But never was one bite of my dad’s. He always managed to avoid that issue entirely.
How? His secret: before cooking, always make your eggplant “weep”.
Yes, weepy eggplant makes for happy diners! Simply salt and rest your eggplant slices, and soon the salt will draw out all the bitterness from your eggplant. It’s so easy.
I prefer to layer the eggplant slices in between sheets of paper towels or coffee filters to help absorb all the moisture that will be drawn out of the eggplant by the salt. If you prefer not to use either option, you could just salt the eggplant slices, wait 30 minutes, and then rinse eggplant.
Whether grilled or roasted, having cooked eggplant on hand is great. Toss it with pasta, layer it into sandwiches, or serve it up on its own as a delicious side dish.
Did you know that eggplant is technically a berry fruit and part of the nightshade family? Well, now you do!
2 medium Eggplants, stem removed, sliced
1/3 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Olive oil OR
2-3 cups Tomato sauce, low sodium
On a large plate lay out a paper towel sheet or 2 coffee filters. On top of the towel/filters place slices of eggplant in a single layer. lightly salt the eggplant, then cover salted slices with another paper towel sheet or 2 more coffee filters. Add another eggplant layer on top of your first pile, salt, cover and repeat process until you have used all the eggplant slices.
Let eggplant slices sit for 20-30 minutes, so that the salt draws out some of their moisture into the paper towels or coffee filters.
Separate the eggplant slices from the towels/filters. Discard the used paper towels and coffee filters. Rinse the eggplant to remove any excess salt and towel dry.
To grill eggplant: Toss eggplant in olive oil. Grill eggplant over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly.
To Roast Eggplant: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add a small layer of tomato sauce to a large baking dish. Add a single layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Add more sauce on top of the eggplant slices. Add another layer of eggplant in the dish. repeat the process until you have no more eggplant, making sure to have enough sauce to cover the top layer of eggplant.
Bake until eggplant is thoroughly cooked, about 45-55 minutes.
Asian Noodle Zoodle Salad with Peanut Sauce The Recipe Redux – July, 2016: Get your Fruits and Veggies in Shape
Here’s the problem with pasta in a healthy, balanced diet: When properly portioned, a single serving is so ridiculously tiny on your plate, you think someone is trying to starve you. That’s why with pasta it is really easy to find yourself overeating your starch portions.
Here’s my easy solution: mix in delicious veggie noodles, or “zoodles,” along with the grain-based pasta. Now you can have your big plate full of noodles, and feel good about it too. It is really fast and easy to make zoodles out of zucchini, as long as you have the proper slicer or spiralizer tool on hand. If fact, you can probably make the zoodles faster than you can bring the pot of pasta water to boil for the noodles!
I love the color contrast between the black rice noodles and the zoodles. They sure do taste great together too.
Can’t find black rice noodles? Then substitute with buckwheat pasta; you won’t have as much color contrast but it will still have delicious flavor (do make sure there’s no wheat in either noodle variety if you want dish gluten-free). If you are using brown or white pasta noodles I suggest substituting black sesame seeds for the white for more color contrast on your plate.
This pasta salad includes a rainbow in veggie colors. Any meal you can squeeze in a whole bunch of antioxidants I say is a meal put to good use!
The secret to the best peanut sauce is using a great Asian spice blend. Here’s the one I usually use:
I love this stuff! It adds great flavor and heat to practically any Asian dish, and a little goes a long way. It is one of my kitchen’s secret weapons, and now it can be one of yours too. I have seen it for sale in some regular grocery stores down South and out West in the US, but in the Northeast I only seem to find it available in Asian specialty stores. It’s worth the trip to the specialty store to have this included in your culinary arsenal.
4 ounces Black Rice Pasta
2 teaspoons Olive oil
2 large Zucchini
1 large Red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup Tomatoes, grape, yellow, sliced
1 large Carrot, shredded
2 large Scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Cilantro, fresh, minced
1 tablespoon Sesame seeds, white
for the sauce:
2 tablespoons Tamari, low-sodium
2 tablespoons Peanut butter, creamy
2 tablespoons Lime juice
1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Water
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Sesame oil
1 tablespoon Ginger, fresh, minced
2 medium Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon Asian spice blend
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break pasta in half to shorten, add to boiling water and cook until al dente.
While pasta cooks, cut zucchini into long, thin, noodle strands. Set aside.
Once cooked, strain pasta from water with a colander, then add pasta to a large mixing bowl. Toss pasta with olive oil to coat. Add the cut zucchini, pepper, tomato, carrot, scallion, cilantro and sesame seeds and lightly toss to mix.
In a medium mixing bowl add all the sauce ingredients. Whisk everything together until thoroughly combined.
Pour sauce over noodles. Toss to coat salad entirely with sauce. Refrigerate for at least an hour so that the flavors meld. Serve cold or room temperature